Main Street of Dubrovnik Photo by Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr Creative Commons

Shopping isn’t the first activity that springs to mind when planning a trip to Croatia, but once you’re here you’ll be surprised by the plethora of “shopportunities.” Olive oil and a variety of lavender products are popular, as is jewelry from young designers, traditional pottery, embroidered textiles, watercolors, painted wood carvings, and naïve artwork. Hand-made umbrellas and quirky hats for women are a fun souvenir, while antiques stores are informal and interesting.

Malls are a fairly new innovation on the Croatian shopping scene, but are springing up all over in the large cites and displacing the established department stores. Purchases tend to be more expensive than in the US, but the quality is invariably excellent. Zagreb has a good selection in the Lower Town’s center, including Importanne, Capitol, City Center, Cascade and Branimir malls, and Upper Town’s little streets full of quaint boutiques. There is also a Sunday morning antique market that is huge and full of bargains.

Split’s Diocletian Palace hosts a basement market full of jewelry and local crafts, although its three malls are set away from the downtown, making the small shops and daily market in the Old Town the most convenient places to go. Dubrovnik’s Old Town also has a large market full of unconventional shopping pleasures with local cheeses, honey, wine, fresh produce, the famous embroidered scarves, table linens and goodies from local designers. Bargaining isn’t customary anywhere in Croatia so expect to pay what’s labeled on the tag.

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