One of the Mediterranean's most desirable travel destinations may fly under the radar for a lot of travelers, but is rapidly gaining the notoriety it deserves. Gaining its independence in 1991, Croatia is a grossly underrated seaside vacation destination. With 2,000 kms (1,243 mi) of pristine Mediterranean coastline and over 1,000 islands there is so much beauty to explore in this small Balkan nation. Croatia has forever been at the crossroads of European civilizations, a place where western European customs meet Balkan and Eastern influences to make one of the most memorable cultures you will experience. With its north-to-south geography, Croatia is an extremely accessible country to cycle. The capital city of Zagreb is a bustling place with a youthful attitude that boasts intriguing cafe culture, year round festivals, art exhibits, and music events, making the easy to cycle city a must-visit while in Croatia.
The coast of Croatia is where you will find most of the action, with the cities of Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar, and Pula containing some of the most enchanting sites of any city along the Mediterranean coastline. Some of the best preserved Roman and Greek ruins can be found among the winding ancient city streets. Cool cafes line the shores and affordable accommodation is plentiful, making Croatia one of the best travel locations in Europe. Yes, you can find the glitz and glamour most are accustomed to finding in exotic sea-side locations like the Amalfi Coast in Italy; places like Hvar with its cocktail bars and Hollywood celebrities have long since been a global destination for the rich and famous. However, in true Croatian fashion, there are top-tier locations for half the price if you’re willing to step a street or town over. Pula has some of the best Roman ruins that you will find anywhere, and the city is pleasantly situated on the southern tip of the Istrian Peninsula, making it the perfect jumping-off point to explore the hilltop villages and wineries of the north.
Cycling down the coast from Zagreb to Dubrovnik is one of the best rides you can find anywhere. The low-lying mountains are steep enough for a good workout, and the thousands of private white sand beaches make all the effort worth it. When traveling down Croatia a stop at Krka National Park is an absolute must. The park features a series of waterfalls and pools of turquoise waters that cascade for kilometers. The scenery is something out of a fantasy and will transport you to another world.
Croatia has a grassroots feel; visitors are welcomed in by an authentic experience that cannot be replicated in any other country in Europe. No matter how popular Croatia gets, even in the heat of the summer season, you can always find a private beach or relaxed market square to unwind and reflect on your newfound love for Croatia.