I didn’t want the Game of Thrones tour. I wanted a nuanced and unique tour. That is why I reached out to Maja Gudelj, Director of Croatia Travel at Olive Tree Escapes, a luxury travel company that designs unique experiences tailored to individual needs and interests. “Mali Losinj and Vis are definitely two islands that have a lot to offer to American travelers, but are overlooked by many,” she said. “Istria is gaining popularity, but Rabac on the eastern side has some of the most amazing beaches in the region and top notch hotels.” In a few seconds I had a few distinct and interesting locations to explore. Maja Gudelj added: “Sibenik, is also a Game of Thrones filming location, but not yet as popular as Dubrovnik.” I can work with that too.
Many people presume that there is nothing interesting or worth seeing beyond the Game of Thrones filming locations and Dubrovnik. Many people ignore that Croatia is a wonderful place for a family vacation explained Maja Gudelj. “There are some wonderful locations and hotels that cater to families with smaller children specifically like the Vespera Hotel in Mali Losinj or Valamar Girandella in Rabac.”
The local culture is vibrant and if you like to explore and observe more closely the local idiosyncrasies then you should definitely spend some time at a local café bar, said Maja Gudelj. There are everywhere in Croatia. “This is the Croatian version of networking,” she said.
Croatia can be challenging for a pathfinder as there are many diverse routes to explore. The time of arrival is crucial if you want the best experience possible said Maja Gudelj. “If looking for beach weather then July and August, while May-June and September are ideal to explore historical towns or do some more active tours that include biking or hiking.”
A rule of thumb before flying over to Croatia is to consider carefully your options. History, architecture, beaches, museums or food and wine. “It is better to pick a few spots and spend time thoroughly exploring them as opposed to doing too much in too little time. There is so much on offer in Croatia the most important thing is to first decide which route one wants to go – whether it is to explore history, lay on the beach, do some adrenaline tours or explore the food and wine offerings,” said Maja Gudelj.
Before booking the first available seat remember that the flight is long and you may arrive with a terrible jet-lag. Nothing can ruin a vacation like a case of jet-lag explained Christopher Lindholst the CEO and Co-Founder of MetroNaps, makers of the world’s most famous and first workplace napping pod. Take a nap and keep active during the flight he suggested. “Try setting a timer and napping for 15-20 minutes during your flights instead of sleeping for the entire duration. The short nap will recharge and refresh you in time for landing and help you to avoid the confused state of waking up after hours of sleeping in uncomfortable plane seats,” he said and added: “Travel, especially on airplanes with the circulated air, can dehydrate your body and leave it out of sync of its normal routine. Secondly, take a brisk walk to wake up your body and keep your sleep schedule on track.”
Croatia offers huge possibilities for a pathfinder to explore and engage with the local vibrant community. There is nothing wrong with visiting Game of Thrones filming locations. On the contrary. They are fabulous. Visiting, however, a few spots beyond these locations can be an immensely rewarding experience.