Croatia is a place for for feasting, and we’re not talking just about food. Its vibrant culture, long history and colourful scenery are perfect ingredients for your travel recipe. It’s a place of strong culinary identity, perfect for those who simply cannot imagine their holiday without delicious meals and delicacies. Here you’ll be impressed by the country’s incredibly rich offer of continental specialties and seafood. It’s a place where beauty and nature go side by side due to its untouched places, splendid national parks and the Adriatic sea. It is the place where the natural beauty embraces the gracefully and elegantly designed architecture. It is a little paradise on Earth.
Situated on the Adriatic sea, it is one of the most beautiful states in Europe and one of the top places to visit according to many reputable newspapers and travel magazines. With its unique location, incredible history and deep cultural roots, it is a must-visit location and should be on your bucket list for sure. A homeland of many nature, national parks and other UNESCO protected spots, clear, turquoise sea, mighty mountains, craggy cliffs, long rivers, lakes, wild and mild vegetation, all types of beaches from rocky and pebble beaches to beautiful sandy beaches all over the Dalmatian coast, picturesque cities and villages with remarkable architectures, thousands of hectares of vineyards and lavender fields, endless forests and plantages are just a few things that makes this country worth visit.
Croatia takes the largest area of the Adriatic Sea’s eastern coast as a part of the Mediterranean Sea and enters deep into the European continent. This is what makes it an ideal location for everyone’s holiday trip. What separates this country from the central European continental part is a remarkable mighty narrow Dinara mountain. Croatia is nested in Southeast and Central Europe, bordering with Serbia to the east, Hungary to the northeast, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the southeast, Slovenia to the northwest and the Adriatic Sea to the southwest.
The territory of the country covers 56,594 km2, which is 123 km2 of water and 56,414 km2 of land. Croatia is the 127th on the list when it comes to the size of countries. Croatia consists of over 1000 islets and islands, all different sizes of which 48 are inhabited. The largest islands in Croatia are Krk and Cres, each sized 405 km2.
The hilly part of Croatia is called Hrvatsko Zagorje that takes a large part of continental Croatia and Slavonia in the east with its flat plains. Both regions are cut through with large rivers such as Drava, Sava, Kupa and Danube being the second largest river in Europe. The Danube river runs through Croatian city Vukovar and forms a border with its neighbour country Serbia. The southern east and central regions near the Adriatic Sea consist of islands with forested highlands and low mountains. Croatia is also a country full of natural resources where you can find bauxite, coal, calcium, low-grade iron ore, gypsum, silica, natural asphalt, clays, mica, hydropower and salt.
What is interesting is that tap water is drinkable all across the country which is very rare to visit a country that has 100% drinkable and natural water, it’s like the beauty of Croatia’s landscapes weren’t enough so the nature took care of the country by adding lots of waterfalls, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Another interesting thing about Croatia is that there are many deep caves, 49 caves that are deeper than 250 meters, 14 caves that are deeper than 500 meters and 3 caves deeper than 1000 meters.
If you decide to visit Croatia, it will offer you a true wealth of variety in history, food, culture and terrain from the lower part where the beautiful Adriatic Sea is all the way up to the continental part. By visiting each Croatia’s region you will explore something new because each region is like a small country with its own unique history and story to tell and things to offer.
A warm, dry Mediterranean climate is something that is Croatia well known for. Summers are warm and hot while winters are colder in continental parts with snow and temperature below zero while the coastal part of the Croatia is warmer with warmest winter temperature around 22°C. As we mentioned, the coast has a warm Mediterranean climate with more sunny days over the year. An interesting fact is that the average number of sunshine hours in Croatia is 2600 hours/per year, which makes this country one of the sunniest and warmest regions of the Mediterranean and one of Europe’s sunniest places. All who plans to come to Croatia can expect at least 12 hours of sunshine per day during May, June, July and August. Summers are pretty dry and hot with temperatures going above 35 Celsius degrees. Considering the fact that coastal and continental regions have mountains once you climb above, you will sense temperatures around 13 ºC and fresh mountain air.
In case you maybe haven’t heard, but is widely popular is this aspect of Croatian weather called “Bura” which is a very strong, north-east wind that usually blows around the coast (Dalmatian part of Croatia). “Bura” normally comes in winter when 2 different types of climate clashes and usually causes disruptions of ferries and other types of transportation. Another wind that is highly popular and occurs in Croatia is “Jugo”. This is a warm wind which brings moisture with it and causes high waves on the sea.
If you’re into sunbathing and swimming, then we suggest you plan your trip in July and August. Although these are the hottest months keep in mind that high temperatures cause thunderstorms and rainy days, especially in Rijeka in Istria which is considered the city with most rainy days in Croatia (some would say that it’s even rainier than London, England).
