Colorful waters, sandy beaches, scenic waterfalls and rich in history: Croatia is shows that you don´t need to travel to South East Asia or South America to enjoy some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world.
Croatia, like any other European country, has a bumpy and quite dark history. Conquered by the Romans in the third century, invaded by the Germans in World War II and part of Yugoslavia during the Cold War, Croatia has been part of diverse regimes and only in the past few years this newborn, now independent place started blooming and is now a spot to be included on your bucket list.
Tourism in Croatia has grown significantly in the past years, as Croatia is not only one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe, but also one of the cheapest.
From North to South, Croatia has something for everyone. And while, for a few years now, this place has already been very popular among German, Austrian and Italian tourists, who come here every summer to spend some sunny days doing outdoor sports or enjoying the beaches, a good number of Australians, Americans and British are starting to join in as well.
The quiet and romantic north
Since the north has a lot of influence from Austria and Hungary, it will probably remind you a lot of other European capitals like Prague, Vienna or Budapest. Huge buildings, classic baroque architecture and a more elegant vibe distinguish Zagreb from the rest of the country making it a great place to start or end your trip.
Enjoy a cup of wine during sunset with a perfect view of the city from the upper part of the town, where for a couple of Euros you can enjoy astonishing views of the cathedral or make your heart beat fast the whole night at Tkalciceva street, a place with over 50 different bars to choose from and where the nightlife never ends.
The magical and mystical center
Who would have guessed that Croatia has some of the most beautiful National Parks in Europe? Plitvice Lakes National Park, Paklenika National Park or the Krka National Park are not only among the most beautiful parks in Europe, but probably worldwide, and a visit to some of these parks may be worth the price of your plane ticket coming from the other side of the world.
Plitvice Lakes National Park and Krka National Park might look similar at first sight, but these two amazing natural wonders are both unique and magical in their own way. Crystal clear waters, multiple tones of blue and green surrounding you and the sound of the water falling down are good reasons not to skip these two destinations during your visit in Croatia (take into account that these two national parks can get extremely busy during peak times – Try to get there directly when they open and have the park for yourself for a couple of hours).
On the other side Paklenika National Park is the perfect spot for adventure junkies. With some of the best climbing routes in the region, wonderful hikes though magnificent landscapes or a drive along the coast with an incredible view, the Paklenika National Park is the best option if you want an outdoor holiday in the middle of the nature, but at the same time enjoy a couple of days at the beach.
Mediterranean vibes in the south
While the north is more classic and the center adventurous, the south has everything you’d expect from a Mediterranean country: fresh nights next to the ocean eating delicious seafood and sunny days in Roman cities full of history. Of course, your visit in Southern Croatia is not completed without a visit to its two most popular destinations: Split and Dubrovnik. Two charming cities surrounded by gigantic walls, here history seems to be coming back to life. No wonder why Dubrovnik was chosen as one of the best destinations to celebrate New Year’s Eve and even Games of Thrones had some big scenes filmed in the well-preserved Baroque structures.
Take into account that if you are traveling from Split to Dubrovnik or vice versa you need to enter to Bosnia & Herzegovina and pass border controls twice. Not a comfortable situation if you are traveling in an overnight bus.
However, if you are doing this journey, I would totally recommend you to rent a car and drive along the coast. You will enjoy some of the most beautiful views of my trip and be able to stop anytime to take pictures.
If you want to see and learn more about Croatia and the region, check out our other articles about Croatia, the Balkans and tips on how to save money and make the most of your trip HERE.