Is Croatia in the European Union? Yes, it is in the EU, but not in the Schengen area yet, and the currency is not the Euro. Croatia is often known as the Land of Thousand Islands, which entirely represents the well-indented coastline with 1100 beautifully preserved islands. The mild Mediterranean climate, along with crystal-clear sea, pure nature and sunny weather are what makes Croatia holidays so alluring to people around the world.
Croatia holidays what to do?
Until the war of independence ended, Croatia was not even considered a tourist destination. After the war, there has been a sudden reversal. Croatia is now the 18th most popular destination in the world. It has 8 UNESCO world heritage sites. Croatia also has 10 names on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, a number only matched by Spain. In fact, tourism makes up around 20% of the country’s economy.
With so much said, there must be a lot in the country to explore. Here, we have made a list of some great things to include in your vacation there.
How to plan and book the best summer holiday in Croatia
More rugged and wild, and less developed, Dalmatia lies to the south, and can be divided into three. From the UK, you can fly direct to Dubrovnik (South Dalmatia), Split (Central Dalmatia) or Zadar (North Dalmatia).
The big pluses are the blissful pine-scented Dalmatian islands and the warm Mediterranean climate, but you also get plenty of historic buildings too (most obviously in Dubrovnik and Split, both Unesco world heritage sites), and the dramatic, soaring Dinaric Alps backing the coast.
Islands aside, the Dalmatian coast more than warrants exploration. If you hire a car and drive up from Dubrovnik to Split, you’ll pass the Peljesac peninsula, a haven for foodies with its hillside vineyards producing the potent red Dingac, Ston Bay, with its acclaimed oysters and mussels, and the Makarska Rivijera, with its fine pebble beaches and turquoise waters, backed by the imposing heights of Mount Biokovo.
Alternatively, you could fly to the capital, Zagreb, then hire a car and drive (or take the train) across to Rijeka or down to Split to explore Istria or Dalmatia respectively. If you head south for Dalmatia, work in a stop at Plitvice National Park to see spectacular waterfalls and lakes at Croatia’s most visited inland destination.
3 places to go to in Croatia:
a. Zagreb: It is the capital of Croatia, and a must visit. The city is divided into two parts: the Upper and Lower town. The Upper Town is rich in heritage. It has St. Marks’s Church, Lotrscak Tower, Kamenita Vrata and much more. In the lower town, one must take a stroll through Trg bana Jelacica, the main square, to catch the nerve of Croatia. Besides, Zagreb has an abundant nightlife, a strong cafe lineup and some good places to shop!
b. Dubrovnik: No list of tourist destinations in Croatia can be completed without Dubrovnik. Most reviews will tell you that it is ‘the’ place to visit in Croatia. The orange roofed row of houses against gray castle walls and a bright blue sky are a treat. Besides, it offers excellent accommodation, access to nearby islands and a good beach!
c. Plitvice National Park: It is stunning. It has 16 interconnected lakes divided into upper and lower clusters. The waterfalls which these interconnections produce are breathtaking! Even the lakes are a treat to watch: some blue, some green and some gray! There are guided tours available all around the national park. So, traveling will not be and issue.
By the way, there is also a mid-sized ski resort nearby!
The beauty of the National Park lies in its sixteen lakes, inter-connected by a series of waterfalls, and set in deep woodland populated by deer, bears, wolves, boars and rare bird species. The National Park covers a total area of 300 square kilometres, whilst the lakes join together over a distance of eight kilometres.
Visiting the Plitvice Lakes National Park
The Park is open daily all year round, with longer opening hours during summer (usually 7am to 8pm). There’s an entrance fee which acts as a contribution to the Park’s upkeep and protection: for adults it’s 55 Kuna (£6/€7.50/$8) January to March and in November and December; 110 Kuna (£12.50/€15/$16) during April to June and in September and October; and 180 Kuna (£20/€24/$26) in July and August.
Children aged 7 to 18 have cheaper tickets, whilst children under the age of seven go free. Students also get discounted entry, and groups of 15 or more (whether adults, students or children) can also get discounts.
2-day tickets for the Park can also be purchased, which provide you with some cost savings.
4-hour guided tours in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian or Croatian can also be pre-booked for a minimum of 15 people at an additional cost.
There are two entrances to the Park – excitingly titled Entrance 1 for the lower lakes and Entrance 2 for the higher lakes. Entrance 2 (and therefore some of the park) is normally closed in winter (November to April).
3 islands to go to in Croatia
a. Hvar: It is probably the most famous island of Croatia. It has great weather and receives the most sunlight in the entire country. The shining beaches, lush lavender fields, and new vineyards are top attractions. If you are an island lover, Hvar must be a to do on your Croatian Vacation list.
b. Korcula: This island is a kind of a mix between Dubrovnik and Plitvice National Park. It has classic Dubrovnik houses but also lush green vegetation. However, it is unique in its way too. Its Venetian Renaissance architecture and colorful markets stand out.
c. Elafiti Islands: In the third place, we wanted to suggest something which was stunning but unpopular. In these locations, you can truly get a feel of pure Croatia. There was a toss up between Elafiti and Vis Islands. We felt the Elafiti Islands – Kolocep, Lopud, and Sipan – deserve this place better. They are almost untouched by tourists though they have some accommodation facilities. If you want to soak in natural surroundings undisturbed, this is the place!
3 things to do in Croatia
To complete the list, we have a small list of three things you must try:
a. Adventure sports: Natural surroundings may mean scenic beauty. However, for those with appetite, they also mean great adventure sports. The zip lining in Omis is a great one with a speed of about 65 km an hour! Also, one can have a great time rafting on the Cetina River.
b. Hiking: Inland Dalmatia is ideal. Part of the Dinaric Alps, you will have a great time here. It also abounds in flora and fauna. Flying falcons and Chamois (a kind of goat) spell unique!
c. Try out the food: And the best way to do that would be food festivals. There is a significant number of them like Dubrovnik FestiWine and Losinj Cuisine Festival. So, make sure you include one of them in your itinerary!
From Zagreb to Plitvice to Elafiti, Croatia seems to have something for everyone. Just make sure you choose your destination well. That will assure some time well spent. We hope you have a great vacation!