1689193405 Croatia is the most popular summer destination in Europe right | phillipspacc

Croatia is the most popular summer destination in Europe right now


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Tourists are returning to Europe in droves now that the continent’s gates have been flung open and normalcy fully restored for the first time in years, and as new visitor spikes are reported across the continent, the beautiful balkan nation of Croatia is surpassing the rest in popularity.

Already a hot destination before the health crisis, Croatia’s Dalmatian coast has emerged from the pandemic years as a major competitor in the Mediterranean, threatening to overthrow the decades-long hegemony of Spain, Italy and Greece in the basin.

In fact, could well be the new regional leader of the Mediterranean:

Aerial view of the island municipality of Korcula, off the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, in the Adriatic Sea, South Eastern Europe, Balkan Peninsula

Croatia is the most sought after Mediterranean vacation

As reported by Total news from CroatiaItaly’s Tuscany and France’s Côte d’Azur should ‘change places’, as the Dalmatian coast had recorded more than 7.5 million overnight stays in August 2022 alone, when Europe was still partly in lockdown and the wider reopening of the borders was still months away from happening. .

This easily puts Croatia at the top of Europe’s post-COVID recovery race, largely due to the country’s relaxed border policies (they were receptive to American guests during most of the crisis) and extensive efforts to enhance the tourist experience.

Meanwhile, major city breaks like Berlin, Prague and Austria’s majestic Vienna were ‘still in the red’ in the short-term accommodation categoryaccording to data shared by Eurostatwith fewer bookings on major booking platforms including AirBnB, Booking, Expedia and TripAdvisor.

Colorful Venetian-style houses in Rovinj, a town on the Istrian peninsula, Croatia, South Eastern Europe, Balkan Peninsula

This year, the Croatian coast could be poised for another historic growthsince he publishes a additional 16% increase in tourism for the first half of 2023. In general, there has been 6.7 million arrivalsand more than 27.3 million overnight stays at the end of June, according to the Croatian Tourist Board.

Overnight stays have officially exceeded pre-2019 pandemic levels by 4%, showing that Croatian tourism is on the rise and well ahead of other Mediterranean nations, but How did it get so popular? so fast?

a nation reborn

Croatia is currently the European country most wanted destinationBut it was not always like this.

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View of the small island town of Trogir from the top of the Trogir Cathedral, on the Adriatic coast of Croatia, South Eastern Europe, Balkan Peninsula

An ancient nation that straddles the Adriatic Sea, it has a complex history intertwined with that of its closest neighbors. Before the 1990s, Croatia was actually part of the now-dissolved Yugoslavia, a communist state in southeastern Europe that comprises most of the Balkan countries today.

When Yugoslavia broke up, many parts of the newly founded Croatia essentially became a restricted areawhile the war ravaged the peninsula and the militias took over the settlements, not to mention the constant bombardment of the main cities.

Coastal locations like Dubrovnik, famous for its well-preserved medieval sea fortifications, were badly damaged by bombingand it would be a good number of years until the situation normalized and the new Balkan states reached an agreement on the drawing of new borders and a ceasefire.

Ruined Vukovar railway station, a remnant of the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s in North East Croatia, Balkan Peninsula Europe

The Yugoslav war has had a lasting effect on the post-Yugoslav states, most notably Kosovo, now one of the poorest territories in Europe, but one that defies the odds. Croatia rose from the ashes stronger.

By the mid-2000s, it had already become a popular beach getaway again, particularly among Germans, Austrians, and Slovenes.

As investment in infrastructure intensified and the country made great strides on its way to the European Union, achieving membership status in 2013 and joining the Eurozone earlier this year, it placed firmly among Europe’s Most Successful Postwar Sovereign States.

It went from a war-torn nation, largely shunned by risk-averse visitors, to a subtropical paradise brimming with promise with a growing expat community in just a few decades.

game of Thrones Territory

Fort Lovrijenac from the upper walls of the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia.

In addition, interest in Croatia, or more specifically, in the Dalmatian coast, has been revived after the debut of game of Thrones (commonly abbreviated as GOT), HBO’s biggest TV phenomenon to date and a fantastical epic filmed in part in southern Croatia.

Since then, GOT fans have flocked to Dubrovnikor as they call it, ‘King’s Landing’, to walk in the footsteps of your favorite TV characters and enjoy the city’s enchanting medieval atmosphere.

As if that weren’t enough, Croatia has excelled in opening the long-awaited Peljesac Bridge in record time, reducing wait times for drivers arriving in Dubrovnik from northern Dalmatia.

Drivers previously had to pass through neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the 5-mile Bosnian « Neum Corridor, » its only access to the sea, infamously interrupts the contiguity of the Croatian coastline.

Woman looking at Dubrovnik from above

Before the opening of the bridge, tourists heading to Dubrovnik had to leave Croatia, undergo border control in Neum, leave Bosnia and re-enter Croatia for the second time to continue their travels unless they arrived by boat.

This usually added hours to what was supposed to be a short trip, especially at rush hour during the summer when traffic congestion was intense. Now, tourists enjoy a much calmer experience, bypassing Bosnia entirely.

Less Borders, Better Tourist Experience

On top of that, Croatia has recently been promoted to Europe’s borderless Schengen Zone. This means there will be no more border controls carried out between Croatia and 26 other Schengen states, such as Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, France, Italy and most of the EU members.

Pravutina border crossing in Croatia, external border of the European Union

This greatly facilitates travel, as there is no need to stop at the border to present documentation, and brings Croatia closer to its European counterparts.

Finally, this decade saw the launch of the first transcontinental flights from the Republic of Croatia, when a passenger plane originating in Newark, in the US, landed in Dubrovnik for the tourist season.

Since then, regular seasonal flights have been offered between the two hubs, bridging the wide gap that kept US and Croatian aviation apart and making it easier for US citizens to visit the most iconic ancient port city in the Mediterranean.

Sandy beach on Bol, an island off the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, South Eastern Europe

Given this information, it is not surprising that last year the Adriatic coast of Croatia, also called Dalmatia, was the most popular summer destination in Europeleading the reserves from June to September.

As reported According to EU data analysts, Adriatic Croatia recorded more overnight stays than « whole countries » last year, and will almost certainly see further growth in 2023.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com