Destination in Focus – Croatia

Dr Raphael Beilin interviewed his jetlagged wife, Maria, who has just returned from a trip to Croatia with her sister and parents.
R: What made you want to visit Croatia?
M: As well as visiting my sister in London, we wanted a side trip to somewhere with spectacular scenery and with a bit of warmth and history. My parents are originally from Italy and had always wanted to go there as it’s directly across the Adriatic from their home towns.
R: What were the highlights?
M: The Adriatic Sea is crystal blue green and looked really clean. All of the towns and cities were beautiful, very old and atmospheric. Dubrovnik was impressive from water and land, walking the walls of the city (built on a clifftop) you can imagine yourself transported back in time. I think that’s why they used this location for ‘Kings Landing’ in Game of Thrones. The walled city of Split was originally the Diocletian palace, and staying within the walls, with no traffic, was really special.
My parents loved the Mediterranean food, an abundance of restaurants serving fresh fish and pasta dishes, often with great views. Like any heavily touristed area, we found the best food a few streets back from the main tourist strip.
R. How did you get around?
M. From London we flew in to Split and out of Dubrovnik, in between travelling independently hopping between the coast and islands as well as from island to island using the local ferry system. Planning was required as the number of ferries are limited during off peak seasons, some Islands only have two services/day. Many people seem to be on organised tours where this is all taken care of. Car ferries were also available for those wanting to explore the coast and islands this way.
Within the old city walls of Split and Dubrovnik and in the towns on the islands everything was accessible by foot, however there are lots of cobblestones and steps to climb. Wandering without a fixed plan worked well for us, we enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere.
R. Any other tips?
It would be great to book to go on as sailboat along this stretch of coast, the best beaches and sea caves are most easily accessed this way. In terms of when to go, we found early June was great – pleasantly warm but already getting busy. I can imagine in July/ August it would be stiflingly hot and overrun by European holidaymakers.
R. Any health problems?
M. None at all, but prior to departure we consulted a travel health doctor who was well known to us, who assured us that our measles/mumps/rubella and tetanus vaccines were up to date and  who made sure we had our flu vaccines before we travelled!