Croatian wedding venues and locations are endlessly diverse. It would be a futile attempt to try and list them all, so we’ll talk about the ones that have a special place in our hearts, with a focus on Dalmatian coast. We’ll start at the very south and work our way up north, so don’t take a low position of a location as a measure of its worth!
– Dubrovnik Old Town
Dubrovnik is the pearl among Croatian wedding locations, but saying you’re getting married in Dubrovnik is like saying you’re getting married in Europe. Dubrovnik may be small, but it’s so diverse and filled with potential wedding venues that we’ll just have to write a separate article to do it justice. Still, for completeness’s sake, let’s give you a sneak peek of how a wedding in Dubrovnik might look.
The contest may be tight, but Dubrovnik is home to probably the most popular Croatian wedding venues. Its iconic stone city walls are seductive and brimming with inviting terraces, mysterious alleys, ornate and beautifully preserved churches and shiny stone streets, polished by centuries and generations of citizens and visitors, including one of the most recognizable of all – Stradun, the main street of Old Town.
If you’re looking for a religious ceremony venue, you’re in luck as there are at least 6 churches just inside the Old Town. They’re all stunning, ancient, beautifully preserved — and most importantly, still living and breathing!
– Church of St. Ignatius on top of Jezuiti stairs
For civil ceremonies you’re even more flexible because the officiant will agree to go pretty much anywhere. You’re free to pick the viewpoint of park Orsula that overlooks all of Dubrovnik, or go lower and say your “I do’s” on the terrace of Grand Villa Argentina that is so close to the city walls of Old Town you’ll almost think you can grasp them.
– Grand Villa Argentina: the green terrace (above), seaside terrace (below)
Or maybe you’d prefer a completely private ceremony on the green terrace of Grand Villa Argentina instead? The lawn is kept flawless even in summer months, there are palm and pine trees providing shade and you can just make out the sea behind all the vegetation.
– Sunset beach Lapad
Sunset beach of Uvala Lapad is another excellent choice, situated in a somewhat more peaceful part of the town, with its green lawn under olive trees for the ceremony and the all-glass reception venue with sea view towards the west.
– Sponza palace
If you want a piece of history on your wedding day, consider the Sponza Palace. Built in a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance style in early 16th century, it used to be the official coin mint of Dubrovnik Republic. It’s an impressive towering stone structure with multiple floors ornamented with stone arches and pillars with an atrium in the middle of it. It’s in the heart of the Old Town and simply breathtaking.
– Prijeko Palace and the Stara Loza restaurant
Prefer a modern take on art history? Then Prijeko Palace may be perfect for you. It’s a renovated luxury house squeezed among the orange tiled roofs of the Old Town which on its three floors houses more modern art than any other place in Dubrovnik. It will definitely make for some really interesting conversations over fine-dining experience of Stara Loza restaurant and an amazing rooftop view of Old Town.
– Viewpoint near hotel Palace (above), hotel Palace VIP beach ready for guests (below)
You can also escape the stone walls and opt for viewpoint near hotel Palace, beneath the Petka hill, where all you can see and hear are pine trees and crashing of waves below.
– View from GVA terrace at sunset (above), probably the most famous street in Croatia – Stradun (below left)
Choices are endless and not that easy, as you’ll soon realize. As far as Croatian wedding venues go, Dubrovnik pretty much has it all! Which brings us to…
– Island of Lokrum in relation to the Old Town Dubrovnik
If you’re longing for untouched nature but still want to be close to the civilization, nice restaurants and great accommodation, Lokrum is your ideal Croatian wedding venue.
Lokrum is a natural reserve, an island 10-15 min boat ride from the Old Town of Dubrovnik. Its lush green pine forests are surrounded by azure sea and white rocks are only topped by the ancient arboretum and cultivated gardens of the nearby monastery.
