21 Best Hidden Gems In Croatia To Add To Your Bucket List

By Maike Woutersen

It is no secret that Croatia is a very popular European holiday destination that welcomes thousands of tourists every year. However, we found some amazing hidden gems in Croatia that lie off the beaten path and therefore will make your next stay in Croatia unforgettable.

Best Hidden Gems in Croatia

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These secret spots in Croatia cover everything from beautiful beach towns, historic medieval locations, the Croatian wine capital, and even one of the longest walls in the world. There is sure to be something for everyone to see, and you won’t have to share your stay with thousands of other people.

Here are 21 of the best gems in Croatia, that you have not heard of… Yet!  

Lastovo Island

Lastovo- Hidden Gem in Croatia
Lastovo Island

If you love to be surrounded by nature, in peace and quiet, and don’t mind a lack of sandy beaches, this charming hidden gem in Croatia is the place to be. 

Best time to visit Lastovo Island

The best time to visit Lastovo Island is between June and September.

How to get there

You can reach the Island by ferries from Split Dubrovnik, Mljet, and Korčula.

Things to Do on Lastovo Island

Pasadur - Hidden Gem in Croatia
Pasadur
Ubli - Hidden Gem in Croatia
Ubli
  • Visit the wonderful secluded Zaklopatica Bay
  • Swim, snorkel, or scuba dive in the crystal clear waters. Tip: Take along swimming shoes. The beaches are rather rocky.
  • Go on long meditative walks in nature.
  • Explore the Island villages: Zaklopatica, Ubli and Pasadur.

Where to Stay on Lastovo Island

You can only find one Hotel on the whole Island, Solitudo Hotel in Pasadur. Other than that you can find private accommodation on the Island.

Brač Island

Hidden Gems in Croatia - Brac
Brač Island

Even though Brač is famous for its stunning beaches it is much less touristy than the other places surrounding it. It has some very popular sites like the golden cape, but you can also find more secluded sites on the Island like Lovrecina, Splitska, Milna, and Bol, which all are places you would not want to miss.

Best time to visit Brač Island

From May to September is the best time to enjoy your stay on this Island.

How to get there

You can reach Brač by Catamaran from Split or by Ferry from Split and Makarska.

Things to do on Brač Island

 Hidden Gems in Croatia - Bol
Bol
Hidden Gems in Croatia - Lovrecina
Lovrecina
Hidden Gems in Croatia - Splitska
Splitska
  • Visit the Island Villages.
  • Be active and enjoy watersports like, Kiteboarding, Windsurfing, Sea Kayaking or Scuba Diving.
  • Explore the Island on a mountain bike.
  • Kids, but also their parents, will love the inflatable water park in either Bol or Supetar.
  • Book a tour of Dragons Cave (Zmajeva Spilja).
  • Climb up to the heighest point of all the Adriatic Islands and enjoy a breathtakiing view from Vidova Gora lookout.

Where to stay on Brač Island

You can find Accommodation all over the Island, from beautiful Hotels to Private Rooms.

Vis Island

Hidden Gems in Croatia - Vis Island

Vis Island is a place where time stood still some couple of years ago. Life here seems tranquil, relaxed, and not hurried or rushed at all.

This hidden gem in Croatia is a paradise for everyone that wants to enjoy rejuvenating holidays. The question that might go through your head is, “Why is this island such a secluded area when it is so beautiful?” Well for one, it is not very easily accessible and is the farthest inhabited island, away from Croatia’s mainland. 

Best time to visit Vis Island

From May to mid-June and in September are ideal.

How to get there

You reach Vis by Ferry from Split.

Things to do at Vis Island

  • Visit Stinvia Beach. It is one of Europes most beautiful beaches and the place where parts of Mamma Mia, Here we go again, got filmed.
  • Sail a local fishing boat, gajeta.
  • Indulge in delicious lobster dishes at Komiža’s Konoba Jastožera.
  • Dive in the crystal clear water.
  • Hike up to the top of Mount Hum, the Islands highest point for a beautiful view.
  • Take a boat tour, to explore the outer edges of the island.
  • Enjoy a gorgoeus sundowner with great food and wine at Ford George.
  • Enjoy a secluded beach with the locals at Mala Travna Bay.

