Traveling to Croatia
Traveling to Croatia
Cultural travel became part of life schooling and luckily became available to a huge amount of people worldwide. Creating your bucket list and being able to tap into almost any corner of the universe quickly became a way of living. Again, luckily. This is the way to connect, learn, explore and widen our horizons to the extent where the journey becomes the goal.
To travel and to explore was never unknown for Europeans, but for a small country like Croatia to be recognized as one of the top world destinations made a huge influence in the tourism industry. All of a sudden Croatia became widely known.
As someone who is enjoying this beautiful country daily and often takes it for granted, we are grateful for this change. For all of us, it enabled connecting with people from all around the world and to remind ourselves how lucky we are.
For the same reason, this article is absolutely subjective but full of information and useful instruction for your visit ?
So let's start from the beginning…
Where is Croatia?
This is one of Google’s highly rated questions, which is no wonder considering the fact Croatia is a small country and it's been just recently since the country gained its independence. But that's the story for some other times…
Croatia is situated on the Adriatic Sea between Central and Southeast Europe. It borders 5 countries: Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and has a 6th maritime border with Italy. Hope this makes it easier to draw lines and find that unusual shape of our unusual country. Croatia has a population of more than 4.05 million with more than 800 000 people living in the capital of Zagreb. We can say the majority is populated in the area of the main capital and on the coast (including the Istrian peninsula).
Capital city of Croatia
The capital city of Zagreb is located in continental central Croatia. With its appearance and content, Zagreb is recognized as a Central European city with rich history and culture that can be seen in many monuments and architecture.
Getting to Zagreb should be very easy as long as you know the type of transport you want to use. If you choose to fly you will get to the Airport of Franjo Tuđman ( which is btw. the name of Croatia's first president). Buses are operating internationally, while the train has fewer options. More information on the bus schedule you can find on the Zagreb Bus Terminal website.
After the first breeze of Croatia, more adaption is needed to hop from the European cultural climate to the Mediterranean.
The name Dalmatia dates back to ancient times, but the modern meaning refers to the central and southern Croatian coast. Dalmatia is best known for its islands, sunny weather, clean sea, remnants of ancient tradition, and Mediterranean culture and way of life.
The island of Hvar keeps 1st place as a town with the oldest settlement in Europe, amazing architecture, and at the same time modern bars, restaurants, and parties. Brač Island owes its popularity to Golden Cape beach, and yet there is a famous stone from Brač, the monastery, Vidova gora peak, and many more. The Island of Korčula is a place of great historical value due to its smart architectural solutions in building the town and fortification system for defense. The green oasis of Mljet island doesn’t lack historical value, but it’s true asset is a unique nature and incredible peace. The Island of Vis will amaze you with its beauty and true example of island lifestyle… Dalmatia and Dalmatian islands are natural gems that will show you the real Dalmatian lifestyle, their culture, and historical value. They’re the perfect destinations for a fun, active, enjoyable, and relaxing holiday.
Getting to Dalmatia is easiest by plane, landing in either Split or Dubrovnik, two destinations perfect for starting or ending your Croatia trip. Airports are small, well organized & well connected. Buses and trains hold quite a few options depending on where you’re coming from.
But let’s see first some interesting things to do in Croatia.
What are the #mustvisit places in Croatia?
As much as I think there is a never-ending list, here are some unique places that will amaze you…
So, let's start;
National Parks of Croatia
The oldest National park Plitvice Lakes is located in the mountainous region halfway between Zagreb and Zadar. It is the largest and the most visited national park in Croatia. The national part is pretty big, but 16 lakes made as a result of travertine formation are considered its biggest attraction. If you are a walker, there are seven routes to explore around the lakes and if you're up for a bit more activity there are also four hiking trails. The park is open to visitors throughout the year.
