Located between Central Europe and the Balkans, Croatia boasts a stunning coastline lined by the Dinaric Alps, which stretch from Italy to Albania. You can expect to see a widely varied landscape from underground caves and river canyons to majestic waterfalls and tranquil lakes. Founded on the ruins of the Roman Empire, Croatia’s landscape features reminders of the reigns of empires past. Venetian palazzos, Roman columns, Slavic churches and Viennese mansions coexist on the same lands, adding to its brilliant cultural legacy.
What to see & do
Dubrovnik is one of the most famous cities in Croatia. Known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, its robust, well-preserved walls have protected the city against numerous sieges and invasions. Besides gorgeous beaches and numerous historical sites, many visitors have been drawn to the Baroque and Renaissance architecture in the Old City.
A thousand islands are scattered across Croatia’s Adriatic Sea. The UNESCO-recognised Island of Hvar is thought to be one of the best-conserved Greek landscapes in the Mediterranean, just off the Dalmatian Coast. The island’s lavender fields, olive groves, vineyards, farms and fruit orchards have a rural, pastoral charm that contributes to Hvar’s appeal as one of the most popular places to visit in Croatia. Explore the main city, Hvar Town and get lost in its winding marble stone streets, Gothic palaces, imposing churches and mysterious fortress. There are also other small villages like Jelsa and Sterigald.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Diocletian’s Palace, can be found in the city of Split. This unique feat of architecture combines the luxury of a villa with military gates and watchtower. With the Riva Promenade parallel to its waterfront, Split is also well known for having the longest coastline out of all the Croatian cities. Natural beauty beckons from the pine forests in Peninsula Park, while other sights like the St. Domnius Cathedral, the Grugr Ninkski Statue and underground caverns make for an interesting itinerary as well. You can even take a day trip on a yacht to the harbour town of Trogir, where Venetian buildings, palaces and a 13th century fortress showcase its rich heritage.
You definitely won’t want to miss Zagreb, the largest city in Croatia that sits on the slopes of the Medvednica Mountains. It was this political and economic hub that launched the country into the European Union. Zagreb is a postcard vision with medieval buildings evoking a Western European flavour with an Eastern spin. As a cultural centre, it is home to historic theatres and abundant museums.
16 interconnecting lakes and verdant forests make Plitvice Lakes National Park the paradigm of natural beauty. Situated near the mountainous Bosnia Heregovina border, this place is a dream for nature lovers with its waterfalls and iridescent lakes that exist in a spectrum of colours, from turquoise, to blue, green and grey. Native to the Park are animals like the brown bear, owl, wolf and lynx. Hike through the numerous marked paths to admire the diverse bounty of flora and fauna here.
The great outdoors in Croatia are wonderful for activities like mountain climbing, canyoning, trekking and more. Water sports such as kayaking are common in the archipelagos.
International flights are serviced at airports in Zagreb, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Osijek and Pula. At the moment, the only non-European flights to Croatia are from Qatar and Tel Aviv; transfers at cities like London, Frankfurt, Doha and Istanbul are necessary for incoming flights from North America, African or Australasia. Charter flights from Tokyo and Seoul come in occasionally. Find and compare cheap flights on Skyscanner! Make your bookings with airlines and online tour agencies at no extra charge.
Some Dos and Don’ts
• Do consider sailing on a yacht as a means of exploring the archipelagos and coastal islands.
• Don’t forget long sleeves and insect repellent when going camping, as approximately three in a thousand ticks in continental Croatia carry diseases like Lyme Disease.
Did you know…?
The World Monuments Fund has an on-going conservation project at Diocletian’s Palace, which includes restoration works to its exterior. An image of the palace can be found on the reverse side of the Croatian 500 kuna banknote, issued in 1993.
Images by Flickr\eGuide Travel
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