Where to stay on Vis Island

Hotels might be few, but Guesthouses, Apartments, and Villas to rent are plentiful on the Island.

Rastoke

Hidden Gems in Croatia - Rastoke

Croatia is known for its beautiful waterfalls. The most famous waterfalls of Croatia can be found at the Plitvice Lakes, which attract a lot of tourists every year. Although this is a place so magical and definitely worth visiting, you can find a mystical old town surrounded by waterfalls just a few kilometers away from the Plitvice Lakes.

One of Croatia’s best-kept secrets and such a stunning place to see is the village of Rastoke.

Best time to visit Rastoke

The best time to visit is probably in spring or summer.

How to get there

Rastoke is on Croatia’s mainland and can be easily reached by car.

Things to do in Rastoke

Where to stay in Rastoke

You will find lovely apartments, holiday homes, and amazing AirBnB’s to stay at in Rastoke and Slunj.

Kali

Hidden Gems in Croatia - Kali

Kali is one of the lesser-known little old fisherman villages, on the island of Ugljan. It gives off a beautiful tranquil vibe and takes you back to a time where life was not as rushed as it is today.

Best time to visit Kali

From May-June or from September-October.

How to get there

You can get to Ugljan Island by ferry from Split or Zadar.

Things to do in Kali

  • Hike around the Island.
  • Explore the Island by bike.
  • Enjoy the peaceful environment.
  • Indulge in amazing fresh seafood at one of the many Restaurants.

Where to stay

The hotel, Villa Stari Dvor can be found in the village of Uglijan itself, otherwise, you find a number of Villas, Apartments, and Holiday-Homes all over the island. 

Vrbnik

Hidden Gems in Croatia - Vrbnik

Picture-Perfect Vrbnik is yet another one of the hidden gems in Croatia. Situated on the Island of Krk. Although Vrbnik welcomes more and more tourists each year we put it on this list, because they are usually day visitors and do not stay on the island for too long. 

Vrbnik attracts tourists with its amazing golden wine ‘Žlahtina’ and because of its medieval peaceful feeling that it gives off.

Best time to visit Vrbnik

From June to September

How to get there

The island of Krk is connected to Croatia’s mainland by a bridge, making it one of the most easily accessible islands of Croatia, thus you can even reach it by car or by bus.

Things to do in Vrbnik

  • Visit the rural village of Brzac.
  • Taste the golden wine, Žlahtina.
  • Dine at the Konoba Nada, Restaurant.
  • Stroll through the hill top town, where history and tradition can be found in every street. The narrowest street of the world, Klancic, which is only 50cm wide, can be found here.
  • Explore The Biserujka Cave Tip: Get there early to avoid the crowds.
  • Rent a yacht for half a day.
  • Explore Krk town.
  • Take a healing mud bath at the Meline Beach.

Where to stay in Vrbnik

You can find a number of Holiday Apartments and Private Rooms.

Varaždin

Hidden Gem in Croatia - Varaždin

Varaždin is a beautiful hidden gem on the mainland of Croatia and probably one of the most overlooked places. Making it a good spot for you to explore it without lots of other tourists. 

It is known to be the capital of Baroque in Croatia and offers you so much amazing baroque architecture, culture, and living history.

Best time to visit Varaždin

It is best to visit Varaždin in the month of May or September.

How to get there

It is situated on the mainland and located an hour’s drive north of Zagreb. Very easily reached by car or bus.

Things to do in Varaždin

Stari Grad in Varaždin
  • Visit the Stari Grad Castle.
  • Visit a number of museums including the Museum of Insects and the Museum of Angels.
  • Enjoy Coffee with the traditional Cream Cake at one of the gorgeous little cafes at Miljenka Stančića Square.
  • Explore the old town.
  • Take a day trip to Zagreb.
  • End off your day with a romantic stroll along the Drava River Waterfront.

Where to stay in Varaždin

Šibenik

Hidden Gems in Croatia - Šibenik

Šibenik is one of Croatia’s best-kept secrets. It is not overcrowded with tourists at all, except for the occasional Game of Throne fans that come to admire the place where parts of their favorite TV-Show were filmed.

It is a resilient old town that survived wars and the harsh climate, and it is still standing strong on the coastline of the Dalmatian Coast.

Best time to visit Šibenik

May and September to avoid the crowds of day visitors.

