During all my Balkan travels I neglected Croatia a little bit and I can’t even explain why. Even if I’ve been to couple of places like Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes, Dubrovnik or Split it’s still now enough for me.
Last summer, I spent about 2 weeks in Croatia with my husband and 6-year old daughter. The Croatia itinerary we followed, gave us an opportunity to visit UNESCO Heritage sites of Plitvice national park and Ston walls, enjoy the beautiful islands of Hvar and Vis, and explore the old towns of Split and Dubrovnik.
I am sharing my top experiences in this gorgeous country. This is not an easy task – we had a great time across all places and there aren’t any bad memories to sift through. Here are my Top 7 experiences in Croatia in no particular order.
The relaxed stay at Little Green Bay in Hvar
Hvar has a reputation of a party town, but we found a perfect stay at a secluded cove with Little Green Bay. Think leisurely afternoons spent at the private beach sipping cocktails, renting a car for a day to roam around the island, going to the Fortica in Hvar town to take in the stunning views of Pakleni islands and the Adriatic Sea, and enjoying gourmet food both at the boutique resort and the excellent restaurants in Hvar town. A perfect family holiday, wouldn’t you say?
The forest hike in Plitvice Lakes Park away from the summer crowds
Plitvice Lakes National Park hosts more than 1 mn visitors each year. The green-blue lakes, wooden pathways running through verdant scenery, cascading waterfalls are quite a sight. Thanks to great tips by the manager at the B&B we stayed in, we hiked through a forest at a leisurely pace. This off-beat path also gave us stunning views of the Lower lakes area and kept us away from the summer crowds for the most part at Plitvice Lakes.
The informative Military tour in Vis island
Vis is the furthest inhabited island in the Adriatic Sea in Croatia. Part of the charm is the pristine and authentic feel that the island has. From 1950 until 1989, it served as the Yugoslav National Army’s base, out of bounds to foreign visitors.
We took a 4-hour Military Tour with a political science student from the island to take us through several remnants left behind after the demilitarization of the island – a nuclear bunker built to protect the party officials, a submarine pen, a house that was used by Tito when he visited the island and more.
The drive from Split to Dubrovnik via Makarska Riviera
We rented a convertible in Split and took off to Dubrovnik on a sunny, breezy day. Instead of following the shortest route, we took the roads hugging steep cliffs with stunning views of the Adriatic Sea. It reminded me of the Amalfi coast in Italy, only less crowded. We drove through Makarska Riviera, a popular location with visitors on the Dalmatian coast.
The Southern Dalmatian Coast is home to some pretty seaside towns. We stopped only at Mali Ston for lunch and to climb the Ston walls (this can be also done as a day trip from Dubrovnik). This short road trip was such a wonderful memory.
The evening spent enjoying the buzz sitting in the courtyard of Diocletian Palace in Split
Diocletian Palace in Split old town is unlike any other – this is a living city, its narrow streets packed with people, cafes, restaurants, bars and boutique stores. The Peristil is the remarkable ancient Roman courtyard, in the heart of the Diocletian Palace. Sitting on the steps in the Peristil, sipping a lemon beer and enjoying the summer buzz was a experience to remember.
The visit to the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb
Before visiting Zagreb, I hadn’t even heard of the Museum of Broken relationships. My husband and daughter were happy enjoying the central part of the capital, while I decided to walk around the Upper Town on my own and visit one this quirky museum.
The Museum of Broken Relationships grew from a travelling exhibition to a permanent location in Zagreb. All items here are relics of broken relationships, of people with a story who are trying to overcome an emotional collapse through contributing to the Museum’s collection.
The sunset kayaking tour in Dubrovnik
There is good reason for summer crowds to throng the old town of Dubrovnik. It’s not just for the hardcore Game of Thrones fans. We went with high expectations and I must say that both, walking the old town walls and kayaking in the Adriatic Sea around the Dubrovnik walls were stellar experiences. The views are just unbelievable.
The sunset kayaking tour turned out to be a great way to enjoy the Adriatic Sea, see the walls from outside and some of the spots around the old town including the Lokrum island. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Dubrovnik!
About the author: Shweta runs her own travel blog zestinatote.com to bring family-friendly itineraries and tips, destinations and luxury stays, to her readers. Her belief is that family travel need not be boring and that one can do a mix of local culture & food, adventure activities and relaxation, all with family. You can follow her by checking out her Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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