Wondering what Croatia is famous for? The list is actually pretty long, and some of the items on it might surprise you!
You’re probably aware of some things on the list by now, like the fact that the world’s first electric super car comes from the country, or that a good chunk of Game of Thrones was filmed there. But did you know that Croats invented the tie? Or that they have one of the most stunning Christmas Markets in the whole of Europe?
There’s a lot more where that came from, so keep reading to see what exactly Croatia is famous for all over the world!
The number one thing Croatia is known for is definitely tourism. The country’s economy relies heavily on it – in 2019 the country had more than 16 million visitors and over 90 million bookings in just the first eight months.
And it’s not really a secret why Croatia is such a popular destination for tourists – with a beautiful coastline, eight national parks and lots of tall peaks, it has something to offer to every type of traveler. Whether you’re a family with children or a 20-year old party animal, a place in Croatia will cater to all your needs.
Some of their most popular destinations include the Plitvice Lakes National Park, Krka National Park and many of the beaches and the over a thousand islands along the Adriatic coast.
Also, a lot of people visit Croatia for affordable prices. It’s a lot cheaper to spend a week in Croatia than in France, Italy or Spain, and the nature is just as beautiful, if not more. However, with renters increasing the prices of private accommodation and some outrageously expensive restaurants and clubs, Croatia is slowly losing its reputation for being an affordable gem in the Mediterranean.
Some people will come to Croatia for the stunning national parks and exciting hikes and climbs, but the vast majority come for the gorgeous coastline. The total coastline of the country, including all the islands and islets is 3,625.8 miles, which means plenty of places where you can spend your summer vacation.
What’s even better is that all the places are so different from one another, and they each offer something unique to the travelers. Whether you prefer sandy beaches, stone beaches, private beaches, public beaches or secluded bays, you will have no trouble finding something to your liking in Croatia.
One of the most famous beaches in the country is Zlatni Rat, on the island of Brač. It’s featured on pretty much every Croatia pamphlet for tourists, and for good reasons – the beach is absolutely stunning, and its shape actually changes depending on the wind. It is wonderful, unique and breathtaking – but it’s also worth noting that there’s not an inch of natural shade on that pretty white sand.
Dubrovnik is famous for many different things, and it could actually take up several spots on this list. It is one of Croatia’s most historically important cities, with the ancient Old Town and its majestic walls. It is no surprise then that it is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Dubrovnik is also one of the country’s most expensive and luxurious towns, which is why it attracts so many A-list celebs.
Whether it’s Roman Abramovich stopping by just to fuel up his super yacht or Beyonce and Jay-Z enjoying a romantic getaway together, Dubrovnik catches the attention of the tabloids fairly often.
Something else that put this town on the map for travelers was Game of Thrones – Dubrovnik was the main filming location for King’s Landing, and as such is featured throughout several seasons of the popular show. If you got over that godawful ending and are ready to nostalgically reminisce about the good times, you can even go on a Game of Thrones tour and see all the parts of Dubrovnik that were featured on the show.
Diocletian’s Palace in Split might be the most famous UNESCO World Heritage in Croatia. The massive palace was built as a retirement place for the famous Roman emperor, and nowadays it actually makes up the better part of Split old town.
It’s the first thing everyone who visits Split goes to see – it doesn’t hurt that there’s no entrance fee, which makes perfect sense considering that there are people who actually live within the palace grounds. That’s because the then palace is now home to several hundred buildings, including restaurants, bars, shops and many others.
Diocletian’s Palace is one of the best places in the city where you can escape the summer heat because the temperature tends to be lower within the palace walls. And if you actually want to be chilly in the middle of August, just head to the cellars underneath the palace. Oh, and if you haven’t guessed it by now, Diocletian’s Palace is another spot in Croatia that was featured in the Game of Thrones.
Even if you’re not a car buff, you’ve probably heard of the Rimac Concept One by now – the world’s first electric supercar. The Croatian carmaker Rimac Automobili wasn’t very well known before the Concept One, but the supercar made sure that they got all the attention of the automotive industry they deserved.
On top of that, the Concept One became even more famous when Richard Hammond crashed it in Switzerland during the filming of season two of The Grand Tour. The infamous crash was captured on video, providing the show with unique content in a way only Richard Hammond can do.
Hammond and Mate Rimac, the CEO of the carmaker, actually discussed the crash in an interview – interestingly enough, Hammond even joked that he’ll probably crash during that fourth lap. But, at least we did get to enjoy the full glory of this sleek, luxurious supercar before it got the full Hammond treatment.
Croatia is well known for their remarkable football players, especially after the 2018 World Cup. Not only did they make it all the way to the finals, but they also put up a really good fight against France, who ultimately won.
And the behavior of Croatia’s then president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović was the topic of many news articles all around the world – the country’s leader did not even attempt to hide her happiness, and could often be seen dancing, singing or just cheering on the team.