How to get there

Šibenik is perfectly central, so you can get there by car or bus.

Things to do in Šibenik

Šibenik Town
Šibenik Town
  • Visit the 4 fortresses, St. Nicholas’ fortress, Barone fortress, St. Michael’s fortress and, for all the Game of Throne lovers, St. John’s fortress.
  • Explore the old town.
  • Stroll through the Medieval Mediterranean Garden of St. Lawrence Monastery.
  • Walk along the beautiful Promenade.
  • Enjoy a delicious and traditional meal at Dalmatian Ethno Village. A traditional village and living museum.
  • Take a day trip to Krka National Park, only 15min by car, Northeast of the city.

Where to stay in Šibenik

There are lots of Hotels, Holiday Apartments and AirBnB’s in Šibenik to chose from.

Pazin

Sunset over Pazin Village

A secret escape with a romantic charm. Pazin is a great place to stay and enjoy day trips to bigger places like Motovun, Pula, and Grožnjan.

Best time to visit Pazin

To enjoy one of the Pazin festivals, like Days of Jules Verne, it is great to visit Pazin on the third week of June or every first Tuesday of the month to visit the Town Fair.

How to get there

Pazin is easily accessible by car or bus.

Things to do in Pazin

  • Have a relaxed vacation just strolling through the old town.
  • Take day trips to bigger cities like Motovun, Pula or Grožnjan.
  • Enjoy beautiful hikes and their fantastic panoramic views.
  • Go Zip Lining.
  • Visit the Amazing Sopor waterfall.
  • Enjoy the traditional cookies, Cukerančič.

Where to stay in Pazin

You can find lots of beautiful and affordable places to stay in and around Pazin.

Kotli

Hidden Gems in Croatia - Kotli

A little medieval paradise in the middle of Istria, Croatia. Kotli is a village where time stood still, but the river Milna keeps flowing strongly, forming waterfalls and little pools of turquoise water.

If you want to enjoy unspoiled nature and yet feel like being in a spa, come lie in these pools of Kotli, listen to the peaceful sounds of nature, and let the rich minerals of the water rinse your body free from all the stressful everyday toxins.

Best time to visit Kotli

In summer the pools can dry up thus not making it ideal if you would have enjoyed swimming there.

How to get there

Easily accessible by bus or car.

Things to do in Kotli

Hum, Croatia - smallest town in the World
Hum, Croatia
  • Simply enjoy this natural phenomena and wonder of Croatia.
  • Visit the Kotli Mill.
  • Visit Hum, the smallest town in the World. It is only 10 minutes away.

Where to stay in Kotli

In one of the beautiful stone house Accommodations, like the amazing Villa Kotli Stone House.

Trsteno

Hidden Gems in Croatia - Trsteno
Trsteno, Croatia

Enjoy a peaceful summer vacation at one of the stunning hidden gems in Croatia. Trsteno will mesmerize you with its enchanting Mediterranean charm.

How to get there

Easy to reach by bus or car.

Things to do in Trsteno

 Arboretum Trsteno in Croatia
Arboretum Trsteno
 Arboretum Trsteno, Croatia
  • Visit the Arboretum Trsteno the only one of its kind. This beautiful botanical garden was another filming location of some of the Game of Throne episodes.
  • Day trip to the amazing, but very touristy Dubrovnik, which is 19km away

Where to stay in Trsteno

You will find a number of Private Accommodations and Apartments to stay at in Trsteno.

Dugi Otok Island

Hidden Gems in Croatia - Dugi Otok Island
Fisherman Village Sali
Fisherman Village Sali, Croatia

Translated to ‘Long Island’, this place is another outstanding pearl of the Mediterranean, that you should absolutely put on your Croatia Travel List. It is still an insider tip, with marvelous natural scenery, beautiful beaches, and dreamy fisherman villages.

Best time to visit Dugi Otok Island

You can visit the Island from April – October to enjoy good weather.

