I think that I’m at something of an end to covering specific locations in Croatia, although I’m sure I’ll revisit some areas again here as they seem pertinent and I’ll be writing some larger articles about larger topics.
I’ve left Croatia behind a few days ago and had some time to reflect on the places that I saw and the people that I met. All of this was during high season, so I saw everywhere in the worst light possible: freakin’ hot and full of beach tourists. Given that, I realized that even in the darkest depths of high season, there are a great number of places in Croatia that are worth seeing because they’re just good spots. These appeal to me because they are scenic, or interesting, or pretty, or something else that makes them better than you basic tourist trap that you see in one day and then want to move on from. So, without further ado, here are my Top 5 choices:
This peninsula that sticks off the coast above Dubrovnik is not heavily touristed. The only thing that most people see is the road that runs up to the ferry in Orebić to take you to Korčula. Really, this is the place to go if you happen to like wine, because there is a growing wine industry in this area. Other than this, there isn’t much there besides relaxing and not beach relaxing mind you, because while the water looks nice, it’s not so good to swim in. This all adds up to a perfect time for me.
Regions at borders are cool. People speak three or more languages and because of migrations and the fluidity of borders, people in these areas are easy going. I did another article about this area that goes in to more detail, but suffice to say, it’s all part of the tourist no fly zone north of Zagreb and so it is very, very relaxed. The landscape is gorgeous as well.
This little gem had long been forgotten about. Then then new Auto Cesta opened up and it was a toll exit. Suddenly, people have found it again and with good reason. It’s charming. It was ethnically mixed during Yugoslavia, which meant problems after the breakup, but ultimately gives the town a very textured look to it, not clinging to one Empire’s aesthetic. It is also mellow and while there are a few tourists that find their way here, I can’t see it being a huge destination unless they choose for it be, since there is no beach. If a tourism industry grows up here, I assume it will be a sustainable one due in no small part to the businesses of Alen Bibich.
The coast of Istria is hell during high season, but just 10-15km away, there is the interior. This heart-shaped region is awash in lovely little hilltop towns, great wine, food, and of course truffles. Yes, the tourists have found a lot of the spots in here, from when they get bored at the beach and start wandering. But, outside of high season, the tourist that goes here is the one that I like. They’re foodies and winos and those are usually good people in my book. Oh yeah, there are the cyclists as well, whom I’m not too in to, but they’re a small group that moves quickly.
Sure, I know what you’re thinking, “But, I’ve actually heard of Korčula!” Sure, many people have or the mispronounced, “Korkula” as some sandy-beach-horny Irish girls I met called it. The thing with this island is that the people who go there, go to Korčula City. It’s small, so a lot of them are day trippers. If you actually stay on the island, you’ll find that there is a whole western chunk of it that isn’t visited much. Somehow the damned Czechs have found any and all hidden beaches, but to such a smaller degree, that it’s quite civilized. And, if you happen to be there just out of high season, the place is completed deserted. Oh yeah, that and they make wine :)