Despite its small size (it only has 56.594 km2), Croatia has many wonders which will certainly seduce you with its beauties. But besides the famous Adriatic pearl called Dubrovnik, vivid Split that beautifully combines ancient times with modern twists, the capital city of Zagreb, Zrće and its crazy parties, chic Hvar and its jet-setting party reputation, and other places that are quite popular with the tourists and visitors, there are many more small towns, hidden attractions, isolated islands, and crazy-beautiful beaches which are perfect for relaxing, exploring, and enjoying.
In order to introduce you to these hidden gems, we are bringing you a list of the 11 offbeat places which are definitely worthy of your attention!
Croatia Off the beaten path
11 Hidden Gems in Croatia
Croatian Uplands (Zagorje) | Fairytale locations
This is actually an entire region. Croatian Uplands present a beautiful cultural and historical region that is known for its beautiful forests, fields, and vineyards. Zagorje is often referred to as the fairytale – it has everything that a beautiful story needs to have, from forests, castles, manors, and museums to the thermal springs, churches, trails, vineyards, wine routes, amazingly delicious food, and people who can’t wait to tell you all the stories and legends which were passed on from generation to the generation.
For a historic tour, visit Castle Trakošćan and Court Veliki Tabor. If you want to get away from heat, find your relaxation in Krapinske Toplice (thermal springs), while your kids will be thrilled to visit a Park of Science or the Krapina Neanderthal Museum! Besides those, Zagorje is perfect for roads trips and exploring by bike, while its traditional cuisine will seduce all your senses – mlinci, štrukli, roasted meat, sausages, pork rinds, and more, accompanied with nice wine nuances, will certainly contribute to your vacation experience!
Rastoke | Croatia off the beaten path
Rastoke is a picturesque place and one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Croatia. It may not be as famous as Plitvice Lakes (which are crowded through the entire year, especially during spring and summer), but Rastoke is a charming little village with authentic heritage and many small lakes, rapids, and waterfalls. Quite a place! Rastoke is often referred to as Little Lakes and a grand entrance for Plitvice Lakes.
But the village has its own beauties, authentic and traditional architecture, and breathtaking nature. And sometimes, you can see fairies wandering through the village. A true fairytale!
Papuk | Ideal for hikes and nature lovers
If you’re a fan of adventures, Papuk is a perfect place for you. This mountain is a Nature Park, and it is characterized by beautiful green forests, ridges, bays, rich vegetation, flora and fauna, and spring waters, and thanks to those factors, Papuk is a great place for developing mountain tourism.
The mountain also has the first arranged rock for free rock climbing in Slavonia, as well as the paragliding airfield. Besides, to spend a vacation in a small house surrounded by the forest – is there anything more relaxing than that?
Unique places to visit in Croatia
Labin | Croatia hidden gems
Istria has many must-visit (and too crowded) places to visit, but in case you’re looking for its hidden gem, visit Labin. The city has an old town with picturesque stone-paved streets located on a hilltop and a new town that has many small shops, services, and more, located at the bottom of the hill.
Labin is an oasis for wandering and enjoying those ancient vibes, while your soul, body, and mind will truly find their relaxation and peace.
Hum | Smallest town in the world
Speaking of Istria, make sure to visit Hum, the smallest town in the world! This town is perfect for your one-afternoon trip and visit. Hum is a memorial city, and it is one of the few preserved examples of urban development within the city walls. Besides, the city is known as the city of Biska, a brandy made with mistletoe.
Hum may be small, but it surely is worthy of everyone’s attention!
Tisno is a quiet picturesque town – a part of it is located on the mainland (small peninsula), while the other part is located on the island of Murter. The town has beautiful Dalmatian stone houses, narrow streets, and amazing squares, while numerous restaurants offer traditional dishes and modern events.
Besides, there are many beaches for just lounging around and relaxing away from the crowds and the hustle!