How to get there

It takes 1h and 40 minutes to get to the island by ferry from Zadar

Things to do on Dugi Otok

Island of Dugi Otok in Croatia
  • Visit the beautiful Telašćica Nature Park.
  • Explore the Island and the small Fischerman-Villages on it.
  • Take a boat trip.
  • If you want to be active there are a number of fun things to chose from like, hiking, cycling, climbing, kayaking, sailing and windsurfing.
  • Visit the lighthouse Punta Bjanca in Veli Rat, the heighest lighthouse in all of Croatia.
  • Swim in the absolute amazing beach of Sakarun.
  • Hike to Fort Grpascak viewpoint and admire the perfect view or enjoy the sunset from here.
  • Enjoy some good seafood in the harbour town, Sali.
  • Explore the Dragons Eye Sea cave.

Where to stay on Dugi Otok

There is a great hotel on the island, Hotel Maxim, but you can also book Holiday apartments.

Krapina

Krapina - Hidden Gem in Croatia

Krapina is situated on the mainland of Croatia. Although it is not very touristy it is still famous for its two main attractions, the Church of Virgin Mary of Jerusalem, which is sitting high on a hill overlooking the town, and the more famous largest Neanderthal Fossil Haul of Europe.

Things to do in Krapina

Mljet Island

Mljet Island - Hidden Gem in Croatia

One of Croatia’s most beautiful Islands. Although tourists are attracted to some of the villages on the island, like Pomena, it is not overrun at all and you can enjoy all of its amazing natural beauty.

How to get there

By ferry from Dubrovnik to Sobra.

You can then rent a car or scooter to get around the island.

Things to do on Mljet Island

There are lots of amazing things to do in this amazing place:

Mljet Island, Croatia
  • Visit Prožurska Luka Village and bay, and the village of Okuklje and its bay.
  • Hike to the beautiful Odysseus Cave.
  • Snorkel in the Odysseus Cave.
  • Hike or cycle in the Mljet National Park.
  • Snorkel at the only Coral Reef of Croatia.
  • Discover another best kept secret on the island: “Sutmiholjska”.
  • Enjoy incredible good wine.

Where to stay on Mljet Island

If you would like to stay in a hotel, Pomena would be your only option on the island.

Otherwise, you can enjoy your stay in Apartments and Guesthouses in the villages of the Island.

The Region of Slavonia

Slavonia Region in Croatia

Most tourists come to Croatia to visit the coastal towns or the islands to get the typical Mediterranean feeling. However, Slavonia is a region on Croatia’s mainland that you should definitely give a chance and it will for sure win over your heart with its phenomenal natural sights. Osijek is a good place to use as your base when traveling Slavonia

Things to do in Slavonia

  • Explore the baroque town Osijek and walk its river promenade.
  • Take a day trip to Europes largest wetlands, Kopački Rit Nature Park, just 12km northeast of Osijek.
  • Slavonia is not pancake-flat everywhere. If you want to hike or climb, Papuk Mountain near Pozega will be a perfect destination for you.
  • Enjoy the best wines at Kutjevo Winery in Kutjevo, which is the Capital of Wine in continental Croatia.
  • Visit Pozega.
  • Enjoy the Đakovački vezovi Festival which is held every summer.
  • Take a look at the Eltz castle in Vukovar.
  • Book a stay on a Croatian farm.

Stari Grad

Stari Grad - Hidden Gem in Croatia

Stari Grad is translated to ‘Old Town’. It is the perfect name for this place, as it is the oldest town in Croatia.

How to get there

With a ferry from Split.

Things to do in Stari Grad

  • Visit the picturesque waterfront.
  • Stroll through the old town.
  • Take a day trip to the beautiful towns of Jelsa and Vrboska.
  • Take a boat tour to the Blue Grotto at Vis.
  • Exlore Tito’s Caves on Kabal Peninsula.
  • Hike up to the White Cross on Glavica Hill, and enjoy a spectacular view.

Where to stay in Stari Grad

You can find beautiful places to stay, in the old town. If you look for a hotel with a great ambiance or just a private room Stari Grad will have something for you.

Trogir

Trogir - Hidden Gem in Croatia

The ‘little Venice of Croatia’, which is Trogir, is one of Croatia’s most beautiful historic jewels.

It is a world heritage site and has history awaiting you around every corner. Trogir is perfect for everyone that wants to combine their holidays with culture and nature and should definitely not be missed on your Croatia Trip.

Best time to visit Trogir

In May or September

How to get there

It is very easy to reach Trogir, only 27km from Split airport, by car or bus.

