Croatia’s Coast: Traveling to Zadar, Šibenik, Split, Dubrovnik, and More
Croatia is more than Dubrovnik, which Game of Thrones fans and cruise ships have been flocking to for years. On the Croatia’s Coast episode of the Postcard Academy, Ashley Colburn, an American now living in Istria, helps us explore more of Croatia’s coastline.
Ashley is a two-time Emmy award-winning TV producer who has traveled to more than 50 countries. She earned one of those Emmys for her first TV travel show WOW Croatia. She then produced seven, one-hour episodes of a documentary called WONDERS OF CROATIA. This work has endeared Ashley to the Croatian people, and turned her into a national celebrity — she’s even competing in the TV series Singing with the Stars!
Listen to the Postcard Academy to hear all of Ashley’s recommendations. Here are some highlights on the places you must see along Croatia’s coastline. (subscribe for free).
If you’ve never been to Croatia, you might not know that most of the beaches are rocky, not sandy. An exception: Saharun Beach on Dugi Otok, which you can get to via Zadar (otok means ‘island’ in Croatian). With its fine, white sand, Ashley says, “It looks like the Maldives.”
Looking for a local hipster vibe? Šibenik is your town. The whole city has fortresses surrounding it.
One of the most popular seaside towns with access to islands like Brac, Hvar, and Vis, which you can get to via catamaran. It’s also home to the Ultra music festival.
The Pearl of the Adriatic. Over the centuries, Dubrovnik rivaled, and was also conquered by, Venice. You’ll see this Italian influence in Dubrovnik’s monuments and architecture as you stroll the city’s limestone streets. Get up early to walk along the wall that surrounds the old town, and, if you don’t like crowds, visit during the off season (April/May/September). UNESCO has warned Dubrovnik that it needs to manage the number of tourists entering its city walls in the summer or risk looking World Heritage status. But people come here for a reason -- don’t miss it!
While not on the coast, you might want to begin or end your Croatia trip in Zagreb, the capital. Ashley says this is where you’ll ‘feel the life of Croatia.’ A quarter of Croatia’s 4 million people live in the city, which is a great base for day trips like Trakoscan Castle, the Plitvice Lakes, and the wine region to the north.
Bonus town: Rovinj
“My favorite place in Croatia is a small town called Rovinj,” Ashley says. “It looks like Positano. It’s just perfect for summer.” Take a boat to an island, swim, nap. This is the place to relax and recharge.
How to get around Croatia
Rent a car or take the bus (Flixbus is a good option). Trains are not as frequent or reliable as in other parts of Europe.
Best souvenirs to buy in Croatia
Fun fact: the tie was invented in Croatia. Listen to the Croatia’s Coastline episode of the Postcard Academy to hear that story. Ashley recommends buying souvenirs at CROATA which sells ties, as well as scarves.
Olive oil and lavender soap are other local products that make great gifts.
If you found this article useful, please share it, and subscribe to the Postcard Academy podcast. Each week, expats and adventurers share their insider travel tips on the best food, nightlife, and cultural experiences in the most interesting places around the globe. I’m your host, Sarah Mikutel, an American who's spent the last 8 years living in, and traveling around, Europe.