17 Croatian Things to Check off Your 2017 Bucket ListPublished on March 14, 2017
Each year, it seems like more and more people are talking about Croatia and adding it to their must-visit lists. With a record-breaking 16.3 million tourists, 2016 was one of the best years for this Adriatic gem – with reason. From gorgeous natural scenery, to interesting museums and fun-filled adventures, you really should keep your eye on this rising star. So, in the spirit of the New Year, and to help you create your own Croatian bucket list for 2017, I’ve decided to list all the relaxing, unique and adrenaline-pumping sights and activities Croatia has to offer.
1. Check out Zagreb’s quirky museums
If you’re landing in the Croatian capital, then make sure to visit its unique museums before making your way around the country. Why not start with the Museum of Broken Relationships? Full of memoires of past relationships donated by countless people worldwide, this museum has to be one of the most unique museums worldwide. When you’re done, take your mind on a rollercoaster at the Museum of Illusions. Whether you’re traveling in a flock or solo, these illusions are sure to leave you dazed and confused!
2. Go truffle hunting in Istria
Have a meditative afternoon in the heart-shaped Croatian peninsula of Istria, hunting for truffles. Known globally as a delicacy, these little rarities will give you a run for your money as you explore the lush Istrian forest!
3. Follow dinosaur footsteps in VelikiBrijun Island
Who wouldn’t like to see dinosaur footprints in real life? While you’re in Croatia, make a quick stop at the island of VelikiBrijun, where you can find over 200 dinosaur footprints! These footprints can be traced back to the Cretaceous Period, which inspired the name of the Brijuni Cretaceous Park on the island.
4. Visit a donkey farm in the Pelješac Peninsula
If you happen to visit the Pelješac Peninsula, make sure to stop by a donkey farm, where you can learn about them, taste their milk, or even milk one yourself! What better way to let go of our preconditioned stereotypes of these kind and gentle creates? So if you’re in the spirit of trying new and unusual things this year, milking a donkey in Croatia will definitely add enough quirk to your bucket list.
5. Cruise through the Blue Grotto of Biševo
Situated in the center of the Dalmatian archipelago, the Blue Grotto in Croatia is known for its glowing blue light that appears at certain times of the day. This happens because the sunlight reflects through the water coming from the white floor of the cave, bathing the grotto in aquamarine light and making objects in the water appear silver.While you’re in the area, why not visit another gem-colored cave on a nearby island – the stunning Green Grotto?
6. Get up-close-and-personal with nature in Lokrum
Just 15 minutes from Dubrovnik, this Croatian islet is inhabited by peacocks and over 500 different kinds of plants; thanks to Archduke Maximilian Ferdinand of Habsburg who bought the islet in the 19th C and brought over all the different plants and animals you find today. And speaking of nature, you can also go au naturel on its nude beach.
7. Visit any of its stunning national parks
How about a bucket list within a bucket list? Whether you’re walking around the 16 gorgeous lakes of Plitviče Lakes National Park, or hiking through the pine forests of Paklenica National Park, the amount of sheer natural beauty in and around Croatia’s parks will take your breath away.
8. Get in touch with your inner Lannister (or Stark!)
As you may already know, parts of HBO’s Game of Thrones series are filmed in Croatia. Walk around King’s Landing in Dubrovnik where Cersei Lannister did her walk of shame, reenact Daenerys Targaryen’s cold scene with the Spic King of Qarth in Trogir Island, or call out for Myhsa in the city of Meereen in Split.
9. Go island hopping
With over a thousand islands and islets in Croatia, island hopping seems like a no brainer. Whether you want to make your entire trip just about island hopping, want a mix of cities and islands or decide to only do it for a day, it’s a must while you’re in Croatia. Soak up the sun, enjoy the beautiful beaches and enjoy some water sports – what more could you ask for? If you plan on spending the night on one of these gorgeous islands, don’t forget to book your accommodation in advance just to be safe!
10. Indulge the foodie within
When it comes to food on vacation, I’ve noticed that there are mainly 2 types of travelers: those who eat to travel and those who travel to eat. For the latter, I don’t need to sell you on this; as for the former, you cannot say that you’ve been to Croatia if you haven’t tried some of their mouthwatering dishes. With a whole menu of meals to choose from, the must-trys are crnirižot (black squid risotto), any seafood served with blitva (chard), andmišanca (stewed wild vegetables)). But you don’t have to take my word for it, try them out yourself and tell me your personal favorites!
11. Get acquainted with its fascinating history
Shout out to all the history buffs! If you travel to dive into a country’s history, Croatia’s past will leave you out of breath! Influenced by the ancient Greeks and Romans all the way to the Austrian-Hungarians, you’ll find the perfect mix of all that’s historic in this country.
12. Rock out – Roman style
If you’re lucky enough to visit Croatia when there’s a concert or festival in the Pula amphitheater, I promise you an experience you won’t forget! What better way to rock out to your favorite music then at an actual Roman amphitheater?! Here you will find an intoxicating mix of modern day music and glorious roman architecture, but be sure to book the concert or festival tickets in advance. If you’d prefer a more relaxing night, you can opt for a film screening instead.
13. Have an elevated meal
A group of people having dinner in the sky in Zagreb - Photo by Dinner in the Sky® Zagreb
For the food enthusiasts planning to visit Croatia this summer; I’ve got great news for you, Dinner in the Sky is returning once again to Zagreb. If the average meal no longer tickles your fancy, you can try having a meal 60 meters above ground. Yes, you read that right, 60 meters above ground. At almost 90EUR for an hour, it can be quite pricey; if that’s above your price range, you can go for lunch at almost 50EUR for 40 minutes, brunch at almost 40EUR for 35 minutes, a cocktail/sparkling wine at almost 30EUR for 20 minutes.
14. Live the art
Unbeknownst to most, Croatia’s art dates back to the Neolithic Period, all the way to modern times. In the Middle Ages, it was an art center in south Eastern Europe. So basically, if you’re into art, you’ll find plenty here. From ancient ceramics and sculptures to Greek and Roman relics, gorgeous medieval architecture, modern paintings and street art (you could check out the Pimp my Pump movement).
15. Unleash the party animal within
One of the best things you can do is dance like no one’s watching – and there’s no better place to completely let go of your inhibitions than a country you don’t live in. Croatia is surely becoming one of the party hotspots, offering over 20 music festivals this summer alone; so you can get your tan on while you get your groove on.
16. Get your dose of adrenaline
Now, this is where Croatia really shines! With all the natural areas available in this amazing country, the list of adrenaline-filled activities is almost endless. From land-based activities like hiking and mountain climbing, to water sports like fly boarding, kite surfing, scuba diving and sailing. Whatever the level of adrenaline you seek, you will find something to get your blood pumping.
17. Get fancy with some wine
If you like wine, then boy will you love Croatia! With a great variety of delicious grapes, this winefield of a country has some explosive flavors (see what I did there?). If you’re a fan of Italian wine, start anywhere in Istria; for a more local taste, try Croatia’s most planted wine, the native Graševina found in Slavonia. Looking for a strong wine? Then North Dalmatia is the place to go, and if you’re looking for the best and most expensive Croatian wines, South and Central Dalmatia are the winners by far.
For more awesome ideas for your Croatian trip, click here!