World Cup holiday guide: Croatia

Donned with the perennial tag of tournament ‘dark horses’ and draped in their iconic red and white chequered jerseys, Croatia has long been a World Cup staple. Lighting up the world stage with mercurial talents such as Zvonimir Boban, Davor Suker, Luka Modric and Robert Prosinecki, they represent the unique nature of their homeland.

As part of our build up to the World Cup we are looking at some of the participating that are perfect for a summer break. The next instalment takes us to the Adriatic and to the beautiful country of Croatia. Whether you’re looking for a city break or a week-long retreat of relaxation on a peaceful beach – you will find it here.

Just like a floated Luka Modric free-kick, there is so much majesty about Croatia and here’s why you should be visiting this summer.

Why we love it

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Croatia cannot claim to be the first place that springs to mind when it comes to a summer holiday destination but this just makes visiting this corner of the Balkans even more special. Combining picturesque cities with some of the best beaches Europe has to offer – you will be blown away by the sheer beauty of Croatia.

From the terracotta rooftops of Dubrovnik to the tranquil surroundings of Mljet to the vibrant nightlife of Split, Croatia has the power to surprise at every turn. It provides the holiday you have been looking for whether that it is a long weekend of sightseeing or a week of sunbathing and not having to lift a finger.

If your idea of a holiday is breaking from the norm, ditching the traditional destinations and trying something a little different then Croatia is calling your name.

What you cannot miss

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There is an undeniable fact about Croatia that it leaves a lasting impression on everyone that visits. It has a beauty that can encapsulate and melt the most hardened soul. Its cities twinkle under the nighttime sky while the serenity of the surrounding islands provides a slice of paradise you have been dreaming of.

Central to all this is the intoxicating city of Dubrovnik. Beloved by scholars, poets and writers alike, this intertwined collection of terracotta roofed buildings, cobbled streets and surrounded by the calm waters of the Adriatic is a must-see. Stroll through the Old Town and point out the various set-pieces used for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones. Marvel at the architecture and you’ll soon realise why playwright George Bernard Shaw once described it as ‘paradise on earth’.

If you’re looking for the city life then Dubrovnik, Split and the capital of Zagreb offer the cosmopolitan vibes you seek but if you want to experience an underrated element of Croatia then head for its islands. The Dalmatian islands offer a quiet retreat from the mainland with a wealth of pristine beaches and quaint coastal towns.

Gaze over the rolling vineyards and sample one of the best beaches in Europe in Vis, live the life of luxury in Hvar or watch incredible sunsets in Mljet. The only difficult decision when holidaying in Croatia is which part you are going to visit first.

Eat like the locals  

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Photo credit: alchen_x via Flickr.

Mirroring the culture of the country, Croatian cuisine is a diverse mix of flavours inspired by Mediterranean and Eastern European tastes. A local staple is crni rižot – a risotto packed full of cuttlefish or squid, olive oil, garlic and red wine – blackened with squid ink (it tastes infinitely better than it looks).

Given Croatia’s fishing heritage, seafood is a major part of the menu with brodetto (a traditional fish stew originally from the Italian region of Marche) and buzara (mussels in a wine, garlic and breadcrumbs broth) are two must-try dishes.

Fancy some tapas? Try Croatia’s take on this classic with a range of Istrian pršut (dry-salted pork leg seasoned with pepper, garlic and rosemary) paired with a delicious drop of Malvazija or Tern wine. Bottom’s up!

Is Croatia your pick for a 2018 summer holiday? Start planning your visit to the ‘jewel of the Adriatic’ with one of our tailored package breaks. Head to www.sunmaster.co.uk and see how much you could save.