Is Croatia's Dalmatian coast the new Italian Riviera?
Croatia's Dalmatian coast is fast becoming a hotspot for tourists thanks to its crystal waters, stunning old towns and attractive island landscapes. Sitting on the crossroads of the Mediterranean and Central Europe, with a rapidly developing tourism industry, Croatia is less expensive than Italy, its revered next door neighbour.
Unlike the Italian Riviera where you can travel through it all by rail, Croatia's coastline is accessible by road and you can choose to self-drive, take local buses or just island hop throughout this stunning region. Croatia may not have the colourful fishing villages of the Italian Riviera, it does have some of the cleanest beaches, over 1000 islands and plenty of romantic, secluded coves within pure azure waters.
Think of Croatia and the iconic image of Dubrovnik comes to mind. Arguably the most stunning Old Town in the region, Dubrovnik is also the most popular and attracts many tourists during its busy summer months. With so much to do here it is easy to see its wide appeal, and there's a magical feeling as you meander around the streets of the old fortress, listening to music from the restaurants under the night sky.
Lose yourself amongst the cobbled back streets or just visit by day for shopping or a stroll along its city walls. There's a small bay here to sunbathe or you can take the cable car for amazing views of the harbour.
A city with a rich history and a true Mediterranean spirit, Split lies in the heart of Dalmatia and from here you can sail the clear blue waters of the Adriatic while island hopping to your heart's content. Once protected by numerous fortresses with palaces, temples and natural spas, Split is now the main port to islands such as Vis and Hvar, known for their beauty, traditions and lively nightlife. The esplanade is a picturesque waterfront that illuminates at night.
The Kornati islands around Sibenik form the largest group of islands in the Mediterranean. There's an island for each day of the year and the islets of white karstic rock are a yachting paradise. Along the green route of Sibenik, home to seven waterfalls and an abundance of bird life, are the remains of medieval settlements. The city was founded more than 1000 years ago and is best known for the cathedral of St Jacob built in the 15th century. The white stone dome dominates the city and its towers.
Another stunning coastal route not to miss is from Rejika to the Croatian island of Rab. North of Sibenik and Zadar, Rab is only a 15 minute ferry ride from the picturesque village of Jablanc. It's one of the greenest islands with plenty of shaded woodland and a lovely bay at Lopar, it's definitely worth a visit if you have the time.
Whether you choose to stay in one area or explore more of the sweeping coastline, one thing is guaranteed: Croatia's Dalmatian coast is an alluring and unique region just waiting to be enjoyed...
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