Dubrovnik region, on the south side of Croatia has most sunny days in the summer and during the year. That’s why Dubrovnik if one of the most preferred town for holiday in Croatia and Dalmatian coast. If you are in search for exclusive, private Villa to rent in Croatia, here is the finest selection of luxury Dubrovnik Villas with pools. Croatia Perfect – Villas in Dubrovnik is hand picked selection of Croatia and Dubrovnik luxury accommodation (villas by the sea, luxury villas, holiday rentals, vacations villas, beach villas, luxury accomodation, private villa, luxury villa to rent, croatia villas, europe villas, luxury villa rent…) and signature services.
If you’re not tight with your schedule, work or school holidays the best time to visit Croatia (and every Croat would recommend) is off the season. The peak of the season are July and August, but off-season months are May, June, September and October – months when it’s warm enough to explore Croatia like you would in July and August too, but you’ll avoid the tourist crowd. It’s the perfect time for swimming and sunbathing and outdoor activities such as kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and rafting. Plus the prices of hotels and accommodation are much cheaper when compared to July and August.
During April and November, many accommodation places along the coast are usually closed down, but there are some that are open and if you choose this time of the year for your trip to Croatia you will probably find great offers on city hotels and low-cost flights and transportation tickets, especially in Dubrovnik and the main city – Zagreb. Plus, this way you’ll get a great and real feeling how Croats live.
Croatia has 8 National Parks that are under UNESCO’s protection with lots of forests and woodsy sections, rivers, waterfalls, lakes and gigantic mountains. Plitvice Lakes and Krka are both UNESCO-listed sites, both well known for their stunning waterfalls and lakes. Croatia’s most popular lake is the Plitvice lakes which is a true tourist spot with its 16 lakes and waterfalls connected with limestone and dolomite cascades. All lakes are famed for their not-so-typical colours, from minty green to blue, gray and turquoise.
What is great about Croatia is that, while on holidays, you can satisfy all your needs by combining a beach vacation with an adventurous exploration of soaring mountains and there is one place that provides both options – The Biokovo mountain (Sveti Jure) that at 1726 m has the second highest peak in Croatia and is nested just a few miles from the beautiful sea. Simply wake up early and start your day by exploring the zigzag trail to the Makar village (just above the Makarska beach resort) where you will be able to go hiking on the Vosac peak (1422 meters) or Sveti Jure peak (1726 meters) for those who feel more energetic and adventurous. This is a popular route that tourists who visit Croatia simply cannot miss. Lots of wildflowers, sweet scent of pine trees and limestones, butterflies, this is a place of a true untouched nature where one can find himself connect with nature really fast.
After discovering yourself while visiting Mother nature you can simply head back down to the sea and take a refreshing dip in a heavenly warm water to end your day. What is great about these locations that are all over Croatia is that you can shift your stare from the sparkling sea and see an almighty mountain right before you. The Dinaric Alps, which we all know stretch from Albania to Italy, hug a lot of Croatian coast, so this is why there are many craggy peaks, river canyons, caverns, ridiculously picturesque lakes and waterfall right next to the sea. If you go further inland and visit continental part you’ll see that everything changes and the landscape becomes flattened with lots of farmlands and biking trails.
The Adriatic coast is a true stunner with its transparent sapphire waters that draws everyone who visits it to explore the coast even more, visit remote islands, explore the hidden caves and see how traditional fishing villages look like. Stunning, glitzy beaches, thousands of beautiful yachts anchored, from small traditional boats called “Barka” to luxurious long yachts.
On the other hand, Istria region is also captivating with its remarkable offer of gastronomic delicacies and wines, clubs, bars and a variety of festivals. Istra is one of the regions which landscape captivates and enchants everyone who visits to its primeval beauty.
When it comes to the continental part and region of Croatia, the most popular part is Slavonia region. Remarkable for its turbulent history, Slavonia is a homeland to Croatia’s agricultural fertility. It’s known for its resiliency and strength and its architectural buildings and houses, a cultural character that reveals that it was once occupied by the Turks, Hungarians and Romans. From the charm of its countryside and art of its architecture Slavonia is all about the raw beauty that is worthy of admiration and exploration.
Its main attribute (like in other regions) is a remarkable gastronomy offer. If you ask anyone what is Slavonia special for and what to do while spending your holidays there, the first answer you will get is visiting certain places for fine wine and delicious meals. But, if we put gastronomy aside, and focus more on what to see and visit, we would definitely suggest visiting Vukovar who still bears big scars of the homeland war. There are also beautiful fortresses in Osijek, Slavonski Brod and volcanic pillars at the popular place called Papuk which is something like famous Giant’s Causeway.
