A guide to where to stay in Croatia

Wednesday, 4 April 2012 3:35 PM

If you've only got a few free days during which to have a holiday, you shouldn't discount booking a villa in Croatia. The Mediterranean country is one of the most popular in Europe with tourists and can be reached within just a few hours from the UK.

All of this means that you can be relaxing poolside in the sun sooner than you think. However, when there are so many great attractions in Croatia, how do you decide where to book your self catering accommodation?

Well, we're here to help, so read on for our guide.

Istria

This peninsula in the north-west of Croatia is arguably the most popular place with holidaymakers, being home to the bustling resorts of Porec and Umag. Whether you want to spend your short break relaxing on the beach, walking in the countryside or exploring historical sites, you can do all that and more here.

The city of Pula will be your first stop if you're a fan of history - after all, it boasts 3,000 years of it! Actually, it goes back even further than that, as evidence of humans from one million years ago has been found in a cave near the metropolis. Later, it played an important part in the story of the Argonauts and their search for the Golden Fleece. Check out the Roman ruins here for an insight into this era of the city's past.

Istria is also blessed with plenty of natural attractions. The rolling hills are the perfect place for hiking, cycling or horse riding and soaking up the sun while admiring the views. Check out the Festinsko kraljevstvo cave for a truly awe-inspiring sight. The glistening walls are reflected in the deep underground lakes, making this a place of pure beauty.

Alternatively, simply hit the beach. The region has some great sandy stretches to choose form, where you can have a go at water sports, such as wind surfing and diving. However, you may just wish to use your short break as a chance to relax and never venture far from your villa's grounds.

Dubrovnik

This historical city has an Old Town that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it's a fascinating place to explore. You can check out ancient sites like Roland's Column and Sponza Palace while you're here, or take a stroll around the length of the city's walls admiring the views over the houses on one side and out to sea on the other.

Head to one of Dubrovnik's restaurants to tuck into some of the delicious cuisine during your visit. Many Croatian dishes are doused in the country's own olive oil, which really packs a punch. Grilled pork and lamb are all popular, but when you're somewhere on the coast like this city, make sure you try some seafood - particularly the sardines.

The islands

The Dalmatian Coast is peppered with so many beautiful islands and one of these is definitely the place to choose if you want a relaxing getaway doing little more than soaking up the sun and pottering around pretty fishing villages.

Iz is a great example of such a destination. With a population of just a few hundred, you're guaranteed a peaceful time when you come here. It is also surrounded by a handful of smaller isles, so hire a boat and spend a day exploring these before returning to your villa and enjoying an evening outside drinking a glass of wine and admiring the stars.
 

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