Defined by blue seas, gorgeous pebble beaches, rolling green hills, golden Renaissance cities and delightful resorts, Croatia is truly the World’s best kept secret. A holiday in Croatia provides greater value and with has fewer crowds than most European hot spots.
With more then 1700km of natural Adriatic coastline, hundreds of little islands and one of the sunniest climates in Europe, Croatia is a stunning place with a fascinating culture and friendly locals.
The country is home to several spectacular National Parks, five National Reserves, mesmerising historical architecture including centuries-old castles and about sixty 1,000 year old stone churches. It has vineyards and wineries, olive groves, rolling hills of lavender and flowers, beaches and mountain ranges and restaurants offering traditional Croatian cuisine as well as the world’s best seafood.
Dubrovnik, which has been referred to as ‘the pearl of the Adriatic’, is such an energetic and stimulating location in the summer. This UNESCO World Heritage listed old town is eminent for its museums, which encompass Croatia’s history, its ruins and its outstanding culture.
Sure enough, museums can be located in most cities around the globe, however what makes Dubrovnik’s Cultural Historical Museum exceptional is its positioning within the Duke’s Palace, making it a place that not only tells the tale of this city, but also expresses the culture by causing its visitors to feel a part of the story.
Another important aspect of this Croatian city is its cuisine, which can be experienced on a more elegant level by visiting the restaurant at Gil’s Cuisine & Pop Lounge – situated right between the old walls of this town and includes spectacular views as well as high-class food.
The cuisine can also be experienced on a more personal and simpler level by strolling through the promenade of Placa where many café’s can be found that serve some of Croatia’s finest wines and cultural food.
It goes without saying though, that without experiencing the history, culture and cuisine of Dubrovnik, you haven’t experienced Croatia yet!
Split, another city that comprises exceptional history and culture, is the largest city on Croatia’s Adriatic coast. It isn’t hard to see why this coastal city is so popular and full of excitement come summer time, with its breath-taking views and its nearness to the many surrounding scattered islands.
Being situated in the heart of Diocletian’s Palace (another of Croatia's UNESCO World Heritage listed sites), it is no wonder that the City Museum of Split exhibits a fabulous array of documents, coins and photography (as well as many other articles); a history of Split’s existence.
Like Dubrovnik’s museum, the city’s museum is a must see to take in the history of this town and situate yourself within it for a short time before stepping back into the reality of the modern world.
However, it is not only the history that offers Split’s visitors a strong sense of culture, but so too it’s long tradition of ballet, art and film festivals and music.
In particular, the Mediterranean Film Festival and Split Summer Festival (which is situated in and around the Diocletian Palace – simply amazing!), which both take place in the Croatian summer and include performances, concerts and other interactive lineups.
Taking a breath of fresh air by the Adriatic Sea and discovering Split’s history and culture will leave you with an exceptional impression of Croatia!
Further reading: Best Things to Do in Split, Croatia
Korcula – famous for being Marco Polo’s birthplace, is the most occupied Adriatic island. Adorned with secluded beaches and peaceful coves, it is one of the greenest islands in the Adriatic Sea.
One of the must-see attractions on this spectacular island is the Cathedral of St. Mark with its Romanesque entrance, tinted rose windows and its many religious treasures that portray some of the most significant scripture details in the Roman Catholic history.
Downtown, why not situate yourself amongst the locals at the open-air fruit market. Located next to Plokata and Rampadain, this local fruit market has everything from its famous luscious figs to its juicy grapes (produced by local farmers of course) and can’t be missed (especially if you follow one of the locals carrying an empty shopping bag – you’ll soon find yourself there!).
However, one last thing that has to be experienced in Korcula’s summer is the annual Marco Polo Festival, which takes place in July and is a popular hit each year.
This event allows the audience to immerse themsleves fully into the Croatian culture with traditional musical performances while drinking a glass of wine (the perfect way to spend a summer’s night in Korcula!) and is the perfect way to come into contact with the island’s traditional customs.
Rovinj, another coastal town, is located to the north of the Adriatic Sea, making it a popular destination for those wanting to take day trips to Venice or driving to Pula for the day to see the magnificently preserved Coliseum.
However, before even thinking of heading off to see Venice and Pula, Rovinj must be taken in for its beauty, architecture and history that lies to be discovered in its museums. The Heritage Museum (known as Zavicajni Muzej), is situated in a Baroque Palace and holds many artworks from contemporary to collections of archaeological findings, showing the unique history of this special place.
As summer approaches, so too do the festivities of each Croatian town. The Rovinj Salsa Festival, held in June, is the place to be to watch, learn and participate in salsa dancing, which one can never be too young or too old for! With the warm summer nights and electrifying atmosphere – you simply can’t say no to salsa in Rovinj!
Another aspect of this coastal town that you will not be able to refuse is Rovinj’s food culture. Whether it be trying the Istrian proscuitto, or home-made bread and olive oil – Rovinj will definitely satisfy your senses in food, culture and history!
Article courtesy of Discover Croatia Holidays. Contact Discover Croatia who can assist with all your cruise, island hopper tours, bespoke tours and private gulet charter bookings.