So, if you’re into a combination of summertime sun, breathtaking natural beauty, unique and interesting architecture, oodles of history, great swimming, delicious seafood and tasty wines you’re good to plan your holiday trip to Croatia.
Although Croats don’t always show the sunniest side of their face to complete strangers, they’re open to tourists and if you break through with the initial “hello” you’ll see that they are the most hospitable and friendliest nation you could meet. Croatians are very proud of their cultural heritage and make the most effort into preserving and celebrating their folklore. This can be easily noticed through the number of festivals they organise all over the country, one of such festivals is popular “Djakovacki vezovi” which is all about Slavonia and Baranja.
Another huge part of Croatian lifestyle is coffee drinking, which is one of the most popular social activities. Coffee time in Croatia takes up to several hours. Understand it as a process which is not about coffee, but spending time with the people they love, whether it’s something related to business, dates or simply hanging out with friends.
Croats are friendly, outgoing and hospitable people to which is mostly important to make their guests feel welcomed while visiting their home. If you come to someone’s home, expect a table full of the delicacies, drinks and desserts.
To Croats, it’s all about family values. This is probably the most important thing you need to know about Croats and they usually tend to form lifelong friendships.
Croatia is the land of many music festivals not to mention popular events that are popping on a list of “why visit Croatia” each summer. The festival scene is flourishing and everyone will find something for himself. International and local party planners and event organisers make the most of the unbelievable Adriatic coast and dazzling scenery is guaranteed, with charmingly simple and serene islands, beaches and meadows hosting thousands of tourists and crowds of festival goers.
Particularly popular are multiple open-air cultural events and festivals organised during the entire summertime. One of the best-known festivals is the popular Dubrovnik Summer Festival that is organised from the middle of July to the middle of August. This is the festival that attracts well-known international musicians, DJs and performers. Another popular town that is known for its festivals is a small, Istrian hilltop village – Motovun that is known for its film festival with parties organised inside its ancient medieval walls every night while the festival lasts.
There are also numerous of music festivals that are organised only for those in a contemporary music, such as the Outlook Festival and the Dimension Festival staged in Fort Punta Christo near Istrian city Pula, the Love International Festival at a small place near Zadar – Tisno and Fresh Island Festival that is staged on a popular Zrce beach in Novalja on the Pag island.
If you love to stay out late and party like a true rock star, then you should definitely opt for Hvar and Rab, both islands and places to go.
Coastal Croatia is a big part of the Eastern Adriatic Sea shore. It is composed of Dalmatia, Kvarner Gulf and Istrian Peninsula – Istria. It spreads between Privlaka (Croatian border with Montenegro in the Southeast) and Rab (northwest island in coastal Croatia). The most popular locations and places along the coast are Dubrovnik, Split, Sibenik, Zadar, Rijeka and Pula.
Coastal Croatia is mostly rocky with a beautiful, turquoise, crystal-clear sea with hundreds of islands around the Adriatic Sea of which 66 are inhabited. The most popular and visited islands are Mljet, Korcula, Hvar, Brac, Kornati, Dugi Otok, Cres, Krk, Losinj, Rab and Brijuni. The largest island is the island of Cres which is just a few inches bigger than the island of Krk that is placed nearby.
Southern Dalmatia has been popular and became one of the most dramatic shorelines in Europe. It attracts many filmmakers who simply cannot resist to its mountains, high gray medieval walls that embroil down to the lavish seaside with olive plantations and palm trees all over the place. The urbanest spot in the coastal Croatia is definitely Split with its foresightful shore that is chaotic and addictive at the same time. Split also serves as the country’s main ferry port with hundreds of miles of harboured boats, cruisers and yachts.
Another main draw of the Southern Dalmatian is the popular Renaissance city – Trogir, the Roman Salona ruins and Klis, the popular medieval Croatian stronghold.
Southern Dalmatia is home to untouched wilderness and traditional, stone villages that can be visited and discovered just a few minutes of a slow walk uphill the coast. With long pebble beaches, high mountains, isolated islands, luxurious resorts and villas and small traditional fishing villages, not to mention the weird Imotski lakes, watersport hotspots and Cetina gorge that is totally dramatic, this part of Croatia is completely worth of visiting.
Croatia contains around 1800 kilometers of coastline and its glaring sea and islands make it well established on the popular holiday scene plus the tourists love Croatia.
Except the Makarska Riviera and Istria that are highly popular for their resorts, there are also places in the coastal part of the Croatia that lures tourists and what is important is that there are even 5 airports, Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik.
