Whether you prefer hopping from one pristine island to another, exploring ancient sites, trying the best local food and drink or practising some sport, Croatia has plenty to offer both in the summer months and throughout the rest of the year. Croatia is the perfect mix of the vibrant energy you would expect from a young country and the friendly, relaxed and hospitable ways of the traditional Mediterranean.
With a spectacular coastline extending 5,835 kilometres from Istria to Dubrovnik, with nearly sixty marinas and extraordinary clear waters, hundreds of charming islands and islets with sparse traffic, fascinating beauty and natural phenomena are a guarantee for a completely different vacation experience on the Mediterranean.
With 1,244 islands, Croatia has the most intricately indented coastline on the Mediterranean, with the right type of beach to fit the demands of each guest.
Sandy beaches and shallow waters with plenty of fun activities for the kids and the grown-ups are the most popular destinations for sunbathing, swimming and relaxing with family and friends. Paradise Beach on the island of Rab, Bačvice Beach in Split, Sakarun Beach on Dugi otok, Lumbarda on Korčula, and Kukljica on the island of Ugljan are some of the most popular sandy beaches in Croatia. If you’re looking for more seclusion but still want to feel the sand between your toes, go to Spiaza Beach on the remote island of Susak.
The vast majority of beaches in Croatia are pebble beaches with crystal clear water and plenty of beach and sea activities – such as diving, jet-skiing, volleyball, or the popular local sport called picigin. The iconic Zlatni Rat Beach on the island of Brač is surely the most famous beach in Croatia, but it’s in close competition with Punta Rata Beach in Brela, Baška Beach on the island of Krk, and Banje Beach in Dubrovnik.
If your ideal sunbathing spot is a secluded one far away from civilization, it won’t be too difficult for you to find your own piece of heaven. Stiniva Cove on the island of Vis is by far the most famous secluded Croatian beach. It is very difficult to reach by land, but sailors often come here to enjoy the silence and the calm sea. Cape Kamenjak in the south of Istria has many hidden coves and islets with sandy and stone beaches, while one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, Lubenice Beach, is situated in a hidden cove and surrounded by the steep cliffs of the island of Cres.
Protected areas in Croatia include eight national parks, eleven nature parks, two strict reserves and seventy seven special reserves.
National Park Brijuni is a collection of two large and twelve smaller islands on the western coast of Istria. The Brijuni are renowned for their endemic nature as well as the well-preserved Mediterranean vegetation, but the islands also boast invaluable cultural heritage dating from the Roman and Byzantine times. The Brijuni are not inhabited, but there are numerous tourist attractions all year round.
The Kornati archipelago has the densest collection of islands in the Mediterranean and eighty nine of them were declared a national park in 1980. The extraordinary landscape and beautiful natural bays will leave you breathless. Famous for their high cliffs, unusual shapes and sparse vegetation, they provide a maze of stone and sea, perfect for yachting, sailing and so-called ‘Robinson Crusoe’ style tourism.
Krka National Park, located northeast of the town of Šibenik, is a natural karst phenomenon, extremely rich in endemic species. The main attractions of Krka National Park are its seven waterfalls, the most famous of them being Skradinski buk, one of the most beautiful calcium carbonate waterfalls in Europe.
Paklenica National Park is located near the city of Zadar, on the southern slopes of Velebit Mountain, the largest mountain range in Croatia. The park abounds with peculiar karstic forms and caves, and its most striking features are the two forbidding gorges: Velika and Mala Paklenica. Due to its climatic conditions, a lush variety of flora and fauna has been preserved.
Risnjak National Park near Delnice is a forested mountain area north of Rijeka, which in addition to being the habitat for numerous wild species, also serves as a natural hydrological monument as the source of the river Kupa. Most visitors are nature lovers, especially mountaineers, who find the highest peak of the massif a very rewarding challenge.
The Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia’s best known national park, and the only one listed on the Unesco List of World Heritage sites. This world-famous park is renowned for its cascade lakes: sixteen small lakes are interconnected by waterfalls created by the sedimentation of travertine, a special type of limestone. The park is a beautiful and popular excursion destination all year round.
Northern Velebit National Park is located in the northern section of the Velebit Mountain, the largest mountain in Croatia, and is crisscrossed with numerous mountaineering trails. The park is famous for two karstic formations known as Hajdučki kukovi and Rožanski kukovi, as well as for the Lukina jama pothole – the eighth deepest pothole in the world.
Situated on the island of the same name, Mljet National Park is the most important protected area of south Dalmatia. It includes the western wooded part of the island of Mljet, which is significant for its extremely rich Mediterranean vegetation and cultural heritage. The park is famous for two deep bays which, due to their extremely narrow links with the sea, are regarded as and indeed named as such: the Great Lake and the Small Lake.
Croatian cuisine is diverse and known as a cuisine of different regions. Its modern form originates from proto-Slavic and ancient times. The differences in the selection of ingredients and preparation methods are the most obvious if we compare the continental and coastal regions.
The continental cuisine is typical for its early proto-Slavic roots and more recent contacts with established schools of gastronomy – Hungarian, Viennese, and Turkish. Meat products, freshwater fish and vegetables dominate. The coastal region is characterised by the influences of the Greeks, Romans, Illyrians and later Mediterranean cuisines — Italian and French. It features many seafood specialties (squid, cuttlefish, octopus, shrimp, lobster…) prepared in various ways, alongside olive oil, prosciutto, various vegetables, plus Croatian wines such as Malvasia, Dingač and Vrbnik Žlahtina, and various liqueurs like the famous Maraschino.
Croatia is a land whose rich cultural heritage can be discovered in endless ways. Walk within the walls of numerous museums, galleries and churches, many of which today, as zero category monuments, are included in a part of the Unesco World Heritage List. Immerse yourself in this magical place on the Mediterranean, where even the shortest stroll becomes a journey down a staircase old thousands of years that will take you through a history that is at the same time turbulent, exciting and glorious. Whether walking the intricate grid of narrow white stone streets and alleys, or revelling in the teeming life of the port towns of Istria, Kvarner or Dalmatia, or climbing the green serpentines of Central Croatia to the fairytale fortresses and castles, each step is an ever fresh experience, made special by the fact that on its territory as many as four cultural circles meet, intertwine and complement one another – west, east, Central European and the southern spirit of the Mediterranean.
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