Croatia really lived up to my high expectations. It’s clear why tourism is booming in Croatia, there really is something for everyone. I’m going to talk about the places I went and you can decide which place suits you best.
We flew in to Dubrovnik and spent 2 hours there whilst waiting for our bus up to Split. With that in mind I don’t feel like I can accurately comment on it. We went passed the Old Town on the bus from the airport and it looked very busy and touristy, not unlike Split. We ate some delicious sea food in Dubrovnik for our first meal in Croatia which made me excited for things to come given how much I love sea food. I’ve heard good things about Dubrovnik so I would go back but perhaps in the shoulder seasons when it’s less busy.
Sibenik is a cute, quiet small town nestled between Zadar and Split. Because it is between 2 of Croatia’s big players it doesn’t have many tourists. You really do feel off the beaten track but not so far off it that you are in the middle of nowhere. The streets are narrow and winding but unlike other places in Croatia you can actually successfully capture a postcard perfect photo of the streets without people getting in the way. Although the town is small and you can see it all within 2 hours there are islands off the coast of Sibenik that you can get to easily by boat. Our hostel in Sibenik, Globo Hostel, was by far the best hostel we stayed in during our trip to Croatia. Sibenik was perfect for me due to its quieter, more relaxed pace.
Krka National Park
Well as you can probably tell by now I’m not a big fan of other tourists. Krka National Park is impressive but it would have been even more impressive if I’d discovered it 20 years ago before everyone else got to it. That said, it is the type of place that is bursting with so much beauty and exquisiteness that no amount of other tourists could take any of that away from it. The waterfalls are some of the best I’ve seen in the world, the paths are clearly labelled and easy to follow so there’s no chance of getting lost and it’s the type of place that is suitable for both young backpackers(like me and Ryan) or families. This is a place that you’re going to love no matter who you are, don’t believe me? Go see for yourself.
Split is loud, busy, bustling with millions of tourists and has an exciting party scene. I say exciting party scene, this is a presumption made based on the pre going out chatter I overheard from the young girls in our hostel dorm room and the high pitched voices that woke me up when they came in at 3am. Don’t get me wrong, Split is great if you love all of the above. It’s also perfect as a jumping off point for some magnificent islands. 21 year old me would have absolutely loved Split. However, 30 year old partied out me who gets anxious in crowds did not warm to Split.
This was a beautiful, understated island. Slightly more up market than what I’m used to if I’m being honest but not so much that I felt completely out of place. The two main towns, Vis town and Komiza were clean and uncluttered with architecture that was simple yet magnificent. The bays were lined with yachts, boats and bustling outdoor cafes. There were plenty of places that you could go to get insta-worthy scenic photos of the island, although you need to rent a car or taxi to get to those places. Vis island is one of the few places in Croatia that has beaches. The beaches were busy but not in a cheesy tourist way. They were more relaxing with a gentle buzz in the air.
We spent the final day of our trip in Zadar. Zadar is a stunning coastal town like many others in Croatia. It had a fair amount of tourists but not quite as many as Split and Dubrovnik. The locals were friendly and polite. The sea organ was striking. It was so soothing listening to it whilst dangling my feet in the water to cool down and eating fresh watermelon. The winding streets of the old town are the perfect place to get lost in on a warm, sunny day. The outdoor market in the centre of the old town boasts mouth watering fresh fruit in abundance.
In conclusion, you need to go to Croatia. I don’t care who you are, follow my advice and I promise you, you won’t regret it!