Croatia has all the facets of dreamy Mediterranean vacation, leading travelers to explore this budget-friendly gem on the Adriatic Sea – the other side of Italy’s boot.
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Home to 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it’s a cultural, historical and natural melting pot, well preserved and perfect for eco-tourism.
Where To Go
With over 1,100 islands, the Dalmatian islands is its crowning jewel known for idyllic beaches, limestone cliffs, vast vineyards and olive groves, and pure sea waters with Blue Flag status. Put UNESCO’s Plitvice Lakes and Plitvice National Park on your bucket list, along with the 22,965-foot Ston City Wall – the second-longest in Europe.
Many of Croatia’s ancient sites were filming locations for the iconic series “Game of Thrones”, particularly in Dubrovnik and Split – two of the best known resort towns in southern Croatia. In central northwest discover Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, ranking among the oldest European destinations yet highly regarded as one of Europe’s 10 “reborn cities” by Conde Nast Traveler. Connect from the Adriatic Islands to the mainland and Italy via the Croatian ferry system.
Food and Drink
If you’re lucky enough to be invited into a local’s home, get ready to 'Jedi! Jedi! Jedi!' (Eat! Eat! Eat!). Sharing meals plays a big part in Croatian culture, along with home-style cooking. Some of the best dishes are “fuzi” (handmade pasta) so if you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, then you’ll savor Croatian food.
Popular Dishes. Dalmatian dry-cured ham, Pasticada (spiced beef stew), Kulen (spicy, flavored sausage) Strukli (dough filled with fresh cottage cheese), black risotto, marinated anchovies, Fish Paprikash (fish stew with hot red pepper), and Fruitule (a deep-fried pastry).
Olive Oil. Iconic to the Mediterranean culture, this is a fundamental ingredient of Croatian cuisine for centuries and one of the country’s most important products with a wealth of groves.
Wine Roads. Those looking to take part in the christening of new wines or exploring beautiful vineyards fill the wine roads year-round, but especially during autumn harvest time. Croatia boasts more than 800 wineries and 64 distinct grape varietals. With new underwater aging techniques, Croatian wines (and beer) are making their mark worldwide.
When to Go
April to September is the best time to visit for outdoor pleasures such as hiking, biking and kayaking. Peak season is July and August when Split and Dubrovnik are the busiest with island and beach tourism, and temperatures average in the 80s. The Adriatic Sea is warm enough for swimming and strong winds make for great sailing in May, June and September. Winters are mild and wet with an average of 50 degrees and Christmas brings snow, skiing and holiday cheer to Zagreb streets.