Vacation in Croatia between the Alps & the Adriatic

A wonderful vacation in Croatia comes with hundreds of sparkling waterfalls, more than a thousand islands set in the blue of the sea, green mountain rivers and streams, virgin canyons, wild karst, and mellow plains.

Nestled between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, in the south-eastern part of Europe, Croatia fiercely protects eight national parks, ten nature parks, and a wide variety of special reserves.

This amazing country has incredible plant life, birds, geological formations, and hydrological anomalies, all within a small but rich area that can be traveled by car from one end to the other in one day.

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hiking vacation in croatia plitvice
Croatia vacations: Plitvice Lakes National Park

Hiking vacation in Croatia

Countless walks and hiking paths lead you to explore into beauty to experience the wonders of nature: in the mountains, river valleys, and canyons, across karstic plains and thick forests, rugged islands, and lush green hills.

Throughout this most varied landscape, walkers and hikers can enter even the most enigmatic areas between the sea level and the highest peak of Dinara (1831 m). On a hiking vacation in Croatia, you can explore nature parks, nature reserves, national parks, and other areas with special attractions from the point of view of adventure:

  • Slavonic and Baranja
  • Northern Croatia (Hrvatsko zagorje, Medimurje, Podravina)
  • Gorsky kotar
  • Istria
  • Dalmatia and Zagorje
  • Ucka, Velebit, Mosor, Biokovo, Snijeznica in the far south.

There are also hundreds of islands and rivers to discover, plus the Dinara Mountains that go all the way to the coastline.


climbing vacation in croatia
Rock climbing at Felsen Strand (Seagull’s Rocks), Pula

Rock climbing in Croatia

Alpinists and freestyle climbers can find the right environment for climbing in both the continental and coastal regions. Some climbing sites are located very close to towns and popular holiday resorts in Croatia, like Zagreb, Ogulin, Rovinj, Split, Ornls, etc.

Routes spanning from several meters long for beginners to several hundred meters long for specialists are available to climbing enthusiasts at Paklenica, Velebit, Ucka, in the Dinara range, Mosor, Biokovo, and on the islands (Brac, Vis, Mljet). The most popular rock climbing destinations in the continental parts of Croatia are the mountains of Klek, Papuk, Kalnik, Samarske Stijene, and Bijele Stijene.


sailing vacation in croatia
Sail Week Croatia, near the beautiful island of Brač

Sailing vacation in Croatia

It is very easy to catch favorable winds around the many islands from the Croatian territorial waters, whether they blow from the land or from the sea. The strength of the wind and waves is not excessive, but if it gets too much for you just sail to the nearest sheltered bay.

Different categories of fully equipped sailboats (with or without a skipper) can be hired from any of the marinas along the coast or on the islands. On your sailing vacation in Croatia, you’ll quickly discover that yachting clubs and marinas are numerous and well-equipped. I suggest going sailing near Zadar, Sibenik, and the walled cities of Korcula and Dubrovnik.

rent a boat from sailo
Book a vacation package to visit Croatia by boat

istria vacation in croatia
Croatia trip: Beautiful Uvala Portić, in Istria

Focus: Vacation in Croatia on Istria

Chances are, you’ve never heard of Istria before, as it’s one of the best-kept secrets of Croatia! Istria has some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. From rolling hills to snow-capped mountains to green valleys, this Croatian peninsula is a region of varied natural beauty.

In addition to its wonderful natural features, Istria is well known for its hospitable towns and welcoming locals. You’re never going to feel like a stranger if you’re going to Istria for your vacation in Croatia!

And what kind of stuff does amazing Istria have to offer? Well, the coast and the beaches are among its most popular destinations, obviously. The peninsula has many different types of beaches, ranging from wide bays to hidden coves full of white pebbles.

If you’re looking for an active vacation in Croatia with lots of trips to explore, Istria has a lot more to offer than relaxation on stunning beaches, though. Thanks to its mild climate and clean air, you can enjoy outdoor activities all year round in Istria. You can go horseback riding, and try bike trails or the cross country tracks all over the Croatian peninsula. And, if you’re a thrill-seeker, Istria has plenty of activities to take care of your adrenaline needs. You can enjoy free climbing, hang-gliding, parachuting, paragliding, mountain biking, mountain running, caving, and/or canyoning.

If you’ve had your fill of outdoor sports, Istria also has a variety of vibrant cities you should visit during your vacation in Croatia. Cities like Pula, Porec, and Brioni have excellent hotels offering a wide range of amenities, including indoor pools, fitness centers, spas, ice baths, and massages. And when you venture out to explore the cities of Istria, you come across festivals, fantastic dining, wine cellars, cultural activities, and much more.

So, if you’re trying to decide where to go on vacation in Croatia, be sure to give some thought to Istria. If you go, it’s going to be a journey that you’ll never forget!


Long story short: no matter where you choose to go on vacation in Croatia, you’ll have an amazing experience!


About the author

Mirela Letailleur The Travel Bunny

Mirela Letailleur is a Romanian travel blogger living in the South of France. She writes on The Travel Bunny travel blog about affordable travel in Europe, creator of unique free travel guides, local travel expert. Problem solver. Wannabe coffee guru.

Read more about Mirela Letailleur

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