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There are so many reasons to visit Croatia, not least because it’s one of the few destinations accessible to US citizens right now. Beyond that, Croatia is home to stunningly beautiful and dramatic natural landscapes, as well as some of the coolest and quirkiest cities in Europe. It’s also a fabulous destination for gourmet food fans – and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love to stuff their face while on vacation? There’s so much to discover in this incredible country, so let’s dive into the top reasons to visit Croatia.
With the coronavirus pandemic in full swing, actually being able to enter the country is one of the top reasons to visit Croatia. The list of countries US citizens can visit is pretty short, so take full advantage of Croatia’s open borders.
In order to enter Croatia, you’ll need to present a negative PCR test that’s no more than 48 hours old. There’s no need to quarantine (unless you arrive without your test results, that is) and no curfews either. Hooray!
You will need to wear masks in some public spaces and social distancing measures are in place but overall, Croatia is currently one of the few places in the world that Americans can go where life feels semi-normal… and if that’s not a good reason to visit Croatia, then I don’t know what is.
I’ll update this post if anything changes but remember to double check government advice before you travel.
You might be surprised to learn that Croatia produces some of the finest wine in the world. Croatian wine is criminally underrated. It’s nowhere near as famous as French, Italian or South African produce… but it’s every bit as good. Croatians drink a lot of wine, but they often dilute it with sparkling or still water, which is an excellent way to avoid a sore head the next morning.
Speaking of wine, would-be sommeliers should definitely head to the Istria peninsula. It’s one of the best regions in Croatia for wine and there are many authentic, family-owned wineries to tour around. Istria also produces high-quality truffles and olive oil, so there’s plenty of gourmet food to pair with your vino. It’s not too shabby in terms of scenery, either, with plenty of rustic coastal towns and crumbling castles to explore.
Fantasy series Game of Thrones took the world by storm and became a global cultural phenomenon. Much of the show was filmed in Croatia, so it’s a must-visit for fans of the series. The city of Dubrovnik was used as Kings’ Landing, whilst Diocletian’s Palace and Klis Fortress in Split were also used for several scenes.
The Romans ruled Croatia for well over 500 years, so the country is full of amazing architecture and ruins. The Pula arena in Istria, for example, is one of the biggest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. There’s also Diocletian’s Palace in Split, as well as the Salona ruins which are about 5km outside of the city.
Many of Croatia’s beaches are short and pebbled rather than long and sandy, but don’t let that put you off; they’re stunning nonetheless. Dubrovnik’s Copacabana beach is best for those who want to enjoy cocktails and watersports at a luxury beach club. However, if you find yourself missing sandy shores, head to Spiaza Beach on Susak island. Finally, I’ve got to mention the country’s most famous beach: Zlatni Rat, aka the Golden Cape. The nickname comes from the beach’s unique quasi-triangular shape. You’ve never seen a beach like this before!
Plitvice is a breathtakingly beautiful national park in central Croatia, featuring a chain of sixteen spectacular lakes which are linked together by waterfalls. It’s a truly sublime sight that will have you pinching yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. The only downside is that you can’t swim in the lakes.
You can reach Plitvice on a day trip from Zagreb or Split but it’s also possible to stay overnight in the park to give yourself extra time to explore.
Plitvice is spectacular but there are plenty of other incredible national parks in Croatia to enjoy. In fact, there are eight in total. Keen hikers should head to Paklenica to work those leg muscles, whilst those who prefer to amble around should check out the island of Mljet in south Dalmatia. And if you were disappointed to learn about the no-swimming rule in Plitvice National Park, try Krka instead. It’s an hour or so outside of Split and also home to many gorgeous waterfalls that you can enjoy splashing around in.
I challenge you not to fall in love with the Croatian capital. Strolling around Zagreb is an utterly delightful experience thanks to the wealth of grand, stately buildings that look as though they should house royalty. The city boasts a vibrant cafe culture, as well as bustling food markets and a dynamic nightlife scene. Oh, and you just can’t miss the Museum of Broken Relationships where you can view a huge collection of personal items pertaining to romantic breakups. My favorite is the “ex-axe”, which a scorned woman used to destroy her ex’s furniture. Ouch.
The gorgeous, historic city of Dubrovnik feels like it belongs in a story book. There’s a reason that this city was featured so heavily in Game of Thrones; it’s one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the world. The nightlife here is lively and fun and there are plenty of swanky spots where luxury travelers can enjoy fine Croatian wine with a top-notch view of Dubrovnik’s amazing architecture.
Food is one of the major reasons to visit Croatia. Croatians enjoy a tasty Mediterranean diet, with lots of fresh fish and vegetables. Seafood plays a big part in Croatian cuisine and there’s so much mouth-watering sea-to-table fare to enjoy.
Croatia is a very safe country to visit with a low rate of violent crime. If you’re thinking of traveling solo and don’t want to take too many risks, Croatia could be the perfect country for you. Of course, you should always be cautious and remember these common sense travel tips.
Croatia also features on my list of 15 affordable destinations to live and work in luxury, so be sure to give that a read.
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Your Luxe Lifestyle was founded by luxury world traveler Isabella Garofanelli bringing you the very best the globe has to offer in travel, lifestyle, and wellness.
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