Monthly

The Croatian Travel Guide

The low-down on the very best of Croatia

WHERE — Croatia
PHOTOGRAPHY — Jessie Bush

The land of epic waterfalls, ancient villages and turquoise seas.  Welcome to Croatia; consider this your quick go-to guide.

Croatia is hands down one of the most special places I’ve visited. With its raw, rugged beauty it’s hard not to fall just a little bit in love with the place. I’ve been lucky enough to spend a few weeks here – both on land exploring a few of the towns and national parks inland, and the second on a small yacht sailing down the coast, mooring at up delightfully untouched spots. To put it simply, it’s one magical country.

WHEN TO GO

We we’ve been in both May and June and the weather was deliciously warm and it didn’t feel too overrun with other tourists. Like everywhere  in Europe, things can get pretty crazy in July and August. Dubrovnik can get particularly crazy, so avoid the high season like the plague (if you can).

WHERE TO STAY

Airbnb all the way. Lustworthy Airbnb options are increasing in Croatia, and you can get some beautiful apartments which are far more homely than many of the out-dated hotels, especially in the main cities such as Dubrovnik and Split. Plus if you’re traveling with friends (and Croatia is the perfect destination to go with your pals), it’s a much more cost effective option than hotels.

Dubrovnik

The cliff-side bars are infamous for a reason. Yes the beers may be over-priced, but sitting hard up against the cliff face overlooking the Adriatic sea is pretty incredible as far as drinking spots go. The perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon – just find yourself a perch and watch those who are brave enough leap from the cliffs and into the sea below.

Just outside of the main town is Banje beach – a popular spot with both locals and tourists. There’s no sand – just rocky pebbles – but that’s part of the charm. Dubrovnik can get super hot in summer, and Banje is the ideal place to cool off, as well as being spectacularly beautiful.

WHERE TO VISIT

Plitvice Lakes

One look on Google Images and I knew Plitvice would be worth the trek. Sam and I only booked one night nearby but we loved it so much we actually ended up staying for three. Go to the National Park as early as you can – the tours from Split arrive about 10:30am and the walkways can get pretty congested.

As it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site you can’t swim in the lakes, but there are plenty of crystal clear swimming holes outside the park which are worth hunting down. We rented bicycles and spent two days getting lost down dirt tracks, exploring tiny villages and swimming in picture-perfect lakes and rivers.

Korcula

This town stole my heart from the moment we pulled into the marina. The perfect place to do very little; just wander through the quaint, hydrangea-lined streets eating gelato after gelato.

Bol, Brac

We didn’t plan to visit Bol – and on face value it’s very much a family-orientated holiday spot – complete with an inflatable playground out on the water. It’s an easy island – small enough to walk everywhere, with insanely clear seas and friendly locals.

The main beach – Zlatni Rat – is postcard worthy, which does mean it can get pretty busy during the day. We went down for an early morning dip on more than one occasion and had the entire peninsula all to ourselves.

Split

Despite the less-than-rave reviews we really enjoyed Split – a town that acts as a jumping point to other parts of the country. Have dinner by candlelight in Diocletian’s Palace – the food won’t blow your mind, but the setting will. For lunch, swing by  Zinfadel Food & Wine bar in Split – their tuna salad and tuna sandwhich are things of beauty.

Hvar

Spend time getting lost down the cobblestone streets packed with tiny restaurants and eateries before heading off in search of some glorious beaches. Make the effort to climb to the top of the Fortica for sunset – there are a lot of steps but the view of the harbour is pretty breathtaking.

Previous post:
The Greek Guide
Previous post:
The Sweater Edit