Croatia’s Top 5 Experiences
To coincide with the release of the updated Croatia travel guide, the experts at Lonely Planet have provided us with Croatia’s Top 5 experiences!
1. Majestic Dubrovnik
Croatia’s most popular attraction, the extraordinary walled city of Dubrovnik, is a Unesco World Heritage Site for good reason. Despite being relentlessly shelled in the 1990s during Croatia’s Homeland War, its mighty walls, sturdy towers, medieval monasteries, baroque churches, graceful squares and fascinating residential quarters all look magnificent again. For an unrivalled perspective of this Adriatic pearl, take the cable car up Srđ, the city’s craggy backdrop. For a more intimate glimpse, circle the city walls and peer into hidden gardens and ancient lanes strung with laundry.
2. Plitvice Paradise
A turquoise ribbon of lakes linked by gushing waterfalls in the forested heart of continental Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park is an awe-inspiring sight. There are dozens of lakes – from 4km-long Kozjak to reedfringed ponds – their startling colours a product of the karstic terrain. Travertine expanses covered with mossy plants divide the lakes, while boardwalks allow you to easily traverse this exquisite watery world. Follow hiking trails through beech, spruce, fi r and pine forest to escape the crowds by the water.
3. Istria Wining & Dining
La dolce vita reigns supreme in Istria, Croatia’s top foodie destination. The seafood, truffles, wild asparagus and boškarin (an indigenous species of ox) all stand out, as do myriad regional specialties and award-winning olive oils and wines by small local producers. Sample the best the region has to offer in upmarket restaurants by the sea, in traditional family-run taverns in medieval hilltop villages and in farmhouses all over the peninsula’s verdant interior. If you’re not consuming at least one truffle dish a day, you’re not doing it right.
4. Flashy, Trashy Hvar
Come high summer, there’s no better place to dress up and get your groove on than Hvar Town. Gorgeous tanned people descend from their yachts in droves, rubbing shoulders with up-for-it backpackers at après-beach parties as the sun drops below the horizon. While the cashed up yachtie types keep the town’s top-notch restaurants and cocktail bars in business, sun-dazed young revellers do the same for the little dance bars that are the mainstay of the scene. Pack beach gear and shoes suitable for dancing on tables and you’ll be sorted.
5. Coffee Fix in Zagreb
Elevated to the status of ritual, having coffee in one of Zagreb’s outdoor cafes is a must, involving hours of people-watching, gossiping and soul-searching, unhurried by waiters. To experience the city’s vibrant cafe culture, grab a table on the cobbled car-free Tkalčićeva with its endless streetside cafes, or one of the pavement tables on Trg Petra Preradovića or Bogovićeva. Don’t miss the Saturday morning špica, the coffee-drinking and people-watching ritual in the city centre that forms the peak of Zagreb’s weekly social calendar.
Content supplied by Lonely Planet