Best adventures in Croatia: Top 10 Croatian activity holidays

Sep 04, 2023 BY Sam Brennan

If Croatia is not the first country you think of for active holidays: think again. With more than 1000km of coastline, and mountains covering over half the land, the best adventures in Croatia are hard to beat. To help you get a glimpse of what the country has to offer we have put together the top 10 Croatian activity holidays.

Croatia sailing holidays Why the Croatian coast is made to sail flickr CC image by michael pollak

Best Adventures in Croatia

Why visit Croatia for adventure?

Croatia has long been known for its natural beauty, crystal clear water, fantastic food and wines, and an abundance of historic sites. More recently the country has taken its place on the world stage for the adventure sports it offers. Whether you are travelling solo, as a couple, or with kids in tow you will always find an activity the suits.

From its mountainous national parks to its windswept Adriatic archipelagos it seems Croatia was created for adventure. From biking to hiking and rafting to rock climbing all interests and budgets are catered for.

Accommodation varies from hotels and guesthouses to camping and villas in Croatia. There is normally something available in your price range, and tourist facilities are very well looked after.

Krupa River in Croatia by Huck Finn Adventures

Getting to Croatia couldn’t be easier with flights arriving daily from most European airports. There are great transport links throughout Croatia, including trains, busses, and ferries. All covid travel restrictions have now been lifted, so it is a great time to book a holiday in Croatia.

Top 10 Croatian activity holidays

Here are what we consider to be ten of the best adventures in Croatia. They are not ranked in order and there are many incredible activities that we have missed. Let us know in the comments which Croatian activity holidays you think deserve a place on this list.

Windsurfing and kiteboarding in Bol

The mistral, bora, and southern winds make the Croatian coast one of the best places for a kiteboarding or windsurf holiday in Europe. It is dotted with amazing kite and windsurf locations with lessons and gear hire available on idyllic beaches with great conditions to enjoy.

One of the top spots is Bol, a town on the Croatian island of Brac. The mountains on Brac and its neighbouring island Hvar funnel the wind creating world-class windsurfing and kiteboarding conditions.

11 best places for European windsurf holidays wikicommons CC image of Murvica windSurfer, Brac in Croatia by Kelovy

Beginners can take advantage of the calmer mornings as winds in the afternoon can easily reach 25 knots. Bol is home to several windsurf and kite competitions, if you time your visit correctly you can marvel at their skill or even take part.

To get to Bol you will need to catch a flight to Split before jumping on the ferry to Brac for one of the top Croatian activity holidays. You can discover more about how to travel with windsurfing gear here.

Rafting the Zrmanja

The beautiful Zrmanja is regarded as one of the best rivers to raft in Croatia. A place to find intact nature, clear waters, and a bounty of flora and fauna. Summer rafting is perfect for beginners and families as the water is warmer and the rapids are class I or II. In the spring or autumn the rapids can become a lively class III.

Croatia Rafting trip on Zrmanja River Flickr CC image by Raftrek Adventure Travel

Most of the rafting on the Zrmanja begins at the village of Kastel Zegarski. With a population of just 150 it does not offer much in the form of accommodation.

Instead, stay in the picturesque city of Zadar, less than an hour’s drive away. Here you will be spoilt for choice for accommodation. Read this article about how to pick the best rafting company to get the most out of your experience.

Kayaking in Karlovac

Sitting at the confluence of the Kupa, Mrežnica, Korana, and Dobra rivers, Karlovac is appropriately known as the city of four rivers. The different waterways around the city make it one of the top spots to kayak in Croatia. A range of rapid classifications means that people of abilities will find something suitable.

Zrmanja river Kayaking Holidays in Croatia by Huck Finn Adventures

When your time on the water is over, head into Karlovac and you’ll find a city steeped in history. It is home to several museums, wonderful botanical gardens, and the must visit Dubovac Castle.

There are plenty of accommodation options from hotels to hostels. Karlovac is less than an hour’s drive from the popular city of Zagreb.

Mountain biking in Korcula

With bike rentals aplenty and route maps available for free, it is clear that mountain biking is now part of the scenery on Korcula. You can choose to rent bikes by the hour or take part in guided cycling tours. Locks, repair kits, and helmets are also available so don’t worry about bringing your own.

Cycling in Korcula Croatia Royalty Free from piqsels

There is a wide range of bike-friendly accommodation on the island. When booking check they have secure storage for your bikes and equipment. There are peaceful country lanes running through vineyards and olive groves, easy dirt tracks and intense single track routes through the hills.

No trip to Korcula would be complete without a visit to the old town. A medieval city with a maze of narrow streets filled with taverns and wine bars.

Sailing Kornati National Park

There is a good reason why Kornati National Park is often referred to as a “nautical paradise”. Between the 89 islands, countless islets, and reefs, there are plenty of opportunities to escape the crowds and find a secluded bay to relax in.

Sailing yacht charter in Lastovo, Croatia Pixabay royalty free image

In the crystal clear Adriatic water you can spot Dolphins, Tuna, and Sea Turtles. They may even escort the yacht. Many of the best adventures in Croatia take place on the water. Most charter boats also offer other activities such as kayaking, SUP and snorkelling.

