10 Things to Know About Croatia

Tuesday, 9 August 2016 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Croatia has exploded as one of the top summer travel destinations in Europe. I'm not surprised. It's stunningly beautiful and still relatively affordable. I've been there for the past nine years straight (plus, I was born there).

Part of the allure of travel is, of course, having new, unique and memorable experiences. Things are not like home, and that’s the whole point!

Here are a few things to know when travelling to Croatia, things that may not be quite like home.

  1. Croatia’s water is as crystal bluey/green and as warm as the Caribbean. Breathtaking. Truly one of the highlights of going. On my bucket list? A sailing trip through the islands.IMG_5146
  2. The beaches are predominantly pebble. And when I say pebble, I’m being generous. The rocks can be fist-sized or larger. It can make beach strolls and going for a dip in the sea a bit uncomfortable. (Plus, there can be tons of sea urchins in the water.) I wear flip flops swimming but most beach towns also sell water shoes. You will want to invest in one or the other.IMG-20130710-00713
  3. The country is still a smokers’ paradise. Great for smokers, but really painful for the rest of us. People light up all over the place, including right beside you at the restaurant or beach.  It’s gross.  The sensitive few will get up and smoke outside the restaurant, but they’re in the minority.  (It’s the same in many other European countries.)
  4. Speaking of restaurants, most salads don’t come with dressing. The waiter will bring oil and vinegar to the table and you’ll be expected to make your own. I like to ask for olive oil and balsamic, which is usually of higher quality. They have it stashed in the back.IMG_8904
  5. There are delicious bakeries everywhere and I highly recommend you stop in for a pastry or a traditional “burek” – phyllo stuffed with cheese, spinach or meat or a combination. If you want to buy some bread, they will sell it by half loaf.  (Pola kruha!) The fresh (preservative free) bread doesn’t last long so I like to purchase it in smaller quantities.url
  6. Service with a smile hasn’t really caught on everywhere yet. If you are staying somewhere for a while, try to make friends with the wait staff at your favourite haunts and leave a tip. Not many do and it makes a huge difference.FullSizeRender
  7. The highways are, by and large, excellent. And the signage is also exemplary. I rarely have to crack open a map or power up the GPS.
  8. When you see an FKK sign, that means a nudist camp. Enter at your own risk! 🙂 In my neck of the woods, the FKK is at one of the most beautiful beaches.  (My apologies, I can’t for the life of me find a photo. I think that’s because pulling out a camera at the nudist beach is usually frowned upon!) To visit, you don’t have to gear down but you may be asked to pay an entrance fee. Try not to stare and enjoy your day at the beach!
  9. The people are tall. Like really tall. I’m 5’8″ and I feel like a shrimp. Ladies, I’d say bring your heels except that you might twist an ankle on those slippery stone  streets.
  10. It’s a super awesome place. I hope you have a chance to visit and enjoy all beauty and history Croatia has to offer. Be sure to send me pictures! IMG_5273
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  • BrainofMorbius

    What’s the native language, or the one most commonly spoken? Croatian? Or is it one of those countries in Europe where most people speak the native language plus English or Spanish fairly well? (Just wondering about the language barrier you may be encountering in your travels through Europe, both written and spoken – I imagine you had similar issues elsewhere?)

    That’s one thing that people don’t seem to talk about much who go to Europe from NA (for instance, Rick Steves doesn’t seem to make much mention of the language barrier in his shows for all the European countries).

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Hi there,
      They – and I – speak Croatian. But many Croatians also know German, English and Italian too!

      • BrainofMorbius

        Thank ye, M’Lady. =)