Croatia Holidays – find the cheapest deals at Holidayguru.ie!
Crystal-clear waters, hidden coves and the famous Plitvice Lakes – those are usually the first things that come to mind when people mention Croatia. This beautiful country by the Adriatic Coast is a true jewel in the crown when it comes to sun holidays. Yet Croatia has so much more to offer than just beaches and Mediterranean climates. With ancient, terracotta-topped cities that can trace their origins back to the Ancient Romans and towns boasting magnificent Venetian churches, there’s plenty of history and culture to discover in destinations such as Dubrovnik, Split or Pula. And don’t get me started on island hopping in Croatia – all along the country’s long coastline you’ll find breathtaking little islands strewn across the glistening waters of the Adriatic that offer idyllic views and pristine nature.
If you’re worried that all of the hullabaloo surrounding Game of Thrones has propelled Dubrovnik and Croatia out of your budget, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that I’m often coming across some brilliant deals for cheap holidays to Croatia. Whether it’s a mini-break spent exploring the historic streets of Rovinj or a week lapping up some luxury by the sea, I’m always looking out for a fantastic variety of holiday packages to multiple destinations across Croatia!
Booking a holiday to Croatia and when to visit
If you’re looking to experience the magic of Croatia yet are worried your budget won’t stretch far enough, then there are a few little tricks you can learn which will make it much easier to find cheaper holiday packages. The summer is Croatia’s high season – while the weather is absolutely magnificent, the crowds will be at their largest. Unfortunately what that means for us is that flights are very expensive and hotels are usually booked out, especially in more popular destinations such as Dubrovnik or Hvar. If you want to avail of cheaper prices yet still be able to enjoy the mild climates of the Mediterranean, then I recommend visiting in either spring or autumn. Temperatures are still much more favourable compared to those at home, and the crowds will be much more manageable. I often find that it’s easy to find last-minute package deals to destinations such as Pula and Split in the autumn, and as airlines are looking to flog off their remaining seats on their last flights of the year it gets much easier to find cheap flights to Croatia.
To help you plan the perfect holiday, I’ve written an in-depth guide about the best time to visit Croatia, which provides comprehensive information about climates, weather and temperatures.
Where to go in Croatia – the top destinations
With such an incredibly long coastline, it can be hard to know where to visit at first glance! Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a handy list of the best places to visit to visit in Croatia to help make your mind up and find the perfect destination to suit you.
Dubrovnik – the pearl of the Adriatic
A man named George Bernard Shaw once said “those who are looking for paradise on Earth should come and see Dubrovnik.” Well, I can tell you he’s not wrong there! After having been catapulted to stardom by Game of Thrones, Dubrovnik is now one of the most popular and sought-after destinations in Croatia, if not Europe as a whole. The views of its walled Old Town jutting out into the Adriatic are some of the most iconic going, and the golden sandstone and orange terracotta contrasts perfectly with the turquoise waters. It’s a looker alright!
The city of Dubrovnik itself offers plenty of history and culture, which you can get a feel for as you explore the maze of narrow cobblestone streets. But beachgoers will also get their money’s worth here – the Dubrovnik Riviera, which stretches for around 21km down to the village of Cavtat, encapsulates what it is that makes a holiday to Croatia so magical. Tiny, picturesque villages such as Srebreno, Mlini and Kupari feature lovely little beaches and coves fringed with fragrant pine trees. A little slice of paradise indeed!
Split – Croatia’s second city & the island gateway
With a population of just under 200,000 people, Split is a majestic seaside city with a rich, long history that dates back to the days of Ancient Romans. The magnificent Diocletian’s Palace (also featured in Game of Thrones!) is the city’s principle landmark; its spire dominates the skyline. The Cathedral of Saint Domnius is another Ancient Roman gem. When you’re not too busy scoping out all of the history, why not take a leisurely stroll along the promenade? Fringed with swaying palm trees, you’ll be able to catch gorgeous views of the city.
Should the prices in Dubrovnik be too steep, Split is a fantastic alternative if you don’t mind going for a larger city. Split’s bustling harbour is also the starting point for many ferries to the nearby islands of Hvar, Brac, Korcula and Vis, to name but a few. With that in mind, Split is the ideal starting point for island hopping in Croatia!
Pula – the gateway to Istria
Situated in the northern end of the coastline, Pula is another beautiful city with a wealth of history on offer. How about scoping out the Pula Arena, a huge Roman amphitheatre large enough to rival the Colosseum in Rome? Or why not pop your head round in the Temple of Augustus, built some time between 27BC and 14AD? There are plenty of things to see and do in Pula, yet the history isn’t the only ace up its sleeve.
