Sunday, 3 September 2017

Top Tips For Visiting Croatia



Looking for a last minute holiday or planning next year's already? Well, if Croatia is on your list then I'm your gal and this is the post for you. Any long term followers of mine will know that I simply adore Croatia as a country and have found myself visiting so many places there and this summer I visited the country for the third year running and stayed in Split. This time, my family came along with me and although my mum and dad are the type who usually lie around the pool doing nothing, they loved the more active, cultural side of of this kind of trip and whether you're an adventurer like me or are simply looking for somewhere hot, beautiful and *gasps* cheap, then you may want to consider looking into Croatia.

So, like I said, I've visited Croatia for three years in a row. I've visited a load of places there and have travelled around it a lot and so can speak from my own experience of the different cities and destinations you can visit. A lot of people I've spoken to simply don't know what to expect from Croatia or where to stay or what to do so these are my top tips for visiting this amazing country.




WHAT TYPE OF HOLIDAY DO YOU WANT?

There are so many different options regarding where to stay in Croatia and the best choice will depend on what kind of holiday you're after overall. Do you want parties? Festivals? Nature? Budget? Pag was the first place in Croatia I visited and if you're looking for music festivals and parties, this is the type of place that will be amazing for you. I went to Fresh Island Festival but Pag's Zrce Beach is home to a whole host of amazing parties and festivals including Hideout and Sonus. As you can imagine, Pag is full of young people and although other than the parties and nightlife, there wasn't that much there, it's a beautiful, serene little island with a whole host of beautiful villas to stay in and hidden beaches with crystal clear waters but if you visit Pag you should 100% look into the festivals.

Dubrovnik was the second place I stayed in Croatia and if I'm being honest, it was my personal favourite. It's absolutely stunning and words seriously can't describe how beautiful it really is - it's something you have to see for yourself. The whole Old Town is a UNESCO heritage sight and if you're into history, food and adventure, Dubrovnik is the place for you. It is the most expensive of the places I've been in Croatia as it is probably the most popular tourist destination and I spent a small fortune while I was there. It's where King's Landing in Game of Thrones was filmed, you can walk the walls of the city, visit the beautiful harbour and the food is just incredible. There aren't many beaches around Dubrovnik and the ones there are mainly small and rocky so it's definitely not a lie and do nothing holiday and if I was to re-visit somewhere in Croatia for a second time, it would be Dubrovnik.

Split is the third place I stayed and it's where I've just come back from a few weeks back. It's probably what I would consider the most commercialised out of all the places I've visited in the country although in comparison to a lot of other countries, it remains virtually untouched. It's somewhere that does have beaches, albeit not many sandy ones other than the famous Bacvice beach and if you have a mind to get on one of the buses for a short ride, you can reach stunning beaches such as Kasjuni. Split is probably a bit of a mixed bag so is ideal for a first visit to Croatia; the nightlife is great with a lot of pub crawls and bars, there's a lot of culture and history, the city is a UNESCO heritage site and it's super cheap too, food and drinks wise.

Something I would say is that I personally wouldn't recommend an all-inclusive holiday to Croatia. Firstly, there aren't many hotels that offer it and the ones that do can be awfully expensive. Secondly, there are so many great budget hotels with bed and breakfast or Air B'n'Bs there really is no need to go all-inclusive. Also, remember that in Croatia the currency is Kuna, not Euros. I wish I had a quid every time I saw someone try and spend Euros in Croatia only to be turned away! Finally, there are so many other great places I've visited but haven't stayed in such as Hvar, Zadar and Mljet and if you want a super chilled, quiet trip they may be somewhere to look at!






EXPERIENCE NATURE

Croatia is home to so many bloody incredible natural wonders, it's impossible to see them all in one trip. The country is famed for its National Parks and I've been lucky enough to visit two of them, seeing one of them twice and I can hand on heart say that they are two of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Krka Waterfalls is a must see in Croatia especially if you visit Split, Pag or anywhere close to there and it barely costs anything to get in. It's absolutely magical, wandering through the forest on the wooden path, hearing the birds chirping and the serene sounds of nature with fish swimming all around you. You can swim in the base of one of the waterfalls at the bottom and the aura of the entire national park is so magical, it just doesn't seem real. You think you've seen its beauty until you turn a corner and bam there's another amazing sight for you to drink it. 

Mljet National Park is also somewhere you should consider visiting if you're staying in Dubrovnik. The deep blue lakes stretch for miles and are surrounded by the most fresh, green forests that you'll set eyes on. It feels like you're walking through a fairytale land. You can also swim in the lakes here and as it's less crowded than Krka, it feels so special when you're actually there, swimming with just a handful of other people. You can rent bikes to cycle around as it's huge and we just enjoyed sitting by the lakes in one of the restaurant enjoying some seafood. Absolute heaven. Plitvice Lakes is another Park that I'm desperate to visit - it looks absolutely incredible so if you manage to get there on your trip I'm super jealous! 

Other than the national parks, there are also so many other things to see such as the Blue Cave which is something I saw on my trip to Split. You go through a scarily tiny hole in the side of a cliff (literally, you have to duck right down to get in!) and the light that creeps through the bottom of the 16m deep cavern reflects and drenches the cave in magical blue light. Have a look around where you're staying - there are always tourist operators who will give you advice and offer you some great deals! 





FEED YOUR ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT

Hold up, I don't just mean go bungee jumping or backpacking through the wilderness but I do mean step outside of your ordinary. Get exploring the cities, walk the walls in Dubrovnik, go on a kayaking trip, climb the cathedrals, experience the culture... there is so much more to do in Croatia than you think with boat trips galore and water sports every where. We went on a full day's kayaking trip around about three islands off the coast of Dubrovnik, we went off-road buggying in the mountains, walked the ancient walls of cities and climbed the hills and the mountains to get the best views. It really enriches your holiday and even though my mum and dad would usually sit around the pool for 10 hours a day on holiday without moving, they loved a more active holiday, exploring the markets, seeing the history and really getting to experience Croatia as a country rather than as the inside of a hotel. Obviously, if you really aren't into leaving the hotel, you can always relax by the pool or on one of the beautiful scenic beaches - the weather is scorching during the summer! 

Other Top Tips:

Try the seafood! Croatia is famed for its seafood. Eat some octopus and some fresh mussels - I ate enough seafood in Croatia and may as well have just grown gills. 

Utilise the boats and buses. Don't be frightened of the public transport and visit other islands or areas. I visited Zadar, Sibenik, Hvar and so many others this way and it's a great way to see places you wouldn't otherwise! 

Visit Bosnia or Montenegro! I know this post is about Croatia but whilst in Dubrovnik we did a day over in Montengro and saw three different places I would never have thought have visiting otherwise in a country that is often overlooked in the travel stakes. Trust me, the long drive is bloody worth it.

Amy x
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3 comments

  1. Dubrovnik sounds like my kind of place if it's all about History, food and adventure! I haven't been to Croatia yet but it seems so exciting!

    with love, Bash   |   HEY BASH

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  2. I've never been to Croatia but it looks beautiful :) loved reading about it, will definitely consider it for a holiday after looking at your post! x
    KMales

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