Adventures in Croatia: From Ancient Cities to Island Escapes

Castles, beaches, mountains, islands: It doesn’t seem right that one country should have so many of these things and still be so small, friendly, and accessible.

Hey, welcome to Croatia.

Relegated to being a part of other countries throughout much of history, Croatia is stepping into the limelight and establishing itself as one of the top tourist destinations on the Adriatic Sea.

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Though the country’s capital is Zagreb, the jumping-off point for your Croatian adventure should be the historic old city of Dubrovnik. Like many historic old cities, Dubrovnik has a walled-in Old Town, but Dubrovnik’s version is something truly special, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that shows Baroque, Gothic, and medieval influences (and was also used as backdrops for Game of Thrones).

There’s magic in Dubrovnik’s narrow streets, high turrets and marble-paved squares, and if that were all Croatia had to offer, that might be enough. But there’s much more.

Dubrovnik outside of Old Town is energetic and fun, and it serves as a gateway to the rest of Croatia’s narrow coastal region.

From Dubrovnik, the direction to head is north, first to Split and then to a string of islands on the Dalmatian Coast, and the island of Hvar in particular.

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Hvar is sunny but rugged, with tile-roofed houses climbing up the cliffs and palms and pines coexisting without a second thought. It’s also a surprising and delightful mix of sights, sounds, and cultures.

The port has been home to Greeks, Romans, Italians, and pirates who used Hvar as a home base for their looting of Venetian ships, but now the waterfront is dotted with restaurants and beaches are the attraction.

Inland Hvar is dotted with lavender farms, sheep pastures, and vineyards. For a long time, wine was more plentiful than water in the hills above Hvar Town, and the local wines are still sunny, flavorful, and potent.

Hvar is just one of many underappreciated gems along the coast of Croatia – and one more reason to visit this enchanting country.

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Other great places to explore:

Plitvice Lakes National Park: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park features stunning cascading lakes and waterfalls, surrounded by lush forests. It's a paradise for nature lovers and photographers.

Krka National Park: Another natural wonder, Krka National Park is famous for its series of seven waterfalls. Visitors can swim in the crystal-clear waters and explore the park's network of trails and boardwalks.

Istria Peninsula: Known for its charming coastal towns, rolling hills, and vineyards, Istria offers a unique blend of Mediterranean and Slavic cultures. Don't miss the picturesque towns of Rovinj and Pula, with their ancient Roman architecture.

Zagreb: Croatia's vibrant capital city offers a mix of historic architecture, cultural attractions, and lively nightlife. Explore the cobblestone streets of the Upper Town, visit the iconic St. Mark's Church, and indulge in delicious Croatian cuisine at local restaurants.

Korčula Island: Known as the birthplace of Marco Polo, Korčula Island boasts medieval walled towns, picturesque beaches, and vineyards producing excellent local wine. Explore the narrow streets of Korčula Town and enjoy stunning views of the Adriatic Sea.

Diocletian's Palace in Split: Built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 4th century AD, this sprawling palace complex is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the heart of Split's Old Town. Wander through its ancient streets, visit the Cathedral of Saint Domnius, and soak up the atmosphere in the bustling Peristyle Square.

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Croatia truly offers something for everyone, whether you're interested in history, nature, or simply soaking up the sun on its beautiful beaches. Discover the magic of this enchanting country for yourself.


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