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One of the hottest spots in Europe today is Croatia and Aussies are flocking to this amazing country on the Adriatic Sea like seagulls to a chip! And with good reason too. With heaps of attractions, an incredible climate and ancient European history, this is one county that should not be missed on your backpacker adventure or holiday.
This may be a small country but they pack a lot of fun in one little area, so get warmed up because there’s a lot to see and do. Here are just some of the great adventures in store.
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Ok, let’s ask the obvious question first. What’s the scene like? Well, Croatia is a party nation and known for its excellent handcrafted beer – and who doesn’t love a good beer, right? There are loads of bars and clubs spinning the tunes to the small hours throughout the country. For a more mellow time be sure to check out the trendy pubs within the ancient old city of Dubrovnik overlooking the stunning coastline and sample a local lager.
2. Café Culture
Croatia has a Mediterranean feel so it’s no surprise that you’ll find great outdoor cafes and corner bistros with the best coffee to kick start you in the morning or any time of day. Check out Zagreb’s British Square and weekend markets on your way to the close by Eliscaffe for some of the best coffee anywhere.
3. Walls of Dubrovnik
The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, situated on the Dalmatian coast, Dubrovnik became an important Mediterranean sea power from the 13th century onwards. Although severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. Damaged again in the 1990s by armed conflict, it is now the focus of a major restoration program co-ordinated by UNESCO. Centuries old, the walls of Dubrovnik will take you back to the Middle Ages. Complete with towers and forts, the stone walls encircle the old city and stretch for almost two kilometers. Once used as a defensive fortification, the walls today are one of Croatia’s biggest and most important historic sites.
4. Hvar City and the Paklinski Islands
Hvar has one of the most beautiful harbors in all of Europe. The gorgeous and historic little harbor contains the nearby Paklinski Islands just off shore which are popular for swimming, diving, boating and fishing. This is the perfect place for a Mediterranean style holiday. The sea is visible from the city square and the all night club scene in Hvar City are a big hit with international visitors.
5. Pula Arena
Even if you’re not a lover of history, you can’t help but be blown away by the two thousand year old Pula Arena. This incredible stone amphitheater of Roman architecture is one of the best preserved ancient sites in all of Europe. The site was used for blood thirsty gladiator and convict combats up to the fifth century.
6. Temple of Augustus
This exceptionally preserved Roman temple was dedicated to the first Roman emperor, Augustus and is over two thousand years old. That’s pretty amazing when you consider that the oldest buildings in Australia are maybe 150 years old. Located in Pula not far from the gladiator arena, it’s the perfect chance to check out the rare Roman structures that still stand.
7. Diocletian’s Palace
This stunning walled palace on the AdriaticCoast is in the heart of Split and contains the city’s most historic sites. These centuries old Roman structures still stand strong and incredibly many are used for shops and homes. Be sure not to miss this centuries old site because it’s one of the most treasured places in the entire Adriatic and Mediterranean region.
8. Zlatni Rat
Wow, if you’re a beach lover you’ll have to make your way to the Zlatni Rat beach on the southern coast of the island of Brac. If you’re an adventure lover this is a great place for windsurfing and swimming. To entice you further, several of the western areas are clothing optional. Definitely a fun place to chill and enjoy the blue Adriatic waters.
9. Krka National Park
What adventurous backpacker wouldn’t love a good hike? Located in the Krka National Park just north of the city of Sibenik, the Krka River is 73km long and has some amazing river path hiking trails. The river is known for its many waterfalls and pristine forest lined banks as well as two historic monasteries nearby.
10. Sipan Island
When the history, clubbing and nightlife have gotten the best of you, it’s time to head to the islands with your new found Croatian mates. Sipan, located just 17km northwest of Dubrovnik is the largest of the Elaphiti Islands with a population of less than 800. The stunning village with its stone facades, quaint harbor and amazing coastline offer a relaxing getaway among palm trees and lush gardens. Ahh, time to chill with some of that famous Croatian beer and wine!
As you can see, there is so much to do in this pint size country, but what they lack in size they make up for in substance.
If you’re up for an adventure this country is a great backpacker destination, easy to navigate, reasonably cheap and one that’s still slightly under the radar of most mainstream tourists – but not for long so enjoy while you can and head to Student Flights for more travel advice on Croatia.Author: Todd Sturm+ enjoys being out in nature and uncovering local history when traveling. Whether it’s at home or when traveling, Todd enjoys the simple pleasures – a glass of wine, good bread and cheese and great company in a beautiful historic setting – al fresco of course!