Have you ever thought of visiting Croatia in spring? To wet your appetite, Anna our guest contributor from Expert World Travel shares her 7 reasons why Croatia is her favourite spring destination.
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Croatia is one of those amazing destinations that has something to offer to tourists all year round. In the summer it is all those stunning sandy beaches. And in the winter, it is things like skiing on Sljeme and the advent in Zagreb. Fall is usually a great time of the year to explore the Plitvice Lakes and the national park, but spring is my favourite season of all.
The weather is not so hot yet, and the best part is that the crowds haven’t arrived yet – so you can have some of the best locations all to yourself. Here are the seven reasons why you absolutely have to visit Croatia in Spring…
Museums In Zagreb
As the country’s capital, Zagreb is always a popular destination. It is the city that has the most to offer, with lots of shopping, monuments, parks and museums. We’ll focus on that last one here, as they are the perfect way to learn about Croatian culture and enjoy yourself at the same time.
The Zagreb City museum is the perfect one to visit if you want to learn more about the city and how it evolved through history. The prehistoric archaeology collection is definitely worth checking out, as is the collection of photographs and postcards.
For a blast from the past, head to the 80s museum. You can see lots of iconic items from the era, including an authentic phone, tv, computer, arcade games, old furniture and even Marty McFly’s outfit from the first movie. Plus, as this is an interactive museum, so feel free to jump in the car or play some cassettes, for a more nostalgic experience.
If you’re in the mood for something quirky and educational, I would suggest the Mushroom Museum. Not only can you see a myriad of different mushroom species, but you can also finally learn exactly which ones are poisonous and which ones are safe to eat. If you’re a visual learner, you will find this museum a thousand times more helpful than any book!
Michelin Star Dinner With A View In Dubrovnik
At the moment, there are three restaurants in Croatia that all have one Michelin star. One of those restaurants is in Dubrovnik, perhaps the most famous Croatian town, which manages to attract even Hollywood celebrities. Some come for the luxurious nightlife, others for the lovely beaches, and everyone comes to see the Old Town, which is a UNESCO heritage sight.
The 360 restaurant is located on a terrace that stretches across the medieval walls of the fortress of St. John. Along with the gourmet 5-course dinner, you can also enjoy the dazzling view of the harbour and the other side of the town. Top it all off with a glass of their finest wine to really spoil your taste buds.
After the delicious dinner it’s time to burn off some of those calories. And a walk along the medieval walls that encircle the Old Town is the perfect way to end the evening. Or a stroll across Stradun, the limestone paved main street. But beware, the limestone is pretty slippery, so try to avoid wearing heels, especially in the rain!
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you might want to check out the spots where they filmed some scenes – the Jesuit Staircase on the south side of the Gundulic square, the Ploče gate, the Rector’s Palace and the St. Dominic Street are all places you will recognise from season five.
Golfing In Istria
The entire Istria region is breathtaking any time of year. It’s actually dubbed as Tuscany’s twin, but for half the price. And it is the place to be, if golfing is one of your favorite pastimes.
The Golf Club Adriatic boasts an 18-hole course close to Umag – the first competitive golf course of Istria. It is only about 300 meters away from the coast, so you will be golfing with a stunning view of the Adriatic sea. The course is suited for both casual and competitive golfers. However, this area is particularly windy, so amateurs might find the course a bit of a challenge.
Perhaps the better option for the amateur golfer is the golf course in the national park Brijuni, which is just a boat ride away from Pula. Nearly everything about the course is natural – for example, the grass is not watered, which is rare for a golf course. But the unique setting of the course and the amazing atmosphere are definitely something you should experience.
Truffle Hunting In Motovun
Motovun is a charming little village in central Istria. It rests atop a hill, and the village is actually pretty well known for its International Film Festival, which is held every summer. And the 9-house golf course below the village also attracts come casual golfers to the area.
But the real reason you will want to visit Motovun in the spring is the opportunity to hunt truffles. You can do this from April to December every year, and it’s truly a unique experience.
The guides typically wait for you in the village of Vrh, and take you to a truffle hunter’s house. Nikola, the most famous local hunter, has over 40 years of experience in truffle hunting, and a pack of lovely dogs that will help you find these elusive yet tasty treats. He will guide you to the forest, so that you can experience the thrill of this adventure for yourself.
Truffle hunting in Motovun includes truffle tasting, aperitifs and even a truffle cooking lesson. It is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss out on if you find yourself in this area.
The Mljet National Park
If you want some peace and quiet, then Mljet is the destination for you this spring. This stunning island doesn’t usually attract younger crowds, because the nightlife is practically non-existent. Instead, the island is famous for its untouched nature, with nearly three quarters of the island being forest.
If you enjoy hiking, you will adore this island. But you don’t have to enjoy hiking to be enchanted by Mljet – the gorgeous views are all it takes. The island also has two lakes, the larger of which features a restaurant in the middle, which you can only reach by boat.
And there is a historic destination on this island, the Odysseus Cave. The legend says that Odysseus shipwrecked near the cave, and stayed on the island for seven years because of the nymph Calypso. There are two entrances to the cave; one is from the seaside, about a 30 minute downhill hike. But the true way to experience the cave is to jump in the crystal-clear water and swim inside it. It will help you understand why Odysseus was so captivated by the island’s beauty.
If you want to see a real Castle, then head to Trakošćan. And there’s no time like spring to go there – the weather is nice, but there are no crowds.
The 13th century castle is now a museum, with lots of historic artefacts on display. Swords, halberds, portraits of the royal family members who lived there and all spread across beautifully decorated rooms. If you opt for a guided tour, expect to learn a lot about the history of the castle. And you will also be entertained by a group of dancers in traditional clothing, who can tell you a bit about life in the earlier times.
If you feel like one castle is simply not enough, you can always opt for a tour that will take you to see some other castles that are near the area. A popular option is a day tour from Zagreb, which takes you to see the Varaždin Old Town, as well as the Trakošćan Castle. This is actually the perfect option if you’re staying in Zagreb, and want to get away to a more serene part of the country for a day.
Marco Polo House In Korčula
The Korčula island is a very popular summer destination. With sandy beaches and crystal-clear water, it’s always been a hot holiday spot. Which means lots of crowds, especially in the Korčula town. And that is why spring is actually the perfect season to experience this amazing town, without bumping into someone every step of the way. Head through the town gate and enjoy the view of the medieval town walls and the many fortresses in this mesmerizing place.
The town is famous for the Marco Polo house, the rumoured birthplace of the famous explorer. You can also find Marco Polo museums and souvenir shops in the narrow cobblestone alleys of the Old Town. It is the perfect opportunity to shop some local wine or olive oil – the true relics of Croatian seaside.
When you get to the main Old Town promenade, you will see a lot of restaurants and bars. All of them have amazing Mediterranean specials, so don’t hesitate to pop in for a delicious dinner. Sipping on local wine and enjoying scallops or lobster while admiring the view of the Pelješac Peninsula is a magical experience in itself.
Croatia has some stunning locations, mind-blowing history and experience that you won’t forget. And spring is one of the best times to avoid the crowds and still have a vacation you won’t forget.
Why not put Croatia on your bucket list of must visit travel destinations?
Anna was born to travel the world having studied languages all her life. Although she has travelled the world, she now calls Switzerland home and spends her time writing about her experiences on her travel blog Expert World Travel with her husband
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