– Lokrum Dominican gardens (above) and monastery atrium (below)
Lokrum has an ancient Dominican monastery that is just a perfect backdrop for your ceremony (non-religious, as it’s partially in ruins). The palm garden on the southern side of the island is another popular ceremony venue, albeit a bit less sophisticated, but also more affordable. It doesn’t afford the privacy of the Dominican atrium, but it does have a sea view!
– Wild nature of Lokrum (top) mixed with cultivated gardens (below)
Couples usually opt for ceremony on Lokrum and then take a boat ride to their next venue. Guests love this as the fresh sea breeze is a welcome refreshment in the heat of Croatian summer, and drinks and canapes which are often served on the boat are just perfect for this intermission.
– Wodden speedboat ride from Lokrum at sunset
Of all the Croatian wedding venues, Lokrum is specific because there are no inhabitants on the island (by design, not by chance), so it has this relaxed sunny vibe and as far as weddings go, it’s very much off the beaten path.
– Island of Koločep, second closest in the photo (left), Postira boat on it’s way to Koločep (right)
Koločep is the first in the series of Elaphiti islands in southern Adriatic, taking around half an hour to reach by boat. It’s a really small island, just big enough for two villages and around a million pine and olive trees.
– Villa Rose from the air and a golden hour photo on its rocky beach
While it’s inhabited, it doesn’t have any roads, which will probably help you get a picture of it — it’s small, quaint and quiet. There are amazing walking paths through its makija bushes and pine trees leading to some spectacular places like Bezdanj (or ‘abyss’), a natural cave connecting open sea with a small pool amongst the rocks.
– Ceremony at Villa Rose east terrace
It does have a spectacular venue of Villa Rose (Villa Ruža, in Croatian), which can accommodate both a civil ceremony and a fine-dining evening reception. As it’s looking west, there are great chances of getting rewarded with a spectacular sunset at the end of the day. It also features its own pier so your boat can directly dock there upon arrival.
– Reception at Villa Rose west terrace under starry sky
Second of the Elaphiti islands, Lopud is another hidden gem among Croatian wedding venues, taking around 1h to reach by boat. It’s still close enough to be practical, yet far enough that most of the tourist crowds won’t bother to reach it.
– Lopud village and some of its churches
Just like Koločep, it’s inhabited (a single village) and has no roads, just untouched nature and walking paths. It’s also home to the largest sandy beach in the southern Adriatic – Šunj, featuring a beach bar and restaurant (also hosting various pre-wedding get togethers along with relaxed evening receptions).
– Šunj beach
Depending on the size of your wedding, ceremony can be held at diverse places — like the seaside church Gospe od Šunja and its garden or the botanical garden for a civil ceremony. Smaller weddings can also be hosted at one of the few luxury villas with vista reaching far beyond the island.
– Lopud arboretum as a ceremony venue
Then there’s the Lafodia hotel, one of the Croatian hotels that left a best impression on us with its spacey, bright and non-rectangular rooms. It has a capacity for a large number of guests and will host your dinner reception or the late-night party inside its club.
– Various gems waiting to be explored around Lopud
We have a special thing for Lopud because it’s very much untouched by mass tourism and still has the olden Dalmatian island vibe to it. It’s also very diverse, so just wandering around looking for beautiful shots and good light is always a great idea.
– Island of Hvar
As we venture further to the north, we reach one of the most popular Croatian wedding venues – the island of Hvar. It’s famous for being the sunniest island in the Adriatic, with mean yearly sunshine hours simply off the charts (more than 2.700!).
– Town of Hvar
– The charm of Hvar stone streets
It’s brimming with the mid-Dalmatian island charm, but also trying to cope with more and more tourists during the season. While you should carefully consider your venues during peak-season, if you pick a wedding date in late spring or early autumn, you’ll be rewarded with warmth and sunshine, amazing food, friendly people and beautiful venues.
– Fields of brnistra (left) and lavender (right)
That being said, you’ll probably want to visit Hvar mid-June when its famous lavender fields are in full bloom, colouring the air with the aroma of ripe lavender flowers and the buzz of bees fiesting on the sweet nectar.
