Croatia is officially one of my favourite countries as a travel destination. When I was planning my Europe trip, I was meant to book a flight home after three weeks of travel. Instead, I chose to extend it to two months. But I didn’t know where to go because there are simply too many options in Europe, and I was on a tight budget. I organised to stay in Nice with friends for mid-October but I had to fill in the first couple of weeks of the same month. I literally looked at a map and decided on Croatia. I had seen many pictures of Dubrovnik and I’d be stunned by photos of the old town. So I walked into my local travel agency, gave the travel agent the time frame I needed to fill, and told her I wanted to go to Croatia. She amazingly made it happen! After going through several brochures and magazines, exploring different options, we settled on a self-guided tour by Tempo Holidays. Basically, I was given the itinerary and other essential information upon arrival in Croatia and took it from there. If you like travelling alone but want a break from planning, a self-guided tour is the way to go. I was very impressed with the services of Tempo Holidays.
So where did I go…?
The travel agent strongly recommended Plitvice Lakes so I had to make it happen. It did not disappoint. It is a stunningly beautiful national park. One day isn’t enough though to see the whole park. I did a single day trip but if you want to be more thorough, perhaps book accommodation close to the park and spend two days exploring. I was based in Split and it is a four hour drive from Split’s city centre.
Speaking of Split, after being in rainy Budapest and Prague, it was an absolute delight being in sunny Split. Diocletian Palace is the name given to the walled city in the heart of Split and is full of shops, bars and restaurants. For panoramic views, go up the Bell Tower at the Cathedral of Split. The best part of my time in Split was randomly bumping into some friends I made when I was in Plitvice Lakes. I ended spending a wonderful afternoon and evening with them.
Hvar is a lot smaller than Split, and if I was there during their peak season, there would have been more to do. It’s beautiful in Hvar but due to storms, and the population dropping to about 4000 people, I was indoors a lot. My highlight in Hvar was dining at a restaurant called Dalmatino, which was recommended by one of the friends from Split. The waiters were very charming. Everyone receives a complimentary welcome shot upon arrival, followed by another free shot after the main meal, and then a type of port, on the house, with dessert. You also get 10% off if you return the following day.
I was in Korcula for less than 24 hours. In that time, I climbed the steps to St Anthony’s Hill and then explored the main city centre. They also have a bell tower, which offers gorgeous views. I was entertained by a children’s concert in the port area. It was adorable. Before I knew it, I was on a boat to Dubrovnik.
I gave myself five nights in Dubrovnik, which included a day trip to Montenegro (Kotor and Budva). After my time there, I declared Dubrovnik one of my favourite cities I have ever travelled to. I had an absolute blast walking up and around the city walls of the old town, the views are unbelievable, never seen anything like it in my life. If you take your time, walking on the city walls can take up half a day. So you want to make sure you give yourself enough time in Dubrovnik to wander through the old city too, and explore every single aisle and laneway, it’s all so charming. A popular activity with tourists is going up the cable cart to get a spectacular overview of the old town and more. You can also take a boat to one of the islands close by. I chose to go to Lokrum and spent half a day there losing myself in its natural beauty.
In addition to the beautiful scenery, the delicious food and the lovely local people, Croatia is a lot cheaper compared to other European nations. They have their own currency called Kuna, they do not use Euro. Just another reason why I recommend Croatia as your next travel destination!