Best Places to Visit in 2017: Croatia

Beautiful cascading lakes in Plitvice Lakes National Park

Welcome back to another edition of the Best Places to Visit in 2017! Last time, I talked about Albania, one of the hidden gems of the Balkan. Today, we’ll be staying in the Balkan to visit the next gem. So I present to you, Best Places to Visit in 2017 Croatia!

Best Places to Visit in 2017: Croatia

Imagine a country where the sun stays everlasting during the summer, where the lakes cascade upon one another, where the people are young, vibrant, and downright friendly, where visiting doesn’t break the bank, and where people are always offering you rakija. That country is none other than Croatia! Made even more famous thanks to Game of Thrones, Croatia is a beautiful country that is worth anyone’s time to visit. While the summer is the most popular time to see the country, because of the copious amount of tourists, I would recommend visiting during the shoulder seasons (May-June or September). That’s when prices are low, but the weather is still great, and you won’t have to deal with the throng of tourists blocking your perfect photo moment.

The Positives

Clothing hanging on wires in the old streets of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Landscapes: Croatia is a country that’s shaped like a T-Rex’s head that is eating a nice chunk of meat. Ha! Now you won’t be able to unsee it! Anyway, Croatia’s coastal landscape has got to be one of the most beautiful to see, stretching from the border with Montenegro all the way up to the Slovenian border. I once said out loud while on a bus from Split to Sibenik that the view in front of me was gorgeous, and it really was. And it’s not just all coastal areas either. Move inland and you’ll be graced with rolling hills and towering mountains with quaint villages and towns dotted in between.

People swimming in Krka Lake

Krka Lake makes for a great day trip from Sibenik, as it’s also the only lake you can go swimming in. And Plitvice Lake is singlehandedly one of the most beautiful creations that nature has made that I’ve ever seen (Pro-tip: Go in the fall. Weather’s nice, less tourist, and you can capture the cascading lakes to the backdrop of autumn colors).  While the mountains might not be as breathtaking as the Alps, and the beaches not as powdery as the Philippines (all the beaches I went to in Croatia were all rocky, except for a tiny little slice in Hvar), the landscape will still not leave you disappointed, especially when coupled with…

Dubrovnik Old Town from Above

Cities: Croatian cities are a sight to behold. There’s a reason why the people behind Game of Thrones used so many Croatian locations to represent Westeros. To walk the streets of cities like Dubrovnik, Split, Trogir, etc. is like going back in time. Combining Romanesque, Venetian, and Baroque architecture, the cities are just a wondrous sight to behold from afar, and even more breathtaking up-close. Dubrovnik to this day is the most beautiful old town in the world that I have ever seen. There’s something about traversing its well-preserved walls or walking its narrowed, cobblestone streets away from the touristic main squares to see clothing hanging out on wires.

Cobbled-stone street of Trogir, Croatia

Trogir has a quaint, peaceful feel to it when you walk its narrow streets and seeing local Croatians sitting outside their shops, talking life away.  Hilly Sibenik makes for a great detour, and Zadar with its ocean symphony is bound to dazzle you. I really, really liked Croatian cities. Their names are awesome (come on, Zadar and Dubrovnik just sounds like they should be worlds apart). Their cultural and historical significances are awesome. And their designs are awesome. I can go on and on about Croatian cities, but really, you have to really see them in person to understand.

A birds eye view of old town Split, Croatia

Nightlife: Croatian nightlife during the summer is incredible. Thanks to an overabundance of alcohol, joyous locals and foreigners alike, every night is a night for celebration and merriment. In the summer, the celebrations are definitely at the seaside. Don’t bother thinking Zagreb, the capital city, to also be bursting with life. For that, you have to wait til fall or winter when everyone and their mother goes back to Zagreb. In my short 2 weeks in Croatia, I’ve had so many fun-filled nights meeting other travelers and locals during my nights out. Music festivals happen almost every day in different cities, and Ultra Croatia is nothing to sneeze at. Shout-out to all the great folks I met while in Hvar. Oh yeah, there are lots of cats too. So you can make friends with them! And did I mention rakija? Yes. Honeyed rakija made from plum is like ambrosia to my tongue and liver.

A relaxing cat

Cost: While Croatia can be expensive during the summer, it gets cheaper as you go further away from Dubrovnik. Unfortunately, Dubrovnik is very, very pricey. Expect accommodation to be at least 30 euros a night for a bed in a hostel during the summer that isn’t even located in old town. But go further up north to Split, or to Zadar, and you’ll find the prices become more reasonable. My favorite cost-effective food is pizza. Thanks to the Italian influence, the farther north you go, the more pizzerias you’ll encounter, and you can get a nice large (and by large I mean gigantic) pizza for the equivalent of $5 USD.  On a typical day, you’re looking at spending no more than $50, inclusive of housing, food, alcohol, and transportations.

Inside a colorful and beautiful Croatian church

 

People: It’s funny. In my travels throughout Europe, I can count on 2 fingers as to the countries in which the local people would ask me if I needed help with directions when they saw me looking lost with a map. One is Bulgaria, and the other is Croatia. The Croatians are lovely, lovely people. They’re quite friendly and very nice. Most can speak English just fine, so getting around won’t be a problem at all. People can be helpful if you don’t behave as if the world revolves around you. If you ever visit, do try to meet locals and not just other tourists. Learn a little about their country, and how much they had to sacrifice to be free like they are today.

The beautiful Saint Mark's church in Zagreb, Croatia

The Negatives

To be honest. It’s really hard to think of a negative for Croatia. I’m trying but I just can’t really fault Croatia for anything. The bus system is a very good and cheap alternative to traveling around the country. The buses are clean, mainly on time, and bus drivers are friendly/English-speaking enough. I guess if I have to complain about something, then too many tourists during the summer months. Thanks Obama Game of Thrones.

Final Words

So there you have it. One of the Best Places to Visit in 2017 is Croatia. I love this country. Go visit it. You’ll love it too. TTP’s guarantee. I can rave about this country for days, and I know I will return sometimes in the future. Hopefully, I’ll be able to explore the cities and locations further north of Zadar, like Pula.

My Itinerary: 

    Total Cost: $734.56 for 15 days for an average of $48.97 (counting everything).

    Best Places to Visit in 2017 present: Skyline of old town Sibenik during sunset from the fortress

    Bonus Insider Tip: If you go to Sibenik, stay at my friend’s family’s hostel. Lots of stairs, and no elevator, but hey, good time to work out those abs and booties. Clean. Cheap. Great owners.

    https://www.facebook.com/Hostel-Indigo-%C5%A0ibenik-1651520258464349/?hc_ref=SEARCH

    Tell them Tony says hi.

     

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