We spent about 17 days in Croatia, and we honestly could have spent much more time there; it blew us away with its natural beauty and history. At the bottom tip of over 4,000 kilometers of coastline, is Dubrovnik. An absolutely beautiful city on the sea, where the best vantage point may have been from up the hill in our (otherwise really crummy) hostel. The blue water and sky are nearly the same shade on a clear day. You really don't mind the drunk German teenagers blasting American country music when you can wake up to that view. Its perhaps the biggest tourist attraction in Croatia, beloved by Croatians and international travelers for good reason.
The main thing to do in Dubrovnik is visit the Old Town which is surrounded by walls 25 m high and 6 m wide in places. The walls have been used as a fortress to protect the people inside since the 13th century, and even in the most recent war in 1991. We were surprised that during the 1991 Yugoslavian war, 68% of the Old Town houses, with their picturesque, matching red roofs, were destroyed or were damaged by shelling. Most of the roofs were repaired since then and it was hard to imagine such destruction and tragedy happened so recently, as thousands of tourists move through the city every day admiring the palaces, churches and cafes. Dubrovnik has so much history to spare that one of the old forts has a dance club in it at night.
On a lighter note, we were giddy to learn that scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed here, including Dubrovnik as the setting for King's Landing. Too thrifty to spring for one of the official GOT tours, Google assisted us in nerding-out. For those who watch Game of Thrones, you know how beautiful King's Landing is and can see why we were so amazed by Dubrovnik.
After Dubrovnik, we moved on to Split, another gorgeous city on the coast, and Hvar, an island known for its lavender fields and party scene. Split features Diocletian's Palace, the home of the Roman Emperor in the 3rd century. Hvar, one of the thousands of islands on the Croatian coast, was bursting with bars and parties. We saw so many gleaming yachts in one place that even Kanye would be impressed. We enjoyed the vibe, sticking to the quieter beaches and renting a boat to explore the small islands across the channel. (Captain Jed returns!).
Here are some pictures from Dubrovnik, Split and Hvar (Click to enlarge):