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Discover Croatia
 It is hard to imagine that only 20 years ago, this magnificently beautiful country was torn apart by war in a horrifying display of murder and genocide. Families, friends and entire nations, once part of the former Yugoslav Republic, were forced to be divided by borders and cultural hatreds. But not all of Croatia’s history is so grim. It is a place full of fascinating sights and breathtaking scenery. From the azure waters on the Dalmatian coast to the mountainous countryside in its interior, Croatia is in every way a place worthy of being explored.
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Croatia has the same beautiful towns and waters as Amalfi, the same off-beat culture and quirkiness as Germany and arguably some of the best cuisine in all of Europe. Difference is you pay much, much less. Italy, Germany, France…They are some of the most expensive places to travel in the world today. But Croatia offers it all - and when you can budget 50 Euros a day, including your accommodation, it makes it an absolute must do destination for those adventuring Europe. But to get to experience this wonderland for all it has to offer, and to experience it as cheaply as suggested, you need to do just one thing - avoid peak season in the summer. Between you and me though, Croatia is even better in the spring.

How to plan your trip:
Picking up where we left off, spring time in a wonderful time of year to visit Croatia. Summertime gets very busy and with more and more people excited to add Croatia their lists of must do destinations in Europe, it is only going to get busier. But spring time is a quieter time of year; with gorgeous weather and cheaper prices on practically everything. You also definitely get more of a cultural experience this time of year as well. However, it is important to be aware that some of the ferry’s that run to the Islands from Split and Dubrovnik, are less frequent during spring (the low season), than in the summer months and they also extend to fewer of the islands. But the bus services from Split to Dubrovnik still frequently operate making it an easy travel alternative - especially if you are set on seeing all the islands that run down that bit of coast.

HVAR Town

Transport:
Flights to Split or Dubrovnik are generally pricey from any location in Europe, any time of year. But flights to Zadar, a 4 hour bus ride north of Split, can be booked with RyanAir from 8 Euros per person, one way. Zadar is a picturesque costal town and the bus from here to Split is around 3 Euros. It is also one of the nicest ways to see the incredible Dalmatian coast and if you have Plitvice lakes on your itinerary, it stops right outside the park. The price for a flight to Zagreb varies depending on your point of departure. Alternatively, you can travel by bus or train to and from Zagreb from a range of different countries for very reasonable prices.

Accommodation:
Some places are more expensive than others, and Dubrovnik is the more touristic city, so prices on varying types of accommodation are usually higher than other parts of Croatia. Split, Hvar and Korcula have gorgeous guesthouses and hostels which are a cheaper and arguably more picturesque alternative, as you will be staying right on the island. Prices are around 15 Euros for a hostel and as little as 20 Euros for an apartment at a guesthouse. The same can be said for Zagreb and most other locations across Croatia.

Dubrovnik

Urban nights:
Renting an apartment at a guesthouse is by far the best value for money option whilst staying in one of the many towns or cities in Croatia. The markets throughout Croatia offer an amazing range of cured meats, seafood, fresh produce and cheeses that cooking in your own apartment only adds to the value - and you save by not spending money eating out.

Stay in nature:
A relatively cheap way to stay out in nature is to head out on a boat. The kind of boat you’re looking for are the ones that offers low cost dorm rooms for 200-400 euros a week. Alternatively, there a many spots where you can camp that are either free or very cheap - except during festival weeks in the summer months.

Military Checkpoint, Zadar

Where to spend your money:
Do:
The Dalmatian coast is stunning. The waters here are an intense color of blue and each of the coastal towns are steeped in a fascinating history. I would also recommend heading out from some of the bigger Islands, like Hvar, in a little boat and exploring the smaller, uninhabited islands, like Pakleni Octi.

Eat:
The last thing you should concern yourself to much about is where to eat. Everywhere is going to have delicious food. But my top 3 ‘eats’ would be:
  • Cured meats, cheeses and bread from the markets. Croatia has some of the best salami’s and cured pork in the world, Pair these meats and cheese with some nice crusty bread and olive oil; and you have one of the nicest, cheapest and easiest meals you could ever ask for.
  • Buy fresh fish and seafood off the small local fishing boats. Need I say more?
  • The Veal here is out of this world. Cook it yourself or order it at a restaurant, either way it doesn’t matter, you just have to it! Drink: Now I can’t tell you what they are all called, or what one in particular you should have, but I do know that any drink, alcoholic or not, that has cherry anything in it, is going to be out of this world good. The Croats pride themselves on their cherry flavored drinks, and well, just cherries in general. So if you see that cherry beer, or cocktail, or spirit – try it. On that note, the grapefruit beer (they also have it in cherry) Ozujsko is refreshing and delightful on warm spring day.

Now that you’re in Croatia:
Travel by bus down to Bosnia. The bus is cheap, departs every day, not too far away and you get to add another beautiful country to your list!

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