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5 interesting places in Croatia to visit
There are plenty of interesting places in Croatia to put on your bucket list. They are mystic, shrouded in a haze of legends, myths, stories, history, take your pick – Croatia has it all!
Do you love nature and historical mysteries? Ever dream of being an explorer? Do you want to get a dose of adrenaline? There are plenty of interesting places in Croatia that you should add to your itinerary. Here’s a selection of unusual destinations in Croatia.
Travel to the coolest places in Croatia and find out the truth behind mysterious legends and myths.
1. Zmajevo oko: Dragon’s vs Aliens
Many lakes in the world have a legend about a monster hiding in its mysterious depths. The Dragon’s Eye lake is an interesting place in Split and Sibenik area and an amazing attraction in Rogoznica. We already have an in-depth blog about this lovely town that is also one of our charter bases. So if you’d like to learn more about it, head on over there. The lake gets its name from its unique oval shape, similar to that of a serpent’s eye. Steep banks further complement the overall scenery. It’s about 15 meters deep, with various hues that depend on the life cycle of the entire ecosystem. They go from turquoise, dark blue, and green, with tinges of yellow, to completely brown.
Legends about the Dragon’s Eye lake
Dragons living in caves is an especially popular legend in Croatia. When it comes to legends about Dragon’s Eye lake, one tells us that there was a dragon who kidnapped Croatian beauties. But his evil deeds have come to an end, thanks to a brave young man. He saved the girls and hit the dragon so hard that his eye flew out and turned into a lake. The dragon sank to the bottom of it. They say that the dragon still dwells in the depths of the lake, waiting for the right moment to take revenge.
According to another local legend, the lake formed when a meteorite or a spaceship crash-landed there. And now, this place is believed to attract everything from cosmic energy to UFOs and even, dark matter.
Regardless of all the theories, you should take a dip and even do some cliff diving. The water temperature of the lake is usually quite a bit warmer than the sea temperature. However, make no mistake, the water is salty and not freshwater.
2. Dvigrad – The Abandoned City
The mysterious medieval town of Dvigrad is one of the most mystical and interesting places in Croatia. The abandoned city on the edge of the Istrian peninsula is just 15 km from the city of Rovinj. Like any dead city, Dvigrad is shrouded in many legends, secrets and fairy tales.
The two fortresses of Parentino and Moncastelo constituted one city called Duo Castra or Dvigrad back in the 11th century. Once full of noisy city life, Dvigrad had around 200 houses which were home to over 2000 residents.
Subsequently, a series of tragic events began to haunt the city. The city’s population declined greatly during several wars between Venice and Austria, the great empires of that time. The city suffered from a terrible plague epidemic, which was soon followed by an epidemic of malaria. The last 3 families left Dvigrad in 1630. Since then, no one has tried to settle within the walls of this city, believed to have bad luck. Dvigrad was ruefully named as a lost place. The city began to collapse gradually, turning into the present ruins, eerie yet beautiful.
Today Dvigrad is absolutely abandoned. However, some buildings, former streets, facades of houses, and even the Church of St. Sophia are still recognizable. Dvigrad is an ideal place for cinematic photos and videos. Surprisingly well-preserved walls of the city protect the secrets of inhabitants who left their homes such a long time ago.
3. Nakovana Village – A Ghost Town
If you plan to travel down the Dalmatian coast, try visiting Nakovana Village in Orebic. Inhabitants gradually abandoned this village in the second half of the 20th century. After that, it has become a ghost town, with more native snakes than people.
Deep on the hillside of the Peljesac peninsula, Nakovana village is mostly known among archaeologists due to the discovery of an old cave in the early 2000s. There is substantial evidence that the cave was a place of worship or even the living quarters of a cult in 6000 BC.
While this interesting place is not open for the public due to heavy archeological works, the city of Nakovana still stands as an excellent example of traditional architecture. Since the desertion of the village, no one had bothered to tamper with the original dwellings.
There’s even a legend on how the place got its name. Once upon a time, there were three brothers that were all blacksmiths. One day, they settled to divide their property. The first brother got a small house – kuciste. This is where he lived and used as his blacksmith workshop. Hence, the village was named Kuciste. The second brother got a blacksmith’s forge – viganj. Therefore, the village got the name Viganj. The last brother got an anvil – nakovanj. As a result, this village got the name Nakovana.
4. Cetina River Spring: The Eye of the Earth
This small lake Glavas is a karst sinkhole, more than 150 meters deep. It is located near a small village called Cetina and 7 km north of the town of Vrlika. The water rising from the bottom of the sinkhole forms a river with a total length of 101 kilometers. It flows into the Adriatic Sea and it is the longest all-Croatian river (its entire flow is within Croatian borders).
The reservoir has a flawless rounded shape that resembles an eye. It has a deep blue-green hue. This water color is mesmerizing. Locals call this interesting place – the Eye of the Earth. Because it silently observes everything that happens around.
True connoisseurs of beauty will appreciate this beautiful and bright lake. There are trees growing around the lake. For instance, spruce, pine, and larch. Many people come here from all over the world to enjoy the stunning picture created by nature itself.
5. Baljenac Island: Giant’s Fingerprint
This small island near the coast of Croatia has recently become more and more popular among tourists. Baljenac is located in the Sibenik archipelago in Dalmatia. This small oval islet covers an area of 1.4 km² and is covered with a network of low stone walls. Although the island is only 500 meters long, the stone walls have a total length of 23 kilometers!
Due to its amazing shape, the island looks like a giant fingerprint from above with long lines of low walls. There are many legends about a giant who left his fingerprint and disappeared deep into the sea. However, these papillary lines on the island are quite understandable.
Unusual designs have an ancient tradition. In the old days, they defined the boundaries between neighboring fields. The builders carefully selected chunks of stones that perfectly fit together, creating durable structures. The drywalls served another function as well. They also protected the plants from the strong winds called Bora.
Baljenac is uninhabited today. New generations don’t have much interest in the traditions of their ancestors, and do not cultivate the land on small islands. However, the island is in high demand among curious tourists.
The best way to enjoy the islands is to do some island hopping in the region by chartering a boat. That way you get to explore all the fascinating islands.
Another interesting place in Croatia is the island of Galesnjak, also known as ‘Love Island’ (no, not the TV show, but even better!). Referred to as ‘Love Island’ for its heart-shaped perimeter, the island is only 12 nm away from Zadar, making it an attractive anchoring spot. Whether you choose to have an active holiday or relax on one of Love Island’s pebble beaches, Galesnjak offers something for everyone!
Other interesting islands in Croatia
With 1244 islands, islets, and reefs there’s so much diversity. There’s the fish island and the sea shell island. Both are part of the national park Brijuni archipelago. Their actual names are Gaz and Pusti otok/Madona. Another fish island is located close to Primosten and Rogznica and it’s called Krbelica.
Zadar archipelago has several other heart-shaped islands: Lukovik, Roncic, Mrtonjak and Lisac.
To sum up, Croatia is a place of some stunning islands. In order to admire them to the fullest, we recommend chartering a boat from one of our 4 bases (Split, Slano, Rogoznica or Pula), packing your drone, and start exploring.
Check out these interesting places in Croatia, now!
With this list of Croatia’s coolest sites, you have the perfect itinerary for an incredible vacation. Combining sailing with excursions to the peninsula’s inland and the mainland is a perfect way to explore these interesting places in Croatia. These places will make you believe in real magic, since the true essence and beauty of these places is (mostly) created by nature itself.
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