With more than 1,000 islands – only 50 of which are populated – Croatia continues to zoom up the list of holiday hotspots. It could be the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean coast. Or it could be the culture, preserved in gorgeous churches, beautiful squares, the ancient fortresses, lighthouses and other majestic sights. Then again, it could be because it's all just a couple of hours away from the UK.
Five Croatian coastal airports have direct flights from Stansted (plus flights from Luton, Heathrow and Gatwick).
The flight to Pula and Rijeka is usually 2 hours, and marginally more to Zadar, Split or Dubrovnik. Croatia enjoys a varied climate with continental conditions inland - in other words, hot and dry weather during summer. Dubrovnik, for example, averages 72°F in July, while Pula is marginally warmer at 77°F. Sea swimming is at its best in August, when the water temperature reaches similar levels. Coastal areas may be a little milder, but the country as a whole averages 12 - 13 hours of daily sunshine between May and August. Beaches here are mainly pebble, fringed with pine trees, but the island of Rab contains 22 sandy bays. The proximity to Italy makes Croatian cuisine especially good, with highly recommended seafood, pasta and risotto. And if you choose to stay in the Istria or Kvarner regions, we can help with a day trip by catamaran to Venice. Like the UK, Croatia is a member of the European Union but has chosen to keep its own currency, the Kuna. This means your holiday money goes further and is not subject to the weakness of the euro. There is a very wide choice of accommodation from clean, simple apartments in Dubrovnik to luxurious five star hotels with spas. More five star hotels, together with some stylish three and four-star properties (many right by the beach), can be found on the island of Hvar. There are also private villas that were once family palaces and even a lighthouse overlooking a beach with direct access! In addition, beautiful self-catering apartments have helped to make the most exclusive spot in Croatia affordable for all budgets. Add to this a great selection of cruises in simple, casual style or on more stylish motor yachts. Other options include multi-centre trips, walking holidays, escorted tours and self-drive itineraries. Abbotts Travel and Prestige Holidays offer the very best ways to see this beautiful country – we recommend the following, selected by a British expert resident in Croatia.
4-STAR SUPERIOR PARK PLAZA HISTRIA, PULA The rooms and the spa of this excellent hotel are of five-star standard.
Designer glamorous, this is where the stars stay who perform at the Roman amphitheatre: think Tom Jones, Jose Carreras, Sting, Vanessa Mae... and the biggest indoor pool in Croatia. Visit the Roman ruins, the fantastic Brijuni islands or escape for a day’s sunbathing on wild Cape Kamenjak. From £549 per person if booked before 15 March 2014. Based on two sharing a Superior double room (Marina Wing) on a bed and breakfast basis, departing on 13 May 2014 for 7 nights, including return flights with Ryanair from Stansted to Pula and shared transfers.
5 STAR ROYAL PRINCESS HOTEL DUBROVNIK – ALL SUITE HOTEL This stunning property opened in 2012 and is situated in the grounds of the Importanne Resort.
There are four swimming pools and it has its own exclusive spa. Fabulous restaurants, bars with huge open terraces looking over the Adriatic and some rock/stone beaches with smooth paved areas and waiter service. Rooms feature hand crafted Canadian wood furniture. Perfect for a weekend escape or longer. From £409 per person if booked before 31 March 2014. Based on two sharing a deluxe suite on a bed and breakfast basis, departing on 27 April 2014 for 3 nights, including return flights with EasyJet from Stansted to Dubrovnik with shared transfers.