5 Reasons You Need to Visit Croatia (Now with Pictures!)

WordPress reverted to my previous save, without the pictures. Here’s the post, with the pictures!

It’s nearly two months to the day that Mike and I returned from a two-week sojourn through Croatia and Italy. The original plan was to meet up with a group of friends in Rome and then saunter down the Italian coast to my good friend Carmela’s lovely guest house in Coccorino for a week. As Mike and I were booking the tickets for that vacation, we thought to ourselves, “If we’re gonna be in the area…” and promptly booked our flights a week early so we could check out Dubrovnik, Croatia.


What a decision that was! Plus, we had a layover in Copenhagen, Denmark en route to Dubrovnik where I bumped into Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau (who plays Jaime Lannister on “Game of Thrones”). Aw, man, Europe has everything!

Without further ado, here are five reasons you absolutely need to visit Dubrovnik, Croatia on your next European vacation. (And stay tuned for a recap of Italy, which I’ll hopefully be able to put together sometime before 2015).

1. It’s insanely gorgeous.

This cannot be underscored enough. Dubrovnik is the prettiest European city I’ve ever been to. Take your Paris and your Rome and just CAN IT. The Old Town juts out into the Adriatic Sea, enclosed by ancient fortified walls. Its rooftops are a mish-mash cluster of bright poppy-hued tiles.


To get inside the Old Town, you enter through one of the historic city gates, which are essentially giant drawbridges. Sounds “Game of Throne”-y, eh? Well, that’s because Dubrovnik is where they film King’s Landing. Nerd boner!

Once inside the city walls, tiny alleyways and twisting staircases lead you to the city center. You pass by hole-in-the-wall restaurants, laundry hanging from a line strung up between two buildings, and lots of sconces.


The ambiance is insanely charming, to the point where I kept commenting to Mike that this just couldn’t be real.

2. Everyone speaks English and yet, there are very few American tourists (so far…)

Roughly 5 million people speak Croatian, so the Croats know they’ve gotta learn a few other languages if they want to converse with literally anyone else in the entire world. Without exception, every Croatian person we encountered was friendly and spoke fluent English.

Of course, we learned several Croatian phrases and tried to use them at length, but most Croats smiled and kept talking in English, as if to say, “We get it, you looked at your Rick Steves’ handbook. But I’m fluent in English, so…”

One unusual thing we kept noticing was that visitors from other European countries (like Norway or Denmark) would use English to converse with the Croats, so Mike and I could understand most of the conversations around us! We didn’t run into a single American in Croatia, and only two groups of Canadians.

3. You can easily go on day trips to other neighboring countries.

One day, we hopped on a bus and headed to Mostar, a city in Bosnia and Hercegovinia that was all but destroyed in the Yugoslav War of the early ’90s. It was humbling and very eye-opening to tour a place that was ravaged by war in my own lifetime.


Mostar, Bosnia and Hercegovinia

Another day, we rented a car and drove ourselves across the border to Montenegro. YOU GUYS. It was stunning. We stopped in the adorable mountain town of Perast, and then strolled through Kotor in the Bay of the Kotor. Then we did a mountain drive on a windy road along the coast of Montenegro.

Perast, Montenegro

Perast, Montenegro


Kotor, Montenegro


Adriatic Sea in Montenegro

4. It’s cheap.

This sounds very obnoxiously American, but let me just say: on that layover in Copenhagen, Mike and I grabbed a pizza and two beers and the bill was somewhere in the ball park of 60 euro, or $75 USD. I about lost my everlovin’ mind.

But Croats still use the Kuna, which currently has an exchange rate of 6 Kuna to 1 USD. It was like traveling in Europe circa 1998! Our money went far.


5. It’s the perfect mix of historical sights, charming ambiance, and sprawling beaches.

This vacation defied categorization. We spent two days at the beach, a day touring the historic Old Town, and nearly every night having a beer or a good meal in a charming square. Dubrovnik has a little bit of something for everyone.



Cliff-jumping off the walls of Old Town


Have you ever been to Croatia or do you want to go?

Friday Round-Up: October 10, 2014

I haven’t been posting with any regularity lately (I wish I had an excuse other than a full plate, but that’s all I can come up with!). But I came across too many good links this week to skip out on the round-up.

- Buy experiences, not things.

- Four sisters, captured in 40 portraits over 40 years. Love this.

- Dogs representing their home countries, illustrated.

- Hoodie pillow! Would you use this?

- Did you happen to catch J.K. Rowling’s cryptic anagram tweet regarding her next book?

- Science proves: we love our dogs like babies. Duh.

- A look back at SNL’s “Celebrity Jeopardy.” Always good for a laugh.

- Harvard study: We undervalue the more mundane moments in life (and why that should change).

Friday Round-Up: September 19, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 10.52.18 PM

Well hello there! It’s been a hectic week ’round these parts as we settle into our new neighborhood in Chicago. I’m absolutely loving the location so far, even if we are surrounded by boxes like a bonafide episode of “Hoarders.” Hey, we’ll get there eventually, right? (RIGHT?) – 20 of the world’s most spectacular train stations. – […]

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Friday Round-Up: September 12, 2014

Happy Friday! – If it doesn’t make you say “Hell yeah!”, then say no. Great advice. – Rachel McAdams might be starring in Season 2 of “True Detective.” – The most photogenic fox. – Secrets about Chicago that you might not know. – How much the “Friends” apartment and “Full House” home would cost in real […]

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What Hobby Would You Take Up If You Had Endless Time and Money?

I climbed a route with a camera strapped to my back to get this shot of my friend Brian on another route.

If time, money, and location were no object, is there a hobby that you would try to master? I’d love to learn to play the piano, tend a blooming garden, and become a whiz on the tennis court. But I also have an answer that’s a bit more unconventional: rock climbing. Hear me out. In […]

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Friday Round-Up: September 5, 2014

Oh my god, it’s September. Time’s a-wastin’. Happy weekend! – 10 smart things you should do in your 20s. – Yao Ming lends his celebrity to encourage his fellow Chinese citizens to help save the elephants of Africa. Go Yao! – How to make friends after college. – 19th century bridal superstitions. – In scary news: Two […]

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How To Find Your Signature Scent


Do you have a signature scent? With certain perfumes, all it takes is one whiff on a busy street in Chicago and I can immediately picture a friend or family member who regularly wears that fragrance. Even if I don’t know the name of the perfume! The olfactory gland is an amazing thing. I love the […]

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Friday Round-Up: August 29, 2014


Oh how I wish I was still in Europe. I’ll share some more photos and stories from that trip soon. In the meantime, I’m going to sigh wistfully at this picture of the view of Old Town Dubrovnik from the balcony of our room. Happy Labor Day weekend! I’m off to Michigan with Mike, my sister, […]

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Wedding Nightmares

I generally consider myself a pretty relaxed bride-to-be. Mainly because I’ve done very little planning so far, and the wedding is still 13 months away. But my unconscious brain? Inside there lurks an anxious bride. Allow me to explain. I’ve had no fewer than four ABSURD wedding-related nightmares in the past year (I started having […]

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Book Chat: Summer Reads


Hello again! Long time, no post. I have no excuse, except for pure laziness on my part. In related news, this summer vacation has been a return to form, reading-wise. Here are the books I’ve crossed off my list lately. What are you in the mood for? …a novel about familial and romantic love, as well […]

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