"Idyllic Croatia" Top 5 Page for this destination Croatia by TheWanderingCamel

Croatia Travel Guide: 13,235 reviews and 36,399 photos

Could it be more beautiful?

Imagine a place where banks of creamy stone-walled and terracotta-roofed houses tumble down pine-clad hillsides to picture-postcard-perfect small harbours; islands float in a haze on crystal-clear seas; hours can be spent wandering the quiet alleys of small gems of mediaeval cities or over long lazy lunches of the freshest seafood and crispy-skinned lamb from the spit; no sound breaks the the silence of an empty amphitheatre in a deserted Roman city; balmy evenings are spent sharing wine and stories under grapevines and among ancient olive trees; a warm current drifts in a sea as clear and calm as the most perfectly maintained swimming pool; a pagan emperor's mausoleum has become a cathedral ....
do you wonder that since that we keep coming back to this loveliest of places?

Dalmatia

I had great memories of Croatia - time spent there in my salad days, driving from Italy to Greece with three friends and a crate of Spanish brandy in the boot, but that's another story. Then this beautiful country was part of Yugoslavia, now it's one of six nations that have gained their independence since the breakup of what was always a unhappily cobbled-together alliance of wary and untrusting neighbors. Thirty years and more later, the death of a dictator, a brutal war and now more than a decade of peaceful recovery find Croatia claiming its place as one of Europe's favourite holiday destinations.

On my first visit, we drove the full length of the coast from the Italian border to Dubrovnik then headed over the mountains of Montenegro (on horrendous roads and through some of the most stunning scenery you could possibly imagine) to Titograd (now Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro), north to Belgrade and eventually down to Greece. I've never forgotten that journey - the good and the bad - and always wanted to return to this beautiful country.

I finally made it - we won't count how many years later. There was no time to reprise the whole of that first visit (no Spanish brandy either), so we confined ourself to the Dalmatian coast (with a nod to that first mountain journey on a side trip into neighboring Montenegro).

Flying into Dubrovnik and out of Split, in between those two jewels of cities we found our way to lovely small towns and villages, gorgeous beaches, serenely beautiful churches and historic ruins on both the mainland and the island of Brac; we ate our way through daily rations of delicious fresh seafood, yummy icecream, cherries and apricots bursting with flavour; and drank lots of very drinkable wine, cold beer and local fruit brandies as we whiled away balmy evenings sitting out on balconies and restaurant terraces by picturesque small harbours. We also took side trips into Montenegro ( to the Gulf of Kotor) and Bosnia-Herzogovina ( to see the famous bridge at Mostar), both places well worth the detours.

As a holiday destination it really is hard to beat - and that's why we went back the following year - extending our visit to the gorgeous island of Hvar.


This could become a habit

2008's visit began in Sarajevo in neighboring Bosnia and Hercegovina. A marvellous train journey brought us down to the coast, then it was north to Split and across to Brac. Mid-October found almost all the tourists gone, the island blissfully quiet under still sunny skies. Once again, we settled into the easy pace of island life, each day beginning with a golden sunrise, and a lazy breakfast on a terrace with a splendid view across the Hvar channel. Long walks, short swims (autumn was advancing!), visiting friends, revisiting favourite places, discovering new ones - only a few days but each one a delight. All too soon it was time to head for home, our flight from Dubrovnik giving us the opportunity to visit the beautiful lakes near Ploce (thanks Boris [VTer, croisbeauty], for the tip about them) and the little towns of Ston and Mali Ston.

2009, we came in June. A few days here, a few days there .... an apartment with a cool green terrace in Dubrovnik, our favourite cottage in Bol, then north to Sibenik and Zadar then south again to Mali Ston on the Peljasec Peninsula - our favoured mix of city sightseeing and island chilling. Bliss!

2010 went by without a visit, but late May, 2011, saw us return once more, this time arriving by train to Zagreb where we picked up a car for the drive south to Split, Brac and Mali Ston. A week was all the time we had to spare but next year will be different. Three weeks in September ...

  • Last visit to Croatia: May 2011
  • Intro Updated Mar 14, 2012
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Reviews (54)

Comments (23)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    This is more searching be me to find the detail of spots to see in Croatia. Thanks for the good tips and directions. We are to go there in May for one month.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jul 18, 2009 at 12:55 AM

    Oh, lovely updates since I've read it (almost 3 years ago..). I love your off path tips and would like to see the salt industry remains on the other side of Adriatic Sea. Haha, funny story about half of Freemantle's Croatian assembling at Makarska :-)

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    May 10, 2009 at 8:57 AM

    Excellent page, I'll be there in less than 3 months!

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Jan 29, 2009 at 5:15 AM

    Croatia is looking more and more appealing as I read more pages and see those sumptious coastal towns, red tiled roofs, stucco buildings... lazy sunshine days....

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Dec 18, 2008 at 7:23 AM

    I also like Saint Nicholas...and also St Therese and Bernadette...nice tip! Thanks for sharing, Camel...Norman :) Is there a saint assoicated with a camel???

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Jul 21, 2008 at 9:48 AM

    This page is a real jewel! Beautifully written and stunning photos! Thanks for a marvelous tour, Leyle!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2008 at 12:18 AM

    Thanks for your splendid stories and pictures! Very creative and exciting!

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Apr 27, 2008 at 3:22 AM

    Amazing page of Croatia. Wow.. would like to visit such a beautiful place one day. The lamingtons looks yummy. There is a Malaysia dessert like that.

  • Apr 21, 2008 at 8:54 PM

    ahhh yes, i have to agree, hvar is a piece of heaven!

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Mar 10, 2008 at 10:33 PM

    I visited this page long ago but this an almost entirely new page with a great many new excellent tips. This was for me the opportunity to pay a quick visit to the part of Croatia that I know fairly but nevertheless you showed me new things!

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