Croatia offers up a range of beaches, so there are plenty of places so soak up the sun. There are sandy shores, like Saharun Beach, on Dugi Otok Island. But, if the whole suncream and sand mess isn’t for you, you’ll find smooth pebble beaches, like the popular Punta Rata, near Brela, on the Dalmatian Coast. Forbes Magazine named it the best beach in Europe, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
Can’t pick between sea air and city sights? No problem. Head to the Dubrovnik region, in the south, and you’ll find a Medieval city and a sweep of coastline that neighbours the Adriatic. The city’s well-preserved walls measure an impressive 1,940 metres around. And, if you take a guided tour, you can learn about the battles that were fought there.
Sure, long-haul holidays are amazing, but the seven plus hours on a plane can put some people off. If you’re not a fan of flying, or if you’re travelling with kids who might get grizzly, Croatia’s two-hour flight is much more manageable. Plus, we fly from over 20 UK airports to Split, Dubrovnik and Pula, so you can likely jet off from your doorstep.
History buffs, look alive. Croatia’s laden with ancient and UNESCO-rated spots. Like the 6th-century religious site Euphrasius Basilica, in Porec, on the Istrian Riviera. Here, you’ll find intricate mosaics, made from gold and mother of pearl. And, in Pula, you can step back in time at the Roman amphitheatre, which dates back to 30 BC.
Forget muddy fields in Blighty. Croatia’s festivals line up some of the best house music DJs in the world. Plus, the great weather means you won’t need your wellies. Ultra Europe in Split, and Hideout festival – which takes place on Zrce Beach – are just some of the big ones. If heavy bass lines aren’t your thing, check out Zagreb’s International Folk Festival, or Pula’s Film Festival.
From north to south, Croatia measures over 550 kilometres, so it’s interesting that the climate doesn’t vary much. Thanks to its position in the Mediterranean Sea, you can expect long hot summers, with temperatures reaching the low-thirties. Most people tend to visit between June and September, but even in the winter months things stay pretty mild.
Fancy yourself as a bit of a foodie? Spread out a map and you’ll see Croatia’s sandwiched between Slovenia and Bosnia, and close to Italy. So, you’ll find menus brimming with the best of Mediterranean and Eastern European cuisine. Expect pasta dishes and net-fresh seafood, along with the likes of pork or veal schnitzel.
Croatia’s often overlooked when it comes to diving holidays, which is surprising as the Adriatic Sea is home to a wide range of marine life, like starfish and moray eels. The waters surrounding the Istrian Riviera and Dalmatian Coast are pretty shallow, too, making them good for beginner divers and snorkellers. More experienced divers can head further south to discover coral reefs, caves and shipwrecks.
When Croatia joined the EU in 2013, it kept its own currency – the kuna. So, while Britain’s split with the EU has meant a weaker pound against the euro, the kuna gives you more for your money. Cost-wise, things are pretty fair, too. A beer in most bars and restaurants will cost around £2 or £3. And, if you’re eating out as a couple, dinner with wine should come in at around £40.
If you’re up for exploring, Croatia’s a great base for daytrips, as it tots up over 1,200 islands. The waters off the Dalmatian Coast are home to chic hangout Hvar and its trendy waterside bars. Meanwhile, on the Istrian Riviera, you’ll find ferry rides to neighboring Krk, Cres and Rab. These islands boast nature parks and hiking trails through the rolling mountain ranges.
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Author: Sarah Clayton
Published: March 30, 2017
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