Croatia outdid all expectations.
We spent an incredible 2 weeks in August 2015 split between Dubrovnik and the island of Sîpan – part of the Elafiti archipelago in the south of the country. The weather was ideal, not too hot at 28°-30°C, especially with the island breeze.
- The hype of unspoilt Mediterranean did not disappoint.
The beaches are far cleaner than the tourist traps on the French Riviera for example. The sea could easily have been mistaken for a swimming pool if weren’t for the fish which we took great pleasure in chasing around with our snorkels.
The word that comes to mind when I think back to Croatia is fertile. It was so green, everywhere we looked there were fig and lemon trees, miles of vineyards and olive groves. It made a welcome change from some other holiday destinations where hot weather seems synonymous with arid landscape.
2. The food – We ate very well, every meal was a delight, although be warned grilled fish with garlic and potatoes is the leitmotif of most menus. Highlights included wild pork stew in plum sauce, monkfish medallions and squid ink risotto.
Croatian wine is a growing contender in the European viniculture industry. We found a particularly delicious wine bar in the centre of Dubrovnik offering cheese platter pairings for a very reasonable price.
- Sîpan island was awfully romantic, the perfect combination of remote but friendly. There were plenty of good restaurants and bars, a stroll across the island takes 2 hours and there are a handful of old churches and forts to explore along the way. The ferry back to the mainland stops at some of the other islands along the way including Lopud which is renowned for its beautiful sandy beaches.
Dubrovnik itself is breathtaking. Aside from serving as a mecca for all the Games of Thrones fans, the city is very rich in history and culture. Beautifully preserved despite the war, the guided tours as well as walk around the city wall is a must. Its location is also a wonderful base to travel from and we took advantage of one of the many day trips to Mostar in Bosnia Herzegovina, which was very moving.
If the city centre is too expensive, there are accommodation options in the charming town of Mlini which is only a short bus/ sea taxi ride away.
All in all, this beautiful country definitely warrants a visit. Unpretentious and historic Croatia has a lot to offer to tourists on any budget.
Have you visited Dubrovnik? Feel free to share your experiences below!