The 25 Most Famous Landmarks in Croatia

Living in Croatia for over a year means I've had the chance to explore and experience the country's rich history, vibrant culture, and of course, Croatia's famous landmarks. Croatia is a land of breathtaking beauty, a complicated and diverse history as well as incredible landmarks and sights to see.

From the ancient walls of Dubrovnik to the stunning Plitvice Lakes, these famous landmarks in Croatia have left me in awe. Make sure you add these must-see landmarks of Croatia to your Croatia itinerary.

the ancient walled town of Dubrovnik Croatia

Dubrovnik old town

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The Most Famous Landmarks in Croatia

Croatia is a beautiful country with many famous landmarks and attractions. While it's difficult to definitively rank them in terms of fame, here are 20 of the most well-known landmarks and places of interest in Croatia that I think are worth visiting:

1. Dubrovnik City Walls - the best views of Dubrovnik Old Town

view of Dubrovnik Old town from the city walls

View of Dubrovnik Old Town from the city walls

Dubrovnik City Walls are iconic and known for their well-preserved medieval structure and historic architecture. Wrapping around the old town, the walls offer a spectacular panoramic view of the Adriatic Sea and are a must-see on your Dubrovnik itinerary. Tickets to walk the walls aren't cheap at about 35 euros per person but I think it's a must-do experience in Dubrovnik for first time visitors.

Alternatively if you get the Dubrovnik Pass, the value for money is incredible and includes access to the Walls - I think this is much better value for money if you want to learn more about the city's history as it grants you access to other attractions too. While they're open year-round, the ideal time to visit is in the early morning or late afternoon during spring or autumn to avoid the summer crowds and the scorching heat. Don’t forget to carry water, wear comfortable shoes, and make plenty of time for photo ops – the views are spectacular!


2. Plitvice Lakes National Park - a fairytale national park in all seasons

the famous plitvice lakes in croatia with emerald green water and walkways covered in snow

Plitvice National Park in winter

Next up is one of the most famous landmarks in Croatia, the cascading lakes and waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes National Park. Nestled in central Croatia, this UNESCO World Heritage Site features 16 terraced lakes, connected by stunning waterfalls.

Adult entrance tickets range from 10 to 40 Euros, depending on the season. Spring and Autumn offer mild weather and lower crowd levels, although I'm also a huge fan of visiting Plitvice in winter - I've never seen so much snow in my life! Plus tickets are cheapest in winter.

Buy tickets here.


3. Diocletian's Palace - Ancient home to Roman Emperor Diocletian

the ancient stone square and pillars of the Diocletain Palace - a famous landmark in Split, Croatia Old Town

Diocletian Palace in Split

No visit to Croatia is complete without stepping back in time at the Diocletian Palace in Split. This ancient town, built by the Roman emperor Diocletian, has been standing for over 17 centuries, and is now home to numerous shops, bars, and restaurants.

Entrance to the Palace complex itself is free, but visiting some specific sites within it (like the Cathedral and Bell Tower) does involve a fee, ranging from 7-12 Euros depending on which sights you’d like to see.The Green ticket gives you access to the Bell Tower, Cathedral and Treasury and can be bought from the small ticket office opposite the Cathedral entrance.

The palace is less crowded in the early morning or late evening - an ideal time for those perfect photos! And remember, Split is a city of cobblestone streets, so comfy shoes are a must.

Plan your Split itinerary here.


4. Hvar Town - the sunniest island in Europe

View looking down of Hvar Town from the Spanish Fortress on a sunny day, many boats in the harbour surrounded by orange rooftops

Hvar view from the Spanish Fortress

Did you know Hvar is the sunniest island in Europe?

Famous for its 13th-century walls, the beautiful Spanish Fortress that overlooks the town, and the bustling Hvar Harbour, Hvar is a charming town and island of the same name. 

Hvar is famous for its party scene but there are also plenty of things to do in Hvar if you don't want to party.

Boat tours around the Pakleni Islands are a must-do. The best time to visit is in spring or early autumn when the weather is pleasant, and the crowds are less.

Don't forget to pack your sunscreen and a hat – Hvar holds the title for the sunniest spot in Croatia.


5. Pula Arena - A well-preserved Roman amphitheatre in Pula, Croatia

the ancient Pula Arena, one of the best preserved Roman Ampitheatres with stone arches in two tiers

Pula Arena

Pula Arena is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres globally which is a testament to Croatia's rich history. 

