One of my all-time favorite destinations, Croatia has everything that makes for a fantastic vacation – gorgeous beaches, amazing food, friendly people, city life, night life and wild life – and to top it off, 5 UNESCO heritage sites in the country. It’s hard to believe this country only regained its independence in 1991, after the break up of Yugoslavia.

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The red rooftops of Dubrovnik

June through August is the best time to visit Croatia. Having said that, it is also the busiest time of year, when all other tourists are thinking the same thing. If you hate crowds and sharing the beaches with throngs of other people, planning a visit in early September lets you avoid most of the craziness while still getting nice weather and a chance to dip in the warm Adriatic. If you don’t mind the crowds, then August is your best bet for sun and fun.

What’s really great about Croatia is that it can be a destination for a romantic getaway AND a fun vacation with your friends. Here, some highlights:

Dubrovnik

No trip to Croatia is truly complete without climbing the medieval ramparts and the Walls of Dubrovnik. This UNESCO Heritage site is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean and for good reason. Built between the 13th to 16th centuries, much of the original fortification is still intact today. Walk along the walls and marvel in the stunning architecture and breathtaking views. You will not be disappointed!

And Game of Thrones fans, you can even take a tour of the fictional(?) 😉 city of King’s Landing and follow in the footsteps of Arya.

If you have time, I also highly recommend taking the cable car up to the top of the city for a gorgeous panoramic view.

Dubrovnik

Enjoying the stunning view of Dubrovnik from the City Walls

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View from atop the cable car

Plitvice Lakes

This beautiful UNESCO Heritage site and national park is famous for its 16 interlinked crystal-clear turquoise lakes and endless cascading waterfalls. You can spend anywhere from an hour to the entire afternoon walking around the heavily forested park. A complete circuit around the park will take about 4 hours, depending on how often you stop to admire and photograph the views.

You cannot swim in the lakes but how I wish we can! We enjoyed the lakes so much, we went back the next day for another visit.

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The water is simply stunning and oh-so-inviting!

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Enjoying all the colors of the park

Plitvice

Split

The second largest city in Croatia and one of the oldest in the area, early settlements of Split dates back to the 4th century BCE. Located in the Central Dalmatia region of the country right on the Adriatic, it makes for a beautiful setting as well as a transport hub to many of the nearby islands.

Discover Diocletian’s Palace, a stunning Roman ruin and UNESCO Heritage site and wander the many alleyways. Climb up the bell tower and watch the sunset descend on this bustling seaside town.

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View overlooking the Split sunset from the bell tower

Split

Top of the bell tower at Diocletian’s Palace

Hvar Town

Just a one-hour boat ride away from Split takes you to Hvar Island, the country’s most popular destination alongside Dubrovnik.  With great restaurants, bars, shops, nightlife and beaches, Hvar Town, the capital of this island, has something for everyone. Soak in the sun on one of the many beaches, unwind with a drink in hand at the Hula-Hula Bar at sunset and let the music lead you to one of the many clubs after dark.

Treating Your Taste Buds

  • Prsut: Prosciutto – ideally fresh from the local butcher shop
  • Paski sir: Goat cheese
  • Lobster linguini
  • Pasta with truffles
  • Orada na zaru: Dorada on grill
  • Pasticada: Local Dalmatian specialty of stewed beef
  • Clams or shrimp in buzara sauce
  • Mussels
Hvar

Hvar Town with friends Susan and Yoli

Mussels

Mmmm fresh mussels

Zlatni Rat Beach on Brač Island

Grab your sunscreen and soak up the sun on this famous white pebble beach on Brač Island. It’s unique shape jests out like a tongue on the sea and the vast array of blues and greens make it one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve been.

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Taking a dip in the Adriatic at Zlatni Rat Beach 

Photo source globo-travel.com

Trogir

Set in medieval walls, this charming pocket-sized town and UNESCO World Heritage site is an easy day trip from Split and definitely worth seeing. Meander the tiny alleyways, find quaint little shops and take in the fascinating medieval architecture.

Trogir

Picturesque Trogir