Sarah's Top 10 Ultimate Croatia Highlights
By Sarah Hemsley
Last updated: 22nd September 2023
Croatia amazed me in so many ways, from its ancient history to its thriving nightlife. My time on our Ultimate Croatia trip was an unforgettable adventure. I got to see the best parts of stunning Croatia, including Split and Dubrovnik, sail the tranquil Adriatic Sea on a premium boat, and make lifelong friends with people who were once strangers.
If it’s not already, this trip should be on your wishlist!
Take a look at my best highlights below.
1. Exploring Croatia’s second-largest city, Split
The city where my adventure began! With its bustling promenade, traditional restaurants, and lively bars (and of course the sunshine) it was the perfect place to meet my Croatia family, including our epic Aussie tour guide Anna - who had the best recommendations for gelato!
Our first night we experienced our first taste of Croatian cuisine at our welcome dinner. If you’re a seafood lover, I recommend the black squid ink risotto. It was delicious!
The next day, we had a walking tour with a knowledgeable local guide who showed us all Split has to offer. From it’s modern life to ancient history. So whether you’re a history buff, a huge Game of Thrones fan (like me!), or ready for a drink, you’ll fall in love with Split. I definitely did!
2. Staying on a premium boat
After one night in Split, we soon made ourselves at home on a premium sailing boat! It was by far the best way to experience the beauty of the Croatian Islands. I can’t imagine it any other way. I miss waking up to the gorgeous ocean views. There was no need to lug our heavy luggage around as we were staying on the boat for 7 nights. I got used to the luxurious boat life and it was pure bliss. We spent our days cruising the Adriatic Sea, sunbathing on the top deck, and grabbing MANY drinks from the onboard bar. Živjeli! 🍻
3. Swim stops
With the boat life comes swim stops! It was everybody's favourite time of day. When we heard the anchor drop, we knew it was time to grab our inflatable pineapples and head to the top deck (if you were feeling brave enough). It was the perfect way to cool off from the Mediterranean sun, snorkel in secluded bays, and practice our flips. Or in my case, conquer my fear of jumping in! I soon realised there was nothing to be scared of. There was something about the salty sea water that was so refreshing.
4. Partying on Hvar Island
We took a slightly different route so our first destination was Croatia’s most luxurious island, Hvar. We climbed a Spanish Fortress by day and partied hard by night. This is an island you do not want to miss. With it’s legendary nightlife, we really did Hvar good time at the beach clubs!
5. Cycling around Mljet National Park
What a day. Riding around Mljet National Park was one of my favourite activities. I’m by far a professional cyclist but this bike ride was a breeze. It’s more relaxing than anything. Around every corner, there was a stunning new view of turquoise lakes and beautiful lush landscapes. We took a pit stop for a dip in the water which was the best way to immerse ourselves in the natural beauty of Mljet National Park (make sure to pack water shoes for this, trust me you will need them).
6. Discovering the UNESCO city of Dubrovnik
As you know, I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan so stepping foot into Kings Landing was pretty surreal! Wandering down its cobbled limestone streets and spotting all the film locations was a big fan-girl moment for me. But there’s more to Dubrovnik than that…
This ancient city is filled with so much history about it’s iconic 16th-century walls which we had the best view of when kayaking in the sea. I also took the cable car up the mountain for a stunning sunset view, before partying the night away in an ancient fortress.
7. The rooftop bar in Korcula
The best place for a real taste of Croatia is in Korcula, referred to as ‘mini Dubrovnik’ and claims to be the birthplace of the great explorer, Marco Polo (although some historians say he was born in Venice, so I’ll leave it up to you what you believe). I loved the little town of Korcula, it’s a hidden gem!
We spent the day tasting authentic Croatian wine, olive oil, and of course, more gelato. If you’re more of a cocktail kind of person, then the rooftop bar Massimo is the place to go. I’ve never had a Pina Colada SO GOOD.
8. Being adventurous at Makarska
When Anna mentioned the word ‘parasailing’ I was sold. As long as you’re not afraid of heights then I recommend it for the best panoramic view! Makarska is one of Croatia’s most beautiful beaches where mountains meet sea and the sights of the Biovovo mountains from the sky were insane. There was also the option for jet skiing, paddleboarding, or simply sunbathing on the beach with a pint in hand.
It also had the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen. You just can’t beat a fiery sunset hey?
9. Stepping foot on Zlatni Rat Beach
I didn’t know this was on my bucket list until I was here! This uniquely shaped famous paradise was so dreamy. The feeling of walking right to the edge and diving into the crystal-clear water was like no other. It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Sailing past on the boat was also a sight to see.
10. Chasing waterfalls at Krka National Park
It’s not every day you see a waterfall THIS good! Krka’s cascading waterfalls were an absolute must-see. And very photogenic. Not only were the waterfalls impressive but the surrounding nature was breathtaking, no wonder it’s one of Croatia’s most loved National Parks. It was the perfect place in nature to round off the trip and reminisce about the good times we shared over the last 10 days.
Check out our Ultimate Croatia trip. Take it from me, you’ll love it!