Croatia has a rapidly growing tourism industry but it is centred on July and August as this is when Europeans have their main holidays. This period is really crowded and expensive but outside that, we found there are so many reasons why you should visit Croatia at any time of the year. Here are just five.
Croatia has a diverse history so for anyone interested in learning about the past it has so much to offer. From the uniqueness of Split – built in the retirement home of Diocletian, a huge palace that is now home to a bustling community – to the best surviving Roman Arena in Pula, Roman history abounds.
The country is also dotted with old fortresses sitting high on craggy mountainsides. In Dubrovnik, you can wander the streets and imagine it filled with pirates from days gone by.
Looking for somewhere to stay in Dubrovnik? This post will help.
Along with the more modern Austrian/Hungarian empire buildings scattered throughout the country and the contrasting stark Communist-era monuments, you are really spoilt for choice. Pick an era and explore what takes your fancy.
As Croatia has such a diverse history, you will see this reflected in its food.
From the very simple (but delicious) pig and lamb on the spit, which you’ll see cooking all over the country at roadside stalls. Just pull over, order and enjoy!
Having such a long coastline, seafood is abundant in Croatia. Every morning you will see the fisherman heading out and then returning later with their nets full of their glistening catch.
You can buy from the markets and cook in your apartment or head to one of the local restaurants to enjoy one of the local delicacies.
With so much seafood, along with Croatian specialities such as Peka, where meat and vegetables are cooked in a pan nestled in the ashes of a fire using a terracotta lid to retain the heat, you will be spoilt for choice.
Croatia has eight National Parks. Some are situated on islands but all unique and offer many hours of walking and exploring.
Plitvice National Park is probably the most well known for its emerald lakes, and in summer you can barely move for the crowds as people jostle for photos of its beauty.
It looks different in every season and when we visited in February there were only a couple of other people in the whole park. The contrast of the bare trees and the water colour at this time of year were amazing.
Krka National Park is another popular choice with its winding boardwalks criss-crossing the river as it flows through the park, passing close to a spectacular waterfall.
In summer you can enjoy a dip in the crystal clear waters to cool off after you explore.
Further reading: 10 photos to inspire you to visit Europe
Having spent three years in Europe, we saw some amazing sights but one of our favourites was riding our motorbike along the coastlines of Croatia.
While in summer it can be one long traffic jam (so you get to enjoy it slowly…very slowly), off season you can enjoy spending time just taking in the spectacular vistas as you wind your way through the country.
For us, the most beautiful section of coastline was between Rijecka and Zadar but whatever area you travel, you will not be disappointed.
From coastal fishing villages, to stark cliff faces, to views across one of the many islands, the coastal road has so much to offer.
There is a huge choice of places to stop for an overnight stay right on the coast where you can enjoy spectacular sunsets, fresh seafood and spend a day or two just chilling.
Further reading: 12 day Croatia self-drive itinerary
Croatia is blessed with thousands of islands but only fifteen are inhabited.
There’s an island for everyone with some perfect for chilling on the beach, some ideal for exploring nature or history and of course even some party islands.
In winter, many islands are very quiet to the point where you can meander along and not see another person. It may be too cold to swim but still warm enough to have a picnic on a deserted beach and just chill.
We felt like explorers wandering around the little villages where there were no other tourists and enjoyed coffee and lunch in cafes surrounded by locals.
One of our favourite islands was Nin, near Zadar. When you first arrive on the small island (via a bridge connected to the mainland), it looks almost abandoned yet once you get inside the town walls you discover a maze of streets, one of the smallest churches we have ever seen and of course a fascinating history.
Island life Croatia-style is quite unique and well worth spending some time enjoying what there is to offer.
So what are you waiting for? Are these enough reasons for you to book your holiday in Croatia? You won’t regret it.
|About the author: Michele Legge and her husband Ron are Boomer travellers from Perth in Western Australia. They’ve recently returned home after spending three years exploring Europe on a motorbike. You can read about their travel adventures on their blog, Legging It. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.|
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