Your ultimate guide to Croatia

Restaurants and bars, museums and galleries, clubs, music, travel and more…

Travel

Top ten Croatian islands

Off Crotia's shores, a host of little lands are afloat – and all 1,244 of them are unique. Some are home to age-old towns; some are host to festival crowds; some are uninhabited, still. The more substantial ones are countries in miniature, while the smallest are glorified rocks. Most boast stunning scenery (Dugi Otok is a slice of Wuthering Heights drama in the midst of the waves) and some are party-lovers’ dreams (Murter is a summer festival hotspot). If you’re looking for an island worthy of a week’s stay, some – like Brač – are expansive enough to have their own airports. If you’re after daytrips and excursions, most can be reached by ferry from the mainland. Some of the tinier islands are determinedly deserted, meaning that overnight stays are banned – but you can still take boat trips to these Adriatic gems. Here’s our pick of the best islands in Croatia.  RECOMMENDED: 40 great things to do in Croatia.

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Things to do

Summer in Dubrovnik

Beaches line the verdant peninsula of Babin Kuk, a short ride from town. The newly renovated sandy beach of Cava has gorgeous views of Daksa island and its own Coral Beach Club, with an extensive bar/restaurant and VIP lounge. Family-friendly Copacabana is the largest of the beaches, with all kinds of sports activities. The Dubrovnik President Hotel has its own Blue Flag beach, Beach Bistro restaurant, bar and watersports centre nearby. Nearby, five Valamar hotels allow you to get the best out of your stay in Dubrovnik, whether you’re swimming in the clear blue Adriatic, sunbathing on the pristine shore or taking in an al-fresco performance of a Shakespeare classic. For a summer-long programme of entertainment, the Valamar Club Dubrovnik Hotel provides a range of games and activities for all ages. Other beaches are only a stroll from the tourist-thronged Old Town. Some play host to the popular series of sea-borne water-polo matches between local teams, the so-called Wild League that starts on the opening day of the Dubrovnik Festival, July 10, and runs for a month. During this time, you can take in the end-to-end thrills of a century-old sports event and a top-notch, site-specific theatre or classical-music performance, all in the same day. The festival, which always stretches over a full six weeks until August 25, not only provides high-brow entertainment. There’s open-air cinema, street performances and all kinds of spontaneous sideshows. For these six weeks, the festival

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Design District Zagreb

London’s east is often cited as the creative hotbed of the city, Paris’s quartier of cool is Ménilmontant; in Berlin, the trendy neighborhood of Kreuzkölln. When it comes to the EU’s newest capital, where is Zagreb’s most happening district? Local design whizz Ira Payer is spearheading the case for Martićeva. Once home to Zagreb’s automotive industry, the area has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years thanks to forward-thinking enterprises like Croatian Design Superstore, where Ira is creative director. A collaboration of designers, artists and marketing experts, CDS brings cool, highly desirable Croatian products under one roof. Its distinctive outlet – covered from ceiling to floor in brilliant red – has become something of a showpiece in Martićeva. It’s also a leading example of how creative businesses are transforming the urban fabric of the capital. The Martićeva neighbourhood, more than most, has seen a preponderance of new galleries, bookshops and bistros settling in and around its main strip. As the doyenne of Zagreb’s design scene, Ira recognised Martićeva’s creative assets as something more tangible: ‘Zagreb’s tourism has truly started to blossom, and this area has a special charm, but not enough recognition. My idea is to push forward the creative potential of the Martićeva so that the neighbourhood is recognized as the center of creative activity: Zagreb’s Design District.’ The story of the design district is, in many ways, the story of urban development in th

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Bars and pubs

Watch the Garden brew

The Garden set something of a precedent in the history of European festivals, inspiring hoards of dance music aficionados to swap their wellies for sunblock and the sunnier shores of Croatia. Nick Colgan, a music promoter from Birmingham, started it all in 2006. He became the unknowing progenitor of a summer-long party scene, which, ten years on, brings more foreigners to the coast than ever before. It would be unfair to say Nick stumbled into all of this by accident. An intrepid tastemaker, he’s got more than a knack for being in the right place at the right time. In past guises, Nick’s been studio manager for British ska icons UB40, organised legendary boat parties in San Francisco, and even had a stint playing keys in a boyband. Now, he’s turned his sights on the burgeoning craft beer scene, recognising Croatia’s changing attitudes towards the hop. This year, the Garden Brewery in Zagreb will become the primary supplier to several large-scale festivals in Tisno. With the help of head brewer Nick Calder-Scholes, imported from London-based brewery Four Pure, they intend to distil their knowledge of the industry into a range of new, pleasingly progressive beers, capable of joining the craft beer revolution rising up through the country – as well as satisfying thousands of thirsty punters in Tisno. Last year was the tenth and final Garden Festival. Why’d you bring it to a close? It just felt right. My business partner David and I have talked about doing the brewery for yea

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Music

Croatia music festival guide

To get you ready for the festival summer, we’ve put together your ultimate music festival guide for 2016. Swap your wellies for sunblock, and the summer-long scene of sunbathing, swimming and hedonism, all framed by the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic sea.  Check out the best Croatia music festivals using our festival calendar. You can win festival tickets on our competitions page and discover artist line-ups and interviews with bands and DJ's.

