Split, Croatia

It's been a long road from Croatia's War of Independence with Serbia in the early 1990s to its impending membership in the European Union, but this spot along the Adriatic coast should reap many of the benefits.

When Croatia becomes the 28th member of the European Union in July, it will get a whole lot of cash from its fellow members to bolster its economy and, more importantly, strengthen its tourism. The country has stated that it wants to make things a lot easier on foreign tourists in the future, and building hotels and improving historic sites and attractions goes a long way toward meeting that goal.

While Split's historic architecture, surrounding old cities and Riviera beaches are a UNESCO-approved wonderland, the Mediterranean climate has already made it a holiday favorite among Europeans. Folks from the U.S. and elsewhere should really consider a trip this year, however, as it's only a matter of time until Croatia switches from its relatively weak kuna to the much brawnier euro.

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