Nestled in the hills of the Adriatic Peninsula lies a vacations spot that should be on the top of any traveler’s list. Croatia is a country of pure and natural beauty, which can be felt in every bite of food and city visited. While a member of the European Union, Croatia is not on the Euro, which means that it has not been heavily industrialized like many of the other countries in the union. It is therefore filled with beautiful, undisturbed nature, and businesses still run by individuals instead of large conglomerates. These factors make it a unique destination that can be said to be “a cleaner and more natural Italy”. Its lack of industrialization, however, does not mean that it doesn’t have a booming tourist industry. Many of the locals on the coast and various islands of Croatia make a large part of their yearly income during the tourist season and as a result, anything you require or desire while traveling is likely at your fingertips.
One cannot discuss Croatia without mentioning the amazing food, with heavy Greek and Italian influences dining is an unforgettable and sensual experience. The food offers consistently fresh and exciting dining experiences. The coastal orientation of Croatia offers up bounties of fresh fish, which constitute a large part of the Croatian diet. Whether you are a fish lover or not, while traveling I recommend abandoning any and all inhibitions and sampling the bounty of the sea. It is unlikely that you will be disappointed. From octopus salad to cuttlefish risotto to raw oysters every bit of seafood was better than the next. If you are not adventurous in your palette do not fear, because there are plenty of other options, including many vegetarian dishes filled with beautiful arrays of fresh vegetables. On multiple occasions I sampled crisp roasted chicken and even tender lamb wrapped in a prosciutto, one really cannot go wrong when dining in Croatia.
You will never be bored in Croatia, and will likely find it difficult to leave the pristine waters of the Adriatic that I found beckoning to me at every turn in my travels. Despite the many aquatic options such as swimming, kayaking, cliff jumping, etc. there is much more to do. Croatia is a large supplier of olive oil and a tour of an olive grove is highly recommended, it is fascinating to learn about the extensive process and many uses for the product we take for granted in our food. Croatia also has a largely underappreciated wine industry that apart from the Gurgic vineyard in Sonoma has yet to reach America. However it is fantastic, and the Croatian take on Zinfandels, in particular, was a pleasant surprise as an individual who usually avoids them at all costs. They offer a variety of reds, whites, and rosés that are all worth a try and can easily be sampled on a vineyard tour at one of the many vineyards scattered throughout the country.
I have traveled many places, but no place has made me fall in love as quickly as Croatia. It is an amazing country with so much to offer and a rich history that quite frankly I still don’t completely understand. Everyone I met spoke English and all the locals were extremely welcoming and friendly in every interaction. Whether you are trying to think of a place to go this summer or trying to decide where to spend a weekend in your time abroad, Croatia is a fantastic option.
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