A church in Croatia
Visiting Croatia will transport you to one of the most unusual places in Europe. Historic sites, vibrant nightlife and a fascinating mix of cultures will amaze you. Its sprawling coastline is one of the sunniest in Europe. It will be one of the highlights of your Eurail pass experience. Mainland Croatia, and the more than 1,100 islands that surround it, await you.
Croatia's cultural mecca
Before heading to the tempting Croatian coastline, visit Zagreb, the capital city. The center of culture and cuisine, Zagreb will delight and surprise you. Among the medieval architecture, you’ll find a cultural, religious and commercial hub. Don’t miss the Cathedral and 16th century fortification walls, and sample the cuisine, heavily influenced by Croatia’s Mediterranean neighbors. View more things to do in Zagreb.
When you step out at Zagreb’s Glavni Kolodvor station, Zagreb Cathedral is a 15-minute walk through a lovely, green municipal park.
A stunningly beautiful coastal city
The magnificent coastal city Dubrovnik is surrounded by fortification walls and boasts lovely marble streets and an endless array of cafés and shops. Step outside the city, and you’re in a beautiful beach paradise. For a nearby paradise retreat head to Mljet Island – the national park, salt water lakes, vineyards, lush forests and a 12th century Benedictine Monastery should keep you busy.
The Dubrovnik area is not connected to the railway network. You can travel by train to Split, and then take a bus to Dubrovnik. Believe us, it’s worth the effort.
Ancient palaces and modern indulgence
In Split (Spalato), start with Diocletian's Palace, in the heart of the city. It’s the biggest tourist attraction in Split. Step inside the palace walls and you’ll find cobblestone alleyways, shops, cafes, ancient Roman relics and a stunning cathedral. Next, visit the oldest museum in Croatia, the Archaeological Museum.
From Split's main train station it's a 10-minute walk to Diocletian's Palace.
A coastal area not to miss is Dalmatia (Dalmacija), rich in ancient ruins, sandy beaches, old fishing ports and stunning architecture. Plus, there are countless ferries to take you to the islands off of Dalmatia’s brilliant coast. Hvar Island especially is well worth a visit. Spend the day discovering the Romanesque and Renaissance architecture nestled in this Mediterranean paradise. Be sure to taste the famous wines produced in the towns of Vrboska and Jelsa.
A short ferry ride from Split brings you to Hvar Island. The ferry port is close to Split’s main train station.
When to go
When is the best time to use your Croatia rail pass? Summer is the most popular with sun and sand seeking tourists who want to do some island hopping. But the winters are perfect for visitors who enjoy sipping a hot cup of coffee at a quaint café or who want to get into the Christmas spirit.
Croatia’s wildly varied landscape means that the climate is varied, as well. Although typically warm in summer, and cooler in winter, visitors should check the specific climate conditions for their visit. Of course, the western coast will typically be warmer and dryer. A strong, cold wind (the Bura) blows through central Croatia during the winter.
- January 17 - February 13, 2013
Known as Karneval or Maškare, this annual celebration seems to gain momentum every year. With specific Croatian traditions and costumes, this is a Mardi Gras/Carnival unlike any other. Although Carnival activities take place all around Croatia, the best city to celebrate this feast is Rijeka.
Rijeka can be reached by train. All Carnival activities take place within walking distance of the train station.
Pula Film Festival
- July 13-19, 2013
Croatia’s annual film festival held in Pula’s spectacular amphitheatre.
The amphitheatre is a 10-minute walk from Pula’s train station.
Split Summer Festival
- July 17 - August 31, 2013
The 2 months of high summer are the setting for Split’s widespread celebration of music, theater, opera and art. International and local artists, stunning costume and beautiful music abound.
Split can be reached by train from Zagreb or by bus from almost every Croatian city. The festival takes place in the city center of Split.
Pag Winter Carnival
- November 1-30, 2013
Every year, the island of Pag plays host to Croatia’s Ottoman past with a costumed, tradition-laden extravaganza. Customs, music and attire all honor that period.
Pag can be reached by ferry leaving from Rijeka or Prizna. There’s also a bus service between Zadar and Pag town that operates daily.
Le Petit Festival du Théâtre
- June 21-28, 2013
Throughout Dubrovnik, international visitors enjoy this festival, honoring all types of theatre and art.
There’s a bus from Split which takes you to Dubrovnik in about 4 hours. The theater festival takes place in Dubrovnik’s city center.