Although Croatia is synonymous with long summer holidays, there are so many interesting destinations for short city breaks in Croatia. Croatian cities are relatively small, hence even the capital of Zagreb can be explored in a few days. The distance between the cities is also not big and they are well connected, which gives you the opportunity to combine two or more cities in one journey. Add to that the stunning nature for which Croatia is well known about and wide variety of day and half day excursion that you can take from any of these cities and you get the perfect short holiday. Here we have prepared a list of the most interesting destinations for city breaks in Croatia.
1. ZAGREB CITY BREAK
Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, ranks among the oldest cities in Central Europe, as is evident from the documents dating back to 1094, when a diocese was established in this area. The city developed between the mountain of Medvednica and the river Sava. Its old center consists of the medieval Gradec – today the home of the Croatian Government and Parliament – and Kaptol, the seat of the Archbishop. Following the administrative unification of the two entities and the surrounding villages in the 19th century, the city experienced a surge in the construction of prestigious buildings, squares and fountains, as well as the establishment of beautiful park-woods and parks which today make it one of the greenest cities in Europe.
With approximately 20 theatres, 30 museums, 45 galleries and 13 art collections, a great zoo and almost a million inhabitants, Zagreb is a real Croatian metropolis, one which attracts guests of all profiles. I you are planning to visit Zagreb in December you can enjoy the best Christmas Market in Europe. Zagreb has won this prestigious title three times in a row 3 years in a row. The city lights up during this festive time and fills up with Christmas atmosphere.
A delight to walk through, the capital of Croatia attracts visitors with the lively atmosphere of its streets, numerous coffee shops, restaurants and shopping. If you are looking for a break on your way to, or from, a seaside tourist resort, a break that would freshen up your journey, then Zagreb is the place to come to and it is waiting for you. Check our City breaks offer for full Zagreb city break itinerary.
2. SPLIT CITY BREAK
Split is a large and busy city (Croatia’s second-largest, after Zagreb, the capital) Split remains one of the Adriatic’s most vibrant port cities. Stunningly located between mountains and the sea, Diocletian’s Palace, a World Heritage Site, is the main attraction but there are so many other things to do like chilling at the beach, biking or hiking on Marjan hill, taking half-day trips, world-class nightlife and restaurants with their exquisite Dalmatian and international cousin. With all of this and more, Split is never boring and will surely win you over.
Modern Split grew around the Diocletian’s Palace, which now represents its historic city center. To date, this is one of the most impressive Roman ruins yet visitors today will have a hard time picturing the stand-alone as a palace it is now melted into the city center of Split. Inhabited since the Roman emperor Diocletian built it at the turn of the 4th century, the palace today is a living monument and a unique place in the world.
Modern Split become a venue for excellent gourmet and vine experiences, numerous cultural happenings like film and theatre festivals, exhibitions, excellent museums and concerts, a city which offers eclectic modes of entertainment starting with numerous clubs and bars, through street festivals to events such as Ultra Europe Festival visited each year by up to 100 thousand young people from around the world.
Check our City breaks offer for full Split city break itinerary.
3. DUBROVNIK CITY BREAK
Dubrovnik – the Pearl of Adriatic and Mediterranean. This is the tour that tourists simply adore and rightly so.
The whole Dubrovnik region is well-known for its fascinating landscapes, abundant Mediterranean vegetation, mild climate and interesting smaller settlements. In former times, it became part of the Dubrovnik Republic territory, becoming connected with the city via historical, economic and trade route ties.In tourism, it is now called the Dubrovnik Riviera. Visiting Dubrovnik is not a complete pleasure without seeing at least a part of its surroundings: the good land and sea connections offer the possibility of organizing either shorter or longer excursions.
Dubrovnik is one of the mandatory destinations in the southern part of Dalmatia and a prominent tourist center on the world map. Dubrovnik walls attract a large number of visitors throughout the year and popularity is growing from year to year. Dubrovnik is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979. The Game of Thrones series has been partly filmed in Dubrovnik which boosted its popularity furthermore.
