“You have to go to Croatia” was the response I received as soon as I told people I would be studying abroad in Florence. Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, has over one thousand islands located along its coastline in the Adriatic Sea. Its spotty look has given it the nickname of ‘Dalmatian Islands.’ Fun fact: the dog breed Dalmatians originated in Croatia.
Approximately an eleven and a half hour bus ride from Florence (remember to pack your neck pillow!), Split is the second most populated city of Croatia and by far one of the most captivating. For study abroad students, September is the perfect month for a weekend trip to Croatia. With fewer tourists, the beaches are not as crowded, the water is still warm and the weather is still beautiful. And who doesn’t want to get one last taste of summer in?
“Make sure you go white water rafting” was the second phrase I repeatedly heard. Rafting Pinta offers a three hour ride along the mountains down the Cetina River. It’s great for beginners and the afternoon is relaxing and extremely memorable. With rafting, cliff jumping, indescribable views, and dinner afterwards, the day couldn’t be more picture perfect.
Brač island, the third largest in the Adriatic Sea, is only a short boat ride away from Croatia’s mainland. The boat ride on the Adriatic Sea is surreal and pictures cannot do it justice. I highly recommend popping a bottle of champagne and taking the moment in for yourself. Upon arrival to Brač, we stopped in the town of Supetar, which was filled with souvenir shops, restaurants and most importantly the beach. Brač’s rock beaches has crystal blue water and unreal views of Croatia’s mountains.
Before heading back to Florence, be sure to stop at Krka National Park. Walk along their boarded path until reaching the main attraction: the waterfalls. The Krka Waterfalls are considered to be some of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Europe and are definitely worth checking off of your bucket list. Pack a bathing suit and jump in for this once in a lifetime experience! What I learned from this weekend is that yes, “you have to go to Croatia.”