It’s better to visit some cities in springtime, whether you just love travelling in spring or you want to avoid all the heat and crowds that summer brings along. Summer and a whole bunch of people can just ruin the experience, you get too nervous to fully absorb all the good stuff the city hides among its streets and buildings. That’s often the case with a few Croatian cities, especially the ones that are set on the Adriatic coast, with amazing beaches and clear seawater. If you’re looking for a perfect spring destination on the seaside, keep reading – we bring you the top 5 coastal cities in Croatia to visit this spring.
FYI, if you get our Cultural Places App you can find guided tours through some of these cities, and you can add them to your personal trip planner so you can easily navigate to them later.
Let’s start exploring Croatian coastline…
Rovinj (Rovigno in Italian), the northernmost city on this list, is one of the most beautiful Croatian coastal cities and the star of the Istrian peninsula. If you love Italy, this is the city for you – with its charming piazzas, Venetian-style houses and super delicious Mediterranean food, Rovinj is a must on every Italian&Croatian lover bucket list.
© Suzana Pletikosa
If you love narrow cobble-stoned streets, you have to wander through Rovinj’s amazing Old Town. Bring your camera along – you’ll find so many picturesque moments to capture and share. Every corner hides another stunning building and there are cute little cafes that are perfect for a break.
The main city square and the harbour are just right for experiencing the sunset. While you’re there check out the red clock tower with a lion on it (so Venetian) and then take a walk along the waterfront and find yourself a perfect place for dinner.
One of the most famous landmarks and the one that definitely dominates the cityscape is the St. Euphemia’s Church and its bell tower, located on the hilltop of the little peninsula on which the Old Town is situated. Climb up that tower and you’ll experience the most amazing view over the city of Rovinj.
St. Euphemia’s Church
Opatija is one of the first popular elite resorts, thanks to Austrian-Hungarian noble visitors in the 19th century. Its waterfront promenade, called Lungomare, is one of the most amazing ones we’ve strolled down, it’s 12km long and a hundred years old. It’s definitely one of the most amazing walks we ever had. While strolling down Lungomare you’ll stumble upon many amazing parks and gardens, luxurious mansions, as well as beautiful beaches and some restaurants and cafes.
One of the most famous mansions and must-see places in Opatija is the 19th-century Villa Angiolina and its beautiful garden. It marked the beginning of tourism in the history of Opatija – when famous visitors, such as the Austrian empress Mary Ann, started to arrive.
© Berthold Werner / CC BY-SA 3.0
Not that far from the mansion you’ll find one of the most famous and most photographed statues in Opatija – Maiden with the Seagull, that looks especially beautiful at night, under the light of special reflectors or when the weather is stormy, and waves are splashing it.
Maiden with the Seagull
Zadar may be less popular than Dubrovnik, Split or Zagreb, but it’s a magnificent coastal city that you have to visit. There is so much to see and do, we don’t know where to start. One of the most popular things in Zadar is the Sea Organ (or Morske Orgulje in Croatian) played by waves – they push the air through 35 underwater pipes and play music. It’s a perfect relaxation spot and visiting in springtime when it doesn’t get much crowded is the best option – sit on those marble steps and enjoy the sounds.
© Fred Romero / CC BY-SA 2.0
While you’re there, turn to your right and check out the Greeting to the Sun installation (Pozdrav Suncu in Croatian) that gives you the best sunset experience in the world. You’ll see amazing light-show connected to the rhythm of waves playing the Sea Organ.
© Böhringer Friedrich / CC BY-SA 2.5
There are many monuments and landmarks worth seeing in Zadar, but one of the most popular is St. Donat’s Church for sure. It’s an amazing Pre-Romanesque circular building, built on the Roman forum. The whole surrounding of this church is just so amazing and picturesque – you’ll love it.
St. Donat’s Church
Split is one of two Croatian cities that got really famous because of Game of Thrones series (Dubrovnik is the other one), hence – a lot of crowds is going on, that’s why we recommend springtime for visiting this amazing city. At the very first sight, it’s clear that there were Greeks and Romans living there a long time ago – they left a huge impact on the city’s cultural and historic heritage.
One of the most famous landmarks in Split (even in whole Croatia) is Diocletian’s Palace – a huge 1700 years old Roman ruin that is bustling with life – it’s full of little shops and cafes and homes to more than 3000 people. Imagine living in such a place, wow. The Palace has four entrance gates – Gold, Silver, Brass and Iron and whatever gate you choose you’ll get to its centre – the Peristil square, that divides the Palace into four quarters.
Split, inside the Diocletian’s Palace
Split has many museums worth exploring, one of them is the Archeological Museum that is the oldest museum in Croatia, founded in 1820, and that’s where you’ll learn all about the history of this gorgeous city. Besides this one, you can enjoy Ethnographic Museum and Croatian Maritime Museum, but there is one that we particularly loved – the Gallery of Ivan Meštrović, the most famous Croatian sculptor.
When you get tired of exploring all the Split’s landmarks and museums, head to its waterfront called Riva (Promenade), sit in one of the cafes and meditate while watching the sea, or people-watch as the locals do.
Dubrovnik – the Pearl of Adriatic, with its iconic Old Town is southernmost city in Croatia and one of the most amazing cities in this part of Europe. Its walls date back to the 13th century and, as we already mentioned, they recently found new fame and a way to attract many visitors from around the world – they were used as a location for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones TV series. Dubrovnik gets really crowded in the summer (really, really crowded!), but springtime is ideal for exploring this amazing destination.
There are many significant spots inside the walls but the best way to explore it to enter the Ploče Gate and wander around, let the narrow streets guide you. The main pedestrian area, the street that you have to stroll down, is Stradun that connects Ploče gates with the Pile gates. There are many souvenir shops and cafes along both sides of this street, and in narrow streets that are connected to Stradun. Near the Ploče gates, there is the old port that harbours small boats, and a café “Gradska kafana” where you can relax and watch the sunset.
Outside the city walls, there is another amazing fortress called Lovrijenac – or the King’s Landing from Game of Thrones series, if you prefer. Usually, it is less crowded than the city walls, so you’ll have a really nice time when you get up there, and you’ll enjoy the awesome view over the Old Town and the sea.
Are you already in love with these Croatian cities? If not, you sure will be once you visit and explore their amazing sights. Just hurry up, visit before the summer comes and before it gets too crowded.