Final summer season, guests who managed to make it to Croatia had a style of what the nation was like earlier than the times of mass tourism. And it tasted good. However whereas honeypots similar to Dubrovnik had been unrecognisably quiet, there have at all times been elements of the nation the place you don’t need to wade by crowds.Locations the place issues transfer at a much less hurried tempo, the place Croatian life may be savoured, the place you get a flavour of what the Dalmatians name fjaka – the artwork of doing nothing. These islands and mainland locations are what you need in a post-lockdown escape: peace, magnificence and the prospect to find why Croatia is such an attractive nation.ZlarinIt’s laborious to maneuver at a quick tempo on this island within the Šibenik archipelago – it has banned vehicles, so that you’ll need to stroll or cycle. Because the island is simply eight sq. kilometres, that’s not a lot of a trial. A half-hour ferry experience from town of Šibenik takes you to the island’s solely village. Not solely is Zlarin lined in greenery, however it stepped up inexperienced credentials two years in the past by turning into the primary island in Croatia to ban single-use plastics.Zlarin harbor. {Photograph}: Panther Media GmbH/AlamyWhat to doZlarin was as soon as recognized for its coral diving, which you’ll inform from its coral retailers and a tiny coral museum that’s open in the summertime. Smothered in cypress, olive, almond and fig bushes, it’s a place for mountaineering and kayaking to secluded seashores, maybe trekking as much as its highest level, Klepac, at 169 metres, and taking in views of Velebit mountain. From Zlarin it’s a 15-minute ferry experience to the even sleepier island of Prvić, whose seashores make an agreeable day journey. Pop into the entertaining museum dedicated to Faust Vrančić, native Renaissance man, inventor and early parachute pioneer.The place to stayStone Homes Zlarin (from €90) are two attractively renovated village homes with balconies, terraces and plenty of uncovered brick. Home Nana has three bedrooms however can squeeze in 10 folks, whereas Home Vana has two bedrooms with capability for eight. Simply 200 metres from the harbour, Residences Katina (from €35) has three easy flats for 2, and a fourth that sleeps 4, all with terraces.The place to eatKonoba Aldura, proper in entrance of the marina, serves beneficiant platters of grilled fish and seafood and has sea views. Set again additional within the village, Konoa Prslika has a stone terrace with olive bushes to go together with its Mediterranean menu, together with grilled langoustines and octopus cooked over a wooden fireplace.PrimoštenA sundown promenade on Primošten’s Adriatic coast. {Photograph}: Joachim Bago/AlamyOn the coast street between Break up and Šibenik – however bypassed by an inland motorway – Primošten has one in all Croatia’s most photogenic previous cities, by itself small island. The jumble of medieval homes is linked to the mainland through a causeway, whereas a neighbouring promontory lined in pines is residence to the realm’s greatest seashores.What to doWhile you’re wandering by the stepped streets of the previous city, head uphill to the Fifteenth-century church of Sveti Juraj (St George) and take within the views. The little promontory that stands out like a thumb is ringed by the pine-backed seashores of Raduča – the smaller of which has views of the previous city. Limitless vineyards cowl a lot of the panorama – it’s residence to the indigenous and full-bodied babić grape. Name Prgin Vineyard and pop in for a tasting. Despite Primošten’s laid-back really feel, the municipality is residence to one in all Dalmatia’s greatest nightclubs, Aurora, only a few miles away from the previous city.The place to stayFacing Mala Raduča seaside, Zora Lodge (half-board doubles from €96) has ethereal rooms with balconies and sea views, an outside pool and sauna. Villa Koša (from €70) close to the doorway to Primošten’s harbour has 14 flats with kitchens, balconies and sea views.The place to eatIn the previous city is Agape Kitchen & Wine, which affords Dalmatian small plates in addition to grilled spiny lobster (an area speciality) and the wealthy beef dish of pašticada with gnocchi. Seize a seat on the sea-facing terrace of Konoba Toni by the marina for large plates of grilled fish.FažanaFažana harbour. {Photograph}: Master2/Getty ImagesThis small port on Istria’s southwestern coast isn’t precisely off the vacationer radar – it’s the departure level for boat journeys to the Brijuni Islands nationwide park. However with Istria’s big-hitters Pula and Rovinj solely 15 and half-hour away respectively, family-friendly Fažana tends to get ignored. On this pleasant fishing port you may get a extra relaxed style of Istria.What to doFažana’s enchantment is its mellow ambiance and lengthy, pebbly seashores. Its medieval centre is heralded by the Fifteenth-century church of Saints Cosmas and Damian, and look out for the portico-fronted 14th-century Church of Our Girl of Mount Carmel. A ship journey to the Brijuni Islands (solely