Croatia Week: The Country

Turning away from the big cities, we’ll be exploring along the countryside and islands today. Tomorrow I’ll show you how to plan a trip hopping from city to countryside and Friday I’ll offer you some helpful travel tips. Here’s a map to orient yourself:

View Croatian Countryside in a larger map


Hvar is one of Croatia’s hundreds of islands along the Dalmatian coast. It is the sunniest and greenest island on the coast making it a popular spot for tourists to take a boat or yacht to. If you’ve dreamed of visiting Italy, Hvar Island is as close as you can get to an Italian city. The island was ruled over by Venetians who enjoyed it for being close to home and left behind their mark on buildings and artistry.

Hvar Port

Don’t miss:

  • Hvar Fortress: You’ll have to climb quite a few stairs but the view from this 16th century fortress is amazing. While it’s open most of the day in the summer, you might need to make an appointment to visit in the rest of the year.
  • Paklenki Islands: Just off Hvar’s Harbor are a group of islands with some amazing beaches. You’ll need to rent a boat or hitch a ride on a water taxi but it’s worth it. Keep in mind that this is Europe and some of the best little islands (Stipanska, Palmizana, and Jerolim) all have naturist (read: nude) beaches. Watch out for signs saying FKK if you’re looking to avoid the nudity.


Pula is a 3000 year old city that was settled by the Greeks but rose into power as a Roman stronghold. This city is probably most famous for its Roman ruins and festivals. In May or June of each year they have the Days of Antiquity, which has reenactments, plays, wine tastings, mosaics, and historic recreations for sale. Most of this town shuts down between October and May so consider a summer trip.

Pula Arena

Don’t miss: 

  • The Arena: This Roman arena dates to the 1st century and is one of just six major surviving Roman arenas in the world. The Arena held gladiator contests and could seat 20,000 people inside. Throughout the year concerts and a film festival are even held inside.
  • The Town: The town of Pula has artifacts hidden all over so consider a walk around the city. There’s an ancient Roman forum, historic churches, a Roman theatre, arches and historic gates all over.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park is the largest in Croatia and a UNESCO World Heritage site. There’s 16 interconnected lakes, caverns, caves, waterfalls, and trails. While the water shifts from green to blue under the light and might look tempting, there’s no swimming here; it’s purely a hands-off experience that is still the best Croatia has to offer. This is an extremely popular destination and peak crowds get there mid-morning and stay through mid-afternoon so get up early, visit the busy spots, and then head into the denser part of the park when the crowds come.

Falling Lakes

Don’t miss:

  • Trail C: There are 8 trails through the park but Trail C seems to get the highest marks. It’ll take you about 4-6 hours to complete but you’ll get views of both the upper and lower lakes, take a short bus ride, and ride across one lake in a boat. Trail H follows this same route but has a different starting point if Trail C is looking too busy.
  • Trails B and E: If you have two days to spend at the park, consider splitting up the upper and lower lakes. Trail B will take you through the lower parts of the park and includes a boat ride on the lake over 3-4 hours. The next day you can take Trail E around the upper lakes area in 2-3 hours. If you want to do the whole park in one day, Trail K does it all in 6-8 hours.
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I'm Julie, I love to travel, I'm very hyper and I like to "hype" things and from that, TravelHyper was born. I'm a Missouri native and I cover St. Louis travel ideas as well as my own travels. I also like to focus on places I want to visit and budget travel ideas by creating trip plans. There's so much world out there and I hope you'll find that it's worth seeing and that vacation doesn't have to be out of reach to you.

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