croatia at a glance

Highlights

  • Split
  • Hvar
  • Dubrovnik
  • Plitvice Lakes National Park
  • Brač Island
  • Zlatni Rat
  • Mljet
  • Diocletian’s Palace

A lot of people say that Croatia is the next Greece… It is kind of true. Its idyllic stretch of Adriatic bays, beaches and rocky islets remind visitor of Greek islands. One thing that Croatia doesn’t have that Greece do: the constant flow of tourists. And that’s a good thing!

Another good thing is the weather. Did you know that fine weather is so reliable in Hvar that some hoteliers offer free accommodation if it snows? That’s compelling for a Canadian woman like me!

One very unique place on earth is Plitvice Lakes, Croatia’s precious network of 16 lakes interlinked with waterfalls, with dense forests crowding around the rims of the upper lakes. It’s a magical place to be! And it is on the Unesco World Heritage list. If you don’t mind the cold, visit in December and January: the lakes are frozen… it looks even more astonishing!

You didn’t get enough of hiking? Go to Krka National Park. The waterfalls are even more dramatic than the Plitvice Lakes, since the water rushing through the canyon is much greater. After a nice stroll crossing streams flowing through woods, why not take a dip in the most beautiful cascade’s basin after a snooze in the sun?

Again, just like Greece, Croatia has tons of islands… more than 1000 scattered off the Adriatic Coast. The Adriatic is perfect: smooth, silky and pellucid, and its colour turn electric blue and jade green. Sea-kayaking is a great way to visit many of the clustered close together rugged islands. From Dubrovnik, you could paddle to the beaches of Lopud, and then relax with a glass of Ozusko or Karlovacko, the two most popular beers. Could it get any better?

Since Croatia has 1778km of coastline, sailing the crystalline Adriatic to hidden coves, traditional fishing villages and more remote islands sounds like the perfect way to spend lazy days and discover secluded islets.

A couple islands should be on your to-do list. First, Hvar is splendid! From the Venetian fortress on the hill above the medieval town, you can enjoy the best view of Hvar, luscious green flora and rocky beaches! And this is the place to go if you want to sleep luxuriously, sunbathe in style, and party too! Have I told you it is the sunniest place in the country? Let’s go there!

Then head to Brač Island. Brač is famous for two things: its radiant stone, which Diocletian’s Palace in Split and the White House in Washington DC are made from, and Zlatni Rat, the long pebble beach at Bol that sticks out into the Adriatic. This is the perfect spot for windsurfing! Driving around and exploring Brač’s stone villages is also a lovely experience. Bol’s old town is also very attractive, with small stone houses and winding streets dotted with pink and purple geraniums.

It is in Dubrovnik that you will find the best shopping. But that doesn’t sum up to what Dubrovnik is… It is the ‘pearl of the Adriatic’, with its Renaissance architecture and delicious seafood. You can walk around on the city’s walls so you can enjoy beautiful views of rocky islands, awesome mountains and shimmering seas. Dubrovnik is fabulous! There’s no wonder why it’s being used to represent the city of King’s Landing in the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Split is also a great destination with Diocletian’s Palace, cafés, plazas, boutique shops and tons of bars. The dramatic coastal mountains are the perfect backdrop to the turquoise waters of the Adriatic!

Finally, if you really want to experience real Croatian life, slow food is unavoidable. The focus is on local, fresh and seasonal ingredients. There’s much attention placed on the ritual of eating as well as the presentation of food. Is there a better way to enjoy a vacation?
Croatia with its Mediterranean lifestyle, idyllic Adriatic and sparkling lakes and waterfalls is the ‘it’ destination!

Here’s a sample itinerary for a two week vacation in Croatia. I really loved my travel in that gorgeous country, I’m sure you will too!

SAMPLE ITINERARY

  • Day 1 and 2: From Zagreb, go by bus to Plitvice Lakes National Park to hike the verdant maze of lakes and waterfalls.
  • Day 3 to 5: Take a bus to get to Split. Visit the Diocletian’s Palace, shop, eat delicious slow food, party all night; then go to the beaches of Brela to unwind.
  • Day 6 to 8: Head to Brač Island by ferry or catamaran, and then go to Bol, where you can rent mountain bikes or kayaks. Don’t forget to spend a day at Zlatni Rat’s beach, and why not try windsurfing!
  • Day 9 to 11: Take a ferry to Hvar Island, and spend a couple of days exploring the island and its lavender fields, and Hvar Town. Elegant restaurants, trendy bars, luxurious hotels… If you want to see and being seen, this is the place to be!
  • Day 12 to 15: Take a ferry to Split, then take the bus to Dubrovnik. Walk its city walls; eat delightful ice cream, delicious wine, tasty seafood; go nudie at Lokrum beach and take it easy!
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