Is Trogir worth visiting? We’ll bet you’re asking that because you’re piecing together a Croatia itinerary and have noticed this little port town tucked at the top end of the Dalmatian Riviera. Should I go? Shouldn’t I? Answer: Yes. Absolutely! Trogir is an enthralling port town with stacks of character and a more local feel than other mainstay destinations like Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik…
In fact, we’d go as far as to say that the small city of Trogir is now one of our favorite undiscovered gems along the Dalmatian Coast. It’s both steeped in history and on the cusp of gorgeous beaches, but way quieter than its near neighbors. Plus, it’s got tempting local seafood tavernas, a fine climate, and one foot in the Adriatic Sea for those day trips to the islands.
But don’t just take our word for it! The historic center here was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site back in 1997 thanks to its fascinating past and mix of architectural influences. The town has been dubbed Little Venice for its host of narrow streets and canals. Folks even say that the town boasts the finest promenade on this side of the Balkan Peninsula. Anyway, let’s take a closer look…
The relaxed vibe
Seeing as it’s much smaller than neighboring cities like Split, Trogir has a noticeably slower pace and more relaxed atmosphere, making it an excellent option for fans of laidback retreats. It’s unsurprisingly gained a reputation for its gorgeous, historic architecture, too, some of which dates back to the medieval period or even further. So, you get the history, only without the booming crowds of other Croatian mainstays.
Trogir’s seaside promenade serves as the center of action and nightlife, with many of the establishments here offering live music performances, intimate atmospheres, and first-rate cocktails. At sunset, it’s the place to be, but isn’t overly hedonistic a la Hvar.
That said, there are times when Trogir really pumps into action. It hosts two popular annual festivals: The KulaKula Festival, which is a three-day summer event in July offering live music at outdoor sites like Kamerlengo Fortress, and Moondance Festival, an electronic music celebration that takes place at the same venue from the end of July to early August.
Mostly, Trogir is a yachter town and a pitstop for folks heading to Split, the Dalmatian Islands, or the Makarska Riviera, so it’s got a happy summer feel and all-round good vibes, along with a dose of local life that means you get an authentic Croatian city during the low season.
Trogir’s convenient seaside location makes it an excellent base if you want to do a bit of island hopping, while its close proximity to Split Airport means it’s fairly easy to reach as well.
One of the most popular islands to visit from Trogir is Ciovo, which is a small, rural rock located just off the coast of Split. This charming settlement is only 500 meters long and 250 meters wide. It’s even connected with Trogir via several bridges that cross into its center.
Another popular day trip destination is the Blue Cave near Hvar Island, which is famous for its bright blue color caused by daylight entering the cave through an underwater opening in the rock. Of course, you could also simply visit Hvar from Trogir, to hit the happening party strips around the marina. (Just know that there are no direct ferries to Hvar from Trogir, so it’s best to do this via a guided tour unless you want to travel to Split first.)
You also shouldn’t struggle to find day tours to the nearby islands of Šolta, Čiovo, and Drvenik. They are great for quieter escapes to the central Croatian coast, for snorkeling expeditions, and for cove hopping.
Beach lovers, this one’s for you. Like much of the Dalmatian Coast, you won’t have a hard time finding spectacular bays and secluded coves along the Trogir Riviera. Okrug Beach, located just three miles from the town center, is a great place to start and boasts its own marina, along with plenty of nightlife, and dining options.
There’s also Pantan beach, which is easily accessible by car or public transportation and is best known for its family-friendly, shallow waters, as well as excellent sun-bathing spots. Other popular sandy destinations include Plaza Bucevica, Seget Donji Beach, and Medena Beach.
Those who are keen on venturing a little further could explore some of the other beautiful, sandy bays on Trogir’s neighboring island, Ciovo. Some of our favorites include Slatine Beach, to the east of the island, and the infamous Okrug Copacabana to the south, where you’ll find a slew of beach bars and watersports activities. That being said, you won’t find any beach bars at Slatine Beach, so it would be a good idea to take some snacks and drinks along with you.