What is great about the Dalmatian coast that you can explore it in many ways. For example, if you rent a car and decide to drive up from Split to Dubrovnik you’ll see the Peljesac peninsula, a heavenly piece of Croatia where heaven and gastronomy meet. With numerous vineyards where you can try Ston Bay and red Dingac with delicacies such as mussels and oysters, not to mention beautiful, long, pebble beaches in a combination with the look on the mountains, the Dalmatian coast becomes one of the tourists’ favourite places to visit during hot summer season. This southern part of Croatia’s coastal coast is a region of a vast variety of historical importance and natural beauty, a place where all the achievements and human struggle throughout the history are woven into an array of culture that is over-the-top. Even if you casually peek at geography maps you will reveal so much more about this country.
The main attraction is undoubtedly Croatia’s island-dotted coastline. The first thing everyone notices is the clarity of the Adriatic Sea and the water itself. If you’re by any chance visiting one of the dazzling white pebble beaches you will notice sea’s sparkles in shades of sapphire and emerald jewels. There are also long distant sandy beaches which are perfect for lazy holidays when you don’t want to move anywhere but to sit at this one place through the entire vacation, something Croats perfectly understand when talking about perfect holidaying. For those who are not into too relaxing holidays, there are hundreds of water activities and attractions that will simply lure you off, such as windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, diving and snorkeling to name just a few.
Over many centuries, many nations and peoples have lived and passed through the Croatian Dalmatian. Some of them competed, some of them fought while some of them simply settled, from the tribesmen and Greek colonists to Byzantine and Roman emperors and soldiers to Venetian traders, Italian and Ottoman fleets, Croat warriors, Austro-Hungarian and French engineers, leaders and governors, they all have made an impact and left a mark in a shape of a unique cultural heritage that is simply standing there and waiting to be enjoyed and explored.
Before going too deep into describing how gorgeous and remarkable Croatian beaches are, we have to state at the very beginning that you shouldn’t hope for sandy beaches. There are sandy beaches, of course, but they’re rare and usually crowded. Croatia is all about pebble beaches accompanied by the picturesque and crystal clear water and if you prefer enjoying nature as it is then you’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to beaches. Officially recognised as cleanest beaches in Europe, Croatia’s beaches are more pebbly than sandy.
The best-known beach in Croatia is Zlatni Rat, a beach that is adorned on every travel prospectus and brochure you see about Croatia, therefore, it is the most “photogenic” beach. Expect the crowd at this beach as it’s also very popular. What is even greater is that there are hidden spots all over the coastal Croatia and you can find “your own beach” at almost every corner, one example of such beaches is less known beach Nugal, on the southern side of Makarska. There are more great beaches with Korcula having 2 sandy beaches, Rab with lovely bay and tiny Susak which is all about fine sand.
Another great beach is “Stiniva” beach that nests on the island of Vis. This beach is special for its “James Bond” flare and what is interesting is that is one of the best beaches in Europe according to Brussels Tourism Organisation. The island of Vis, that is right next to the island of Hvar, has plenty more to offer than just this beach. Adrian Bridge, an adventurist who traveled all over the globe and explored the island of Vis by scooter (because there are only 2 roads) in 2014 said that his visits towards the Bisevo island is picturesque and absolutely stunning.
The Croatian beaches are sensational and there’s no beach that won’t take your breath away plus the turquoise blue and crystal clear Adriatic sea with thousands of islets and islands is something you need to see to believe.
Another interesting fact when it comes to beaches is that Croatia was the first European country that comes up with the idea of making holiday resorts for nudists and this is why naturists love Croatia and over 1 million of nudists visit Croatia every year.
It would be shame not to mention all the islands that Croatia offers even though there are more than thousand islands in the Adriatic sea. The Adriatic Sea is the most indentured part of the Mediterranean Sea in Europe. Its coastline is 1777 kilometers long and due to many coves and bays, Croatian coastline is one of the three European indented shorelines, right after Greece and Italy.
Croatia has over 1000 islands and all of them are flecked with some islands being bigger and inhabited while others deserted and smaller. Even though islands are traditionally connected to the sea with activities such as sailing, fishing and boatbuilding each island is like a mini cosmo in its own way. This is why Croatian islands are very popular tourist destinations and they are well tied with ferries which make them perfect for “island hopping holidays”.
