By Andrea Romano
December 12, 2018

Ever hear the name of a place and wonder, “Where the heck is that?”

Well, you’re not alone. Destinations like Croatia, for example, have been gaining in popularity as an alternative to crowded vacations in other European nations like Italy or France. But, like many other Americans, you might be lost as to where to actually find it on a map.

Google's 2018 Year in Search reveals Croatia is one of the most puzzling places people are looking for when starting searches with the term “where is.” The top 10 “where is” searches for 2018 are:

  1. Where is Villanova University
  2. Where is Croatia
  3. Where is Parkland Florida
  4. Where is Hurricane Florence
  5. Where is Hurricane Michael
  6. Where is my polling place
  7. Where is Pyeongchang
  8. Where is Amazon based
  9. Where is Paradise California
  10. Where is Prince from

There it is. Number two on the list. Clearly, Croatia is hot and a total mystery to find. For those who are not familiar with the country, the simple answer is that Croatia is in Europe. But the more detailed answer is that it’s bordered by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. And, if you look on a map, it’s just across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. Basically, if you look on the “heel” and “calf” part of the Italy’s boot, you’ll see Croatia on the other side of the of water.

Mystery solved. But now that we’ve found it, this might be the perfect time to plan a trip to actually go there. If you’re in the U.S., you sadly won’t find any direct flights until June 2019 when American Airlines starts direct service between Philadelphia and Dubrovnik. However, you can fly to another European city before catching a connecting flight to Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Split or Pula, Croatia. You can also take a ferry from various ports in Italy.

The tourist season, according to Croatia Traveller, is between April and October, thanks to nice weather and beautiful scenic views. The summer season is most popular since Croatia is known for having spectacular beaches. The Dalmatian Coast, a narrow stretch between Zadar to the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, is a big draw.

But there are also many other things to do in the country made even more famous by Game of Thrones. Dubrovnik and Zagreb, in particular, have incredible, historic architecture, including fantastic churches, cathedrals and museums, and delicious restaurants. Or, if you’re in Split, be sure to visit Diocletian's Palace, an ancient Roman ruin from the fourth century A.D. Nature lovers should also visit Plitvice Lakes National Park to snap plenty of photos of the area’s gorgeous waterfalls.

Tourists can also choose from a variety of accommodations that cater to every budget, from social youth hostels to luxury beach resorts overlooking the sea.

Once you take your trip, you won’t just impress your friends with all your amazing vacation pictures, but also your newly discovered geographical knowledge.