The Balkans are the most underrated travel destination in Europe. There, I said it.
Croatia has a special place in my heart. After the US and Taiwan, Croatia is the longest I’ve ever spent in a country. Which means I have a lot of opinions about Croatia. If you spend six weeks living in Split, you get to have opinions too.
Most people visit Croatia as yet another stop on their Mediterranean cruise. Most Americans probably can’t even point to Croatia on a map. Granted, it’s a pretty complicated region of the world. Some languages have barely caught up to the fact that Yugoslavia is no longer.
Croatia is a beautiful place. Google Images looks good on Croatia. It helps that it has over a thousand miles of coastline along the Adriatic sea, and 1,246 islands scattered along that coast. It is very much a product of its history, from ancient Roman ruins to distinctly Soviet-looking structures. It is also very much a product of its geography, with the central European architecture to the north and the Mediterranean façades in Dalmatia. Each little town is cuter than the next. Though, I’ll be the first to admit, they all look pretty damn similar. The only major difference being Dubrovnik’s exorbitant high season prices (seriously, just skip on to Split or Zadar or anything in between).
And then there’s the Croatians. Who operate on an entirely different time table, and one that is frankly quite appealing. Spending hours every day at café-bars. Time is a loosely followed social construction. Life is enjoyed one kava at a time. Stare into the mesmerizingly clear blue waters for long enough and pretty soon you’ll forget what the rush is too.