The first in a monthly series exploring the countries I’ll be visiting during the upcoming year. I’ll be sharing information that includes a little geography, the culture of the country, some of the wonderful sights to see, and unique things to do. It’s impossible for me to list everything you can see, and experience, so I will outline some of the main highlights the country has to offer. I will also supply you with safety information, and avoid common mistakes. So sit back, relax, and let me help you decided where to take that next European holiday.
Croatia’s a small country in south central Europe that’s well-known for its beautiful Mediterranean coast lines, crystal clear water, and persevered medieval cities. These cities contain spectacular Roman runes that have stood the test of time. Croatia’s also home too many diverse and breathtaking islands like Hvar and Mijet. Farther from the coast, there are many natural wonders like Plitvice Lakes and impressive cities like Zagreb to visit. Tourism in Croatia has exploded in recent years, turning it into a tourist hot spot in Europe. Yet, its popularity is relatively young, leaving the prices affordable. Everyone I have talked to that’s been to Croatia tells me I need to go their immediately. Maybe, because of my wish see everything I’m easily influenced, but if a lot of people tell me I need to go somewhere it instantaneously jumps up on the list of must see places. So June I will be exploring the mainland, hopping the islands, and sailing the coast; taking in everything that Croatia has to offer. Once I chose to travel full-time I knew Croatia would be one of my first stops. Sights to see in Croatia
Dubrovnik (“The Pearl of the Adriatic”) is an amazingly well persevered medieval city. Thousands of tourist flock to Dubrovnik to stroll down the marble streets while taking in the beauty of the coast. It became a major sea power in the 13th century which left a mark as it is now home to some absolutely stunning Gothic, and renaissance churches and monuments. The main attraction of Dubrovnik is the cities medieval city walls, offering great views of Dubrovnik, and the Dalmatian Coast. Other exciting sites in Dubrovnik include the Sponza palace, Rector Palace, and a Dominican monastery. Day Trips from Dubrovnik: Kotor, Mostar
Located in Montenegro, and from all my research Kotor seems like the most popular day trip from Dubrovnik, with a beautiful bay, a highly reviewed old town, and great churches. I’m making Kotor a priority to visit.
Mostar’s also highly rated, and has many sites to explore such as an old bazaar, a mosque, and Kravice Falls. They’re all worth checking out if you have the time. The islands of Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan, Lokrum are also near.
Plitvice is Croatia’s largest national park. Covered with natural green forests, lakes, and stunning waterfalls; it redefines the words natural beauty. The park’s known for the wide variety of colors that can change daily depending on the different minerals in the water and how the sunlight hits them. When I learned this I sped through traffic home and look up pictures. Places like Plitvice is the reason I travel and if this isn’t on your bucket list you should add it.
Spilt is known for a few things (other than having an awesome name). It’s also the largest city on the Adriatic. Split’s built around Diocletian’s Palace, the infamous roman emperor. It’s here in which he retired and filled his palace with unique and exotic wonders, it’s a must see. He even had a statue of a sphinx imported to his palace from Egypt. Today, cafes (where I will get my daily caffeine fix, and way too many sweets), restaurants, and markets cover Split’s city center. It seems like a great place to relax and recharge your batteries for a few days.
Over my years of traveling, I have learned something about myself. I’m a complete sucker when it comes to ancient, roman ruins (Maybe this explains my obsession with Italy). This makes Pula’s, three-story Amphitheater a treat. Built around 67 A.D, the limestone theater is amazingly well persevered, making it one of the most intact Roman Theater’s in existence today. Experiences
Sailing the Dalmatian Coast.
I first heard about Croatia’s sailing tours from a group of backpackers who couldn’t praise it enough. Throughout my travels, I have heard at least a hundred times that I need to make this a part of my experience. So I am! And if everything I heard is true, it’s something you should consider too. I am embarking on my sailing tour through Busabout, which I payed for by saving my spare change. Where I will spend 8 days cruising around the coast and islands, hitting up beautiful places like Dubvorink, Hvar Spilt, and Korcula along the way, It’s a great way to relax and recharge my batteries by swimming in the clear waters of the Adriatic, fishing off the back of the boat if I want, (I gave up fishing when I was ten and bored out of my mind), or taking in all the sites.
Scuba diving on the Island of Mljet.
Mijet is another of Croatia’s breathtaking national parks that’s relatively untouched by man. These islands have a ton of coral reefs and underwater caves. It’s some of the cleanest and clearest water on earth. You can see at least 15 meters (50 ft.) below the surface. Scuba diving is on my bucket list and Mijet seems like a great place to cross it off.
Cable Car over Dubrovnik
The cable car over Dubrovnik seems like the perfect way to grab some great views of the city and the surrounding coast. From the top you can see up to 37 miles while taking in the entire city, the surrounding coast, and the wonderful fresh air.
There is other ways to see Croatia, like taking a road trip from Spilt to Dubrovnik. This trip promises amazing views as you travel across Bosnia-Herzogovina. It’s a great way to sit back, relax, and enjoy the landscape.
- If you are from the United States, European Union, Australia or many other countries; you do not need a Visa to enter Croatia. If you are unsure whether this applies to you, view the list of Visa exempt countries here. Croatia’s isn’t in the Schengen Zone, meaning it does not take away from your 90 days in the EU. However, there’s talk of them joining in the next year so be sure to double-check before you visit.
- Croatia currency uses the Croatian Kuna, but a few vendors will accept euros.
- Buses and trains (direct ones) take around the same time. The trains are more comfortable but if you on a tight budget, buses are cheaper.
- Traveling the Coast? Boats Baby!
Croatia has a ton of ancient sites and islands to explore that I didn’t get to mention above. Croatia is a place to relax, and enjoy being one holiday, and it’s one of the countries I am looking forward to the most in 2013. Check back in June to read my full review, thoughts, and of course, information on how to avoid the mishaps.
Want more of Croatia? Check out ActiveBackpacker’s post: Adventures in Split, Croatia: What to do and see.
So what do you think? Is Croatia a place you want to visit? Let your voice be heard in the comments below.