|Destination||Reasons to Visit|
|Zagreb||Museums, Parks, Historic buildings|
|Plitvice Lakes National Park||Magical lake scenery, Hiking, Boat trips, Wild swimming|
|Istria||Cuisine, Hill towns, Coastal resorts, Historic buildings|
|Hvar||Nightlife, Historic buildings, Surrounding islands|
|Dubrovnik||Architecture, Beaches, Nearby islands|
Most international flights arrive and depart from Zagreb; Dubrovnik is the biggest airport in the south with some international connections. Zagreb is the best starting point for visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park, Istria and even Lošinj; Galešnjak is best visited from Turanj on Croatia's central coast while Dubrovnik and Hvar in the south can easily be combined on an itinerary. The following articles can help you better plan your honeymoon in Croatia:
- How Many Days Should I Spend in Zagreb?
- Magical Istria: Zagreb, Rovinj, Brijuni & Pula - 6 Days
- Classic Croatia: Zagreb, Plitvice, Split & Dubrovnik - 7 Days
- Discover Croatia's Istria Region - 8 Days (including Motovun and Pula on Istria and the island of Lošinj)
- Unique Ways to Experience the Island of Hvar
- Dubrovnik - Best Itinerary Ideas
Find love in museums, parks and nearby medieval towns in Zagreb
With a paper map highlighting the city's best kissing spots (yes, really) and an Upper Town with gas lamps still let by hand at night, there is no denying Zagreb's place on this list of Croatia's most romantic destinations. Start the day at Kava Tava on Britanski Trg where, besides enjoying excellent breakfasts, you can peruse their paper mats feature a hand-drawn map of Zagreb's best locations for a kiss! Zagreb's biggest tourist attraction is not an obvious honeymoon stop, but the Museum of Broken Relationships is a touching tribute to the power of love, with artifacts, photographs and messages that chart the highs and lows of relationships from around the world. Zagreb's Upper Town, surrounding the museum, makes a good first (or last) place to kiss your partner, full of pretty squares, charming historic buildings and lazy cobbled streets. It is especially romantic when lit by gas lamp at night. You can travel to and from Upper Town via the funicular for added atmosphere. The city is full of beautiful parks for you and your loved one to linger in, too: the Botanic Gardens at Trg Marka Marulića, or the lush, grand Zrinjevac Park, a big hit with canoodling couples.
Easily the most romantic option for a day trip is the pretty town of Samobor, a medieval settlement on the edge of the Samoborsko Gorje hills that is renowned for its cream cake and crystal handicrafts.
Take a Romantic Walk through Plitvice Lakes National Park
Nowhere else in Croatia can rival Plitvice Lakes National Park for sheer magic. This assemblage of 16 gleaming turquoise lakes and some 90 tumbling waterfalls, hidden within forested hills, is the best place in the country for a romantic stroll. Hiking trails of between three and eight hours thread through the surrounding landscapes. You can rent a boat for a romantic row across some of the lakes, take a boat trip, or stay in a sobe (B&B) or villa to experience the lakes after the crowds have left. You cannot swim in the lakes, but a romantic place to bathe in the water with your beloved is at the Mrežnica River waterfalls near Primislje some 25 mi (40 km) north of the park entrance.
Indulge in Wine, Truffles, Ritzy Resorts and Ancient Architecture in Istria
Out on its own and with its own resulting cultural identity on a peninsula in Croatia's northwest, Istria is the place to appreciate the goodness of the land. You could explore the fertile interior producing much of Croatia's finest food and drink and full of dreamy hilltop villages, or travel along a coast of ritzy seaside towns, discovering their impressive history, lively nightlife and lovely seafood.
Inland, the highlight is Motovun, an ancient town flanked by medieval walls, located atop a 909-foot (277 m) hill and surrounded by vineyard-carpeted slopes and karst forests famous for their truffles. Motovun hosts a popular film festival each summer but you can sample the fantastic wine and truffles year-round.
On the coast, the two of you will not want to miss Rovinj, its houses and steep cobbled streets attractively bunched together on a peninsula and crested by Istria's largest Baroque church, St Euphemia's Church. Grisia is an especially charming and popular street in Rovinj's historic heart whilst there are many sophisticated restaurants for post-sightseeing refreshment. Escape the crowds with a trip out to the nearby islands of the Rovinj Archipelago. Another destination you and your partner will want to discover together is Pula, where outstanding Roman architecture, including one of the best-preserved Roman ampitheaters in the world, awaits for you to wander around.
