In fact, Croatia has retained local businesses and, consequently, its distinctive character. So, whether you’ve got a hankering for a blissful beach holiday amongst sumptuous Mediterranean Islands, an exploration of edgy urban culture, or a tour of the historical sites which played major roles in TV’s Game of Thrones, Croatia can deliver the goods.
Sample the cuisine. The diverse landscapes and melting pot of foreign influence has certainly left its mark on Croatian cuisine. Unlike some of the neighbouring countries’ fondness for boiled vegetables and meats, Croatia offers a rich and delicious menu with strong Italian influences and an emphasis on seafood, cheeses and grilled meats. Epicurean travellers should look out for the famous black risotto, made with squid ink, olive oil, garlic and red wine; the chunky fisherman’s stew known as Brudet; the temptingly sweet donuts, fritules; and the rather excellent wines that are a firm part of Croatian culture.
Live the luxe life. Whilst the islands are bursting with natural beauty, there is also plenty to keep the urban aficionado happy, particularly in trendy locations such as Dubrovnik and Hvar. If you’re a sucker for a touch of glamour, a yacht party or a swanky cocktail bar, you’ll be right at home in Croatia.
Explore natural treasures. As you fly into Croatia, the view out the plane window is breathtaking. Crystalline waters, swirling with aquamarine and cobalt blue, cry out to snorkellers and swimmers alike, whilst hidden, rocky coves and miles of tantalising coastline mean that those who love to be beside the seaside will be more than satisfied. Sublime national parks cover a variety of natural wonders, from Kornati’s 140 submerged islands and Krka’s spectacular gorges and waterfalls, to the turquoise lakes of Plitvice and soaring limestone cliffs of Paklenica.
Step back in time. With a history that dates back to the times of Ancient Greece and Rome, Croatia’s landscape showcases nigh on 2,000 years of fascinating history. Highlights include the Diocletian’s Palace in bustling Split, the pristine city walls of Dubrovnik, the majestic Roman amphitheatre in Pula and the atmospherically gothic Trogir Cathedral which hails from its namesake town.
As applies to anywhere in Europe, if you can travel to Croatia outside of school holidays, then you can take advantage of fewer crowds whilst still enjoying the weather at its beach-ready best. The shoulder season months of May, June, September and October are ideal for swimming and sunbathing with all the usual summer tourist facilities up, running and ready for action. You’ll also find that accommodation is easier to come by.
Visiting outside of July and August also offers excellent weather for sight-seeing – those mid-summer temperatures can prove gruelling if you’re planning to hike or explore towns on foot. Autumn, in particular, makes for a wonderful time to enjoy national park areas like the Plitvice Lakes with flaming woodland colours dressing up the landscape to its very best.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Croatia’s climate follows two patterns – so, it’s important to check the climate of your destination of choice. The Mediterranean coast offers the usual warm summers and mild winters you might expect, but the continental inland is a little more extreme, boasting hotter summers and bitter winters. In fact, during the deepest, darkest winter months, temperatures can drop to freezing.
If you’ve been thoroughly won round by our Croatian travel guide, better snap up those tickets as soon as possible. Just don’t forget to book the right travel insurance plan as part of your holiday prep. Medical Travel Compared can help you find the best policy for your money.