Earlier this year I was lucky enough to embark on a 1,000-mile road trip down the Adriatic coast of Croatia. Starting at Zadar in the the north of the Dalmatian region, myself and my girlfriend traversed coastal highways and mountain passes down to Dubrovnik in the south; home of the Game of Thrones. Here I have compiled my top five must-see places in this beautiful country…
Often overlooked by its bigger cousin in the south, Split, Trogir is nestled just 5km from Split Airport. Winding alleyways and traditional shops meet a bustling harbour-front frequented by both tourists and Yacht Week partygoers. If you’re travelling from Split to Zadar by car, you must stop here.
At the northernmost tip of the Dalmatian Coast is Zadar. If you are travelling with your other half and can negotiate the crowds of tourists, I definitely recommend a trip to the harbour front in the evenings. Get there before the crowds for a particularly impressive sunset. If you have time, also opt for a tradtitional pasticada- beef cooked in wine and prunes.
As a self-confessed Game of Thrones fan, Dubrovnik was always going to impress me. At the southernmost region of Croatia it is a few hundred miles from Split and Zadar. This sense of isolation is captured in its impressive castle walls. The city itself combines grand architecture with a slightly gritty edge. A tour of the walls is a must.
2. Plitvice National Park
There isn’t much I can say about the Plitvice lakes that do the pictures above justice. A two-hour trip inland from Zadar via mountain passes will take you to this spot of outstanding natural beauty. Go in the morning to beat the crowds and walk through the numerous lakes and waterfalls that wouldn’t look out of place on a Jurassic Park set. The only drawback is you can’t jump in for a swim. Opt for Krka National Park, midway between Split and Zadar, if you would prefer to get your feet wet.
1. Hvar Town
A short ferry ride from Split is Hvar Town. It is a fantastic hub from which to hire a small 50cc boat and explore the numerous enviable beach bars and Pakleni Islands. The town itself is also something to behold. Surrounded by crystal (and I mean crystal) clear waters, the town comes alive at night with top-end waterfront bars and eateries catering to every need.
Flights from London to Dubrovnik with British Airways start at just £65 one-way