Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Croatia, the Pearl of Adriatic Sea. - A place to include in Your Bucket List

Now a days Indian travellers are frequently travelling to European destinations. However, most of them limit themselves to main Europe countries like Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, etc. Some do visit eastern Europe, which in most cases is confined to visiting Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary.

Most of us do not know about or overlook the other countries of eastern Europe. Those countries were part of erstwhile Soviet bloc and thus it was impossible to travel to these countries. That makes these countries unique as very few have been there from India

Being the erstwhile soviet bloc countries does not mean they lack history, culture or natural beauty. They are blessed with everything that is a tourist’s delight, Nature, Islands, Coasts and Historic Monument. The best part is, they are still relatively unexplored and economical as compared to other parts of Europe including traditional Eastern Europe circuit of Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary.

This region has everything that we wish to see and everything that we wish to do. Let it be beaches, hills, historic sites, building, monuments or "wow" lakes and national forests.


We will discuss Croatia in this blog. Croatia is a country on the coast of charming blue Adriatic Sea. It is situated in central and southeastern Europe. It was part of Yugoslavia an erstwhile Eastern Bloc country. After the collapse of USSR, Croatia became an independent country after a bloody war in Balkans which gave birth to many countries in that area.

A caution is in order, Croatians don’t like talking about this period of their history and it is better avoided unless some locals start the topic. Best time to visit Croatia is May-Jun and Sept-Oct though July and August are tourist season. Visiting Croatia in May-Jun or Sept-Oct has two advantages, one you can do all activities and there are not many tourists as this is the Cusp.

Croatia has a long coast of 1777 km on the picturesque Adriatic Sea which has turquoise blue water. Visiting major places in Croatia can take about ten days but if someone really wants to get soaked in the country, the sky is the limit for stay duration. 

Destinations that can be visited in Croatia are:-

- Vis
- Istria
- Zagreb
- Brac Island
- Brijuni National Park
- Plitavic Lakes and National Park
- Hvar island
- Split
- Zadar
- Rijeka
- Korcula
- Dubrovnik

And many more.

In this blog, we will discuss some of the popular destinations in Croatia. Let us get going----

Zagreb – The capital city of Croatia is inland, unlike most other places which are on the coast. The places worth visiting in Zagreb are Zagreb zoo, Cathedral of Zagreb, Dolac Market, Tag Bana Jelacica, Archaeological Museum, Lotr Scak Tower, St Marks Chruch, St Catherin’s Church. Bar Street (closer to Tag Bana Jelacica Street) is the place to visit for the nightlife. Here are some photos to give you a glimpse of Zagreb (All Photos Courtesy the Internet)

Zagreb Cathedral

Arcades Monument, Mirojog Cemetry

Moses Statue, Jewish Section of Mirojog Cemetry

Zagreb Opera House

St Mark's Church

Stone Angle

Zagreb Museum of Art

Zagreb Art Pavilion


Plitvice lakes and Plitvice lakes National Park. This is situated on the north-south road that connects inland places like Zagreb to the Adriatic coast. It is a perfect place for a day trip from Zagreb or a stopover between Zagreb and Coast or if one wants to enjoy this place to the full, stay options are available. Zagreb to Zadar is about 300 km and a road trip from Zagreb to Plitvice and then to Zadar is easily feasible. Here are some of the images from the Internet. If they don't motivate you to visit Piltavic, nothing else can.

Zadar. It is one of the prominent Seaside towns on Adriatic coast north of Split and Dubrovnik. There are historic places to visit in Zadar. There are activities that can be done like Sailing in the Adriatic Sea, etc. However, the best thing to experience is Sea Organ which is on the coast and Monument to the Sun which absorbs sun rays through the day and becomes illuminated dance floor by the night. Seaborne activities are also common in all seaside towns. Saharun is one of the famous beaches of Zadar. Here are some snaps from Zadar clicked by Pranay Datar. Enjoy.

Five Well's Square

Church of St Donatus

Gradski Most (Gradski Bridge)

Sea Organ
 Sea Organ in Operation

Street of Zadar

A View of Zadar City
Split.  Riva is the harbour of Split. With palm trees, colourful buildings, and views out to the Adriatic Sea, this is a popular waterfront for a stroll and spending a nice time in the evening, Fruit Square is a popular square rooted in the Croatian history. This is the place where history meets life as it is full of cafes, bars, etc. People’s Square is the main square of the old town Cafes and restaurants spill out into the square.
 Another landmark is  Diocletian’s Palace which was built in 305 AD for the Roman Emperor Diocletian. This palace complex sits in the centre of the Old Town of Split. , Cathedral of St Domnius situated in the palace. This was completed in the 7th century AD. It is recommended that for the best view over the city, climb the Bell Tower of this cathedral. Other places worth visit are  Split Archaeological Museum, Marjan Hills and Klis Fortress. To introduce Split to the readers, adding some photos clicked by Pranay Datar.

