Which Of The Croatia Provinces Should You Travel To?
If you compare Croatia to the United States by size, the US is 174 times larger than Croatia. But while Croatia may seem small to us Americans, the country is home to a large variety of activities, adventures and fascinating places to explore. So much so, that when you come to plan your vacation to Croatia, you might see the variety of what the country has to offer and wonder how it will be possible to fit everything into a 2-week itinerary.
So, to make things a little easier for you when planning your next vacation to Croatia, let’s take a look at the different states in Croatia and what each of these regions has to offer.
Discovering the charming provinces of Croatia
Croatia’s provinces have been sculpted over time through historical and cultural divides which has resulted in each having its own unique characteristics.
So how many states are there in Croatia? Officially, there are 5 provinces which span the country. These are Dalmatia, Kvarner, Central Croatia, Istria, and Slavonia.
Throughout this guide, we’ll be exploring each of these traditional regions. Join us as we take you on a journey to explore their diverse landscapes, and uncover their unique charms and hidden treasures. This way you can make the most of your vacation by staying in the Croatian province that best suits your holiday plans.
Located in the northwest region of Croatia, the province of Istria is known for its captivating blend of natural beauty, ancient history, and delectable cuisine. If you enjoy a real sense of variety in your vacation itinerary, then Istria is one of the best places to stay out of all of the Croatia provinces.
Most famous for its stunning coastline with hidden coves and diverse range of beaches including various sandy and pebbly shores, many tourists flock to this region every year to enjoy the Mediterranean weather and crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Whilst relaxing by the beach may be the ideal vacation activity, some prefer their plans to include a little bit more activity. Thankfully, Istria is home to several historic towns that showcase a blend of different historical influences, the most popular being Pula. Pula has a rich ancient history, having once been part of the Roman empire. It is the largest city in Istria and is extremely loved by tourists for its well-preserved Roman amphitheater, the Pula Arena. In fact, it is the best preserved Roman colosseum outside of Italy.
If this wasn’t enough to persuade you, Istria also has a lot to offer when you explore further inland. Travelers can explore the rolling hills, luscious vineyards, and olive groves which create a serene and idyllic atmosphere. The region is also famous for its connection to truffles and even hosts an annual festival connected to this divine delicacy. Travelers can take a swing at truffle hunting and sample truffle-infused dishes in the town of Motovun.
Highlights: Motovun, Pula, Rovinj, and Poreč
Considering a visit to the Croatian province of Istra? Get in touch with our travel experts to create a custom tour around the Istria region.
Traveling southwards from Istria, we get to the province of Kvarner – a region of dramatic natural beauty, where the Adriatic Sea meets the towering peaks of the Dinaric Alps. The region is home to many of the famous Croatian islands such as Krk, Cres, Losinj, and Rab.
These islands are incredibly popular with tourists and it is no wonder when they offer fantastic vacation activities like swimming, water sports and unforgettable sightseeing opportunities. With crystal-clear waters, secluded beaches, and charming coastal villages, you can’t miss a trip to Croatia without stopping off at one of these beautiful islands.
One of the biggest highlights of this region is the town of Opatija. A popular holiday spot in the 1900s, this town is renowned for its elegant Austro-Hungarian architecture, boasting a range of modern and historical buildings. Travelers can also enjoy walking through its vast array of lush parks and along the beautiful promenade found on its coast.
Highlights: Krk, Cres, Opatija, and Lošinj
Want to explore the Croatia province of Kvarner? Speak to our Croatia travel specialists to book a tour around this glorious region.
Continuing south on our tour of Croatia, you will stumble across the sunshine province of Dalmatia. This region is truly a spectacular destination, full of breathtaking natural sights, stunning coastal views and lively cities full of charming local restaurants, bars and well-preserved medieval architecture, ancient ruins, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The area offers a perfect blend of everything tourists enjoy, making it the perfect spot for history buffs, nature lovers and food enthusiasts alike. You can’t find a better region in Croatia for appeasing all the family’s preferences when booking your vacation.
Whilst the historic cities of Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar are near the top of most Croatia travelers’ bucket lists, there is much more to explore in this region. By chartering a private charter, you can expand your travels to discover some of the islands surrounding islands such as Hvar, Brač, Korčula and Vis where you can take a day trip to see one of the best caves in Croatia – the spectacular Blue Cave.
Expect scenic landscapes, quaint fishing villages, and a relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere throughout the islands. Make sure to visit Hvar, Brač, Korčula, Vis, and Pag.
Still, need more persuading? The province of Dalmatia is home to some of the best quality wines in the world which are produced from indigenous grape varieties – something you must try on your visit. Or if you’re traveling during the summer months, why not attend a summer festival? Dalmatia hosts a variety of cultural events and festivals throughout the year, the most famous of which is the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
Book a place on our Best of the Dalmatian Coast tour to see all these highlights and much more!
Highlights: Diocletian’s Palace, Dubrovnik’s Old Town and Krka National Park
For this province, we are taking a trip away from the coast to explore a little bit of Croatia’s inland area. Located in the northeastern part of the country, Slavonia is the place to go if you’re looking for an authentic Croatian experience away from the large tourist crowds. Full of rolling plains and charming rural villages, the province is famous for its agricultural significance within Croatia.
For those who enjoy a refreshing glass of white wine, you won’t find a white fresher than in the region of Slavonia. Croatia is home to some of the best wines around, but this province has a long tradition of wine production, with The Graševina grape variety being the most prominently found here. A trip to Slavonia would not be complete without a visit to some of its renowned vineyards and wineries, where you can have a taste of its wide range of high-quality wines.
This area has a distinct traditional culture that is deeply rooted in folklore, music, and dance – something you won’t find as prominent anywhere else in Croatia. To witness this firsthand, why not plan a trip to some of the traditional festivals hosted here such as the Đakovački vezovi in Đakovo.
Highlights: Đakovo, Osijek, Kopacki Rit Nature Park and Vinkovci
The final part of our nation-wide adventure leaves us right in the heart of Croatia, also known as the province of Central Croatia. Here you can find the capital city Zagreb, a city that perfectly combines medieval architecture with bustling modern energy. The city offers a vibrant cultural scene and is the location for one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, in the form of Advent Zagreb.
Ensure you make time to visit some of its popular attractions such as the energetic Upper Town, St. Mark’s Church, Zagreb Cathedral, and the best museums and galleries scattered around the city.
To make the most out of your stay in the province of Central Croatia, we would recommend venturing to one of Croatia’s national parks, Plitvice Lakes National Park. The area has become a popular tourist destination due to its array of emerald-green lakes, stunning cascading waterfalls, and lush forests; all of which make the trip worthwhile.
For something a little more laid-back, you can also explore some of the quaint towns around the bustling capital such as the charming town of Samobor. A town well-known for its picturesque streets, Baroque architecture and a divine local delicacy called “kremšnite” which is a cream-filled cake so delicious that your mouth will water just at the memory of it.
For a destination that combines rugged natural beauty, historical sites, and cultural experiences – then look no further than this Croatia province. Book a tour to Central Croatia with travel specialists today.
Highlights: Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Trakošćan Castle and Varaždin
And that concludes our journey through Croatia’s provinces! If you’re wanting to explore these diverse tapestries of landscapes, history, and culture firsthand, then what are you waiting for? Get in touch to book one of our pre-planned private tours to Croatia or start planning your custom vacation with our team today.