After months of planning, anticipating, and planning some more, it finally happened! My visit to the country of wine, grilled seafood and truffles (nope, not Italy), the land of lavender, the home of a thousand islands, and the place where Winter is coming (or – Season 7 Games of Thrones spoiler alert – it has arrived), Croatia! I was there for 7 awesome days, visiting the country’s idyllic coastline, 3 of its islands (only 1241 more to go), and a bit of the inland and loved it!
So here are 5+1 reasons why you should totally visit Croatia:
Sun, Sea and
Ok, if you hope to build the perfect sandcastle on your next summer holiday, then Croatia may not be for you (ideal for pebble collectors though). However, the breathtaking, crystal clear, turquoise Adriatic Sea water, nearly 3000 hours of sunshine per year, picturesque beaches, some popular and flashy and some hidden in peaceful coves, and panoramic views totally make up for the fact that most Croatian beaches are anything but sandy.
Tip: Pack a pair of swim shoes and splash around in the Adriatic Sea with a smile, avoiding all the “Ouch”, “Sh*t”, “F*ck”, “Dammit”, “More rocks?!” moments.
Sailing & Island Hopping
With summers that stretch from mid-spring to mid-autumn, and a stunning archipelago scattered with islands that fit every personality (want to party? Go to Hvar. Want to relax? Go to Vis. Want to hike? Go to Solta. Want to eat nothing but cheese? Go to Pag.), Croatia is amongst the most popular sailing destinations in Europe, and even the world! So take your boat, borrow a boat from a friend if they have one to spare, or just rent one when you arrive in Croatia and sail away. Bear in mind that you might end up anchoring your boat next to the yacht of Beyoncé, Prince Harry, or Daenerys Targaryen herself, who had been spotted touring the Dalmatian coast in the past.
With its wine production dating back some 2500 years ago (when Ancient Greeks settled southern Dalmatia, blah blah blah), Croatia produces some of the finest vino in the world. Not to mention that some of the country’s wineries have views to die for and make you want to quit your job, move to Croatia, buy a vineyard, make wine, eat bread and cheese, and be happy forever.
Croatian food is delish and the perfect blend of Mediterranean, particularly Greek and Italian, and Slavic flavours. Golden olive oil, great cheese, mouth-watering seafood, succulent meats, lovely pasta, yummy gelato, and exquisite truffles (that are worth leaving the country with a massive overdraft) are only a few of the things one must try when visiting.
Super interesting, but if you had a glass of crisp cold white wine with a plate of black squid ink risotto in the city of Split on the Dalmatian coast on a warm summer evening, you’d see why history dropped to no.5 for me. Anyhow, Croatia has one of the most attractive geographical locations and, therefore, fascinating histories in Europe, which has influenced the country’s architecture, cuisine and overall culture. From Greeks settling its coast and islands in the 3rd century BC, to becoming ruled by the Roman empire, to being part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and to the Croatian war of independence, the country’s rich past is reflected in every harbor, street, church, fortress and museum.
Tip: If you are up for a bit of sightseeing during your summer holidays there (and you should; Croatia is more than just beaches), remember to always have cold water, deodorant, change for gelato and a lot of patience with you, as summers in Croatia are sizzling hot. Alternatively, enjoy sweat-free sightseeing (and save some cash on flights) by visiting the country during spring or autumn!
One word: spectacular. The exquisite Plitvice Lakes National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the ultimate #nofilter photography experience, and, hands down, one of the most beautiful natural sights I have ever seen, the impressive and very popular for swimming waterfalls of Krka National Park, the dramatic Velebit mountains, and the 10km long bay of Telasisca, dotted with cliffs, islets, forests and wildlife, are only a handful of the many Croatian national and nature parks that attract millions of visitors every year.
Tip: Pack a fully-charged camera (duh!) and wear appropriate shoes, as some of these locations can take houuuursss to explore on foot and you definitely want to be prepared. Also, make sure to take food with you! Even in organised parks, such as the Plitvice Lakes National Park, cafés and restaurants are usually located close to the entrance, and it’s not easy to return there for a quick bite once you are already halfway through the park (that means 3-4 hours walking).
Have you ever been to Croatia?
What are your top reasons to visit the country?
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