If you like your Fantasy / Drama TV Shows, you may be more familiar with Croatia than you thought; with its stunning medieval architecture and beautiful backdrop, Dubrovnik was the setting for two seasons of Game of Thrones.
With sapphire coastlines dotted with clusters of islands and historic towns with winding streets, there is plenty to explore in this charming country.
Language and Currency
The official language is Croatian, but you will also find that Czech, German, Hungarian, Italian and Slovak are also quite widely used. The Croatian Kuna (HRK) is the currency used and as of September 2015, the below exchange rates were correct;
- 1 GBP = 10.33 HRK
- 1 USD = 6.77 HRK
- 1 EUR = 7.56 HRK
The weather doesn't vary too much between the north and south of the country, but you'll find towns in the south, such as Split and Trogir do get a little warmer in the summer months.
If you are on the coast or one of the beautiful Islands, typically you can expect around 10 to 12 hours of sunshine each day, with temperatures sitting comfortably at 25'c in summer - with the stunning turquoise Adriatic Ocean waters reaching the same warmth. Rarely do temperatures drop below 0'c - in fact, this happens around once every three years on the Islands!
Head further inland to the mountainous area of Dinara where it ranges from -5'c to 20'c throughout the year - although some of the highest peaks in Dinara remain snow covered all through the year.
Jump on a ferry from Dubrovnik or Split and head over to the Brac Island. Here you will find picturesque beaches where scuba diving is available, guided walking tours where you'll learn plenty about the history of Croatia and it's islands and the Senjkovic Winery, where you can spend a few hours learning about the history of winemaking and get to sample some of their delicious creations.
Back on the Mainland, why not visit one of the country's oldest national parks - the Plitvice Lakes National Park? Choose to explore by foot and you will be taken on a journey on which you can spend upwards of 6 hours wandering through the delightful forests intertwined with 16 sparkling lakes.
If you fancy giving water-sports a go, beaches along the golden coast offer group tours by kayak with snorkelling included to enhance your experience. Speaking of beaches, make sure you head to Girandella Beach where you will find dazzling waters lining the white pebble shore, with the perfect mix of water activities and beach relaxation on offer.
Here you will find a collection of traditional shops offering local crafts and delicacies which make perfect souvenirs, an outdoor market in Split with everything from fresh food to clothing and toys and for a treat, the Kaptol Centar in Zagreb offers everything from designer brands to high-street favourites.
For something a bit more "Croatian" as a memoir, how about an intricate piece of handmade lace to create a pretty centrepiece, or locally made honey and cheese? It's also a great way to support the local economy!
Dining out and Nightlife
When dining out, you will notice that the food is very similar to Italian cuisine - so if you're a fan, then you are in luck! Aside from the usual Pasta dishes, below are a few of the local dishes we recommend you try!
- - Janjetina is a roasted lamb dish garnished with Mediterranean herbs and served with vegetables.
- - Pašticada is a Dalmatian beef stew with, cooked with prunes and dried figs - and don't forget a chunk of kruh to mop up afterwards!
- - Buzzara - is shellfish sautéed in garlic, olive oil, parsley & white wine - served with a crisp glass of Bijelo Vino (white wine)!
- - Palačinke for dessert is a must - pancakes filled with sweet jams; from apricot to plum or raspberry, finished with a dusting of sugar.
- - Međimurska gibanica is a layer cake with apple, poppyseed, walnut and cottage cheese filling.
In terms of nightlife, there is a vast range of options to choose from; quiet wine bars and even Irish pubs adorn the streets, with bigger clubs in the cities. You will also often find local musicians in and around pubs and bars.
Hiring a Car is a great way to get around Croatia. If you choose to do so, take note of the below helpful tips!
- - Visiting between the last weekend in October and the last weekend in March? You must drive with dipped headlights even during the daytime.
- - You must not use a mobile phone whilst driving.
- - Carry a fluorescent vest in your car whilst driving in Croatia - this must be in the car and NOT the boot. Make sure you wear it while attending to a breakdown.
- - All passengers must wear seat belts - you can be fined 500 HRK for not wearing one! and special seats are required for infants. Children under the age of 12 may not sit in the front seat.
Contact the Croatia Tourist Board via their Website for further information on your trip to Croatia. Have a great trip!