Things to do in Croatia

If you are in Croatia during the summer, most likely your first destination will be the Adriatic coast with its atmospheric walled cities and countless islands, but Croatia's capital and largest city, Zagreb, as well as other sights in the interior should also be on your list. A few must-sees in Croatia include the following stops:

Plitvice Lakes National Park. There are 16 lakes at this UNESCO site near the Bosnian border, arranged in a series of cascades. Thanks the effects of algae and mineral deposits, they have a dazzling variety of colors from greys to blues.

Dubrovnik. Another UNESCO heritage site, the town of Dubrovnik on the Adriatic peaked from the 15th to 17th centuries, when it was the capital of the independent Republic of Ragusa, a rival of Venice. It retains its medieval walls and streetscapes.

Split. The most famous sight of Croatia's second largest city is Diocletian's Palace, built in the 4th century, but many other buildings reflect the influence of Venice, which rules Split until the end of the 18th century.

Stop by this outdoor club, especially during July when it hosts an annual music festival.

This gallery and gift shop near the Dominican monastery sells Croatian art and a wide selection of wines from the nearby Peljesac peninsula.

For romantic views and convenient island-hopping, take the ferry one way down the coast (anywhere from 7 to 11 hours between Dubrovnik and Split), but for speed (and minor savings), ride the bus back in 4.5 hours.

Dubrovnik is not the place for cutting-edge clothing and furniture boutiques, but Old Town is home to a handful of quirky stores—and a thriving gallery scene.

Every old city in Europe has an Old City historic district—but Split has the only downtown actually carved from the carcass of an ancient Roman palace. When the emperor Diocletian split the Roman Empire in A.D.

With Cuban cigars and an open-air patio that evoke a Caribbean atmosphere, this Bojnice cocktail bar is situated in bustling Hubanovo Square.

Located on Croatia's Brac Island, Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn) Beach takes its moniker from the cone-shaped, white-pebble beach that measures out to about 520 meters along the southern coast of Bol, an island just off the mainland of Croatia.

The lush courtyard inside the sprawling Gothic-Renaissance building hosts art exhibitions and the occasional concert. The state archives are also housed here, as is a memorial to the Croats who were killed in the 1991–1992 siege of Dubrovnik.

This massive nightclub resides near the harbor on Croatia’s Hvar Island and takes on different personalities throughout the day. When the sun’s out, people lounge by the edge of azure waters, bring out boats, and relax.

A must see for anyone's Croatia itinerary, this fourth-century palace is magnificent.

South of Luza Square is the former castle that now houses the Museum of Dubrovnik, which has artifacts—including old coins and furnishings—from the city's illustrious past.

Spot this popular bar in historic Groda, the city’s oldest neighborhood that centers on Svetog Stjepana (St. Stephen) Square, thanks to the all-white laundry and lanterns hanging outside.

A two-hour ferry ride from Split, Hvar has medieval hilltop monasteries.

A massive renovation in the past several years has made the neo-Renaissance building near Banja beach the best place to gain perspective on Croatia's unique 19th-century artists; it houses more than 2,000 works by native painters and sculptors.

This Hvar bar, restaurant, and lounge fronts the beach, where during the day visitors relax by sunbathing, swimming, and diving. More proactive guests opt for beach volleyball or a spa treatment in a palm-leaf-roofed bamboo hut.