6 Reasons You Should Go to Croatia NOW

Croatia is without a doubt one of the best countries I have ever visited. I have been to 22 countries now and Croatia is still top 5. There are so many reasons to love this coastal European country... I've narrowed down 6 reasons (and a bonus) on why you should go NOW. I hope you'll feel inspired!

1. Roman Architecture in Pula

 Maybe the most impressive thing in Istria: the Pula Arena.

Maybe the most impressive thing in Istria: the Pula Arena.

Located on the Istria peninsula of Croatia, Pula is a lovely seaside town most well-known for it's "arena" which is the most well-preserved Roman amphitheater in the world. But that's not the only example of ancient Roman architecture to be glimpsed in Pula - it seems like there's something straight out of the history books around every corner.

 The Arena is seriously magnificent. I've never felt as moved by architecture as much as I was every time I saw the Pula Arena. It was also incredible to see at night when it's all lit up.

The Arena is seriously magnificent. I've never felt as moved by architecture as much as I was every time I saw the Pula Arena. It was also incredible to see at night when it's all lit up.

 The Temple of Augustus in the old Roman forum of Pula.

The Temple of Augustus in the old Roman forum of Pula.

 Emmett about to walk through the Arch of Sergii, a Roman triumphal arch in downtown Pula.

Emmett about to walk through the Arch of Sergii, a Roman triumphal arch in downtown Pula.

2. The Walled City of Dubrovnik

 Walking down the walls, eating up the unreal vista.

Walking down the walls, eating up the unreal vista.

Nowadays, Dubrovnik is most well-known as a setting for King's Landing in HBO's Game of Thrones. The walled city, built in the 7th century, is a seaside fortress of incomparable beauty. You can pay to walk around the top of the walls and peek into the daily lives of those fortunate enough to live and work within the fortress. I also recommend spending a few hours exploring the labyrinthine alleyways within - you never know what you might find!

 You can walk the walls of the city, a very touristy thing to do. But definitely worth it for views like this one, of Dubrovnik's main street Stradun. Also, we barely encountered another person since we were there in the very off-season of late November.

You can walk the walls of the city, a very touristy thing to do. But definitely worth it for views like this one, of Dubrovnik's main street Stradun. Also, we barely encountered another person since we were there in the very off-season of late November.

 Terra cotta roofs of Old Town Dubrovnik

Terra cotta roofs of Old Town Dubrovnik

 About to enter the city through the Pile Gate.

About to enter the city through the Pile Gate.

 There were all sorts of great peepholes and views from within the walls.

There were all sorts of great peepholes and views from within the walls.

3. Diocletian's Palace in Split

 Diocletian's Palace is another impressive example of Roman architecture in Croatia.

Diocletian's Palace is another impressive example of Roman architecture in Croatia.

Built in the fourth century, Diocletian's Palace is a stunning fortress-plaza of shops and cafes in every little marble-lined nook and cranny. Located in Split in the heart of Croatia, it is actually the "world's most complete remains of a Roman palace." How cool is that?

 Every little nook and back alley seemed to be full of bougainvillea.

Every little nook and back alley seemed to be full of bougainvillea.

 Like Dubrovnik, everything there was beautiful and ancient.

Like Dubrovnik, everything there was beautiful and ancient.

 Diocletian's Palace as viewed from Split's promenade.

Diocletian's Palace as viewed from Split's promenade.

4. All That Rocky Shoreline

 A fisherman in Pula, Istria

A fisherman in Pula, Istria

Croatia has over ‎5,800 kilometers (3,600 miles) of coastline on the Adriatic Sea. And it's gorgeous, rocky, crystal-clear water views will find their way into your heart. (And into your camera!)

 Beautiful Pula again.

Beautiful Pula again.

 Dubrovnik, Dalmatia.

Dubrovnik, Dalmatia.

 A very ancient dock - Fazana, Istria.

A very ancient dock - Fazana, Istria.

 Ugljan Island as seen from Zadar, Dalmatia.

Ugljan Island as seen from Zadar, Dalmatia.

5. The Fooooood!

 One of the reasons we wanted to go to Istria: Tartufa (truffle) pasta. It was just in a basic cream sauce with truffles... Indescribably tasty.

One of the reasons we wanted to go to Istria: Tartufa (truffle) pasta. It was just in a basic cream sauce with truffles... Indescribably tasty.

 At the same restaraunt (in Fazana, north of Pula) Emmett got a carrot, onion, pepper, & mushroom risotto with some inexpensive Croatian beer.

At the same restaraunt (in Fazana, north of Pula) Emmett got a carrot, onion, pepper, & mushroom risotto with some inexpensive Croatian beer.

Much like it's neighbor across the sea, Italy, Croatian cuisine is very pasta heavy. (Aka YUM). Whether you have truffles in Istria, fresh olives in Dalmatia, or Paski Sir from Pag you will not be disappointed. 

After first sampling them in Bosnia, bureks quickly became one of our favorite foods. Bureks are pastries usually filled with meat and cheese but also available in vegetarian options like potatoes with black pepper, spinach & cheese, and just plain cheese.

 We had an appetizer of sliced cheese and Croatian olives with bread at  Buffet Fife  in Split.

We had an appetizer of sliced cheese and Croatian olives with bread at Buffet Fife in Split.

 This is a potato burek slice from a bakery near Dolac Market in Zagreb.

This is a potato burek slice from a bakery near Dolac Market in Zagreb.

6. The Outdoor Markets

 Pazar Market outside Diocletian's Palace, Split

Pazar Market outside Diocletian's Palace, Split

Markets are the perfect way to experience a new place - people watching, sampling local cuisine, buying crafts - and Croatia is no exception. Two of my favorite markets were Pazar in Split and Dolac in Zagreb. Dolac Market is especially busy during advent, as it was when we were there, when the market expands to become a Christmas extravaganza.

 Dolac Market in Zagreb.

Dolac Market in Zagreb.

 Christmas wreaths and garlands on offer at Dolac.

Christmas wreaths and garlands on offer at Dolac.

 Nuts and dried fruit for sale at Pazar Market, Split.

Nuts and dried fruit for sale at Pazar Market, Split.

Honorable Mention: Croatian Cats

It seemed like we saw cats in Croatia more often than anywhere else we went. Above is a picture of a strange cat nap-pile I stumbled upon. I counted five but there could have been more? And they're all the same type of cat? Odd...

Anyway, cats are cute and Croatia is full of 'em.

 Emmett always had to stop and give 'em a little head scratch.

Emmett always had to stop and give 'em a little head scratch.

 Dubrovnik in particular seemed to have a cat or two around every corner.

Dubrovnik in particular seemed to have a cat or two around every corner.

So, what do you think? Would you visit Croatia?


Six Reasons to Put Croatia on Your Bucket List
6 Reasons to Go to Croatia... NOW!