Holidays to Croatia take many forms, from diving into the history to diving into the Adriatic Sea from one of the country’s countless hot sunny beaches. That said, the sunshine and architecture that defines Croatia forms only half the story. Many a savvy holidaymaker has discovered the nightlife of Croatia is its greatest asset, ranging from down-tempo nights of cocktails and jazz to outlandish parties with thumping beats and neon lights glowing until sunrise.
Ahead of your Croatia trip, take a look at our overview of the top Croatia nightlife tips, organised by location. Whether it’s a beach party or a rooftop nightclub, make sure that both the biggest venues and the hidden delights of this superb nightlife destination are yours to enjoy.
Dancing in Dubrovnik
Naturally, Croatia’s southern cultural hub, Dubrovnik, has a massive amount of after-dark fun to find. A historic city on the coast, Dubrovnik attracts tourists in droves for its museums, cuisine and beautiful historic buildings, let alone the beaches. Yet once the sun goes down, the city takes on an entirely new character, with plush bars offering a nightlife scene with a touch of luxury.
The one nightclub that almost everyone in Dubrovnik knows about is Fuego. Although that name might conjure up passionate images of Spain rather than this Adriatic nation, Fuego’s solid reputation as party central is hard won and richly deserved. There’s no dress code to adhere to and, just as crucially, the drinks menu is broad but cheap. Of course, the club’s popularity is not just due to that laid-back outlook, because the performances here are top notch. Live music is often found here, with other nights hosting DJs who spin a range of genres, including techno, hip-hop and classic rock.
Of course, if you’re not up for jumping straight into the action, have a drink or two at somewhere more off the beaten track. Stradun, which shares a space with a hotel, is known locally as a hideaway for those in the know, although those of you with good hearing will get a clue to its whereabouts by hearing the live music performed here every night. Drinks are affordable and the ambience is top notch.
That’s also a venue close to Gil’s, which is a cocktail bar for those of you leaning towards making a splash. It’s a trendy spot boasting superb views of the city, as well as an ever changing cocktails menu in which each drink is poured with flourish. If it’s cocktails by the coast you’re after though, head to Banje Beach, which the East West Club calls home. Pale couches to lounge on as the waves lap the shore and guests lap at cocktails makes for a pretty chic place to enjoy a tipple or three.
In general, Dubrovnik’s nightlife is seeing a trend toward upmarket cocktail bars nowadays, to please both local people and visiting tourists. That said, a night out here needn’t be expensive if you know where to look.
Living large on the Makarska Riviera
While Zagreb and Split have good reputations as lively nightlife towns, you’re going to find that one of Croatia’s best kept secrets for after-dark activities is actually the Makarska Riviera. While you’ll find the usual mix of beachfront bars and swanky cocktail lounges, the area’s truest claim to fame is Club Deep, affectionately nicknamed the Rave Cave.
Step inside and you’ll see why. This is a seriously enormous venue, and in true Croatian nightlife style, it struts its stuff while still doffing a cap to the rich history of the region. While the dancefloor and the drinks menu at Club Deep gets the party going night after night, this building’s former life saw it serve as a weapons storage facility during the Second World War. No wonder it’s so spacious.
Perk yourself up in Pula
While Roman history and the monuments they left behind characterise Pula the most, don’t forget to check out what this town can offer after dark. Keep in mind that venues hold licences that see their doors shut at midnight hereabouts though, so it’s a great nightlife destination if you’re looking to take in some local cheer without blazing a trail to sunrise.
At the heart of the town, Club Uljanik roars with upbeat activity night after night. The distinctive red and black walls back up its love of rock music, although every genre of alternative tune has found a place here. It also helps that drinks aren’t too pricey, and there’s a good community spirit among guests, so you’re as likely to find the floor packed with conversation as with dancing.
Having said that, Pula’s nightlife scene is pretty eclectic when it comes to the music genres covered. Look further afield and you’ll find that well demonstrated somewhere like Club Zen. By day, it’s a place for a cheeky tinto or a cup of coffee, but after dark it transforms into a nightclub where bouncing beats keep the classic dancefloor fillers coming. You’ll find Club Zen in Pula’s north, and it’s easily recognised by its big terrace and East Asian inspired sign.
Beach life after dark in Brela
We love how Brela, when viewed from a sailboat at sea, looks like a white-walled town that’s been trickled and poured down the hillside. However, as much as we love its sleepy small town ways, we also love how it comes to life after sunset with some sensational coastal community spirit.
Perhaps the most lively of Brela’s beachfront venues is the Southern Comfort Bar. While it’s a laid-back place for ice creams, sandwiches and zingy fizzy drinks by day, at night it’s the foremost of Brela’s nightlife hotspots. That’s definitely helped by the live DJ performances, occasional band bookings and lively cocktail parties. That said, if it’s pure relaxation you’re after, then the local bistro, Lungomare, becomes a pretty happening hub of activity after sundown. The beers are cheap, the company is cheerful and the chance to sit out on the street and watch the world goes by is a superb backdrop for cosy chats about where your adventures are taking you next.
Altogether, we’re only scratching the surface of Croatia’s diverse and exciting nightlife scene. If there’s one thing we could tell you to keep in mind, it’s to explore your surroundings, wherever in this superb destination you roam. Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a bar or a nightclub in your favourite holiday destination?