Croatia had always been a place of intrigue for me, a richly historical country, which due to its past, has not always been an easily accessible holiday destination to us Brits.
Blessed with an amazing 5,835km of coastline, 4,057km of which belongs to islands, cliffs and reefs. There are 1,185 islands in the Adriatic, but only about 50 are populated. The largest island is Krk, other islands include Hvar, Brac, Korcula and Pag.
If I had it my way I would spend my whole life travelling, but for now I can get my fix by getting away as often as work allows and on a budget. Croatia is a mixed bag when it comes to the type of holiday it offers, depending on what you are looking for, there is something to cater for most tastes and age groups. From the party island of Pag to the sleepy hideaways and hidden coves of Korcula, and Hvar which has been described as a mini St Tropez, where you can while away hours at a harbour front bar gazing at the huge Yachts and rich folk who meander about on deck (This experience is recommended with a cocktail in hand of course!)
The great thing about Croatia for me was the fact that there are hardly any package holidays available, it forces you to plan your own adventure. More often than not Mike (my boyfriend) and I actually booked accommodation when we arrived so that we could be a little impulsive and decide where to go depending on how we felt. This however doesn’t have to be the way you do it, and if you do your research you can easily book accommodation online before you leave the UK.
Of course, the best way to experience the islands is to charter your very own yacht, but if like myself, it’s a little out of your price range then getting from one island to another is easy enough if you plan ferry times in advance. We managed to travel between islands for around £6-£10 each on the ferries depending on how far it was. They are very pleasant, with large roof decks for sunbathing and as it is one of the only ways to island hop, found that most other tourists were doing the same.
The first island we visited was Pag, which is known as one of the more lively islands. I was shocked to find miles and miles of underdeveloped and beautifully untouched coastline, and restaurants serving fresh fish, often caught by their own fishing boats. This is a theme that runs throughout Croatia, it reminded me of what perhaps Greece or Spain would have looked like years ago.
Hvar was my favourite place in Croatia, it is fast becoming the place to be for the trendy and chic with the likes of George Clooney, Eva Longoria and Daniel Craig visiting to name a few, however we discovered a side to it that was absolutely charming and beautifully honest. Often being described as a miniature Monaco or St Tropez, there really is a mix of young people and old, rich and not so rich.
The great thing about Hvar is, that you can choose to spend vast amounts of money on Champagne cocktails and fine dining or you can buy a bottle of local wine and sit in the square watching the live music acts that perform every night.
Dubrovnik is a beautiful old city, which again embraces the mix of old and new, with ancient and breathtaking architecture, quiet by day and bustling by night. It really is an experience not to be missed, an amazing place to go with friends, family or in a couple for good food and amazing live music, particularly Jazz.
For anyone who wants a holiday with a bit of a difference, Croatia has a lot to offer, I definitely feel as though I barely scratched the surface in my two weeks there, and cant wait to go back!
EasyJet and Ryanair both operate flights to Croatia starting at around £20 in low season (Oct – April) and £100 in high season (May-Sept)