I Couldn’t Believe A Sunset in Croatia Looked Like This

Sunset in Croatia - Dubrovnik harbour

I had no big expectations for a sunset in Croatia. Not that I didn’t think they weren’t great, but I had totally forgotten to think about them. The sun sets in the West and that’s where the Adriatic Coast was. It’s a no brainer but sometimes I can be quite forgetful. But aren’t great surprises the best parts of travel?

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I Couldn’t Believe A Sunset in Croatia Looked Like This

Sunset in Croatia - Zadar - woman in front of glaring sunlight

Zadar – Dancing Lights at the Shore

The beauty of Croatian sunsets first hit me when I was aimlessly strolling through the historic centre of Zadar. I had no plan of seeing anything in particular, just wanting to treat my skin to sun and fresh the breeze of the ocean.

Meandering along the beige cobblestone streets, dancing around Roman pillars and treading carefully around the city walls next to the bobbing boats, I explored the city at leisure. When the orange glow hit the green leaves, I made a beeline towards a nearby park.

The soft light created a see-through curtain in front of which tiny bugs danced. An old fountain gleamed next to me. I nearly forgot I was in a coastal town. But when the sun sunk lower, I chased towards the sound of soft waves. I wouldn’t miss this scene! Supported by airy branches descended unto the black stone beach.

The water was rolling the round pebbles in the spray and the sun was peeking through the pine trees lining the beach. In the distance I could see colourful fishing boats resting in the harbor.

Sunset in Croatia - Zadar shoreline in golden light

People were sunbathing next to a Romantic pavilion. And I had the beach entirely to myself. Still, I didn’t have enough. Why not chase after the sun?

The Old Town is nestled on its own little peninsula, surrounded by water from three sides. So what better way than to greet the sun than here?

Incidentally, a display of light and colour of the same name had been installed just at the perfect sun worshipper location. I was too distracted however and missed it. Glued in my spot, I watched the golden orbit turn the sky into soft pinks and purples.

Fun fact: you can even rent a castle in Šibenik from Airbnb (here’s a voucher on me if you’ve never used airbnb before).

Sunset in Croatia - Zadar harbour front with couple

Where to Stay in Zadar

A really cute and stylish place to enjoy Zadar from is Boutique Apartments Luce & Tonka. The hostel equivalent is Boutique Hostel Forum, which is great for budget travellers. No need to stay in a dorm if you prefer privacy, you can opt for the twin or double rooms. For an apartment with a swimming pool, look into Apartments Benic.

Sunset in Croatia - Sibenik castle

Šibenik – Fortifying the Sunset Views

Another Old Town you shouldn’t miss but most people sadly do is Šibenik. It’s three times bigger than the sunset in Dubrovnik, just as charming and much less crowded. From here, you can choose from three fortresses to overlook the city and harbour.

In the distance on an island is another one if you cannot get enough. Tiny alleys, stone steps and a few distracting views over tiled roofs later I made it to the fortress of St John (Tvrđava Sv. Ivana). By the way, the other castles require an entry fee.

Read this too: How to Get to Krka National Park from Sibenik

Sunset in Croatia - from Sibenik castle with woman in grass

You can even climb up to the fortress (take the right path coming from the other castle, towards the east side). Or get comfortable at the foot of the walls and watch the sun sink above the waters from below.

This is what I did because I was running late and didn’t want to waste a second climbing up and squeezing in between a group of teenagers that were blasting their choice of music from their phones.

A little further off I spotted a backpacker from my hostel and took sneaky photos of her silhouette against the orange glow.

Those are the best photo opps for sunsets. Doing it the selfie way usually never cuts it – even if you know how to take amazing solo photos.

Sunset in Croatia - from Sibenik castle

Where to Stay in Šibenik

To treat yourself to a convenient home away from home, book yourself into Apartments Estetica or Petini. In case you are on a budget or love staying in hostels, check out Hostel Scala.

Sunset in Croatia - Dubrovnik harbour and flying woman

Dubrovnik – The Sky of Ice and Fire

Yes, I was at Kings Landing. Every Game of Thrones fan knows Dubrovnik (or should). Plenty of scenes were shot here and in the vicinity.

