14 Things To Do in Croatia for Adults

woman in hat stands and looking on Coliseum in Pula Croatia. travel concept.

Croatia is one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in Europe, and it is easy to see why. Located in southeast Europe bordering Slovenia and Hungary to the north, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the east, Montenegro to the south, and Italy via the sea, the crescent-shaped charmer is a country with layers. Croatia has one of Europe’s most beautiful coastlines, magnificent islands, gorgeous national parks, and a seemingly endless bank of stories to tell.

Dubrovnik’s role in filming Game of Thrones brought much attention to Croatia, and every year a new generation of travelers falls in love with the place. Croatia is a country that does it all, no matter your preferred form of travel.

Love wine, lakes, history, and the sea? Then you'll love all of these incredible things to do in Croatia.

1 – Capital Culture in Zagreb

ZAGREB, CROATIA - SEPTEMBER 23, 2017: Dolac Market in Zagreb, Croatia. The farmers from nearby villages offer a wide selection of high quality products. The market is opened every day
Image Credit: Ungvari Attila/Shutterstock.

Croatia’s capital gets overlooked in favor of the coast’s beauty, but ignore Zagreb at your peril. This city of 800,000 people is a beautiful place that bridges the divide between nostalgia and innovation. Its museums are the best in the country, and the restaurant scene is equal to Ljubljana, Budapest, Belgrade, and other neighboring capitals.

Europe’s most underrated capital city? Zagreb might take that crown.

2 – Ice and Fire in Dubrovnik

The aerial view of Dubrovnik, a city in southern Croatia fronting the Adriatic Sea, Europe
Image Credit: Alexey Fedorenko/Shutterstock.

Dubrovnik is the most-visited destination in Croatia. As a result, its famous old streets get overcrowded throughout the summer. Dubrovnik lives up to the hype, its narrow streets are lightning rods for the imagination, and the surrounding Adriatic Sea is most magical here. Dubrovnik’s recent starring role in Game of Thrones has made it a must-visit for fans of the show, but there is more to this place than the fight for control of Westeros. 

3 – Explore The Palace in Split

Fruit old square in Split, Croatia in Diolectian's Palace area, UNESCO heritage. Travel destination background. Dalmatia
Image Credit: Roxana Bashyrova/Shutterstock.

Croatia’s second city is a place of history and heritage, all stunning on the edge of the Adriatic Sea. Split is best known for Diocletian’s Palace, the incredible network of streets and structures built by the 3rd-century Roman Emperor, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Split is the biggest city on the Dalmatian coastline, and its nightlife scene is among the best in the region.

4 – Innovation by The Sea in Zadar

sea organ steps zadar
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Zadar is Croatia’s oldest continually inhabited city, but this coastal charmer’s most fascinating attractions are as innovative as possible. The Sea Organ turns waves into music, adding ambiance to a day by the sea. The Salutation to the Sun stores the energy of the rays through the day to create a stunning light show at night. It all comes together for one of the most exhilarating experiences in Croatia. 

5 – Discover The Secrets of a Polymath in Šibenik

šibenik cityscape
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Small but perfectly formed Šibenik is another magnificent town on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. The atmosphere here is more chilled than in nearby Split and Zadar, but secrets hide in the winding streets of its rising old town. Šibenik is an excellent base for exploring Prvić Island, home to a museum telling the story of 16th-century polymath and inventor Faust Vrančić. 

6 – Enter The Arena in Pula

Enjoy seeing a closeup of the wall of Pula's Arena as one of the bes things to do in Croatia.
Image Credit: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.

The list of attractions in Pula is exciting and varied. Located on the Istrian Peninsula, Pula is home to the world’s largest surviving Roman amphitheater, the imposing Pula Arena, which now hosts concerts and events throughout the year. The nearby Olive Oil museum is one of the most interesting in the area, and Pula’s old town is a maze of history with stories to tell. 

7 – Renaissance and Revolution in Rijeka

Rijeka Croatia-October 24th, 2022: Beautiful, classic, old houses with bright facades and stone ornaments in the main city street
Image Credit: Miroslav Posavec/Shutterstock.

Croatia’s third-largest city and home to its biggest port, Rijeka’s reputation is that of a workmanlike town with little to attract visitors. Times are changing, and the so-called “City That Flows” has recently experienced an incredible renaissance. Rijeka is now a bustling city of cafes, restaurants, bars, and cultural events, an arts center with ideas flowing out of every pore.