This massive stone structure, able to house over 20,000 spectators was once the stage of gladiatorial combat. Today, it's a popular venue for concerts, film festivals, and the annual Pula Film Festival in summer. 

The entrance fee is 10 Euros – significantly cheaper than the less-well-preserved Colosseum in Rome! 

The Arena is open to visitors all year round, but the most magical time to visit is in the evening when it's beautifully lit up. Plus, the summer events are something you won't want to miss. 


6. Zadar's Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun

stone steps leading to the sea

Zadar Sea Organ

Zadar, a quaint seaside town with an impressive history, is home to two of the most unique attractions in Croatia - the Sea Organ and the Greeting to the Sun. 

The Sea Organ is an instrument played by the sea waves. The flow of water into the steps and air gaps creates sounds which are haunting and beautiful, especially if you sit there at sunst.

Right next to the Sea Organ is the Greeting to the Sun, a large circular solar panel installation that lights up at dusk with a light display. Both are completely free to visit and enjoy on your Zadar itinerary.


7. Rovinj Old Town - A charming coastal town with colorful buildings and cobbled streets

a colourful old town on a rocky peninsula surrounded by the sea in Croatia

Rovinj Old Town

Rovinj Old Town, perched on the Adriatic Sea, reminded me of its nearby neighbour, Venice, with pastel-coloured houses, narrow cobblestone streets, and a waterfront area. In fact you can even take a boat trip from Rovinj to Venice.

This charming coastal town is a blend of Italian and Croatian cultures and history, making it a melting pot of traditions, culture and architecture. A stroll through its maze-like streets will lead you to the Baroque St. Euphemia's Basilica, offering a panoramic view of the town from the Bell Tower. Although the steps are not for those with a fear of heights! Climbing the bell tower is just a couple of euros fee.


8. Krka National Park - Another national park with waterfalls, lakes, and hiking trails

waterfalls at the famous Croatian Krka National Park

Krka Waterfalls

Krka National Park is less than two hours drive from Split and is a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

With vibrant turquoise water and amazing wildlife, the park is home to several breathtaking waterfalls cascading into crystal-clear lakes. Wooden trails lead through the forest and streams and you can also take a boat ride to the island and see other waterfalls beyond the popular Skradinski Waterfall. 

Similar to Plitvice, the ticket price changes depending on the season, from 7 euros in winter, up to 40 euros in the summer. Spring or autumn are great times to visit with tickets reduced to 20 euros and beautfiul colours in autumn with fresh greens in spring. I’ve never even visited in the summer and have always thought it looks beautiful.


9. Trogir Old Town - A UNESCO World Heritage Site with a well-preserved historic center

a narrow cobbled street surrounded by stone buildings and a church spire in the distance

Trogir Old Town

Trogir Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is beautifully preserved. 

Nestled on a small island and connected to the mainland by a bridge, this is a great day trip from Split.

The Old Town is quieter than Split’s, just 30 minutes up the coast and is a blend of Romanesque, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. The center of it all is the St. Lawrence Cathedral as well as a plethora of quaint cafes, charming shops, and stunning views of the Adriatic Sea.

You can get here from Split by bus or Uber.


10. Zagreb Old Town - The historic capital city, featuring medieval architecture and museums

a church with shield pattern tiles in red, white and blue on the roof in Zagreb, Croatia

St Mark’s Zagreb

Zagreb Old Town, the historical heart of Croatia's bustling capital city, is so different from the towns and cities on the coast and that alone makes Zagreb well worth visiting.

A walk around the old town feels like a step back in time, with the iconic Zagreb Cathedral, St. Mark's Church, and the vibrant Dolac Market as key attractions. Don’t miss trying Strukle - a traditional dish made with cheese and dough as well as other savoury or sweet fillings.

Numerous museums scattered throughout the town offer a wealth of knowledge, ranging from art to archaeology. My favourite is the Museum of Broken Relationships.

Zagreb is also a great option for a European Christmas destination, its Christmas Markets have been voted the best in Europe for several years in a row.


11. Korčula Old Town - Birthplace of Marco Polo, known for its well-preserved medieval layout

Korčula Old Town is located on Korcula island and is a true gem nestled in the Adriatic Sea as well as the reputed birthplace of the world-renowned explorer Marco Polo.

This charming old town, known for its well-preserved medieval layout and stunning architecture, is often referred to as “LIttle Dubrovnik”. The streets are arranged in a herringbone pattern, providing a natural cooling effect in the scorching summers and acting as a shield against fierce winter winds. 