One of the most beautiful fortresses is Minčeta, which offers a unique view of the old town of Dubrovnik. The walls contain 16 fortresses and the most famous are the already mentioned Fortress Minčeta, Revelin Fortress, St. John’s Fortress, and Lovrijenac Fortress. If you are a fan of Game of Thrones you will recognize the Lovrijenac fortress as the Red Fortress.
The best way to explore the walls is simply by taking an easy walk and enjoying the tour and the beautiful view of the sea and the city. Don’t miss a walk along the main city street Stradun but think twice before sitting down for coffee. Tip: first look at the price list.
Check our City breaks offer for full Dubrovnik city break itinerary.
4. ŠIBENIK CITY BREAK
Šibenik is a nice small town in the north of Dalmatia. You will surely enjoy walking through this city and exploring its small streets, squares, museums, and restaurants.
As in any Dalmatian city for a complete experience of the city and its history, you need to take a walk through the old town. In Šibenik you will be surprised by stone houses, stone roads, and stairs that go up the way to the hill.
The coast of Šibenik is indented and has many small bays and coves. To explore the coast you can book a tour with a historic boat and go on a panoramic tour.
Walk through the city, visit the Cathedral of St. James, City museum and the aquarium which is specific is the example of polluted water and how it affects marine life.
For the spectacular views Šibenik has 4 fortresses. 3 fortresses are located in the town and one is located on the island outside of the city. Near Šibenik you can visit The Falconry Center located in a dense pine forest. The center is designed to help wounded and injured birds and the kids are especially delighted.
National Park Krka is located a few kilometers from Šibenik, so if you haven’t visited the park yet, take some time for it and refresh yourself under the stunning waterfalls. We offer Krka Waterfalls tour from Split that includes Šibenik sightseeing as well.
City of Šibenik can be visited on a day excursion if you are staying in city of Split. More ideas for excursions from Split you can find in our blog post – Excursions from Split
5. ZADAR CITY BREAK
Zadar is one of the most beautiful and attractive cities on the Adriatic coast and was recently named the best European destination. The city center is mostly made for pedestrians, so they can enjoy and discover the city.
Take a walk through the old town with its narrow charming and cobbled streets. The port of Foša is certainly an interesting detail of the city that talks about the connection of Zadar’s trade with other Mediterranean countries. In the summer months, various festivals are held in the Queen Jelena Park.
Kalelarga Street is one of the most famous streets in Croatia and a symbol of Zadar. Kalelarga is always crowded and represents a place for socializing and having fun for everyone in Zadar. Visit the National Museum of Zadar which contains various departments of other museums, Natural history, Ethnology museum, Art gallery, and the Museum of the city of Zadar.
Two of the most modern sights in Zadar are the Sea Organ and the Sun Salutation. This orchestra conductor is nature, so the music you will hear depends only on the rolling power of sea waves and the influence of the wind. The view that extends from the sea organ is amazing, especially if you come at sunset. On the waterfront, you can also find another permanent installation Greeting to the sun or Sun Salutation which is the work of the same architect.
Zadar was always very popular city with beautiful beaches but tourism potential has blossomed thanks to the low-budget company Ryanair.
Zadar can be visited on a day excursion if you are staying in city of Split. More ideas for excursions from Split you can find in our blog post – Excursions from Split.
6. ROVINJ CITY BREAK
It is no wonder that Rovinj is one of the most beautiful places in Croatia, as this city is pure seaside bliss! Rovinj is just too pretty to be excluded from Croatian highlights itinerary. Shiny stone streets, local markets with delicious treats, countless little boats wherever you look and a bell tower with a postcard-like view…
Rovinj is one of those cities you easily fall in love with. In the last forty years, Rovinj has developed into a real tourist center, due to its nature, beautiful beaches and islands, pleasant Mediterranean climate and great hotels and restaurants.
The absolute must to visit is the Church of St. Euphemia, the largest Baroque building in Istria. At 61 meters high, it is the tallest in Istria. There are spectacular views over the rooftops of Rovinj and the nearby islands from the top of the bell tower.
The narrow, winding, cobbled streets, crammed-together houses and picturesque squares allow you to spend a lovely afternoon in the old town. You can also visit the Town Museum, home to various archeological findings, paintings and sculptures. Rovinj Aquarium is oldest aquarium in the Mediterranean and one of the oldest in the world.