quarter-hour) is a should. Greater than a dozen islands kind the archipelago, however excursions go to Veli Brijun, the previous summer season playground of Tito – and, earlier than him, the Habsburgs and the Romans. The place to stayVilla Mihaela (from €30) has 5 vibrant flats with terraces in a big home in a residential space a couple of 10-minute stroll from the seaside. There’s additionally a pool, bike rental and a communal outside kitchen for barbecues. Set in a restored Sixteenth-century townhouse within the centre of Fažana, Heritage Lodge Chersin (B&B from £105) has fairly rooms with uncovered stone partitions, and the backyard restaurant is simply as enticing.The place to eatAt Konoba Batana by the harbour, take in sea views from its lined terrace. The sharing fish and meat platters provide glorious worth. Guide forward for a desk at Konoba Beccaccia, a rustic restaurant a number of miles out the city. The enormous fireplace is the place a lot of the cooking is finished: steaks of black angus beef, together with meat cooked slowly underneath sizzling embers in a bell-shaped pot referred to as a peka. The homeowners additionally run an house complicated on the positioning, with an outside pool.Dugi OtokTelašćica nature park. {Photograph}: Getty ImagesDugi Otok means “lengthy island” – it straggles alongside for 43km however just isn’t way more than 4km huge. Essentially the most stunning island of the Zadar archipelago (and about an 80-minute ferry experience from Zadar), Dugi Otok has an intoxicating wildness about it, with just a few tiny villages and a aromatic panorama of untamed herbs, pines, fig bushes and olive groves.What to doThis is the place to sit back and revel in two of the Adriatic’s loveliest sights. Telašćica nature park is an oddly formed bay with six islets inside and one other 13 surrounding it – and a saltwater lake as nicely. Climb the cliffs for views of the Kornati nationwide park to the south; and cycle, hike, swim, go scuba diving or simply sail and kayak across the bay. Entry is best by boat tour from Dugi Otok’s largest settlement, Sali.Additional north is Sakarun (or Saharun) seaside, a sheltered cove of white sand which regularly seems on lists of Croatia’s most stunning seashores. Much less well-known is the pine-fringed Brbinjšćica Bay, from the place you’ll be able to discover the blue depths of the Dragon’s Eye and Golubinka sea caves.The place to stayApartmani Vesna Giro (from €75) has two waterside flats in Soline, each with two bedrooms, sea-facing terraces, a barbecue and mooring for boats. Lodge Maxim (half-board doubles from €138) is one in all 4 lodges within the Hoteli Božava complicated close to the ferry port in Božava. Trendy rooms with balconies overlook the ocean, as does the outside pool.The place to eatEnjoy views of Veli Rat’s marina from the terrace of Konoba Lanterna, the place grilled calamari, octopus and lobster are among the many specialities. Konoba Trapula on Sali seafront affords Adriatic favourites similar to cuttlefish-ink risotto and octopus salad, together with grilled sea bass and steaks.MurterSlanica seaside on Murter island. {Photograph}: Patstock/Getty ImagesThe largest island within the Šibenik archipelago is the best to succeed in, because of the little elevate bridge at Tisno, a small village that straddles Murter and the mainland. Whereas Tisno was placed on the map because of the dance festivals that happen in July and August (and that are scheduled to restart this yr), Murter has at all times been extra of a low-key place.What to doMurter city is a wonderful base for boat journeys to the Kornati nationwide park, an archipelago of 89 islands, all off-grid and with an otherworldly, barren magnificence. In any other case, hit the seashores, nearly of all of that are rugged and rustic. Slanica is the busiest, however head additional alongside the island’s west coast for rocky and pebbly bays ringed with pine and olive bushes, similar to Kosirina and Čigrada.There’s fascinating historical past, too, among the many olive groves and scrubby hills. Wander by the stays of an historic Roman metropolis at Colentum archaeological park, and uncover Murter’s wealthy maritime historical past on the small however compelling Betina Museum of Wood Shipbuilding.The place to stayHotel Ana Murter (doubles from €119) on the west coast has vibrant rooms with terraces going through the ocean, with a rocky seaside only a few metres away. Overlooking Betina’s marina, Lantina Residences (from €45) has a number of flats, all with balconies, although it’s price forking out for one with a sea view. There’s additionally a villa with two separate flats.The place to eatFine Meals Murter does casual-chic in addition to it does big plates of grilled squid and black angus steak, in addition to wok-fried beef and do-it-yourself pasta with truffles. For a seaside restaurant, Reflektor on Slanica seaside affords inexpensive seafood and meat platters, pastas and grilled mackerel.CresMali Bok seaside at Orlec on Cres island. {Photograph}: Bernadett Pogacsas-Simon/AlamyOne of the 2 largest islands in Croatia