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Croatia Travel & Holiday Tips
 
 
 

General

With 1778 km (1111 miles) of mainland coast, emerald-blue waters, secluded pebble beaches and countless unspoilt islands, Croatia is an ideal destination for lovers of sea and sunshine who want to avoid the crowds.

Croatia is one of Europe's top seaside destinations. But it's more than just sea and sunshine. Overlooking the clear blue waters of the Adriatic, picture-perfect, historic walled cities such as Dubrovnik, Split and Trogir (all UNESCO World Heritage sites) add a cultural dimension. And don't forget the elegant Venetian-era settlements of Hvar Town and Korčula Town on the Dalmatian islands, the Vienna Secession style grand hotels of Opatija in Kvarner, and the golden Byzantine mosaics of Poreč's St Euphrasius Basilica in Istria. Add to this exquisite fresh seafood and you're really on holiday.

Moving back from the coast, the undulating hills in inland Istria are best explored in spring or autumn. Expect romantic, medieval, fortified hill towns such as Motovun and Groýnjan, quality local wines and a sophisticated, Italian-style cuisine noted for black and white truffles. In contrast, the country's capital, Zagreb, is truly Central European. Everything from the architecture to the hearty culinary offer reflects the region's centuries-old ties with Austro-Hungary. Zagreb also makes a good base for visiting the historic castles and vineyards of Zagorje.

Croatia is also emerging as an adventure destination. The rugged mountain ranges of Northern Velebit National Park are a haven for hiking and rock climbing alike, while the Cetina Valley makes a challenging venue for white-water rafting. And the Adriatic offers ideal conditions for sailing, scuba-diving and sea-kayaking.

Those in search of a more restful holiday can enjoy hours of sunshine on the beach – consider the fine golden shingle of Zlatni Rat on Brač, or the sweeping pebble beach of Baška on Krk. And remember, as Europe's top naturist destination, Croatia is one place you can finally get that all-over tan.

Zagreb

Croatia’s economic, cultural and administrative heart sits on the north bank of the river Sava. Its historic nuclei, Gradec and Kaptol, in Gornji Grad (Upper Town), were founded in the Middle Ages. Here, a labyrinth of peaceful cobbled streets links the city’s oldest and finest monuments: the Cathedral, St Mark’s Church (noted for its red, white and blue tiled roof) and the Sabor (seat of the Croatian Parliament). At the foot of the Upper Town lie Trg Bana Jelacic, the main square, and Dolac, the colourful open-air market. The main square links the Upper Town to Donji Grad (Lower Town), the commercial centre of modern-day Zagreb, with theatres, shops, cinemas, museums and cafes. A number of important 19th-century public buildings are located here, including Glavni Kolodvor (main train station), the imposing neo-Baroque Croatian National Theatre and the Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Museum of Arts and Crafts traces Croatian craftsmanship from the Renaissance up to the present day, while the Mimara Museum presents a rich collection of painting, sculpture and ceramics from abroad. Also worth visiting are the Museum of Zagreb, the Archaeological Museum and the Gallery of Naïve Art. The city boasts one of Europe’s very first planned parks: Maksimir, a magnificent feat of landscaping, with lakes, pavilions and sculptures, dating back to 1794.

Dubrovnik

Unanimously considered the jewel of Croatia, Dubrovnik is best known for its well-preserved historic centre contained within 13th-century city walls, its terracotta rooftops, and a stunning location overlooking the Adriatic. Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city was a wealthy independent republic up until 1808. The finest monuments date back to those golden years: the 16th-century Rector’s Palace, the Franciscan Monastery (home to Europe’s oldest pharmacy), and a number of delightful baroque churches, including the Cathedral, St Blaise’s Church and the Jesuit Church. Also worth visiting is the Maritime Museum, which highlights Dubrovnik’s former importance as a world naval power. Each summer, from mid-July to late August, the city hosts the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, featuring various cultural events plus open-air evening performances of theatre, jazz and classical music.

Split

The city of Split was founded in the third century AD by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Today, the traffic-free historic centre lies within the imposing walls of Diocletian’s Palace, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A vibrant cafe scene focuses on the Roman Peristil, presided over by the majestic Cathedral with its 13th-century Romanesque bell tower. The Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments displays early Croatian religious art, while the Meštrovic Gallery celebrates the country’s best-known 20th-century sculptor. On the hill above town, Marjan, an extensive nature reserve planted with pine woods and fragrant Mediterranean shrubs, affords stunning views over the Adriatic. During the Split Summer Festival, held annually from mid-July to mid-August, the city becomes an open-air stage with night time opera and concerts.


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