Vacation. To some, it’s a time to soak up the sun while beach-bumming their days away, while for others, time off means turning on their adventure mode — a chance to tour through historic sites and climb atop snow-covered hills. If you’ve never experienced a winter wonderland or are trying to escape the heat, Russia is where you need to be. Is it blue waters and sandy shores that you’re looking for? Then Croatia is just the place for you. Whatever way you welcome in respite, between limitations of time and budgets with international travel, you’ll have to make a crucial decision and choose just one: island vibes or historic wonders…what’s it going to be? To help you decide, we’ve listed out some interesting experiences you can look forward to in each of these destinations. Read on to see which ones add up to your dream getaway!
Choose Russia If…
…You’re a history buff.
From the 19th century built Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg to the magnificent St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia is the place to be if you’re a lover of history, and especially if you’re a fan of historic architecture. With over 28 UNESCO world heritage site, this history-drenched city offers up everything from modern-day marvels in Sochi, Russia’s Riviera and beach resort city to Veliky Novgorod, Russia’s oldest city and arguably it’s birthplace, dating back to the 10th century.
…You’re a vodka lover.
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right? If you love a stiff drink, but don’t necessarily need it to lead to a night of clubbing and partying, you’ve come to the right place if you’re in Russia. Vodka is not just a drink in Russia, it’s a way of life. Not only is it cheap and consumed here regularly, it’s also sometimes thought to cure ailments here! Traditionally, vodka is served chilled and plain, sorry no soda or coke here! But most people chase it down with a cold drink, so no need to worry. If you really want a one of a kind vodka experience head to St. Petersburg where you can do anything from a tour through the Vodka Museum to a visit to a vodka distillery where you can watch how locally produced vodka is made, drink in hand.
…You want a quiet cool-down for an escape.
Let’s face it, some of you just want some respite from the sweltering summer heat of the summer, and luckily for you, Russia’s got a ton of just that. Even at its hottest, summers here are mild in temperature compared to other regions, making it the perfect place to enjoy the sunshine, without feeling like you’re going to melt at any given moment. Head to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the far east of Russia where ecotourism is the new trend and you can indulge in various activities from mountain and volcano hikes, sailing and kayaking to fishing and hunting trips, or make your way to Yessentuki, a historical resort town famous for its mineral and hot springs and delicious seafood, all while enjoying a temperate, cool temperature. With the sheer size of the nation, you can only imagine how many different landscapes you have to choose from for some good ol’ summer r&r (rest and relaxation).
…You love ballet.
And the arts in general! The Russian ballet has a strong presence here and plays an important role in Russian culture. Once a privileged performance put on exclusively for the affluent and royalty, the Russian Ballet has now has gained popularity worldwide, drawing in thousands of viewers from across the globe, every year! If you find yourself in awe of and unable to leave St. Petersburg, you’ll find it even harder when you make your way over to The Hermitage — the second largest museum in the world and neighbor to the historic Mariinsky Theater where you can still catch performances that were once exclusively performed only for the Imperial Court! Oh, and if you’re an avid reader of the classics, Russia is home to famous authors from the likes of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Gogol and innumerable others!
Choose Croatia If…
…You’re a beach bum at heart.
Croatia is made up of 1,000 islands. And you know what that means? 1,000 coastlines to choose from for you to sunbathe on. Toes in the sand, hot sun shining on you, with crystal waters as far as the eyes can see — this is what you can expect at almost any of Croatia’s islands. You can party like a rockstar, even in a shoestring budget on the island of Pag, laze around in luxury on glamorous Hvar, or kick back to historic views and quiet vibes on Korčula and Split… the choices are endless!
…You’re a wine-o.
64 distinct grape types, more than 800 wineries, and almost twenty thousand registered winemakers throughout this set of islands; is that enough to convince you of taking a wine tour once you’re here? If you love wine, especially white wine, Croatia is known for its distinct wines, each one with a flair of its own. Every island produces a wine unique to itself, mixing in the best of their crop with ancient Balkan traditions of winemaking, to pair with the island’s most popular and favorite dishes.
…You’re obsessed with Game of Thrones.
Remember the Red Keep, where many popular scenes like the Purple Wedding were filmed? It’s actually a medieval landmark called Fort Loverjenac that you can visit. With a city teeming with breathtaking, well-preserved medieval structures and stunning waterfalls and bodies of waters to match the majestic architecture, it’s no wonder that Croatia is home to some of the most prominent backdrops in popular HBO television series Game of Thrones!
…You love seafood.
But what is an island vacation without tons of fish? And in Croatia, the Adriatic Sea provides some of the healthiest, cleanest and freshest seafood you could ask for. Some local staples are grilled Mediterranean squid, cuttlefish risotto, and brudet–a traditional fish stew prepared with a mix of multiple types of freshly caught fish.