Just 25 kilometers from the city and renowned for its rich cultural heritage, Samobor is a popular day trip from Zagreb, offering an authentic taste of traditional Croatian culture. The best time to visit is during the annual Fašnik carnival in the run-up to Lent, when the legendary celebrations include a vibrant parade of masked marchers and elaborate floats, the ritualistic burning of the Carnival Prince effigy, huge street parties and plenty of children’s entertainment (including a Harry Potter-inspired Quidditch competition!).
In the safe hands of tour guide Josef, I took the day trip from Dubrovnik in Croatia, across the Bosnian border to the country’s fifth largest city Mostar. I barely noticed the two-and-a-bit hours on the coach, distracted by views of tree-topped mountains, the picturesque Elefit Islands and of course, the turquoise waters of the Adriatic.
As Croatia’s second largest city and one of its most popular coastal resorts, there’s plenty of choice in terms of what to eat and drink in Split, and a large variety of international cuisine on offer, from Italian-style pizza and pasta to Greek salads and Turkish mezes. The historic city is also a good spot to try some typical Croatian cuisine — look out for pašticada, a traditional Dalmatian dish of stewed beef; blitva, a hearty potato and chard dish slathered in olive oil and garlic; and palacinke, Croatian-style crepes; as well as fusion dishes like risotto with local truffles and inventive Mediterranean-style mezes.
One of the most remote and untamed of all the Dalmatian coast islands, Mljet Island is a lush retreat, blanketed with shady pine forests, sandy beaches and emerald-green lakes, making it an idyllic escape for those looking to get off-the-beaten-track. Visiting Mljet Island from Dubrovnik is possible on a day trip, with ferries connecting the island to Dubrovnik (around two hours by catamaran) and the Peljesac Peninsula, but it’s also a popular stop for cruise travelers.
Zagreb might be landlocked, but it’s also one of Croatia’s greenest cities, with a ring of parks and gardens circling the Lower Town and a number of scenic lakes surrounding the city. Whether you’re looking for a picnic spot downtown or a tranquil escape from the city, these are Zagreb’s best parks and lakes.
From jaw-dropping natural landscapes to grand Roman palaces and impressive early-Christian monuments, Croatia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites include some of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, as well as intriguing off-the-beaten-track sights. There are seven sites to explore total (plus several others waiting on the tentative list), so make sure to add at least one or two to your itinerary.
Croatia’s second-largest city is an ideal destination for a family holiday, with easy access to the beaches and islands of the Dalmatian coast, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. To help you plan a family-friendly itinerary, here are some ideas for things to do in Split with kids.
With its scenic waterfront promenades and a network of mountain trails on its doorstep, biking in Split is a popular way to get around and whether you escape the city for the hills or take a cycling tour of the sights, there are ample opportunities for biking enthusiasts.
The Croatian capital is relatively easy to navigate, with the top attractions split between the Gornji Grad (Upper Town) and Donji Grad (Lower Town), but to help you make the most of your time, here are some tips for getting around in Zagreb.
Croatia’s summer music festivals and all-night beach parties are legendary, but there’s still plenty going off in Split throughout spring, kicking off with the city’s colorful carnival celebrations. Held in the days leading up to lent, carnival in Split includes an array of masked balls, costumed parades and waterfront firework displays, alongside plenty of free entertainment and all-night street parties hosting live music, dancing and historic reenactments.