As with any new destination, there needs to be an itinerary. Croatia has quickly become over the past recent years, one of the new top tourist destinations since it has everything to ancient castles, luxury villas, pristine beaches, and a foodie scene. Do not miss out on these tidbits if you have never stepped foot in the country.
Have a base
Croatia seems like a small country, but it is over 700km long, and you will need more than a week or two to be able to explore the whole country. Decide which city is your base and take day trips to see the rest of the country from there. Split is a fantastic base point, and you can quickly head to Dalmatia, Hvar, Dubrovnik, and the Islands of Brac. Porec is another excellent option, and from there you can go to Istria; Porec is less expensive than Rovinj too. It is much easier, safer, and cheaper rather than booking multiple hotels in different cities and then the added cost of transportation.
Rent a car
Because Croatia is spread out, people recommend renting a car. The country has breathtaking views, and roads are in good condition. Either rent one for a day or a week for exploration.
Make sure that you eat at the local spots. Croatia is more touristy than ever, that means so are the restaurants. Stay away from the restaurants that have pictures of the food or offer special plates for two as these places are targeting Westerners in what they like, not what the locals would typically eat.
Skip island hopping
It is much more challenging to go island hopping in the Adriatic than it seems; there are countless beaches up and down the coast. For the ultimate tropical vacation, Savanah Collins from Interhome (https://www.interhome.co.uk/) says you can’t beat the beaches, snorkeling, diving, or boating of Croatia. You can easily rent our own private house overlooking all the beautiful islands from the very beaches you are staying on!
Popular destinations: Zagreb, National Parks, Istria
Zagreb is one of the main entrance points into the country, but many people skip it entirely or visit for a few hours. This city has much to offer, especially in the summer when locals head to the beaches and there are less people. Plitvice is the most visited national park in Croatia, but there are a handful of others that are beautiful too. Risnjak, North Velebit and Paklenica are less crowded parks. If you are looking to see the waterfalls head over to Krka Waterfalls. Kornati, Mljet, and Brijuni have scenic views of the Croatian Islands. Even though it is one of the, if not the most visited region in Croatia, Istria, is not visited by many overseas tourists. However, the Europeans head there more and spend vacation time there. Istria has a great food scene, extensive history, and culture, plus, the region is gorgeous. Do not miss out on Croatia’s best-kept secret.
Every town in Croatia has a local market, where people go shopping. Markets are like the lifeblood considering all the locals go and you can watch them barter, socialize and see their day to day activities. It will also give you a glimpse into what foods are local.
Use the buses
Almost all of Europe uses trains as the primary source of transportation. In Croatia, the train system is one of their weakest modes of getting around. The bus system in Croatia is much better. You can book tickets online, they are very reliable, and they go everywhere, even to surrounding countries.
Croatia has always been a popular tourist or holiday destination for Europeans. The high season is July and August, so expect lots of people, traffic and long lines. The cities that get the most crowded are Plitvice, Dubrovnik, Split, and Zadar.
You will not have to worry about being fluent in Croatian when you go. Most Croatians speak at least a little bit of English and even other languages. German and Italian are the other two most common languages spoken after English.
There is a strange assumption among people that Croatia is cheap, honestly not. There are plenty of things in Croatia that are much more expensive than in Western Europe or America. Expect to fork over quite a bit for your trip, but it will be totally worth it.
Croatia has risen as one of Europe’s top vacation spots. Delicious food, beautiful scenery, bustling towns, and with so much to do, there is no doubt as to why. Depending on when you go, you can look forward to a quiet and relaxing vacation or be part of the hustle and bustle of the cities. No matter when you do go, there will be something exciting and new for you to see in Croatia.
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