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From Croatia's Coast to Montenegro's Mountains

Inspire Grand Designs Cover
Inspire Grand Designs Cover

From Croatia's Coast to Montenegro's Mountains

story by: Inspire Magazine

It’s been more than two decades since Yugoslavia’s break up and the ensuing civil war that brought Croatia, Bosnia/ Herzogovina, Macedonia and Serbia to the world’s attention. Since then the region has experienced a dramatic change of fortune. Now the crystal clear waters of the Dalmatian Coast, and the ancient heritage of its picturesque ports, have instead become firm favourites with travellers seeking some of Europe’s newest and most spectacular holiday experiences. Discerning holidaymakers from around the world are again discovering a region of diverse natural beauty and romantic towns where relaxation or adventure can be found in equal measure.

Explore Croatia’s island-studded coast and be enchanted by Dubrovnik, a medieval gem described by Lord Byron as the ‘pearl of the Adriatic’, while further north there’s vibrant nightlife and bustling seafront cafés in the cosmopolitan town of Split. Or be adventurous and hire a car to visit the cascading lakes in Croatia’s Plitvice National Park, which are truly one of the natural wonders of the world. Your trip inland should also include Zagreb, a city of leafy parks and baroque architecture reminiscent of Prague, Vienna or Budapest. Now that you’re on your Balkan journey, why stop at Croatia? The other ex-Yugoslav republics have plenty to tempt the visitor, whether it’s the mountains of Montenegro, the river canyons of Bosnia or hip nightlife in Belgrade.

When it comes to enjoying what Croatia and its neighbours have to offer, you're spoiled for choice. A driving tour provides plenty of freedom, and there are vehicle ferries that will take you to the major islands like Hvar, Brac and Korcula. Or for something a bit different, why not hop from island to island on a guided or independent cycling tour? It's great way to meet the locals and get close to nature along one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.

Being out on the water is when the Adriatic really sparkles, so not surprisingly it's a popular cruising destination. Many ships stop at Dubrovnik as it's perfect for spending a day in the old town; being right on the water's edge it's easy to explore by foot and well worth the UNESCO World Heritage listing.

Another option is to cruise the idyllic waters on a small, vintage yacht. Trips are usually for 7 days and are surprisingly affordable, but it's best to book in advance - certainly before leaving NZ.

With so much history and so many cultures inhabiting this part of the world, having a guide accompany you makes perfect sense. Several adventure and cultural tour companies now operate in places like Bosnia and Montenegro, to ensure you see what these less-discovered lands have to offer.

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