At the beginning of September, we spent a week island hopping Croatia and it was one of the best weeks we have had since we started travelling almost 6 months ago. Although Croatia has definitely gained popularity in the last few years, it is still underrated and deserves much more credit than it gets. It has the best of all worlds, and below we will give you our 5 reasons to add Croatia to your bucketlist.
The first thing you will notice about Croatia is the unbelievably clear water. The water is clean, clear and incredibly blue. Although most beaches are made up of small pebbles, we found them very comfortable and it’s always much less messy than sandy beaches. Croatia beaches are perfect for sunbathing, snorkeling, swimming, and for the more adventurous, cliff jumping. We were lucky enough to get perfect weather every single day we were there and all our days were spent by the ocean. If you are looking for a beach vacation, you simply cannot go wrong with Croatia.
The first island we visited was the island of Braç. We stayed in the town of Bol where you can find the famous Zladni Rat beach. This beach once won “best beach in Europe” and it is easy to see why. The water is incredibly clear, there is a bar with music playing on the beach, and you are surrounded by incredible views since you can see other islands in the distance. If there is one beach to visit in Croatia, it is this one. In Bol we also visited Ruza Beach, and it was also pretty top-notch.
The second island we visited was Hvar. The island of Hvar is full of amazing beaches but due to limited time and, honestly, after 2 months of travelling, energy, we only visited one beach: Pokonji Dol. One of the main reasons we stuck with the beach for 2 days is the cliff jumping area. It has a rocky shore perfect for jumping into the pristine Adriatic sea. This beach also has a little bar and coffee shop on the beach where you can get some refreshments.
One more aspect that added major bonus points for us was the fact that there were outdoor gyms near most of the popular beaches. It was so great to be able to get a good workout in before spending the day at the beach.
One of the best surprises during our week in Croatia was the food. After over a month of heavy (although so delicious) Greek and Italian food, the Croatian cuisine which mostly consisted of grilled meat and roasted vegetables, in our experience, was a welcomed change of pace. We were able to eat very well for a decent price. The restaurant scene was slightly more expensive than we expected on the islands we visited, but it always came with great value. We were also lucky enough to be able to rent small apartments and have access to full kitchens so we cooked our own food a lot. The grocery stores well very affordable and they had amazing pre-marinated meats, which made our lives a lot easier.
When you step off the ferry in Hvar, or enter the old town in Dubrovnik, you’ll immediately feel as if you’ve travelled back in time to the medieval period. The majority of the buildings are massive and are made of pure stone. It’s not hard to picture yourself on the set of Game Of Thrones when adventuring through these areas.
The other thing to notice in Croatia is how beautiful their marinas are. The island towns, as well as Dubrovnik, are built around a port, and based on where you are, they vary in size and types of boats. For example, the port in Bol is a small bay with several dozen little fishing boats anchored next to the walkways.
It’s a lovely place to sit and have a coffee by the water! In Hvar, the harbor is filled with massive luxury Yachts that are immediately adjacent to the walkway. It’s very cool to walk past them and not so subtly peep in to each boat. You can also walk up the Hvar’s castle which overlooks the entire town, port, as well as the surrounding islands.
We know it’s probably pretty obvious, but appreciating Croatia’s architecture doesn’t come without walking Dubrovnik’s incredible wall. This stone wall surrounds the entire old town, and gives you an impeccable view of the city and the ocean. Seeing as it is the number one attraction in Dubrovnik, we highly recommend getting there as early as possible. We got there 20 minutes before opening and got our tickets when the doors opened at 8:00am. By 9:30, the beginning of the walk was absolutely crammed with people.
Although we did not take part in too much of the nightlife, you can easily tell by walking through the town in the evening that Croatia’s nightlife reputation is well earned. Especially in Hvar, there are nightclubs and outdoor bars all along the water. Even during a 6 a.m jog, you will most likely stumble upon people returning from party boats or nightclubs (speaking from experience). The only bar we went to in Croatia was called the Hula-Hula beach bar and it is famous for having the best sunset view on the island. The drinks are overpriced but if you want to party it is definitely the place to be on Hvar island at sunset.
5.Croatia Overall Vibe
After all is said and done, the vibe on the Croatian islands is hard to beat. Laid-back during the day and very lively in the evening. You can spend your entire week relaxing by the beach just as easily as you can spend it doing boat tours, driving around the islands, hiking to amazing viewpoints and cliff jumping into emerald water. Croatia really is a perfect European summer destination. It is also more affordable and less crowded than many other popular countries.
Thanks for reading!
Lots of Love,
Ben and Bianca