This small town is located in inland Dalmatia on the northern side of the Biokovo massif. Imotski is a historic town hidden away from the tourist crowds. Besides its urban beauty, it has 2 beautiful lakes, the Blue Lake and the Red Lake, and a unique river called Vrljika – well, the river goes under 5 more names along with its 70 km flow and length and it is perfect for a canoe safari.
Vis is one of those beautiful, isolated islands that has untouched nature and breathtaking views over the Adriatic Sea. Vis is the island where the time has stopped. You can feel fjaka (psychophysical state when striving for nothing, a sublime state of mind and body), ancient spirits, and vibes, and meet the beautiful cultural and historical heritage of the island.
Vis and Komiža have open cinemas, which are perfect for those summer starry nights, the inland has many small villages and vineyards, while the sea that surrounds the island is an amazing destination for exploring the sea depths. Oh, and while visiting, make sure to taste Viška and Komiška pogača.
Those dishes are the trademarks of the gastronomy of the island – Komiška pogača presents a homemade bread filled with salted anchovies, tomato sauce, oregano, olives, parsley, onion, and olive oil. Viška pogač is the same bread but minus tomato sauce!
Pelješac is a beautiful Croatian peninsula that has many small villages, towns, and breathtaking sights, but what makes it perfect to get on this list of hidden gems is Pelješac’s amazing (and hidden) beaches!
Pelješac is known as the place of wine and amazingly delicious seafood (oysters are a must!), but besides those unique gastronomy experiences (and stunning cultural and historical heritage), it has great beaches which will give you a beautiful feeling of true serenity.
The beach Jezero can be reached only by boat, and it is a heaven on earth. Mokalo is one of the most beautiful small beaches on the Adriatic coast with a stunning view on the island of Korčula, while Viganj is a large pebble beach, and it is a paradise for surfers and adventures.
Discover some Lesser-known Croatia Spots
Some of the best places to avoid crowds in Croatia and enjoy a beautiful holiday in the Balkans
Orebić | Charming and Relaxing
Speaking of Pelješac, Orebić is one of the towns on this peninsula that is perfect as a summer destination. This small and charming town is a relaxed place where you can hike, rock climb, explore, and simply enjoy being outdoors. There are numerous restaurants located right next to the sea with gorgeous views over Korčula and the Adriatic.
There, you can taste world-class seafood, especially mussels and oysters. Oh, and you can visit some of the wineries and enjoy wine tastings, as well as local cheese and olive oil! Orebić is the cradle of naval captains, and it has a maritime museum where you can meet the secrets of the old sea wolves.
We’re not talking about the town of Korčula (even though it is a breathtaking place), but about the island and its small coves, villages, and towns – Prižba, Blato, Žrnovo, Vela Luka, and Prigradica, beaches Žitna, Čavića, Pupnatska Luka, Bačva, Pavja Luka, and more. Korčula is an amazing island with breathtaking beaches, small towns, stone-paved streets, delicious gastronomy, and tasty wines.
Quite a perfect destination for all those who are looking for a hedonistic vacation. Besides relaxing, you can always explore Vela Spila, one of the most important prehistoric archaeological localities in Europe, admire the longest mosaic in the world or even make a mosaic yourself, explore small towns and villages or the beauty of Kočje, or simply indulge in traditional specialities such as octopus salad, grilled fish, risotto, and more.
Croatia off the beaten path
And these are 11 offbeat places that are perfect for a summer vacation! For some of the places you probably already heard – but unlike the rest of the Croatian beauties, they do not have mass tourism, especially the coves, smaller towns, and some isolated islands. Even though their beauty may be known, they are still perfect for relaxing far away from the crowds and hustles.
We covered every Croatian region to offer you the possibility of choosing the perfect destination, but of course, there are many more places that certainly deserve your attention – but I will let you discover them! Now, get settle and start exploring, the hidden games are right around the corner! And if you want to learn more about the Croatian gastronomy scene, visit the site KitchenToast!
Written by Ana – Kitchen Toast