The Republic of Croatia is a hop across the Adriatic Sea from Italy and it has some of the most stunning towns in the Mediterranean. Catriona Rowntree was happy to put her hand up to check some of them out.
Catriona found that it's best to stay within the old town which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are just two hotels there and they're quite expensive so her advice is to search the Internet and find private accommodation. You could stay in a building that's 500 years old, mix with the locals and experience life as it once was and is now.
Dubrovnik's city walls were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. A walk around them is a highlight.
Lots of Australians visit Dubrovnik some to see if all they've heard is true, others to trace their heritage.
Catriona met up with Australian soccer star Mark Viduka, whose background is Croatian. His roots are in Zadeck, about six hours from Dubrovnik. He has a home there and it's a welcome place for family holidays and a break from his busy football commitments.
George Bernard Shaw was so enchanted by Dubrovnik he said, "Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik and see Dubrovnik", as well as describing it as "The Pearl of the Adriatic".
Head 250km north of Dubrovnik to Split on the Dalmatian coast, which is Croatia's biggest coastal town. It was put on the map in the fourth century by the Roman emperor Diocletian, when he chose to build a retirement palace in the marine port.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, until 50 years ago the palace was used as the city garbage dump. Fortunately, it was cleared out and a perfectly preserved structure was revealed. It is now a proud exhibition space.
Split offers a wealth of museums and Roman ruins under a dramatic mountain backdrop opening onto a vast expanse of sea.
The old and beautiful town is an excellent base for water sports and there are plenty of ferries to get you around.
An hour's boat trip from Split is Hvar, one of the area's most popular destinations. It enjoys more sunshine than anywhere else in Croatia and The Riva, its main strip, is where people go to see and be seen.
Rent a scooter and head inland through vast fields of fragrant lavender, ancient olive groves and rows of grapevines and you can sample local food and wine at one of the many inns. Catriona found the inns have loads of atmosphere and they offer homemade wine, delicious food and you may quite possibly be serenaded. Inn dining is less expensive than going to restaurants.
Catriona met up with Branko Kokal, an Australian who has been visiting Hvar for more than 20 years. His advice is to find private accommodation on the island. It's much cheaper and you will spend special times with locals.
Dubrovnik, Split and Hvar in Croatia.
For further information
Discover Croatia Holidays
38-42 Bay Street
Ph: 1300 660 189 or 02 9567 1183
Visas: Australian citizens do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. They must have a passport valid for the period of the stay.
Electricity: 230V at 50 HZ and two-pin plugs.
Time zone: GMT +1.
Currency: The kuna.
Telephone code: +385.
It is recommended travellers to Croatia see their doctor at least six weeks before departure, as there are specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information, speak to your doctor or visit www.welltogo.com.au.