Key landmarks to visit include the majestic St. Mark’s Cathedral, the City Museum, and the house said to be Marco Polo's birthplace. What's more, you can explore its narrow, winding streets, enjoy authentic Dalmatian cuisine at the local restaurants and some of the island’s famous wineries.

You can reach Korcula by ferry from Split or Dubrovnik.


12. Brijuni National Park - A group of islands with natural beauty and historical sites

Brijuni National Park is a cluster of 14 captivating islands in the Adriatic Sea, is a perfect blend of stunning natural beauty and intriguing historical sites. It's a nature lover's paradise with lush landscapes, exotic flora and fauna, and pristine turquoise waters. 

History enthusiasts can visit the Roman Villa in Verige Bay and the 13th-century St. Mary's Church. Plus, the park is home to an open-air safari park featuring animals gifted by heads of state.

The islands, easily accessible by a quick boat ride from Pula or Fazana, just north of Pula. 


13. Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč - An early Christian basilica with stunning mosaics

The Euphrasian Basilica, located in the town of Poreč, is a mesmerizing early Christian complex renowned for its stunning Byzantine mosaics. 

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to layers of history etched into its intricate art and architecture. With no entrance fee, you can explore this sacred space, marvel at the beautiful mosaics on the walls, and soak in the tranquil atmosphere.


14. Trakoscan Castle - A fairytale fortress in Croatia's northern highlands overlooking a lake

Perched on a hill overlooking a serene lake, Trakoscan Castle is a picture-perfect fortress steeped in history and mystery. This 13th-century castle in the northern highlands of Croatia is a Renaissance and Gothic architecture castle.

A tour of the castle reveals beautifully preserved interiors, a valuable collection of weapons, art, and furniture, telling tales of its illustrious past. With no admission fee, you can wander through its historic halls just 1.5 hours north of Zagreb.


15. The Blue Cave - A natural sea cave on the island of Biševo known for its stunning blue light

a sea cave lit by eerie blue light shining up through the water

Blue Cave off Vis Island

On the picturesque island of Biševo, the Blue Cave is a magical spectacle that’s well worth visiting. 

Known for its mesmerizing blue light that bounces through holes in the rocks and off the white sand floor, it looks like the whole cave is glowing neon blue from sunlight refracting through the water and bouncing off the limestone floor.

You cannot swim or take a boat into the cave yourself, instead you go as part of a tour group on a smaller boat. There are also day trips to the cave from Split and Hvar.

The cave is famous from a scene with Ryan Reynolds and Salma Hayek in the Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard Movie.


16. Lovrijenac Fortress - A historic fortress in Dubrovnik with great views of the city

a sea fortress on a rocky cliff with the old town of Dubrovnik in the background

Lovrijenac Fortress in Dubrovnik

Perched on a 37-meter high cliff in Dubrovnik and overlooking the Adriatic Sea, Lovrijenac Fortress can be reached by walking a short distance from the Old Town Pile gate.

There are stunning views of the city and the coastline and you can explore the historic fort and cannons which were once used to defend the city. Tickets are 5 euros or included in your Dubrovnik City Walls ticket or the Dubrovnik Pass.


17. Osijek Old Town - The historic centre of Osijek with beautiful architecture and cultural attractions

In the heart of Croatia is Osijek's Old Town - locally known as Tvrđa. This Baroque-style quarter is adorned with well-preserved buildings and charming cobblestone streets.

Entry to the Old Town is free, allowing visitors to wander and appreciate its architectural beauty at leisure. Don't forget to visit the local market for unique Croatian souvenirs!


18. Ston - walk the longest defensive wall in Europe and try the famous oysters

a stone stairway along a long stone wall in Croatia

Climbing Ston walls

Ston is home to the longest continuous defensive walls in Europe and is often called the Great Wall of Europe.

Ston is not only famous for it’s defensive wall, but also for it’s huge salt pans and you can walk along the walls to Mali Ston which is a smaller village famous for its oyster beds.

Visit this hidden gem on a day trip from Dubrovnik or on your way to Dubrovnik.


19. Mljet National Park - An island national park known for its pristine nature

Mljet National Park is situated on the most forested island in the Adriatic and is a haven for nature lovers. This untouched oasis is known for its lush vegetation, clear lakes, and abundant wildlife. 

Located just a short ferry ride from Dubrovnik, it's easily accessible for a day trip or longer stays. Similar to other national parks, the price changes throughout the year with entry to the park costing 25 euros in summer and 9 euros between Jan-May.

