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Despite suffering heavily during the war that followed the fragmentation of Yugoslavia, Croatia’s beauty has remained firmly intact. The old town of Dubrovnik, the beautiful islands off the Dalmatian coast and the National Parks of the interior all help to ensure that Croatia regularly features among the most-popular European destinations. Over 100 Blue Flag beaches stretch along Croatia’s Adriatic coast, and it's not uncommon to see dolphins in these waters. Whether you come to sun yourself on its golden sands, explore the medieval architecture of Split and Dubrovnik, thumb the rails in designer boutiques or party ‘til dawn while island-hopping, a hotel in Croatia is a magnet for the sophisticated traveller.
Dubrovnik - Looking out over the sparkling Adriatic Sea, the walled city of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The immaculate medieval architecture of the Old Town draws thousands of admiring visitors who throng its streets day and night, and fill its hotels, ensuring a vibrant cosmopolitan scene.
Split - Often the jumping-off point for any holiday to the Croatian islands or into the mainland, but well worth a hotel stay in its own right, Split has its foundations in antiquity. The Roman emperor Diocletian built a monumental fortress and palace here in the 4th century, the remains of which are astonishingly well-preserved and a major landmark. If you can, stay close to the Riva - the seafront area has been revitalised with a splash of marble and is now one of the city’s most attractive spots.
Hvar - Looking to get down? This party island attracts a trendy crowd of well-heeled yacht owners and adventurous backpackers to its hotels who mix easily with those arriving to explore Hvar’s natural beauty and historic architecture.
Zagreb - The Croatian capital, Zagreb, doesn’t get the same level of attention as the coastal resorts, yet it still has plenty to offer the visitor, with a range of accommodation types to suit all budgets, making it an attractive weekend city break. Stay either in the Upper Town, where the principal sights such as the Presidential Palace and St. Mark’s Church are located, or the Lower Town where you can immerse yourself in Zagreb’s flourishing cultural scene.
Rovinj - This enormously popular Istrian coast resort maintains the air of an authentic Mediterranean fishing village, despite a growing reputation as a foodie and nightlife hotspot. It’s very tempting to let whole days drift by while watching the fishermen mending their nets and unloading their catch under the watchful eyes of the seagulls.
Enjoy sumptuous views of Dubrovnik’s Old Town and the Adriatic with a guided mountaintop and city tour that gives you the lowdown on the city’s maritime heritage and turbulent recent past. Nature-lovers should head into the incredible Plitvice Lakes National Park, where waterfalls rich in minerals tumble into crystal-clear lakes.
Choose your own adventure. Skipping from island to island to find the best, most secluded beaches; uncovering Roman architecture and a wealth of other cultural attractions; dancing the night away in some of Europe’s hippest bars and clubs, or sating your appetite with the freshest seafood directly off the boat - once you’ve visited Croatia, don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking at the prices for holiday villas - it’s that kind of place.