The Old Town is rather small but all the more crowded and pricy. If you can, avoid spending money here and visit restaurants and cafes outside instead. There are ways to not be broke in Dubrovnik though.

One is to skip the lift and instead hike up the mountain for an hour to get the best view over the Croatian city.

If your fitness levels aren’t all that up to par or you’re just too lazy – like I was -, stop half way. There are view points on your way to the Old Town and you can see the fortress and city walls from there.

Read this too: Top 15 Dubrovnik Day Trips

Sunset in Croatia - sunset over ferry towards Hvar island from Split

The sun will not set above the ocean from here though, so better to dine out in one of the fancy restaurants east of the Old Town lined along the cliffs.

Alternatively, I would climb one of the hills in the Northwest to see the channel islands as well.

Even standing on the parking lot near the bus station, I got fantastic views. (Just don’t tell anyone looking at these photos.) Among the big strands of grass between my feet, the pinkish illuminated poppies and long shadows, this seemed like paradise.

Sunset in Croatia - Dubrovnik steets and hills in soft golden light

Where to Stay in Dubrovnik

Staying in the city of Dubrovnik will be a little more expensive. But if you want the ultimate luxury stay in Dubvronik, you need to head a little outside to Hotel Dubrovnik Palace. The oceanview pools are marvellous! Check if it’s still available for your preferred dates here.

More mid-range priced is Villa Dard, also with a beautiful view. Affordable and fabulous are Apartments Tomas.

Backpackers should check into Hostel Petra Marina. During peak times, it can be quite booked, so better check availability in advance.

Sunset in Croatia - Zadar harbour front with boats

Where else to See a Sunset in Croatia

Basically wherever you stay along the Croatian coastline you will be in for a treat. Don’t fret when you spot clouds – like I did in Zadar – but welcome them. They reflect the light and make the sky even more colourful!

And here’s another tip many people seem to forget: stay until after the sun has set. That is when the colours really start exploding. Case in point: the blue sunset over the Grand Canyon.

Sunset in Croatia - from Sibenik castle - grass in golden light

What Equipment to Bring for Epic Sunset Shoots

If you really want to get the full vibrancy of a sunset in Croatia, you need to get a filter to better control how much light is let in and how the sky is saturated. Opt for a polarising filter and invest in a tripod, so your photos are super crips.

Read this too: Simple Professtional Travel Photography Tips

If you take landscape photos, the correct lens is essential. For Nikon, the AF-S FX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED Fixed Zoom Lens with Auto Focus is a great investment. The Nikon AF-S Nikkor ED is a bit more expensive. For Canon users, it is Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM

Sunset in Croatia - Dubrovnik harbour front with boats

Is A Sunset in Croatia Worth the Wait?

What a question! (I wrote it, I know I know). But every sunset in Croatia took my breath away. it might ahve been the season – spring – or it might be the fact that the ocean lies to the west. It’s a perfect country for ocean sunset views!

Scout out the best vantage points, maybe a castle like on Hvar Island, and head there half an hour before sunset and stay a while after. This way, you can see the magical change of colours evolve.

Tell me: Would you want to travel to this Baltic country to catch a sunset in Croatia? Have you seen one before?

Read Next:

Magical Sunsets on the Plovdiv Hills and Their History
5 Things I Love About Zadar
Why I Hated Visiting Krka National Park and its Waterfalls
The Time I Almost Got Stranded on a Croatian Island

I Couldn’t Believe A Sunset in Croatia Looked Like This

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It had to happen, after ditching the 9-5 for a prolonged break, Annemarie's wokaholic tendencies led her to start a daily blog about her adventures. Realising how much travel has helped rebuild her confidence and and general #GirlBoss-iness, Travel on the Brain released a book about her adventures in Down Under and New Zealand and creates quirky video series focusing on story telling in destinations around the globe.
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  1. Reply

    Two years ago we were in Croatia, I was impressed by the culture and people. Most of all by nature, as I often go on business trips, I saw a lot of interesting places but in Croatia it’s really very unusual.

    1. Reply

      Hi Lana,
      Croatia is indeed a special place and the beautiful nature totally captured me by storm. I am still raving about it and cannot recommend a visit enough. It just looks like from a fairy tale.

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