Krka National Park is known for its large number of lakes and waterfalls. It is located in central Dalmatia, a few kilometers northeast of the city of Sibenik. It is named after the river Krka, which springs at the foot of the Dinara mountain. With 7 core waterfalls, the river Krka is a natural karst phenomenon. The Jaruga hydropower plant, located on the largest travertine barrier, is the oldest hydropower plant in Europe and the second in the world, built three days after the construction of the first hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls. NP Krka will delight you with its natural beauties and historical curiosities.
Mljet National Park is called a green island due to its rich vegetation. It is also known as the island of honey. It is famous for the salt lake system as both lakes used to be freshwater lakes. In the middle of the Great Lake, there is the Isle of St. Mary with a Benedictine monastery from the 12th century. NP Mljet is famous for its unique and stunning natural beauty, beautiful sea, and incredible peace it has to offer.
Park of Nature Biokovo
The park is located in Split-Dalmatia County. It is specified by karst relief, a large number of caves, pits, sinkholes, and ravines. The highest peak of the park and the mountain Biokovo, Sveti Jure, is located at 1762 meters above sea level. NP is known for the natural botanical garden of Kotišina, and the walls of the great Kaštel (castle). The Biokovo road, which leads to the very top and is a challenge for many cyclists and triathletes, is especially famous. Recently, the Park got a new attraction - Skywalk Biokovo, which is located at an altitude of 1228 meters above sea level in the area of Ravna Vlaška.
I will stop here as there are many more places worth visiting. To choose between all these places can be a real task, so here are some things that might help your selection and direct your curiosity.
10 things Croatia is known for:
Croatia won a silver medal at the finals at the last World football cup in 2018 and ended at 3rd place in 1998. A very important part of Croatian identity is a football club. The two most popular rival clubs are Hajduk from Split and Dinamo from Zagreb. Even though this is a very complex relationship that bounds to every sphere of Croatian society, the two clubs show incredible connection and readiness when helping those in need and acting for a higher purpose. If you’re in Split or Zagreb visiting a match with locals would be an incredible and unique experience.
Game of Thrones
The popular show was filmed in two popular locations in Croatia, Dubrovnik and Split, and their surrounding area. If you want to visit King's landing or check where Daenerys kept her dragons these are the places to explore.
Croatian wine has a history of production going back to the time of Aristotelous when Greeks settled the area of southern Dalmatia. There are quite a few authentic grape varieties that are possible to grow only in the area of their origin which makes them very unique and produced in limited amounts. Even the modern methods have been adopted, some wine producers prefer the old way of picking the grape only by hand. For these & other special conditions, wines such as Pošip, Grk, Dingač, and others are ranked as one of the best wines on the local and international market.
Lavender is highly appreciated in Croatia and it takes a lot of effort for proper production. The most popular lavender producer is Hvar Island, which used to be the 8th biggest lavender producer in the world. Today, when passing the village of Velo Grablje, located on the same island, you can enjoy beautiful sceneries of lavender fields stretching across the island and potentially meet Lavanderman, a local called Boris Buncuga who accidentally fell asleep next to a lavender distillery and became Lavanderman. His powers of seducing are widely known, but there are many more we're still waiting to discover.
Croatia is famous for its beautiful pebble beaches, many secluded and some very unique spots. One of the most famous is certainly Golden Cape beach located in Bol on the island of Brač. The beach is about 1000 m long and special for changing its position and shape depending on the wind direction. Due to the wind’s characteristic of the Golden Cape area, it is also one of the more popular places for windsurfing.
Crystal clear sea
Ranking Croatian sea among clearest and cleanest in the world made her one of the most attractive holiday destinations. The reason why the Adriatic is co clear lies in the fact there is no sand, but only limestone. Also, the clear sea is the result of sea currents moving along the east coast in a clockwise direction from south to north. Dalmatian coast is a real gem and a perfect place for summer activities.
Croatian olive oils are among the best in the world. Excellent results were achieved in 2014 when four olive oils from Dalmatia were included in the list of the world's best oils.