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The best of Croatia

Things to do

40 great things to do in Croatia

When it comes to things to do in Croatia, the varied landscapes of the country host an impressive range of activities; from horse-riding in Istria, to sipping wine Kutjevo, and diving into dramatic caves in Biševo, Croatia really does have it all. Time Out's local experts sort through the best things to do in Croatia.

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20 great things to do in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik is a one-town tourist industry on its own, with endless things to do all year round. As stunning as the clear blue sea around it, the former centre of the independent Republic of Ragusa invites superlatives and attracts the lion's share of Croatia's visitors. Read on for our insider's guide to the best things to do in Dubrovnik.

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20 great things to do in Split

There are plenty of things to do in Split now that – thankfully – its days as a departure point to the nearby islands are gone. Brimming with recently opened high-quality bistros, antiquities aplenty and the best bar scene on the Adriatic coast, Croatia’s main ferry port is also the country’s most promising all-round city-break destination. Our local experts pick the best things to do in Split.

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20 great things to do in Zagreb

There are countless cultural things to do in Zagreb, and its compact size makes it easy for first time visitors to navigate. Attractions range from historic sights and fascinating galleries, complemented by destination restaurants, clusters of busy bars and numerous live music venues. Discover the very best things to do in Zagreb with our list of unmissable activities.

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Things to do

Essential Zagreb attractions

Zagreb attractions number plenty of stately icons among their ranks, owing to the city's status as a former Habsburg hub and capital of a new nation. Towering cathedrals, a venerable zoo and a stately cemetery all provide plenty of things to do in Zagreb. Our experts pick out the best.

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What's happening in your city

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Zagreb

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Split

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Dubrovnik

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Rijeka

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Pula

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Popular destinations in Croatia

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Rovinj area guide

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Vis area guide

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Travel

Hvar area guide

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Brač area guide

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Pelješac area guide

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Korčula island

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Discover culture and art highlights

Film

Croatian film festival guide

Almost every major city and region in Croatia holds a film festival of some kind, Zadar recently getting into the act following the success of similar events in Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik and Pula. Many take place in summer, some at open-air locations. Our film experts put together their guide to the best film festivals in Croatia.

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Art

Zagreb gallery guide

Zagreb’s many galleries come in many guises – passionate independent venues rub shoulders with venerable institutions. Consider this your essential Zagreb gallery guide.

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Things to do

Essential Zagreb attractions

Zagreb attractions number plenty of stately icons among their ranks, owing to the city's status as a former Habsburg hub and capital of a new nation. Towering cathedrals, a venerable zoo and a stately cemetery all provide plenty of things to do in Zagreb. Our experts pick out the best.

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Things to do

Croatian culture today

Croatia may no longer be the new kid on the block as far as Mediterranean tourism is concerned, but it still offers the allure of fresh discoveries. Visitors who already know about Dubrovnik are beginning to grasp why they need to spend more time exploring Pelješac and Korčula; press stories about suave hedonism of Hvar have morphed gently into press stories about the reinvigorating authenticity of the same island. And people who visited Croatian capital Zagreb ten years ago are beginning to realise that the Zagreb of today is a different city entirely.  Croatia’s ongoing status as a perception-challenging destination might be one reason why the Croatian National Tourist Association chose 2015 as the right time to replace its 15-year-old slogan, ‘The Mediterranean As It Once Was’ with the new motto, ‘Croatia: Full of Life’. Local wags were quick to subject the new slogan to a ‘my-child-could-have-thought-that-up’ level of derision, although professionals were equally fast in defending the choice as the most versatile, open-ended and appropriate solution available. The old slogan was very successful in drawing attention to Croatian heritage and unspoiled nature, but probably meant little to a new generation of tourists more interested in music festivals, wine bars, sleek hotels and Adriatic cool. And when Croatia is concerned, cool is far from being an overused word. The Croatian music-festival boom shows no signs of letting up; the legendary, genre-defining Garden Festival

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Art

The best Split museums and galleries

A bustling hub in Roman times, Split – which is built around an old Roman palace – is full of unique historic and artistic treasures. Split attractions include a number of museums and galleries that make the city a fascinating destination for art aficionados, historians and sightseers alike. Here's where to head.

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Art

Dubrovnik art gallery guide

Dubrovnik is not all about luxury hotels and destination restaurants. Step inside our Dubrovnik art gallery guide to discover where to catch some of Croatia's best modern and contemporary art, and coolest exhibition programmes.

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