Dave and I love Croatian culture – it’s where we spent our honeymoon and was the very first stop on the world trip that turned us into digital nomads. We love it because it’s got everything the big four European destinations – France, Italy, Greece and Spain – have, but also so much more that you could want from a holiday destination.
Hot summer months, a sun-spattered coastline, lush natural areas, ancient monuments, unique cuisine and a vibrant cultural scene.
But what really sets Croatia apart is its extraordinary history and culture. So while it’s important to have some time in the sun, if you visit make sure to lap up some Croatian culture.
Croatian culture’s touch of history
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, there’s a good chance you’ll already be familiar with Dubrovnik, a city on Croatia’s southern coast that is famous for its medieval walls and distinctive terracotta-roofed stone buildings.
History buffs can get their fix by walking the formidable city walls, visiting the spectacular Cathedral of the Assumption and touring the Gothic-Renaissance Dominican monastery. This was was built in the 14th century and houses an impressive selection of religious artworks.
Less well-known but just as fascinating is Porec, an ancient Roman town on the Istrian coast that is home to a World Heritage site (the mosaic-studded Euphrasian Basilica), the ruins of a Roman temple and three Venetian towers that date back to the 15th century.
Croatian future is fine dining
Croatia is a country that straddles the Mediterranean, Central Europe and Eastern Europe. All three influences can be found within its varied cuisine.
Specialities include a home-cured ham called pršut, a strong, hard cheese called paški sir, schnitzel, roasted lamb, goulash, pasta and seafood – but they’re also big fans of pizza.
The heartiest and most traditional cuisine can be found in the north of the country, including the capital Zagreb, while lighter seafood dishes (and more tourist-friendly food) will be popular along coastal resorts.
Top recommendations include a plate of traditional štrukli (pastry squares filled with cheese) at La Struk in Zagreb, some fresh seafood at Konoba Matejuška in Split, and succulent slow-cooked lamb at Blidinje in Dubrovnik. Absolutely delicious!
Croatian culture in the Natural Landscapes
Many people who holiday to Croatia will cite the stunning coastlines as their main attraction. But this is not just a destination for committed sunbathers.
Head south from Pula, a lively coastal resort home to some excellent hotels and holiday villas which you can find pretty easily with accommodation sites like Villa Plus. You’ll come to Kamenjak National Park, a gorgeous, uninhabited cape speckled with wild flowers and fruit trees and home to pebbled beaches, secluded swimming spots and numerous walking trails.
To the east of Pula, and easily accessed from the city of Zadar, lies the breathtaking Plitvice Lakes National Park.
This heavily forested area is home to 16 lakes, which are connected over a vast area by a network of waterfalls and cascades. Short visits are possible using the park’s buses and boats, but the truly dedicated can tour the whole park on foot in six hours.
Just don’t forget your camera!
Have you been to Croatia yet?
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