The regions of modern Croatia reflect the country’s history of political fragmentation, and each region has a unique, complex identity and culture.
Hrvatsko Zagorje encompasses Croatia’s northwest region, extending from the northern River Sutla to the southern slopes of Medvednica and Zagreb. Varaždin and Krapina are also included within the bounds of Hrvatsko Zagorje.
Popular Hrvatsko Zagorje Destinations Include: Zagreb, Varaždin, Krapina.
Many Croats and travelers consider Slavonia frontier country. Slavonia embraces the far reaches of northeastern Croatia, covering the region between River Sava and Drava while bordering River Danube to the east. Overall, flat, fertile land marked by the Drava, Danuba, Sava and Ilova rivers characterize Slavonia.
Popular Slavonian Destinations Include: Osijek, Ilok, Kopački Rit Nature Park.
The heart-shaped peninsula known as Istria (Istra to Croats) brings continental Croatia into the northern Adriatic. Tourists have long-since found their way to the peninsula, and so Istria boasts of well-developed facilities. The rocky shorelines along the coast, or “Blue Istria,” feature paved beaches for the throngs of travelers. Secluded spots, rolling hills, and medieval settlements spot the interior “Green Istria.”
Popular Istrian Destinations Include: Pula, Rovinj, Poreč.
Gorski kotar (which translates to “mountain district”) consists of the mountainous region in central continental Croatia. The region runs between Rijeka and Karlovac and borders the Croatian regions of Kvarner and Lika. Dense forests coat the majority of the region, and Bjelolasica, Sneznik, Risnjak, Kapela, and Klek mountains spotting the region. Though the region is mountainous, the mountains themselves aren’t very high; Gorski kotar’s highest point can be found on Bjelolasica at 1534m.
Popular Gorski Kotar Destinations Include: Delnice, Begova Razdolje, Fužine, Skrad, Tršce, Bjelolasica.
The Kvarner Gulf lies in the northern region of the Croatian Adriatic, bordering mainland Croatia as well as Istria. Due to Kvarner’s close proximity to central and western Europe, its been a popular destination since the reign of the opulent Austro-Hungarian empire—a history that can still be seen in the Habsburg-era architecture that riddles places like Opatija and Rijeka.
Popular Kvarner Destinations Include: Opatija, Cres, Losinj, Susak, Krk, Pag, Rab, and Rijeca
Northern Dalmatia rarely snares the public eye, and it’s probably relegated to the back of your brochure. But who needs fame when northern Dalmatia is still flavored with everything southern Dalmatia is renowned for: sunny islands, Mediterranean cuisine, crystal blue waters, and towns laden with history.
Popular Northern Dalmatian Destinations Include: Zadar, Šibenik, Krka National Park, and Zrće Beach.
Central Dalmatia extends from Trogir to Ploče, along the southeastern part of mainland Croatia. Central Dalmatia’s an intoxicating blend of wild and raw beauty and urbane metropolitan adrenaline. Sitting in front of the Adriatic with the backdrop of the Dinaric mountain range, there are plenty of rugged mountain trails, secluded coves, and sun-drenched islands. With the capital of Split and Diocletian’s Palace as well as Hvar also sitting within Central Dalmatia, you can also get a taste of Dalmatia’s culturally and architecturally rich heritage.
Popular Central Dalmatian Destinations Include: Split, Hvar, Brač, Bol, Šolta, Vis, Makarska Riviera, Trogir, Kastela.
The southern tip of Dalmatia steals the spotlight for many travelers with its well-known hub of Dubrovnik. With Dubrovnik’s white flagstone streets and high ramparts, it’s a visual stunner, and Pelješac Peninsula’s vines and wines are bringing world wide renown. It would be easy to plan a trip to Croatia and be satisfied with southern Dalmatia alone, as the region can appeal to wine aficionados, Mediterranean beach bums, cuisine connoisseurs, and history lovers alike.
Popular Southern Dalmation Destinations Include: Pelješac Peninsula, Korčula, Mljet, Ston, Konavle Valley.