Croatia became the 28th member of the EU very recently – on 1 July, 2013. Since then, the country has been building a new identity, with a clear vision of the future. Rather like Turkey, its tourism has boomed – impressed by its beauty, first time visitors return home with tales of its pristine waters and picturesque scenery, often to return again and again, enchanted by all this magical destination has to offer.
Why do so many people fall in love with it? Here are five reasons to choose Croatia for a timeshare break this September:
- It’s “The Mediterranean as it once was”, is the advertising tagline of the Croatian National Tourist Board, highlighting Croatia’s comparative lack of crowds compared to other part of southern Europe such as the Costa del Sol.
- Croatia is a sustainable tourism destination, where respect for the environment is high on the list.
- Huge improvements have been made in the national infrastructure – the motorways are modernised, resorts have been renovated and given a contemporary look.
- It’s sports heaven. For a small country with a population of over four million – not large by any standards – Croatia has done exceptionally well in past Olympics. Perhaps this has something to do with its climate and great outdoors. From the sea to the mountains, from kayaking to rock climbing, there’s a favourite sport for everyone.
- It’s so much easier to get to than it once was, with regular flights from British airports, and because tourism here has a deep history, you’ll arrive to a warm welcome. There are still remnants of Roman summer villas on the Dalmatian islands, before the coastline was developed specifically for visitors, with big, modern hotels with great sports facilities built along its rocky Adriatic coast.
History buffs will find plenty to enjoy here, exploring the Roman, Byzantine, Venetian and Austrian/Hungarian monuments at Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split or Zadar. Parts of the country are under UNESCO protection – Dubrovnik and Split’s historic centres are in fact UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and so is the basilica in Porec and two cathedrals in Trogir and Sibenik. These places come alive on summer nights, as the cities host summer festivals and open air evening concerts against these richly historical backdrops.
One thing worth pointing out is that you won’t find extensive stretches of sandy beaches along Croatia’s rocky Adriatic Coast, this area’s natural topography is craggier and more dramatic, but it’s still very beautiful, full of emerald pine trees against a deep turquoise sea.
The best times to visit? Spring in Croatia is magical, but for many the best time of all is autumn. The crowds have gone in September and October and all the local facilities remain open, so you’ll get more of the islands and the deep blue early autumn sky to yourself. Unlike the Canary Islands, winter can get chilly here, although you’ll still find a fair share of sunny days. If you love to hike and aren’t bothered about cooler sea temperatures, Croatia is still a rewarding experience in winter, and although a lot of places will have shut down for the winter and there will be fewer direct flights, you’ll get a real feel for how the locals live when the tourists live in low season.