[WANDERLUST] Croatia is best known for its spectacular coastline and more than 1,000 islands, but is home to many other charms from lakes, waterfalls and wildlife to cafés, culture and castles.
Croatia is firmly back on the travel map. The country’s development as a travel destination was temporarily halted during the bitter Homeland War of the early 1990s, but since 1995, travellers have returned and the country is thriving. Infrastructure for visitors is good, and development is controlled enough for the country’s adopted motto (The Mediterranean As It Once Was) to still be apt rather than a stretch of the imagination. There are also plenty of ‘out of the way’ places left to discover.
Most visitors flock to the spectacular Croatian coast, where they are well rewarded with an extraordinary collection of islands, delicious seafood, picture-perfect fishing villages and the cleanest waters in the Adriatic. In the busy summer months, there’s an extensive ferry network to allow you to hop between islands and the mainland. Alternatively, Croatia is a fantastic destination for a sailing holiday. Whether you weigh anchor and explore the country’s uninhabited islands or sunbathe and sip cocktails in glamorous ports like Hvar and Dubrovnik, there’s no shortage of choice.
Meanwhile, inland Croatia shouldn’t be neglected. The bucolic Istria region is fast becoming the destination for foodies thanks to its truffles, olive oil and wild asparagus. The capital Zagreb and the northern region of Zagorje are fantastic for everything from cafe culture to castles and countryside; Slavonia has one of Europe’s most important wetlands where the Danube meets the Drava.
Nature lovers will find magnificent mountains, waterfalls and lakes in Croatia’s inland national parks, like Plitvice Lakes, Paklenika and Krka. History enthusiasts will discover an equally varied architectural landscape in Croatia, from Roman ruins to Venetian villages, from Byzantine churches to Austro-Hungarian Baroque masterpieces.
1. Wander round the walls of the wonderfully restored UNESCO-listed city of Dubrovnik. Take a cable car ride up Mount Srđ for glorious views of the city and the Adriatic, sip cocktails and explore southern Dalmatian islands or nip over the border into Montenegro.
2. Sample the gastronomic delights of Istria – the north-eastern corner of Croatia is becoming a destination of choice for a taste of la dolce vita. Renowned for its wine, olive oil, truffles and wild asparagus (as well as its seafood – Istria is a peninsula province) it’s the place to go if the way to your heart is via your stomach.
3. Explore the capital Zagreb – roam the cobbled streets, atmospheric Mirogoj cemeteries and charming bars along Tkalčićeva. Escape to leafy Mt Medvednica or the nearby town of Samobor for cream cakes and dumplings.
4. Plan a watery adventure, hopping between the delightful Dalmatian Islands. There are over 1,000 to choose from, both inhabited and deserted. Vis, Hvar, Cres, Mljet and Brač are all popular options.
5. Get back to nature at one of Croatia’s eight national parks. Marvel at the other-worldly blues of Plitvice’s sparkling lakes, the crashing waterfalls at Krka NP, and the stark beauty of the Kornati Islands.
6. Get musical in Zadar – listen to the music made by the Sea Organ and bask in the lightshow created by the Sun Salutation. Zadar’s a great base from which to explore northern Dalmatia.
7. Come face-to face with one of Europe’s most spectacular birds – the griffon vulture – on the scenic island of Cres.
You can check out the rest of this interesting travel guide on the link below.