part 1: a love letter to croatia

My history with Croatia is a relatively long one. The summer after my freshman year in college, faced with the choice of joining my parents in their new home in Philadelphia (a city I had no knowledge of) or anything else I chose anything else and empowered by then three-year-old google I soon found myself working on little island called Krk in a part of the Adriatic Sea that belonged to a then twelve-year-old nation called Croatia.

Cruising Croatia and the Dalmatian islands by boatBoat taxi in Mijet

I learned some words, made some friends, fell in love with pistachio gelato, took road trips into Italy to get my passport stamped (and shop), and took sailing trips with my host family to little-known beaches amongst the array of islands that the nation is now famous for.

What I didn’t realize then but that dawned on me as the years went by is that after experiencing it Croatia becomes a part of you. The natural beauty, the laidback Dalmatian lifestyle, the specifically invigorating smell of the crystal-clear water, the feeling that if lunch doesn’t take two hours and involve fresh fish on top of hand-rolled pasta smothered in garlic and two glasses of wine then it’s not lunch at all – these things never leave you.  It’s not just another distant memory of a country to color in on your world travel map. It’s transformative!

Sibenik, Croatia cafe Cruising Croatia and the Dalmatian islands by boat Adriatic mussels A cafe in Sibenik, Docked in Mijlet, and Oysters in Hvar

Not a week would go by in the years that passed where I didn’t think of Croatia in some way, shape, or form and as the country grew into its own those thoughts became a siren call. You’re beginning to see it everywhere now if you look: headlines about old Croatian destinations becoming new UNESCO World Heritage sites, undiscovered beaches unfurling underneath media’s sunshine, and lists of wine regions to visit that include Croatia tucked between oft-seen images of France and Italy.

Krka National Park

Having just come back from a week-long cruise in, about, and around the many islands and towns up and down Croatia’s exquisite Dalmatian coast I find that while I have changed (a decade will do that to a girl), Croatia hasn’t. It’s still the heart-stopping, beauty of a nation that I remembered it to be, vibrating with art, culture, friendly people, appetizing scents wafting from street cafes, the murmur of the waves lapping perfectly pebbled beaches, clear blue skies, and a pervasive sense of stepping not just back in time, but into a better way of life that you’ll want to carry on in your own!

Trogir CroatiaTrogir

Join me each Tuesday this month to explore…

Part 2: How to see Croatia by Boat
Part 3: Towns, Foods, Wines, and Adventures
Part 4: How to Get Married in Croatia

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While The Croatia Tourist Board sponsored our experience, I am not required to do anything in return. This review is a good one because I would never bother to write about or promote a destination or experience I didn’t care for. All opinions are my own.

Arabian Wedding Academy
About Sara Burnett

Editor of Burnett's Boards, which she founded to showcase global creativity in the wedding industry. Sara currently lives out of a suitcase while island hopping the Caribbean and beyond. Learn More // Follow on Instagram.

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