The rainy season may have started in the Philippines but in other parts of the world, summer is just beginning. An idyllic place to experience another summer is in a country called Croatia on the Adriatic Sea in southeast Europe.

Aside from gaining more tourists in recent years due to its use as a filming location in the popular HBO series ‘Game of Thrones,’ Croatia is a popular destination for its delectable food and wine, centuries-old Roman ruins, spectacular beaches, national parks and many more.

For your first time in the Adriatic gem, here are top places you shouldn’t miss out.

Dubrovnik

With its ancient and medieval walls overlooking the crystal turquise waters of the Adriatic Sea, the Old City of Dubrovnik has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and rightfully called as ‘Pearl of the Adriatic.’ Its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture has also been featured as the backdrop of King’s Landing in ‘Game of Thrones.’

A must-do activity to take in the views is to walk the medieval walls around the city, which takes around two hours. Climb the Minceta Tower and enjoy the spectacular views of the Old Town and of the Adriatic Sea. It’s recommended to do this in the early morning to enjoy the sunrise and to avoid the tourist crowd.

Wander through Old Town and experience limestone streets. Start from the main street, Stradun, and explore further away. Check out local wine bars and seafood restaurants.

Also, experience the annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which is held every July to August in more than 70 open-air venues. Classical music, theater, opera, and dance performances are presented all over the city.

Photo credit: UNESCO
Photo credit: UNESCO
Photo credit: UNESCO
Photo credit: UNESCO

Split

A four-hour bus ride from Dubrovnik, Split offers the best beaches to really immerse in Croatia’s summer. Crystal clear sparkling waters and beautiful beaches spread far and wide around Split. Bacvice Beach is the closest. It is popular and can be crowded. Kastelet Beach is for the young at heart. It’s also a good place to meet people. For an alternative, locals prefer the pebbly yet exquisite Kasjuni Beach at the foot of Marjan Hill, which you can also go to to get an awesome panoramic view of the city.

For a city tour, the usual destination is the Diocletian Palace, an ancient palace built in the fourth century AD by Roman Emperor Diocletian. To appreciate this world heritage site, climb up the bell tower of St. Domnius Cathedral. Hang out also in Riva, a seaside promenade with cafes and bars lined up. Practice fjaka or Dalmatia’s art of doing absolutely nothing.

Photo credit: Tourist Board of Split
Photo credit: Tourist Board of Split
Photo credit: Croatian National Tourism Board

Zagreb

Zagreb, the capital of Croatia is four to five hours away from Split. One of the oldest cities in Central Europe, it is home to many prestigious buildings, squares, and fountains. On top of the list is Zagreb Cathedral, the tallest building in Croatia, which has been in existence since the 11th century.  Another cultural landmark is St. Mark’s Church, famous for its uniquely colorful roof tiles that date back to the 13th century.

A must-visit during summer is Strossmayer’s walkway. Artists and musicians gather here to provide food, drinks, performances, and concerts. It’s a good place to meet locals and new people. The Museum of Broken Relationships is also a strongly recommended place to go to. It’s located in Kulmer palace in Upper Town. The collections are crowd-sourced items and stories of lost love. It’s a very interesting place to end your Croatian journey.

Photo credit: Wikivoyage
Photo credit: Wikivoyage
Photo credit: Museum of Broken Relationships

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons