“This post will give you the low-down if you’re thinking of going to Croatia, help you reminisce if you’ve already been and want to re-live the best bits, or even if you just like reading about different places to travel but have no plans to go.”
In July, Harry and I went on our summer holidays to Croatia. And I’ve finally got round to sorting through what felt like thousands of photos to show you, as well as writing up what will hopefully be a helpful round-up of the best bits. This will give you the low-down if you’re thinking of going to Croatia, help you reminisce if you’ve already been and want to re-live the best bits, or even if you just like reading about different places to travel but have no plans to go (you never know, this may change your mind).
Before I go any further, this is a rather lengthy post (it’s pretty hard to narrow down a 2 week holiday), so feel free to skip to the parts you’re interested in. Or, if you’re in it for the long haul, have a little read and enjoy! But first, here’s 10 reasons you should choose Croatia as your next holiday destination:
1.You can get really good flight deals if you’re savvy (see my tip below on this), so Croatia doesn’t have to be an expensive destination to venture to.
2. The water is what dreams are made of. It’s so clear, so still and so blue. It’s basically AMAZING water to swim in.
3. The Pebbly beaches. Perhaps not always the most comfortable to lie on, but I think pebbly beaches make a nice change from sand getting absolutely EVERYWHERE.
4. Amazing food – and you’re not spoilt for choice either.
5. It hasn’t been ruined by tourists, despite it becoming a very popular go-to holiday destination. You also have so many different nationalities visiting, which I love!
6. The weather. We went at the beginning of July and it was 36C plus EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. If you live in England, you will appreciate just how good this sounds.
7. It’s very clean. The streets don’t have many bins (they’re dotted everywhere in England), but somehow this seems to make people take away their rubbish with them, which I’m a big fan of. Cleanliness is high up on my list of musts.
8. The people are all very friendly and accommodating.
9. It’s the perfect mix between a relaxing and active holiday. Culture, beaches, shopping, eating, hiking, water sports, boat trips…the list goes on!
10. Island hopping is super easy thanks to great transport links, so you don’t have to just stay in the one place your whole holiday.
Harry and I decided to go all out and holiday for 2 weeks to give us the best opportunity to travel around and see as much as possible. We snapped up cheaper flights with EasyJet, booking these the day they released their summer flights. We did this the previous year too when we went to Sicily, and it ends up saving you £££’s.
Top tip: sign up to Money Saving Expert to find out the date EasyJet release their flights. If you’re pretty flexible on when you can go, this is a great way to go about booking your flights!
Once the flights were booked, our next job was to plan our route. We purchased the Lonely planet book to help us decide, along with frantically googling and looking on TripAdvisor. We already knew of a few places we definitely wanted to go, so based our plan around these. We were flying into Split and, as we knew we wanted to visit the Plitvice Lakes National Park which are further north, it made sense to halve our journey from Split by stopping over at Zadar. We then did a day trip to Plitvice before coming back to Zadar for the night. We then went on to Krka, another national park we had heard good things about. From here, we went back to Split (2 nights) and then took a ferry to Bol (1 night), Hvar (3 nights), Korcula (2 nights), Dubrovnik (4 nights) and finished our trip at Makarska (1 night) before flying back home from Split.
Once our route was decided, we could book our accommodation. Harry and I tend to go for middle of the range accommodation (no hostels for us thank you!), and it also means that we’re not paying in excess of £1500 for a holiday. Despite having months to book, we left this very last minute, leaving us with more limited options than before. Despite this, we had a look on hotel sites, Airbnb (our usual go-to for accommodation) and Booking.com. After shopping around, we went with Booking.com as this was the cheapest option for us, in all of the places we were staying. It can be a bit of an effort to search around, but it’s definitely worth it before booking the first accommodation you see – as with most things, doing a bit of research means you’re more likely to find a better deal!
As you can imagine from the raving reviews about Croatia, this is a destination that will win you over. It’s unspoilt (bizarrely despite all the tourists that flock here), it’s streets are super clean, it’s got great transport links, fab amenities, amazing weather and food, AND there’s lots to do. Each place we went to was lovely in different ways, or had different reasons why Harry and I enjoyed it so much. I loved Korcula because it was so small and laid back. I loved Hvar because it had more of a young, cool and quirky vibe to it, yet I loved Bol because it was a mix of the two. Each place is unique in its own way, which is why Harry and I were so keen on visiting as many places as possible. This, I would highly recommend doing!
The only place I would recommend you give a miss would be Makarska. This had a completely different vibe to it than the other areas of Croatia we visited. In fact, dare I say it, Harry and I described Makarska as the Benidorm of Eastern Europe. Eeek! We were told it had a lovely beach, but when we headed there it was jam-packed. And, when I say jam-packed, I mean you could just about fit a foot in between each person to walk across it. No exaggeration! Personally that’s not my idea of fun, or my idea of relaxing. Having said that, the sunset in Makarska was one of the most spectacular Harry and I have ever seen, which was the perfect finish to our trip.
So, to finish, here’s a quick round-up of some recommendations we’ve taken from our trip:
Best town/city: Dubrovnik
Best town/city for sightseeing: Hvar
Best town/city for relaxing: Korcula OR Bol
Best beach: Mlini Beach OR Tara’s Lodge beach, Korcula
Best experience: Plitvice Lakes National Park
Best stay: Apartments Petar, Hvar (booked through Booking.com)
Best meal: Zinfandel, Split (book ahead for this one!)
Best desserts: Nonica, Hvar
Best bar: Cocktail Bar Massimo, Korcula OR Falko Beach Bar, Hvar
Best national park: Plitvice Lakes National Park (without a doubt! It’s much bigger, more beautiful and simply breathtaking!)
Places we should have gone: Vis Island
The weird but wonderful: The Sea Organ, Zadar
One to miss off the list: Makarska