Due to its plethora of underwater inhabitants and colourful corals, Croatia has some fascinating marine-life to discover, especially around its many islands, like Hvar and the Pakleni Islands – all you need is a snorkel mask! In particular, the waters around Croatia are home to pen shells, which are a protected species of large saltwater clams. As well as these, there’s a colourful array of sea flora and fauna waiting to be discovered just below the water’s surface.
For an Adriatic adventure, head to Dubrovnik and hire a kayak for the day to explore the small archipelago of the Elaphite Islands, including Kolocep, Lopud, Ruda, Sipan, Jakljan and Mljek. Paddling around the clear waters, while overlooking the unspoilt countryside, is a great way to explore Croatia. Exploring by sea is a great way to discover countless hidden beaches, coves and caves along the route.
Cycling through the stunning countryside and picture-postcard villages is one of the best ways to experience the beauty of Croatia. One of the most popular cycling spots is Istria, where you can discover miles and miles of rolling hills and bending roads. The south is the place to go if it’s a gentle cycle you’re after, or head to the north of Istria to experience more mountainous terrain. Although the trails are more difficult here, the views you’ll witness will more than reward you for your hard work with spectacular hilltops and coastal scenes.
The calm, blue waters around Croatia are a great place to take a dip and cool off from the Mediterranean sunshine at no cost at all. There are many hidden swimming spots along the coast that are worth visiting. The island of Lastova, for example, is beautiful, boasting a variety of concealed beaches that can be reached only by swimming! These tranquil stretches of shore are a must for those looking to experience the true beauty of south Dalmatia.
The Paklenica National Park is a fantastic place for exploring on foot, especially around the well-known river canyons of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica, which offer stunning vistas over the park below. With over 200km of trails and paths for all abilities of hikers, Paklenica is packed with caves, high peaks and wild terrain for all levels – all you’ll need is a pair of comfortable walking boots and a map.
Go diving at one of the fantastic diving sites in Croatia for some underwater thrills. Just off the island of Hvar, for example, you’ll find a Greek cargo shipwreck that dates all the way back to the Roman era. This shipwreck is a great place to check out both the marine–life and the many ancient artefacts under the sea. Another top diving spot is the Te Vega underwater sea lake that’s located just off the island of Susac and can be reached only via an underwater tunnel – it’s a must for diving daredevils!
Hire a catamaran for the day and catch a steady breeze around the Dalmatian Islands off the Croatian coast. Sail around Agana and head north to discover the remote and beautiful islands in the area, before exploring medieval cities, sleepy fishing villages and breath-taking beaches along your way. A sailing trip at sunset is truly spectacular – there’s nothing quite like watching the sun set behind the incandescent Mediterranean Sea.
The landscapes in Croatia are ideal for climbing as the surrounding mountains are full of difficult edges, perfect for avid climbers to conquer. Top climbing areas include the Paklenica National Park, which has over 340 routes of good quality limestone rock. The Velebit mountain range in the Dinaric Alps, which is the largest mountain range in the country, is also a great choice for climbing enthusiasts.
The Croatian national parks are ideal for mountain biking due to their challenging terrain, with many steep inclines and thrilling downhills to enjoy. Additionally, there are plenty of places to hire a mountain bike for a great price, so there’s no reason not to explore this enchanting country on two wheels. Weave in and out of shaded forest and vineyards as you tackle the Papuk Geopark in the east of Croatia. Cover the whole park with altitudes ranging from 200 to 953 meters, and don’t forget to pack your camera to capture the spectacular panoramic views over the lush landscape below.
Rich in rapids and small waterfalls, the Mreznica River is a great place for some gentle rafting. Alternatively, if you’re looking to tackle some rougher rapids, head to the River Kupa in the mountainous north-west – it will certainly test your rafting ability. To experience the natural beauty of Croatia, as well as river rapids, enjoy the beautiful environment of the Dobra River, surrounded by lush vegetation and rolling hills.
Enjoying an holiday in Croatia this summer doesn’t have to break the bank, there are plenty of things for active travellers to do for less. So, what are you waiting for?