Croatia Guide - Brought to You by TUI

Posted on 16 Feb 2018 Posted in  Travel
Croatia Guide - Brought to You by TUI

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As part of the buzz around the new name, TopCashback and TUI have teamed up to provide you with an exclusive series of travel guides written by travel blogger Matthew Hirtes for some of TUI’s most popular destinations – so whether you’re looking for a seaside excursion or a city break, our guides will point you in the right direction.

Our latest guide covers Croatia, Europe’s land of 1000+ islands. And don’t forget, you can earn earn exclusive cashback  when you book your holiday in Florida with TUI.

Attractions:If visiting Split’s Old Town, you can’t miss Diocletian’s Palace, a ruined Roman fortress plus garrison which makes up most of it. Another ruin worth checking out is Pula’s amphitheatre which dates back to the 1st century AD. And heading into uptown Zagreb’s Gornji Grad is like stepping into the colourful pages of an illustrated history book with ancient churches, cathedral, and towers galore.

Beaches: Brac Island is home to the distinctive v-shaped Zlatni Rat beach which is made up of pebbles so golden that people think it’s sandy when viewed from afar. The 3km-long Kraljicina Plaza (Queen’s Beach) on the Dalmatian coast is composed of actual sand however and suitably regal with majestic views of Nin’s Velebit mountain range. Vrula Cove, on the island of the same name, is easier to get to by boat than foot which keeps the numbers down but, at the same time, increases the amount of visitors opting to acquire an all-over tan such is the relative privacy afforded by this beach.

Drinks: Where the majority of the Western world celebrates with champagne, Dalmatians (as in the people rather than the black-and-white-spotted dogs) toast with prosek: a golden-brown bubble-free fruity dessert wine. Slivovitz, a fiery plum brandy, is considered Croatia’s national alcoholic beverage however. Istria is the main wine-producing region and its acclaimed Teran the most quaffable red.

Eats:Istria is also famed for its truffles with black and white varieties turning up in everything from pasta to ice-cream. The homely sarma are pickled cabbage heads stuffed with mince and a range of other ingredients including both piquant and sweet paprika, Croatia’s spice of choice. Everybody knows that food tastes best fried and fritule are no exception, doughnut-style desserts which are incredibly moreish.

Events: Croatia has established itself as one of the leading countries on the music-festival circuit with June’s InMusic a Glastonbury-style three dayer held on the shores of Lake Jarun close to Zagreb. Svelti Vlaho on the 3rd February is when Dubrovnik pays homage to patron saint, St Blaise, but the build-up to it includes warm-up events the day before. In July, Zagreb’s International Folklore Festival showcases traditional Croatian music as well as featuring performances from folk bands from all around the world.

Hikes: The waterfalls at Krka National Park certainly boast plenty of wow factor and take pride of place on the two-hour circular walk. Allow rather more time (as in five extra hours) to take in everything Paklenica National Park has to offer on foot, including stunning Adriatic views. Risjnak National Park, meanwhile, takes its name from the lynx (ris in Croatian) which inhabits it and one of the most picturesque hikes there follows the Kupa River.

Souvenir: Licitars are heart-shaped biscuits coloured red which double as Christmas tree decorations. Picture-postcard Samobor is noted for its ornate glassware and you can even see artisans produce it at the likes of Kristal Tuk. Foodies will appreciate a jar of ajvar, the go-with-anything pepper relish.

Sport: Croatian football fans are passionate and it’s well worth taking in a league game for the atmosphere, although their best players tend to be based in Italy and Spain. Handball’s another popular sport, with RK Zagreb one of the country’s leading clubs. Croats also excel at water polo.

Hotels: Looking for somewhere close to Dubrovnik? The Valamar Lacoma could be your top choice. With minimalist styling and a fantastic spa as it’s top points, it’s definitely a great option. Alternatively, for a seafront view and a luxurious stay, consider Hotel Croatia. It features two exclusive beaches, a fantastic pool scene and a delightful selection of eateries to choose from. Finally, for a mix of good looks, impeccable service and access to Dubrovnik, the TUI Sensimar Kalamota Island Resort ticks all the boxes. It is the only hotel on a peaceful, traffic-free island so the perfect choice for a relaxing stay.

Your Say:

Lorraine Willis

When visiting beautiful Croatia, make sure you head to Dubrovnik. This is an amazing city and walking the length of the walls gives you panoramic views across the whole area. Try to choose a day when there aren't many cruise ships in port, this way you can enjoy a more leisurely visit. Anyone who is a fan of Game of Thrones will appreciate seeing the setting for some of the scenes.

Louise Blackshaw

Croatia is such a beautiful country. The sea is crystal clear with a beautiful sight of a range of blue colours across the bay. Had such a lovely time exploring, would love to return. Top tip: take a visit to the Krka waterfalls near Split, you can even swim in some sections.

Yvonne Majewska

In the evenings enjoy watching the beautiful sun setting, preferably from a beach side restaurant or bar.

Matthew Hirtes has been based in the Canary Islands since 2004. He uses it at a base to cover Spain and beyond for the likes of Condé Nast Traveller, Telegraph Travel, and The Huffington Post. Matthew's favourite cities worldwide are his metropolis of birth, London, San Francisco (keg parties on Ocean Beach), and Seville (love those free oranges).
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