Croatia is a top-of-the-list holiday choice for travellers the world over, but with so many jaw-dropping regions and stunning shorelines on offer – where do you start?
From the magical mainland to the idyllic islands, our Product and Purchasing Manager, Jodie Perkins, is sharing all her favourite hotspots and hidden gems to send you on your way…
Zlatni Rat on the Island of Brac is a personal favourite of mine for its distinctive shape resembling a pencil nib, which changes shape depending on the wind and waves. It's decked out with loungers and located on the southern part of Brac. Handily it's just a short drive from many of our villas, like Rasotica in Sumartin. A protected natural area and considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, it's no wonder it's called paradise by all those who visit!
Wherever you go in Croatia you'll find yourself spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches. Over 5,000 kilometres of coastline grace the east edge of the Adriatic Sea, and uniquely for this part of the world – it's mostly untouched and wild! To top if all off, 1,000 islands are speckled across the surrounding sparkling seas, blessed with even more beaches and secluded bays.
Number one on any bucket list is sure to be the famous Old Town City Walls of Dubrovnik. A wonderful UNESCO World Heritage Site, many Game of Thrones fans will feel instantly transported to King's Landing! The thing I love most is the twisting alleys with cobbled stones that weave towards different hidden gems such as trinket-filled shops and hearty-food restaurants. An absolute must when in Croatia is to tuck into a traditional burek from one of the many bakeries. This pastry-come-pie treat is available with a whole host of delicious fillings.
Originating from the Ottoman Empire days Dubrovnik might be quite old, but like all the classics, its timeless charm is difficult to forget. There's lots of festivals and events throughout the year that draw visitors from far and wide. Music concerts, culinary shows, food markets, art exhibitions, and sporting events all find their place on the social calendar. Dubrovnik really is a hub of activity, and the dramatic, defensive walls are just the start…
A little less known, the town of Bale is my personal favourite. Its authentic character and peaceful living is evidenced by the locals – who go about their daily business seemingly unaware that there's even a visitor in their midst. A few select cafés are tucked along stone arch alleyways with seating outside in the fresh Croatian air. I love to sit and immerse myself in the atmosphere and take life a bit slower. Bale is one of Istria's best kept secrets tucked away from the main tourist trail and originates from a Roman settlement with individuality at every turn.
For young and old (and everyone in between) a memorable day out is Istria's number one waterpark: Aquapark Istralandia. Award winning and rated one of the best in Europe, summer vibes are in strong supply! Set close to Novigrad on the west coast, the park boasts 20 adrenaline junkie slides, rubber boats and a wave pool. Every afternoon a foam party for kids and adults rounds the day off nicely.
It's got to be Hvar. Steeped in history with traces evident everywhere, this charismatic island dates all the way back to the Neolithic period. Landscapes are carpeted in pine forests, beautiful lavender fields and fruit orchards – a real taste of authentic island life, with local communities keeping up their daily agricultural practices as usual.
Ancient architecture from the 13th century makes up Hvar's main town settlement, with terracotta-tiled houses all huddled together around a fishing port that's overlooked by a medieval castle. It's a real fantasy land! Secluded swimming spots are scattered along the shoreline, and with no one else around – it feels as though it's reserved just for you.
The town comes alive as soon as the sun sets. Venues buzz and hum with the excitement of holidaymakers, and there's countless bars to enjoy a cocktail and boogie. Hvar can be enjoyed at a slow pace on a long holiday or on a day trip from Split just 2 hours journey from this majestic island.
Rovinj has quite the reputation as Istria's most picturesque fishing town, and it's easy to see why. For the most enviable holiday snaps, be sure to catch a sunset. As the lights go down visitors are almost clapping at the beautiful sight in front of them. The pier is one of the best spots to stand, showing the panorama off to its full potential. The harbour is also a favourite as it lovely to see the boats bobbing up and down against a silent background.
Find your dream villa in Croatia and discover the captivating country for yourself!