15 WAYS TO GO CRAZY IN CROA­TIA

Add these ac­tiv­i­ties to your itin­er­ary when plan­ning a trip to this stun­ning coun­try

Hindustan Times - Brunch - - FRONT PAGE - Text by Vrinda Mo­tasha

It has been 45 min­utes or so that I have been stand­ing on the slip­pery white lime­stone for­ma­tion a few steps down from the Buza Bar in Dubrovnik, rated as one of the best places to cliff jump from in Europe. My feet barely fit on the small, un­even sur­face that juts out from the rest of the rocky clus­ter and the rush of the strong South­ern Winds makes a weak case for jump­ing. Be­low, the sea is no­to­ri­ous, and the swell of the waves crash an­grily at the mossy rocks, break­ing into cir­cles of creamy white foam. Look­ing down makes my knees grow weak and I started to feel faint.

An Amer­i­can, two Ar­gen­tini­ans and a 65-year-old Rus­sian have all come, jumped, dived and can­non­balled from next to me, as I duck and hold on for dear life. By now, a crowd has gathered and I can feel the pres­sure as peer­ing eyes stare at me im­pa­tiently, prod­ding me to take the leap. The sum­mer sun is up North, shin­ing in all it’s glory, from a dis­tance I can hear the build-up of an­other count­down in per­fect uni­son. I am not go­ing home with­out check­ing this off my bucket list – that much I am sure about, then, in a mo­ment of fi­nal­ity I take the small step for­ward and land 50 feet down into the heart of the Adri­atic Sea. There is a big splash, fol­lowed by cheer­ing in few dif­fer­ent di­alects. Ex­hil­a­rated, in a few min­utes I am ready for round two!

This is just one of the many cool things that can make a trip to Croa­tia truly mem­o­rable. Here’s a list of 15 must-dos to tick off your list when vis­it­ing this mag­nif­i­cent coun­try!

1 CLIFF JUMP OFF THE BUZA BAR, DUBROVNIK

A bucket list top­per for ad­ven­ture and thrill-seek­ing tourists, the 50-feet leap into the heart of the Adri­atic Sea is sure to leave you bask­ing in the glory of the most amaz­ing adren­a­line rush for a very long time.

Cau­tion: Cliff jump­ing is a risky ac­tiv­ity. So, it is cru­cial that you get to the right spot be­fore tak­ing the leap.

3 BIRD’S-EYE VIEW OF THE OLD TOWN, DUBROVNIK

A four-minute ca­ble car ride up 778 me­tres reaches you to a plateau award­ing the most spec­tac­u­lar views of the old town. Spot the 2km stretch of the City Walls that have guarded the town since the 14th Cen­tury. Best time to go: At dusk as the sun slips into the Adri­atic, leav­ing in its wake a flu­o­res­cent pink glow.

4 PARTY AT THE ZRCE BEACH STRIP, NOVALJA

Lo­cated in the Novalja County on the is­land of Pag, Zrce Beach dou­bles as the great sum­mer party hotspot. A rocky beach strip by the Adri­atic of­fers party lovers a bevy of op­tions to eat, drink and make merry.

If club hop­ping is not your thing, there are tons of wa­ter sport ac­tiv­i­ties to in­dulge in. Say it like the lo­cals: Zer­shay Beach!

5 LIS­TEN TO WAVES MAKE MU­SIC, ZADAR

In­stalled be­low the ex­pan­sive mar­ble steps lead­ing into the Adri­atic Sea, the 230-foot-long Sea Or­gan con­verts waves into ran­dom rhyth­mic mu­sic. Each set of steps con­tain five or­gan pipes that are tuned to a dif­fer­ent mu­si­cal chord con­nect­ing through a se­ries of nar­row chan­nels that re­spond to waves and wind pro­duc­ing the most beau­ti­ful sym­phony.

Fun fact: Its ar­chi­tect Nikola Bašic re­ceived the European Prize for Ur­ban Public Space in Barcelona, 2006, when his project was cho­sen as the best one from among 207.

6 SWIM BE­LOW WATERFALLS AT KRKA NA­TIONAL PARK, SKRADIN

For a dose of sci­ence, cul­ture, ed­u­ca­tion and re­cre­ation all bun­dled in one, visit the Krka Na­tional Park. Trek the trails to ex­plore the beauty of the seven cas­cad­ing waterfalls within the con­fines of the park that con­verge to give birth to Croa­tia’s most sig­nif­i­cant River Krka.

Do not miss: The op­por­tu­nity to swim in the nat­u­ral pool formed at the foot of the wa­ter­fall.

