Croatia is a country that is probably the best example of a modern European success story. As part of the former Yugoslavia and the 1990’s war that brought independence to so many Balkan nations, Croatia has really come out on top in many ways. It is a strong country with great people, high tourism numbers and a lot to see and do. The secret has been out about Croatia for a long time but somehow people still don’t seem to get it or somehow have the wrong idea about it. So here’s why I love Croatia and why you should go there!
First and foremost, Croatia is stunning. From the rugged interior, to its gorgeous National Parks, especially Plitvice Lakes, to the world famous Dalmatian Coast, Croatia has it all including amazing food - very Italian-like. It’s a little subcontinent all by itself.
When I was a kid, I remember watching famous basketball players like Drazen Petrovic come to the US to play in the NBA and I remember watching Goran Ivanisevic win Wimbledon and bring a nation to ecstasy in national pride. I remember thinking; there is a place I want to visit - and I didn’t even know anything else about it.
Well, now I’ve visited three times and have been all over the country and it’s true, the people are very prideful and rightfully so. They are so welcoming and warm to guests. I have always felt so welcome in Croatia from the capital of Zagreb to the famous old towns of Dubrovnik and Split.
I was in Split in 2004; which is a magical town in and of itself. I will never forget meeting a local woman in a coffee shop who simply struck up a conversation with me because I clearly wasn’t Croatian and she was curious about me.
She asked me many questions and was truly fascinated about how and why I was traveling to Croatia to see the country and learn about the people and the culture and see for myself what I had seen on TV since I was a child. She said she wished she could do that and she was afraid to go away from her parents’ home and do anything against their wishes.
I told her that she has to make herself happy before she can make anyone else happy and we just chatted about travel, life and anything really for about an hour or so. We exchanged emails, smiled, and that was it.
A few months later I got an email and she told me that my conversation with her had inspired her to move out of her parents house, get a new job and she even went traveling in Europe for a few months. I was elated that she let me know and will never forget that woman.
I know this is a personal story but that’s what I think of when I think of Croatia - aside from the obvious beautiful scenery and gorgeous coastline and islands. I think about a people that are so in love with the world and with other people that they take such an interest in you and apply it to their lives. I always say that Croatia is two-way tourism. You visit Croatia and the Croatian people visit you! I cannot wait to go back to Croatia; it’s been too long!
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