So everybody's traveling to Croatia to live out their Game of Thrones fantasies, descending upon the walls, staircases and forts of Dubrovnik like madness and pouring into the Fortress of Klis as if Daenerys was still storming Meereen.
All this GoT tourism is certainly helping put Croatia on the map and secure it a top place on the list of the world's best destinations. Yet all the mania is lost on the nonfans. They have barely watched an episode let alone recognize the landmarks that appeared on the show.
It's a good thing that Croatia's about more than just fanboy/fangirl-ing it to one shooting location after another. This stunner of a country is teeming with incredible sights worth pulling over for: spectacular national parks, charming towns, elevating experiences and even quirky attractions you might find uncommon.
Here are a few of the best things you can do in this Adriatic Sea destination. Beyond Game of Thrones, that is.
A visit to Croatia is not complete without an exploration of its national parks. Start at its best known, Plitvice Lakes National Park next to the Bosnian border in central Croatia. This almost 300-square-kilometer wonderland is as picturesque as it gets with its chain of terraced lakes and cascading waterfalls.
Head south to Krka National Park, not far from the city of Sibenik, where more waterfalls abound, fringed by watermills and a monastery. And if there's time, visit the archipelago of Kornati National Park to the west of Sibenik where limestone karsts, caves and uninhabited islands await.
Roman Architecture and Ruins
For some time, Croatia was part of the Roman Empire, and Roman vestiges still pepper the country today. The grandest of them all is Diocletian's Palace in the coastal city of Split. Ignore the GoT references and the meandering tourist, and focus instead on its exquisite details, grand gates and eerie passages.
If ruins are your thing, then you must not miss Salona, also in Dalmatia. Here, the skeletons of a Roman resort lay beautifully on a carpet of green. There's an amphitheater, the Great Thermae, a cemetery basilica and a cathedral.
Better yet, avoid all the GoT mania altogether and head north to the Istrian peninsula where one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters, Pula Arena, draws travelers to lovely Pula. Or make a stop in the old Roman colony of Zadar where remains of a Forum lay.
Speaking of Istria, the pretty peninsula that sits on Croatia's northwestern-most tip is exoticism...