7 HAVE THE BEST PIZZA-CUT, SPLIT

The Amer­i­can equiv­a­lent of Pizza-bythe-slice, the Croa­t­ian ver­sion called Pizza-cut is more so­phis­ti­cated. A sta­ple take-away food item for both the Croats and the tourists, the aroma of these bak­ing in the oven is enough to beckon you from the streets into the near­est pizza par­lour.

In­dulge: Pizza Cut Planet in Split.

8 BE PART OF THE BEST BAR CRAWL IN EUROPE, SPLIT

Par­ty­ing in any ma­jor European city is in­com­plete with­out a fun night out at a bar crawl. The Split ex­pe­ri­ence of- fers the per­fect place to in­ter­act with young peo­ple and make new friends. From beer pong to flip cup, the event keeps it en­gag­ing. The crawl op­er­ates all week long and starts at 9pm.

In­sider tip: Go for the Tower Pub Crawl, they of­fer free pizza!

9 IN­DULGE IN SPICY, SOUR, TANGY AND TRUE MEX­I­CAN FARE, SPLIT

Warm home­made corn tor­tillas, fresh salsa, na­chos dowsed in cheese, and fruity frozen mar­gar­i­tas at To Je Tako make for per­fect in­dul­gence. A two-minute walk away from the Dio­cle­tain’s Palace and right in the heart of Split, this restau­rant serves au­then­tic Mex­i­can food.

Must try: Call for chef’s mom’s En­cur­tido, orig­i­nal recipe from Hon­duras.

10 WINDSURF AT HULA HULA BAR, HVAR

En­joy a drink at the sea-fac­ing bar as you soak in the warm glow of the sum­mer sun. Watch mega yachts leave the har­bour or dive into the ocean to cool off. Or, take a shot at wind­surf­ing or stand-up pad­dling.

Rent: The equip­ment costs 70 Croa­t­ian Kuna per hour.

11 TRY DIF­FER­ENT KINDS OF CHEESE AT FIGS CAFÉ BAR, HVAR

Spread on toast, driz­zled with honey, served with baked wal­nuts and ac­com­pa­nied with a poached fruit, this is prob­a­bly the best ver­sion of cheese toast you will ever have.

Must try: House spe­cial – fig and ri­cotta flat­bread.

12 CLIMB THE FORTICA SPANJOLA, HVAR

For riv­et­ing views of the river, the har­bour and the city, make your way up to the fortress nes­tled in the hills be­hind the port. The Vene­tian fortress built in the 16th cen­tury, when Hvar was gov­erned by Aus­tria, has pro­tected the sovereignty of the town from many for­eign in­va­sions and wars.

Visit at night: Go at night for a spooky yet fun ex­pe­ri­ence and lo­cals will tell you tales of the fort be­ing haunted.

13 WATCH THE OCEAN LIGHT UP — BLUE AND GREEN CAVES TOUR, HVAR

A trip to the Green Caves, Blue Caves and Pak­leni Is­lands is high on the list of to-do things in Croa­tia. The Blue Caves, one of the world’s most beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral phenom­ena, is an ex­pe­ri­ence like no other. The ocean emits a sil­very-blue glow cre­ated by the sun as it bathes the in­side of the cave through an open­ing on the roof. Best time to go: Opt for the morn­ing tour as the ef­fect is prom­i­nent at noon.

14 TAKE A MU­SEUM TOUR, ZAGREB

Spend a day ex­plor­ing price­less works of art, the­matic ex­hi­bi­tions, dis­plays of old tor­ture de­vices and the wicked world of il­lu­sions. The Zagreb mu­seum tour is the per­fect way to ex­plore the cap­i­tal city on foot be­fore leav­ing the coun­try. Must visit: Mu­seum of Bro­ken Re­la­tion­ships.

15 HIKE THROUGH A WORLD UNESCO HER­ITAGE SIGHT, PLITVICE NA­TIONAL PARK

The mes­mer­iz­ing Plitvice Lakes Na­tional Park is a for­est re­serve in the heart of Croa­tia. It is known for ter­raced lakes, waterfalls and lime­stone canyons. Stay the night: To ex­pe­ri­ence the mag­ni­tude and majesty of the park, stay at one of the 18 ho­tels within the park con­fines.

NAT­U­RALLY BEAU­TI­FUL 1. Ca­ble Car at Dubrovnik 2. The Split Bell Tower 3. Krka Na­tional Park, Skradin 4. Mex­i­can Food at To Je Tako

Vrinda is one half of a suc­cess­ful young cou­ple that be­lieves in work­ing hard to be suc­cess­ful, but also pur­su­ing their dream of travel. While she is a stylist, her hus­band Varun Sheth is a busi­ness­man who has also re­ceived the Forbes 30 un­der 30 award

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