Glittering seas, heavenly coastlines, enchanting archaic towns: Croatia is remarkable all year round, but it is unsurpassable in July. This midsummer month sees its famous festival scene erupt into action and its islands bloom into beauty. Whether you’re seeking festival mania or desert island quiet, here are 20 great things to do in Croatia in July:
Off Croatia'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). Whatever kind of island you're after, you'll find it in Croatia - here's our pick of the best.
Croatia's coastline is sublime: serene islands and spectacular beaches - all overlooked by a sparse army of lighthouses. More than 100 towering beacons sit along the country’s Adriatic coast. They were all built in a flurry in the 19th century, and 50 of them still blink out their guiding lights today. A stay in one of these monolithic structures makes for an unusual holiday - although some of the eerier ones are best just seen on a day trip. Read about the best ones here.
Also on the hedonist shores of The Garden Tisno, SuncéBeat is for the slightly older but equally enthusiastic party crowd who have been raving for years.
With promoters Alex Lowes and Dave Gardner calling time on their UK festival, the long-running house stalwart Southport Weekender, their focus will be turned towards the Adriatic. This year’s bill reads like a fraternity of legends: DJ Jazzy Jeff, Black Coffee, Louie Vega, Derrick Carter, Detroit Swindle, with some relative newcomers thrown in for good measure.
Zagreb is as lively as ever in sticky July, with plenty of things to do. The city basks in the heat of this mid-summer month, with festivals, concerts and culture blooming at every crossroad. You’ll find promenades to stroll down on balmy nights, and park festivals for entertainment on dazzling afternoons. While many succumb to the calling of the coast, the Croatian capital has its own magnetic pull - if you’re visiting Zagreb in July, here are ten great things to do.
Cool off on different pristine beaches every day of the week: Korcula is blessed with lots of small and secluded beaches along the Adriatic coast. The southern part of the island has mainly sand beaches, often nestled in isolated bays, whereas the pebbly beaches of the northern side tend to be more shallow and flat. Read our insider's guide to the best beaches in Korčula here.
Croatia’s third-largest city with a population of 150,000, Rijeka has a busy port that handles ten million tonnes of cargo and a quarter of a million passengers, many heading to nearby resorts. It’s a nice place for a week’s city break, during which you can enjoy Rijeka’s fascinating history, great restaurants and kicking year-round nightlife. This is not a tourist-oriented city, which is part of its charm: in Rijeka you will be dining, drinking and dancing with locals.
In the late 19th century, when the Austro-Hungarian empire reached its apex, the Habsburgs made this town of dazzling vistas and rocky beaches one of the hottest spots in Europe. Dripping with imperial elegance, Opatija is still a luxurious place to visit - stroll along its streets lined with Secessionist mansions before settling in a Viennese-style coffeehouse with views of the sparkling sea.
Rovinj is Istria’s showpiece, its answer to Dalmatia’s Dubrovnik (with far fewer crowds). The natural setting is stunning: a harbour nicknamed ‘the cradle of the sea’ by ancient mariners because the archipelago of islands, stretching from here to Vrsar, ensured calm, untroubled waters. The man-made structures in the Old Town are also attractive: tightly clustered houses, painted in cheery Venetian reds and Habsburg pastels, connected by cobbled streets barely wider than a footpath.