20. Varaždin Old Town - A beautifully preserved Baroque town in northern Croatia

In the northern parts of Croatia, the Varaždin Old Town is a beautifully preserved Baroque gem often dubbed as the 'Little Vienna'. Its cobblestone streets and colourful buildings are a testament to Croatia's vibrant history. 

Just 1.5 hours drive north of Zagreb, this is a great day trip option or you can stay overnight, join a walking tour and discover more of the town’s history.


21. Cetina River Spring - The source of the Cetina River, located near the town of Cetina, is known for its crystal-clear waters 

An aerial view of a turquoise blue river spring shaped like a diamond

Cetina River Spring

The Cetina River Spring is a famous hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers visiting Croatia. 

Renowned for its crystal-clear waters, visiting the Cetina River Spring isn't easily accessible unless you have a car but the surrounding Croatia's lush landscapes are a fun area to drive around and it’s a popular spot for those with a drone to take photos of the bottomless spring.

You can’t swim in the spring as it’s a fresh water drinking source, but closer to the coast, around Omis there are plenty of Cetina River water activities such as kayaking, rafting and ziplining.


22. Paklenica National Park - Situated in the Velebit Mountains, with rugged limestone terrain, hiking trails, and rock climbing opportunities

Sitting snug in the heart of the stunning Velebit Mountains, the Paklenica National Park is a must-visit for anyone looking for epic hiking in Croatia. 

With its rugged limestone terrains and labyrinth of hiking trails, it's a paradise for adventurers and rock climbers alike. Easy to reach, the park lies just 45 km northeast of Zadar. 

Depending on the time of year, a pass to enter the park is as little as 2.60 euros in winter or 10 euros in summer - well worth it for this stunning natural landscape.


23. Šibenik Old Town - well-preserved medieval architecture, including the impressive St. James Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Sibenik old town houses perched on a hill along the coast of Croatia

Sibenik Old Town

Nestled on the Adriatic coast one hour from Split is Šibenik Old Town, a captivating historical gem in Croatia. 

Known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and stunning carved details in the old town. The crown jewel is the awe-inspiring St. James Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is a must-visit - don’t miss the faces carved into the outside of the church. 

Visiting Sibenik is a great day trip from Split or spend longer there to enjoy the quieter pace.


24. Golden Horn Beach (Zlatni Rat) - Located on the island of Brač, this unique beach has a distinct shape that changes with the currents and wind

A beach sand bar stretching into the turquoise blue water of Brac Island in Croatia

Zlatni Rat, aka Golden Horn Beach

The Golden Horn Beach, or Zlatni Rat, is a renowned hotspot on the Croatian island of Brač, known for its unique horn shaped beach, shifting with the currents and wind and making it popular with windsurfers.

Frequently voted one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe by publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, it's an oasis for sunbathers and windsurfers, with plenty of bars and cafes to enjoy a whole day at the beach.

The beach is easily accessible from the town of Bol just a couple of minutes down the road and Bol can be reached from Hvar. Or you can reach Brac from Split on a day trip.

The best part? Entry is free with just a small parking fee if you’re driving there.


25. Franjo Tuđman Bridge (New Bridge to Dubrovnik) - This modern cable-stayed bridge connects the city of Dubrovnik to the mainland 

a long bridge crossing the sea between mainland Croatia and an island

Franjo Tuđman Bridge

Perhaps a strange entry to this list but one that is very interesting, especially since I lived in Croatia during the year this was built.

Until 2022, you could not reach Dubrovnik by driving through Croatia, you had to drive through a 20km section of Bosnia and Herzegovina to reach the very bottom of Croatia where Dubrovnik is located.

In order to join the European Union, the country had to create a way to connect the whole of Croatia without the need to drive through Bosnia - we had to show our passports at the border each time we passed through!

Now the Franjo Tuđman Bridge connects the mainland to an island, circumventing the need to drive through Bosnia, It’s an interesting story and a huge bridge which is fun to drive over and stop at the viewpoints on your way to or from Dubrovnik.


Summary: Croatia’s famous landmarks

I was constantly in awe of the new places I was able to see and experience in Croatia. 

These landmarks showcase Croatia's rich history, stunning natural beauty, and vibrant culture. Depending on your interests, you may find some of these landmarks more appealing than others, but each has its unique charm and significance and if highly recommend adding some of them to your itinerary if you can!

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