The many beach faces of Croatia
Most holidaymakers that venture to Croatia have one thing on their mind – the beaches. Croatia beach holidays are renowned for their long stretches of pebbly coastlines lapped by waters so blue, you'll think they've been retouched. And there's no shortage of shores down its long western coast, either.
In Croatia, you'll have your pick of beaches, with everything from city-side waterfronts to deserted patches cut with caves that are only reachable by boat, all the way to the array of islands speckling the country's coast.
Croatia's most famous beach – it's also one of the top-rated in the world – is Zlatni Rat, a peculiar-looking triangle beach that juts into the Adriatic Sea and is backed by pine trees. On the island of Brac, it's easily reached from the resorts in the Makarska Riviera. Next up is Bacvice, a set of shores in Split that are popular with families as they're alive with games, restaurants and bars.
If you're in Dubrovnik, Banje Beach is your local. It sits just at the base of the city's Old Town walls, and is a favourite for watersports on one hand and umbrellas and loungers on the other.
One giant museum
Croatia itself is essentially a giant museum, beginning with its crowning jewel, Dubrovnik. Sheltered by a 1,940 metre-long white brick wall, Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with stone buildings and terracotta roofs, many of which date back to the 15th and 16th centuries.
You can explore the city by wandering through the cobbled streets, from a boat cruise passing alongside the coast or up into the hillside on the city's cable car. But if you don't make it to Dubrovnik, not to worry history buffs, as many of Croatia's cities are anchored by their own old towns.
On top of this, over in Split is the 4th-century structure known as Diocletian's Palace, which was built for a Roman Emperor as a pretty grand retirement home. While stacked-high Pula Arena is one of the largest in the world, as well as being the only Roman amphitheatre with each of its four walls still standing.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Yet another of Croatia's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is a real winner. It's made up of 16 lakes whose waters are constantly changing in colour and mostly form into cascades.
The park is also home to a vast range of flora and fauna, much of which has been on the earth since prehistoric times. Visitors are welcome to explore the park, though swimming in the lakes is strictly prohibited. There are bus services that'll get you in, leaving from big cities like Zagreb and Split.
If you think you've sampled traditional Croatian cuisine, think again. Foodie traditions in this country depend largely on what region you're in, as some favour seafood, others lean toward meat and many highlight everything in between.
There won't be a shortage of restaurants hocking traditional fare on your Croatian holiday, especially if you're headed to a big time resort like Dubrovnik. The cuisine there will also be buffeted by international eats that land in all four corners of the world, including Japanese, Indian and the many Italian trattorias and pizzerias of Porec. And Croatian restaurants don't skimp on the views, either. You'll find diners set beside everything from Dubrovnik's Old town architecture and the waterfront promenade in Cavtat.
History meets after-hours fun in Croatia, but not in a boring way. We mean some of the historic venues Croatia are famous for have been converted into party spots that don't quit until sunrise.
You can expect settings like along a cliff in Rovinj, in a cave and 16th-century fortress in Dubrovnik and, yes, your traditional neon-lit dancefloor just about everywhere else. Dubrovnik is Croatia's party central, though littler resorts found throughout the coast will have their fair share of wine bars and cocktail lounges whose outdoor patios keep you luxuriating in the warmth on Croatia's summer nights.