Duga beach, also known as Django beach, nestled in the far south of Ciovo near the famous Plaza Labadusa is another great place to visit. With its cystal clear waters, Mediterranean vegetation, pine trees, and surrounding restaurants, it comes as no surprise that it’s regarded as one of the best beaches in Croatia. You’ll even find cozy and affordable, terraced cottages on offer if you want to lodge for a night or two.
You could also visit the aforementioned Labadusa Beach close to Duga Beach, where you’ll be greeted with an enchanting mix of pebble and stone shores, along with rocky sunbathing areas. You shouldn’t miss out on the chance to snorkel and explore the fascinating underwater ecosystem here either, so make sure you pack your goggles.
The historic sights
With one of the best-preserved historical centers in Central Europe (a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its own right), Trogir is something of a living museum, and undoubtedly one of the most historically rich travel destinations in Croatia. As such, you’ll stumble upon charming piazzas and hidden courtyards at every turn in these parts.
Be sure to check out Cipiko Palace, a Venetian-style royal residence located right across from the cathedral of St Lawrence. The interior might be not open to guests, but visitors can admire the grand facade and stroll the grounds in the glorious Croatian sunshine.
The neighboring 13th-century cathedral is well worth a visit, too, and boasts three different architectural styles, from Gothic to Romanesque to Baroque. You’ll also have the opportunity to climb the narrow staircase to the top of the cathedral bell tower, where you’ll be greeted with awe-inspiring panoramic views of the Trogir landscape.
Another highlight is the magnificent Kamerlengo Castle. It often serves as a venue for summer concerts and events and was constructed towards the end of the 1300s. You won’t find much inside, but it’s fairly inexpensive to visit, and you have the option to climb up and walk the perimeter of its walls, where you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views over the Old Town and the glimmering Adriatic Sea.
It might surprise you to know that this small town is renowned for its culinary scene. The local eateries (known as konoba in Croatian) are famed for serving delectable traditional Dalmatian cuisine and regional specialties. It’s also a great place to sample Adriatic seafood – of course!
One of our favorite traditional dishes has to be pasticada, a delightful comfort food consisting of beef marinated in wine vinegar and cooked in a red wine sauce with homemade gnocchi. Although, you definitely shouldn’t skip the rafiol if you have a sweet tooth – that’s a dumpling-like cake with all manner of fruity fillings.
Palamida na zeca is another unmissable traditional highlight and consists of grilled fish slices seasoned with salt and black pepper, which are served with onions sautéed in olive oil with garlic and parsley.
Perusing the markets in Trogir is an experience in itself, even if you aren’t buying anything. You can savor local cheeses and wines, or pick up some of the region’s celebrated olive oil, made nearby in Rab.
One of the main perks of visiting Trogir over nearby tourist havens is the attractive prices. We’re talking a cost of travel that’s lower than in Split, Hvar, and Dubrovnik. For a coastal city, Trogir is fairly reasonable, and if it’s your budget holding you back from Dalmatia, Trogir might just be able to make the Croatian dream a reality.
The average traveler can get by on around 623 HRK ($87) a day in Trogir, inclusive of accommodation. Your meals can come to around 200 HRK ($28), while local transportation shouldn’t cost more than 90 HRK ($12). Local attractions are inexpensive too, with entrance fees ranging from 40-50 HRK ($5-7) per person for most spots, and you can bag a double room in a budget hotel for between $40 and $80 a night.
To really save, be sure to jet over during the low season. That runs in line with the winter months and sees prices dip even lower than in the summer. Granted, it’s not the best time to hit the famous Dalmatian beaches and islands, but you might pay more than 50% less for everything from flights to hotels!
Trogir has a temperate Mediterranean climate with pleasant summers and mild winters. Temperatures rarely dip below 40 degrees F, even in the height of winter. On the flip side, the summer heat can be slightly less intense than it is in Hvar, Europe’s sunniest destination, with highs hovering in the late 70s in Trogir from June to August.
