Serene beaches, stunning natural landscapes and an abundance of good food and wine – Croatia sounds like a pretty good holiday getaway. Scratch the surface a little deeper though and you will uncover a truly spectacular adventure holiday destination.
Since 2000, the number of foreign visitors flocking to Croatia has more than doubled from around 7,000 to 15,500. With that in mind, don’t expect to have the place to yourself, however with so much to offer, you can always find something away from the crowds.
It’s the wild coastline of the country that is likely to be the base for those seeking an active getaway. The abundance of options means you could try a new sporting activity for every day of your adventure holiday.
The second city of Split provides a great starting point for exploring some of the 1000+ islands majestically sprinkled throughout the Adriatic sea by kayak. Vis, closed to the public by the Yugoslav government until 1989, retains much of its natural charm. Circumnavigating the islet by paddle power will deliver kayakers to some deserted, hidden beaches and coves and pass by traditional Croat fishing villages towered over by huge cliff faces.
Heading back towards the mainland a fantastic view of the mountains dominates the horizon. Once back on dry land in Split, the activities don’t have to end there though.
The city, home to 455,000 people, is also a fantastic rock climbing destination for visitors to Croatia. There are dozens of crags of varying difficulty in the surrounding area, waiting for climbers of all ages and abilities to tackle.
Markezina Greda, located 15km from the city provides some of the toughest challenges in the area, with 17 routes graded between 8A and 8C.
Rock climbing opportunities aren’t limited to southern Dalmatia though, with the city of Rovinj in Istria also boasting ample opportunities for an ascent nearby.
The forest park climbing rock located on the Zlatni Rt peninsular is the best and most popular of these. Climbing in summer is tricky after 1pm, when the rock face becomes too hot from an afternoon cooking in the southern European sunshine.
The view from the limestone crags is hard to beat, with the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea lapping up against the shore just a few meters away, and a stunning panorama of Rovinj just across the bay. Climb late in the afternoon for an added bonus of a spectacular setting for a Croatian sunset.
Just 35km south lies the architecturally fascinating city of Pula, the gateway to the Brijuni National Park. When you have finished gazing at the city’s amazing amphitheatre – the sixth largest of it’s kind in the world – the best thing to do is get your wet suit on and head for the sea.
The waters surrounding Brijuni are a haven for Adriatic’s marine life particularly the two-banded bream, grouper fish and wrasse. Luckier divers may even come into contact with the local dolphin or sea turtle population.
If checking out the fauna isn’t your thing, Croatia also has an abundance of shipwrecks lurking in it’s waters. Ask at any local diving centre and you’re sure to be offered a chance to explore the nearest wreck.
It’s not just the coastal regions that make Croatia awesome for an adventure holiday though. Further inland there are numerous rafting opportunities on the country’s rivers.
The Korana, the Dobra and the Mreznica rivers all flow through the north of the country, all intertwining through the town of Karlovac.
The latter provides thrill seekers with arguably the most pleasure though, with a whopping 93 waterfalls dotting the way, some much bigger than others.
Warm, inviting waters flowing through unspoilt woods make it not only a fun day out on the water, but one surrounded by natural beauty. Following a spell on the river, a visit to the further south to Plitvice National Park is surely in order to gawp at yet more magical waterfalls and an incredibly green landscape.
After a hard day of activities, Croatia has a perfect recovery solution. The north-west of the country, particularly Istria, makes no secret of the Italian influence on it’s cuisine.
The freshest of seafood and tastiest pasta dishes around are a mainstay in this part of the world. And with numerous vineyards in the area there’s plenty to wash it all down with too.
So following a day rock climbing or kayaking, there’s little better to do than enjoy a glass of refreshing Malvasia whilst tucking into a carbohydrate-laden plate of pasta, ready to do it all again in the morning!
If you’re inspired to take an adventure holiday to Croatia, make sure you get full cover. Get a quick quote for our Sports Travel Insurance policy to ensure you’re protected whatever activities you plan to enjoy.
*Kayaking and rafting images courtesy of Raftrek Adventure Travel