Are you looking for a Croatian Summer getaway that escapes the crowds?
There’s no denying the rise in popularity and fame of Croatia. Dubrovnik, otherwise known as ‘Kings Landing’ from the popular Game of Thrones TV series has created a lasting impact on tourism in the country. This year Zagreb took away Lonely Planet’s accolade for ‘Best European Destination to visit for 2017’.
Together with its stunning beaches and coastline, local produce and wines, its many festivals and the warm hospitable people of Croatia it’s no surprise that during peak season it’s almost impossible to find space from the masses…well almost, but not completely.
Read on to discover our “Off the beaten track Super 6 in Croatia …”
Modric cave was discovered in the eighties and opened for visitors in 2004. You will find it near a village with the same name near the National Park Paklenica. A visit to the cave is not a typical tourist visit. There are no steps, paths or lighting inside. Therefore, it is necessary to wear overalls and a helmet with a carbide lamp to walk freely around the cave. The walk is 700m through the halls, corridors and gaps within the cave where you can see stalactities and stalgmites. The walk takes about 2.5 hours. Finish your caving adventure with a swim in the clear emerald waters of the Zrmanja River.
Villages of Brac Island
Brac Island (pronounced “Bratch”) is the longest and most elevated island in central Dalmatia. The many villages offer a window into authentic island life without the hustle and bustle of the neighbouring islands such as Hvar and Korcula. Brac is 48km long and 14 km wide, it is a relatively dry island offering some lovely spots along the rocky shores and some great scuba diving from Lucice Bay. Be sure to sample the the olive oil in Brac. Back in 1655 the Venetian senate insisted that the island be carpeted with olive trees and imposed fines upon anyone who caused damage to the trees. Consequently, on Brac you will see a rare variety of over a half-million olive trees!
Ilok is a town that marks where Croatia’s’ East meets West. This medieval town sits on the banks of the Danube surrounded by the slopes and magnificent vineyards of Fruska Gora. Fondly known as “The Danube kingdom of wine”, the main economic stream of this area is from viticulture and wine production. Ilok offers a rich history going back as far as the Neolithic Age. See archeological sites including fortified town walls and castle ruins. Keen Historians will appreciate the Museum of the Town of Ilok which houses an extensive archaeological, historical and ethnographic collection, as well as a collection of works of art.
Trsteno is small seaside settlement that can be found 20km north of Dubrovnik in southern Croatia. The stunning natural beauties on offer in this area are second to none. Famous for its rich vegetation, idyllic coastline and Arboretum, Trsteno became a popular location in the 14th century for the summer houses of Dubrovnik gentry. The biggest and the most famous summer house by the Gucetic-Gozze family has been preserved to this day. The Arboretum Trsteno is the only existing botanical park of its kind in Croatia. Stroll through over 60 acres of historical olive trees, the evergreen Mediterranean tree species as well as over 300 various exotic plants from all over the world. Hide away from the city crowds in the peace and quiet of Trsteno.
The quiet country lanes and scenic off road routes make Korcula Island the ideal destination for some cycling. Despite there being no dedicated cycling lanes on the island, you will find many small tracks running into the countryside among vineyards and olive groves, offering wonderful views. This charming island boasts a rich history, spectacular beaches, charming towns and some sensational wines. One of the great routes to discover all of this and more is the Lumbarda round trip. For routes off the beaten track head to Smokvica with its many paths and trails taking you off to secret beaches and coves. Be sure to stop along the way to sample the local food and wine.
Finally we have Zagroje. Despite its proximity to Zagreb, the northern region of Zagorje receives few tourists, even at the height of summer. This is surprising given the delightful villages, medieval castles, endless vineyards and thermal springs found amongst its rolling hills. Picturesque with its Austrian-influenced food and architecture, Zagroje is a great alternative the busy Mediterranean south and it can be welcome retreat from the summer heat. See the large castles of Trakoscan and Veliki Tabor, the Baroque streets of Varazdin and the high-tech museum of Evolution in Krapina. For those interested in Roman Catholic spirituality, Zagorje hosts the most important pilgrimage site in Croatia called Marija Bistrica.
There is plenty to see and do off the beaten track in Croatia. All you need to do is decide what!