- How awesome it is!!!
Coming from Canada I know a total of zero people who went there. I knew nothing about Croatia except that a lot of Polish people go there and love it. Though it’s hard for me to identify my travelling needs with a lot of Poles… the last minute air fare tickets is what convinced me to go. I mean for 400 PLN why not? All I gotta say is DAMN! I did not expect what I saw.
On an even more positive note: It is CHEAP compared to other countries you travel to!
- The views
We visited four places in Croatia: Zadar, Dlugi Otok, Split and Hvar. EVERYWHERE we went were breathtaking views. From the white buildings to the sea to the mountain ranges to the beaches. Everywhere you looked it looked like a postcard.
- The food
One of my favourite things about travelling is the food. Who doesn’t like to be well fed when on vacation? Because we were on the coast we ate quite a bit of seafood but not only. I was shocked about the strong Italian influence (when looking at a map and realizing that Italy is across the sea the shock died down… I really should have paid more attention in geography class) The pasta’s and pizza that we tried were top notch and really inexpensive. Though some places we saw were evident tourist traps we were lucky that all except one place where we ate were amazing.
- The fact that there are few hotels and you stay in apartments
While looking for accommodation in Croatia I was shocked that there were so few hotel options. It seems like hotel chains are limited in the Croatian coast while everyone rents out apartments. This turned out be a great thing because…
- The people
This blew me out of the water. The people we rented out our apartments from were amazing. Each and every one! But the most memorable was the place in Hvar which I recommend everyone to go to! (Vila Fio Hvar) The rooms were simple everywhere we went, though super clean everywhere and in some places questionable WI FI. (which is fine because we were on vacation) Another thing that I loved was that everyone’s English was at a reasonably high level which as a traveler eases the travelling process quite a bit.
Here are some examples of what the owners of the apartments did for us: picked us up from the bus/ferry station, told us about the good restaurants plus party stops, gave us FREE wine, marked on maps the interesting things to see, lent us books, were pleasant and smiling and a number of small things that just made our lives so much easier.
- Remote destinations (where no tourists go…)
The fact that you have super remote areas 1 hour away from Zadar that no one really knows about with one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia. J And we were lucky enough to see it! It was great to be able to travel somewhere that was off the beaten path a little bit. As much as I enjoyed Hvar, Dlugi Otok has a special place in my heart as it’s not made for Tourists. Hvar on the other hand is. And excels at it. (but more on that later)
- The wine (and beer)
Being a fan of wine (and beer) I was surprised about how great both were. Every wine we tried was great and the beer was always cold which made it taste even better than it already was. Who knew that Croatia had such great wine? (Most of my Polish friends did…)
Oh, we also tried their harder alcoholic drink Rakia… It was strong and a bit sweet… meh? Honestly the wine and cold beer won every time.
- The service in restaurants
Now customer service is something that North Americans take for granted. European customer service is what it is. Sometimes you’ll get a smile… sometimes you’ll get a “what the hell do you want” it is what it is. Here I was surprised by almost all the restaurants. Helpful, inviting, warm and SMILING! (the thing I miss most from Canada – other than my family of course)
- Ease of travel
Because we didn’t want to rent out a car we decided to take buses/ferries everywhere we went. The website of the main ferry line (Jadrolinija) is not that great. So we were not sure what to expect. IN all honesty it was a bit odd and the prices were confusing (some bus trips were cheaper than others) we got to all the places we wanted to go to.
Word of warning: the bus terminals may say spot #1 but the bus might be in spot #2 or #3… you just have to ask the driver where he’s going and if this is your bus.
10. How much it reminded me of a more relaxed and laid back Poland
You can see a few similarities between Poland and Croatia… the apartment blocks. The little window that you talk to people at bus stations. The older gentlemen drinking on a bench. The resemblance was clear. Though the biggest difference was the people’s attitude. I think it’s because it’s warmer people tend to be a bit more laid back when they live in warm weather most of the year. (I don’t know if that’s scientifically accurate it’s just what I found from my travels). Though I have a lot of love for Poland I really do wish people smiled more, in Croatia they do.
All in all if you haven’t been to Croatia yet… you should go!