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Impressions of Croatia

27th July 2012 • Posted in Where2 Magazine

Croatia’s stunning historic heritage, magnificent coastline and thousand islands draw tourists from all over the world.’s flights to Dubrovnik and Split have proved so popular that a new destination airport, Pula at the southern tip of the Istrian Peninsula, has now been introduced.

Introducing Pula – A New destination

A wonderful climate, rich cultural diversity and historic heritage make the city of Pula an outstanding holiday destination. It is also ideally placed for access to some of the country’s thousand or so beautiful islands. Additional attractions are the excellent Italian-influenced restaurants and a vibrant nightlife.

Impressions of Croatia image

Ancient remains found in a cave near Pula and dating back a million years thrilled archaeologists as have later objects confirming early human settlement. But for today’s tourists it is the ancient Roman buildings and especially the extraordinary Roman Arena that will leave the deepest impression. Other major Roman remains include the Augustan Forum, Temple of Roma and Augustus, and Porta Gemina, one of the surviving city gates. 

When the Romans left, other rulers arrived, and each eventually left, leaving a rich cultural history behind them. Visitors can admire the 6th-century Byzantine Chapel of St Mary Formosa with its lovely mosaics. They can enjoy wandering through the narrow streets of the old quarter, with its Medieval and Renaissance buildings and Roman paving stones. They can walk up to a 14th-century Venetian castle, set on a hill overlooking the city... the list is endless. 

A fascinating country

Croatia as a whole is a fascinating holiday destination and asked two recent travellers and myJet2 members for their impressions. Sue and Mac Downie holidayed in Croatia last summer – and were so impressed that they’re already planning their next trip..!  

“There are so many positives about Croatia and Dubrovnik that it’s difficult to know where to start! The climate is marvellous. It was very hot. Our first week was also quite humid. The locals said that for the time of year it was actually a heatwave for them! We like the sun for walking around in, but don’t sit in it too much, maybe an odd half day around the hotel pool to wind down a bit. There were no sandy beaches where we were, they were pebbly but with proper footwear that was not a problem. The sea was crystal clear and warm, beautiful! The views from our hotel were great too – the sea to the front where we were able to see cruise ships sailing towards the harbour a short distance from the hotel. Behind the harbour there’s a fantastic mountain range”. 

Atmospheric Dubrovnik

“Dubrovnik is beautiful, with wonderful views. The medieval Old Town’s buildings are very Venetian-looking. There’s still lots of work in progress from the re-building following the Homeland War, which only ended in 1995, but the repairs completed so far are impressive – the different colours between old and new terracotta roof tiles give an idea of the extent of the rebuilding involved. 

“The city wall areas were always packed, particularly when the cruise ships docked. We recommend going early in the morning when it’s cooler and there are fewer people. The Old Town has plenty of cafés and restaurants and is very atmospheric, particularly at night when it is illuminated. There are plenty of places to eat and some lovely coffee shops where you can sit and just take in the views, and maybe sample a little cake or two...”

“We walked up the central street, the Stradun,” continues Mac, “that runs between the two old city gates, and wandered around some of the old side streets, which are lined with shops, cafés and bars. For great views there’s also a new cable car that takes you up to the top of Mount Srd. There’s a café and restaurant at the top that are open until midnight during the height of the summer season. Also at the top, within the ruins of Fort Imperial, is the excellent Museum of the Croatian War of Independence. 

Day Trips by Boat and Coach

“We had some enjoyable boat trips to explore a few of the many islands in the area. Dubrovnik is magnificent from the water! We also took one full-day boat trip which took us to three different islands: Kolocep is the largest in the Elaphite archipelago (Deer Islands, named after the deer that used to roam here). It’s a car-free island with wonderful subtropical vegetation, hidden rocky beaches and sandy coves. With its cosy restaurants and cafés, it’s a real escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

“Lopud is another Elaphite Island. The landscape is picturesque and dotted with citrus and cypress trees. Lopud is famous for one of the Adriatic’s most beautiful sandy beaches – Sunj – which can be reached by taking a slightly adventurous walk!

“The third island we visited was Mljet, considered one of the most beautiful islands in the world. It’s a Croatia National Park and is covered with luxuriant vegetation. It is also a renowned destination for divers.

“Another day we took a coach trip to nearby Montenegro. It took just over an hour from the border to reach the old coastal city of Kotor, a beautiful, smaller version of Dubrovnik. 

“One Sunday we also visited a little village, Cilipi, just a short bus ride away from Lapad. This area was completely bombed during the war and has now been re-built. Every Sunday the villagers hold a little market trading locally made-tableware, lace, toys, delicatessen goods and so on. Sugared almonds are a must! Most of the stallholders wear colourful national costumes. At about 12.30pm practically the whole village assembles and there’s music and dancing. There’s also a museum in the main square depicting the story of the war and subsequent re-birth of the country.” “In the museum,” adds Sue, “you’ll also find explanations of the various hats the ladies wear with their costumes. You can tell the ‘status’ of the wearer by their hat – single, engaged, married, widowed etc. 

“We loved the whole holiday. We’d really like to go back to explore more of Croatia, visiting Split and Pula too, and revisiting Montenegro, perhaps by boat and car. We’re already starting to research our options!”

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