The Croatian Coast Guide: Life Along the Adriatic Sea

August 7, 2017 | Stefanie DiMartino

A trip to Croatia is not complete without visiting its coast. Although my home base was Zagreb during my month long stay, the coast was truly what touched my spirit. There was not a single city nor town that I did not adore. From bathing spots on cliffs, to salty air, to crystal-clear water, and a fabulous dining scene; the coast of Croatia is a gem.

Betina cave (only reachable by kayak)

If you’re planning a trip there, I recommend renting a car and staying in each city for three days. This is my recommendation based on experience, as we did a trip and made the mistake of only spending a night in each city. One night is simply not enough when it comes to Coastal villages! Another great tip when preparing for your Croatian coast adventure is to learn Croatian online.

To make your trip planning easier, pick up a copy of Marco Polo’s Croatia guide. I used it and it is fantastic. They also provide self-walking tours, which is excellent for exploring a city on your own!


I have put together a color coded map of sightseeing, adventure, and restaurants for the coast. I recommend you click here to view this google map on your phone while you explore the city. It will make it easier to see everything you can while you’re in town!

The map is also embedded below. To filter according to category (restaurant, adventure, etc.) click on the square with the arrow in the left top corner then check the boxes of what categories you would like to view. 

The sunset on the way to Dubrovnik


Sharable link for Google map:



Pula was my favorite town on the coast because it was not filled with tourists (like Split and Dubrovnik were) and it has great things to do. It is the largest town in the Istria region, a busy port, and home to a magnificently preserved Roman amphitheatre. I was lucky enough to have locals show me around for the day and they had some incredible inside tips (which i’m now sharing with you!).

My local friend Katarina and I at Radovica Beach

(Blue dots on the map)

Temple of Augustus
  • Roman Amphitheatre – The 6th largest in the world and incredibly well preserved!
  • Temple of Augustus
  • Arch of Sergi
  • Pula Fortress – Climb to the top to see beautiful views of the city

(Pink dots on the map)

  • Swim or cliff jump at Radovica Beach
  • Swim in the sea caves at Rt Kamenjak

(Yellow dots on the map)

Safari Bar
Jupiter Pizza


Split is Croatia’s second largest city and is built around the ruins of Diocletian’s Palace. This is a party city with a vivid nightlife scene and excellent restaurants. Here it is easy to catch a ferry to the neighboring islands of Brac or Hvar. This is definitely something to factor in if you’re staying in Split!

Costumed guards in Diocletian’s Palace

(Blue dots on the map)

The streets of Diocletian’s Palace
  • Stroll through the ruins at Diocletian’s Palace
  • Explore underground Roman Aqueduct –
The underground Roman Aqueduct

(Pink dots on the map)

Nacionalni Park Krka
  • Nacionalni Park Krka – A naturally blue lake with waterfalls that you can swim in (day trip from Split)
  • Climb to the Marjan Peninsula – beautiful views of Split
  • Take the ferry to Brac island for the day
  • Hike Vidova Gora on Brac island

(Yellow dots on the map)

Wine at Food & Wine bar ZINFANDEL

We stayed in an Airbnb on top of the mountain overlooking Split. The views were fantastic and the family was incredibly welcoming. They even had homemade wine and fresh grown vegetables ready upon our arrival. I recommend staying with them!

Airbnb link:

The view from my beautiful Airbnb


Looking out over Dubrovnik

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan then you’re going to love this city more than the average visitor; and that’s saying a lot because Dubrovnik is considered the jewel in Croatia’s crown. This city is a modern day fortress with Gothic and Renaissance architecture that is surrounded by massive 15th century walls. The whole city was built on a jagged rock peninsula. It’s truly breathtaking and there is no other city like this in the world.


(Blue dots on the map)

The streets of Dubrovnik
  • Onofrio Fountain – Fill up your water bottle at this unique fountain in the entrance of old town
  • Ulica Od Puca – The main shopping street
  • Saint Ignatius Church – Largest church in Dubrovnik
  • Jesuit Steps (labeled “Historic Stairs” on map) – These steps are featured in Game of Thrones shame scene!
  • Gunduliceva Poljana – local outdoor market
  • Franjevacki Samostan – A monastery with beautiful cloisters
  • Dubrovnik Cathedral – A beautiful Baroque cathedral
Prayer beads inside Saint Ignatius Church

(Pink dots on the map)

Luis kayaking outside the walls of Dubrovnik
  • Sea Kayak around Dubrovnik and visit hidden beaches only accessible via kayak. Rent location titled “Adventure Dubrovnik” on map. –
  • Snorkel at Betina cave (accessible only via kayak)
  • Swim at Banje beach

(Yellow dots on the map)

I recommend eating outside of Old Town Dubrovnik (aka inside the fortress) because the restaurants are overpriced and touristy.

Bar Dodo
  • Konoba Dubrava Excellent local cuisine at great prices – Make sure to order seafood dishes – the coast is famous for their seafood. If you like wine try Plavac Mali, a local red. Also, zinfandel wine is from Croatia so it is worth trying. –
  • Dolce Vita – Best desserts in Dubrovnik –
  • Bar Dodo – Bar with swings that overlooks the cliffs –


Waterfalls at Plitvicka Jezera

There are two national parks that I recommend visiting, they are Plitvicka Jezera and National Park Krka. You can take a bus to both from Split or Zagreb but it will be a day trip for each one. I recommend Plitvicka Jezera over National Park Krka if you have to choose one. However, if you go to either one, I recommend using Wanderer Travel. They provide transportations, tickets, and a tour for a low price.

Naturally blue water at Plitvicka Jezera

If you’re also visiting Zagreb, check out our Zagreb guide and interactive map here

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