20 Jan

Croatia - crystal clear waters and idyllic islands

Each year, we pick 12 'Destinations to Watch' for our Travel Trends report. In this blog series ABTA staff talk through their personal highlights and experiences of the destinations they've been to. This week, we're looking at Crotia, whcih ABTA PR & Media Executive Sophie Marston visited in August 2016. 

Explore all our 12 ‘Destinations to watch’ here

Croatia is an increasingly popular destination for Brits – and it’s easy to see why. There are thousands of miles of coastline, with stunning beaches, clear water and forests.

Croatia has plenty of different areas to explore – from Italian architecture in Istria in the North, the cultural gem of the capital Zagreb or the cities of Split and Dubrovnik.

I opted for Split and Dubrovnik, and you can get between the two easily with the daily ferry service, but make sure you book in advance; if you turn up on the day and find the service sold out you’ll need to take a six-hour coach ride via Bosnia, with all the complications of passport and border control.

The cost of living in Croatia is low, meaning you get great value food, drinks and activities. But make sure you get the right currency – one friend had an unfortunate mix up between Croatian Kuna and Swedish Krona.

Dubrovnik is a must-visit for fans of Game of Thrones, you will recognise lots of the city from the show and you can walk along the famous walls.

Beaches and coastline

Beach lovers will be very happy in Croatia – there are plenty of amazing pebble beaches all along the coast, and easy to get to via local bus services or Uber. If you are in Dubrovnik it is definitely worth getting a boat out to St Jacobs beach - a small beach tucked into the cliffside on the other side of the harbour.

The island of Lokrum is a very quick boat ride away from Dubrovnik. The island has stunning botanical gardens, great swimming and plenty to explore and Peacocks roam around freely – well worth a visit.

Rafting in the hills

We wanted to explore more of the Croatian countryside, and decided to go on a rafting expedition. We drove about 2 hours out of the city, high up into the hills, to a bank by the Cetina River for an amazing 11km rafting trip through stunning canyons and clear waters.

Restaurants and nightlife

Both Split and Dubrovnik had a good selection of nightlife – with plenty of restaurants, bars and clubs. The famous Buza Bar in Dubrovnik is built into the Cliffside – offering stunning views out over the sea.

Anyone who is a fan of seafood will be at home in Croatia – with daily catches being served up in restaurants. The historic Italian influence on the food is obvious, but I have to say the best food I had was at a Bosnian restaurant in Dubrovnik called Taj Mahal.