Since this is easily one of the most amazing countries I've been to, this post is dedicated to not just a city, but the entire country. Yeah. It's pretty damn amazing.
I sort of held off writing about my trip to Croatia last year because tbh, my mom did most of the planning (also she travels even more than I do so you should probably follow her on Instagram). It was a partial-family trip, so my mom, being the intense researcher she is and having been there before, laid out our itinerary - which lemme tell you, if you have someone like that in your life, travel with them. It makes your experience of the trip much more relaxing. Thanks, mom!
So since I'm a little short on the specifics of where we ate or went or how we exactly got from point A to B, lemme break it down by locations instead.
We stayed in this insanely charming harbor town just a short taxi ride away from Dubrovnik. Much quieter and less hectic than Dubrovnik, Cavtat is where all the bazillionaires pull up their yachts and hang out - you can see them all lined up as you walk along the boardwalk and take your pick of an endless line of delicious restaurants and bars. The crowd is a great mix of Croatians and tourists from all over the world who are there to chill, have a beer (or six), and just relax. Words can't really do this town justice, so here's a sunset picture. We stayed at Hotel Croatia, which is perched on top of the hill overlooking said yacht-filled harbor. I can't even stress how amazing the staff was - like we-all-befriended-our-driver-and-his-girlfriend-who-also-worked-at-the-hotel-and-went-for-drinks-with-them-and-stayed-out-until-v-late amazing (if you're reading this, hey Niko!). Definitely consider staying here since, ya know, you can always take an Uber Boat back into Dubrovnik. If not, at least come through for a sunset dinner.
One of the most popular destinations in the Mediterranean (and only getting more popular), this city faces the sea and is surrounded by the giant, historical Walls of Dubrovnik. If you want to get a high-level view of the city (pun intended), the Walls are the perfect way to see the entire city from above while soaking in the surroundings. Once you jump into the city itself, it's easy to get lost in the maze of tiny corridors, packed with shops, bars, and restaurants. Apparently, parts of Game of Thrones are filmed around here as well - my sister and brother did the tour... and didn't stop talking about the show the whole trip... I saw one episode where a guy got his eyes pushed into his head and I was like nope... but anyways, my brother did find a cute tucked away bar for all of us - Bar Dodo - if you're looking for a quiet spot for a beer while looking out at the sea. If I were you, I'd spend a day here and get out and see the rest of Croatia! And if you wanna get suuuuper high level, you can always take a cable car or drive up Mount Srd to get a beautiful view of the city from way up top.
Split & Krka
We spent one whole day traveling to Split - Croatia's second largest city, more towards the middle of the country - and Krka National Park. We had a whirlwind stop in Split and not too much time to explore, but from what I could tell, the history and list of sights to see were aplenty. Then we hit Krka National Park which was... insane, for lack of a better word. We took this beautiful walk through nothing but nature to get to one of the many falls. Those waterfalls alone were worth the drive, and my siblings and I were able to swim around the river with them falling in the background. Seriously. Insane.
Another day, we did a tour of three main islands off the coast of Dubrovnik - Koločep, Šipan, and Lopud. All of them were stunning in their own ways, but Lopud is probably the most famous since it has a white sand beach, Sunj, which is one of the only beaches of its kind in Croatia. You can take a buggy or walk from the harbor to the other side of the island where Sunj is and chillax. Having spent a while in Hawaii, I'm not gonna say it's the best beach I've seen in the entire world, but the water is super clear, the backdrop is incredible, and any beach you can grab a beer and layout on without a rock stabbing you in the back and/or freezing your butt off is a great beach to me. Regardless, I'd try and get to some of the Croatian islands if you can - they're all lightly populated, quaint, and super picturesque.
I actually went to Croatia in the middle of the rest of my family's time there so I packed a ton of stuff into a few days. If you're planning a Eurotrip with a bunch of countries or just looking at hitting one, be sure to consider Croatia. The people are immensely friendly, the food is incredible, the mix of historical Croatian buildings and beautiful mountains and sea make for a sight you just have to see for yourself. I know that if I had a nickel for every time I said I'd return to a place, I'd have a lot of nickels - but my mom and stepdad, who are also always wanting to try new places, actually did come back. That might mean nothing to you, but if my parents are willing to repeat a trip, I can say with confidence that it was a damn good trip.
Been to Croatia? Have some other favorite places? Got some deets on any of these places? Comment below! (That means you, mom).