I have been going to Croatia for years. Actually since I was born. After all, we used to be in the same country, Yugoslavia. Sometimes we would go to Istria in the north, sometimes to Dalmatian coast, sometimes just a quick trip to Zagreb and sometimes on a real road trip through the country. I have by far not seen it all and even though my travel goals are otherwise much higher and include rather far-away countries, I (we) continue to visit Croatia every year in the summer, even if just for a week or two. Why? Well because it´s simply beautiful and we can really relax there.
We would drive about 1600 kilometres from our home in Germany and then take a 2-3hrs ferry just to reach one of the Dalmatian islands. It somehow “has to be done” every season. Sure it´s also quite convenient for us, because we also visit Slovenia (my home country) on the way and spend some time there.
Somehow it´s really funny and/or interesting from which perspective or through which eyes we look at things. To explain, if I tell my Slovenian friends that I am going to spend a part of my holidays in Croatia they seem almost a bit disappointed and directly ask me: “but WHY? Why not rather somewhere else?”. What´s disappointing to me is the fact that many Slovenians use the word “Croatia” almost like an insult word. For example: someone asks in a travel forum what would be the best place to travel to for the first time out of Europe and names also a few criteria this destination has to fulfil. I bet that one out of the first 3 answers will go something like: “… if you complicate things so much, just go to Umag!” (Umag is a coastal town in Istria, Croatia). Like there would be something wrong with Umag. It is actually a nice town, but for us Slovenians it´s still just Umag – something we have known for ages, nothing adventurous, nothing new and nothing exciting. Umag is like a wife after you have been married to her for over 30 years. You know it very well, it´s nothing new, but still you somehow like it. Hopefully haha 😉 Back to the original topic of this post – I really find it a shame to see and read about how Croatia is supposed to be nothing special nor interesting. The funny thing is, when I tell my friends here in Germany, that we´re going to Croatia they are all very much jealous. So, how can that be? To them Croatia is not so known and therefore almost an exotic destination. Call me naïve but I still believe that marriage can stay exciting even after 30 years. And so can Croatia! Here are our 5 reasons why we still love going there:
1. CLEAR SEA, HIDDEN BAYS AND SECRET BEACHES
If you are searching for long white sandy beaches and palm trees don´t go to Croatia. But if you still give it a go, you will see that you will not miss the palm trees and the sand afterall. There are many beaches and little bays which you can have just to yourselves. If you stand up early enough to explore the coast and search the perfect spot or even better, have a small boat, it´s guaranteed you will find a great pebble beach with the clearest water you have ever seen.
2. THERE IS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
It´s not all just the beach. There are many interesting historical sites you can visit, old towns waiting to be explored and national parks for the more adventurous ones. Even if we just concentrate on the coastline, islands and the beaches, there are many possibilities – if you want to party head to Pag island, if you want luxury head to Hvar island where many worlds known celebrities also make their holidays, if you like sailing head to Kornati, the best beach for the kids is supposed to be on island Rab, you can get lost in the cute little streets in Split´s old town and Dubrovnik is a story on its own. Don´t forget the country´s capital, Zagreb!
Fish, fish, fish, and more fish! Fresh catch from the pier, the best option for an evening feast in your apartment or camp site. Even if you are more of a meat lover you will feel like in paradise. And all the vegetarians can go crazy on numerous fruit and vegetable local markets. Buy some olive oil and Prosek wine to take home!
4. THE CLIMATE/WEATHER
The more south you go, the nicer it is and there are less rainy days. In general the Dalmatian islands have the nicest weather. We already had 2 and 3 weeks without any rain drop and clouds on Hvar and Korcula. If you are lucky it can get already nice and warm in March and you can take the first swim of the season in April. Sometimes the season continues into the start of November which gives you enough months to visit the country at its best. Of course I´m now referring to the coast. If you want to go skiing you can also do so in other parts of the country where there is enough snow.
5. IT FEELS A BIT LIKE HOME
I have been going to Croatia for so long now that in a way, it does really feel like home. Especially since I moved to Germany, I like to visit its islands even more! The smell of the pine trees on a morning walk brings up memories and makes the long drive down there totally worth it!