Everyone must know by now that Croatia is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. In addition to spectacular scenery and delectable cuisine, one more element is crucial in promoting the multitude of things to see and do in Croatia.
Influential world media such as the Guardian and The New York Times, as well as travel gurus like Travel and Leisure, inform hundreds of thousands of people every day on various topics. They are trustworthy and provide expert advice.
So when their knowledgeable guides suggest that Istria is the heart of Croatia and that you should visit Dubrovnik in fall – people listen.
Read on to find out what Croatia is like according to influential world media such as:
- The Guardian
- The Huffington Post
- The Independent
- The New York Times
- The BBC
- Travel and Leisure
“Is Croatia Europe’s best festival destination?” asked the Guardian, and then continued to offer more than convincing arguments to support the thesis.
Calling it “a serious rival to Miami and Ibiza”, the Guardian came to the conclusion that the combination of eclectic offer, spectacular sun-infused venues and closeness to major European towns are some of the reasons for Croatia’s party success.
The Guardian has an ongoing love affair with Croatian islands, discussing it in articles about top 5 Croatian holiday islands (link) and island hopping in Croatia (link).
There is a multitude of options when you do venture into island hopping in Croatia. Vis is “the ideal romantic hideaway”, Korčula is best for cultural experience, Mali Lošinj is an ideal relaxation escape, Pag is a foodie heaven and Hvar the place to be seen. In addition, the Guardian suggest going to Rab Island for nudist beaches and Murter Island for those who wish to learn how to sail.
If you would like to combine your love for wine with your sense of adventure, the Guardian has an excellent suggestion: go wine tasting in Istria on a bike. The rosemary-infused atmosphere is fairytale-like, enhanced by breathtaking scenery ideal for cycling.
Finally, the Guardian reminds us that Croatia offers holidays beyond the Dalmatian coast. You couldn’t possibly disagree with the statement that Croatia is “home to some of the most spectacular (…) natural environments in Europe”, particularly if you had the opportunity to explore Northern Velebit and Plitvice Lakes National Parks.
If you were wondering, Plitvice Lakes indeed do look as a magical place.
The Huffington Post
Some of Internet’s most viral articles about Croatia come from the Huffington Post, including 13 reasons why you’re winning at life if you’re in Croatia (link).
The Huffington Post is one of the few world media that recognized Croatia beyond Dalmatia and Istria. They call attention to Hrvatsko Zagorje as one of the most beautiful places in Croatia, highlighting the region’s „medieval castles, hilltop vineyards and thermal springs“.
We encourage you to explore the picturesque castles of Hrvatsko Zagorje here.
In case you are wondering what else there is to see and do once you arrive in Dubrovnik, the Huffington post points out the UNESCO protected Trogir and Korčula island („mini Dubrovnik“ is how they called it) as some of several great options to add to your Croatian itinerary.
Count on the Independent to write about the most interesting place, rather than the most popular. They focused on Rab Island, a special favourite among naturists. It is where the British king Edward VIII and his wife Wallis Simpson went skinny dipping, starting now famous Rab’s tradition of naturist tourism.
Among places in Croatia that deserve more attention, the Independent mentioned Split. They counted several reasons to linger at Croatia’s second biggest city, with meandering marble streets infused with jaw dropping history, a host of authentic restaurants offering the best of local delicacies and surrounding islands abundant in activities being only some of them.
The New York Times
The New York Times used Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik as sets for their esteemed travel series of 36 hours where they explore stunning destinations around the globe in one day and a half.
Zagreb, “a town of traditions” how the New York Times called it, charmed them with its Upper Town where the breathtaking Zagreb cathedral and the picturesque church of St. Mark are located. Of course, they couldn’t miss the, now practically famous, Museum of Broken Relationships, as well as the bustling Dolac Market. The NYT suggest you have “breakfast on the fly” there, comprising of freshly baked goods and locale produce.
We talked in depth on things to see in Zagreb here.
Unsurprisingly, one of the most memorable features of Split was the impressive, UNESCO protected Diocletian’s palace. The NYT writers called it a “mini-city of its own”, admiring the narrow cobbled streets and perpetuate flow of both locals and tourists bringing to life one of world’s most impressive Roman ruins.
