I never would have thought my favorite country on my seven month journey would be Croatia. After all I’ve seen and done, my most relaxing days were the ones spent at a cute little hostel right on the Adriatic, just a few kilometers south of Split. Croatia is, in my opinion, one of the best destinations for relaxation. The beautiful scenery combined with super-friendly people and cheap food make Croatia a can’t miss country!
The Dalmatian Coast is known for it’s crystal-clear water, cobblestone city streets, cliffs, islands, coves, and amazing sunsets.
While tourism is a huge industry in Croatia, the cities are not overrun quite yet. The northern city of Zadar is a popular starting
point for a Dalmatian Coast trip.
The cobble-stoned old town center can be reached by a pedestrian bridge. You’ll find Roman Ruins and Byzantine buildings intermingled with coffee shops and gelaterias. There are also some great modern touches like the sea organ that uses the sea waves to push air up through pipes as well as the “Greeting to the Sun” art installation.
From Zadar you can begin island hopping or head straight down to Split. Here you’ll find massive cruise ships, a beautiful harbor, Diocletian’s Palace, museums, markets, coffee shops, and hip clothing stores. Split is a great place to relax and mingle with locals and tourists at restaurants and bars.
All along the coast you can find great hostels and hotels right on the water. And I mean, right on the water. The backdoor of our favorite hostel looked directly out to the sea. There were comfy lawn chairs and a diving board. Nearly every guest who came through extended their stay. We were no exception. We just couldn’t pull ourselves away!
Staying at these kinds of places are a great way to get away from the cruise ship crowds and get a taste of the culture. The little village where we stayed was full of fishermen, cute little old ladies, happy kids, decaying boats, and figs drying on the patios.
Our favorite few weeks there were spent doing absolutely nothing. You tend to save money on laundry and food when you only change from your pajamas to a bathing suite and eat fresh fruit, meat, cheese, bread, and beer for days on end!
Moving further south, Dubrovnik is also a very lovely place with beaches, massive city walls, winding streets, and narrow staircases. But there is a downside to this ancient maritime stronghold: cruise ships. The place is crawling with cruise day-trippers. Definitely stay a few days and wander around inside the city walls after hours. There are a couple of nice, rocky beaches, canoeing and rafting outings, and boat trips to some smaller beach islands.
Our trip to Croatia was a pleasant surprise. We’d heard great things, but it far surpassed our expectations. It is now one of my favorite countries, and I am compelled to spread the gospel. Make Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast your next European destination.