Croatia is a country very close to my heart. Growing up in the communist Czechoslovakia meant we were cut off the Western world. The only countries we were allowed to visit were part of the East-European bloc.
My family often used to spend a beach holiday at the Baltic Sea in East Germany near Rostock. That was the cheapest way to spend a few weeks by the sea. It was lovely, but the sea was cold.
Then when I was about 12 years old, I was picked by the school council for all my hard work at school to represent my school at a summer camp near Pula, Yugoslavia.
It was a once-of-a-lifetime chance for me and I quickly agreed. I was so excited and proud as this opportunity was only offered to the best students, and only once during attending primary school. It was pretty awesome.
Pula is well-known not only for its numerous ancient Roman buildings like the Pula Arena above (one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres) but also for its beautiful sea.
I will never forget arriving in the sunny lit country, the smell of pine trees and the sea-salt in the air.
Then it was pretty impossible for me to return until I was in my early twenties with my back then boyfriend whose family from his mother’s side lived there. It was soon after the war between the ex-Yugoslavian countries finished.
We drove through a few towns where soldiers were still present. I remember one late evening we were approaching a little village, where there was nothing left except the village signs. It was so upsetting and I was feeling the pain for all the people who lost their loved ones in the war.
Sadly, that is life, people had to go on, rebuilt their country and start living new lives.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
During our holiday we stopped at quite a few famous cities like Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, also Zadar. Then we drove to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. This place is also world-known for being a film set for many famous movies. For me, it was the place where Winnetou swam in these incredibly beautiful lakes.
When you are there it feels like being in a hot desert not like in Europe at all. If you visit Croatia make sure you pay a visit to this national park and can guarantee you will not regret it.
Another thing I will never forget about Croatia was how beautiful the coastline was. Just anywhere we stopped on our road trip! The turquoise water, the lovely pebbled beaches and pine trees everywhere. People are very warm and welcome and the seafood is incredible!
Due to its location, Croatia is one of the most popular destinations for Czech people to drive to spend their summer holiday. My brother and his family have been many times, and I really feel the need to go back soon.
It’s going to be emotional for me to be back after all these years. I know the country will be completely different to what I remember nearly 20 years ago.
Split, Dalmatian Coast
As our girls are getting older we are kind of stepping back from the all-inclusive holiday. I was eyeing this lovely apartment in Split, right on the beach. It has it all.
I think it’s very important to also experience the local culture like their markets, restaurants and similar which you can not really at an all-inclusive resort.
Both my girls love the sea, beach and sports activities and snorkelling in the Adriatic sea is something that has been on my list for very long.
Have you ever spent a holiday in Croatia? Would you agree it is a great destination for kids?
By the way, you can win a week in a stunning villa in summer 2018!