I don’t think I’ve ever had as much trouble planning a trip as I did this winter when preparing for my June trip to Croatia. I went through at least three trip plans, one of which would have excluded the coast almost entirely.
Now that I’ve been to Croatia that seems absolutely horrifying. What is the point of Croatia if not to swim in sparkling, incandescently blue water as often as possible?
Needless to say, I ended up on the Dalmatian coast, visiting Split, the island of Lopud, and Dubrovnik, all of which served as both the perfect introduction to Croatia and to beach holidays.
Here are 10 important things I learned from my two weeks there:
1. Water that is too cold for locals is just right for Canadians
I’d heard a few times that the Adriatic would be far too cold in early June for swimming. Oh spoiled Croatians. It felt like bathwater compared to the Pacific.
2. A daily swim is the perfect prescription for relaxation
I was pretty stressed when I started this holiday but it’s impossible to stay stressed when you get to swim every single day. The only stressful thing was deciding where to swim – my favourite kind of problem!
3. I will not actually die of fright when I see a snake
In 31 years of vacationing in a Californian desert I never once saw a snake. In Croatia I saw three, including one far more up close than I would have liked. But I survived! And I didn’t even scream too loudly.
4. Sharks are not lurking off every beach just waiting for me to go into the water
Having been forced as a child to see far too many IMAX features about Great White Sharks, I am generally pretty terrified to swim in the ocean (yes, even in Canada). But the water was too clear and the weather too warm for me to let a silly little fear get in the way of enjoying the swimming in Croatia. That said, I did stick pretty close to shore and my favourite day in the water was at Krka National Park – lots of fish but no fear of sharks in freshwater!
5. Only ungrateful children refuse to wear hats in the sun (and then rudely refuse to get heatstroke and become a cautionary tale)
Sorry mom 😉
6. June is apricot season in Croatia
Did I spent 15 kuna (or $3 CAD) a day on baskets of perfectly ripe local apricots? Yes, yes I did. And I would have spent more but I needed to save some money for gelato (see point #10).
7. Croatian wine is excellent – and rarely seen outside of Croatia
I only drink a few times a year but early in trip really enjoyed a wine tasting that capped off our day to Krka National Park. For my mother, my travel partner on this trip and a wine lover, the trip was a great chance to taste some beautiful wines. Most Croatian wines are never exported so wine lovers should make the most of their time in the country!
8. British people turn alarmingly red after about 10 minutes in the sun
There are certain helpful ways to determine the nationality of your fellow holidaymakers before they even speak. The Russians love their jewelry. The Germans love their socks and sandal combo. And the British love the sun but not, judging by their lobster complexions, any sort of sun protection.
9. Boats are the best way to travel
Growing up by the ocean, I already knew that boats beat any other mode of transportation. Still, it was wonderful to be able to use them so frequently. How much more peaceful to speed through the waves from Split to Dubrovnik than fight traffic!
10. Gelato once a day is completely acceptable (and necessary to achieve the proper vacation spirit)
As true in Croatia as it is in Italy. There is nothing quite so vacation-y as strolling beautiful streets at the end of a hot day while licking a cool gelato. (For the record, the best gelato of the trip was at Luka in Split).
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