I love a good YouTube rabbit hole. Pick a random video and see where the depths of the internet take me. On this particular adventure, the yellow brick road led me to a treasure trove of vintage travel videos of Croatia (under Yugoslavia) spanning the 1930s all the way up to the big hair days of the 1980s.
Having not grown up in Croatia, and being a fan of all things vintage and travel-related, I’m fascinated by what Croatia looked like 50, 60, even 80 years ago. I want to know what people looked like, what their daily lives were like, how culture has evolved, what the places I go to every day looked like then, and of course, what they wore.
I found quite a few gems and we will definitely share them all. Today, we’ll start with the first 5 vintage travel videos of Croatia so you can dive headfirst down into your own YouTube rabbit hole. Everything is closed, what else is there to do?
#1 Wings to Yugoslavia (1964)
This is a wonderful travel video made by the long defunct Pan Am airlines. While it showcases other parts of Yugoslavia, the bulk of the video spans Croatia.
Highlights: Check out the part on Split to see cars parked on Riva and what Diocletian’s Palace looked like before restoration. There is also lots about culture and everyday life.
The video starts off with Belgrade and Sarajevo. Hop to the following points for Croatia:
- 5:34 – Dubrovnik
- 8:53 – Sveti Stefan
- 10:40 – Island Korčula
- 10:45 – Hvar
- 10:59 – Split
- 14:17 – River Krka
- 14:35 – Plitvice National Park
#2 A couple visits Dubrovnik (1959)
Highlights: Completely nuts to see these travelers arriving into Dubrovnik’s Old Town by car and driving down the Stradun. The city marina, at present is the pick up point for endless tourist ships, but in this video is nearly empty and sparsely populated with cute little boats. And of course, one cannot overlook the fashion. Who doesn’t want that red and white checked skirt?
#3 Jesen na Braču (1957)
Highlights: To start, donkeys on Riva! It also offers a glimpse into island life in the 50s, lots of riding around on horses with lassos(!) and also the art of working with Brač white stone.
#4 Yugoslavia 80s Promotional Travel Video (1980s)
Highlights: This perfectly encapsulates what life in Croatia looked like nearly 40s ago. It’s filled with quick shots of nature, beaches, historical sites, life, art, craftwork, music, sports, tradition, manufacturing and culture. Plus, the super big 80s hair must be mentioned.
#5 Kamerom kroz Zagreb (1957)
Highlights: Ban Jelačić Square with cars and crosswalks, but without its iconic equestrian statue because it was removed in 1947 as the new Communist government of Yugoslavia denounced him as a “servant of foreign interests”. He wasn’t returned to the square until 1990.
It also shows some of the now staple buildings around the square in the midst of construction. The manufacturing of machinery, cameras, televisions and radios is also quite fascinating. There is a comprehensive glimpse of daily life in Zagreb 70 years ago…even caffe bars.