From Istria through Dalmatia, the Adriatic coast of Croatia presents many different urban jewels. From north to south, here are six of them that have the best mixtures of the old and modern for maximum charm.
A distinct highlight of the Istrian coast is Rovinj, a town that belonged to Italy to the recent times. The resemblance to Venice is quite obvious even for the first sight. The water is almost all around the houses and streets of the peninsula. You can also recognize the small boats and other romantic accessories of a Mediterranean coastal town.
Mooring is possible in ACI Marina Rovinj. From there, it’s only a few minutes’ walk to the old town, with its almost intact memories of the old times. The bell tower, the water fountain on the main square, or the Church of St. Euphemia is all unmissable.
Rovinj being a traditional fishing port offers a wide array of culinary pleasures in seafood. It is especially advised to try mussels! Or, you can to go to the daily market for fresh produce, and taste everything the sellers offer. You’ll surely have your belly full of olives, nuts, and fruits, followed by a healthy amount of wine or grappa.
The town in the mid-Dalmatian coast is best described as eclectic. Zadar belonged to so many empires it’s been left with a little bit of everything: Roman, Venetian, Austro-Hungarian, Italian. Its strategic location has made it a central commercial hub as well.
You can find some captivating sights while delve into the town’s history, like the Venetian port or the churches. For more mundane pleasures, dance in Club Podroom or Club Svarog.
Contemporary art is also to be found here, as relatively new attractions, which you can find at the waterfront. The Sea Organ is a unique architectural instrument, with its underwater tubes creating wonderful sounds from the waves while you sit on the marble steps above them.
The nearby Sun Salutation is created by the same architect, also with the aim to revitalize the waterfront area. After sunset, dozens of LED lights activate, and spectacularly transform the solar energy stored throughout the day into a dancefloor-like animation of lights.
Biograd na moru
What was head of the Croatian Kingdom in the Medieval times, is now a lovely coastal town, located between Zadar and Sibenik, mostly famous for being a holiday resort.
It is especially popular among sailors, for many reasons, the first of which is the welcoming weather conditions. Here, even the winter is mild enough to sail. The winds can be more harmful in some seasons, come the boras and sciroccos, but the spacious marinas provide fair enough shelter for the visitors coming from the sea. Biograd is also home to many regattas all year long.
Once on an island, this splendid town is now connected to the mainland, making it more and more a favorite among tourists. If you’re also looking for a place that is not so crowded and loud, Primosten is an excellent choice. Visiting yachts can moor basically anywhere, and there is also a marina to stay at.
The history of the town dates back to the Medieval times, with the street structures still preserved. So you can wander endlessly on the narrow streets, making even the hottest summer days refreshing. No matter what part of the town you begin from, your walk will include a stop at St. Juraj Church on top of the hill. You can take the most beautiful photos here, especially of the vineyards.
Somewhat contrary to the image of a quiet holiday town, Primosten also has the largest disco club in Dalmatia. Aurora is open only in high season, but then you won’t have any problems finding it. Just follow the noise and then make some yourself!
Located in southern Dalmatia, Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also known as Pearl of the Adriatic. Its old city walls, the view of the narrow streets, and that of the sea, make it look like a page from a fairy tale.
In the early nineties, during the Croatian “Homeland War”, it was severely damaged, but luckily to contemporary visitors, all major sites have since been renovated.
The major landmarks can be found in the Old Town, the part that is confined by the stone walls facing the sea. Start from the Pile Gate, on to the Big Onofrio fountain, and to the Orlando Column on Luza square. You can buy essential oil perfumes from a lady on Gundulic square. Along the way, you can also admire the many churches and palaces that
Dubrovnik has gained recent fame due to the Game of Thrones King’s Landing episode, so fans of the saga keep coming from all directions to pay their respect to the place. There is also a theme tour for the most devoted, visiting the scenes where the movie was filmed.
Despite being in many ways similar to Dubrovnik, nearby Cavtat is quite underrated, but it does have its own unique charm that makes it worth paying the quite pricey anchoring fee.
The town is full of Roman ruins and has a lovely waterfront and market, but the real surprise lies further along a small pathway that leads up to Cave Sipun. It has a large lake inside and an extraordinary ecosystem well worth preserving, but unfortunately, cannot be accessed by the public.
However, as the legend goes, the grotto was also home for a dragon named Voaz. This monster had been threatening the people of Cavtat until Saint Ilar came and burned him, with a little help from God. If nothing else, this story of a scary dragon and a divine intervention might motivate you to tour the cool pine forests around town.
If you are interested to visit some of this beautiful towns with sailing boat click here for more information about sailing possibilities.