Skip to Content

Where To Go Backpacking in Croatia

From April to late October, the sun settles over the Adriatic Sea. During the summer months, the days are long and warm and best enjoyed in flip-flops with a glass of something cold. This is the best time to go backpacking in Croatia in Central Europe, and if you do, here's my ultimate guide to the ten best places.

Where To Go In Croatia

1. Zagreb

Beautiful Zagreb Cathedral in Croatia (Getty Photo Licensed under the Unsplash+ License)
Zagreb Cathedral

Zagreb is the capital and largest city in Croatia. It's a compact city with lots of landmarks, a city center, Lower Town, and the historic quarters of Gornji Grad (Old Town) and Kaptol all clustered around each other. Once you've seen the capital city's major attractions, it's a good idea to imitate the locals by finding a cafe and spending the day people-watching.

2. Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the best places to go backpacking in Croatia (Getty Photo Licensed under the Unsplash+ License)
Plitvice Lakes National Park

The Plitvice Lakes National Park, a short day trip from Zagreb, is a set of 16 lakes formed on a regenerative karstic basin. As stone and water interact, they create a visual spectacle: cascades and waterfalls, natural limestone barriers, pools, underground streams, and caves. Plitvice National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is spread across two mountain ranges. It's connected by walkways and stairs, allowing nature lovers to explore one of Croatia's top national parks comfortably.

3. Rovinj

Waterfront buildings in Rovinj (Getty Photo Licensed under the Unsplash+ License)
Waterfront buildings in Rovinj

Rovinj is a sun-tanned pastel town on the Istrian peninsula. Once ruled by the Venetians, it has a definite Italian vibe with a Croatian twist. After spending some time around town, above town (in the church bell tower), and in the sea, find a summer fiesta to experience local traditions, Croatian food, and the local spirit.

4. Motovun

Motovun sits pretty on a hill above the Mirna Valley. This fairytale setting ensures the town's 12th-century walls see many activities, especially during the summer. During the high season in August, there's the Motovun International Film Festival. Screens are set up along the town square as movie buffs gather by the thousands. Come October, foodies appear out of the woodwork to participate in the “Day of Truffles,” celebrated across the valley.

5. Groznjan

Croatian store (photo: Aldeen Li)
Croatian store (photo: Aldeen Li)

Groznjan is an artists' colony a short distance from Motovun. This was a ghost town in decay when a group of artists moved in during the mid-sixties and transformed it. Today, Groznjan is a center for art and culture known for its eclectic artists, studios, galleries, workshops, music schools, and concerts. It also has a fair share of wine bars and restaurants serving local delicacies.

Related: Croatia's Best Festivals

6. Split and Trogir

Split, Croatia (photo: Spencer Davis)
Split (photo: Spencer Davis)

Split is Croatia's second city and an important commercial hub. It is also home to one of Croatia's most significant historical sites – the 3rd-century Diocletian's Palace complex. This historical theme stretches right up to the museum town of Trogir, a few kilometers from Split. Trogir is packed with landmarks, many encased within the medieval town wall.

7. Hvar

Boats in Hvar (Getty Photo Licensed under the Unsplash+ License)

Hvar is known locally as “the sunny island” for the many hours of sunshine year-round. We have the Mediterranean climate to thank. It's also known as the island of good living, with million-dollar yachts and famous personalities a constant feature on the local marina. This high-profile energy also makes Hvar Island the perfect place to party, from high-end clubs to cruises and beach parties; be sure to pack your dressy shoes. Once you've experienced the fun this island is known for and want to explore the other Croatian islands, you can book a yacht for hassle-free travel. It's also an excellent way to experience sailing in Croatia

8. Vis

Waters of Vis (photo: Jared Lisack)
Waters of Vis (photo: Jared Lisack)

Vis is the furthest island on Croatia's Dalmatian coast. Until the mid-nineties, it was off-limits to foreigners as a Yugoslav army base. Even in recent years, it has remained free of the summer rush typical of the rest of Croatia. There's a decent party along the marina now and then, but if you want a quiet break, think of ripening vineyards, serene beaches, and secluded bays—Vis is worth a visit.

9. Korchula

The beautiful island of Korchula has always been a popular tourist destination, which is fitting considering a legend that claims Marco Polo was born here. Its biggest town (and tourist attraction) is the fortified 15th-century Korchula town known as “Little Dubrovnik.” But the Croatian island is more than just one town; there isn't a minute to spare between vineyards, olive groves, fishing villages, and sandy beaches.

10. Dubrovnik

The seaside city of Dubrovnik, Croatia  (Getty Photo Licensed under the Unsplash+ License)
The coastal city of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is Croatia's most famous destination, and for good reason. This 7th-century town is counted amongst the world's most impressive fortified cities. Within the city walls, many worlds thrive. Ancient towers, defense posts, historic churches, museums, and modern homes stand tall along the same white-stoned streets. And beyond the walls, the blue sea beckons. Take the cable car for a birdseye view of the Old Town and the sparkling Adriatic Sea.

While this list is limited to my picks for the ten best places to go backpacking in Croatia, there are many more beautiful islands and coastal towns to see. Wherever you decide to travel along Croatia's Adriatic Coast or interior, I hope you have a great time!

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:


Thursday 8th of May 2014

Good choices, but instead Groznjan I will put Kornati islands or island of Mljet. Both are National Parks (UNESCO World Heritage)

Markham Daniels

Tuesday 22nd of January 2013

I am from the 04.04.13 to the 13.04.13 in Croatia and would like to go back packing around and what would the cost be and where would i go . I am alone traveling.I would like to see your country and surrounding areas if permitted.Waiting to hear from you soon and many thanks.

Casey Camilleri

Monday 9th of April 2012

Thanks for the best spots to visit. I'm looking for the best places to go in Croatia now. Planning my trip there for early October.

Fidel Ryles

Sunday 1st of January 2012

Dead written subject matter, Really enjoyed reading through.

Alex Bowes

Friday 29th of October 2010

I am beginning my own website to share my images encounters. Do you discover it hard or effortless to publish regularly?

Comments are closed.