Croatia may have become known as the setting of a popular TV series, but this country in the Balkan Peninsula offers so much more. Let these stunning images convince you why it’s about time you visit this UNESCO-filled country
WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY MARBEE SHING-GO
ADDITIONAL TEXT BY RIGELS LENJA
SPECIAL THANKS TO VERNON PRIETO, LANDWAYS (LANDWAYS.EU), AND TURKISH AIRLINES
Almost every beach lover fantasizes about the perfect Mediterranean getaway: enjoying the ocean waters that sparkle with intense shades of cerulean and aquamarine, and watching lively waves crash against ancient walled-towns. Croatia is one of the best countries to actualize this beach dream. It’s no doubt the sunniest place in Europe, as well as one with some of the best shorelines in the world. However, aside from its marvelous coasts, Croatia also has a fascinating story to tell. Its Napoleonic forts, Roman columns, ancient towns, and museums all prove how it can compete with other countries in terms of historical and cultural offerings.
The city has grown widely famous recently because of Game of Thrones, as it is where one of the major settings of the show is shot—particularly for the King’s Landing. Travel agencies even claim that the number of travelers booking their Croatia and Balkan packages increased exponentially because of the show.
Also considered the Jewel of Balkan, Dubrovnik reached its peak during the Middle Ages—when its maritime influence got so wide it became the chief competitor of the Venetian Empire for the Adriatic waterways. The city’s maritime prosperity also played an important role in the entire East Mediterranean Sea during that period.
Some of the places to see in Dubrovnik include the Rector’s Palace, Old Pharmacy at Franciscan Church and Monastery, and the Walls of Dubrovnik—the fourth longest wall in world at around two kilometers (with three different views: sea, mountains, and brick rooftops).
Also, everything inside the city’s Old Town, Main Square is more than 600 years old.
THINGS TO DO IN DUBROVNIK
- Take the cable car and enjoy the scenery of the Old Town, the sea, and the Lokrum Island.
- Go on a Game of Thrones walking tour. Everyone wants to get a glimpse of Westeros, so why shouldn’t you?
- Eat squid or calamari. Seafood in the Dalmatian Coast is delicious, but there’s something about the squid that is extraordinarily good!
- Visit Old Pharmacy at Franciscan Church and Monastery, one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, and check out its potions and lotions. The 700-year-old apothecary located inside is where friars have kept about 2000 recipes.
This is second biggest city in Croatia, and also one of the oldest. Split was built 1700 years ago by famous Roman Emperor Diocletian (the last Roman emperor to punish Christians) as a retirement home. Today, it is one of the country’s liveliest cities, a place with a vibrant night life—as seen in its various bars and restaurants.
THINGS TO DO IN SPLIT
- Take a tour inside the Cathedral of St. Lawrence and enjoy the amazing view of the entire city and the bay from its tower.
- Stroll down the bay walk and along the Peristil Square. Its open-air pavilion will remind you of the Roman times.
- Pose beside the original Egyptian sphinx inside the Peristil Square.
- Eat, drink, and be merry (either alone, with your significant other, or with friends) at one of the open-air bistros by the bay.
Trogir (called Trau before by the Venetians) is a medieval city located on a tiny island, linked by bridges to both the mainland and Čiovo Island. During the Middle Ages, Trogir was very important for shipbuilding. The city’s architectural design was also influenced by the Greek, Roman, Venetian, Romanesque, and Renaissance styles—showing its 2300 years of history.
THINGS TO DO IN TROGIR
- Visit Kamerlengo Fortress and take a walking tour at the heart of city.
- Enjoy the scenery at the seaside promenade—lined with bars, cafés, and yachts.
- Check out coral jewelries. Coral accessories are common and allowed in Croatia and the Adriatic Sea (although, make sure you buy at stores that are disciplined and regulated enough to sell these products), so indulge yourself in a unique souvenir shopping experience!
- Walk along the city’s cobblestone alleys and be rewarded with picturesque sights
For more information about tours to Croatia and the Balkan Region, visit the Travel Madness Fair this July 5 to 8, 2018 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.