The Dubrovnik Times caught up with popular Swedish travel writer and blogger, Alexander Waltner, also known as Swedish Nomad. He has been travelling the world since 2014 with his girlfriend Christine and has created some interesting articles. This latest one caught our eye, 55 Reasons Why Everyone Should Visit Croatia At Least Once, and has created a viral storm.
So let’s see what the Swedish Nomad recommends in Croatia -
While many countries have beautiful nature, Croatia has a very diverse landscape with mountains, lakes, rivers, the Adriatic Sea, forests and lots of islands!
2. IT’S STILL REASONABLY PRICED
While Dubrovnik, Split, and Hvar have become hot spots for celebrities and rich people, there are still plenty of reasonably priced accommodation, authentic restaurants and even more so outside the most popular tourist destinations.
Go as local as possible, and experience the real Croatian ways, and you’ll also get great value for your money. But, also if you like to splurge, it’s still good value if you prefer a more luxurious travel style.
3. PLITVICE LAKES
Another proof of the mighty nature of Croatia is the Plitvice Lakes, also known as “Plitvička jezera” in Croatian. Spectacular views, waterfalls and one of the most turquoise waters I’ve ever seen.
4. THE FOOD
There are many Croatian dishes that are unique, but of course, with its coastal location, they are mostly known for the quality seafood. But if you visit Hinterland and Zagreb for example, you’ll be met by quite a few traditional dishes with lots of flavours.
SOME POPULAR CROATIAN DISHES:
Skampi na buzaru
Povrće na žaru
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, well, then you probably recognize this place already. In the famous TV-Series, Dubrovnik is the real King’s Landing.
However, this city is a lot more than that. In Dubrovnik, you can explore real history from ancient times, and it’s very well preserved. However, this city is a lot more than that. In Dubrovnik, you can explore real history from ancient times, and it’s very well-preserved. Go here in May or September, and indulge the majestic atmosphere. Outside Dubrovnik, you can also visit the lush island of Lokrum, which is also of historic importance.
6. MIROGOJ CEMETERY
I’m not joking when I name this as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. It’s well maintained but there is also some kind of indescribable peace while walking around here.
Mirogoj is located in Zagreb, and while I normally won’t say that a cemetery is a place to visit as a tourist, this one sure is. But please do so with respect and remember that it’s a place of peace and quiet. Come here and enjoy the beauty!
7. ADVENTURES IN OMIŠ
Here you can get that adrenaline rush and go for ziplining or rafting. We tried the ziplining and it was a lot of fun! Afterward we drove up to this viewpoint and it’s truly amazing. What a beautiful place!
8. DIOCLETIAN’S PALACE IN SPLIT
This place is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Croatia. But if you come here at 6 am in the morning, you will have the whole place to yourself, and it’s magical! We walked around here by ourselves for 1 hour and also managed to get some really nice photos. When walking around the palace in the early morning it definitely feels like you’re going back in time!
9. SPECTACULAR BEACHES
Croatia has quite a few nice beaches, and here you’ll find some of the best ones:
Lovrecina Bay, Brac
Zrce Beach, Pag
10. THE YACHT WEEK
Imagine yourself spending one week on a Yacht with friends and new friends, partying to the sun goes up, exploring the Adriatic Sea and just enjoy life at sea. It’s a popular festival for youths from all over the world, and if it sounds interesting, check out the video below.
11. SAINT MARK’S CHURCH
Probably the most unique church I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen quite a few! The roof of the Saint Mark’s Church is remarkable and looks almost like a gingerbread house or similar. If you go to Zagreb, this place shouldn’t be missed!
12. PAKLENICA NATIONAL PARK
Remember how I told you that nature is fantastic in Croatia? Well, here is another proof of that!
By Intipacha (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
13. CROATIAN MUSIC
There are lots of nice music from Croatia, but here is a small preview of what it can sound like. Quite catchy!
A very beautiful old coastal city that has nowadays become a popular tourist destination. This is one of my favourite places in Croatia, and you’ll have proximity to everything you could possibly want.
15. THE CLIMATE
The weather is nice all-year round with mild winters compared to the colder regions of Europe and the US/Canada. The warmer temperatures during spring and autumn make it a perfect getaway from the cold as well.
16. BRAC ISLAND & ZLATNI RAT
The name Zlatni Rat translates into the golden tip/cape, and it sure is spectacular from above. It has become one of the most famous landmarks of Croatia since it has gone viral all over the world. However, even though it’s a beautiful place I must tell you that you shouldn’t have too high expectations since it won’t look the same from the ground as from above.
