Five Beautiful Croatian Cities to Visit (If You’ve Done Dubrovnik)

Five Beautiful Croatian Cities to Visit (If You’ve Done Dubrovnik)

Move over Dubrovnik: we’ve tracked down some of Croatia’s other must-visit cities. From Zadar’s culture-rich streets to Pula’s hidden coves, these are the lesser-trodden destinations that should be on your radar.

Croatia – sun-drenched land of white-sand
beaches, pine-covered forests and colourful streetscapes – we have
a major crush on you. Home to more than 1,000 idyllic islands,
Croatia is fast becoming the destination of
choice for stylish jet-setters seeking a dose of summer hedonism.
While we’re not here to deny Dubrovnik of its remarkable beauty, or
Split from its lively spirit, there are plenty of other
culture-rich cities on the Dalmation Coast to explore – ones that
don’t feel like constant crowd surfing. Tag along with us as we
wander through crumbling old-town squares, feast in family-run
eateries and swim through deserted bays.

A love letter to Croatia: five beautiful cities to

Zadar, Croatia


Despite ranking as Croatia’s oldest continuously inhabited city,
Zadar is a place most people would struggle to place on a map. A
destination bursting with history, jaw-dropping beauty and a
surprisingly flourishing creative scene, life here may date back to
the ninth century, but there is absolutely nothing dated or dull
about Zadar – picture a beautifully modern streetscape that marries
traditional heritage with a free-spirited, urban vibe. Start your
day navigating narrow passageways and wandering alongside the
Unesco-listed fortified walls, before visiting the crumbling ruins
of the famous Roman Forum. Then, while away the afternoon dipping
in and out of charming cafés, independent galleries and
parasol-shaded bars. Come sunset, skip along to The Garden Lounge, where sea-facing cabanas and live
DJ sets draw a techno-loving crowd.

Where to stay: Almayer Art &
Heritage Hotel

Sibenik, Croatia


Just an hour’s drive away from Split, the city of Šibenik marks
as the gateway to the Kornati islands. Despite having a full-time
population of 32,000 residents, there is an intensely go-slow vibe
here among the red roofed houses – which may work in your favour if
you’re seeking a quiet daycation or long, lazy weekend. Make the
design-driven Armerun Heritage Hotel your base; that way you can
enjoy sun-worshipping from your own private rooftop terrace before
slipping into town in the evening. Fill your days by tasting the
many flavours of the city, with seafood platters plucked straight
from the Adriatic – our favourite spot is the sea-facing Bounty.

Where to stay: Armerun Heritage Hotel

Rijeka, Croatia


Rijeka was long considered nothing more than an industrial hub,
thanks to its historic port, but that couldn’t be further from the
city today. Crowned 2020’s European Capital of Culture, the city is
a charming tapestry of Anglo-Hungarian architecture fringed by
white-sand beaches like breathtaking Kostanj Bay. Creatives seeking
inspiration should bookmark this place for the ultimate
gallery-hopping adventure – The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and Peek & Poke are
at the top of our list.

Where to stay: Ikador

Pula, Croatia


Pula, known worldwide for its wine production, is a city that
seamlessly blends rustic charm with an urban edge. Located at the
tip of the Istrian Peninsula, this place ranks as Croatia’s
seventh-largest city but feels more akin to a small village than a
buzzy metropolis. Here rolling fields of lavender and striped
vineyards marry a circular, labyrinthe streetscape, and historical
jewels can be found across every inch of its landscape. Start by
touring the first-century Roman amphitheatre, before checking out
the Temple of August, then cool off with a splash in one of the
sultry coves that lap the city’s edge.

Where to stay: Hotel

The coastal city of Rovinj in Croatia


Sitting pretty on Croatia’s northwestern coast, the fishing port
of Rovinj makes for a slower and more secluded escape, think: a
gritty promenade lined with colourful, rustic villas. While its
remote location leaves this destination largely under the tourist
radar, a contagious warmth is found woven through its restaurants,
cafés and bars. For a multi-sensory feast swing by Monte, a delicious
dining spot that was the recipient, in 2017, of Croatia’s first
Michelin star (we reckon order the cuttlefish or don’t bother
visiting at all). Further inland, the rolling hills and bountiful
forests are a source of some of the world’s finest olive oil and
cured meats, among other local specialities. We’re pegging this as
the next big culinary destination.

Where to stay: The Melegran

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