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Travel to Croatia on the Cheap

Tourists are returning to Croatia for cheap

Now that things are calm in one of the loveliest fragments of former Yugoslavia, tourists are returning to Croatia. Travelers are rediscovering the beautiful Dalmatian Coast and historic-and-hip Dubrovnik, and retracing paths to Zagreb, a focal point of Central European culture.

Most importantly, they’re doing it on the cheap.

Once upon a time, JAT offered nonstop New York flights to Zagreb. Just recently, though, Swift Air took on the challenge of chartering the United States’ first direct flight to Zagreb in 20 years. The flight leaves Chicago and the connection is made once a week, according to the Croatian Times.

Explore the narrow streets of this ancient city. Have coffee at a local café and then head for Upper Town to drink in the Baroque atmosphere. This area of town is home to open-air markets, and some extraordinary handicrafts. Croats revere the things they fashion, so it’s fitting that they’ve devoted a whole museum to it: The Museum of Arts and Crafts boasts some 160,000 individual exhibits.

Consider making the moderately-priced Hotel Juran home base while in Zagreb. Four nights will run about $350.

It’s the Dalmatian Coast that most tourists come to Croatia to see. There are currently no non-stop flights from the United States to Dubrovnik, the region’s leading draw. A number of European carriers, however, offer decent deals. If you’re up for road trips, it’s worth flying into Zagreb and then traveling 10 hours by road to Dubrovnik.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a city that embraces both its history and the sea with the same ferocity as Dubrovnik does. Seafarers have been landing – and in some cases washing up – on Dubrovnik’s shores for centuries, shipwrecked Richard the Lionheart among them.

Over the centuries this naturally-beautiful enclave on the Adriatic has been pummeled by people waging war on one another. The evidence of those times is present, but you’ll have to look hard to find it. Be sure to see the Bell Tower, and Roland’s Column. Arrange for a traditional Dubrovnik Walking Tour, one ushered by a professional guide. You’ll be amazed. This city once rivaled Venice for power and prestige.

Looking for something a bit more strenuous? Check out Diving Center S 57 and learn to scuba. The underwater Dalmatian Coast’s underwater vistas are as extraordinary as it’s terrestrial ones.

Lodging can be reasonable. Hotel Lero is located just a kilometer from the old town. Room rates are approximately $121 per day, depending of course on the time of year.

You won’t have to blow your travel budget to get a good meal in Dubrovnik. Ask for directions to Orhan. No surprise here: seafood (lots of it) is king. Kick back and take in the sea from a terrace overlooking the Adriatic. Rozarij is another gem. It’s small, but the cuisine is terrific.

Check out which airlines fly to Croatia today. What are you waiting for?

 
 
Melisse Hinkle
A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has lived in four U.S. cities, spent a summer in Hawaii, made her way through wine-producing regions in Australia and New Zealand, and traveled around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Content Manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cheapflights.