Hvar is known for its local delicacies and wine, but also its party and club scene, making it the ultimate destination for hedonists and younger crowds.
– Bonj les Bains beach club
Places like Bonj les Bains will easily host big wedding parties, while restaurants like Zori (on the Palmižana island) will offer the ultimate dining experience for smaller weddings. And we do mean ultimate — it’s There are also plenty of hotels offering various options for accommodation and receptions.
– Church of St. Mark’s
Most popular ceremony venues include church of St. Mark’s and the Franciscan monastery — surprisingly, both being secular venues for civil ceremonies.
– St. Nicholas mountain top
Of course, you can always get creative and pick unexpected venues, like top of mount St. Nicholas or Gališnik island just outside main port of Hvar.
– Paklinski islands, home to Zori restaurant (left), a shoot on Gališnik island (right)
If you visit, be sure to visit the village of Velo Grablje and the abandoned village of Malo Grablje (be sure to try some food there in Stori Komin, the only restaurant in the village — if you can find it!)
– Velo Grablje village (left), town of Hvar waterfront (right)
Island of Korčula is one of those lesser known Croatian wedding locations that rightly deserves the title of the hidden gem of Adriatic. However, it’s quite big for a hidden gem. Settled from the times of ancient Greeks, known back then as Korkyra, it still retains a reasonable number of visitors despite its magical allure. (Greeks seemed to have a thing for islands, as they provided much more peaceful harbors than mainland towns which being constantly overrun by different non-seafaring barbarians)
– Old town of Korčula
It’s hard to put your finger on what it is exactly that’s so seductive about Korčula, but there’s plenty even if we can’t articulate it into words — it’s among our favorite Croatian wedding venues.
Korcula is the home of high-end olive oil and wine in Croatia, which goes hand in hand with its fish-based cuisine, all of which are guarantees of an unforgettable wedding dinner. (The best meal we’ve ever tasted in Croatia was in Korčula’s Lešić-Dimitri Palace)
– Session in the streets of Korčula
As its towns are very small and quaint, Korcula isn’t really compatible with big wedding parties. But if you manage to keep the number of your guests down to a reasonable number, you’ll be rewarded with access to many stunning family-run establishments all across the island.
What’s more, Korcula has a number of smaller islands very near it, if you really want to get away and have an island just for yourselves. Prime examples are island of Proizd (just off the west coast of Korcula) and islet of Vela Stupa (on the eastern side of the island).
– Islet of Vela Stupa (left), island of Proizd’s western beach (right)
Proizd can be turned into a private island after dark, when the last official boat returns to main island — all you need is a private boat to take you back after you’re done partying in the island’s only restaurant.
– Sunset on western Proizd island (above) and eastern Moro beach (below)
Islet of Vela Stupa is home to the famous Moro beach bar. It’s really tiny so all you need to do is get in touch and rent the island for a day to make sure you’re alone there all day. Restaurant serves local delicacies and drinks which will keep you and your guests happy throughout the day and night.
– Details from both islands mentioned above.
Now we’re getting into the exotic territory. Island of Vis is not that accessible, but it’s somewhat better known than Korcula, which in sum gives you roughly the same (reasonable) number of visitors.
– Town of Vis (above), Vis’s diverse coast (below)
After two and a half hour ferry ride from Split, you’ll be greeted by an island of vineyards, sticking out far into the Adriatic. It has a few small towns and a lot of roads, ideal for exploration on a scooter you can rent on practically every corner.
Its separation from mainland is both its weakness and its biggest strength, as it bursts with authenticity. Even local shops with tourist souvenirs lack typical cheap plastic stuff you can find all over the coast and instead feature handmade local artisan creations.
– A few frames from a Vis wedding
Food there is equally par excellance, based in large part on locally caught seafood. We’ve yet to visit an average restaurant (which in truth might speak more about our ability to find authentic local places, but you get the picture — there are plenty).
