Returning to Croatia, our happy place

Returning to Croatia, our happy place

We love Croatia. There, I said it. I love Croatia more than warm clothes fresh out of the dryer, more than my beloved Anderson Cooper, and dare I say even more than cheese. CHEESE.

We have an unabashed obsession with this country. Maybe it’s the stylish people and their dry sense of humor (made even better by those sexy accent, amirite?) Perhaps it’s because Croatia is one of Europe’s more affordable countries? Or it could be because it’s stupid pretty. Like, no place should have the beauty that the country posses. Also, it’s got a little bit of everything- forests, ocean, beaches, diverse cities- you name it. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the food. If Austria and Italy had a delicious love child, said child would be Croatia.

Taken in Opatija, my favorite city in the world.

When Chris asked me what I wanted for my birthday, the very first thought that popped into my head (after a life-sized replica of Anderson Cooper made entirely of cheese and a room stacked with purses… also filled with cheese) was that I wanted to ring in my 29th year somewhere special. No, not Harry Potter World, although that would be a close second. I decided to celebrate my special day in my favorite country.

Somehow, we always end up in Croatia during the off-season. October and November are the only months that we’ve been in the country but truth be told, we wouldn’t have it any other way. The weather is magnificent-not too hot, not too cold-and the subtle morning mist lasts just long enough for us to appreciate it before it allows the sun to emerge. Visiting during the off-season also allows us to feel like we’re experiencing a more authentic Croatia (i.e. no hoards of tourists or guides with colorful umbrellas to maneuver around).

While each city, hotel, restaurant, and experience deserves its own post, I wanted to leave you with a little sneak peek of highlights from this past trip. Hopefully you’ll be able to fall in love with Croatia as much as we have. But beware, she’s ours.

Zagreb's cemetery in Croatia

Visiting Zagreb’s beautiful Mirogoj cemetery the day after All Saint’s Day

OK, I get it. A cemetery isn’t the typical highlight when on vacation. That being said, this one is a little different. Where some cemeteries are dark, creepy, and reeking of sadness, this one was stunning. Take, for example, the photo above. How do you get vines to look like that?

While in Zagreb, we had the opportunity to take a segway tour (hold the laughs, we happen to look glorious on those beasts) of the city. One of my favorite stops was at the Mirogoj cemetery. The weather was beautiful, the leaves were changing, and the gravestones were covered in flowers and candles from loved ones of the departed.

We had fifteen minutes to stroll through the cemetery (sans segway, mind you) and barely scratched the surface of the grounds. It’s a beautiful place to reflect, pay your respects, and appreciate the beautiful architecture and foliage.

truffle hunting in Istria, Croatia

Truffle hunting in Istria

It took 27 years for me to be introduced to the glory of truffles. I remember the day clearly. We were on a food tour in Venice and we were given tiny prosciutto sandwiches generously lined with a truffle cream cheese. I was hooked after the first bite. Truffles.are.awesome. I love how the powerful scent wafts through your entire nose and mouth. Truffles are like the champagne of the earth!

As luck would have it, my birthday was spent in the Istria province of Croatia. And do you know what that region is known for? Their amazing wine, fragrant olive oil, and forests of truffles! And we weren’t just there during any old time. It just happened to be the start of white truffle season. JACKPOT.

Linda, honey, listen. I had a breakfast that consisted of truffle honey, truffle olive oil, little truffle cream cheese sandwiches, two types of truffle cheese, truffle sausage, and then a giant heaping plate of truffle scrambled eggs. Oh, and all of those dishes had shaved truffles on top. You know, as a garnish. And then we went truffle hunting. It was like Easter except we were searching for little truffle eggs worth more than what we pay in rent. Hashtag truth.

Oh, and then there was lunch. A meal that had even more truffles than breakfast. I done died and went to truffle heaven.

Let’s just say that overdosing on truffles may result in the intense aroma emanating from your pores for weeks… and weeks. Sorry, not sorry.

Rovinj Croatia

Exploring Rovinj for the first time

This town could be from a fairytale. Think Beauty and the Beast with friendlier town folk that are less inclined to pitchfork outsiders.

Also located in the Istria province, Rovinj is a little too beautiful for words. We only had a few days to explore, but they were filled with amazing food (you guessed it, more wine and truffles) and some mind blowing scenery.

What’s that, you say? You want another picture of Rovinj? OK, but this is all you get until our post featuring the town is live. Don’t say we never do anything for you.

Beautiful town of Rovinj, Istria in Croatia

We’ve already disclosed more than we wanted to. How else are we going to get you to come back and visit us? Keep your eyes peeled for more posts from Croatia. We’ll also have pieces from our recent time in Greece, Slovenia, Italy, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Hong Kong. It was a busy month. But in the meantime, help get the conversation flowing by answering the question below. We’re always intrigued by our readers.

Have you fallen in love with a destination on your travels? Where was it? We’d love to hear in the comment section below.

30 thoughts on “Returning to Croatia, our happy place

    • Author gravatar

      I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about Croatia…hopefully will make it there soon!

