Croatia

Croatia is steadily growing as one of Europe’s top holiday destinations but it’s still got that exciting hidden gem feel to make your holiday feel extra special. From the golden beaches and ancient fairy-tale cities, to extreme water sports and miles of unspoilt scenery to explore, the country of 1,000 islands offers a holiday of wonder to those who’ll seek it. This European country is known for its incredible historical sites and history buffs will be pleased to know there are a grand total of seven Croatian UNESCO World Heritage sites. These include the popular Old City of Dubrovnik with its 7th century walls and quaint cobbled streets, and the historical city of Trogir which boasts incredible 1st century churches and a myriad of beautiful architecture.

If it’s relaxation you’re after, Croatia’s beaches are some of the best in Europe. The Dalmatian coast is the place to head for golden sands and you can really take your pick from quiet rocky bays to sandy stretches perfect for water sports and everything in between. One activity not to be missed in Croatia is island hopping. Croatia is known as the ‘country of 1,000 islands’ – you can probably guess why! While only a small handful of these islands are actually inhabited, there’s still plenty of choice and variety between them. Some of the country’s best beaches can be found in this network of tiny islands, and you’ll get a completely different atmosphere depending on which you choose.

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For the nature lovers there’s Plitvice Lakes National Park, the largest national park in Croatia and one of the oldest in Southeast Europe. This 3000km2 stretch of wilderness is a UNESCO World Heritage site and famous for its breath-taking cascade of lakes. Hundreds of species of rare flora and fauna make this national park the perfect place for hiking, photography or just being at one with nature. Of course, some of Croatia’s visitors will want something a little more upbeat and there’s plenty of places to eat, drink and be merry.

The big cities like Split, Zagreb, Rijeka and Zadar are best for partying, but you’ll find plenty of local taverns, bars and restaurants all over Croatia which offer fantastic local food and as many Rakias as you can handle (at upwards of 40% proof – probably not many!). With its ancient tumbledown towns and fascinating architecture, sprawling countryside, golden beaches and adrenaline-drenched water sports, a holiday in Croatia is truly a gem of many facets.

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Top 5 things to do in Croatia

10 facts about Croatia

1.

Much of the popular TV show, Game of Thrones, was filmed in Dubrovnik and tourists can take a tour of the fictional King’s Landing – watch out for the dragons!

2.

The best beach in Croatia is said to be Zlatni Rat Beach on Brač island, often nicknamed the Golden Horn or Golden Cape beach for its long glittering sands.

3.

Some of the best places to dine are the small, family-run restaurants known as konobas. Must-try dishes include octopus salad, krafne doughnuts and a burek pastry.

4.

Croatia is home to over 1,000 islands, with only 47 of them actually inhabited – perfect for that real castaway adventure you’ve been craving!

5.

Omiš near Split is home to the fastest zip line in Croatia. It goes an impressive 65km an hour – that’s one activity that’ll keep the kids happy.

6.

Croatia’s national drink is a liquor known as Rakia or Rakija. It’s available in many fruity flavours with plum, apricot or grape the most common.

7.

July to August in Zadar sees the Musical Nights Festival come to town. This popular festival celebrates open air music with dancing, drinking and eating all month.

8.

Trogir Historic Site dates back to 1-3rdC BC and has since had Roman, Renaissance, and Venetian Baroque influence making it a stunning mix of architectural styles.

9.

Think Croatia’s sunny Dalmatian coast rings a bell? That might be because the world’s favourite dog breed originates here – the spotty Disney Dalmatian.

10.

The north-west island of Istria is nicknamed ‘New Tuscany’ for its medieval hilltop towns which offer some of Croatia’s finest olive oil, wine and truffles.

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