In the evenings you can drop anchor in a quiet bay and visit one of the many taverns serving Croatian delicacies and local wines. Check out these Croatia sailing holidays if you would like to book one of the best adventures in Croatia.

Cycling the Dalmatian Coast

A boom in Croatian cycling trips has coincided with the popularity of the staged annual professional CRO Race. From rolling hills, river valleys, and mountains to the scenic Dalmatian coast it is easy to see why. Start at Split in the north and a few days cycling later you can be in Dubrovnik to the south.

Road cycling tour of Dalmatian Coast in Croatia

Take your own bike or rent one when you arrive in Croatia. Although you can expect to pay a high price for carbon bikes. Plus getting your bike of choice is not always that easy particularly if you plan to pick up and drop off at a different location.

Guided tours are readily available or you can choose to go self-guided. In both instances, your luggage can be shuttled from place to place by a support crew. Find out more about Croatian cycling holidays on AWE365.

Stand up paddle board in Split

Split presents some of the best gastronomy, film, theatre, music festivals, and exhibitions in the country. However, it is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the largest city on the Croatian coast. One of the quickest ways to escape the city is to climb onto a board and paddle into the peaceful Adriatic.

 SUP in Croatia one of the top Croatian activity holidays flickr CC image by Jernej Furman

Almost anyone can learn how to paddle board and it is a great low-impact workout. Companies in Split have found unique ways to differentiate themselves from the competition. You can choose between SUP yoga, sunset trips on glowing neon boards, and giant paddleboards that require 8 people to control.

Paragliding in Biokovo Nature Park

Air sports in Croatia are on the up. The strong winds and mountainous land produce the ideal conditions for paragliding. Biokovo Nature Park is one of the best paragliding sites in Europe with a launch height of over 1,200m.

From here you have views over the Adriatic Sea including the islands of Brac and Hvar. Most of the flying is achieved through reliable thermals that can offer long flights. Paramotoring is also available but it’s rare and more expensive.

Croatian activity holidays paragliding Croatia Tom Wheatley Unsplash Royalty free

Makarska sits at the bottom of Biokovo and is the perfect base to have one of the best adventures in Croatia. The town is a short bus ride from Dubrovnik or Split. Accommodation choices range from shared dorms in hostels to private villas with every budget catered for.

Hiking in Plitvice Lakes National Park

If you’re looking for a more relaxed Croatian activity holidays then consider a hiking escape to Croatia’s oldest national park. Located near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina is the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park.

You’ll find numerous routes suitable for a range of fitness from two hour walks to all day hikes. The hiking trails are well maintained and there is an electric-powered train and ferry to help you move around the park.

Plitvice Lakes National Park pascal-habermann-royalty-free-unsplash

Plitvice is open all year and there are regular busses from Zadar, Split, and Zagreb. It’s easy to find somewhere to stay with a choice between camping, short-term rentals, and hotels. If you’re after something a little longer than a day-hike why not check out the best treks in Europe.

Rock Climbing in Paklenica National Park

With more than half of Croatia being mountainous, it provides an abundance of rock climbing options. At the heart of the climbing scene is Paklenica National Park, with around 600 routes suitable for everyone from absolute beginners to seasoned climbers.

The most famous routes take you up the 350m face of Anica Kuk. Be sure to purchase a climbing pass from the park reception before heading out to avoid getting in trouble with the authorities.

Croatia Rock Climbing Wikimedia Commons image by Danilo Tic

The park is accessed from the small coastal town of Starigrad, a great location to find accommodation and recuperate on the beach when you’re away from the face. If you’re looking for more information, be sure to check out our guide to Croatia rock climbing holidays.

Multi-activity holidays in Croatia

By now you’ll have a good idea of the incredible Croatian activity holidays available. But this list only scratches the surface! There is skydiving, horse riding, fishing, scuba diving, trekking and so much more. The best way to experience at much as possible is to book Croatia multi-activity holidays!

Thanks for reading our guide on the best adventures in Croatia. If you feel inspired and want to book a holiday then take a look at our Croatia adventure travel page to see all that is available.

Adriatic Sea, Balkans, Bol, Bol, Central Croatia, Croatia, Dalmatian Coast, Dobra River, Dubrovnik, Europe, Island Hvar, Karlovac, Korana River, Korcula, Kornati Islands, Kornati National Park, Kupa River, Paklenica National Park, Plitvice, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Split, Starigrad Paklenica, Zadar, Zagreb, Zrmanja River
Cycling, Hiking, Kayaking, Kitesurfing, Mountain Biking, Multi Activity, Paragliding, Paramotoring, Rafting, Rock Climbing, Sailing, SUP, Trekking, Walking, Windsurfing, Yacht Charter
Adventure Sports, Affordable, Cultural, Family, holidays for couples, Independent Travel, Individual, Luxury, Single Travel, Solo, Whitewater (Rapids)
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