Why I Fell In Love With Croatia

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Stories from my travels in Croatia.

Picking a favorite travel destination is near impossible.

But out of all the traveling I’ve done so far, Croatia stands out as one of the best.

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Why I Fell In Love With Croatia

As a huge sucker for natural beauty, Croatia’s landscape amazed me every single day.

Despite the heaviness of my eyes on my 6am RyanAir flight to Osijek, I found myself smiling out the window at the endless green of the mountainous land below me.

I hadn’t even set foot on the ground yet, and already I was in love with how rich and seemingly untouched by man Croatia looked.

Scenic views while traveling through Croatia

My opinion of the country only improved with every train journey, every bus ride, and every walk I took.

I spent almost 30 hours on public transport throughout the course of my trip.

So I’ve covered a bit of ground in Croatia, and I’ve been lucky enough to see so many mountains, valleys, rivers, islands, waterfalls, forests, and beaches.

I’ve seen misty sunrises, saturated sunsets, furious thunderstorms, and long, lazy days where the sun blazes down mercilessly from the cerulean sky.

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Experiencing Local Culture in Croatia

I also had many unforgettable experiences in Croatia that deepened my connection with the culture.

Hospitable Locals

First of all, I found myself consistently impressed with the hospitality and friendly nature of the locals.

One of my favorite moments occurred as I was sitting on a bench in Osijek.

I was devouring a box of strawberries while waiting for a train when an old man hobbled over and sat next to me.

We quickly covered that I spoke no Croatian, and he spoke no English.

But we continued to have a broken yet somewhat successful conversation using hand gestures and facial expressions.

He even offered me some vodka from the bottle in his shirt pocket.

As I struggled to explain to him that I normally don’t accept alcohol from strangers in foreign countries at 9 am in the morning, I realized that these are the moments that make traveling worthwhile.

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Croatia travel nature
Croatia travel zagreb

More Friendly Locals

My encounters with friendly Croatians continued throughout my trip.

In Zagreb, after the pouring rain forced me to hibernate in a cafe for 2 hours, I learned so many interesting things about the city from a local who struck up a conversation with me.

In Split, I stayed at a hostel where Josko, the owner, made me feel so at home that I didn’t want to leave.

His mother cooked us a delicious homemade breakfast.

And his grandfather prepared homemade Rakija, the traditional Croatian alcohol, which was served to everyone in a glass skull.

(If you’re ever looking for a place to stay in Split, Split Guesthouse & Hostel is the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in!)

In Dubrovnik, I met the cousin of a friend, who invited me to his restaurant and gave me an incredible complimentary lunch.

The staff at every hostel I stayed in were incredibly helpful and welcoming.

These heartwarming experiences made my stay in Croatia that much more enjoyable.

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Croatia travel ocean

Fun Activities in Croatia

Croatia’s diverse landscape and thriving tourism industry also provided me with lots of fun activities.

The cheap public transport allowed me to embark on some lovely day trips, one of my favorite being Lokrum Island.

Lokrum Island

Only a 15-minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik, I visited Lokrum Island and found myself immersed in a beautiful little oasis filled with interesting wildlife and calming forests.

The island was chaotic when I first stepped off the boat.

All the Hawaiian shirt-wearing, selfie-stick carrying tourists conglomerated in that area.

But hiking 10 minutes into the woods transported me to a state of serenity, where the shouting of tourists faded and the peaceful sounds of nature filled the scene.

I found my own secluded swimming spot where I could carefully climb over the massive rocks and swim in the turquoise water by myself.

A combination of the rough waves, the cold water, and the closeness of the sharp rocks spiked my adrenaline.

So I started half hyperventilating, half laughing out loud to myself as I floated through the crystal clear ocean.

I was so thrilled to be there, completely alone, in such refreshing water with such stunning weather.

This moment was truly surreal, and was definitely a highlight of my trip.

Croatia travel lokrum island
Croatia travel swimming

Other Things To Love About Croatia

Croatia’s tourist attractions are amazing as well.

Every National Park is incredible, every church is magnificent, and every museum is interesting.

But Croatia offers so much more than these obvious sources of entertainment.

Every time the warm scent of fresh bread swirled around me, every time the soft grass of a public park caressed my skin, and every time a local flashed me a smile, I fell a little more in love with Croatia.

 
 

For more travel inspiration for Croatia, check ou 10 Best Things To See In Croatia.

If you have the time, I also highly recommend taking a day trip from Dubrovnik to Kotor, Montenegro.

For more tips on how to travel Europe on a budget, check out Travel Hacks For Europe, Hidden Gems of Europe, and How To Afford Traveling The World In Your 20’s.

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