Country Review & Recommendations: Croatia

My Croatia Review

As mentioned, after spending about two weeks in Serbia & Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liz and I headed to Split in Croatia. Split is a beautiful coastal city with an ancient Roman fortress/palace complex in the center of town. This complex is comprised not only of ruins, but the majority of the town’s restaurants, boutiques, bars and cafés. We basically spent two days sunbathing and relaxing, before Liz was heading back to Montreal and I was heading to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, in order to start a Gadventures tour of the country (yes, I’m big on Gadventures tours).

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Views of Hvar from the Spanjola Fortress (2014)

So I spent about a day on my own in Zagreb, hitting up all the main sights: St. Mark’s Church, the Zagreb cathedral and a walk of Zagreb’s old town. That night, I met my fellow Gadventures travelers (this is where I met Vita and Emma, with whom I traveled Morocco the following summer). The tour took us from Zagreb to: Plitvice Lakes, Split, the island of Hvar and finally, the GoT famous Dubrovnik (aka King’s Landing).

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Cassandra, Vita, Emma and I ready for a night out in Split (2014)

My Croatia Recommendations

 9. Plitvice Lakes

I kind of felt obliged to include Plitvice Lakes because (1) it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Croatia and (2) I didn’t visit any other lakes/waterfalls, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to. I did not love Plitvice Lakes; I thought it was a beautiful sight but also one that I could have seen in one of Canada’s many parks. As well, a few of my friends visited Croatia a couple weeks after I did and did go to different lakes/waterfalls that were as beautiful and where you could actually swim and enjoy the site, so I would have preferred that. All of this being said, Plitvice Lakes was still a very beautiful site to see; I just wish I could have swam around as it was so hot.

8. Enjoy Hvar

Hvar is a very relaxed little island in Croatia, with a beautiful Italian-like main square. Stroll through the cobble stoned streets and enjoy a day at sea at one of the many nearby islands.

 7. Sunbathing & cliff jumping in Split

I ended up going to Split twice (once with Liz and once with Gadventures) and basically did the same thing both times: sunbathe. There’s an artificial beach in Split where you’ll find all the tourists, or else if you venture out of the main town area on the opposite side of the beach, you’ll find either concrete piers or large slabs of rock on while you can sunbathe as well. This is very convenient for cliff jumping, as the giant slabs of rock are on a cliff overseeing the ocean. Just be careful, as the currant to the ladders were quite strong (I would advise against this activity if you are not a good swimmer).

 6. Split city walk

As mentioned, Split is the home of an ancient Roman fortress/palace complex full of restaurants, boutiques, bars and cafés. Take the time to stroll through these streets, check out the boutiques and grab a delicious bite.

 5. Dubrovnik city walk

Dubrovnik can be walked in two ways: (1) in the winding streets at sea level and (2) up and down the many staircases on the outskirts of the city. Take the time to get lost in this beautiful little fortified city, walk all the way out to the waterfront and enjoy a delicious gelato.

4. Zagreb city walk

Zagreb’s old town is very beautiful and full of history. Take the time to walk around the squares, churches, cathedrals and parks. If you get tired, catch one of the trams back to the main square.

 3. St. Mark’s Church (Zagreb)

One of the most beautiful and unique churches I have seen in Europe (okay, I haven’t seen much of Eastern Europe) with its tiled and patterned roof.

 2. Dubrovnik cable car

When I was in Dubrovnik, I only had enough time (and money) to do either the cable car ride or walk along the walls of the fortress. I opted for the cable car, as I wanted a bird’s eye view of the city. If you want a great view over the city, I would recommend this activity.

 1. Spanjola Fortress (Hvar)

The Spanjola Fortress is the fortress on the island of Hvar, located (very) high up in the mountains (okay, it’s not that high up, but it was a decent work out for 9 a.m.). No matter how hungover you may be from your night out in Carpe Diem, the walk up to the fortress is a must; the views on Hvar and the water are amazing.

UP NEXT: you know it, my foodie adventures in the Balkans

*All photos are my own (or taken by someone with my device, or of me)

6 thoughts on “Country Review & Recommendations: Croatia

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