Croatia – Best Bits

Croatia was Husband’s pick.  It was never top of my travel wish list, I struggled to locate it on a map, but when he mooted this suggestion I was intrigued.  The more I read, the more I wanted to visit and believe me, it did not disappoint.  We decided on Istria, picked Rovinj as our base and as soon as we got there, were in total agreement this was the most perfect spot.

06.13 - Rovinj.03

It was a few years ago when we visited – Son was nearly three, so he didn’t much care about where we spent our summer break.  His only requirement was a beach.  Croatia more than fulfilled this brief.   There was not much golden sand, but with 1,000 miles of coast plus 1,185 islands there was no shortage of watery fun. Undoubtedly Croatia has one of Europe’s most spectacular coastlines.  The mountains tumble into the clear, island splattered sea and it is the perfect choice for a sunny family holiday.

The Istrian Peninsula was wonderful for us as first time visitors to the country.  It was full of historic towns (mainly on top of hills), traffic free roads, a dramatic and rocky coastline not to mention a laid back Mediterranean lifestyle and the best food ever.

Istria is quite close to the Italian border and only became part of Croatia (then Yugoslavia) at the end of World War 2.  We felt it still retained very much its Italian influenced culture and sometimes it felt as if you were in Tuscany.

Our base was Rovinj, a stunningly beautiful old town, perched on a hill overlooking the sea.  It could masquerade as Venice’s little sister with its narrow streets and steep stone alleyways leading to the water.  There were lovely bars and restaurants, a lively quayside, plenty of history and boat trips galore.  Son was in his element, around every corner was access to the sea and plenty of fishing opportunities.

06.13 - Rovinj.04

06.15 - Rovinj.08 - fishing

Zlatni Forest Park, just at the edge of Rovinj was a wonderful place full of cycle trails and rocky inlets.  Several times we rented bikes and set off exploring spending the whole day lost in the forest.

06.16 - Zlatni Rt.06 - cycling in the forest

We ventured out of Rovinj a few times and were truly wowed by the Basilica of Euphrasius in Porec  – the  wonderfully preserved gold mosiacs and quiet reserved atmosphere make it truly deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage status.

06.17 - Porec.06 - Basilica of St Euphrasius

The Brijuni Islands, once Tito’s summer retreat and now reached by catamaran (the journey is almost as much fun as the visit to the islands) was another highlight.  The museum there was fascinating, we could have browsed for hours.

06.20 - 16 - Catamaran for Brijuni and Venice

We even found a rival to the Rome’s mighty Colosseum.  In fact the magnificent Roman amphitheatre in Pula is maybe even a little bit better than its bigger and more well known cousin, we loved it there.  Pula also had a stunning old town and there was a real sense of history everywhere you turned.

06.18 - 03 - Amphitheatre at Pula

It is hard to pick highlights from our 2 week stay in Istria, everything fitted this list.  It is a spectacular place – a lush landscape, an azure coastline, the clearest water I have ever seen and the Italian lilt to the scenery, language and cuisine make it one of the most beautiful places I have been lucky enough to visit.

39 thoughts on “Croatia – Best Bits

  1. We had to decide between Greece and Croatia last year and chose Greece, but reading this, I think we will definitely have to make our way to Croatia this year. Z will be 3 by then, the same age as your son, so your suggestions are great! Thanks!

  2. This is such a beautiful place! Croatia will never top my list of destinations before this! Now, I may consider it to be a good vacation trip, but has to be when my baby is a little older. I would prefer them to enjoy the view and laid back vacation when they are older.

  3. Hey Joy, really liked your post on Croatia. I’ve never thought of the country as a ‘high on my list’ destination but you post made me rethink that ranking. After reading about your holiday there, I think Croatia might have to move up a few places – certainly into my top ten. Thanks for an entertaining and informative post.

  4. I went to Croatia, but only managed to spend time in Zagreb and few days in Dubrovnik before jetted out from Croatia. I felt that I had missed a lot of things then, which is true when I look at your blog. Indeed, I missed more than half of Croatia’s beauty. Thanks for sharing your experience in Croatia and your blog always reminded me that I must come back to Croatia to explore more. I owe you that 😉

  5. Thank you for the follow! And, happy to see Croatia on your site. I have ‘almost’ gone twice (so close in The Veneto region) so one of these days I’ll make it. Great post.

  6. Yeah, Croatia is wonderful and beautiful country, but not only on the coast, I do recomend visiting National Park Plitvicke Jezera (Plitvicke Lakes). Their colour, faterfalls are incredible and unforgettalbe,

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