Croatia had some high expectations to live up to. Before visiting, countless people had told me what an amazing place it was, but I still wasn’t prepared for how quickly I would fall in love with it.
Friendly locals, picture perfect views, clear turquoise water, charming cobbled towns and delicious, fresh food – I was in my utopia. With the Summer heat of July to top it off, Croatia easily entered my top five favourite countries and is somewhere I would return in a heartbeat.
After flying into Zagreb, we packed our rental car to the brim and set off to Rakovica – our small village base to explore the nearby Plitvice Lakes National Park.
We spent a day walking around Plitvice Lakes and I have never seen so many shades of green, blue and turquoise in one place. Each lake is a different colour and changes constantly throughout the year. The natural beauty of the lakes, waterfalls, greenery and colours makes it a pretty special destination.
The following day it was back into the rental car with a quick stopover in Split before catching a ferry to Vis – Croatia’s most distant island. Split port was buzzing with tourists, merchandise stalls for those essential last minute purchases and tour boats ready to set sail for the coming week.
As we pulled into the harbour of Vis Town I was excited by the approaching view – this was the Croatia I had been anticipating. Tiered terracotta roofs, old stone buildings and yachts lining the waterfront.
Even in peak season, Vis felt relaxed and wasn’t crowded. We spent our days watching sunrises, swimming, eating amazing food (I’m sure we ate our weight in Carpaccio), exploring the island on scooters and enjoying other beaches and sights including the blue cave by private boat.
We had an amazing few days on Vis and when the time came to leave and I watched the island disappear into the distance behind us I felt sad leaving my new found paradise. I left for Hvar with dreams of returning and building a holiday home on Vis. One day.
While I have a soft spot for Vis, Hvar is the slightly cooler older brother – a bit more vibrant, a bit livelier and likes to party. Hvar has something to offer every age, which is what makes it such a popular destination.
This was actually my view for a whole day while Relaxing At Bonj ‘Les Bains’ Beach Club.
After a few days of more swimming and eating our way around Hvar (notice a theme?), it was time to move on to Dubrovnik.
To see more of Croatia we hired another rental car and drove to Dubrovnik from Split (it also meant we got to briefly enter Bosnia, although they barely glimpsed at our passports and alas, no stamp either). I was amused that our rental car came with optional wi-fi. We really are becoming an instant, connected world.
Dubrovnik’s old town is stunning and a walk along its surrounding walls is a must. It is the perfect way to see the old town and it’s sea of terracotta roof tops.
More to come on each of these beautiful destinations.
Cheers to Croatia!