Croatia Travel Guide

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Croatia is a relatively small country, a former part of Yugoslavia and presently the Republic of Croatia, sitting at the crossroads of south-east Europe, central Europe and the Mediterranean sea.

Croatia has a land surface of just 56,594 square kilometers and a population of 4.3 million. The climate is diverse, a combination between continental and Mediterranean climates.

But why travel to Croatia, you may ask. Well, from a tourist’s point of view, Croatia is among the best seaside destinations in Europe, due to its wonderful stretch of the Adriatic, I mean the coastline in Croatia is absolutely magnificent folks.

There are over one thousand island to visit while in Croatia, a country which is also famous for its stunning scenery and the limpid waters.

If you want more than sea and sunshine, rest assured, because this country has more to offer. Croatia is a place filled with medieval-walled cities, unspoiled natural parks, amazing Roman ruins dating way back (2 millenniums), a delicious cuisine (truffles, sea food and what not) and a vivid city life, wrapped around a dynamic cafe culture, to top things up!

Are you convinced yet? If not, wait, there’s more, right after the break!

The country’s capital and the biggest city is Zagreb, which can be regarded as the quintessential Central European metropolis. Okay, maybe it’s not a metropolis in the truest sense of the word, but everything in this beautiful city, from the hearty cuisine to its architecture, reflects the country’s solid ties with the former Austro Hungarian empire.

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Zagreb and especially its vicinity is home to a vast array of old buildings, churches and vineyards.

Even if the culture remained the same, along with its beautiful architecture and friendly people, something really changed in the last decades, and that something is tourism.

The formed undeveloped and undiscovered coast of the Adriatic is now a world-recognized natural wonder, which attracts myriads of tourists year after year, boosting Croatia’s economy and street-rep. Basically, Croatia’s Adriatic coast is as beautiful as Italy’s, but without the drama and the fanfare.

There are gorgeous cities to be discovered in Croatia, like the legendary Dubrovnik and Split,  places where tourists from Germany and the UK are flocking every year and lots of them bought real-estate in these areas.

Beyond the tourist-traps, Croatia is home to many unspoiled places, where you can learn and enjoy the local way of life.

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What to see, what to do in Croatia

For art buffs, I must recommend the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments located in Split.

Bird watchers will enjoy a “field-day” in Slavonia’s Kopački Rit Nature Park, which is basically a huge areal of wetland, visited by innumerable species of migrating birds.

If you like Galapagos documentaries, the place which spawned the Theory of Evolution, courtesy of Darwin, well, Croatia has its own Galapagos, namely Brijuni National Park. The place is basically an archipelago consisting of fourteen unspoiled islands, on the west coast of Istria.

If you want to get rid of those pesky tourists, look no further than Kvarner Gulf island of Cres, which harbors a rare colony of Griffon vultures, along with an ancient settlement at Valun and the lazy  Cres Town.

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Mljet National Park is a top-notch destination for cycling enthusiasts while Blue Grotto offers a surreal diving experience, where you can explore ancient ship wrecks which were sunk off the Vis island.

Dubrovnik is arguably the most famous tourist destination in Croatia, being one of the few impeccably preserved walled-medieval cities in the Mediterranean area. The city is filled with old architecture and breathes the old Europe culture, the Old Town is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site while the Franciscan Monastery and the stunning baroque churches are absolute delights for your senses.

While in Croatia, hiking and climbing, island hopping, diving and cycling are all at your finger tips.

Let me enumerate just a few highlights :Velebit, Senj and Starigrad-Paklenica, Sjeverni Velebit,Paklenica, Zlatni Rat, the island of Brac (for windsurfers), all these places have their own magic and they offer beautiful tourist resorts and various ways for spending your time (and your money in the process).

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Croatian Food and Drink

Croatia is a place where seafood dishes are regarded as “the best there is”, along with Italian cuisine influences. Specialties include air dried ham, like prosciutto in Italy, sheep cheese, octopus salad with onion,potatoes, parsley and olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, cuttlefish (cooked in its own ink), black risotto, roast lamb and truffles. Regional drinks include red wines, white wines, strong spirits with honey, great local beers and excellent coffee.

Visa Requirements

Croatia is a member of the European Union, and to visit it you’ll only require an ID if you’re from the EU or a valid passport (no Visa though).

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