together with neighbouring Krk, Cres stays untamed regardless of its proximity to Rijeka and Istria. It’s an island of two halves: the plush inexperienced northern half, Tramuntana, quickly offers strategy to the barren karst panorama that covers many Adriatic islands. Though ferries run from Rijeka, Krk and Brestova on the Istrian coast – and the island of Lošinj is linked on the southern tip by a swing bridge – there’s nonetheless a way that Cres is out of the best way.What to doSet in a deep harbour, Cres city is a delightful assortment of Venetian townhouses squeezed round tiny squares and alongside slim alleyways. There’s a protracted pebbly seaside in Cres city, however quieter ones additional south within the small villages of Valun and Lubenice. On the island’s southern tip, simply earlier than the bridge to Lošinj, is Osor, the place public artwork is scattered round Venetian buildings.It’s the outside that pulls many guests: mountaineering trails meander by oak forests and alongside ridges with Adriatic views all over the place you look. Observe the paths to the Beli Customer Centre, the place a wildlife sanctuary dedicated to rescuing uncommon griffon vultures is without doubt one of the island’s highlights.The place to stayPansion Tramontana (B&B from €80) in Beli is helpful for the Beli Customer Centre, and the homeowners additionally run a dive centre from Beli seaside. The ACI Marina (from €67) in Cres city has 9 neatly furnished flats, some with balconies or terraces, and the worth contains entry to a health centre.The place to eatCres produces a few of Croatia’s most scrumptious lamb, and the country Konoba Bukaleta within the inland village of Loznati is without doubt one of the greatest locations to strive it, roasted or grilled. In Osor, Konoba Bonifačić serves platters of grilled fish and lamb stews in a comfortable backyard.Pelješac peninsulaOrebić on the Pelješac peninsula. {Photograph}: Ivan Coric/AlamyThe oyster beds of Mali Ston and the peninsula’s hilly vineyards that produce strong plavac mali, dingač and postup reds have turned Pelješac right into a foodie magnet. And Recreation of Thrones followers come to go to Ston’s 14th-century defensive partitions, which masqueraded as King’s Touchdown within the fantasy drama. This sinuous peninsula that stretches north of Dubrovnik for 90km additionally has fabulous seashores tucked amongst its tree-fringed coves and bays.What to doOrebić, the biggest settlement, is helpful for ferries to Korčula, however there’s additionally a Fifteenth-century Franciscan monastery, the stunning Trstenica seaside and the difficult 961-metre summit of Sveti Ilija looming over the city.The winding essential street forming Pelješac’s backbone helpfully signposts boutique wineries providing tastings (booked forward ideally), together with Vinarija Bartulović (which additionally has a cottage to hire), Matuško and Mikulić (which additionally owns an aparthotel, restaurant and campsite in Orebić).Regardless of their recognition, the dual villages of Ston and Mali Ston are laborious to disregard, with their neat assortment of previous stone homes, oyster beds, huge saltpans and people magnificent partitions that go on for 3km.The place to staySet on the waterfront in Viganj west of Orebić and constructed of creamy Dalmatian stone, Heritage Boutique Lodge (doubles from €163) has fashionable rooms with uncovered beams and brick, in addition to a seawater pool going through the ocean. Mimbelli (B&B doubles from €68) on Orebić’s seafront is filled with appeal, a big stone guesthouse with 5 vibrant rooms (three with a sea view) and a pretty restaurant.The place to eatUnless you actually hate oysters, you’ll be able to’t move up the prospect to sit down on the terrace at Bota Šare in Mali Ston’s harbour and deal with your self to a platter (it additionally does nice pasta). In a hillside above Orebić – with dreamy views of the ocean, particularly at sundown – is Agroturizam Kapor, a family-run, rustic restaurant that specialises in cooking meat underneath a peka. Order a day prematurely in order to not miss out.NinStatue of the ninth-century chief Branimir of Croatia in Nin city. {Photograph}: Marcos Welsh/Getty ImagesGeographically and culturally, Nin packs in so much for such a small place. In medieval occasions, this compact city 16km north-west of Zadar was the seat of Croatia’s kings and archbishops, and has a particular fairytale high quality about it. Its previous city is ready on a tiny islet inside a bay nearly enclosed by a sandy spit, joined to the mainland by two low stone bridges. Saltpans and sandy seashores encompass this little oddity, with the Velebit mountains brooding within the background so as to add extra of an air of strangeness.What to doSwim and laze – or go kitesurfing – within the shallow waters of Nin’s sandy seashores, together with the 1km sandy spit of Žrdrijac. The Queen’s seaside is beside a big mud tub, so anticipate to see folks plastered with mineral-rich mud. Within the previous city, the straightforward, austere Church of the Holy Cross dates from the ninth century