And it’s quite a small beach, but still very nice, and if you come here early or in shoulder season there won’t be many people. Also, the island of Brac is worth mentioning. It’s home to many idyllic places, and the towns of Puscica, Bol and Supetar are all good reasons to visit Croatia!
Photo: Szabolcs Emich
This place is really cool and just a short ride from Split, either by bus or car. It’s a bit similar to the old city of Split, but more compact I think. It’s a lot of fun to roam the small alleys of Trogir, which is one of the many historical cities in Croatia.
18. HVAR ISLAND
Another historic place that is nowadays a popular tourist destination. It’s easy to get here from Split by ferry, and when you get to Hvar there are actually a lot of things to do and see. Stari Grad and Hvar Town are definitely not to be missed!
19. THE STON CITY WALL
Does this place remind you of a more famous landmark? Yes, you’re right, it’s almost like the great wall of China. The Ston city wall is actually the second longest city wall in the world. It’s a really cool place that used to be really famous for its salt.
20. HIDEOUT MUSIC FESTIVAL & ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL
Two of the biggest EDM festivals in all over the world takes place each summer in Croatia. They are known as Hideout Music Festival and Ultra Music Festival, and here you can enjoy some of the best DJ:s with thousands of other visitors.
An Istrian mountain town famous for its truffle and yearly film festival. Also, the landscapes surrounding Motovun is quite similar to Tuscany in many ways.
22. MEDENJACI – CROATIAN HONEY SPICE COOKIES
One can’t simply visit another country without trying out their snacks or cookies. For me, that’s one very interesting part of traveling, to try other countries cuisine and flavours. The Medenjaci is a classic that I recommend you to try!
23. KORCULA ISLAND
Birthplace of Marco Polo and known as “little Dubrovnik” thanks to its medieval churches, palaces, and houses. This is a good place to visit if you want to escape the crowds. Sure it’s not empty as Croatia is getting more and more popular these days, but it’s less visited than Hvar, Dubrovnik, and Brac.
24. SNORKEL AMONG SHIPWRECKS
The water along the coasts and islands in Croatia is usually crystal clear, which gives you perfect conditions for snorkeling. There is also quite a few shipwrecks you could explore if you’re feeling adventurous!
This beautiful castle is one of Croatia’s most famous landmarks. It’s also a charming town that you shouldn’t miss out if you have time for it! The Varazdin County is also home to the Trakošćan Castle, which is open to the public!
26. THE MUSEUM OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS
This is a rather unique little museum that focuses on broken relationships. An interesting place to visit if you go to Zagreb.
27. VELEBIT NATIONAL PARK
More beautiful nature is awaiting in Velebit national park, which is also home to the highest mountain in Croatia.
Here you can get amazed by the beautiful St. Jacob Cathedral that was enlisted on the heritage list by UNESCO in 2000. It’s an old city that was founded in the 9th century, and ever since has been an attractive place that the Austro-Hungarian, Venetians and Byzantines has fought for many times.
29. THE KORNATI ISLANDS
Beautiful scenery awaits at the uninhabited Kornati Islands!
Croatian wines are actually really good, although not as famous as they should be. But if you come here, make sure to go on wine tasting and order wine to every meal, you won’t be disappointed!
Croatia offers some of the best sailing experiences in Europe, maybe even in the whole world. And it’s fantastic to experience the country from the sea. You get to see so many places, and at the same time enjoy the Adriatic Sea.
32. VIŠNJAN OBSERVATORY
More than 100 minor planets, two comets, and 1,400-plus asteroids have been discovered here. That’s incredible, and if you do like stars and astronomy, I suggest you go here on a Saturday from May to September and take part in of the Astro Nights.
33. GORSKI KOTAR
Another interesting place to visit in Croatia, also known as the lungs of Croatia as it’s covered in 63% forest. It’s the mountainous area that makes up the are between Rijeka and Karlovac.
A classic Christmas pastry in Croatia that is usually flavored with rum and citrus zest, containing raisins, and are topped with powdered sugar. You can find them also in other times of the year.
35. SOLARIS NATURIST RESORT
Nudist lovers have a wonderful haven at Solaris naturist resort, at least from what I’ve heard. I’m not a nudist myself, so I haven’t tried it. But if you’re a nudist or interested in becoming one, this seems to be a great place to go!
36. HUM – THE SMALLEST CITY IN THE WORLD
Keen to visit the smallest city in the world? Then you have another reason to visit Croatia. The city is called Hum, and is home to just about 24 people! But it still counts officially as a city.
A region that I believe deserves more attention. Tourists usually talk more about the coastal towns of Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Makarska and so on, and the region of Slavonija is not as much visited. But those who go there will be amazed by the beautiful landscapes. Slavonija is also known for their generous usage of red paprika.
