Thinking to travel to Croatia? While Croatian cities may not rank highly on a list of the world`s most populous cities and popularity, that doesn`t mean they lack in history, charm or tourist attractions. In fact, there are plenty of things to see, do, and experience in Croatia. Especially in the country`s five most populous cities: Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek and Zadar. Read on for a brief introduction to each of these cities.
#1 – Travel to Croatia`s capital city – Zagreb
Listed as having a population of 688,163 people, Zagreb is the capital of Croatia and the country`s largest city in both size and population. Situated along the Sava River in northern Croatia, the city is home to the University of Zagreb – Croatia`s oldest continuously operating university which was founded in 1669. The city is full of 18th- and 19th-century Austro-Hungarian architecture. City center and Upper Town is the site of the Gothic, twin-spired Zagreb Cathedral and 13th-century St. Mark’s Church, with a roof with colorful tiles.
#2 – Split – Enjoy rich historical city center and beautiful beaches
Located on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, toward the southern tip of the country, the city of Split boasts a population of 167,121. It is known for its beautiful beaches and the fortresslike complex in its center, Diocletian’s Palace, built by the Roman emperor in the 4th century. Once home to thousands, its sprawling remains include more than 200 buildings. Also as one of the oldest cities in the region, it holds great historical significance. For this reason, Split`s historic city center was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1979. If you travel to Croatia for the first time – you should definitely consider coming here.
#3 – Rijeka – Relax on Sablićevo Beach and visit Trsat Castle complex
Rijeka is home to Croatia`s principal seaport that has a population of 128,384. It is situated on Kvarner Bay toward the northern end of the Adreatic Sea in western Croatia. Being home to the largest port in the country, it`s no surprise that Rijeka`s economy is largely dependent on maritime travel and shipbuilding. When you are in Rijeka, take a walk on Korzo – the main promenade, which is lined with Habsburg-era buildings. Don`t forget to visit nearby 19th-century Ivan pl. Zajc Croatian National Theatre. And of course the hilltop Trsat Castle complex, which includes a religious shrine, has sweeping views of the islands of Kvarner Bay. Last thing but not the least, don`t forget to visit Rijeka`s fine beaches. One of them is Sablićevo Beach.
#4 – Osijek – Great historical place and if you love beer, Osjecka Pivovara is a place to visit
Located in eastern Croatia along the southern shore of the Drava River, Osijek is home to 84,104 residents. Popular city`s amenity is Osjecka Pivovara – the makers of Croatia`s first commercial beer. Osijek also houses several historic buildings. Among them a gymnasium dating back to 1729 and a printing house dating back to 1735.
#5 – Zadar – Travel to Croatia`s smaller by population, but oldest city
Zadar is located along the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, between Rijeka and Split. With its current population of 71,471 people, Zadar holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously inhabited city in Croatia. In fact, there is evidence of human life in the area dating back to the late Stone Age. It`s known for the Roman and Venetian ruins of its peninsular Old Town. There are several Venetian gates in the city walls. The must-see Roman-era Forum is 11th-century St. Mary’s Convent which holds religious art dating to the 8th century. Another place to see is the grand, 12th-century St. Anastasia’s Cathedral and the round, 9th-century pre-Romanesque Church of St. Donatus. There are also some very beautiful beaches that you should definitely go to. Here are top 5 of them: Saharun beach, Ninska laguna, Zaton beach, Zrće beach and Kolovare beach.
Here is our conclusion on traveling to Croatia
While Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek and Zadar may lack of the world`s most populous cities and popularity, each city does have its own unique charm and fascinating history. So, if you`ve been thinking about traveling to Croatia, then why not make a stop in at least one of these wonderful cities? That way you`ll be able to see for yourself what makes it so special.
*All population figures provided were taken from the 2011 Croatian population census and represent each city`s town proper.
*To find out more about history before you travel to Croatia please click here