Territory

Wonders of Croatia

Plitvice Lakes in Croatia
Plitvice Lakes in Croatia / Bart Dubelaar, / SA BY-SA 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

The natural and cultural heritage of Croatia is diverse and very charming.

The most amazing wonders of Croatia are:

  • The ancient, beautiful Dalmatian seaside cities and towns;
  • The diverse karst formations – waterfalls with tufa formations, sinkholes, caves, springs, canyons.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Croatia

Geological wonders

Plitvice Lakes

Lika-Senj

A unique, picturesque group of some 20 blue-green lakes arranged in a chain over the distance of 8 km, divided by natural dams of tufa. Tufa formation process is active, it forms by joint geological and biological processes. The stream between the lakes has multiple waterfalls, some up to 80 m tall.

Crveno Jezero (Red Lake)

Split-Dalmatia

One of the most impressive sinkholes in the world: a deep shaft with a lake at the bottom. Total depth of sinkhole is some 530 m, it contains 280 – 290 m deep lake with endemic fish.

Crveno Jezero sinkhole, lake
Skradinski Buk

Šibenik-Knin

Group of impressive waterfalls over tufa dams. Over 400 m length there are 17 waterfalls, height difference of 47.7 m.

Modro Jezero – Blue Lake

Split-Dalmatia

A giant collapse structure – sinkhole. Its depth is 290 m. At the bottom for the most part of the year is seen deep blue lake – a popular swimming place.

Modro Jezero (Croatia) from above. Seen the road built for the visit of Emperor Frantz Joseph I

Biological wonders

Vindija Cave

Varaždin

Cave with an impressive, enormous entrance. Contains some of the best-preserved remnants of Neanderthal man who lived here 30,000 years ago. Remnants of Neanderthal from this cave were used in the Neanderthal genome project.

Vindija Cave in Croatia, abode of Neanderthals

Archaeological wonders

Pula Arena

Istria

One of the six largest surviving Roman amphitheaters in the world, exceptionally well preserved and located in a beautiful setting with the sea in the background. Built in 27 – 68 AD.

Pula Arena, Croatia

Architecture wonders

The walled city of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik-Neretva

One of the most outstanding and beautiful medieval cities worldwide. This Dalmatian city is at least 1,300 years old, developed as an important center of international trade. The walled city from three sides is surrounded by sea and is densely built up with numerous historical buildings such as Gothic-Renaissance Sponza Palace, Rectors Palace, the small Renaissance St.Saviours church, and many other valuable buildings. The 2 km long fortification walls around the city have been well preserved.

Dubrovnik walled city, Croatia
Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč

Istria

The best-preserved early Christian cathedral complex in the world, a unique example of church architecture from the 5th – 6th century AD. Here have been preserved all the buildings of cathedral complex since these ancient times. Especially valuable are mosaics from the 5th century AD. The belltower was built in the 16th century AD.

Interior of Poreč Euphrasian Basilica, Croatia
Ston and Mali Ston with fortifications of Pelješac peninsula

Dubrovnik-Neretva

Unique monument of medieval urban planning. Two medieval villages on both sides of the Pelješac peninsula, connected with an ancient fortification wall. A defensive wall was erected by the Ragusa Republic in thirty years time after 1358, mainly for the protection of the valuable Ston salt pans. After the completion of the wall at both ends of it were built two small fortified towns – Ston and Mali Ston. These villages housed the guards of the wall. Length of walls – 5.5 km, they are protected by 40 towers and 5 forts.

Historical centre of Trogir

Split-Dalmatia

Ancient Greek colony, established in the 3rd c. BC, in Roman times, turned into a major port. The ancient city was ruined by Saracens in 1123, in medieval times it became an important trade port again. Nowadays the old city (located on a fortified island) contains one of the richest collections of Romanesque and Gothic architecture in this region. Street network inherited from the times of Greek colony.

Trogir, Croatia
Historical center of Split and Palace of Diocletian

Split-Dalmatia

Approximately 1,700 years old Dalmatian city. The core consists of the best-preserved imperial residence of Ancient Rome that was built by retired emperor Diocletian in AD 293-305. This unique urban monument consists of a palace, Mausoleum, Temple of Jupiter, gates, and other structures. The planning of Split since then has followed this Roman pattern.

Zagreb Cathedral

City of Zagreb

Beautiful, white Gothic cathedral, the tallest building in Croatia (108 m). Construction started in 1093, first church destroyed in 1242, rebuilt in Gothic style.

Dubrovnik Synagogue

Dubrovnik-Neretva

The oldest Sefardic synagogue in use in the world, second oldest synagogue in Europe. Established in 1352, still serves for worship.

Historical city of Motovun

Istria

Small medieval town on the site of prehistoric hillfort. Town is located on hilltop and overlooks Istrian peninsula. Preserved medieval walls, many valuable Romanesque-Gothic buildings, unusual city planning.

Zmajeva špilja (Drakonjina špilja)

Split-Dalmatia

A natural cave, the hermitage of Glagolitic monks from the 15th century. The cave is adorned with unusual carvings of mythical beings including a dragon, as well as ancient cult symbols. Site of legends about werewolves, witches.

Trogir Cathedral of St.Lawrence

Split-Dalmatia

Exceptional building built in Romanesque-Gothic style and later styles in the 1213 – 1600s. Archaic interior. Church has beautiful Romanesque portal made by sculptor Radovan.

Historical centre of Zadar

Zadar

Ancient seaside city with urban structure and remnants of buildings (impressive Roman forum) from the Roman times. Fortified in the times of Venetian republic, built up with beautiful Gothic and Renaissance architecture.

Medieval centre of Varaždin and Varaždin castle

Varaždin

Possibly the most impressive medieval city in continental Croatia. The city together with the fortress in the middle of it was developed in the early 13th century. Capital of Croatia in the 18th century. Varaždin castle belongs to the most impressive ones in Croatia.

Trakošćan Castle

Varaždin

Beautiful, large castle, initially built in the 13th century, rebuilt in the 19th century in Romantic style.

Visovac Monastery

Šibenik-Knin

Catholic monastery built in island in Visovac lake. Established in the 14th century, new buildings built in the 18th century. Contains many valuable items like incunabuna of Aesop’s fables from 1487.

Historical center of Korčula

Dubrovnik-Neretva

Beautiful walled Dalmatian medieval city covering small sea island divided from the mainland by a row. Street planning in herringbone form. Built mainly in the 16th century. Includes valuable Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of St. Mark (1301-1806) and beautiful Franciscan monastery from the 15th century and many more valuable buildings.

Historical center of Poreč

Istria

Historical seaside city located on a picturesque peninsula with numerous buildings in Venetian Renaissance style. Street network of the old town has been inherited since the Roman times.

Stari Grad Plain

Split-Dalmatia

Hvar island for the most part consists of limestone cliffs and Stari Grad Plain here is an untypical fertile area. Since the early 4th century BC nearly intact here has been preserved the ancient Greek agricultural landscape with division in parcels (chora) by stone walls and ancient paths. This picturesque agricultural landscape still is used as 2,500 years ago.

Šibenik James Cathedral (Katedrala Sv. Jakova)

Region

Description

Velki Tábor castle (Veliki Tabor)

Krapina-Zagorje

Well preserved, impressive castle from the 12th – 16th century AD. Arcade in inner yard in Renaissance style.

WorldYellow Recommended books

A Traveller’s History of Croatia


Anyone who has glimpsed the long, mountainous, island-studded Dalmatian coast would surely agree that its beauty is a little short of divine. Croatia, quite simply, is blessed with some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet, and its history is equally captivating. A Traveller’s History of Croatia offers tourists and travelers an inside look at how the country’s cultural fusion of Mediterranean, Central European, and Balkan influences has given it a tumultuous past.

The Rough Guide to Croatia


The Rough Guide to Croatia is the ultimate travel guide to one of Mediterranean Europe’s most beautiful and unspoiled countries. With over a thousand islands, clear blue waters, inland waterfalls, stylish cities, Roman remains and medieval towns, Croatia packs a punch far above its size.


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