38. THE WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNSET IN ZADAR
Alfred Hitchcock once said that Zadar is home to the most beautiful sunset, and I do think he had a good point. In addition to beautiful sunsets, you will also find an interesting old town as well as adventure activities.
39. HOME TO ONE OF THE BEST-PRESERVED AMPHITHEATERS
Do you like history and ancient places? Then you should book a trip to Pula where you can experience one of the best-preserved amphitheaters in the world!
This is another part of Dalmatia but not along the coast, but instead inland. In Croatian, it’s called Zagora, which means behind hills. Here you will also find Biokovo Mountain and the second highest peak called Sveti Jure, at 1 762 meters.
41. CROATIAN LACE
Did you know that the traditional Croatian Lacemaking is so special that it’s considered a Unesco world heritage?!
42. PASKI SIR
The famous cheese of Pag, also known as Pag Cheese although it’s called Paski Sir in the Croatian language. You can find this all over Croatia, but of course, you’ll get the best deals and quality on the island of Pag itself.
43. CHRISTMAS MARKET IN ZAGREB
When thinking of Christmas markets, you’ll probably be thinking about Germany. But the fact is that they have one of Europe’s best Christmas markets in Zagreb! It’s beautiful and frequently visited in December each year. Also, Zagreb itself is a wonderful reason to visit Croatia, and I think it’s one of the most underrated capitals in Europe!
While many Slavic nations are drinking Rakija and have it as their national drink, it’s similar in Croatia, and therefore a reason to visit. Rakija comes in many different varieties. One popular type is the Lozovača.
If you don’t like the hard liquor, you can visit Karlovac and have some “pivo”, otherwise known as beer. The city itself could also be worth a visit. However, you don’t need to go to Karlovac to find Karlovacko beer. After all, it’s one of the most famous beers in Croatia, but if you like beer it could be fun to visit their factory on a guided tour and tasting!
46. OLIVE OIL
While Italy and Greece might be for famous for olive oil, there are parts of Croatia that are making some of the world’s finest olive oils, such as the region Istria.
47. ONE OF THE SAFEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD
Number 24 worldwide in the latest report from World Economic Forum. It’s just 0.56 points behind Number 1 safest country – Finland. Crimes are low in Croatia and you don’t have to be scared of walking into the wrong neighbourhood or stay out late.
Another thing that is common to find in Croatia is Lavender. And even though the country used to grow more of it, there is still no shortage of it in any way. Croatian lavender is great quality as well, so make sure to bring home some lavender souvenirs.
Croatia has a well-renowned nightlife, and the summers offer some of the best parties in Europe with music playing all night long until the morning after. There are also lots of bars where you can just chill out and drink some delicious wine with friends.
Rovinj is another good reason to visit Croatia. It’s one of the most photographed places, and it’s really picturesque!
51. BLACK RISOTTO
Basically, risotto coloured and flavoured with squid ink is a popular dish in the region of Dalmatia. Of course, you can find it in other places as well. Personally, I don’t like risotto very much, but it’s an interesting dish to try.
52. VIS ISLAND
Another lovely island in the Dalmatian region that I think you should visit.
While I have already mentioned Diocletian’s palace, the city of Split deserves a mention as well. It’s one of my favourite cities in Europe without a doubt. So many stunning buildings, the lovely Riva promenade, shopping, and of course the ideal location for exploring Southern Croatia! I love Split, and if you like football, I highly recommend to go on a Hajduk Split game. They are great, and their fans are really devoted as you will see with various arts around Split. And all in all, the city is historical and very beautiful. There is also a rumour that the women of Split are supposed to be the world’s most beautiful women!
54. KRKA NATIONAL PARK
One of the most stunning places in Europe can be found close to Sibenik. Krka National Park is home to several waterfalls and the proximity to tourist destinations makes it a perfect day trip in the south. If you go early or not during high season you can even enjoy it without the crowds!
55. THE PEOPLE
I found the Croatian people to be very friendly with a great hospitality. For example, we rented an Airbnb in Split and upon arrival, the old lady and man who owned the apartment did not speak a single word of English. Yet they went out of their way to make us feel welcomed, and since I’ve picked up a few Croatian words and sentences along the way I could make myself understood sometimes.
The smile on their faces was priceless, and the old lady even offered to do our laundry for free, and she also asked us to try some local foods. The same kind of hospitality applied everywhere, friendly and chatty folks who want to get to know you and also teach others about the Croatian culture.
Croatians are beautiful too and very passionate!
Read more excellent article from this talented travel writer here