If it's a suntan you want, head to one of Croatia's two sunshine states. Istria, a peninsula also shared by Slovenia and Italy, is home to Edenic beaches and, further inland, beautiful hidden villages in which to sample local hospitality and food. On the other side, Dalmatia shelters the country's most picturesque islands and three impressive National Parks further inland.

Bear in mind that, even though it is bordered by beautiful Mediterranean waters, Croatia doesn't have great beaches. Many therefore opt for a cruise on board a traditional Caïque, huge wooden sailing boats which will take you on a winding path through the many islands and dropping you at charming little ports and excellent creeks for a swim. And if naturism floats your boat, there are plenty of cruises to cater for a freer sort of holiday.

Central Croatia is home to wonderfully green, serpentine hills capped with spectacular fortresses and castles. Perfect for those who enjoy hiking, the country is full of national parks, incredible mountains at Paklenica, wetlands at Kopacki Rit and watery magic on the Plitvice lakes.

It's also good to know that most of Croatia's hotels were built during the 60s and 70s, when tourism was high on the agenda in ex-Yugoslavia. Prepare yourself for massive structures and often rather poor 70s interior design, paired with an excellent eye for comfort and renovation.

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