and is believed to be the oldest within the nation.Nin’s lengthy historical past, together with its historic Greek and Roman intervals, is clearly displayed within the close by Nin Museum of Antiquities. Cross the bridge to succeed in the Solina Nin Salt Museum, which affords an enchanting take a look at the city’s 2,000-year-old salt trade.The place to stayOn the sting of the previous city on the seafront, Residences Val (from €50) provide 5 breezy studios and one-bedroom flats with balconies and sea views. There’s additionally a communal backyard with a brick hearth and a vine-shaded desk. A minute’s stroll from the water’s edge is Residences Bella (from €45), with two trendy studios and two one-bedroom flats with terraces, together with a shared barbecue.The place to eatThere’s a cluster of excellent locations to eat within the previous city. Restaurant Providenca has a properly rustic backyard the place you’ll be able to share huge plates of grilled meats and seafood pasta. Restaurant Sokol additionally options do-it-yourself pasta and hefty grilled steaks in addition to ninski šokol, the cured pork neck that’s a Nin speciality.Kopački RitMarshes at Kopački Rit nature park. {Photograph}: Dalibor Brlek/AlamyOne of Europe’s largest wetlands spreads round north-eastern Croatia between Osijek and the Serbian border. Due to the confluence of the Danube and Drava rivers, the huge floodplain of Kopački Rit is hypnotically stunning. Almost 300 hen species fly over this big nature reserve of lakes, ponds, backwaters, flower-rich grasslands and oak forests.What to doFollow trails of raised picket walkways by wildfowl-rich marshes and previous a lake that’s a partly sunken forest. Lease a motorcycle in close by Bilje to cowl extra floor whereas looking for herons, egrets and storks. Autumn is migration time, when even non-birders can’t fail to spot the mass migration of birds. Boat journeys from Lake Sakadaš glide by in any other case inaccessible waterways, and you may as well be part of a guided canoe tour. For those who’re visiting in summer season, deliver mosquito repellent.Kopački Rit is within the Baranja area of Slavonia, whose largest metropolis, Osijek, is filled with Habsburg structure. Take a look at the cobbled squares and lanes within the baroque quarter, Tvrda.The place to stayWithin strolling distance of Kopački Rit is Didin Konak (B&B doubles from €30 an evening), a conventional farm-like complicated comprising a B&B, flats, a restaurant and a wine cellar. In Osijek, the 12-room Boutique Lodge Tvrda (B&B doubles from round €100) is in a major spot within the Tvrda quarter, and features a rooftop pool, sizzling tub and sauna.The place to eatThe area’s Croatian-Hungarian culinary melange is on full show at Restoran Kormoran, throughout the nature park. Paprika performs a starring position in freshwater fish dishes, notably the fiš paprikaš with native carp or perch. It’s an analogous story nearer to Osijek at Čarda kod Baranjca by the River Drava, with dishes of goulash, grilled hen and pork, in addition to platters of river fish.LovranThe Lovran seafront. {Photograph}: Ilija Ascic/AlamyLike a mini model of the historic city of Opatija, Lovran has saved the Habsburg magnificence that made the western coast of Istria the winter playground of the Austro-Hungarians. Grand Italianate lodges and townhouses tower over the Lungomare, the 12km seafront promenade that goes all the best way previous Opatija to Volosko.What to doWhen you’re not strolling alongside the Lungomare – probably the most pleasurable issues to do – you’ll be able to nostril across the slim alleys of Lovran’s previous city and its tiny 14th-century Church of St George. Seashores listed below are both on concrete platforms or pebbly stretches, together with the one at Medveja on the southern fringe. Lovran can also be the start line for hikes within the pine-covered hills of Učka nature park.The place to staySet on the slopes of Učka, a couple of 10-minute drive from Lovran’s centre, Lodge Draga di Lovrana (B&B doubles from £131) was constructed as a Habsburg searching lodge in 1908 and has totally breathtaking views of the Kvarner Gulf. There’s an outside pool and in addition one of many seven Croatian eating places to carry a Michelin star. If you wish to be inside seconds of the Lungomare, sea-facing Villa Atlanta (from €55) has trendy studio flats and an outside pool surrounded by gardens.The place to eatIn the previous city reverse the church, Lovranska Vrata has a energetic terrace and serves shellfish platters and do-it-yourself seafood pasta. Najade on the seafront by the marina is a bit dear, however you do get excellent views to go together with plates of grilled squid, scampi and sea bream. Croatia will transfer to the inexperienced listing for getting into England on Monday 19 July. See the UK authorities web site for particulars on touring from all 4 UK international locations. The caption on the primary picture on this text was amended on 17 July 2021. The picture reveals Jadrija lighthouse, not “Orebić’s Fifteenth-century monastery” as an earlier model stated.