Most of the roofs are back on in Dubrovnik, and while shell-shocked for a while, cheap holidays to Croatia are back in business. A revered city of towers, spires and encircling walls, Dubrovnik is also a seaside destination without a beach; you may sit on rocks, but you swim in crystal water. Though you won't be making castles in the sand, you'll never be far from one in the hilly Zagorje region around the capital, Zagreb.
Conveniently, the sparkling Adriatic, deep forests, fertile plains, craggy mountains, lakes, tumultuous history and a sense of great peace all come together in one small, fresh country, which is exactly why cheap holidays to Croatia have fast become the toast of travellers to the Balkans.
It is Istria that has established itself as the tourism hub, attracting people to the islands off Pula, to the Roman amphitheatres and its vestiges of medieval frescoes. Those well-travelled Habsburgs used to come here too, to Opatija on the Kvarner Riviera. While today's rich and famous, and a large number of Italian yachtsmen, seem particularly attracted to the Greek-like Kornati Islands, a protected archipelago.
The lakes and waterfalls of Plitvice are sufficiently beautiful for UNESCO to declare them a World Heritage Site, and for travellers on cheap holidays to Croatia to be spellbound. There are even more canyons and gorges in the national parks of Krka and Paklenica.
For the best beaches and that fishing harbour bustle, take the southern coast road past the best coastal scenery in the Mediterranean, where sheer rock wall mountains and cliffs drop into the sea, to Split. A fine stop on cheap holidays to Croatia in itself, Split is also the launch pad for excursions to the islands of Brac, Hvar and Korcula.