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Croatia's Calling

Croatia is blessed with impressive history and culture, spectacular scenery, stunning national parks and food and wine that will satisfy your gourmet cravings. As a holiday destination, Croatia is the Adriatic haven that offers everything you could possibly want and more...

Croatia's 1,800km glimmering coastline includes the dramatic shorelines of the Dalmatia coast. The majestic wall of coastal mountains sweeps down towards an azure blue fringed coast dotted with palm trees and ancient olive groves. It is one of the most populated areas of the Adriatic coast and an ideal destination for a cultural road trip. Discover Croatia's second city, Split and the resorts of the Makarska Riviera strung together towards the south and the 'Pearl of the Adriatic', Dubrovnik with its medieval walled old town. It is also home to many antiquated villages and spectacular natural wildernesses.

Cultural sites galore

Immerse yourself in the country’s rich history among the ancient ruins, buildings and castles. The historic beauty beneath the carpet of terracotta rooftops of Dubrovnik and Split never fails to impress or inspire. Dubrovnik, possibly the most famous medieval walled city on the sea in Europe, has a breath-taking cultural heritage and, when strolling the old city, palaces, churches, monasteries, chapels, cloisters, squares, museums and mansions, they are all there, seemingly a touch away. A Renaissance window to the left and a Gothic one to the right. It is like a jewellery box of precious delights. Split is Croatia’s second city and of great historical importance as it grew out of a Roman palace built by the Emperor Diocletian in 295 AD. That’s still there, and packed inside its narrow streets are 220 buildings, including churches, chapels, cafes and restaurants. The palace’s southern wall is now Split’s attractive seafront Riva, lined with palm trees.

Islands Besides the amazing Croatian coastline, the country has over 1,200 islands. Each island has its own unique character and provides the perfect opportunity for an island-hopping holiday. Here are some of our favourites...

Awash with Gothic-renaissance architecture the island of Korcula claims to be the birth place of Marco Polo. Often nicknamed ‘Little Dubrovnik’ the old town is packed on to a peninsular. The island is famous for olive and wine production with white wines especially prominent. Two names to look out for are Posip and Grk and tours of the mainly family-owned wineries are possible. Water taxi services are available to take visitors to nearby tiny islands including Badija with its Franciscan monastery and pretty beaches, perfect for a picnic, put together from the town’s fresh open market.

On the western end of the island of Mljet, the national park offers green and then more green, a beautiful rugged coastline, ancient ruins and two saltwater lakes connected to the sea via a narrow channel and location of the 12th century monastery of Saint Mary. The National Park covers 5400 hectares and most people spend at least a few hours here. Mljet is about peace, tranquility a feeling of escape and relaxation among pristine nature and surrounded by the blue Adriatic. For more active types there are good hiking and cycling trails, bike rental and paddle boat rental.

Home to Croatia’s most famous beach ‘Zlatni Rat’, Brac is a 50 minutes ferry journey from Split. One of the most beautiful of the Dalmatian islands and the third largest island in Croatia it is also the highest with Vidova Gora peak, the highest in the Adriatic at 780 metres. Fabulous views from there over to the island of Hvar, the Peljesac peninsula beyond and the island of Korcula. The island boasts gorgeous pine fringed beaches and idyllic isolated bays. Its many towns have delightful cobbled streets with pretty market squares and traditionl bars and restaurants. Additionally the island boasts a flourishing olive industry with divine olive oil unique to the region.

Stunning nature You may think that Croatia is all about beaches and historic towns, but there is actually a lot more that this beautiful country has to offer. There are 8 stunning national parks and 11 nature parks with unspoilt nature galore - here are just a few...

Plitvice Lakes is a popular destination for nature lovers visiting Croatia. The natural attraction boasts 16 interconnected lakes that are continually fed by the magnificent collection of waterfalls. To explore the lakes, take a stroll along the wooden plank paths that wind around the stunning setting.

Krka National Park is named after the Krka river and actually includes two-thirds of the river. It covers just over 142 square hectares. The waterfalls are spectacular and Skradinski Buk with its collection of 17 waterfalls is the most famous aspect of the park. These blue cascades tumble down over limestone sediment resulting in pools in a semi-submerged forest. Paths are well marked and there are over 800 species of plant life and over 200 species of birds.

Mljet Island is an unspoiled oasis of natural beauty and tranquility. The island has an extensive pine forest and a National Park with two saltwater lakes. Some species of mussels grow on the pine branches that are immersed in the forest lakes.

A taste of Croatia It’s no surprise, given Croatia’s geographical position at the crossroads of Central and South East Europe, that the country’s cuisine draws its’ influence from the many countries which surround it with a strong influence of Mediterranean and Balkan Flavours. The country’s long coastline gives it access to fresh seafood which is popular and can always be found on any menu. It is also one of the select number of countries in the world which produces its’ own truffles. Regional dishes are a plenty and you will not be disappointed with the abundance and variety of delicious foods to be experienced when visiting the country.

Here are just a small selection of some of the culinary treats to try during your holiday. Black risotto, known locally as crni rižot, is made with cuttlefish or squid, olive oil, garlic, red wine and squid ink, which gives an intense seafood flavour and black colour. Popular throughout Croatia, Peka is a tender meat & vegetable dish also called ispod čripnje (under the bell) – literally food that is cooked under a terracotta or iron lid over burning embers. Peka can include octopus, lamb, veal or chicken, and is often accompanied by potatoes.

Commonly found on the Adriatic coast, Fritule are doughnut-like fried pastries which vary from region to region – egg yolks, raisins, grated lemon or orange rinds, and even rakija or rum can go into the mixture. Traditionally served during the holidays, these are very popular so you can usually find them year round.

Like wine, Croatia’s olive-oil cultivation dates back to Roman times. And, like wine, for decades the industry was nationalised and standardised for the benefit of quantity over quality. In Istria, in particular, a new, independent generation has developed the production of small-batch, high-quality, extra-virgin olive oil.

Locals won’t be surprised if you stop them and ask for their favourite local konobas (taverns) – casual establishments where you’ll find some of the most authentic cuisine. Try simply grilled fish drizzled with piquant Istrian olive oil and garnished with parsley, paired with a glass of crisp, dry wine.

More and more wine connoisseurs and foodies are now recognising Croatia as the place to go to sample the distinctive wine types that are growing in popularity. If you’re a wine lover, Croatia has 64 distinct grape types, over 800 wineries and almost 20,000 registered wine-makers to tempt you to visit.

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