Beautiful coastline | Guide to Lovran, Croatia | Beautiful Places to Stay in Istria


With a coastline that stretches entirely along the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is a natural draw for those lovers of seaside holidays, strolls around the harbour, coffee on cobbled streets, boat days bobbing on the sea, long afternoons on pebbly beaches and early morning swims. From Istria’s pine-backed coves to the be-seen rocky perches of Hvar Island and sun-baked sunbathing spots outside of Dubrovnik’s magnificent city walls, the sea never feels far away.

Yet Croatia is so much more than a sunshine sojourn. With a wealth of historic culture blended from neighbouring Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro in the south, Croatia feels like a meeting point of eastern and western Europe, where culinary traditions filter in from Italy – pizza, pasta and great coffee feature daily in Croatian life, whereas regional specialities draw from hearty fare associated with eastern Europe’s foodie legacies and a robust viticulture offer crisp white wines and juicy reds. 

Ancient history is very much a feature here too – the astounding amphitheatre in Pula is a match for Rome’s Colosseum and Split’s Diocletian’s Palace is a remarkable showcase of the layers of history in Croatia featuring influence from Roman, Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance architecture. 

Medieval towns gleam golden in the setting sun – the cobbles of the wide streets of Dubrovnik shimmer – smoothed from centuries of curious-heeled visitors. Up on the city walls that date back in parts to the 13th century that once defended the city from attack; today take a stroll, enjoy stunning sea views, or find that ‘hole in the wall’ bar that brings you right to the crashing edge of the Adriatic, with a cold beer in hand. 

From Split or Dubrovnik, the natural course is a spot of island hopping – easily done by Croatia’s network of ferries that rivals the ease of the Cyclades. Hvar is for cosmopolitan people-watching and sunset parties; Korcula’s Venetian walled city comes complete with a cathedral and far-flung Vis rewards you with peaceful pine-dotted beaches and few people. 

Inland Croatia holds natural charm including Plitvice Lakes National Park in the northeast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a chain of 16 lakes that gleam in turquoise and where brown bears, grey wolf or lynx roam. Inland by some miles from Split, Krka National Park is made up of canyons, lakes and waterfalls – Skradinski in particular is a spectacular cascade of mini waterfalls that fall over travertine. 

Full of natural wonder and loaded with culture, Croatia is Europe’s alluring gem.