A view of the City from Bell Tower

Another City View

Diocletian’s Palace, A Game of Thorne location

Another view of Diocletian’s Palace (GOT)

Inside Diocletian’s Palace (GOT)

Saint Domnius Bell Tower

Slit City Gate (GoT Location)

Statue of Gregory of Nin

A Street of Split

Sunset over Split (from Bell Tower)

Bell Tower and Chapel of Holy Amir

Riva Water Front
Hvar. This is an island town suitable for a day trip from Split. However, it has much more to offer if one loves to swim in azure blue water, love to visit quaint villages and towns in this island and love the water, one can spend a few days (someone spent up to six weeks in Hvar). There is so much to do there. One can visit Pakleni Island, for what else but swimming. 
Spanjola is another place worth a visit. Its a 13th-century fortress built on the remains of a 6th-century fortification is worth a visit. The bird's eye view that you can get from Spanjola Fortress (Hvar Fort) is worth the efforts of going there. Stari Grad, a town on this island also is charming and is good for a visit. Here are a few glimpses of Hvar.

Biskupski Museum

Boy Statue

Central Square

Hvar Town

Port of Hvar

Pristine Waters of Hvar

A Street in Hvar

Sunset at the port of Stary Grad

Korcula. Its is an island with much of it covered with dense forest medieval town with a fort, old town, etc. The town also has the same name, Korcula town. It’s a very small but beautiful town inside the fortification. In fact, the entry to the town is from Fort gates.  Its at least about a two-hour boat ride away from Split and Dubrovnik, two major cities on mainland Croatia. 

While the town is beautiful and medieval, it has relatively few sites like St Mark’s Church, Marco Polo’s house, museum, etc. However, being away from the mainland means fewer tourists which also means peace and tranquillity. It is suitable for slow travellers who believe in not rushing through ticking off destinations by spending little time there and love to stay and enjoy their time peacefully. For traditional travellers, it can be skipped or it could be a day trip from Split or Dubrovnik.  Here are a few views of Korcula taken from the internet.

Aerial view of Korcula

Korcula Town

Sailing in the Adriatic Sea
 Dubrovnik. One of the most popular seaside town of Croatia and therefore one of the most touristy place. In fact, on the Adriatic coast of Croatia, as much north one goes, the crowd thins out and as one head south on the coast, crowds increase. The old town of Dobrovnik is where most places worth visit are. It is a perfectly preserved Mediaeval town. 

The city wall, one of the major attractions incircles the old town. Other attractions are Knezev Dvor palace and Palace Sponza. The old town also has the Church of Saint Saviour, Dubrovnik Cathedral and Sveti Vlaho or St Blaise (the patron saint of this place) church. Stradun is the main street of the Old Town. Other such places are Gundulic Square and Luza Square. Other monuments include Orlando's column. Jesuit Stairs, Bell-tower, etc. Enjoy this place in photos.

Central Street, Old Town

The City at Night

Old Port at Night

Lovrijenac as seen from the Harbour (GOT Location)

Lovrijenac as seen from the tourist centre

The rampart of the Fort

City view from Porporla Light House

City View from the Fort Wall

A View of the Walled City

Magnificant Walls of the Fort

Weat Harbour
The 10 nights / 11 days trip gets roughly divided as under-

Zagreb - 2 Nights (Plitvice on day three on the way to Zadar)
Zadar - 3 Nights
Split - 3 nights (including excursions to Hvar, etc)
Dubrovnik - 2 Nights

A short programme would cover fewer destinations. For Example (Six Nights Seven Days) -

Zagreb - 2 Nights
Zadar - 2 Nights
Split or Dubrovnik - 2 Nights

Another alternative could be

Split - 4 Nights (including Plitvice day trip)
Dubrovnik - 2 Nights

I am sure this blog has given you an insight into Croatia and has brought this country to your travel list. For those who trust us to assign their tours to us, do visit us at www.happystepstravels.com