By far one of Eastern Europe’s most visited destinations, Croatia brings to mind long stretches of beaches, fairytale cities that seem to rise up from the sea, verdant parks teeming with wildlife and the ever popular series “The Game of Thrones”, which was partially filmed in the country. Given the unique splendour of the country and its rich and varied history, it’s easy to tell why the destination has slowly been drawing more visitors in recent years.
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There’s just something about the country with more than a thousand islands that effortlessly captivates the hearts of travellers. From delving into cobblestoned cities packed with attractions to sampling tasty local bites, the standout experiences of Croatia will leave you yearning to visit the country. And if the essential attractions of the destination aren’t quite enough to give you that extra push to grab your passport and go, keep in mind that you can easily cross over to Bosnia and Herzegovina from Croatia, meaning you can sample the best of not just one but two countries on a single holiday.
Lose yourself in the UNESCO walled city of Dubrovnik
Nestled at the edge of the deep blue Adriatic, the orange-roofed city of Dubrovnik is an eye-catching sight that has enchanted travellers for centuries. Wander around the white limestone streets of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and pop into cafés with sea views, old palaces and fortresses. The medieval walls enclosing the “Pearl of the Adriatic” is an attraction in its own right; walk along the defensive perimeter for marvellous views of the city and sea beneath. Fans of the hit television series “The Game of Thrones” will also be glad to know that some scenes from the show were filmed in Dubrovnik. Explore the city and you may even make you feel like you’ve been transported straight to the fantasy world.
Immerse yourself in nature at Plitvice Lakes National Park
Step into Plitvice Lakes National Park and you’ll instantly realise why it’s Croatia’s most popular tourist attraction. From unbelievably turquoise blue lakes dotting the landscape to lush green trees stretching their limbs out to the skies to a myriad of thundering waterfalls, the park is a nature lover’s paradise. Take in the sights on a walking trail through the rich flora or meander atop a boat across the reflective waters to immerse yourself in the serenity of nature. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is also home to a variety of wildlife such as the brown bear and lynx, which can be difficult to spot elsewhere.
Explore some of Croatia’s many islands at Split
Set against the backdrop of a monumental mountain, the energetic city of Split is packed with things to see and do. But besides being home to Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the historic Cathedral of St Domnius, Split is also perfect as a comfortable base from which you can springboard to other Croatian islands. An effortless ferry ride ranging from forty-five minutes to two and a half hours one way will take you to the islands of Brac, Hvar or Vis, where you can continue your exploration of the country.
Embrace delicious local produce at Istria
Widely acknowledged as Croatia’s gourmet capital, Istria’s culinary offerings have left many a foodie salivating. Some of the destination’s most popular produce include olive oils, seafood and truffles. Awaken your palate with delicious Istrian meals at both casual and classy eateries or delve further into the gourmet scene on tours, where you can sample famous local tipples on winery visits or go truffle hunting alongside trained pigs. Whichever the case, you’re sure to spend your time in the city with a satisfied belly.
Uncover Zagreb’s Upper Town gems on a leisurely stroll
Although it’s not quite as talked about as Dubrovnik and Split, Zagreb exudes an allure that is hard to deny. In particular, the capital of Croatia’s Upper Town, also known as the Gronji Grad, is especially mesmerising. Feast like a local on authentic dishes and fresh produce at the Dolac market, visit quirky attractions like the Museum of Broken Relationships or trace the steps of history at St Catherine’s Church, dubbed the most beautiful Baroque church in the city. The Zagreb Cathedral with its twin towers is the city’s most prominent landmark; be sure to snap a picture with it before you leave for a memento of your holiday!