James Jay Carafano
The Dalmatian Coast in Croatia (when the Romans took over the region in 10 AD, they named it after the inhabitants, the Dalmatae) is another tourist destination sadly less desirable because of all the tourists. When the cruise ships dock in Dubrovnik, you literally cannot walk through the streets and are carried along by the mob like the people of Tokyo fleeing Godzilla. Still, the history, charm, beauty, the fish, and the opportunity bake on the beach are irresistible. Less known as a destination for Americans, let me tell you we are missing out.
So here is how to experience Croatia without the crazy.
When to visit? Just the biggest fan of “shoulder season,” before or after the crush of the crowds when the weather is still pleasant, the prices are more reasonable, and the hotels and restaurants less crowded. The shoulder seasons (May-June, September-October) offer milder weather, fewer tourists, and cheaper activities and accommodations.
How to get there? Croatia has five main international airports: Zagreb, Pula, Zadar (airport), Split (airport) and Dubrovnik airports. They handle the majority of scheduled flights from Europe and North America. There are a limited number of direct flights from the East Coast of the U.S. You can also add Croatia as stop on a European trip and get there by flying, driving, train or on a cruise. To be honest, however, if you just make a shore visit from a cruise ship that is an epic fail.
Where to stay? Don’t stay in Split or Dubrovnik. Stay at a tourist hotel in one of the small nearby towns-charming, less crowded, actually meet and hang out with real Croatians. Here are several.