Region of Istria stands out for its exceptional quality and in recent years Istrian oils have become known throughout the world. In Dalmatia, oil from the island of Brač is highly valued, although other locations in central and southern Dalmatia do not lag in quality.
Most olive varieties are indigenous, which is why they give a successful yield and top-quality olive oils.
The walls of Dubrovnik are among the best-preserved fortifications in the world. The beginning of construction began in the 8th century, and their present appearance was formed in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The walls, which stretch almost 2 km in length and up to 25 in height, are protected by towers on all four sides of the world and an additional two located outside the walls. Since the builders were guided solely by the effectiveness of the walls in defending the city, the stunning aesthetic result was completely unexpected. In 2013, Trip Advisor included the walls of Dubrovnik in the Top 10 sights that must be seen before death.
Croatia is known as having great sportsmen and the reasons for that are often found in Mediterranean climate and cuisine, Illyric ancestry, and well-known mindset – stubbornness and persistence.
It would be difficult to list all the great athletes, but if you visit Split don't forget to walk along the West Coast where you can find 73 plaques with the names of Olympic medal winners, members of Split clubs, or those born in Split.
Goran Ivanišević who won Wimbledon 2001, basketball player Krešimir Čosić who was the first non-American in the NBA Draft and 2 times won Championship Gold, the great Dražen Petrović, also a basketball player, Janica Kostelić skiing champion are just a few among many talented Croatian sportsmen.
Peka is a traditional way of preparing meals all over Croatia and involves baking on the open fire in a clay or wrought iron baking pan. Roasted lamb, veal, and octopus are the most popular peka meals not to be missed. This is a #musttry when in Croatia.
Diocletian's palace is located in the city of Split. It is a masterpiece of late antiquity, built from 295 to 305 by the order of Emperor Diocletian who planned to build a palace for his retirement. The Palace is very well preserved for various reasons and stores very important historical buildings and monuments, including the oldest cathedral in the world that is continuously working - St. Duje Cathedral.
This already seems a lot of things to try and visit, but the good organization and logistics make it not only possible but also enjoyable.
Being a tour operator includes a lot of Tetris but it enables people to be relaxed while exploring and enjoying their holiday. That is why we tailored our tours to benefit all explorers and based on our experience we decided to offer quite a few ways to discover our country.
What is the best way to explore Croatia?
As a group of different individuals with similar goals, we think there are many ways to explore which entirely depends on the person exploring and the location and things the destination has to offer.
Visiting Zagreb includes a lot of cultural content and enjoying guiding tours, architecture, bars, and restaurants is the way to discover the city. To get anywhere from Zagreb the best way is to drive and reach your next destination soon as possible. That is why we have prepared our cultural and historical self-drive Fly and Drive tour & self-guided Sightseeing tour.
If you prefer walking, we designed walking and hiking routes that take you along spectacular coastlines, ancient settlements, paths, and trails. Based on the time of the year some of our tours include swimming breaks at breath-taking locations.
If you are a cyclist, depending on your level of fitness and places you want to visit we created self-guided cycling tours that offer many places to visit and still leave you with enough time to enjoy nature, swimming, and local culture.
In case you are an adventurous spirit who wants to try it all then multi-adventure tours are made up for you. Guided, self-guided, kayaking, rafting, paddle boarding, you name it!
No matter what you decide, we will make sure you still have time to enjoy and discover some of the most mind-blowing facts about Croatia.
Did you know Slavoljub Eduard Penkala developed the first mechanical pencil or that the great Nikola Tesla comes from Croatia? Did you know Šibenik was the first town in the world with city lightning? There are so many interesting facts about Croatia and so many things to learn. We still do. And we love to tell stories :)
We hope you found enough information to get a glimpse of Croatia as a holiday destination and we will do our best to dive deeper into each of these subjects in upcoming blog posts.
Till next time, be active, plan your adventures and take care!