Rijeka was the first Croatian city designated a European Capital of Culture (2016); that legacy lives on.

8 – Get Gluttonous in Osijek

OSIJEK, CROATIA - MAY 12, 2018: Main street of Osijek, Ulica Strossmayera Street, with pedestrian and tramway paths. Osijek is the main city of Northern Croatian region of Slavonia
Image Credit: BalkansCat.

The Slavonia region is Croatia’s breadbasket, a stunningly flat area that acts as the country’s breadbasket and keeper of traditions. Osijek is the region’s biggest city (and the fourth-largest in Croatia), a cultural hub, and a great place for getting to know the cultures and traditions of Slavonia.

Food is front and center of that, and the fiš paprikaš (river fish stew) is a must. 

9 – Get an Adrenaline Rush in Karlovac

Panoramic view of Dubovac old town in autumn from drone, medieval castle in Karlovac, Croatiac
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Karlovac is known as the City on Four Rivers, and this gorgeous town makes the most of its advantageous geographic position. The city is less than an hour away from Zagreb and has a fascinating collection of museums, galleries, and gastronomic spots, but the adventures of the river shine brightest. Think kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, and more, all with the beauty of Karlovac waiting in the background. 

10 – Fill The Camera Roll In Varaždin

Varazdin, Croatia-Septeber 24th, 2022: Daytime walk around town of Varazdin, Croatia, famous for its old, colorful houses and landmarks
Image Credit: Miroslav Posavec/Shutterstock.

If you’re talking about architecture in Croatia, Varaždin is front and center of the conversation. The city is known as Little Vienna for good reasons, and the Croatian Baroque capital impresses with gorgeous building after gorgeous building.

The 17th-century Sermage Palace is home to an astounding collection of art, more than 5000 pieces divided across 10 distinct eras. Everything is a little more beautiful in Varaždin.

11 – Live a Fairytale at Plitvice Lakes National Park

Majestic view on waterfall with turquoise water, sunny beams in the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Forest glow by sunlight. Croatia. Europe. Dramatic morning scene. Beauty world. Creative photo collage
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The majestic Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia at its most glorious. The country’s oldest and largest national park, Plitvice, has 16 beautiful lakes connected by waterfalls, caves, and streams, creating a magical fairytale atmosphere that makes the heart swoon. Every lake has its own story, as attested by the curious names given to them by local people. Many animals live in the park, including brown bears, grey wolves, and majestic birds. 

12 – Sample Award-Winning Wines

Glass of white wine on the background of Rovinj town, Croatia
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Wine production has been an integral part of life in Croatia for millennia, with evidence of cultivation here as far back as 2,500 years. Many old traditions have survived, while modern technology and innovative techniques have allowed Croatian wines to make their mark on the international stage.

Award-winning wines are found nationwide, from Cattunar in Istria and Stari Podrum in Ilok to Testament in Dalmatia. Oenophiles are in for a real treat in Croatia. 

13 – Wake Up on an Island Paradise

Idyllic turquoise beach parasol and deck chair. Enjoy the beach as oe of the things to do in Croatia.
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Croatia has more than a thousand formations dotting its seas, with 49 permanently-inhabited islands that capture the hearts of millions of visitors annually.

Hvar is the most popular, and it is easy to see why, but you can’t go wrong with any of them. Brač is home to the country’s most famous beach (the magnificent Zlatni Rat), the diversity of Rab is astonishing, and many believe that Korčula was the birthplace of Marco Polo.

A spot of island-hopping is one of Croatia’s great travel experiences. 

14 – A Little Bit of TLC in Opatija

The historic statue of Maiden with the seagull is a symbol, not only of Opatija, but the entire Kvarner region. The statue on Adriatic coast is in the touristic town of Opatija. It is one of the things to do Croatia.
Image Credit: Blue Planet Studio.

Opatija is the resort tourism capital of Croatia, with a history of relaxation stretching to the 1840s. The town is serene today, busy with visitors in summer but managing to maintain an air of tranquility. Opatija is polished and sophisticated without being pretentious, and its seafront promenade is perfect for summertime strolls backed by the sea breeze.

If one of the things to do in Croatia involves enjoying a peaceful retreat, look no further than winsome Opatija.