Over the past few years Croatia went from being Europe’s hidden gem to a Mecca for tourists. Whether you’re looking for a sun soaked vacation, a vibrant party scene, natural beauty, or historical landmarks part of the World Heritage Site list, Croatia has it all.

The growing number of summer festivals, nightclubs and beach parties are attracting an international crowd to cities like Zagreb, Split, Pula, Rovinj and the islands of Hvar, Pag and Murter. The capital Zagreb is a year-round destination with a large number of clubs and bars. Take a look at the best party destinations on the Croatian coast, from the Istrian peninsula to Dalmatia.

1. Split

Croatia’s second largest city, Split is mostly associated with Emperor Diocletian’s palace, a well preserved fortress-like structure facing the sea built in the 4th century. The city had been founded some 600 years before, as a Greek colony and then became a Roman and later Venetian city.

Today a World Heritage Site, the palace is surrounded by a web of narrow that house a multitude of restaurants and bars. The city has three beautiful squares that mostly go by their unofficial names: Prokurative (Republic Square), Pjaca (People’s Square) and Fruit Square (Square of the Radić brothers). Riva is the city’s main promenade, with lots of outdoor cafés and shops.

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Split, Croatia

The Ultra Europe Festival has been taking in July for the past two years. The best electronic music DJ’s in the world perform on the Poljud stadium, with tens of thousands of fans in attendance. Split Summer Festival, the Mediterranean Film Festival and Split film festival are just a few of the events taking place in the city during the summer months.

There are many clubs on Bačvice beach such as Imperium, with views of the old town, Hemingway Bar, Tropic Club and O´Hara. Quasimodo, located on the second floor of an office building, is the leading venue for indie artists, bands from Croatia and other countries of the ex-Yugoslavia. At Zvončac beach, near ACI Marina, there’s Jungla (Hula Hula), a bar with a large terrace overlooking the sea. After dark, the club features rock and underground techno music.

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Hemingway Bar, Split, Croatia | Photo source: hemingway.hr/split

Explore this beautiful historic city and leave your boat safely at ACI Marina Split.

 2. Pula

This ancient town on the Istrian peninsula is host to two of Europe’s best underground music festivals, held in an abandoned fort. Dimensions and Outlook festivals bring together the most cutting edge names in techno, minimal, house, garage and grime.

In the city center, the well-preserved Roman amphitheater is the location of many concerts. Apart from the Roman architecture like Hercules Gate and the Forum with the Temple of Augustus, the city offers a wide variety of shopping, dining and entertainment options.

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Roman amphitheater, Pula, Croatia

Most bars in the center close by midnight, but there are a number of bars in the Veruda area as well as a few larger clubs north-east of the center that stay open until morning. The Aruba is the most popular venue, with an outdoor bar and a two-room disco inside. Uljanik club is the main hub for alternative music events in the city and one of the most famous rock clubs in the former Yugoslavia.

Fort Bourguignon near Valsaline Bay hosts regular DJ events during the summer; while Fort Punta Christo, north along the coast, is the site of the Outlook and Dimensions festivals, and the seasonal Seasplash Summer Club.

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Fort Punta Christo, Outlook Festival, Pula | Photo source: fortpuntachristo.net

Pula is close to the picturesque towns of Rovinj, Poreč, Labin and Motovun, as well as the beautiful Brijuni islands, an archipelago of 14 islands famous for their scenic beauty. You can take a bike tour from Premantura to Cape Kamenjak to see gorgeous coves, bays and beaches. The medieval town of Labin sits on a hilltop overlooking the Adriatic and attracts visitors with its views and narrow streets where a variety of artists perform during the summer.

We recommend ACI Marina Pula, located in the city’s natural harbor.

3. Rovinj

This lovely Istrian town is one of the most popular resorts in Croatia. Often called “The Blue Pearl of the Adriatic”, Rovinj offers a wide variety of entertainment and dining options. Some of the most popular and animated places are Cocktail Bar Havana, Valentino Cocktail & Champagne Bar and Lighthouse Music Club.

Local restaurants feature a selection of dishes with fresh fish, crabs and shellfish, Istrian cured ham, truffles and wild asparagus. There are many taverns and wine cellars where you can taste traditional meals paired with great Istrian wines.

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Valentino Cocktail & Champagne Bar, Rovinj | Photo source: facebook.com/Valentino-cocktail-champagne-bar

You can take a swim in the Adriatic at one of the many beaches in the area, such as Lone Bay, Monte Beach, Porton Biondi Beach – the only beach with a view of the old town – Golden Bay or Scaraba Beach. The city’s old town dates from medieval times, when Rovinj was one of the most important Venetian outposts.

You can climb the campanile of the cathedral of Sv Euphemia to get a panoramic view of the old town. Nearby Caffè Bar XL has a nice terrace where you can take in the view while having a drink.

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Port in Rovinj, Croatia

Feel great at ACI Marina Rovinj or Port of Rovinj, located on the south-eastern side of the city.

4. Zagreb

Croatia’s capital is often overlooked by tourists in favor of the seaside, but it’s a bustling city that offer year-round entertainment in its large number of bars, nightclubs and concert venues. Zagreb’s most popular music festival is INmusic, which takes place at Jarun Lake, where you’ll also find the biggest clubs in the city like Aquarius Club and Gallery.

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Zagreb main square and cathedral, Croatia | Photo source: citi.io

The center of Zagreb is divided into two parts: Gornji Grad (Upper Town) – where most of the historical landmarks are located – and Donji Grad (Lower Town) – containing shops, cafes, museums, and parks.

In the city center there’s a large variety of restaurants, bars and pubs including Hemingway Lounge Bar – with a selection of 250 cocktails, BP Club – with live jazz performances, Jackie Brown – a classy and sophisticated lounge club, Saloon – with electronic beats, and Škola – featuring a mix of live jazz music, funk, house, rhythm and acid jazz.

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Hemingway Lounge Bar, Zagreb | Photo source: croatiareviews.com

During the summer Strossmayer’s walkway is an outdoor scene for painters, musicians and other artists, with performances and concerts. It offers a great view of the Lower Town and a nice selection of street food.