    • Author gravatar

      We absolutely agree with you two, Croatia is amazing! We visited a Croatian Australian friend in Zadar a few years back and made additional unrelated Croatian friends during that trip. Two years later we returned and added a couple more Croatian friends. Aside from all the beauty the people are generally wonderful.

      I’m Greek American so I also really love Greece for many of the same reasons as Croatia!

      • Author gravatar

        The people are incredible. One of the reasons we travel is because of all the amazing people we meet. We were just in Greece and found everyone to be extremely welcoming. Our only regret is that we didn’t spend more time in the country. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Author gravatar

      Visited Croatia a loooong time ago, but I loved it! Particularly Dubrovnic 🙂

    • Author gravatar

      Croatia is on my docket for next summer… can you say YACHT WEEK?! I think you two might need to be my partners in crime….

    • Author gravatar

      I am definitely another of those in love with Croatia, so much so I have now been three times from Australia since discovering it seven years ago

      Funnily I have met so many people in my travels there that have thrown their European travel itineraries OUT OF WHACK due to continuously extending their stays in this stunning country. I once read an article by a journalist describing Croatia as Heaven on Earth and the Plitvice Lakes as like walking through the Garden of Eden….. I couldn’t agree more.

      Croatia secret is definitely getting out though. Nearly every second person I speak to now in Australia has heard of its beauty and those who have been regularly say its their favourite place in the world they have visited.

      • Author gravatar

        We’re both thrilled and jealous that so many people are discovering Croatia. It’s a place that we could honestly see ourselves living. And we’re inclined to agree with that journalist… Croatia is Heaven on Earth.

    • Author gravatar

      Croatia is big for cheese? I’ve never been so I wouldn’t know but I feel like I’m missing out! Everyone has such good things to say about it.

      By the way, I’ve been to Harry Potter world. Two words: Butter Beer. You’d love it!

      • Author gravatar

        Ah, yes. We tried some of the best cheese in the little town of Pag. We could lead cheesy food tours in Croatia. It would be incredible.

        Also, I NEED to go back to HP World. I had my bachelorette party here but haven’t been since Gringotts was added!

    • Author gravatar

      Love your shots! I’ve only spent a few days in Croatia, in Zagreb. It was fine… but I think I’m in need of a return visit to discover the Croatia that you guys love so much. Soon!

    • Author gravatar

      I’ve always wanted to go to Croatia, great food and coastline – who could want more?

    • Author gravatar

      Noticed you’ve visited the travel blogger forum in Sri Lanka. Looking forward to see some posts around that. From what I saw from other bloggers its the Elephants you enjoyed the most 🙂

    • Author gravatar

      I, too, share your love of Croatia. I’ve been three times now and loved each visit more than the previous one, if that’s possible?!
      First off Istria, based in Pula but trips to Rovinj and Poreč.

      Second time Dubrovnik and surrounding area plus a few days on the stunning island of Korčula.

      And then this year a fantastic foray into Dalmatia, with four night stopovers in Šibenik, Trogir and finally – my fave place on the planet (for now) Zadar.

      A visually stunning country, friendly, genuine people, excellent food and wine and a sizable dollop of culture, history, national parks, UNESCO heritage sites and a reliable (and cheap) bus network.
      Oh, and plenty of this, too…… 😉

      • Author gravatar

        I think we’re on our way to being fast friends! You love Croatia for all of the same reasons we do. Oh, and Zadar! Isn’t it lovely? We especially enjoyed the Maraschino liquer from there. We just finished our last bottle. Looks like we’ll have to go back! 🙂

        And thank you for the cheese photo. We’re drooling now!

        • Author gravatar

          Lol, I still have maybe a quarter of a bottle of Maraska maraschino left (since May!) and a small amount of Prošek, bought from the castle in Skrip, Brac.

          But needless to say, the Pršut and Paški sir has long since been demolished 🙁

    • Author gravatar

      We’ve heard so many wonderful things about Croatia recently that we think it’s high time we get over there. Thanks for the tips. 🙂

    • Author gravatar

      I really have to get to Croatia. Like, soon. Also, I now have an unnaturally strong craving for truffles.

    • Author gravatar

      Rovinj, Opatija and Pula are pearls of Croatian tourism, people are hospitable service excellent and the food, all the praise.

    • Author gravatar

      Wow I like the way Croatia is described.I am hoping to visit there this year and hope can come and experience all this things .Thanks for the great post looking forward for more

    • Author gravatar

      Sounds like an awesome time. Great shots, love the first one overlooking the ocean.

    • Author gravatar

      Loved this! Been trying to get Jo,my wife, to consider this. No luck so far. I’ll have to have her read your article. Maybe that will do it. As to the question at the end of your article, “Have you fallen in love with a destination on your travels?” An, easier question to answer might be, “Is there a place you haven’t fallen in love with?” When we travel, it isn’t uncommon for my wife to make a comment like, “Ooooh, honey we should move here!” Happens way to often! Of course, I usually agree.

    • Author gravatar

      Do you know that Croatia have more zero category monuments, included in a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, than France or Germany? I invite you to discover them… 🙂

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