I have a lot of love for Croatia and I think the Dalmatian coast is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Coming from Australia, a lot of people don’t seem to have a clear idea of what Croatia is all about. A lot of people ask me why I love the country so much and I’m here to tell you why. Here’s just a few of many reasons why the Dalmatian coast should be your next travel destination.
1. Postcard-worthy islands
First and foremost, Croatia is pretty much guaranteed to take your breath away. I truly believe Croatia is one of the most photo-worthy destinations I have ever laid eyes on. Every island is so incredible that you kind of have to pinch yourself just to know they’re real. Warm crystal clear waters, white pebbled shores, medieval cities, luscious green vineyards and mountains are just a few of the things you’ll experience.
2. The sunset
Almost no one can remain completely indifferent to the beautiful Croatian sunset. Of course, they are even more magical over the sea and every night brings upon a warm pink sunset on the Dalmatian coast. Alfred Hitchcock famously declared Zadar to have the world’s best sunset.
3. Discovering secret beaches
There are so many unspoiled beaches in Croatia waiting to be discovered. They’re all tucked away in the islands but are well worth venturing out for. Those who know Croatia well, however, know the country’s most beloved beaches remain under the radar, enjoyed only by locals and the savviest of travelers.
4. A nightlife for everyone
Whether you’re after nights that end at morning light in crazy cave bars, medieval-themed clubs, enjoying a wine on a cliff-face on the Adriatic, or on a castle rooftop – Croatia really has it all. If you’re in Croatia for party, you must visit Carpe Diem in Hvar. To get there you need to take the free taxi boat from the port. The club is an entire island. It’s like another world.
5. Swimming in the clearest water in the world
The waters at Primošten are voted some of the clearest in the world. So clear in fact, it sort of feels like you’re floating on air. Plus, the countryside provides a perfect backdrop for a day at the beach. The surrounding vineyards are of such beauty that UNESCO is considering them as a World Heritage Site.
6. Drinking too much wine in Hvar
There’s a reason Hvar is also referred to by some as “the Island of wine.” The island is home to several indigenous grape varietals, including Bogdanuša, which produces dry, distinctive whites. Be prepared because every single restaurant, bar or cafe you go to will more than likely be featuring wine. It’s my kind of place.
7. Eating your weight in food
I like to think of Croatian cuisine as “ideal hangover food.” The food is Mediterranean, with many distinctly Italian influences. Think bread, cheese, potato, meat, oil, seafood, and hearty stews. Basically everything to avoid on a diet. Croatia doesn’t have fast food chains but I think their version of “fast food” is bakeries. The bakeries are open until the early hours of the morning and offer some of the most incredible freshly-baked pastries and pizza slices. Don’t even get me started.
8. Old Town in Dubrovnik
I love that Dubrovnik is an medieval Old Town but a coastal island at the same time. It offers a lot of diversity. You can walk the castle walls, explore nearby islands, cliff jump, relax at the beach and shop the cobbled stone laneways. There’s endless possibilities for both adventure and relaxation.
Related: A Quick Guide to Dubrovnik
9. The National parks
Croatia boasts a lot of stunning National Parks, but Plitvice Lakes is by far Croatia’s most popular and was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979. Within the boundaries of this heavily forested national park, 16 crystalline lakes tumble into each other via a series of waterfalls and cascades. Another favourite is Krka National Park where you’ll find magnificent waterfalls and heavenly swimming spots. It’s still hard to believe places this beautiful exist.
10. Buy local produce from Split markets
Split’s daily market is a sight worth seeing, whether or not you want to buy anything (although you’ll probably end up with more than you need). It’s open daily from 7am until 1pm. You’ll find fresh fruit, vegetables, olive oil, local brandies as well as tables of crafts, flowers, clothes, and other odds and ends.