Budget vacations are harder and harder to come by. Once a fantastic tourist spot is discovered, demand surges and prices correspondingly increase. Fortunately, one country remains an inexpensive, beautiful and friendly destination for tourists of all classes: Croatia.
Many travelers these days visit Croatia because it boasts one of the largest coastlines per sq. km of any country in the world. With 5,835km of coastline, Croatia offers almost infinite beaches, seaside hotels and water-based activities at very competitive rates. The Croatians are a modern, cosmopolitan people, offering friendly and hospitable service throughout this beautiful country. Furthermore, as capitalism has only come to the Croats in the past two decades, fierce competition within the burgeoning market economy means not only lower prices but better service across the board.
Why Visit Croatia
If are looking for few reasons to visit Croatia, first and for most, hotels and accommodations are extremely inexpensive for the prudent traveler. While seaside hotels in May-July (the busy season) can be upward of $600/night for luxury accommodations, conventional two-star hotels can be had for $250. In addition, even during this busy season, private accommodations are quite reasonable, ranging from $40-60/night, and for single-travelers, youth hostels are half that price. However, these prices can fall as much as 40% off-season, so it may be advisable to visit either just before or just after the peak to secure lower rates. Also, Croatia’s proximity to both Slavic and Turkish peoples has, over the centuries, created a blended cuisine that will tantalize even the most jaded food connoisseur. From its large assortment of seafood (including octopus, squid and shrimp) to its infectious love affair with pasta (topped with every permutation of sauce imaginable), Croatia will sate the palate at an affordable price. A three-course dinner for two at an average Croatian restaurant is only $39.
What to See When You Visit Croatia
Croatia boasts a rich, millennia-old culture with many ancient architectural wonders. Among the most beautiful is Euphrasian Basilica, located in the ancient town of Pore?. The Basilica was built 1400 years ago at the height of Byzantine power, and is adorned by gorgeous mosaics on its floors and walls. Though fire has ravaged this ancient church several times over the years, its fundamental structure and artwork have been largely unchanged since the age of Byzantium.(image by BorisHedgehog).
Mljet is another lovely addition to any itinerary, and a must-see for forest-lovers. Nearly 72% of this verdant isle off the southern coast of Croatia is covered in dense forest, while much of the rest is populated by vineyards and small hamlets. The island has two lakes, one of which, VelikoJezero, features an island within the island that houses an ancient Benedictine monastery.
Last, but certainly not least, Croatia boasts the palace of Diocletian, perhaps the most forward-thinking and prudent of later Roman Emperors prior to Justinian. Diocletian built his retirement palace on land now occupied by the town of Split, and many businesses still operate within its spacious walls. The merger of old and new world charm here should not be missed.
Where to Take Your Kids When You Visit Croatia
Most Croatian hotels will provide accommodations for children, from diapers for the wee ones to extra cost. Restaurants are generally child-friendly as well, as Croatian culture is very informal and friendly. The large expanse of beaches, replete with water sports and other activities, should delight and entertain any child. Educational opportunities also abound, as ancient and modern battlefields, Roman and Byzantine architecture, and prehistoric ruins dot the vast Croatian landscape.
Weather and Climate
Geographically and climatically, Croatia is extremely diverse. Its Adriatic coastline boasts a typical Mediterranean climate, with relatively moderate temperatures year-round. Still, even here, there is a rainy season extending to April or May, so it is advisable to visit in late spring or early summer. Croatia also features large, elevated forests where majestic, snow-tipped landscapes can be viewed in the winter months.
In summation, Croatia is a fabulous tourist destination. Not only does it provide affordable accommodations, but also beautiful and historic landscapes. Budget vacations are still entirely accessible to the average visitor, especially when knowing where to look. In addition to Croatia, there are additional Eastern European countries, such as Romania, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, which offer affordable vacation opportunities with modern amenities.
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Feature image by photoantenna