Top 10 unusual Croatia holidays

Any travellers looking to escape the crowded beaches and opt for a more unusual holiday in Croatia should consider this top 10 before they head off. We’ve compiled a great collection of holidays that will take you into Croatia’s lesser-known countryside and coastlines. From staying in rural stone cottages surrounded by vineyards to taking the train from London to Zagreb – here’s how you discover a side to Croatia that the cruise ships miss.

1. Sea kayaking around the Adriatic islands

Paddling around Croatia’s Adriatic islands in a kayak is the best way to get to all the out-of-the-way coves and beaches the cruise ships simply can’t reach. Local kayaking guides know all the top places to swim, snorkel and share a picnic, so all you have to do is follow their lead and dive right in. Staying in locally owned guest houses on the islands of Sipan and Lopud gives you plenty of opportunities to meet local people and get a real taste for traditional Croatian cuisine, without the overpriced menus.

Our top selling trip: Sea kayaking holiday in Croatia
See all our trips: Sea kayaking holidays
Read more: Sea kayaking in Croatia travel guide

2. Cultural homestay experience

Travelling as part of a small group, you’ll be invited to dine out at family-owned restaurants as well as spending the night in guest rooms that are rented out by local folk during the summer. Wherever you go – Dubrovnik, Korcula, Hvar or Split – getting to know local people is the best way to become immersed in the culture of Croatia.

Our top selling trip: Croatia cultural holiday with homestay
Read more: Croatia travel guide

3. Travel by sea but stay on land

Although there’s nothing unusual about sailing holidays in Croatia, not every sailor will have the luxury of staying overnight on dry land. Based in a beautiful boutique villa on the island of Korcula, you’ll have every opportunity to feel the salty sea breeze on your skin as you island-hop in the Adriatic. The islands of Mljet, Lastovo, Vis and Dubrovnik are all accessible by boat, and on Korcula the village of Lumbarda can easily be reached on foot from the villa.

Our top selling trip: Croatia sailing holiday with land-based accommodation
See all our trips: Croatia sailing holidays
Read more: Croatia sailing travel guide

4. Train adventure

Setting off for Croatia by train from London will appeal to old romantics and responsible travellers alike. This is an opportunity to relive Interrail adventures past as you cross from Paris to Munich, then Austria to Slovenia, before finally arriving in the Croatian capital city of Zagreb. Spending nights off the train helps break up the journey, as well as providing plenty of talking points as you board the train the next morning and continue to ride the rails across Western Europe.

Our top selling trip: London to Croatia by train holiday
See all our trips: Europe by rail holidays
Read more: Balkans by rail travel guide

5. Rural cottage stay in the Konavle Valley

If you want to discover Croatia away from the cruise ship crowds and souvenir stands, book into a rural cottage in the Konavle Valley and you’ll be transported back in time. Surrounded by green fields, vegetable patches and endless vineyards, this stone cottage makes the most of natural resources as well as the peace and tranquillity of rural Croatia.

Our top selling trip: Vineyard cottage in rural Croatia
See all our trips: Croatia holidays
Read more: Croatia travel guide

6. Hiking & biking from Korcula

There can’t be many more better Croatia holiday combinations than hiking and biking. Imagine all that salty sea air and sunshine combined with daily rides or walks. This tailor made week invites you to explore Korcula Island, the Peljesac Peninsula and Mljet National Park in the wake of local guides who spend all the time they possibly can exploring the trails. A small private boat will ship you between places; it’s also where Mediterranean lunches are served. And there’s no better way to round off a day than relaxing back at your locally run villa on Korcula.

Our top selling trip: Croatian islands hiking and biking holiday
See all our trips: Korcula holidays
Read more: Croatia walking guide and Croatia cycling guide

7. Self guided coastal walks

This wonderful week of walking is just the ticket for any travellers looking to make the most of Croatia at their own pace. B&B accommodation, detailed trip notes, luggage transfers and ferry tickets are all included, so all you have to do is put your best foot forward and explore. From the water mills and green hills of Konavle to the natural island charm of Lopud and Mljet – self guided coastal walks in Croatia are all about enjoying a daily dose of exercise and sea views.

Our top selling trip: Self guided Croatian coast walking tour
See all our trips: Croatia walking holidays
Read more: Croatia walking holidays travel guide

8. Active family holiday

Take your family off for a week of adventures in the mountains, lakes and waterfalls of Plitvice National Park. Staying in the village of Licko Lesce, you’ll try your hand at standup paddleboarding, kayaking, cycling and canoeing down the Zrmanja River, all under the watchful tutelage of local guides and instructors. An active family holiday in Croatia is a great way to get to know the country’s lesser-visited landscapes – and each other.

Our top selling trip: Plitvice Lakes family activity holiday in Croatia
See all our trips: Croatia family holidays
Read more: Croatia family holidays travel guide

9. Self guided cycling trip to secluded coastlines

Pedal off into the Croatian countryside and along secluded stretches of coast as you embark on this worthwhile week of self guided cycling. Luggage is transferred ahead as you ride and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get off the saddle and explore the restaurant and beach recommendations in your route notes. This cycling trip covers good distances, riding from Dubrovnik and Konavle Valley on the mainland to the Adriatic islands of Mljet, Sipan and Korkula – but also includes plenty of chances to relax and soak it all in.

Our top selling trip: Self guided biking tour in Croatia
See all our trips: Croatia cycling holidays
Read more: Croatia cycling holidays travel guide

10. Exploring Croatia’s national parks

Joining a small group of like-minded travellers is a great way to meet new people and enjoy the protected rivers and mountains of Croatia at the same time. National parks such as Northern Velebit, Plitvice Lakes and Paklenica are ideal for finding out more about rural Croatia’s cultural heritage. Most people only get the chance to see them on day trips from the cities. Set off on the trail with knowledgeable local guides and stay in locally owned hotels and homestay accommodation.

Our top selling trip: Plitvice Lakes family activity holiday
See all our trips: Croatia walking holidays
Read more: Croatia walking holidays travel guide
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: The Small Cruise Ship Collection] [3. Travel by sea but stay on land: D Smith] [7. Self guided coastal walks: NH53] [10. Walking in Croatia’s national parks: dronepicr]