It's official: Croatia is one of the hottest holiday destinations for Brits. And we mean hottest in both senses of the word. Not only does it come top in polls on everything from best value for money, culture and scenery, it's also predicted to have some of the sunniest, warmest weather this summer.
According to long-term predictions for next year, June will see temperatures averaging at around 28C, lifting to above 30 by August, Leon Brown at the Weather Channel told us.
With its rare blend of unspoilt authenticity and old-fashioned glamour, Croatia offers something for everyone: cultural treasures, beaches and sunshine and a plethora mountains, forests and islands to explore. Best of all, most the country hasn't (yet) been spoiled by mass tourism. Check out top ten ways to explore Croatia for 2013, below.
Ten cool Croatia holidays
Croatia holidays: Great ideas for blissful escapes
Cycling is one of the best ways to take in the Dalmatian coast's fantastic seaside villages, tiny medieval walled towns, quiet pebble bays, pine forests and mountains. This year, Exodus is running new eight-day cycling adventures starting in Split and travelling all the way to Dubrovnik by bike and ferry, taking in the islands of Hvar and Korcula and ending with two nights exploring Dubrovnik. From £1,099 pp including flights, transfers, B&B accommodation, and guided tours. Bike hire is an additional £85pp.
Croatia is a sure bet for decent summer self-catering accommodation without the hefty price tag associated with the Med. This beautifully restored village house on the Istrian Peninsula is within easy reach of the pretty town of Svetvincenat and the beaches of the Adriatic. It boasts a private pool and views across the rooftops of the town. Pula, Rovinj and Porec are all within reach.A week at Villa Neroli, which sleeps eight, costs from £1,395 (just £160pp at full occupancy.) Flights and car hire extra. See Vintage Travel for more details.
The recently renovated five-star Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik, overlooking Lokrum Island, boasts luxurious contemporary rooms and wonderful sea views: perfect for a romantic break. Departures with Sovereign Luxury Travel start at £1,200 pp including flights from London and seven nights B&B in a double room.
If you fancy sea kayaking around Dubrovnik's city walls, cycling in the Konavle Valley, hiking along Dalmatian cliffs and exploring the island of Kolocep, then look no further than the Croatia Active Adventure with G Adventures. From £764pp for seven days.
Take some time to explroe central Dalmatia with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays to see Old Split as well as two Adriatic islands. From Split, first port of call is the island of Brac – which boasts the highest point in Croatia – Vidova Gora. Walks take in ancient villages, fields of vines, olives, figs, almonds and cherries and a rugged, dramatic coastline. Then it's on to Hvar – lush, green and smothered in lavender, rosemary and heather, interspersed with 13th century medieval walls and gothic palaces. From £715 including return flights, transfers, half-board accommodation and the services of a dedicated tour leader.
Hotel Lone, which opened in 2011, is one of Croatia’s most striking contemporary hotels. Nestled in the beautiful fishing port of Rovinj and surrounded by the centuries-old Park Forest Zlatni Rt, it scooped an award at the prestigious European Hotel Design Awards last year. This year sees the addition of a new outdoor pool complete with water effects, whirlpools, waterfalls and water massages. May prices start at €168.80 per night, for a double room including breakfast.
For some of the country's loveliest beaches and fabulous island hopping, Makarska his wonderfully unspoilt. Check out Essentially Prestige's Croatia breaks to the region including a seven night stay in Hotel Dalmacija in Makarska for £378.50 per person, including transfers. Prestige also offers an array of other holidays in Croatia. A new addition for this summer is the island of Veliki Brijun, the largest of the Brijuni Islands. Stay at the four star Hotel Istra on the waterfront. Prices from £629.50 per person B&B and transfers.
Experience the old-world charm of Croatia on a sailing odyssey from Dubrovnik to Trogir, cruising around impressive coastlines, exploring lush national parks, wandering through medieval towns and swimming in the Adriatic’s turquoise seas. Intrepid Travel offers a skippered cruise with stops to explore Ston, Mljet, Korcula, Ploce, Hvar, Brac and Split. With a maximum of eight passengers on each boat, the experience is more intimate than many large group sailing tours. From £559 per person including accommodation in a twin berth cabin, snorkelling equipment, excursions, breakfasts and lunches. With weekly departures from May to October.
Croatians love a festival, and you're pretty much guaranteed to get caught up in one whenever you visit. From 25-28 May, the city of Dubrovnik comes alive for the International Wine and Jazz Festival. There's also the Dubrovnik International Film Festival in May, while between July 10 and the end of August, the old town bursts into its Summer Festival, with classical concerts, circus acts and plays on every night. Inghams offers seven nights at the three-star Hotel Splendid, Dubrovnik from £803 on a half-board basis departing 22 May, including flights from Gatwick.
Many scenes from hit TV show Game of Thrones are set in Croatia. Much of season two and three was filmed in Dubrovnik’s picturesque Old Town, in particular at Fort Lovrijenac which was transformed into King’s Landing - one of the shows’ most iconic locations. Korcula island was also used for filming. With its Qarth-like architecture and stunning sea-front vistas, it is an idyllic escape just off Croatia’s southern Dalmatian Coast. The cast has also filmed action-packed scenes in Split, surrounded by the azure Adriatic Sea. A Game of Thrones inspired tour of Split includes a walking tour of Diocletian’s Palace filming locations, a walking tour of Klis Fortress filming locations, a trip to the water mill filming location, traditional Croatian peka barbecue meal with local wine and homemade bread at the water mill, all transfers and a local expert guide. The tour cost €120 per adult.