Croatia’s climate will be a pull factor wherever you go, but Trogir is a destination you could visit in the peak of the summer and still expect cheaper prices and quieter beaches than nearby hotspots.
Overall, we’d say that March to April, and then September and October are the very best times to drop by. They tend to offer plenty in the way of blue skies, pleasant weather, and warm seas, only without the booming visitor numbers of the high summer.
There are some seriously fantastic hotels in Trogir. The crème-de-la-crème of them harness the historic architecture of the old Byzantine and Roman city to create something truly unforgettable – think a suite in a medieval palace or a room that overlooks a 500-year-old church on a sun-splashed piazza.
Of course, there’s not the same range of hotels in Trogir as you get in more popular Croatian destinations – Dubrovnik, Split. Still, a quick glance at Booking.com reveals that there are at least 3,100 options in the town and the region, going from boutique inner-city pads to beachside apartments with balconies overlooking the Adriatic.
Here are three of our top accommodation picks in Trogir and why we love them so darn much…
- Villa Kudelik – Stone Story ($$-$$$) – A really, really cool place to stay, wedged into the narrow alleys of old Trogir. The best options are the apartments, which have stylish self-catering kitchen areas. If money allows, go for the one with the hot tub set in the stone courtyard – it’s lovely under the twinkling Croatian stars in the fall.
- Palace Central Square ($$) – Talk about hotels that are steeped in history! This one sits in a 12th-century palace that’s right on the main square of the city. The rooms have a touch of the medieval grandeur about them.
- B&B Villa Paula ($$) – A family owned stay that’s tucked to the south of Trogir between the olive-tree-dotted slopes of Čiovo Island. There’s a lovely pool and rates are affordable, though you will likely need a car (or a boat) to explore Trogir itself.
The day trips
For a lot of travelers, a trip down the Dalmatian coast isn’t just about beautiful beaches and nights of rakija by the yachting marinas. It’s also about finding a way to explore the joys of what’s surely one of the most incredible corners of the Balkans. Well…Trogir might just be the base that you’ve been searching for!
The town is fantastically positioned to be a steppingstone into several of central Croatia’s most bucket-list sites and attractions. A whole host of them are accessible in just a few hours, either by car, by tour, or by boat. Here’s a look at the things we wouldn’t miss…
- Krka National Park – Prepare to be wowed by the multi-tiered waterfalls that gush along the Krka River through this gorgeous national park. It’s under an hour’s drive from Trogir and has hiking trails that weave through thick pine and hemlock forests to offer fantastic visions of the cataracts. Get there early to avoid the crowds!
- Split – A day trip to Split seems an obvious choice, especially since it means you can see all the sites of UNESCO-tagged Diocletian’s Palace (arguably Croatia’s leading historic spot) and then return to chilled Trogir for the evening.
- Dinara – The highest mountain in Croatia scores the border with Bosnia just shy of two hours’ drive inland from Trogir. It’s a wonderful road trip option that leads you through the wild Dinaric Alps. It’s possible to climb Dinara itself, but allow two days for that, including a stay in a rustic Croatian mountain rifugio on the slopes up from Knin (the base camp town).
Is Trogir worth visiting? Our conclusion
Look, if you’ve only got a few days in Croatia then it’s probably better to stick to the more iconic locations, whether that’s the 12th-century castle town of Dubrovnik or the happening marina bars of Hvar. But if you can fit in another destination as you explore the Dalmatian coast, Trogir certainly deserves to be in the running. Why?
Well…loads of reasons. The town has a history that goes back all the way to the age of ancient Greece, architectural wonders that include Byzantine churches and medieval palaces, a stunning promenade along the Adriatic, access to gorgeous beaches and islands, and a whole load more. We think it’s one of the most immersive small towns on this section of the Croatian coast!