– Fort George from above
Fort George is the place to get married there — an old British defensive fortress on top of a hill turned into a fine dining restaurant. Pine trees on the main terrace create amazing natural shade, which is very much appreciated during hot summer months.
– Dinner on main terrace of Ft. George
Fort George also offers ceremony venue in separate part of the fortress, just like a cocktail terrace on the top level with a stunning view of the coast of Vis. This arrangement makes it perfect for bigger wedding parties where you want to have everything ready in advance and seamlessly move from one location to another.
– Sunset at Ft. George
So it’s basically three venues rolled into one, which is why it’s so popular. It also doesn’t hurt that they’ll transport you up the hill in an authentic old British Land Rover painted army green, left-hand drive and all…
– Late dinner and night party on the fortress
Another place you should definitely consider is the Lola bar, which isn’t a bar at all, but an amazing restaurant near the seafront.
Komiža is a town well worth visiting at the other end of the island, even smaller and beautifully picturesque. Going there on a scooter is a must-have experience: you’ll remember the breeze in your hair and the sight of approaching Komiža from the hills above for a long time.
– Vis at night
If you’re after an experience for you and your guests, starting with a long sail among Croatian islands to all kinds of tasty and authentic experiences, island of Vis is a great pick of your Croatian wedding venue.
– Majestic mountain of Biokovo above Makarska
Makarska is a small town under the huge mountain of Biokovo in southern Dalmatia. It’s very popular in the peak season, but a great place to get married in late spring and early autumn if you’re looking for something that isn’t as logistically demanding as an island wedding. You’ll be there in no time after you land at Split international airport.
– The synergy of mountains and sea in Makarska (above), beach ceremony (below)
It’s not yet as popular for destination weddings as other Croatian wedding venues listed here, so you’ll be able to get great deals on a beach wedding with great food and view of the sunset. The contrast of the majestic mountain peaks on one side and Adriatic on the other is just perfect, often spiced up by cotton-white clouds hanging about.
– Beach party in Makarska
There’s also plenty of accommodation for any size of your wedding party, whether it’s hotels or apartments you’re after. Since you’re on mainland Croatia, there’s plenty of short excursions you can take to experience more of Croatia while you’re there.
– Split’s peristyle
Ancient Roman emperors loved Split, which means that the Split’s old town is actually an ancient Roman palace that’s been integrated in the wider city — in this case, Diocletian’s palace. And even that was built upon the ancient Greek’s town of Spalathos.
– Split’s Vestibul
So yes, the history is bursting out anywhere you look, which you’ll soon start realizing on your drive from the airport when you notice the huge Roman aqueduct. Thing are only going to get better, though…
– Bride leaving the church of St. Duje via stairs leading to the very center of peristyle
It’s quite amazing to see a city the size of Split having the heart of ancient Rome, complete with peristyle, imposing stone columns and city walls. This is actually typical of many Dalmatian old towns which are living and breathing, in contrast to many other ancient monuments in other countries.
– City parks vs. ancient old town of Split
As far as Croatia wedding venues listed here go, Split is very accessible via its international airport, so it can get quite busy during peak season. The solution is to find refuge in its many hidden venues that are off the beaten path, like Marjan park with its perfectly positioned Benedict (Bene) restaurant, hiding under the pine trees on the western seafront. On the other hand, if you want to go for an iconic venue and get a whole huge villa for yourself, be sure to check out Villa Dalmacija.
– Benedict restaurant on Marjan
For the best experience of a session in the Diocletian’s palace, we’d definitely recommend going there at dawn, before all the hustle and bustle. Having a group of tourists in each shot isn’t all that romantic, but Split is still well worth visiting!
– Old town of Zadar
Zadar is is the oldest continuously-inhabited Croatian city. Yet, as far as mainland towns go, it is still among less-frequented by visitors. It, too, features a beautifully preserved old city core on a small peninsula, complete with stone streets, houses and churches.
