Friends, Romans, Countrymen: Let’s Head To Croatia This Summer

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Let’s face it, the Romans knew what was up. Even a life of excess needed an equally fantastic getaway, and the people of the ancient empire knew just where to go: Croatia. With some help from our friends at GoNomad, all of us can walk on the same pebbles as Augustus, or eat at the same restaurants that Caesar ate on vacation (well, sort of).

Your jumping-off point is Croatia’s finest attraction, the city of Dubrovnik. Dubbed “The Pearl of the Adriatic,” this UNESCO world heritage site boasts marble streets lined with immaculate Baroque style buildings, and a sprinkling of fountains and sculptures from the Renaissance period.

Wander around Old Town, within the ancient castle walls that withstood the test of time and numerous wartime battles. From the restaurants and bars there, take in the view of the Adriatic over a beer (Pivo, if you want to practice your Croatian) and Mediterranean cuisine (just imagine how good the Truffle Pasta is after a long day in the city). Afterward, throw a towel down on the modest Banje Beach, to take in the sunset.

That’s not all though. Croatia has an up-and-coming national park system — eight parks total — whose beauty isn’t just a Roman secret anymore. Plitvice Lakes is Croatia’s largest, and was nominated for the semi-finals of the New Seven Wonders of the World list. Feeling more adventurous? Head to the cliffs, caves, and gorges of Velebit to get the adrenaline pumping with some outdoor endeavors.

For an even more personal view of the Croatian life, head to the less touristy countryside, where the beauty of the country frames some of the most polite hamlets in the world (Zagreb was actually voted #6 in a Reader’s Digest poll). Intimate markets and cathedrals define this area of “Croatia’s Breadbasket.” The author even experienced some local hospitality, getting swept off to a house for cookies and walnut brandy. I could get used to that.

With food, beaches, mountains, cultures, and some of the most polite people in the world, those Romans were wise beyond their years.

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