Holiday in Croatia
Croatia is one of my favorite places to visit during the summer. It simply has it all, from beautiful coastline to many ancient towns and breathtaking national parks. The locals are relaxed, tourists are always welcome and violent crime is almost unheard of.
When to visit?
I’d say September is the best time. Why? July and August are peak of the season and the beaches are really crowded, prices are high (Croatia isn’t cheap, it’s on par with most Western European countries) and you could have a hard time finding an accommodation without a booking. September is the official off-season, the prices of accommodation start to drop, it starts to cool down a bit, but the sea is still warm if you want to take a dip. If you’re mostly interested in the nightlife, partying and having fun, then you could find off-season a bit boring, in that case I’d suggest visiting in mid July to mid August.
What to see?
I’ve traveled from North to South of the coast and I believe that where ever you’ll go, you’ll find it interesting and have some fun. Following places have left the biggest impression on me, but you may not have the same experience as I did.
The capital. Although Croatia is famous for its beautiful coastline, it would be a shame not to spend at least a day in Zagreb. The historical Upper Town, the Cathedral, Croatian National Theatre, the Main Square and most of the museums are all in walking distance from the city center. After that, catch a seat in one of the cafes and just watch how the Croatians are relaxed and laid back, enjoying their coffee for more than couple of hours. And at night, try hopping to one of the clubs that play “Turbo Folk” music, you’ll either hate it or love it. Where ever you’re headed next, you’ll have no problem getting there from Zagreb, be it by bus, train or air.
Plitvice are Croatian oldest National Park and are on the UNESCO World Heritage register. They are conveniently located on the route from Zagreb to Dalmatia coast. One day is more than enough to see them and if you leave Zagreb earlier in the morning, you can see them without spending the night there and get to the coast before the night falls. Admission isn’t free, but the $20 is definitely worth it.
The park consists of 16 lakes which are connected through a series of beautiful waterfalls. There's nothing to do but to take a hike and admire the beauty of nature. Don't try to swim in any of the lakes, it's strictly forbidden.
Lubenice on Cres Island
Lubenice is an ancient town on island of Cres, supposedly more than 4000 years old. Population during the off season is less than 50 people. It’s almost 400 meters above the sea level, and there’s a beautiful view on the isolated beach in one of the coves below it. And from that same beach there’s even better view on the city and its interesting position, it is built on a cliff.
Largest town in Istria, it is famous because of the ancient Roman Amphitheater. Admission will cost you around $8 ($4 for children and students) and it’s well worth it. Pula can also serve as a hub to other interesting places in Istria. Medulin is a 5 minute drive if you want to enjoy some nice beaches or go clubbing. Rovinj and Porec are all within a 1 hour drive and they also offer some historical content and have decent beaches as well.