The recently concluded FIFA World Cup has highlighted a new name on the globe – Croatia. The underdogs of the World Cup, the Croatian team made it all the way to the finals and had people looking up this hitherto lesser known country on the European continent. This recent win has invoked unprecedented interest in this country situated by the Adriatic Sea, with many adding a travel to Croatia to their bucket lists.
A look up close at this abstruse destination reveals that Croatia is a land abounding in unspoilt beauty. Think the quintessential Mediterranean dream of balmy days spent around sapphire blue waters flanked by walled towns steeped in history. Islands speckling the coastline, beaches with dazzling white pebbles, long stretches of virgin coastline, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, snorkelling, diving, historic remnants, national parks, quirky museums, intense coffee, delectable cuisine are the top highlights that await you here.
Let’s take a look up close at some of the top reasons why travel to Croatia must feature on your bucket list too:
Confluence of History
The unique location of Croatia, that rests precariously between central Europe and the Balkans, led to this land being passed on between empires, kingdoms and republic for thousands of years. This continuous transition and dislocation has a definite upside to it – it gave this country its rich historical legacy that has remnants from every kingdom, empire and ruler that every held its reign. So, you find Napoleonic forts sitting snugly with the Venetian palazzo, Roman columns coming out of primeval Slavic churches, Socialist Realist sculptures and Viennese mansions. Anyone with an interest in history must travel to Croatia to witness this unique confluence that defines much of its character.
Diverse Landscape and Raw Natural Beauty
Whether you are a beach person or a lover of mountains, inclined toward pristine water bodies or the lush greens of rolling farmlands, you don’t have to think twice before packing your bags to travel to Croatia because this country has it all. One minute you are overlooking the glistening ocean waters and a slight shift in gaze puts the mighty ranges of the Dinaric Alps in your view. The mountain range that stretched from Albania to Italy covers most of Croatia’s coast. As you travel around Croatia, heading further toward the inland, you are greeted by a heady mix of caverns, rugged peaks, unbelievably picturesque lakes, waterfalls cascading over lush greens, river canyons, and expansive farmlands. For those who love to stay active even during holidays, Croatia has myriad biking and hiking trails. The land is also a treat for adrenaline junkies with a host of rafting, zip lining and rock climbing opportunities.
The Finest of Amphitheatres
If you have travelled to Europe before, you’d notice that amphitheatres that were used for entertainment, sports and art performances are a huge part of the continents landscape. From the Colosseum in Rome to Arles in France and many more. The Pula Arena in the port city situated in the Istria region of Croatia is hands-down one of the finest of them all. This first-century Roman amphitheatre is one of the most well-preserved in the world and still very much in use. Regular musical concerts are held at this historic site, apart from the annual film festival held in July, making this time of the year the best to travel to Croatia for soaking up its eclectic cultural vibe. Incidentally, this year’s festival is currently underway.
The Game of Thrones Connection
If you are a Game of Thrones fan, you definitely have an added reason to travel to Croatia. The country serves as the setting for the iconic HBO series, with attractions like the city of Dubrovnik, whose walls and forts serve as the King’s Landing in the show, the Trsteno Arboretum that is shown as the Red Keep’s gardens, the Fortress of Klis that is the backdrop of Meereen, and St Dominic Monastery of Trogir that features as the city of Qarth, and the Roman monument Diocletian’s Palace that is another regular filming location for the show make Croatia the perfect place to escape into the parallel world of fantasies.
Food and Wine
The best way to experience the vibrant local culture of this place is to transcend the tourist-native barriers during your travel around Croatia. Once that ice is broken, you’ll discover the unadulterated warmth of Croatian hospitality where food and drinks are an integral part of the culture. ‘Jedi! Jedi! Jedi!’ that translates to ‘Eat! Eat! Eat!’ is a common refrain in local homes here. As you sample home-styles food from personal kitchens and family-run taverns or explore the bustling cafes with innovative menus, Croatia will leave a lingering aftertaste of warmth in your heart. Of course, all this food is best tasted with generous helpings of Croatian wines, considered one of the best in the world.