If you like nature and beautiful landscapes, one of the best things to do around Rovinj is excursion the Lim Canal, a 12 km long bay with a status of protected landscape, it takes only 20 minutes’ drive from the city. Rovinj has a perfect location to explore around the Istrian peninsula, so you can visit the Motovun – the most famous medieval hilltop towns in Istria, National Park Brijuni, or the beautiful city of Poreč located 30 km north of Rovinj.
Rovinj was declared as one of the most beautiful coastal towns in 2014 by Travel and Leisure magazine, so if you decide to visit Rovinj, we guarantee that you will be delighted. Visit to Rovinj is included in our following multi day tours: Highlights of Croatia and Highlights of Croatia and Slovenia – 11 Days.
7. PULA CITY BREAK
Pula is the largest city on the Istrian peninsula, best known for ancient Roman architecture. As many other Croatian cities Pula I s realitvly small , so most of the city’s highlights are within walking distance from the city center.
Pula’s most famous and imposing sight is it’s 1st-century oval amphitheater – Arena Pula.
With a capacity of 20,000 people, the Arena of Pula is the 6th largest coliseum in the world and definitely a must-visit while in the city! It is also the only remaining (and the best-preserved!) Roman amphitheater to have a four-sided tower. Now, the Arena hosts concerts and festivals frequently. providing the spectacular setting for summertime events from gladiator fights to the two-week film festival.
Near the Arena you can find the Double Gates (Porta Gemina) and the Gate of Hercules. The Double Gates and few surrounding remnants are all that’s left of Pula’s old city walls, which date back to the second century. Pula Forum is the city’s main square. The Forum is originated in the first century BC and includes all city functions – religious, administrative, judicial and economic. For the wonderful panoramic views visit the Venetian fortress, the Kaštel. Today Kaštel it is the Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria.
Excellent location offers countless opportunities for day excursions, Brijuni National Park is only 20 minutes’ drive from the city, and during the summer season, it is even possible to visit Venice, fast ferry line goes from Pula to Venice, twice a week.
With everything mentioned, rich history, beautiful beaches, restaurants, hotels, and museums Pula is never boring. Visit to Pula is included in our following multi day tours: Highlights of Croatia and Highlights of Croatia and Slovenia – 11 Days
8. COMBINATION OF TWO CITIES
Given the smaller distance between some cities in Croatia, it is possible to combine two cities in one city break. So we can recommend you to visit the city of Zagreb with Split, with a visit to National park Plitvice Lakes, the oldest and the most famous Croatian national park, located just in the middle on the way from Zagreb to Split. You can check on our blog post 18 amazing waterfalls in Croatia for more info about Plitvice Lakes. Full itinerary City Break Zagreb and Split you can find in our City breaks offer.
Dubrovnik and Split can be easily combined in a one trip as their distance is only three hours driving. We can guarantee that you will enjoy a scenic drive along Croatia’s Dalmatian coast and amazing panoramic views of the Dalmatian islands on the way to Dubrovnik from Split.
Also due to the short distance it is possible to combine a visit to cities Rovinj and Pula in the region of Istra. On your way between those two cities we recommend a visit to the National park Brijuni, on the Brijuni Islands. The Brijuni Islands makes one of 8 Croatian national parks and they are home to Safari park with wild animals.
If you have read our blog 18 amazing waterfalls in Croatia, you may have noticed that we are thrilled with the Krka National Park. You can easily arrange visit to Krka National park with your city break that includes cities of Sibenik, Zadar and even Split since Krka National Park is located not far away from Šibenik. Cities Šibenik and Zadar can be visited on a day excursion if you are staying in Split. More ideas for excursions from Split you can find in our blog post – Excursions from Split
We are tailor-made tours specialists and destination experts so if you are looking for unique and unforgettable holidays in Croatia and region, get in touch we will be happy to help you and create a custom tour for you!
You can check our offer of City breaks in Croatia. We can also make a custom tour for you by combining any of the Croatian cities as well as cities in the region.
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