With approximately 1,200 islands, azure waters and picturesque villages rich in history, Croatia attracts more and more travellers to its shores. Despite spending the last decade as Europe’s fastest-rising holiday destination, Croatia still doesn’t feel like a place that has been thoroughly worked over by the tourist industry. With new developments kept on a human scale and businesses retaining a pronounced local flavour, the Adriatic coast emphatically retains a unique character. Whether you’re interested in unspoiled Mediterranean islands, edgy urban culture, Game of Thrones location tours or simply splashing around in the Adriatic’s famously clear waters, Croatia is a place to discover many different landscapes and experiences.
Croatia’s extraordinary island-speckled coastline is indisputably its main attraction. The first thing that strikes you is the clarity of the water. When it’s set against a dazzling white pebbly beach, it sparkles with a jewel-like intensity in shades of emerald and sapphire. There are long sandy and shingly stretches too – perfect for lazy days spent lounging and devouring trashy holiday novels. If that all sounds too relaxing, there are myriad water-based activities at hand to lure you off your sun-lounger – snorkelling, diving, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing, just for starters. Shift your gaze for just a moment from the glittering waters, and chances are an almighty mountain will loom into view.
The Dinaric Alps, which stretch all the way from Italy to Albania, hug much of the coast. The limestone karst has bequeathed a wonderland of craggy peaks, caverns, river canyons, waterfalls and ridiculously picturesque lakes. Head further inland and things flatten out again into rolling farmland. Active types will find plenty of chances to get it on the numerous hiking and biking trails – while the more adventurous can have a go at rock climbing, rafting and zip lining.