The excellent performance of Croatia’s national team didn’t come as a surprise to avid football fans. Most of the players on the team were part of some of the best football clubs in Europe at the time – Ivan Rakitić was FC Barcelona’s midfielder, Luka Modrić is also a midfielder but for Real Madrid and Dejan Lovren played a defender for Liverpool. The list of famous football clubs with Croatian players is a lot longer, and it includes Chelsea, Milan, Cagliari, Atletico Madrid, Wolfsburg and many others.
You may have heard of the car company Tesla, but did you know it was name after this famous scientist – Nikola Tesla? (And maybe a little “copycat” like, the newer company truck company Nikola is also). Tesla’s contributions to the AC electric current system changed the world for the better, and completely transformed the lives of people in the 19th century. Not to mention made our way of living possible.
What most people don’t know about Tesla is that he was born in Smiljan, a village in modern-day Croatia.
Now, we’re not even going to get into the whole is Tesla a Serb or a Croat thing. We’re just stating facts here, and the fact is that the famous engineer was born in modern-day Croatian territory, albeit while it was under the control of the Austrian Empire. Even though Tesla was born in Croatian territory, he was actually of Serb ethnicity, which is the reason for the hot debate among the two nations. Both want to claim him as their own, and who wouldn’t – his genius is certainly something to be proud of!
If you think rumors are not really a big deal, this fun fact will definitely make you rethink their importance. Rumor has it that Marco Polo, the famous explorer, was born in the town of Korčula. And that is all it took for the residents and the government of this gorgeous town to turn Korčula into one of the hottest tourist destinations in the country.
Of course, people don’t come there just to see the Marco Polo house and to buy souvenirs – many come because Korčula is absolutely stunning, with an old town that’s encompassed by massive walls and surrounded by the Adriatic sea. But you can’t escape the Marco Polo theme in Korčula – no matter where you look you will see something related to him.
Croatia capitalized on that rumor, and it’s great that they did – it needed to be done in order to draw tourists to this stunning island. Korčula town is one of the prettiest places in the country by far, with narrow cobblestone alleys, spectacular panoramic views and grand turrets and towers. The rest of the island is far less crowded than the town, with plenty of secluded bays that are known for crystal clear sea and stunning beaches.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, you’ve definitely seen a tie, held it in your hands and probably even worn it at one point in time. But, did you know that the staple accessory of men’s formal wear traces its origins all the way back to Croatia?
During the Thirty Years’ War in 17th century France, Croatian mercenaries wore knotted neckerchiefs around their necks. This intrigued the Parisians, but it wasn’t until the boy-king Louis XIV started to wear a lace tie around his neck that it became the staple of French nobility.
Some things never change and we know that France still dictates the fashion trends to this day – as you might expect, it didn’t take too long for the rest of the world to follow suit and start wearing cravats around their necks.
Rade Serbedzija is part of a group of elite actors from Balkan who have made it all the way to Hollywood. Even if you don’t know him by name, I guarantee you’ve seen him in at least one movie. The famous Croatian actor is the go-to choice of casting directors whenever they’re in need of a Slavic character, so Serbedzija usually plays a Russian or someone from the Balkans.
The list of Hollywood movies he scored a part in is by no means short, but we’ll stick to the most famous one. He portrayed the wandmaker Gregorovitch in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a Russian general in X-Men: First Class, Boris the Blade in Snatch and he even got roles in blockbusters like Taken 2 and Batman Begins. Serbedzija also appeared on popular TV shows like The Blacklist, 24, CSI Miami and Downtown Abbey.
If you’re the kind of traveler that has a bucket list, I’m assuming Zagreb Christmas market is on it. And if not, you need to put it there ASAP – Croatia’s capital has a stunning Christmas Market every December, which easily competes with those of much larger cities like Vienna or Budapest.
With open-air skating rings, gorgeous decorations throughout the city, sparkling lights everywhere and more food than you could possibly eat in a week, Zagreb’s Advent is the place to be in December. Strolling around the city with mulled wine in one hand and a delicious treat in the other is pretty satisfying, and the stunning city decorations will have all your senses pleased.
Although Croatia is popular with families, there’s absolutely no shortage of wild parties and festivals in the country. In fact, Croatia annually hosts the Ultra Europe festival, which is in fact one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world.
The popular EDM festival is held in various countries all over the world, but the only other European country that hosts it is Spain. And it’s one of the main reasons why Croatia is so incredibly popular with young travelers who are just looking to have fun.
Ultra Europe is traditionally held in Split, and it brings some of the best names of electronic music to this Mediterranean country. Previous headliners include Tiesto, David Guetta, Carl Cox, The Chemical Brothers, Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, Martin Garrix and many others. If you’re looking to party all night long and really enjoy yourself, Croatia is the place to be.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.