We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to summer destinations; just a few hours flight away and we’ll reach turquoise blue seas, gorgeous white sands and a range of cultures that differ to our own. But this year, there are two destinations that stand out from the crowd – Corfu and Croatia. Why you may ask? Well, let us tell you…
An old-time favourite, it’s no surprise that Corfu’s one of our recommended destinations for a summer getaway. Surely the amazing cuisine, unrivalled sandy beaches, picturesque villages and warm climate is enough to sway anyone? We think so – but there’s more to the Greek island than what’s right in front of you, and that’s what we’re here to tell you about.
Ancient ruins you need to see
There’s 3,000 years of history to get your teeth into in Corfu – including the Temple of Artemis in the ancient city of Korkyra, the Monument of Menekratis in Garitsa and the ancient site of Palaiopolis – all very much showcasing the history of the island. What’s more, visit these monuments and get to know the local cities and towns too. Be sure to visit some of the local restaurants and get a flavour for authentic life in Corfu – it’ll feel like a million miles away from your holiday resort.
The greenest of the Greek islands
What we love about Corfu, is it’s the greenest of the Greek islands (and there are thousands of them)! Not to be confused with Ireland, Corfu’s often called ‘The Emerald Island’ due to its mesmerising vineyards, beautiful mountain peaks and simply for having some of the prettiest shades of green, turning the island into an emerald heaven.
You’ll not be short of a rural village or two in Corfu – and they’re all gorgeous and beautifully authentic. We don’t expect you’ll visit them all, and if you only get time to visit one – make it Paleokastritsa. You’ll find everything you need here; from charming tavernas, a stunning blue bay and six beaches to sit back and soak it all up on. You’ll also find the 13th century Theotókou monastery here, which many consider to be the main point of cultural interest. With culture and scenery rolled into one, what more could you ask for?
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a soar in visitor numbers to Croatia – and we can understand why, as its recently been named one of the top three most beautiful and affordable travel destinations! We think it’s got everything you need in a holiday; beaches, national parks, historical cities and plenty of opportunities to island hop. Still a destination that’s increasing its tourism, we recommend you go sooner rather than later – and we’ve listed our tips on where to visit.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Not only is this Croatia’s most popular national park, some consider it as Europe’s most breathtaking natural wonder. Just imagine stunning waterfalls, sixteen electric blue lakes and a forested canyon. Sounds incredible right? It’s set up for tourists too, with boardwalks and trails as well as shuttles for the less active traveller. There’s also the option to row across the calm waters! Whichever option you go for, we’re in no doubt that you’ll be wowed.
This city on the sea has it all; centuries-old forts, a picturesque Old Town a collection of baroque buildings, alluring cliff views…and even a beach! Need we say more? It gets even better, as Dubrovnik is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. To get to see it at its best, take a cable car ride to the peak of Mount Srd and simply appreciate what’s around you – you may even see some of the Game of Thrones filming locations! Located near many of Croatia’s islands, it’s the perfect place to start your Croatian adventure too – we recommend you start and end your trip here, with some visits to your favourite islands in-between.
Life doesn’t stop in bustling Split! From the outside, you’ll come face to face with an imposing walled fortress, but inside it’s bursting with a buzzing atmosphere – no matter what time of the day. You’ll find trendy bars, restaurants and shops in tiny narrow streets that you could wander around for hours – some even get lost – but that’s more opportunities to try a different local wine, we say!