In 2012, Croatia was the Mediterranean’s fastest growing tourist destination, offering beautiful national parks, historical sights, and other adventures for tourists seeking a balanced mix between a beautiful beach vacation, time spent with natural wonders, and rich cultural landscape. With beautiful pebble beaches, the crystal-y clear Adriatic sea, and a variety of islands to tour around, visiting the Coastline makes a great holiday by the Sea, but the diversity of landscapes in inland Croatia make just as worthy of a trip. Here are five unique experiences to be had in Croatia that make this a must-see travel destination.
Enjoy beautiful national parks
Croatia is home to not one, but eight beautiful National Parks. Enjoy the crisp, fresh mountain air, beautiful blue waters and waterfalls, feel the ground beneath your feet, and enjoy the natural beauty that Croatia has to offer. Many agree that Plitvice Lakes National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site that is only two hours by bus from Zagreb) is one of the most stunning parks that the country has to offer.
Eat your heart out
The food in Croatia is excellent. In particular, the olive oil is some of the best you’ll ever try, and along the Coast, food is Mediterranean style, which means fresh fish and other seafood, and lots of veggies (some of the healthiest choices you can make). You can try crni rižot (black squid risotto), seafood served with blitva (chard), brudet (spicy fish stew), and/or mišanca (stewed wild veggies like wild cabbage, fennel, sow thistle, etc.) In Continental Croatia, the food is a bit on the heavy side, based around meat and heavy sauces. There’s štrukli (cheese filled boiled or baked pastry), kulen (spicy pork sausages), fiš paprikaš (spicy stew made with river fish), and alike.
Hit the beach
The best beaches in Croatia are found in Dalmatia (along the coast from Zadar to the North to Druborvnik to the South), in particular, along the Makarska Riviera. The sea is a beautiful shining turquoise, and beaches are scattered with hidden coves, fig and olive trees, and of course, beautiful white pebble beaches. While there are some sandy beaches in Croatia, pebble beaches are a unique experience and for many, are a game changer. Sand in your swim trunks? Never again!
With over 1000 islands, Croatia offers many mini-adventures for those willing to do a bit of travelling around. This is not your typical island hopping found on tropical beach vacations: Croatian islands each offer their own unique slice of life, and each is a stunning as the last, some peaceful, while others are party havens. Catch goats and sheep grazing, taste locally made delicacies, spot some charming babushkas, and feel like you’ve been transported to a whole new locale. The best way to travel from island to island is by ferries, catamarans and passenger boats, or if you’re willing to splurge, rent your own sailing boat or book an island hopping cruise. For those into photography, bring your camera the views are stunning and you’ll want to capture the memories.
Visiting castles in Croatia is one tourist activity that is really worth the time. While many have fallen into disarray, others have been restored into their full beauty. Overlooking villages and towns, often nestled into hills, castles in Croatia can be toured in their full beauty, are often enriched with museums and visitor centres, and some have even been converted into luxurious hotels and restaurants. If you like it fancy, there’s lots to choose from.
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