Croatia lies in a cluster of small countries on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. It not only sports a long coastline, but it extends inland to border the countries of Hungary, Slovenia, and Serbia. For this reason, you can visit Croatia not only on an ocean cruise but also on some river cruises. A land vacation is a perfect choice as well as there is so much to see and do in this charming European country. Most of the population speaks English as a second language which is a bonus for the North American visitor.
Here is a quick look at some attractions of Croatia which are a must-see:
City Walls of Dubrovnik
Walk these ancient walls for a grand view of the old city and a step-back in time. The original walls were built 10 centuries ago then strengthened and widened in medieval times to encompass the town as it existed at the time. They are interrupted by fifteen forts each of which were to protect different approaches to the city from the Turks. There are three entrances to the wall (2 gates and through a museum). Admission is required and tours are available. It is a quite strenuous hike with many a climb so be prepared with proper footwear, sun protection, and water. The views of the city and Adriatic beyond are well worth it though so carry a camera too.
Game of Thrones fans will recognize locations within the city of Dubrovnik and along its walls including the Ethnographic Museum, originally an old granary (a brothel in the series), the area around Pile (Blackwater Bay), Bokar Fortress (Kings Landing which you can tour), the Lovrijenac Fortress, and the Minceta Tower. The last two sites stand high above the wall and are a good climb.
Split is the second most populated city in the country, and home to another must-see, the Diocletian’s Palace. Game of Thrones fans will also recognize this place as well. The palace was built by an emperor of the same name in the 3rd century. Largely destroyed except for the first few floors and tunnels beneath, one can tour the underground chambers.
Dubrovnik and City Walls (Image: Ivan Bagic on Pixabay)
Another beautiful city – Trogir (Image: Kookay on Pixabay)
Skradinski Buk Waterfall (Image: Bigstock)
Paklenica National Park
For hiking of a different sort, this 95-square km park encompassing mountains, gorges and amazing scenery is the perfect place to venture. Experience the hot Mediterranean climate at lower levels right through to much cooler weather as you climb the mountain heights. Half the park is forested (the lower altitudes). Expect to see various species of eagles but no major wildlife as these hide deep in the forests. You can also bungee jump and rock climb here.
Krka National Park
This park follows a river of the same name and is known for its many waterfalls including the Skradinski Buk, Croatia’s most famous waterfall. It is a huge park covering 125 square km. so the easiest way to see it all is through the boat trip included in the park’s admission fee. You can also swim here which is not encouraged in the other Croatian park of amazing scenery, lakes and waterfalls, the Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
This is the country’s most popular tourist attraction and little wonder. It is a series of sixteen lakes with accompanying waterfalls where the lakes join together over the distance of eight kilometers and the varying altitudes of the parkland. This area is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Bring your camera – you won’t be disappointed!
For adventures of a different kind than hiking– zip lining, rafting, tubing, and kayaking – you can do it all on this river which flows from the great heights of the Dinara Mountains to the Adriatic Sea. This area of natural beauty is also archaeologically important as the river canyon has revealed artifacts from the Stone Age to relatively recent medieval tools. Ask your travel professional about arranging any of these water-based activities or, alternatively, a bike or jeep safari. You can also rock climb or hike if you chose. It is an outdoor lover’s dream.
Krka National Park (Image: Bigstock)
Plitvice National Park (Image: Pixabay)
Island of Brac (Image: Walter Bichler on Pixabay)
Off Croatia’s long coastline are more than a thousand islands in the Adriatic Sea, from tiny and uninhabited islets to much larger, populated ones such as Hvar. This island is known for its sunshine (though all the islands boast of being sunny destinations), herbs, wine, and famous tourists. Have your travel professional find a local cruise to take you throughout the islands, or a multi-day kayaking tour if you are an active tourist or schedule a custom itinerary that lets you stay longer on a series of islands. Each island has something different to offer so you will never be bored. A few of the islands can be reached by bridge from the mainland, for example Pag known for its nightlife, lacemaking and sheep’s cheese, and Krk, a resort destination with many historic buildings to explore. The latter also boasts an airport.
Concentrating on the major, and mostly natural, attractions in Croatia leaves out its other charms – the red and orange tiled roofs baking in the sunshine, the ancient cathedrals, its quaint villages and festivals, and friendly people. It is a country to which the visitor can return time and time again, and still have delightful surprises to discover. Contact your travel professional today and start planning your trip to Croatia!
Red tiled roofs in the sun (Image: Katarzyna Tyl on Pixabay)
Like to read more on Croatia? Here is our recent article on the Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Feature image of a waterfall in Krka National Park courtesy of Bigstock.
Split (Image: Michelle Maria on Pixabay)
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