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Unveiling All of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia - Cathedral of Saint James in Šibenik
1 Dec

Unveiling All of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia

Croatia is a country full of majestic wonders, from its stunning natural beauty to its ancient cities that capture historic moments in time. With so many fascinating sites, and exceptional, flavorsome cuisine, it’s no wonder why this European destination is becoming all the more popular with tourists every year.

And to top this all off, it is also home to a collection of incredible World Heritage sites that have been assigned by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for their historical and/or cultural significance. What more could you want from your holiday? Great food, wine, beaches, nature and history all wrapped in one beautiful location. You can sign us up!

To ensure you make the most of the stunning historical and cultural significance of Croatia on your next vacation, we’re taking you on a tour of the different UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia. Here we explain where you can find them and showcase what makes them so appealing for visitors to Croatia!

What are the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia?

To briefly explain this, UNESCO World Heritage Sites are locations assigned by UNESCO for their ‘outstanding universal value to humanity’. Chosen locations tend to be completely unique and hold some sort of cultural or historical significance to the lands in which they reside. Famous global sites include the Pyramids of Egypt and the Taj Mahal in India. 

How many UNESCO World Heritage Sites are in Croatia?

There are almost 1,200 UNESCO World Heritage Sites listed across the world, of which there are ten Croatia World Heritage Sites currently in existence. While there are a few locations which are still under consideration for being listed, as of writing this the number of UNESCO sites in Croatia stands at ten.

Now that we know how many UNESCO World Heritage Sites are in Croatia, let’s get into what they are and where you can find them throughout the country: 

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the oldest (and most popular) UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia. It originally made the list back in 1979 due to its natural significance. The National Park offers a diverse landscape full of turquoise lakes and waterfalls, as well as unique wildlife and fauna all in one compact yet diverse biome. Every year, tourists from all over the world come to witness the beauty of Plitvice Lakes National Park and hike its spectacular trails. 

To visit Croatia World Heritage Sites on your vacation, including an excursion to Plitvice Lakes National Park, speak to our travel experts today. 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia - Plitvice Lakes National Park

The historic city of Trogir

The city of Trogir is one of the most fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia, boasting a range of preserved ancient structures, including buildings from the Renaissance, baroque and Romanesque periods.

The town can be found on a small island situated between Split and the island of Čiovo. It is easily accessible by car, as it has a bridge connecting the island to the mainland of Croatia. All around the town, you can see remains of its long-spanning history, from its large city walls to delightful castles, cathedrals and cobblestone streets. The most famous tourist spot is Kamerlengo Fortress – a must-stop location for a first-timers trip to Trogir.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia - The historic city of Trogir

Dubrovnik Old Town

If you’re looking for more historic Croatia World Heritage Sites then look no further than the city of Dubrovnik. Located in the city center lies the Old Town with its perfectly preserved city walls (which surround the old part of the city) and its iconic terracotta-roofed building. 

Full of charm and vibrant color, it’s no wonder why this incredible city has made the UNESCO World Heritage list. Travelers will recognise some of its more famous landmarks as filming locations for the popular TV show Game of Thrones.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia - Old Town Dubrovnik

The historical city of Split (including The Diocletian’s Palace)

The Old Town city of Split, particularly the area where The Diocletian’s Palace resides, is a historical wonder. Witness the well-preserved palace which dates back to ancient Roman times, seamlessly blended in with the modern parts of everyday life. 

The bustling center has become a hybrid of old and new, with parts of the palace remaining as if stuck in time, while others have seen apartments, shops, restaurants and cafes begin to blend into the existing architecture.

Explore Croatia World Heritage Sites on a custom tour around Croatia! To book a vacation which includes Split and The Diocletian’s Palace, speak to our travel experts today. 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia  - The Diocletian’s Palace

Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica

Added to the UNESCO World Heritage in 1997, this complex in the Istrian town of Poreč is one of the best examples of early Byzantine art seen in the Mediterranean region. Originally constructed back in the 4th century, over the years it has been reconstructed and refurbished leading to the magnificent building we see today. Most significant was the period between the 5th and 6th centuries when the structure was altered on an order from Bishop Euphrasius, after whom the complex was named.

Inside the complex, you will find many significant structures including a sacristy, a baptistry, the bell tower and the archbishop’s palace.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia - Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica

Stari Grad Plain in Hvar

Moving away from the historical side of things, there are plenty of natural Croatia World Heritage Sites to see on a trip here. One of the most picturesque is Stari Grad Plain in Hvar. This particular area of land has been used for agricultural purposes since the ancient Greek colonists resided on the land back in the fourth century BC.

It consists of rectangular plots of land divided by small stone walls, of which the land is still fertile and used today for local food production. Throughout the year you can find vineyards and olive groves, as well as fig and almond trees growing here. 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia - Stari Grad Plain in Hvar

Cathedral of Saint James in Šibenik

The construction of the Cathedral of Saint James first commenced in 1431, taking over 100 years to complete. It features a significant amount of Renaissance architecture and boasts a 32-meter-high dome on top. The materials used to build this pristine cathedral came from the island of Brač and included a mixture of limestone and marble. 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia  - Cathedral of Saint James in Šibenik

Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and other locations

This is a natural World Heritage Site which spans more than just one country. In fact, these unique primeval beech forests can be found in 12 European countries, including Albania, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain and many more.

What makes these forests so special is their ability to withstand time, and being incredibly resilient to environmental and climatic factors, which would likely destroy most ecosystems. In Croatia, these incredible beech forests can be found in Paklenica and North Velebit National Parks (which are also included on the UNESCO List). 

Stecci Medieval Tombstone Graveyards

You might be wondering why tombstones have made it to the list of Croatia World Heritage Sites, but unlike the classic gray stone graveyards which you often find around the world, the ones located in Cista Valika and Dubravka are a little bit different. Their first known appearance began around the 12th century, but little to date is known about their ethnic or religious affiliation.

Appearance-wise, they take the form of large vertical or horizontal stones with flat tops made from limestone. More often than not, they are left inscribed but will have symbols or patterns carved into them instead.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia - Stecci Medieval Tombstone Graveyards

Venetian Works of Defence

In Croatia, you can find a whole system of defensive walls and fortifications in Zadar and Sibenik. This historic defense system originally spanned 1,000 kilometers, covering six different sites including locations in Italy, Montenegro, and Croatia. These fortifications were built in response to the changing military techniques of the time, as gunpowder became a key part of combat and previous defense systems could not hold up against its intense power.

The best place to see this fascinating World Heritage Site is at Land Gate in Zadar, but for Sibenik, you can best witness this historical wonder from the sea on a private charter or exclusive boat tour.

To book a tour around this World Heritage Site, get in touch with our travel experts today. 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia - Venetian Works of Defence in Zadar at Land Gate

Visit the best UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia

Exploring World Heritage Sites is a great way to learn about the culture and history of a specific region. Here at Adventures Croatia, we offer a number of amazing tours where you can see Croatia World Heritage Sites for yourself. 

Speak to our travel experts today to start booking a custom-made tour. Through our bespoke tailor-made journeys, you can see the best sites of Croatia in a way that suits you and your travel party. What are you waiting for? Get in touch with us today to start planning your next vacation to Croatia. 

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