Best Hidden Gems in Croatia


Croatia’s most popular tourist destinations Dubrovnik, Split, Plitvice Lakes, and the glittering islands of Hvar and Brac are internationally recognized. Whether you’re a beach lover, history enthusiast, cruise aficionado, or Game of Thrones superfan, these locations need no introduction. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. Croatia is equally rewarding if you’re looking to explore away from the well-beaten path. Along the coast, out amongst the islands, or up in Croatia’s mountainous and forested interior – the country is littered with hidden gems. 

We run through a few of our favorites below:

Church on Vis
Rab old town


Vis is the furthest off land of the Croatian islands. Its remote location led to use as a military base during WWII, later a Yugoslav Navy base, and it was only opened to the public in 1989. 

As such is it is a largely undiscovered and highly traditional island. It has recently started to emerge as one of the more popular destinations due to its unspoiled nature and the ‘old Mediterranean’ charm.

Its’ beaches are truly magnificent – Stivina is regularly voted amongst the best in Europe – and the local wines are terrific. 



Rab is one of the greenest islands in the Adriatic Sea, and arguably one of the most magical too. 

The island is coated in dense pine forests, and ringed by beautiful sandy beaches. It is well known for its mild climate that differs from the mainland due to three ridges that protect it from cold winds that descend from the Velebit mountains.

An exploration of Rab’s picturesque Old Town is highly recommended, where you’ll find a fine church and bell tower, and many excellent seafood restaurants.



Village on Solta, Croatia
Forest on Dugi Otok


The Island of Šolta is the most underseen island pearl of the Adriatic and is both charming and beautiful.

It is situated only 11 miles and an easy ferry ride from Split. The island offers a beautiful crystal-clear sea, numerous peaceful pebble beaches, and fantastic value at the local restaurants and cafes. 

If beaches aren’t for you, don’t worry, the island of Solta has many attractions from the old harbor town of Stomorska in the north to Grohote, the capital.


Dugi Otok

Dugi Otok is an island off the coast of Zadar, easily reached by ferry. Literally translating as ‘long island’, it is known for its fine natural beauty scenery, with orchards and vineyards carpeted all across the island. 

The sea color here is unlike anything you have ever seen before – if you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were in the Caribbean! The island’s beaches are spectacular, particularly the world-famous Saharun beach.


Mljet National Park
Motovun at sunset


Taking up half of the island of the same name, Mljet National Park is the most important protected area of Southern Dalmatia. 

With its stunningly green inland lakes and woods, it’s a hiking, cycling, swimming, and kayaking haven. Take a boat across the lakes to reach the St Mary’s Isle, in the middle of the great lake, and visit a tiny Benedictine monastery erected there in the 12th century.

The walking possibilities on the island are endless and you will find some incredible archaeological remains of great historical and cultural value, such as a Roman palace in Polace from the 3rd century.



A visit to the beautiful north Croatian region of Istria should be on anyone’s bucket list. 

Take a day trip up from the Roman ruins of Pula, or the historic resort town of Rovinj, to Istria’s agricultural interior. Reminiscent of Tuscany, day trips of Istria take in truffle hunting, wine-tasting, and visits to magical medieval towns. 

Motovun, known as the ‘world’s smallest town’, is a particular highlight with its cobbled streets and majestic views across the countryside.


North Velebit National Park
Cruise ship in Korcula Town

Northern Velebit National Park

Covering just over 100 sq km of craggy peaks, highland pastures, and dense forests, the Velebit Mountain Natural Park is a trekker’s dream. The Northern Velebits are housed in a protected reserve that teems with alluring nature such as bears, deer, butterflies, wildflowers, and many species of birds. 

The primeval beech forests stretch beyond the limits of the park, making up just one part of a transnational World Heritage site spanning European locations as diverse as Belgium, Germany, Spain, and Ukraine.


If you’re looking for travel ideas, check out our recommended bespoke tours and luxury small ship cruises which feature Istria – and elsewhere in wonderful Croatia. 

Get started on your dream trip to Croatia by contacting our specialists today


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