If you feel like people are all of a sudden hyped about Croatia -- a gorgeous country in southern Europe you hadn’t heard much about until the past couple of years -- there’s a reason it’s only popping lately. For most of the early ‘90s Croatia was embroiled in the horrific Homeland War -- also called the Croatian War of Independence, when the country declared freedom from Yugoslavia. Now, barely a generation later, this West Virginia-sized country on the Adriatic Sea boasts one of the fastest-growing tourism industries in Europe.
The main reasons? Cheap prices help. They’ve gotten a bump from Game of Thrones filming several iconic settings there. And the country rocks some flat-out beautiful beaches -- with more than 3,000 miles of coastline, if you include the many islands. Adjectives are cheap, so I hope it does something to quantify the wonder of Croatia’s coastline when I say that I’ve been to around 20 countries in Europe and (with the exception of my beloved Greece, but that’s a childhood nostalgia thing, can’t be helped) and this is the region that was the most beautiful, the most jaw-dropping, and the one to which I most want to return. Here are some of the most show-stopping features of this no-longer-secret European playground.