Croatia. It’s like the neglected middle child of siblings Italy and Greece. So here I am, Croatia’s friend, ready to yank her out of the shadows and put her in the spotlight where she belongs.
So why should you pay attention to Croatia? Why should you start daydreaming right now of when those airplane wheels touch down on the runway in Split? Ah, let me enlighten you.
2. 1. Split, Croatia.
Palm trees? Check. Waterfront restaurants and benches to lounge on whilst nomming on some ice cream? Check. A UNESCO World Heritage Site? Check. Hidden mountains you can’t see in this picture? Check.
3. 2. Fritule.
Sometimes street food is the savoriest delight you feel like you’ve ever discovered. Other times…it’s less than thrilling, or even worse, a gastronomical mistake. Thankfully fritule will seduce you with its customizable options, and then bed you with its sweet and addicting demeanor. Basically they are donuts on steroids…tasty tasty steroids.
4. 3. The aforementioned UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With such a ho-hum sounding label you kind of expect a pile of rocks. Alas, no, pay attention to its actual name of “Diocletian’s Palace”. It is exactly how it sounds. With Roman architecture and slick polished stone under your feet, you feel precisely how you should when you’re in a palace.
Oh…did I forget to mention there are little padded seats where you can sit listening to live music while sipping on a glass of wine? Yes, so imagine doing that instead of being in the office. Sigh.
(We’re still in Split, Croatia by the way)
5. 4. Plitvice Lakes National Park.
The overused cliché wins this round; a picture is worth a thousand words. So here are approximately 1,000 “words” for you.
Note: Unfortunately you can’t swim/play in this water when you’re visiting. Most likely because it would turn you into a unicorn or keep you young forever.
6. 5. The bus ride to Dubrovnik.
That’s right…a bus ride gets its own spot. Giving you not only the thrill of riding along the edge of mountains (many times without guardrails), your eyes might actually fall out from the onslaught of beauty.
This… x 1000:
7. 6. Bosnia and Herzegovina.
If you completed number five, you can brag that you’ve been to Bosnia and Herezogovnia. You’re there for a total of probably 20 minutes (including a bathroom break), but hey, it counts. So add it to your Facebook map, casually drop it into future conversations; you’re such a world traveler. Maybe you can even be on a nickname basis.
You: “Totes visted B & H this summer bro.”
Random Person: “What?” (← Proof they’re just jealous)
8. 7. Dubrovnik, Croatia.
You survived the bus ride. Maybe you’re a little weak in the knees or still weeping from never wanting it to end, but fear not; Dubrovnik will take care of you. Home to joy, fun, smiles, gorgeousness, and a filming location for Game of Thrones …what’s not to be enraptured by?
“Oops hi, I’m stunning. Take trillions of pictures of me. Kthanksbye.”
9. 8. Fresh Sheets Hostel in Dubrovnik.
If you go, give hostels a chance. Most likely you’ll fly through that $$$ faster than you’d like, and hostels are often a cheaper and good option. This gem of a hostel is inside the city walls, relaxed, wonderful, and the staff are some of the coolest locals you’ll meet.
If you’re not sold yet…Lord Tyrion (from Game of Thrones) passed out drunk here once.
Also, this is part of your picturesque daily walk home to the hostel:
10. 9. Attractive and friendly locals.
This is always a fun combo when you’re traveling. Throw “hvala” (thank you) around a few times and the Croatian smiles and hospitality will come rolling in.
Sometimes they might be the people trying to sell you things. Like… colorful glassware. But fear not, they come in peace.
11. 10. Sea kayaking.
Sure you can kayak in a lot of places, but why not in Croatia where you can kayak out to another island and look back at the mainland in awe?
12. 11. This.
Take a stroll on the castle walls of Dubrovnik. Make sure to bring a tissue for any drool.
13. 12. Islands.
Everyone knows Greece has its beautiful islands, but so does Croatia. Lots. Each island has its own personality, so just check them out before you pop over to make sure it’s a right fit for you (Hvar = rich partying, Brač = crazy triangle beach, etc.).
14. 13. Cliff jumping.
Whether in Dubrovnik at the Cliffside Bar or on one of the surrounding islands…ask around enough and you can find the hot spots for this adrenaline-pumping activity.
15. 14. Cats.
So many fluffy, friendly, stray cats. Just ignore the stares of the locals when you cuddle up to your new purr-y friends.
16. 15. Everything else in Croatia.
This “middle child” still has so many more gifts to share with you. Get your Dora the Explorer vibe on and enjoy the countless other “lugares” (Zagreb for example). Get into whatever shenanigans you can. Oh and sorry Dora, they don’t actually speak Spanish; take your talking backpack elsewhere chica.