It's been a long time since Croatia stopped being ''hidden gem''. Every year, numerous visitors around the world hurtle to the Adriatic coast for their perfect summer vacay. But if you want to escape summer crowds you should opt for visits to small towns, scattered along Croatian coast and inland. Travel to these less popular places will give you a more enriching and authentic Croatian experience. Here are our suggestions for hilltop villages and coastal beauties in Croatia.
Often hailed as the most charming town in Croatia, Motovun settled inland in Istria, shining like a diamond amidst rolling olive fields and truffle-rich forests. It was fortified in the 14th century by the Venetians, today mostly known as a cloister of artist studios, restaurants and shops. Since 1999, Motovun has hosted the international Motovun Film Festival for independent and avant-garde films.
Artist and art lover around the globe, welcome to Grožnjan, or Grisignana, its fancy Italian name. This hilltop fortified town might be tiny, but it's a true showstopper, and often labelled as an art haven. During the '50s a lot of artists were attracted by Grožnjan medieval appeal and began setting up studios in the abandoned buildings. From then on it became famous as a ''town of artists''.
Skradin, a place where the Krka river meets the Adriatic Sea. This beautiful riverside town with narrow cobbled streets, passages, arches and stairs and is located at the entrance to Krka National Park. The entire old town core represents a protected cultural monument. Besides cultural riches, Skradin is well known amongst yachtsmen, due to its lovely marina open throughout the year.
Looking for a fairy-tale setting? You'll find it in Rastoke. This riverside village sometimes referred as ''Little Plitvice'', is a place of autochthonous ecologic and ethnographic significance due to its symbiosis of natural and civilizational features. Old mills, rivers that criss-cross the landscape, waterfalls…ensuring you a magical experience.
Last, but not least…we introduce you to the village of Kumrovec. This beautiful village is mostly known as a birthplace of the former President of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito. His birth house has been turned into a museum, in front of which stands his sculpture in bronze. Besides history, here you will enjoy delightful assemblage of old farm buildings, many hung with corncobs and fringed with well-trimmed gardens.