When people used to ask me what my favorite country was, it wasn’t an easy answer. That was, until I went to Croatia. Croatia is a coastal Balkan country in Eastern Europe. It lies on the Adriatic Sea across from Italy. Croatia was the first country I solo traveled in and I was nervous going there. Once I got to the city of Dubrovnik, all my fears left me.
Dubrovnik is the Southernmost major city in Croatia. The part of the country that contains Dubrovnik is actually separated from the rest of the country by the small coast of Bosnia. Dubrovnik has a modern city/town as well as the popular Old City. Dubrovnik Old City is surrounded by a fortress wall and is actually the filming location of Game of Thrones' King's Landing. The food, hostels, and nightlife are amazing and the locals are very kind. The beaches are great although they won't be warm enough until probably mid June. Dubrovnik also sits on the hill of Mt. Srd. It is an incredible hike with possibly the best sunset view in the world.
Another very popular location is Split. With dozens of beaches, a huge city center, and lots of culture; it is one of the rising destinations in Europe for travelers. Split is also famous for the various islands that surround it which are a simple ferry ride away.
Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia is a mix of historic and modern. The public tram is cheap and takes you all over the city. The restaurants are delicious and can be cheap or expensive. Bars and clubs throughout the city are lively and cheaper than most capital cities. Hotels, hostels, and airbnbs are readily available to any type of traveler and at any budget range.
Even with all the amazing cities, there is one place that far exceeds everywhere else in the country. That would be Plitvice Lakes National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage site and consistently ranking as one of the best national parks in the world, there is nothing else like it on Earth. The park consists of sixteen large lakes, each cascading to the next one by waterfall. Each lake is a different shade of blue or green due to the mineral content in each lake. They sit in the valley between mountains and have the clearest water in the world. Aside from the waterfalls that connect the lakes, there are smaller and even miniature waterfalls running everywhere in the park. Going there the day after a heavy rain can result in streams of water everywhere and have it looking like wonderland. Additionally, when winter comes around, Plitvice transforms into a frozen paradise with frozen waterfalls, lots of snow, and equally beautiful sights.
Ten years ago, Croatia was not a popular destination for many tourists. However, in recent years it became a huge destination and is increasing in tourism. It’s not a stretch to say that in another ten years it could be as heavily visited as Italy and Spain so I would suggest going now while tourism is comparatively low. But touristy or not, Croatia is a must see for everyone and by far my favorite country in the world.