Things to do in Trogir

  • Visit one of the festivals like Kulakula in July or the Moondance festival end of July – beginning of August.
  • Explore the small island on which Trogir is situated.
  • Climb the bell tower of St. Lawrence Cathedral to enjoy a fantastic view from the top.
  • Enjoy a day on the beach of Pantan Beach, or Okrug Beach.
  • Support the local farmers market and buy exceptional Olive oil.

Where to stay in Trogir

Trogir has great Hotels, Holiday Apartments, and Private Rooms to stay at.

Skradin

Skradin - Hidden Gem in Croatia

Skradin might not be totally off the beaten path, but it is often overlooked by the masses of tourists.

We put it on the list of hidden gems in Croatia, because it is worth a visit in the off-season and because once you experienced this riverside village’s charm, you will probably want to come back to this magical place every year.

Best time to visit Skradin

May – June or September – October to avoid the crowds.

How to get there

By car or bus

Things to do in Skradin

Skradin, Croatia
  • Stroll along the promenade of the Krka river.
  • Enjoy the river bed “beaches”.
  • Visit the ACI Marine.
  • Explore the old town of Skradin.
  • For all the car lovers, you can enjoy a day at the Oldtimer Museum.
  • Take a boat to the Krka National Park, where you can admire the artworks of nature.
  • Climb to the Fortress of Turina and enjoy the amazing panoramic view over Skradin.
  • Indulge in the famous Skradin cake, “Skradinski torta”.
  • Visit the Bibich Winery in Plastovo.
  • Admire the view, and capture it with a photo, from the ‘Odmorište Krka’ or Krka Rest Stop.
  • Visit the ruins at Bribirska Glavica for free.
  • If you love big birds of prey or have children you should visit the Dubrava Falconry Center.

Where to stay in Skradin

Hotel, Bed and Breakfast, Private rooms; you can choose from a number of places to stay at.

Bale (Valle)

Bale (Valle) - Hidden Gem in Croatia

Even though the Istrian village of Bale is still one of the hidden gems in Croatia, you will be amazed at how much it has to offer.

What to do in Bale

  • Cycle and explore the village and its surroundings.
  • Snorkel at the coastal towns.
  • Enjoy a beach day.
  • Go on bird watching tours.
  • Visit the old Bale church.
  • Enjoy a world class glass of wine.

Ston

Ston - Hidden Gem in Croatia

Ston is another best-kept secret on the Dalmatian coast. It is situated on the beautiful Pelješac Peninsula.

How to get there

Via bus from Dubrovnik.

Things to do in Ston

  • Walk along the “European Wall of China”. With its 5.5km it is much longer that of its neighbours in Dubrovnik.
  • Visit the saltworks.
  • If you love eating Oysters, you can visit Mali Ston (‘little Ston’) and its oyster beds, and enjoy fresh – and often referred to as ‘the world best oysters’ – in one of the seafood restaurants. Try the Kapetanova Kuca “Captains House” in Mali Ston
  • For all the Marathon lovers amongst you, every year in September you can participate at the Ston Wall Marathon.

Where to stay in Ston

The Hotel Ostrea in Ston is a good choice to stay at, or holiday apartments and private rooms, which are available on the Peninsula.

Šolta

Šolta - Hidden Gem in Croatia

Šolta is an oasis of unspoiled nature and the last beautiful hidden gem in Croatia on this list.

How to get there

  • With ferry from Split in 1h
  • With catamaran from Split in 30min

Things to do in Šolta

  • Sunbathe on the many bays of Šolta.
  • Try your luck fishing for amazing seafood.
  • Take a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters.
  • Explore the beautiful island and all of its spectacular nature.
  • Enjoy amazing red wine.
  • Buy Honey made there, which is famous for its healing properties.
  • Sail around the island.
  • Be active: hike, kayak, cycle, scuba dive… there are so many adventures to chose from.
  • Visit the villages on the island, like Stomorska, Maslinica, Rogac etc.
  • Take a day trip to Spilt.
  • Rent a scooter and enjoy a roadtrip around the island.
Rogac and Maslinica, Croatia
Rogac and Maslinica

These were our 21 hidden gems in Croatia. We think they deserve to be on every Croatian Travel List for all those that like to have a holiday away from all the masses and to get more of the traditional and local feeling.

Let us know if you found another secret spot in Croatia that you would like to share with us.

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