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If you are anything like me, you might be very disappointed by Croatia’s defeat yesterday in the World cup finals. A tiny country has shown so much courage and chutzpah in one of the biggest forum of world sports, that it is impossible not to sit up and take note. But, Croatia is not just an underdog success in football. The country is breathtaking in its natural beauty and is ranked amongst the top 20 popular tourist destinations in the world. Here’s a list of places you can visit if you want re dreaming of Croatia Travel.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Studded with Lakes, waterfalls and easy-to-hike walking trails, this is one of the most beautiful national parks in Europe. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage in 1979. In this national park, 16 lakes can be seen from the surface which is a result of the confluence of several small rivers and subterranean rivers. The lakes are known for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colors change constantly depending on the number of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.
Krka National Park
You can either opt for a day trip from Zadar or stay back overnight at this mesmerizing place. Staying will allow you to soak into the beauty of the place early morning before the usual crowd arrives. Peak season to visit this place is July-August but September-October are better choices as per the locals.
This city is known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’and was also added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list in 1979. A giant walled Old Town with great beaches, modest but engaging museums, a stunning mountaintop viewpoint, an epic past and difficult but inspiring recent history, what more can you ask for!
The capital city, with its urban charm, will not disappoint the enthusiastic travelers. The colorful murals by local street artists on the city walls are a delight to look at. This city is best enjoyed by foot, so choose your walking shoes carefully. And do not miss the Museum of Broken Relationships, a unique museum with artifacts from broken relationships. It can be funny, poignant or sad, depending upon your mood and mental state. You can also buy a ‘bad memories eraser’ from the adjacent store as a souvenir. Now if this doesn’t interest you, what else can we offer?
Credit: Intrepid travel
Istria gets its name from the Histri, an Illyrian tribe that ruled the region before the Romans. The place has immense Italian influence and is often referred to as the Venetian-flavored romantic town of Croatia. From Roman ruins in the city of Pula to the cobbled piazzas of Rovinj and Novigrad, history comes alive at this place. Do remember to treat your taste buds to some Italian food at this place.
A trip to Croatia is incomplete without an island trip to Hvar. It is a luxurious beach destination with castles, monasteries and easy escape options to nearby islets. Take water-taxis for visiting this island and rent a scooter\moped once you are in. Hvar is famous for its lavender, do remember to buy some lavender oils or bunches for your friends and family back home.
Before you travel to Croatia do remember the following things:
- Not everyone speaks English. While it is quite easy to find English-speaking youngsters, the older population is still conversant in Croatian and Italian. German is also widely spoken, but as always, learn a word or two in Croatian just to say ‘hi’ to the locals.
- Schengen agreements are not fully implemented. Do check your visa requirements, as per your nationality, before you travel.
- The only non-European flights to Croatia are from Qatar, Dubai and Tel Aviv. However, you always have the option of transferring via London or Frankfurt.
- Buses are a good option to commute within the country. They are cheap, regular and have a good network.
- kuna is the local currency and Euros are legally not accepted. However, some local business owners do accept Euros. Plan accordingly.
- Try out Italian cuisine and some local cuisines although it is hard to define Croatian cuisine properly. Do try the wide range of desserts and wines that are available.
- In case of an emergency, dial 112
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