From the Editor: Our guest blogger Mackenzie Melfa, travel agent and travel blogger at Destination Designer, is back and has another gorgeous honeymoon locale to entice you with! Let’s take a trip to the beautiful country of Croatia!
When I propose Croatia as a honeymoon destination, most couples return my suggestion with blank stares and questions like: “Where exactly is that again…?” Although Europeans have been venturing to its stunning shores for years, it has yet to become a mainstream vacation spot for Americans. This element of secrecy makes it unique, exciting, and somewhat magical for honeymooners. Picture if you will a country that combines the sprawling vineyards of France, the turquoise blue water of Greece, and the history of Italy. That is how I see Croatia, the best pieces of popular Europe mixed into one amazing country.
Why should you go for your honeymoon?
- Cost: Although Croatia is now part of the European Union it will continue to use its currency of the Kuna until 2017. Unlike the Euro, the Kuna is pretty equivalent to the US Dollar. This makes visiting the country, and staying in amazing hotels very affordable compared to visiting other European Countries.
- Istria: In the north east region of Croatia you will find rolling hills, Italian influences in the food, and ancient hill top towns. This is also where a large amount of truffles can be found. If you are a truffle lover you can set up a truffle hunt while visiting!
- Cuisine: With over 1,000 miles of coastline you are likely to indulge in all kinds of fresh seafood while visiting. The Mediterranean climate also makes a perfect home for Olive trees, and vineyards! Inland you will find less seafood and more meats such as lamb and pork. The traditional way of preparing food is simple, unpretentious and very tasty.
- Islands: Do you love sailing? Well Croatia has 1,246 islands and it’s the perfect destination for anyone that loves island hopping. The islands range in size, most aren’t even populated but they are all beautiful!
- Getting Around: The highway system is new, and easy to navigate. They drive on the same side of the road as us, their gas stations are ideally located, and clean! If you prefer you can fly between the larger cities. Or if you are feeling adventurous you could also charter a boat for your trip and visit all of the coastal cities.
- National Parks: Croatia has 8 beautiful national parks. If you love hiking, waterfalls and photography then you have to visit Plitvice Lakes National Park. Look it up immediately! And yes, it really is that beautiful in person.
- History: Did you know that one of the best preserved Roman Amphitheaters is in Croatia? Did you know that the Dalmatian dog is originally from Croatia, and named after the Dalmatia region? Did you know that the tie was invented in Croatia? This country is full of history, both fun and serious.
- Wine: Have you ever tried a Croatia wine? I hadn’t either until I visited. And my reaction was “Wow! May I have another glass?” I asked a local winemaker why I couldn’t find their wine in the states. His response made me smile “We just make enough for Croatia.” It’s not that they don’t want to share, it’s more like they are content to just make their fellow Croatians happy.
Where to visit within Croatia:
- Rovinj: Located in the north, on the sea. It’s a charming old town with picturesque winding streets and beautiful views the Adriatic.
- Zadar: Located in the middle of the Country but on the coast. This town is famous for its sunsets and the Sea Organ. An art + Music installation that makes the sound of an organ each time the water crashes up against the sea steps. It’s amazing!
- Split: Located South of Zadar on the water. This incredible city is home to Diocletian’s Palace. Part of the city is within the walls of the old palace and absolutely breathtaking at night. Plus this is the perfect jumping off point for visiting the island of Hvar.
- Hvar Island: A 90 minute boat ride off the coast of Split you will find the island of Hvar. The island is covered with Vineyards, olive groves, and hills with incredible views. Stay in the town of Hvar for luxury accommodations, restaurants, and an active nightlife.
- Dubrovnik: An ancient walled city located on the southern tip of Croatia. If you have ever seen Game of Thrones you have seen this city but they call it Kings Landing. It’s become a popular destination for fans of the show when they film around the town in September.
Trust me when I say that this is just a small sample of why Croatia is so great. The people are friendly, the cities are clean, the food is amazing, and the views are stunning. If you are looking for a honeymoon destination in Europe but don’t want to come home with the same picture of the Eiffel tower that everyone else comes home with then go to Croatia and experience something amazing and new!