Idyllic islands, colourful fortified cities and a world-class football team are just a few of the things that come to mind when we think about Croatia. But perhaps lesser known are Croatia’s network of seriously beautiful villages, which range from enchanting hilltop villages surrounded by olive groves, to tiny coastal hamlets tucked away off the beaten path. And from sampling regional wines in the north to learning ancestral silk-production methods in the south, our team of experts know exactly how to make a visit to some of the most beautiful villages in Croatia that much more immersive.
Tucked away on Croatia’s lesser-visited Istria Peninsula is Rovinj, a charming coastal village that breaths a gentle beauty into every one of its nooks and crannies. The narrow network of cobbled streets reveal chic restaurants perched on the water’s edge, make-shift art galleries nestled in flower-filled alleys leading down to swimming spots and a range of boutique shops and hotels on the pristine harbourfront. Make sure to take a walk up to the hilltop Church of St. Euphemia to soak up the vistas of the colourful, terracotta-roofed houses merging with the azure ocean beyond. When you’re ready to answer the call of the wild, we can arrange for you to embark on an adventure into the Istrian hinterland with one of our local guides to discover medieval castles, sprawling vineyards and whimsical olive groves.
The next of our picks for the most beautiful villages in Croatia is also located in the heart of Istria, because, well, the region is just that stunning. Despite its tiny size and population of less than one thousand souls, Groznjan has garnered quite the reputation as a village of artists, musicians, olives and wines. The idyllic medieval streets are lined with traditional stone houses with ivy crawling up the sides, local art studios and galleries, and terraced restaurants showcasing the region’s delectable cuisine. To learn more about Istria’s coveted gastronomy, we can whisk you off for a private culinary tour in the 'Croatian Tuscany’. At agrotourism farms you can sample wild asparagus, olive oil and the famous white truffle, while in wine vineyards you can discover various Istrian grape varieties before tasting the region’s delicious wines: Malvazija, Teran and Momjan Muscat.
Perched on the idyllic island of the same name, the village of Hvar showcases some serious old-world charm. The central Saint Stephen’s Square is beautifully marbled and bordered by some impressive buildings, including the cathedral and the first European theatre to open to the general public. Hvar also attracts nature-lovers with its proximity to the Pakleni archipelago, a beautiful collection of classic Mediterranean islands (think: hidden coves, turquoise Adriatic waters and emerald nature) that can be easily reached by boat from the town. For some extra peace and quiet we can check you into one of our favourite spots on the island: a boutique hilltop hotel with suspended terraces overlooking a garden of palm trees, lemon trees and cypresses, the idyllic private cove and the Pakleni archipelago in the distance.
The next of our most beautiful villages in Croatia is just a hop, skip and a jump across the glittering Adriatic, to another island oasis by the name of Korcula. The main village of the same name has garnered the nickname ‘Little Dubrovnik’ thanks to its picturesque labyrinth of streets tucked neatly inside ancient ramparts. Head to St Mark's Square and the Venetian Gate to admire glorious Renaissance architecture, or climb up the Bell Tower or up to Panorama View to catch views of the entire village jutting out into the aquamarine sea. The island also has a claim to fame as the birthplace of famed merchant and explorer Marco Polo. Naturally, a visit to his (supposed) family home is a must. For a dose of nature, we can arrange a private sailing trip around the archipelago to soak up the Mediterranean charm of the landscapes.
Tucked away below bustling Dubrovnik is Cavtat, a beautiful seaside escape that combines classic coastal charm with well-preserved historic buildings. You can easily lose track of time roaming down the picturesque seafront promenade, exploring Illyrian necropolises (ancient burial sites) and basking in the surrounding nature, which is made up of an ever-emerald mixture of cypress, palm trees and pine trees. You are also in the heart of an important silk-producing region, so a private tour to some local workshops is a must. We can whisk you off to a wonderful little art gallery in nearby Gruda to learn the art the region’s ancestral production method: feeding silkworms and using their cocoons to craft the elegant fabric.
Header Image: Olivier Romano