If you’re all about gastronomy, food and trying new dishes while on holidays then look no more as Croatia is a true delicacy you’re looking for. This is a country that is home to one of the world’s most popular dishes and you will surely enjoy your time while on vacation. We have to mention again that regions in Croatia differ a lot, so gastronomic experience will be totally different too depending on the region you’re visiting. For example, if you’re visiting the Dalmatian region you will try seafood delicacies and popular “Rozata”, but if you’re heading into Slavonian region here you’ll discover what Slavonian Kulen is. You have to admit that this is a genuine gastronomy specialty with each region having its own protected cultural goods and you won’t leave the country without blogging about the food or at least Instagramming it or tweeting about delicacies you tried.
When it comes to Croatia, talking about food without mentioning rich history and offer of wines is like talking about Sunday lunch without the desert. Croatia has one of the world’s most famous wines. With its long wine history, Croatia is well known for its vineyards with a total of 59,000 hectares, 17,000 of registered winegrowers and more than 800 wineries. The regions where the wine is made are marvelous and stunning and if this is something that satisfies you then you have no excuse but to enjoy these regions and explore them to the fullest. Except for wines, Croatia is also known for the drink called “rakija”, so this is something you also need to try. We suggest you start with Orahovica, Sljivovica and traditional Travarica which are also known as natural remedies for different diseases such as stomach pains, throat sore, high fever, disinfection of everything and much more.
When talking about Croatian food think of it as a mix of traditional Italian and Mediterranean cuisine with a modern twist. The main feature is its diversity of the offer and it is unimaginable to single out the best dish. Different economic, cultural and natural influences had affection in the development of different Croatian cuisines each having its own specific specialties, characteristics and ingredients.
The Mediterranean cuisine is light with lots of seafood such as octopus, oysters, cuttlefish and squid prepared in thousands of ways – grilled, roasted, casseroled, stewed, with veggies such as wild asparagus, legumes, options are endless. Also, popular thing is that Croatian cuisine has lots of soups made from almost anything. The most popular is “manestra” soup. Olive oil is the base for everything. Dalmatian coast has hectares and hectares of olive fields, so this is why Croatia is also popular for its virgin olive oil. Except for the seafood, Croatian cuisine also contains lots of meat and mostly has been used mutton meat and beef. The most popular beef dish is “Pasticada”, a delicious combo of herbs, dried figs and prunes, red wine, bacon and gnocchi (potato noodles). Another popular and protected food is pancetta and prosciutto – air-dried pork, and as for the cheeses, the most popular is the goat’s cheese made on the island of Pag which is also protected and branded.
When it comes to other regions such as Lika and Gorski Kotar (continental part of Croatia), the cuisine is mostly based on meat such as lamb, beef and port. Meat is usually cooked and prepared with beans, pickled cabbage, either roasted, cooked or grilled. The most popular dish of this region is “Licke pole” which is specifically prepared potatoes. Another delicacy are variety of mushrooms that can be found plentifully as continental regions are mostly covered with woods, lots of dairy produce and different organic food just to name a few.
Dairy produce is especially popular in the central and northern regions where are mostly popular cow’s cheese, dried and seasoned with garlic and paprika and sour cream that is mostly used in soups and various stews. When it comes to meat, it’s mostly pork or poultry because northern parts of Croatia have lots of villages with traditional farms. The most popular dishes are turkey with “mlinci” and “Zagorski strukli”. Homemade pastry is filled with everything in Croatia, from apples, cheese, pumpkin and millet to poppy seeds.
In Slavonia and Baranja region the culinary tradition mostly relies on pork meat, in every way, and we literally mean every way. From bacon and ham to sausages and famous types of salami – kulenova seka and kulen. Another popular dish of this region is Cobanac, a goulash made with 2-3 types of meat combined and served with dumplings or gnocchi. Considering the fact that there are many rivers it’s obvious that Croats use river fish for different fish stews and pork lard is used to make traditional “salenjaci” cakes.
Istria region is mostly based on high-quality virgin olive oil, black and white truffles and homemade pasta called “fuzi”. Even Hugh Morris, a journalist at Telegraph wrote about delicious Istrian cuisine saying that it’s something everyone needs to try at least once. Truffles, a high priced delicacy is something that grows in Istria like crazy and almost everyone can eat truffles in Croatia. The world’s largest truffle was grown in Istria weighing 1.310 kilograms.
As you can see, fine wine and food are an integral part of Croatian tradition that evolved over the years, but yet kept traditional dishes and if you’re lucky enough to be invited into local’s home, you’ll hear plenty of “Eat!” as feeding guests and general hospitality is a huge part of Croatian culture. Home cooking is still popular in taverns run by families, but Croats love cooking so the new generation of chefs is constantly updating the offer by adding more flair to their dishes and tables. Meanwhile, Croatian delicacies are climbing high on the chart of the world’s top food and winning top awards all over the world.