We just love exploring its small streets and seeing what we’ll find inside atriums of the old town. And, we do tend to find a lot! Amazing stone courts between houses, rose bushes, rustic gardens, ornamented balconies…
– Hidden alleys and atriums of Zadar
Zadar is famous for three things. It is said to have the most beautiful sunsets in Europe. It features the oddly appealing and quite confusing Monument to the Sun (a mixture of artistic installation and photovoltaic panels built into the stone). And finally, it’s perpetually bathed in the sounds of the sea organ which the incoming waves randomly play, creating a cacophony of notes that varies with the weather and winds.
From the Croatian wedding venues point of view, we were amazed by one of the most monumental venues of all — Zadar’s Arsenal. It’s the old armoury converted into a reception venue/museum (odd, we know).
– The monumental Arsenal venue in Zadar
When we say monumental, we really mean it — the ceiling is so high you may lose sight of it as you dance the night away. It can fit huge wedding parties and not break a sweat, while also offering a ceremony venue on its terrace outside.
Zadar’s old town is well worth visiting despite of where you may decide to get married!
– Streets of Rab (above), seductive hotel Arbiana (below)
As we continue up north, we arrive to Kvarner part of Adriatic. Island of Rab is large and elongated, quite close to Velebit mountain and hence very accessible from the mainland via a short ferry ride.
Town of Rab is known among its residents as the “small Dubrovnik”, with a bit of city walls creating a barrier on the small peninsula it’s situated on. What it lacks in extensive city walls, it more than makes up with the beautiful shallow turquoise waters and long walking trails along the sea. The whole island is relaxed and slow paced.
The crown jewel in Rab is the Arbiana boutique hotel. Situated on the very top of a small peninsula in Rab, it occupies a 1924 noble villa and retains much of its original charm, with beautifully ornamented stone exterior (having a whiff of oriental style) and retro decor inside. As it’s elevated, it also commands a stunning view of surrounding waters and islets.
– Hotel Arbiana after dusk
The hotels owner also own a vinery, so in addition to great food, it may just awaken your inner sommelier. We were thoroughly impressed with the wedding we shot there last year, so if travelling to the very south of Croatia is too much for you, do check out this amazing venue!
– Zagreb upper town (above left and below) and center (above right)
Ahhh, Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. It’s a huge city (in Croatian terms at least) where almost a quarter of whole population resides! Nevertheless, it’s an ancient city, more than 900 years old that has plenty of history to offer. In its turbulent past, it was ruled by Croatians, Hungarians and Austrians (and nearly Turks!), and each of these rulers left their own trace.
This mixture of styles is really apparent throughout the center of Zagreb, especially its historic upper town. It’s permeated by mid-European charm everywhere you look and all you need to do to get some amazing shots is take a random walk through the upper town. It’s a place we simply can’t resist and where we decided to live.
– Scenes from Zagreb center
Talking about particular venues, we must mention some truly unique ones. Boho-chic venues like Kuglana, La Grma and Šumica have been dropped right inside a peaceful forests on the edges of Zagreb. Industrial venues like Katran and Lauba offer a mix of 1960s industrial charm mixed with amazing potential right in the thick of the city.
– Church of st. John the Baptist in Zagreb center (left), Kuglana reception venue on the periphery (right)
Rooftop wedding venues like Lateral and Zagreb 360° will show you an unforgettable urban vista reaching for kilometres and you won’t be able to take your eyes off the panorama offered on both of them. Coupled with everything a city the size of Zagreb can offer, like high-end flowers, fine food and professional entertainment, you can design a tailor-made experience, created to impress!
– Abandoned train factory in center of Zagreb (above left and below), view from Lateral rooftop after sunset (above right)
The only problem Zagreb has, to be honest, is that it’s far away from the Adriatic, which is often the very reason couples decide to get married in Croatia. This, however, doesn’t take away one bit from its diversity and sophistication!
We hope you found this short excursion into Croatia’s diversity useful and inspiring. If you’d like to read more from us, check out our wedding advice for your wedding day!