An unparalleled combination of heritage sites that span centuries, natural wonders and exciting culture, Croatia is a booming European destination. Spanning vast stretches of stunning coastline and islands, it is best explored on a luxury yacht charter, offering the opportunity to easily reach every off-the-beaten-track spot. Whilst the country has opened its borders to Americans after the COVID crisis, the tourist footfall is expected to be drastically reduced in 2021, presenting a unique opportunity to (re)visit some of the most popular destinations in Croatia without the crowds. Here are the top picks of the best destinations in Croatia in 2021.
Popular Croatian destinations: Beaches
Nestled in a gorgeous bay on Krk island, Vela Plaža is a pebble beach that dips into turquoise waters against a backdrop of rugged low mountains. Historically busy, you can enjoy the beach’s sunbeds and tiki parasols in peace this year. A promenade lined with cafés, ice cream spots and parasailing schools overlooks this slice of paradise. Make sure to visit Krka National Park, a popular destination in Croatia that features mystical ruins, a Franciscan monastery and gorgeous waterfalls nestled in lush woodlands.
Some 500 kilometers south on Brač island lies Zlatni Rat beach. Nicknamed the “Golden Horn” due to its unusual horseshoe-shape and blonde pebbles, Zlatni Rat is lined by an aromatic pine forest that gives it its distinctive Mediterranean feel. The turquoise sea, diverse marine ecosystem and strong currents are ideal for watersports like windsurfing or diving. Arguably one of the most popular destinations in Croatia, the throngs of tourists scatter well before dusk and it is possible to peacefully contemplate the sun blissfully setting behind the mountains.
Located halfway between Split and Dubrovnik on uninhabited Stupa Vela island, Moro Beach leads the scoreboard of the best destinations in Croatia. A haven of peace only accessible by sea, Moro Beach is a scenic pebbled beach featuring bean bags, sunbeds and an uber-cool swing installed over the crystalline shallow waters. A konoba, a traditional tavern, serves delicious drinks and fresh seafood from the Adriatic for those lucky enough to discover this exclusive spot.
Popular Croatian destinations: City breaks
There is no need to introduce Dubrovnik, the “pearl of the Adriatic”. As one of the most popular destinations in Croatia, emboldened by its status as a Game of Thrones filming location, the city is often a tourist hotspot. A quieter Dubrovnik in 2021 offers a truly authentic feel for Renaissance-era and Medieval Europe. Ancient monuments and relics of the past are to be found at every street corner within the Old Town. The city is also a cultural capital, abound with fantastic restaurants, art galleries, five-star hotels and luxury shopping.
Another glitzy Croatian destination, Hvar Town is a yachting hotspot with a lively social and gastronomy scene that won’t disappoint – think cocktail parties on exclusive beaches and wine bars with millésime bottles. Renowned for its lavender fields and sea wreck diving opportunities, the island of Hvar is a delight in itself and not to be missed. Thankfully, this year’s reduced tourism will allow you to peacefully sip a coffee or cocktail in the glamorous marina.
A vacation in Croatia isn’t complete without a trip to Istria, the stretch of land facing Italy and perhaps the best starting point for cruising the Eastern Mediterranean. Celebrated for its truffles, the Istrian coastline is peppered with gourmet restaurants and quaint fishing villages. Make a stop in Pula, one of the most lively Croatian destinations. Home to festivals, countless DJ sets and concerts, Pula also features an impressive Roman amphitheatre and brightly colored architecture fronting the harbor. The cliffs shelter many secret coves and small intimate bays perfect for a day out at sea.
Popular Croatian destinations: Top sights and experiences
History buffs and aesthetes will revel in Diocletian’s Palace, located in Split’s town center. One of the world’s best-preserved vestiges of Roman civilization, the limestone and marble Palace is a feast for the eyes, merging Emperor Diocletian’s villa with ancient military quarters (castrum). For an otherworldly experience, plan your visit to this ever-popular Croatian destination as late as possible; the site takes on a mystical look and feel when illuminated by the lights’ warm glows.
Finally, the lesser-known best destinations in Croatia are the fairytale-like luminescent Blue Caves on the island of Biševo. Easy to get to via a luxury yacht charter and best explored with a guide, these enchanting narrow caves shine with an ultra-saturated turquoise and silver glow. Near Biševo is beautiful Vis, Tito’s “forbidden island” which only opened to the public after the fall of the communist block. Head there for a glimpse into the country’s Yugoslav past, featuring a Cold War-era submarine dock, fascinating disaffected military bases and tunnels. The island is also home to numerous monuments and museums that span centuries of Croatian history.
A luxury private yacht charter in Croatia in 2021 is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, offering fewer crowds and more peace. For advice on how to charter a yacht, contact an expert broker today.