These days, my destination wish list is longer than ever. At one point, I had the next 4 years’ worth of holiday destinations planned and scheduled…yeah, thanks COVID.
But back when I was just beginning to get a taste for adventure, the world was such a big place – add to the fact that I’d never been abroad without my parents, it was a pretty scary concept.
Where do you go when suddenly you have the pay check to go anywhere*?
* by anywhere, I mean somewhere low cost and probably in Europe
I’d spent time flicking through a whole load of suggested destinations before settling on something unexpected; Croatia.
I flicked through picture after picture of the hotel, the beach, the sand – everything looked gorgeous. And that’s when the excitement began to build; the prospect of spending a blissful week in Croatia suddenly looked even more appealing.
Why choose Croatia?
There’s no doubt that Croatia is a beautiful country, and if you can get a hotel by the sea, you’re in for a real treat.
From our hotel room balcony we could see the stunning coast stretching for miles, and the beach within walking distance of the hotel pool. Could it get any more perfect?
We’d chosen to visit at the beginning of June when the temperature is around 27° – ideal for exploring or sitting by the pool.
So much to see and do
Not only was the scenery beautiful and the weather glorious, but there was more than enough to keep us occupied. We were on a hotel compound where there was a small village of souvenir shops and restaurants but we also ventured further afield into the next town.
We actually hired some bikes and cycled there one day. It was only a couple of miles but it was wonderful being able to cycle out into the countryside. We cycled past vineyards, ramshackle buildings, farms, holiday homes and open countryside.
We cycled all the way to Poreć where we locked the bikes by the harbour, discovered the Volleyball Major Series was in town and stopped to watch a few games before wandering the streets, peering into tiny shop doors. The streets were lined with countless sellers and their handcrafted items, all with their own tiny shops that spilled out into the cobbled walkways. It was only then when we noticed the Venetian masks hanging from a shop window, and then began to realise how much this place looked like Italy. (Later, we learned there was a lot of Venetian influence in this part of Croatia. We were pretty far North and you could even visit Venice as a day trip.)
We spent another day on a boat tour where we visited the fishing town of Rovinj. What I loved most about visiting these old towns was how it felt like you’d walked into a time portal. You were catapulted back in time, before cars. Everything has a distinct medieval feel about it. On the way back from Rovinj, we stopped by the small town Vrsar where we had about an hour to wander along the sea front.
Enjoying the atmosphere like locals
For me, my favourite part wasn’t sitting by the pool all day, or wandering the old medieval towns, it was the nightlife.
The cafes transformed into bars, the outdoor terraces became music stages and that’s when the place really came alive. You could always hear live music, no matter which direction you went in, and there was an endless amount of entertainment. I loved how the cocktails came with a whole host of added extras, everyone you met was just there to have a good time, and the ice cream window still had a queue even though it was midnight.
Why Croatia needs to go on your bucket list
Did I forget to mention Croatia was super cheap? Cheap to stay, cheap to eat, cheap to drink. For you budget travellers our there, it’s a great destination.
I’ve seen it’s popularity pick up in recent years, especially after Game of Thrones, and Dubrovnik has become a go-to destination for some.
So here it is in bullet points; why you need to visit Croatia:
- Gorgeous scenery
- Friendly locals
- Great sightseeing
- Super cheap
- Safe – I never once felt unsafe
- Culture – the Istrian coast is a culture-lover’s dream
- Amazing nightlife
- Wonderful food
Need I say more?