Average cost p/day: US$70
Time frame: 2 – 3 weeks
Currency: Croatian Kuna
Croatia is famous for it’s picture-perfect islands, crystal clear waters, fascinating history and traditional old towns. It’s an ideal spot for a summer holiday but bear in mind that it will be crowded! Particularly anywhere that the cruise ships go…
WHERE TO GO
Picturesque Dubrovnik is like something out of a fairy tale. (Or…out of Game of Thrones, apparently.) It will only take a day or two to roam the old town and it’s walls – where you get spectacular views of not only the town but also the stunning coast. For even more panoramic views, head up Mt Srd. You can either take the cable car or hike up. I highly recommend hiking at sunset, so that you get constanly changing views as you walk higher and higher. It takes less than an hour to get to the top.
Hostel recommendation – Villa Devine
There are many islands you can hop between and many different ways to do it. While you can do a DIY island hopping adventure, there are also heaps of companies that offer week long boat trips between Dubrovnik and Split. Key stops include Hvar – great for partying, but also stunning town and nice views from the castle; Stari Grad – a quieter town on the same island as Hvar, with an amazing hike to a viewpoint; Mljet – a national park with a beautiful lake in the middle; Korcula, another beautiful town with lots of charm; and Makarska – though technically on the mainland, it’s a common stop on boat trips through the islands, with huge mountains making for a stunning backdrop. I went with Sail Croatia and had a great time!
The impressive Old Town of Split is centered with a big open square, perfect for an evening of ice cream and people watching. Often there’s great street performers too! Marjan Park, just outside of town, is lovey for a stroll, offering views over the town and the coast.
Krka National Park
The waterfalls at Krka National Park are phenomenal…and the best part is that you can swim there! Once you’ve worked up a sweat climbing to all the different view points, you can cool off in the fresh water pool at the bottom of the falls. You can either do this as a day trip from Split or you can stay in the neaby town of Skradin.
This was an absolute highlight of Croatia for me. And not just because of the waterfalls! While Plitvice National Park is renowned as one of the most beautiful spots in the country, it was the nearby hikes that enticed me. One rather difficult but short hike led us up Mrsinj Grad for a sunset that blew my mind! Another full day hike had us hiking along the border of Croatia and Bosnia, where we could explore war bunkers and sit upon enormous boulders.
Hostel recommendation – Falling Lakes Hostel (this is a MUST!)
The idillic Istrian coast is slightly less popular with tourists, and therefore can be a good option if you’re looking for somewhere quiet. In Pula you’ll be able to see a colosseum very similar to the one in Rome, only on a much smaller scale. But – this one’s still in perfect condition! Rovinj is a stunning, quiet town just further north of Pula where the cobble stoned streets are lined with crafty shops and the locals are super friendly.
Croatia’s capital city is worth wandering around for a day or two. While there’s not a lot to do, Zagreb has a good vibe and some cool sights. Be sure to check out Saint Mark’s church and have a few beers on Bar Street. I’d also recommend going to the ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’ where people have donated items from failed marriages, first loves and broken family bonds. It may sound like an odd concept, but trust me…it’s worth a visit! Very unique.