Crumbling walls and red roofs define one of Croatia’s most Instagrammed cities. Dubrovnik is known for its postcard-perfect old town, wrapped up in chunky 16th-century walls. They reach up to 16 metres at some points, so it’s a great place to wander through the forts and snap a signature photo of the terracotta-coloured rooftops.
Zlatni Rat Beach, Brac Island
Mother Nature really excelled herself when she conjured up Zlatni Rat Beach on Brac Island. Its unusual fishtail shape has earned it the title of Croatia’s most photographed stretch. For the best vistas, try parasailing over the arrow-shaped belt.
Plitvice Lakes, Plitvice National Park
Made up of 16 turquoise-tinted lakes connected by waterfalls, the Plitvice Lakes are an Instagrammer’s dream. Wooden pathways and bridges snake their way around the waters and electric boats shuttle people across the huge Lake Kozjak. The water here comes in all different shades of the green colour chart. Lakes aside, the UNESCO hotspot is also home to caves, thick forests and brown bears. It’s day-tripping distance from the Istrian Riviera, check out our excursion here.
Split, Dalmatian Coast
Croatia’s second-city is a bit of a beauty. Split’s tight-knit alleys are brimming with Roman walls, marble arches and pretty squares. It’s no wonder it was given the UNESCO nod back in 1979. The jewel in its crown, though, is the 3rd-century Diocletian’s Palace. Within its wall you’ll find bars, restaurants and a couple of cathedrals. Elsewhere, the city’s smart waterfront is just as picture-perfect – wait until the sun sets for the most atmospheric shot.
Brijuni National Park, Istrian Riviera
Scattered off the Istrian peninsula, the 14 tiny islands of Brijuni National Park are prime strolling territory. Daily boats chug back and forth between the biggest isle, Veli Brijun, and Fazana on the mainland – a 15-minute drive up the coast from Pula. It’s the plant life that draws the photo-taking crowds here – the island’s covered by meadows, olive groves and fairytale-like laurel forests. You can explore the place for yourself on our tour from Porec or Rovinj.
Pula Amphitheatre, Pula
Roman ruins are ten-a-penny in Pula, but the pièce de résistance is its huge Roman amphitheatre. It’s the sixth-largest in the world and one of the best preserved – some argue it’s in better shape than its Italian equivalent. The arena’s outer walls are almost completely unscathed, so you can step back in time and imagine gladiators and animals fighting it out. These days, it’s more of a peaceful affair. Come summer, it’s where film festivals, plays and music concerts are held.
Krka National Park, near Sibenik
Croatia’s got more than its fair share of dramatic natural treasures, but if it’s waterfalls that make you snap-happy, then Krka National Park’s the one for you. This waterfall-filled wonderland stretches from Dinaric Alps all the way into the sea near Sibenik. The biggest of the falls is Skrandinski Buk – a medley of 17 cascades plunging into the see-through lake below. This day-long excursion will whisk you there for wildlife-spotting, riverside strolling and swimming.
Last year, readers of Condé Nast Traveller voted Hvar as one of the best islands in the world. And it’s easy to see why. Hvar Town is the glamour isle’s main city and its yacht-filled marina exudes charm. For the best view, head up Hvar’s Spanish Fortress, which sits on the hillside overlooking the harbour. From here, you can capture panoramas of the traffic-free streets, Gothic palaces and the pocket-sized islets that punctuate the Adriatic.
Croatia lays claim to the world’s most beautiful sunset – at least, that’s what legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock reckoned. He even tried to get the spectacle on camera from his hotel along the Riva in Zadar.
You can follow in his footsteps with a trip down the same stretch of coastline, to Makarska. That’s where this particular scenic shot was taken. The town’s palm-fringed promenade is the perfect spot for snapping burnt-orange sunsets.
Novigrad’s charm lies in its bright houses, crowdless walkways and protected harbour. It’s kept itself off the tourism radar, so there’s a really laid-back feel to the place. Once you’ve finished admiring the warm-red and canary-yellow architecture, you can turn your camera towards the street of umbrellas. Parasols in every shade of the rainbow are suspended above the street, making a great arty Instagram picture.
Biokovo mountain range, near Makarska
Landscapes-wise, it’s Croatia’s islands and lakes that get the most attention. Nevertheless, there are plenty of impressive mountain ranges begging to be explored. The country’s second-highest, Biokovo, looms over the town of Makarska. Put your walking boots on and hike up the Sveti Jure peak for a bird’s eye view of the coastline. Luck out with a clear day and you can snap two countries in one hit, when Italy’s Mount Gargano becomes visible. The cloudy, out-of-this-world shots are sure to get a few likes.
Armed with a camera and ready to get snapping? Check out our holidays to Croatia here.
Author: Annabel Langley
This adults-only hotel flaunts a large pool, a gourmet restaurant and sea views that are made for Instagram.
The Rixos Premium Dubrovnik lines up a best-of-both setting on the seafront and is just a 20-minute stroll from the old town.
Stay at the stylish Riva Hvar and you're in a perfect spot for hitting the island's legendary nightlife. Kick the night off at the trendy harbourfront terrace.
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