Here’s why you shouldn’t miss Croatia when you’re OCONUS in Europe


(Photo: Courtesy of Courtney Hall)

Croatia has been on my bucket list for a long time, so when the opportunity presented itself to travel there this summer, we jumped on it.

Transportation

Discount airline Ryanair came through with inexpensive tickets for everyone. We flew from Germany to the Rijeka Airport in northern Croatia. You can also take flights into Zadar, but we found the flights to Rijeka to be far less expensive, especially if during tourist season. We rented a car through Ryanair, which cost us twenty euros a day. Croatia has been the cheapest place to rent a car we’ve been to so far. While driving wasn’t an issue, I will say that when visiting, you should be cautious. While Croatians drive like we do, they tend to pass in spots that many might consider dangerous.

Zadar

We decided to take a longer route to Zadar so we could drive along the coast and that additional hour was completely worth it. It was so beautiful! The ocean is a perfect, dark blue and the little rocks and islands scattered throughout it are a wonderful sandy color with green bushes and shrubbery dotted around them. We’ve traveled all over Europe and it was just so refreshing for the whole family to see a landscape and culture so different from the places we’d seen before.

Plitvice National Park

Our first day was devoted solely to Plitvice National Park. It lives up to all of the hype and even–somehow–surpasses it. Seeing perfect waterfalls and beautiful trails through majestic forest was just breathtaking. It was surreal. The water is so crystal clear and this perfect shade of teal and Tiffany blue. It was a perfect day. I realize that this sounds like a bit much, but I simply cannot describe how perfect this park was.

Krka National Park

There’s a cute little town you have to walk through to get to the ticket booth for Krka National Park. The town has booths and displays all along the walk announcing other tourist destinations offered throughout the region, which gives it a fun, festival feel. After your ticket, hop on a boat to get to the stretch of land where the famous Krka waterfall is.

There were hundreds of people at the falls with us. Everyone gathered on the banks, shucked down to their swimsuits, left their belongings unguarded on the shore, and wadded into the water. There was a feeling of excitement and exhilaration.

The water was clear and cool; it covered huge boulders. The water would actually have been super deep in many places with the exception of the boulders that checkered the bottom. Hop from one boulder to another like an astronaut in space to get yourself to the front of the falls. The waterfall is roped off, but you can get to the rope and the sight is just amazing! The park also has restaurants and booths right next to the falls where you can relax.

By Courtney Hall