The small, horseshoe-shaped Balkan country of Croatia is steadily becoming one of Europe’s most popular summer holiday destinations—on land or by sea. With its stunning beaches, crystalline waters, incredible history and great food, Croatia is definitely worth a visit on any trip to southeastern Europe.
Croatia is an Eastern European country with more than 1,000 miles of coastline on the Adriatic Sea. Encompassing more than 1,000 islands, it’s also crossed by the Dinaric Alps. The south Dalmatian coast is by far the most popular region in Croatia, including Dubrovnik, Split and Hvar.
There are many facets to Croatia that make it an ideal destination for American travelers, and small ship cruising has become very popular today. These ships can get into the smaller ports where the larger ships cannot.
Wine excursions play a key role as Croatian ports attract numerous cruise ships. Guests can also sample culinary treats as they bicycle around or otherwise explore each town and the country’s many UNESCO World Heritage sites. Either way, you will discover for yourself why Croatia is rapidly gaining popularity as a leisure travel destination.
Dubrovnik is a city in southern Croatia fronting the Adriatic Sea. It’s known for its distinctive Old Town, encircled with massive stonewalls completed in the 16th century. Paved with limestone, the pedestrianized Placa is lined with shops and restaurants. If you are visiting Dubrovnik for the first time or the hundredth, the sense of awe never fails to descend on the beauty of the old town, with its red-tiled roof houses and cobblestone streets. This medieval town is one of my favorite ports, as well as visiting the countryside and the small fishing villages. It is a destination you could revisit again and again.
On one of my trips to Croatia, I visited Split, a picturesque town built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 4th century. It is the second largest city on the Dalmatian Coast, nestled between mountains and sea, known for its beaches and the fortress-like complex at its center, Diocletian’s Palace. Within its white stone walls and under its courtyards are a cathedral and numerous shops, bars, cafes, hotel and houses.
Zagreb, Croatia’s northwestern capital, is distinguished by its 18th- and 19th-century Austro-Hungarian architecture. At its center, Upper Town is the site of the Gothic, twin-spired Zagreb Cathedral and 13th-century St. Mark’s Church, with a colorfully tiled roof. Nearby is pedestrian-friendly Tkalˇci´ceva Street, lined with outdoor cafes. Lower Town has the Main Square, Ban Jelaˇci´c, plus shops, museums and parks. Zagreb has culture, arts, music, architecture, gastronomy and all the other attractions that make a quality capital city. It is the largest city in Croatia.
Croatia is a land for all seasons. Clean and well-kept beaches, picturesque landscapes and thousands of coves and islets attract most tourists in the summer. However, the mild Mediterranean climate will make your stay in the Adriatic resorts just as pleasant in the spring and autumn. It is a paradise for yachters, thanks to its long coastline. No visit would be complete without a boat trip, either by a private yacht or a boat tour of some of the islands such as Brac or Hvar. Many tours last the whole day and include a meal of fresh seafood, drinks and live music.
Vacations are all about relaxation and time spent away from home while discovering the beauty of foreign places. In the end, it all comes down to having great unforgettable experiences and making memories to share. Croatia is all about combining spectacular history, breathtaking nature, fantastic wines and great food.
Explore this increasingly popular country by taking a cruise or staying in a luxury boutique hotel. Either way, Croatia is definitely a “bucket list” destination!