Category

Croatia

Category

The phenomenal classic coastal city of Dubrovnik has one of the most impressive and photogenic old towns you’ll ever see, and the walls are shockingly intact, not a common occurrence for fortifications built to withstand the best bit of violence enemies can throw at it. There are many good reasons Dubrovnik was chosen to model for / star as King’s Landing in Game of Thrones. Along with Lake Bled in Slovenia, Dubrovnik is a highlight of any Balkan holiday and after our first visit I had declared it my favourite city in the world. We only had 24 hours in Dubrovnik on this visit, as it was number 3 on our “re-visiting our favourite European cities for a very short period of time” tour. At this point, we were quite pleased with ourselves for deciding to add in nostalgic stops in Paris and Venice, with Edinburgh hopefully on the itinerary…

The Balkans are nearly the perfect holiday destination. Wonderfully scenic, with a fascinating (although often brutal) history, this loose collection of countries tucked away in Southeastern Europe are easy to get to, extremely affordable and, for the most part, not nearly as touristy as comparable destinations in Western Europe. They offer extraordinary geographic diversity – from gorgeous Mediterranean beaches to spectacular alpine mountain ranges to lush valleys with crystal clear rivers cascading down the middle. The historical variations are endless, with a rich variety of castles, palaces, forts and bridges to explore. Culturally, this broadly defined region offers a diversity that seems almost implausible at times, with stark societal, political, religious and linguistical differences not only between nations, but often even neighbouring villages. So, the hard part isn’t deciding on a Balkan holiday for your next trip. It is deciding exactly where to go and what to do. Alexander Nevsky…

A short and reasonably comfortable Ryan Air flight out of Brussels put us down 1,500 kilometres southeast (yet somehow still in the same time zone) in the wonderful capital of Zagreb, in the Balkan wonderland that is Croatia. Still relatively unknown in North America, Croatia has been a budding tourist hotspot among Europeans for quite a few years now thanks to its absurd surplus of beautiful coastline, picturesque medieval cities and leggy broads in painted-on jeans and skyscraper heels. They also apparently really excel at tennis (see: Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic), soccer (see: Nikica Jelavic and Luka Modric, but pointedly ignore Branislav Ivanovic) and producing rough scented toilet paper (see: a jubilant Mark Yemen). Following Zagreb – Step 1: Acquire tiny red Peugot (small red vehicles being our M.O. and all). Step 2: Blindly follow GPS Jelena to our hotel somewhere in the vicinity of Plitvice National Park, one…

Pin It