I love Croatia. It’s a seriously good looking country. You are forced to forgive it’s slightly turbulent weather when you get blown away by yet another amazing view of rocky coastline with a mountainous backdrop. If you want to go somewhere this spring/summer that won’t break the bank and will make your Instagram followers green with envy, give Croatia a go.
Wall to wall sunshine can happen, but don’t go expecting it, even in the height of summer. Cloudy days and storms aren’t always few and far between, but when the sun shines, everything shines, so it’s worth putting up with a grey day here and there. I have actually experienced some seriously crazy rain storms in Croatia, one that saw my friend take shelter in a port-a-loo for an hour with a German dancer while at a festival. But that’s for another time.
I won’t bore you with constantly describing how lovely everything is, because anyone can see that from a quick google search. Basically, if you’re going to go, here are some things you should do:
Visit a little coastal village, as well as big towns. I stayed in a wee place called Baska Voda the first time I went, about an hour on a bus from Split. Pretty easy to get to, once you get used to the idea that the buses have a firm mind of their own and probably won’t stick exactly to timetables. These little places are great for atmosphere and little markets and shops and especially for nice hotels, but one thing that can be a bit repetitive is food. I’ve found this all over Croatia. If you aren’t a massive fish lover options in restaurants can be a bit limited and many have exactly the same menus (literally, even the pictures are the same).
If you want to see more of the country then island hopping is worth while. You can stay on the mainland and get boats across and do islands in a day (most are really small) or stay on them for a few nights. Boat tickets are really cheap and for the most part you can just turn up at a harbor like Split and buy a ticket for the next ferry, or do it online by just searching Split ferry service. They’re great for people watching, these ferries. Also a good way to take lots of photos of seagulls that follow the boats, if that sort of thing tickles your fancy. Things might be different in high season (ferry waiting times/queues etc), so it’s worth checking beforehand, but friends who’ve gone in the height of the summer school holidays had the same easy experience as we did.
If you make it to Brac, which is an hours ferry journey from Split, you can visit Bol beach, which is triangular, moves with the tide and is postcard perfect. It has nice white beds everywhere and waiters in white jeans, so you feel a bit like you’re in a George Michael music video. Worth the half hour drive. There lots of taxis available to take you when get to Supetar, which is the main town. Supetar also has a refreshing selection of restaurants if you fancy a change from the usual menu, most of which are set against the pretty little harbour.
Another Croatian town worth a visit is Rovinj. This place is super-model material as far as the post-card European towns go. If you do get here, take a wonder up through the tiny cobbled streets to the main church. There are lots of really nice shops selling lavender and some good wine cellars. Cheap alcohol heaven Croatia most certainly is. The church is definitely something not to be missed. The climb up the main tower on wooden planks is absolutely terrifying. It’s very Crystal Maze and not for vertigo sufferers. Also not for kids. Like, at all. If you can bring yourself to clamber up the views are really lush, you just have to then ready yourself to climb back down. There are some really nice boat trips from Rovinj too. If you can, go to Lim Fjord. It stops off at a pirate cove and a tiny little village and is SO pretty.
This is in the Istria region, where a lot of festivals are in the summer, so some weeks might be worth avoiding if you don’t want hungover/drunk/high crowds of youngsters. If that is your thing, though, you couldn’t ask for a better festival location.
You can get to Croatia from Italy and Slovenia easily if you’re driving and there are loads of camping places in forests and other such locations if you fancy. Or if the idea of camping is hideous you can go totally to the other end of the spectrum and stay in boutique hotels on the islands. Whatevs.
GO TO CROATIA.