The city is also the gateway to the wider region of Istria as a whole. Having been under the rule of the Venetian Empire for quite some time, you can definitely notice the influence in the architecture and even the local culture here (a small minority speak Italian to this day). In Rovinj, a gorgeous little town with brightly coloured townhouses, the Church of St. Euphemia feature a distinct spire that wouldn’t look out of place in Venice. The tiny little hilltop village of Motovun looks like it was plucked straight out of the heart of Tuscany, and the 500-strong village is home to Croatia’s best olive oil!
Hvar – the perfect island escape
Situated in a breathtaking natural harbour, the little town of Hvar is usually the first port of call for people going island hopping in Croatia. Seeing all of the yachts anchored up in the little marina and admiring the swaying palms definitely adds that touch of luxury to the atmosphere here. And of course the island of Hvar as a whole is home to some seriously pretty little gems just waiting to be discovered. Stari Grad, situated in the heart of the island, is actually one of the oldest towns in all of Croatia. Its natural harbour has been sheltering seafarers and sailors since 384BC.
The Makarska Riviera – where mountains meet the sea
Follow the H8 motorway from Split towards the south-east and you’ll eventually reach the beautiful Makarska Riviera, a string of delightful little towns and beaches that are squeezed in between the glistening waters of the Adriatic and the towering Biokovo mountains. This region is a bit of a hidden gem, so if you’re looking to enjoy some of the best beaches in Croatia without having to put up with too many crowds, then you can’t go wrong here. The mountainous backdrop will take your breath away and you’ll absolutely adore the little beaches tucked away in hidden coves. The sound of waves gently breaking, the scent of fragrant pine trees and the warmth of the sun… It’s a simple 3-step recipe for happiness!
Island hopping – the best islands to visit in Croatia
It’s not just the mainland that draws in holidaymakers looking to soak up those Mediterranean vibes. In fact one of the country’s main draw are its beautiful, verdant islands, strewn across the entirety of its coastline. Here are some of the favourites amongst holidaymakers!
I’ve already mentioned Hvar, but it goes without saying that this is one of the most popular islands and a great starting place for an island hopping tour – so I just had to mention it here again as well. The island avails of excellent ferry connections from Split, and the island also features plenty of little harbours and marinas to dock up at should you be making your own way around.
Historic seaside towns and views of the Biokovo mountain over on the mainland – it’s easy to see why Korčula draws so many visitors eager to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It may be the second-most populated island, but the atmosphere is still wonderfully relaxed. It’s a great place to go should you fancy learning more about the local wine-making traditions and visiting some of the many vineyards.
Another popular stop on any island hopping itinerary in Croatia, Mljet is a true little haven. Enjoying protection as part of the Mljet National Park, the island boasts pristine forests and the waters surrounding its many coves and bays are bursting with diverse marine life. You’ll find regular connections from Dubrovnik – while you’re on the island, be sure to sample some of the local goat’s cheeses and olives!
Famous for the Golden Horn, a dramatic beach that juts out into the Adriatic, Brač is another must on your island itinerary. But the Golden Horn isn’t the only ace up its sleeve. Vitus’ Mount is the largest mountain on any of the Croatian islands, giving you a fantastic vantage point from the top. The towns here are built from the brilliant white limestone that makes up the island, with picturesque towns such as Pucisca and Supetar dotted along the idyllic coasts.
With a nickname like “The Happy Island”, you know you can’t go wrong with Rab! One of the island’s main draws is its beautiful island capital (also called Rab), famous for its four historic spires that rise up from the terracotta rooftops below. As well as its rich history and pretty beaches, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for for the so-called ribarska večer, or “fisherman’s nights” in English. Freshly caught fish will be prepared and served along with local wines and produce such as cheeses and olives. These are a real community event, and should you fancy really getting stuck into local culture, this is the best way to do so.
Find the best Croatia holiday deals at Holidayguru.ie
As you can probably tell, Croatia is an absolutely breathtaking place to visit and definitely a place that everyone should experience at some point in their lives. Be sure to keep checking back to this page as I’ll be sharing cheap holidays to various destinations in Croatia as and when I find them. Whether it’s a luxury 4* escape to Split or a spot of sightseeing in Dubrovnik, there’ll be a fantastic variety of holiday offers to suit budgets of all shapes and sizes.