Some of the must see places in Split according to New Your Times include Gallery Of Fine Arts, The Riva waterfront promenade, Meštrović Gallery and Bacvice Beach.
To learn more about Split’s eclectic offer, see here.
When it comes to Dubrovnik, the NYT opts for fall as the best time to visit the former Republic of Ragusa, and we couldn’t agree more. Free of tourists coming from cruisers and enthusiastic Game of Thrones fans, Dubrovnik’s most significant historical sites enclosed by the old city walls are waiting for your quiet exploration.
Dubrovnik may not be “a shopper’s paradise” like Zagreb, but its gastronomic offer is extensive, offering a fusion of Croatian specialties, vegetarian restaurants and superb seafood.
For a more in-depth look at Dubrovnik, check out our guide.
In addition to Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik, the New York Times also visited Varaždin, a gorgeous north Croatian town where a thriving scene emerges.
Admiring the beautiful fusion of the past and the modern infusing every inch of the town, the NYT called Varaždin “a hub for culture.” And rightfully so.
„Its festivals celebrate everything from contemporary art and dance to Baroque and rock music, and artists, ateliers and government initiatives continue to enhance an already vivid scene.“
Charming baroque buildings create the town’s core, emerging around the Stari Grad military fortress. The New York Times raved about the popular Špancirfest summer street festival that attracts several hundred thousand visitors each year, Varaždin Baroque Nights which highlights Baroque classical music and Days of Performance showcasing international sculptors painters and art performers.
The New York Times also praised renowned Istrian wine (link) and the sunniest Croatian island (link).
The New York Times is not the only one impressed by what the Istrian Region has to offer.
The BBC admires the “unspoiled countryside” in the heart of Istria where “the pace of daily life slows down considerably”. There the emphasis is placed on cultivation of trademark Istrian specialties such as truffles, asparagus and grapes – turning the latter into world renowned wine.
The BBC states that Istria has its own unique charm despite often being compared with Tuscany. In addition to phrasing the well known Motovun, Pazin, Poreč and Buzet, the BBC encourages its readers to pay a visit to small towns of Gračišće and Svetvinčenat. They are often overlooked, but have much to offer.
For the full story on Istria, see here.
Just like the New York Times saw the fusion of old and new in Varaždin, the same BBC said for Zagreb, Croatia’s booming capital. Admiring Zagreb’s gastronomic offer, forward-moving fashion scene and versatile festival offer, the BBC covered only a small, but interesting part of Zagreb’s abundant offer.
The BBC placed Plitvice Lakes National Park among 6 best national parks in Europe, a merit well deserved. In addition, they also named Kamenjak near Pula, Istria, one of 10 hidden coastlines of the Mediterranean, ideal for those searching for off-the-beaten-path places.
Finally, those with an outdorsy heart will enjoy the BBC’s piece on adventure in Croatia. We already knew there’s more to Croatia than its breathtaking Dalmatian coast, and thanks to the BBC now everybody else knows as well!
Travel and Leisure
There is certainly a trend going on here, since yet another influential media praised the beauties and all-round offers of Istrian peninsula.
Among Travel and Leisure’s 4 reasons to explore Istria are its undiscovered beaches, fabulous gastronomic offer, authenticity and exceptional accommodation. All one needs for an enjoyable holiday in Croatia; or any place for that matter.
While we are on the subject of Istria, Travel and Leisure believes that food lovers should have Rovinj on their bucket list. One of the main reasons for that is the fact that “Rovinj is one of the few places in Europe where haute cuisine is a hand-on, interactive affair.” Couple that with traditional Istrian specialties such as truffles and exquisite wine, and you will have yourself an unforgettable gastronomic experience.
Author: Petra Škofić
Photo Credit: (1) Benoit Prevost, (2) Photonet, (3) Photonet, (4) Marko Vrdoljak, (5) Photonet, (6) Petra Bosnar, (7) Photonet, (8) Mario Fajt, (9) Photonet