Croatia is quite simply one of my favourite countries in the med. My sister lived there for a few years and so I had great expectations which did not disappoint. The country is spread along the Dalmatian coastline and offers a unique combination of all the things I love: amazing historic architecture, gorgeous views, beautiful ocean and swimming, summertime sun, incredible wine, delicious seafood…shall I keep going?
Here is my go to guide of Croatia and all the places you must visit and things to do! We were lucky enough to see most of the coastline and islands over 10 days starting with our Sail Croatia.
SAIL CROATIA- so, when picking the type of Sail Croatia you do there are lots of options. The best company, well the one we chose and most of my friends had done, was Sail-Croatia >> website here. Of course there are other companies flocking with Aussie tourists who all follow the same route along the coast and dock together, but Sail Croatia had the nicest boats. The next step is picking your ‘category’ or type of sail. The two options are the Navigator or Explorer. Same amount of days and similar islands but completely different styles and a variety of “baller” (Aussie slang for expensive and extravagant) boats to chose from. Of course you get what you pay for and if you want a boat with a heli pad, just kidding – fancy upper deck perhaps, then it comes with a price tag. One of my friends had a mini dip pool on their upper deck so it pays to look around first. We certainly did not. The shower flooded but that was the closest we got to a pool.
The explorer cruise is for 25+ young professionals looking to have a good time without getting naked and vomiting from funneling cheap alcohol. Being a professional and 25 years old I chose the total opposite option… Rookie mistake. If I was to do it again, we would definitely chose the Explorer young professionals tour to sit around drinking wine on the deck with 25+ year olds talking about professional things.
We met some amazing people who we will stay in touch with and had a great time. And what’s age at the end of the day? A group of very respectable Canberra Grammar boys aged 18 blended in well with Rob, my 28 year old boyfriend. Long story short, would I recommend a Sail? Most definitely, but make sure you know exactly which style of cruise you want and are booking.
– An absolute must do is to walk the old city walls. Don’t worry about getting a guide, it only means you have to walk slower and with a crowd. Do it on your own and there is always the trusty google if you want some fun facts. Otherwise eaves drop on a tour mid walk? If you are a game of thrones fan then I hear the walking tour is a must as parts of the series were filmed there.
– Take the cable car or walk up to the top of Srd Hill behind the old city walls. You get the most amazing view over the whole city and it is just breathtaking.
– Ice cream! And plenty of it. We had gelato every day that we were in Croatia… Okay okay I know I said one gelato per country but seriously Croatian ice cream is better than Italian and an 8th of the price for a larger servings. Best ice cream Dubrovnik is at a little place just near the water fountain inside the old city entrance where you can fill up your bottle with chilled natural water.
Split is a beautiful city. Take the usual stroll around the cobbled streets and soak up some of the culture. There are market stalls on at night and live music along the Riva Promenade.
– Walk through, and below Diocletian’s Palace. The place is full of people & architecture just begging to be Instagrammed!
– Go to the local mini mart or supermarket and buy some platter antipasto food and go and sit on the waters edge at sunset for a little picnic. Olives, smoked trout, salami, prosciutto, hummus cheese bread oil and chocolate should do the trick. And of course when you are finished head to Luca for the best homemade ice cream in Split.
– Konoba juice bar (AKA green smoothies) – I got one both mornings I was there. It was so nice to be able to step off the boat after a week of not a whole lot of green things let alone walking, and sculling a apple banana spinach lemon mint juice. I say scull because they are rather small for their price but still. They also do banana pay cacao ones oh yum!
HVAR; flashy trashy island for the rich and famous. “The island’s hub and busiest destination, Hvar Town is estimated to draw around 20,000 people a day in the high season.” – lonely planet
– Sip a cocktail (or a few) whist snapping some stunning sunset photos from Hula Hula Bar. So much atmosphere and vibe. Bikinis and heels necessary.
– Take the boat over to the party island club Carp e diem and hope to lock eyes with Leo.
– Hike to the fortress up on the hill for breath taking views over the harbour.
– a tiny little quiet island covered in forests and vineyards surrounding little lakes and villages.
– Hire a bike & explore the gorgeous national park.
– Float underneath a rock arch bridge connecting two lakes together and let the stream take your through. Keep your feet lifted – it gets shallow.
– Head to the local markets for a mad pirate or sailor outfit and get ready to party.
– Hit the liveliest club in town – Club Deep. Probably the only club in a cave you’ve been to! In pirate attire of course.
– Have a cocktail and watch the sun go down at Massimo Cocktail Bar. Be careful of the edge.
– Visit the Gothic-Renaissance style St. Mark’s Cathedral in the centre of town. The whole town is just full of amazing Gothic architecture so go for a stroll and explore.
The best way to see the islands off the main land is via a cruise and I would highly recommend them. In a limited number of days you really get to see the whole coastline and its beauty. But I would 100% recommend the Explorer young professionals tour instead :) Have an ice cream for me and enjoy all that the old cities have to offer.