Having just reopened it's beautiful borders to international travel again, Croatia is at the top of our list for coordinates to visit right now.
Why We Love It
Along with the popularity of the hit TV show, Game of Thrones, came a rise in the popularity of tourism to Croatia (where much of the show was filmed). However, now, with its reopening still afresh, is a great time to get ahead of the huge crowds that are frequent in Croatia.
It truly feels like you're walking back in time. With no cars driving behind the Old City walls in Dubrovnik, and historic buildings all around, it's easy to picture what life looked like centuries ago. It truly is an enchanted feeling you get as you stroll through the city streets.
With the beautiful, clear and turquoise waters on it's coast comes some of the most delicious, fresh seafood one can hope for. That, paired with a delicious wine made from local indigenous grapes, makes for a delicious dining experience. With so many amazing restaurants tucked away within the historic alley ways, even the toughest food critic is sure to find an unforgettable meal here.
Things to Do
Stay within the Old City walls (you’ll understand why once you do it. It is such a unique, cool experience).
Take a day trip on a boat to explore other local islands. There are tons of day charters to choose from for a variety of price-points.
Buy some local olive oils and produce from the markets. The fresh fruits, olives and family-made olive oils are delicious!
Eat! There are so many delicious places to try the local cuisine that you can't really go wrong.
Take a history tour of the city. There is SO much history in Croatia. There are tons of tours and experiences you can explore in either Split or Dubrovnik. It can get hot during the day, so I recommend avoiding mid-day tours if possible. We went on one from 10am-12pm in Split and one that was from 6-8pm in Dubrovnik and both were incredibly informative and enjoyable. We took this tour in Split and this tour in Dubrovnik and both were great.
Take a Wine Tour. There are so many great local wines in Croatia. It truly is still underrated in my opinion. We had a great experience with the tour we took. Our only regret is that we didn't buy even more wine to bring home (luggage space was limited).
Sunset Sail- Different from an island tour, there is nothing quite like experiencing the sunset with a cool beverage surrounded by beautiful water. It was one of our favorite memories made in Croatia (and there were so many!).
Where to Fly Into
We flew into Dubrovnik via Lufthansa Air. The airport is smaller so it is super easy to get around. The rental car places are right outside of the airport doors and super easy and convenient to walk over to.
We spent time in both Dubrovnik and Split. A popular option is to also fly into Split. They are only a couple hours apart so either way you will be happy. We loved spending the extra time in the Old City of Dubrovnik though so we are happy with our airport choice.
Where to Stay
A few of the hotels were still in the re-opening phase (due to the pandemic), at the time of our visit, but typically both hotels and Airbnbs are a viable option in Croatia. We chose the latter because it allowed for a more “local” feel and additional space to relax and store luggage. There are tons of great Airbnb options and we felt safe and comfortable in each one we stayed in. This is one we stayed in at the end of our trip and was great. The views were outstanding (just be prepared for stairs or a little walk!).
Croatia’s currency is the Kuna, not the Euro. We also found that Croatian businesses generally do not accept American Express as a form of payment either (which was a bummer since that is typically our travel card of choice.)
Also, you want to be sure to keep your luggage as light and minimal as possible. This is the perfect destination for a travel “capsule wardrobe”. Because the cities are so old, they were not built in a way that provided much car parking. So, more often than not, you will have to park then walk to your destination with your luggage. I definitely would pack lighter on my next trip there.
So, there you have it! Now is a great time to visit beautiful Croatia- coordinates that are most definitely worth adding to your travels.
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