Croatia has been recently put on blast for being a very expensive tourist destination. With sky high accommodation prices, it is completely reasonable to want to spend as little money as possible elsewhere.
And that’s what we will be talking about here – how to have lots of fun in Croatia for free. I will tell you about the most fun experiences you can have in this country, without spending a dime. From secluded beaches on Hvar island, to an ancient Roman ruins in Pula – here are the top free things to do in Croatia!
Índice / Table of Contents
Best Free Things to Do in Croatia
1. Cliff Diving & Best Beaches in Croatia
There are loads of public beaches in Croatia, so lounging in the sun is always going to be an option. Enjoying the crystal clear blue sea is one of the best free things you can do in this country, and it’s extremely relaxing.
From sandy beaches on the island of Brač to secluded coves on Hvar island – regardless of where you are in the country or which of the best islands in Croatia you visit, you can find a free and deserted beach close by.
And if you by any chance visit the island of Mljet, you have to go see the Odysseus Cave. It is a place of legends – supposedly, this is where Odysseus was kept as Calypso’s prisoner for seven years. The entrance to the cave is free of charge, and jumping in the sea from nearby cliffs is exciting and memorable.
It is also entirely free to visit the Limuni beach, also on the island of Mljet. The half-moon shaped sandy beach is beautiful, magical and almost always deserted. And there are large rocks in the water which protect you from the open sea, as well as lots of shade in the forest behind the beach.
2. Diocletian’s Palace in Split
Split is a beautiful Croatian city, widely known for Diocletian’s Palace, the ancient residence of the Roman emperor. And not just because scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed there – the Palace makes up most of the city’s Old Town, and it is a sight for sore eyes.
You should especially go here in the summer – because of the thick stone, it’s always colder inside the Palace walls than it is outside, one of the free things to do in Split. It is the perfect place to cool down, and it won’t cost you anything.
Of course, should you decide to spend some money you can always pop in one of the museums here, or sit down for a cup of coffee. Otherwise, feel free to explore the rest of Split – walking along the main seaside promenade (Riva) is an absolute must.
And you should also head over to the city park Marjan. It features several lookout points that offer stunning views of the city below, as well as jogging trails and picnic spots. There’s also a huge (public) beach here, which is a good spot to go for a swim in this busy Croatian city.
Split is one of the stops you must include on trip, as it’s one of the best places to experience Autumn in Europe.
3. Stroll Through Dubrovnik Old Town
Dubrovnik is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Croatia. But it is also really expensive – it is the kind of place that attracts A-listers, and prices in cafes and restaurants reflect that.
However, last time I checked a stroll around Dubrovnik Old Town was still completely free. They haven’t started charging air (yet), so why not take up the opportunity to explore this historic city while you can.
The main pedestrian promenade in the city, Stradun, was always the most popular with tourists. It is a huge cobblestone promenade, deep inside the city walls. Unfortunately, exploring the walls doesn’t really fit in our list, since it is not free of charge, but it’s really worth it.
But what you can do is go and explore all the places that gained prominence just recently. You know what I’m talking about – the locations in the town where they filmed Game of Thrones. Go check out the Pile Gate, St. Lawrence Fortress, the Jesuit Staircase, the Rector’s Palace, St. Dominic’s Street and the Dominican Monastery – all of these sights are free things to do in Dubrovnik.
Are you looking for tips and the best places to see in Croatia with the little ones? Check out these useful tips to visit Croatia with kids.
4. Roman Ruins in Pula
Pula is a stunning city in Istria, and full of interesting free things to do and see. One of them is the ancient Roman Amphitheatre – while you might have to buy a ticket for a concert there, it will cost you nothing to stand in front of it and admire its size and significance.
And that is just one of the many Roman ruins in this city. There is also the ancient stone church of St. Mary Formosa, the public square with the stunning Roman Temple of Augustus and the remains of what was once the city gates, Arch of Sergii, all free things to do in Pula.
You can also visit the Venetian Fortress. The entrance inside the fortress isn’t free, but the best part of it are outside anyways. Walk around the ruins, admire the cannons and old stone walls – all of that is entirely free of charge.
There are also historic sites on the Brioni Islands, which are right next to Pula. And if you don’t count the boat ride, you can explore all of these for free as well. There are ruins of an ancient Roman villa, as well as ruins of a settlement that dates back to the Bronze Age.
On the smaller of the Brioni islands you will find the Brioni Minor Fortress, which is often home to theatre plays and musical concerts.
5. Maksimir Park in Zagreb
Maksimir is a huge wooded park in Croatia’s capital city, and it is one of the best things you can do for free in Zagreb. The park is full of trees, lakes, flowers, and it will take you almost a day to walk around the entire place and see everything.
Should you want to spend (very little) cash, you can also pop inside the zoo, which is located in the center of the park. But it’s by no means something you must do, especially if you really don’t want to spend a dime.
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As long as you’re in town, you have to go for a walk around the city streets. Ban Josip Jelačić Square is in the middle of the city center, and it is one of the most famous landmarks in this city. Close to it you can see loads of monuments, landmarks and stunning churches.
The Orthodox Cathedral Zagreb is an amazing building, both inside and out, and it won’t cost you a dime to enter, more things you can do in Croatia for free!
And you should also visit the catholic Cathedral of Zagreb – this Roman church is massive in size, with twin clock towers. And in front of the church there’s the Monument of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which features a very tall statue of Virgin Mary, as well as several statues of angels guarding it. It’s a magnificent sight, and best of all, it won’t cost you a thing!
6. Assumption of Mary in Trpanj
Assumption of Mary is a religious holiday held every year on the fifteenth of August. While it is celebrated throughout the entire country, by far the best festivities are in Trpanj, a small town on the Pelješac peninsula.
That is because Trpanj features a very large statue of the Virgin Mary. It is located on a small pier in the sea, and on the day of the holiday, the morning service is held in boats that surround the statue.
People from all over to country flock to this town on the 15th of August, and the festivities last well into the night. There is usually a concert on the main town promenade, and although the tickets are not free, you can hear and enjoy the music from pretty much anywhere. Just lie on the public beach and listen to the music, while admiring the view of the night sky.
As of recently, there is a bridge that connects the town with the pier where the statue lies, so you can actually walk to it. And the pier walls are quite wide, which makes them excellent spot to lie down and admire the stars.
7. Sun Monument & Sea Organ in Zadar
The two most popular attraction in the city of Zadar are entirely free, so they are perfect for your bucket list.
Sun Monument and the Sea Organ are two landmarks that were designed in 2005, by Croatian architect Nikola Basic. Both of them signify an attempt to communicate with nature and they are two of the free things to do in Zadar really worth it!
The Sea Organ features marble steps that descend into the sea, with polyurethane tubes hidden below them. This allows the wind and the waves to play music, and it represents communication with nature with sound.
The Sun Monument, on the other hand, is a very large light installation. It is surrounded by several smaller circles, which represent the planets in the solar system. This landmark is an attempt to communicate with nature with light, and boy does it shine brightly!
In the evenings it is often like a light show there, since it lights up in many different colors. And on national holidays, this monument lights up in national Croatian colors.
Hope you liked this city guide and these top things to do in Croatia for free!