Optimise Travel Test – Croatia
Croatia offers plenty of options for holiday-makers, including its culture, historical buildings and national parks, as well as beautiful coastal and inland mountain resorts.
We’ve put the country through our Optimise Travel holiday destination test, and it comes up trumps.
Is now a good financial time to go?
Is there a wide variety of interesting things to see and do?
Is there a good time of year to go?
How hard is it to get to and get around when you’re there?
We’ll look at each one of these criteria in more detail in this article, offering you some practical tips and advice along the way.
A good financial time to go √
Current exchange rates between the Australian dollar and the Croatian kuna make Croatia a good value for money destination for Australian tourists.
As the graph below shows, the Australian dollar (AUD) will currently buy you approximately 5.17 Croatian kunas (HRK). Although you would have been able to get more than 6 kunas to the dollar 2 or 3 years ago, the Australian dollar has held up better against the kuna in recent years than against currencies like the United States dollar (USD) and the Euro (EUR).
A variety of interesting things to see and do √
Before we get into those, you need to get your head around the geographic layout of the country. The capital city of Croatia is Zagreb, and the country is bordered by Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Croatian is the official language in the country, but most people speak at least a little English, so the language barrier won’t be as acute as in some other countries.
This amphitheatre was built in the first century, and is the 6th largest surviving arena from the Roman Empire. It is also the best preserved historical building in Croatia, and hosts a variety of festivals and concert performances over the summer months.
Plitvice Lakes is a World Heritage-listed national park located near Croatia’s border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is particularly famous for its series of cascading lakes and their green, blue and azure watercolours. Its dense forests are home to unique flora and fauna species, including the European brown bear, eagles, owls, wolves and wild cats.
Hvar is a Croatian island town located in the Adriatic Sea, off the Dalmatian coast near the city of Split. It is home to some of Croatia’s more upmarket resorts, and is known for its sunny weather, beaches and harbour.
Zlatni Rat Beach
This much-photographed and popular beach, also off the coast of the city of Split, is surrounded by pine trees and is typically lined in summer with sunbeds. It is ideal for water sports activities such as wind-surfing and kayaking.
Korčula is also an island town located off the coast of Split. There you can stroll and explore its centuries-old stone buildings, medieval walls and towers on car-free stone alleys. You can also visit Marco Polo House, the birthplace of the famous 13th-century explorer.
Nicknamed “the pearl of the Atlantic”, the city of Dubrovnik in the south is one of Croatia’s most prominent tourist attractions. It is a walled city, and the stunning architecture of its churches, monasteries and museums are its most striking feature. Besides walking the streets to take its history in, a great way to view the city as a whole and its neighbouring islands in the Adriatic Sea is via aerial cable car. In addition, the ‘old city’ was used in filming the HBO TV series Game of Thrones.
A good time of year to go √
Being located in the northern hemisphere, Croatia’s seasons occur at the opposite time to Australia’s. Its weather is much cooler than in Australia, with average summer temperatures of 18°C and -3°C in winter. Coastal areas are warmer than inland areas.
You can expect holiday destinations and accommodation within Croatia to be more crowded and expensive during school holiday times. Approximate Croatian school holiday dates are as follows:
Christmas: 24 December 2015 to 8 January
Spring: 21 March 2016 to 28 March 2016
Summer: 13 June 2016 to 31 August 2016
Autumn: 5 September 2016 to 9 September 2016
Getting there and getting around while you’re there √
There are regular flights to Zagreb (the capital and largest city in Croatia) from most capital cities in Australia. It’s a long flight, taking approximately 24 hours from the east coast of Australia, based on one quick stopover at a connecting flight destination along the way (such as in Abu Dhabi, Bangkok or Dubai). Connecting flights are common for such a long journey. Your total travel time will obviously be affected by the length of any stopovers, so you should plan accordingly.
Within Croatia, there are airports in each of its major cities. Flights between cities are relatively short by Australian standards. For example, a flight between Zagreb in the north of the country and Dubrovnik (popular tourist destination in the far south) only takes about an hour.
Is it safe?
The Australian government’s official advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is that Australians should exercise normal safety precautions when travelling in Croatia. As you should in any international country, pay close attention to your personal security and belongings.
You should also talk to your doctor about appropriate vaccines and preventative medicines before you go. In addition to the routine vaccines, for Croatia, you should prevent your chances of contracting any of the following diseases –hepatitis A/B and rabies.
Please Share your Croatian tips, tricks and stories in the comments section so that others can benefit on their travels!
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