Plump for Pampering on the Wellness Island of Lošinj
If you were to undertake the difficult task of choosing just one Croatian island to visit, you would likely consider Lošinj. The island has long been a wellness destination, thanks to its abundance of herbs like rosemary, lavender and immortelle, and these are harnessed in the spa treatments here, such as at Hotel Aurora near Mali Lošinj. You should also take your loved one in the Garden of Fine Scents just outside Mali Lošinj, a comely garden showcase for the island's considerable array of plants with over 250 native species to peruse. In fact, flora and fauna are both especially diverse here: this is one of the best places for dolphin-spotting in Croatia. Of the island's many beaches, best for romantic solitude (if you can hike 1.5 hours from Veli Lošinj) is Krivica Beach, where the indented shores are prettily backed by pine trees.
Get to the Heart of the Matter on the Island of Galešnjak
How could an island naturally shaped like a heart not be included on a list of honeymooning hotspots? The thing with Galešnjak is that it was relatively undiscovered until 2009, when images of its heart-shaped shores on Google Earth made it an instantaneous hit with loved-up couples the world over. The island is uninhabited, and the thing to do here is simply to relax, picnicking or swimming off the pebbly shores. It is a popular place for men to propose, but that does not make it any the less romantic for newlyweds! The nearest mainland town is Turanj, while Zadar is the regional gateway.
Party, Explore Secret Islands and go Wine-tasting on Hvar
Hvar is one of Croatia's most visited islands largely because of the variety of activities it offers. Its reputation is first and foremost as a party destination and celebrity haunt, but this is only one aspect to the island. Hvar Town's historic highlights include the 13th-century town walls, the 16th-century Španjola Fortress, and the main square with its Renaissance-era Cathedral. Stretching enticingly in front of the town across the water is the wooded archipelago of the Pakleni Islands, full of hidden, low-key beaches with a more relaxed atmosphere than mainland Hvar. You can rent a boat to explore them in privacy.
Hvar also has some of the greatest hours of sunshine of any place in the entire, extremely sun-kissed Mediterranean. So visiting one of the wineries that flourish here thanks to the favorable climate is a must, like Tomić Winery with its impressive Romanesque tasting rooms. And so is beach time, relaxing on a beautiful strand like Dubovica Beach.
Wander Delightful Dubrovnik and Escape to its Idyllic Nearby Islands
Finally, in the far south of Croatia you encounter what for many people is the overall highlight of a trip. Simply being in Dubrovnik, wandering cobblestone streets beneath a sea of terracotta rooftops or along the mighty 13th-century city walls, with the glittering blue, island-dotted ocean lapping beneath you, is one of Europe's finest experiences. Not for nothing is Dubrovnik known as the 'Pearl of the Adriatic'. It is an extremely popular destination, however, so for newlyweds some of the best things to do here entail finding a quieter spot to spend time together, whilst still being able to appreciate the beauty of the Old Town. The perfect place for this is Park Orsula, 1.75 miles (3 km) outside the Old Town and with superb views taking in historic Dubrovnik from relaxed grounds tumbling down the hillside, where a music festival takes place during July and August. Another way to drink in superb views with a touch of peace and quiet alongside is to take the cable car up to the top of Srd Hill, with the pretty cityscape and Dubrovnik's nearby islands sliding into view as you do so.
Less celebrated, but equally worthy of consideration by you and your loved one for your special vacation, are the stunning destinations within an easy day trip from here. Head south almost as far as you can go in Croatia to find the delightful town of Catvat, an equally dashing but far-less crowded version of Dubrovnik, with a monastery, the House of Vlaho Bukovac, a famous Croatian painter, and an enviable setting backed by rolling pine and cypress forests. Further south again beyond Catvat is the near-deserted beach of Pasjača, accessed only by a steep trail down the cliffside and ideal for solitude-seeking spouses. Or to escape to the islands whilst still based in Dubrovnik, make for Lokrum, an idyllic getaway 15 minutes away by boat. Here you and your partner can linger in botanic gardens, stroll around the Benedictine Monastery and visit The Dead Sea, a beautiful saltwater lake popular for scuba diving.