The Republic Of Croatia emerged in the late twentieth century from a tumultuous, violent and chaotic history. Once part of the greater Republic of Yugoslavia, it has very quickly established its own authentic cultural and historic identity. Croatia has that very rare quality. It is a terrific mix of the ancient, medieval and modern with a good dollop of authenticity.
Croatia has a climate to die for, being Mediterranean in character and, moderated by the brilliant blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. Thickly forested mountains and forests vie for attention with beaches, the sea and a thousand picturesque islands that cry out to be explored. This treasure house has winding roads that go through the picture-postcard countryside and ancient pretty villages that haven’t changed in generations.
Places to See
Croatia has several fantastic national parks that are carefully protected. Plitvice Lakes National Park is a World Heritage Site. These parks have spectacular scenery, achingly beautiful lakes, sparkling streams, musical waterfalls and are home to hundreds of bird species and numerous wild animals.
Croatia is wonderful but the southernmost county of Dubrovnik-Neretva is outstanding. The region is an encapsulated and distilled version of all Croatia. It has quiet villages; sheltered fishing hamlets; hidden coves; tiny secluded isles and some very, very beautiful and historic towns.
Dubrovnik, the county capital, known as the “pearl of the Adriatic” is a historic walled city and a World Heritage site. The forts, gates, monuments, market places and 300 year old houses, still intact are a visitor’s delight. The Renaissance era squares of the city are packed with historical gems like the 11th century Town Hall, the Sponza Palace, the Baroque Cathedral and its magnificent Treasury, the fortress-like Dominican Monastery and the Baroque Church of St Blaise.
Some of the most beautiful islands in the Adriatic Sea are just off Dubrovnik town. Called the Elafiti Islands they can be reached (among other means) by taking a trip on an old time wooden Galleon. Each island has its own unique attraction. Kolocep has its carob and pine woods and neat citrus groves, while Sipan has medieval churches and the opulent summer palaces of Dubrovnik’s departed aristocracy. Lopud is a bather’s dream with its bath-like waters and superb beaches.
Kor?ula Island is a short drive up the beautiful Adriatic Coast from Dubrovnik. It has lovely forests, vineyards (wine tasting tours are popular here), colourful and lively markets, quaint timeless villages and sandy beaches. It is easy to see why the ancient Greeks holidayed here.
Kor?ula has many superb Renaissance era architecture buildings. The most notable is the 15th century Saint Mark’s Cathedral. The island also has numerous Ancient Greek and Roman remains. Korcula has unique folk traditions and festivals that show up in their dances, music and clothes.
Best time to travel
The ideal time to visit Croatia is between mid April to end September. Croatia has managed to keep a check on mass tourism and there are plenty of budget options.