12 Things to do in Makarska, Croatia JetSettingFools.com

12 Things to do in Makarska, Croatia

Makarska has long appealed to holidaying tourists eager to soak up the sun and party late into night – which just happen to be two of the best things to do in Makarska. The 1.5-mile stretch of pebbly beaches that sit under the gaze of Biokovo Mountain are sandwiched between the cool waters of the Adriatic Sea and shaded gardens of evergreens. At the center of Makarska is the historic Old Town boasting dozens of restaurants and a pleasant harbor filled with gently rocking boats. The nightlife options are slim, but that fact is overcome by a unique and iconic club in a seaside cave. 

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One-Day Tour of Istria, Croatia

One-Day Tour of Istria, Croatia: The Highlights

Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula dangles off the northwest corner of the country into the Adriatic Sea. Like much of Croatia, the coastline in Istria is the big attraction. Seaside towns steeped in history line the western shore, each exuding unique character. However, the interior of the Istrian Peninsula is equally picturesque and has a storied past of its own. Medieval hilltop towns and regional delicacies are as much a reason to visit Istria as the translucent waters of the sea. Although we opted to base ourselves on the coast during our stay, we planned a one-day tour of Istria that included both the coast and the interior so that we could experience the must-see highlights of Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula.

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Stari Grad, Croatia - Photo Credit: Andrija Carli

3 Overlooked Cities in Croatia to Visit

Croatia’s calling. Croatia keeps calling. In nearly three years of full-time travel, we’ve followed a path that has led us back to Croatia five times. We’ve swam in the sea along the Dalmatian Coast, sampled culinary treasures in Istria, gazed at the waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes, felt the buzz of urban city life in Zagreb and ventured into the less-visited terrain of Osijek-Baranja in the Slavonia region. 

We’ve seen more of Croatia than most tourists, yet we continue to be lured back to the country by the diverse and picturesque landscapes we have yet to discover and the warm and welcoming people we know we’ll meet there.  In 2017, we’ve zeroed in on three cities in Croatia to visit: Stari Grad, Makarska and Ston.

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7 Super Reasons to Visit Osijek, Croatia JetSettingFools.com

7 Super Reasons to Visit Osijek, Croatia

Many travelers think of Croatia solely for its stunning seaside and hundreds of idyllic islands, looking inland only as far as Plitvice Lakes or the capital city, Zagreb. The eastern region of Slavonia, including Osijek and Baranja, are destinations that go unnoticed. We, too, overlooked Slavonia until we heard whispers of culinary delights and small production wineries coming from the region. (OK, to be honest, mostly it was the tales of wine that garnered our attention.) The more we learned, the more we were intrigued and we knew we had to visit Osijek, Croatia.

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Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia Celebrating Advent

Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia: Celebrating Advent

As the crisp air brightens my cheeks and little puffs of breath escape from my mouth, I inhale the scent of sizzling meat being cooked to perfection. The tantalizing aroma drifts on a light breeze from cheerfully decorated wooden huts and I wonder how many minutes will pass by until we succumb to buying a sausage. Festive lights hang in a canopy over the street, casting a warm glow onto the revelers swaying to the music as they peruse the wares for sale. Although I feel foolish, I can’t wipe the giddy grin from my face. Advent has begun – and there is nothing quite like a European Christmas market to usher in the holiday spirit. With a steaming cup of spiced, mulled wine in one hand and my other tucked into the crook of Kris’s arm, we navigate our way through the merriment as we celebrate the beginning of Christmas in Zagreb, Croatia.

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Visit Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatia in Autumn a Photo Essay JetSettingFools.com

Visit Plitvice Lakes in Autumn: A Photo Essay

Besides the dramatic coastline, Plitvice Lakes is Croatia’s most well-known natural wonder. The chain of 16 lakes filled with vivid blue water are linked by a series of waterfalls. Streaming, thundering, tumbling and babbling, the flowing water has carved a deep canyon into the limestone rocks. But, what makes Plitvice Lakes extraordinary are the tufa barriers over which the water spills from one lake into the next. The naturally occurring phenomena, in which calcium carbonate is the culprit in a complicated formula {Ca (HCO3)2+water dispersion → CO2+H2O+CaCO3↓ (tufa)}, has been at work for 7,000 years, resulting in mounds of mineral deposits covered in algae and other plant life. In scientific terms, it’s complex, if not a bit drab; to the casual observer, it is quite simply breathtaking to visit Plitvice Lakes.

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Croatia 2-Week Itinerary JetSettingFools.com

2-week Croatia Itinerary

We’ve made no secret of our love for Croatia. From top to bottom, from the interior to the coast, there hasn’t been a place we have visited that we didn’t fall in love with. We’ve been captivated by the dramatic coastline dotted with islands, by the thundering waterfalls in the national parks, by the charming historic towns and buzzing cities, by the traditional cuisine and local wine and, of course, by the kind and generous people. We could easily recommend that anyone visiting Croatia plan to spend at least a month – or more – exploring the landscapes and soaking it all in. However, we understand the realities of limited time off work and have, therefore, devised an ambitious 2-week Croatia Itinerary.

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Ferry from Split to Vis Island

Ferry from Split to Vis Island

Split, Croatia serves as an excellent jumping off point for exploring the nearby islands that are scattered along the Dalmatian Coast. Inexpensive ferries transport passengers from the mainland to the islands year round (although, in the off-season, the schedules are condensed). On a previous trip to Croatia, we visited two well-known islands, Hvar and Korcula, both of which are popular with tourists. Seeking an island slightly off the beaten path, we arranged to take a ferry from Split to Vis. Because of Vis’s location further away from the coastline and previous use as a military fort, the island was inaccessible to tourists, only opening to visitors in the last 15 years.

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Hiking To Stari Grad Fortress In Omis, Croatia

Hiking to Starigrad Fortress in Omis, Croatia

Omis, Croatia a seaside town 25km south of Split, is nestled at the base of the Dinara Mountain where the Cetina River flows into the sea. With an inviting coastline, picturesque walled city and striking mountains, we understand why it has been nicknamed the Omis Riviera. However, we weren’t there for sunbathing or café sipping. We had one activity planned: hiking to Starigrad Fortress in Omis.

Fellow travel blogger, Frank of The Travels of BBQ Boy and Spanky, made the climb when he was in Split earlier this year. The photos and description from his post (which you can read here) enticed us to attempt hiking to Starigrad Fortress in Omis ourselves.

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Familiar and new experiences in Split, Croatia: Our 3rd visit

We’ve said before that we don’t do re-dos. We need to retract that statement.

We’ve been in Croatia for more than a month experiencing new places – Rovinj in Istria and Zadar in Northern Dalmatia – but decided to spend a few days back in Split…in the exact same apartment we stayed in earlier this year. After a year and a half of continuous travel, this is a first for us. What excited us about it was having both familiar and new experiences in Split, Croatia.

While our main reason for returning to Split involved a desired transportation route to our next destination (more on that later), we were both ecstatic at the prospect of being back in a place we knew and loved. On our first stay, we immediately felt comfortable in Split. So comfortable, in fact, that we didn’t venture far from the city limits. On this return trip, we wanted to expand our boundaries with new experiences in Split, Croatia.

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