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Visit Croatia On Your Next Vacation

 

Croatia has become a tourist mecca since 2000 with over 11 million visitors in 2008, Ranking the 18th most popular destination in the world. Tourism accounts for nearly 2/3 of Croatia’s income and for good reason. The west coast of croatia offers the Mediterranean ambience and food of Italy at a fifth the price; although a plane ticket there from the States can be expensive. Visit Croatia on your next vacation and you will be in for a treat.

Croatia is located in South Central Europe, and across the Adriatic Sea east of Italy.  It has a long, rocky coastline, plains in the north, and wooded mountains known as the Dinaric Alps in the south.   There are over 1,000 islands along the 1,000 mile coastline for you to enjoy on your Croatia vacation. Many national parks are spread throughout the country; which provide plenty of rural things to do in Croatia.  The Danube River, Europe’s second longest, runs along Croatia’s eastern border, at the city of Vukovar; a great place to see when you visit Croatia.

Traveling is easy and means of transport are readily available.  Croatia has three international airports and a number of regional airports, some on the islands.  It has a growing highway system.  Although not up to normal European standards, an extensive rail network (some require passage through another country so take your passport) exist. Their inter-city bus network is extensive and a system of ferries links its many islands with the coastal cities.  There is also ferry service to Italy. You will want to see the Islands on your Croatia vacation; they are well worth the trip. Eastern Italy can be a dangerous place to visit due to mafia activity. If you go, don't bring a car that you want to bring back with you. Your best bet is to stay in Croatia on your trip.

On your Croatian vacation you can see ancient cities and ruins, museums and art galleries, modern hotels, restaurants, and night clubs. When you visit Croatia you will have the pleasure of enjoying beautiful mountains with pine forests; white sand beaches with palm trees and crystal clear blue water. These are all reasons why a vacation in Croatia is such a popular tourist decision and one of our best 10 places to visit

Things To See In Croatia

The Palace went unoccupied for several centruies after the Romans left. However, the locals took advantage of its high walls as they took refuge from invading barbarians in the 7th century. They stayed, making their homes and businesses in the palace basement and walls. Today over 200 buildings and 3,000 people are contained within the palace boundaries, where people make their homes and living with many restaurants and shops. This palace is a great answer if the question is where to visit in Croatia.

Papalić Palace The Papalić Palace was built in the 15th century and houses the Museum of the City of Split.  Built by Dalmatinac, a local noblemen, it is one of Croatia’s best examples of the late-Gothic style with its elaborately carved entrance gate. The interior of the palace has been restored to house the Museum. Check out this Croatia vacation spot on a rainy day when you can't enjoy the outdoors.

Arheološki Muzej (Zagreb Archaeological Museum)   From the prehistoric and stone ages to more recent times, the 158 year old museum focuses on local Croatian history.  Containing over 78,000 objects, varying from ceramic of various forms from the Bronze Age and sculptures, to ancient tombs, metals, and weapons. There are more peaceful artifacts as well such as pottery, crafts, and jewelry.  This Croatia vacation activity is a step back in time.

Ethnographic Museum Established in 1919 the museum has 3,000 permanent or temporary exhibits, and draws from a collection of 80,000 items.  It features one of the largest folk costumes and textile collections in Europe.  Ethnography is a research method used to gather data on human cultures to describe the nature of those who are studied.   Unfortunately for the tourist, captions are in Croatian.  Located in Split, any Croatia travel guide would tell you to see it.

The Meštrović Gallery was designed by the artist himself, and he resided there in the 1930s.  It opened as a museum in 1950.  The Gallery contains many statues by the artist in marble, stone, and bronze, some in a beautiful outdoor garden.  Located in Split.

Croatian Fun

Top Places To Go In Croatia

Varaždin Historic Varaždin contains dozens of well preserved monuments, palaces, churches, monasteries, and baroque buildings.  The Old Town fortress shows the necessary medieval defensives.  Today Varaždin is a center of the textile and IT industries, and is know for its good food.

Zagreb With a population approaching one million, Zagrab is Croatia’s capital, largest city, and the cultural, scientific, economic and governmental center. Rich in history beginning with Roman settlements of the 1st century AD, to the first use of the name Zagreb in 1094, to a modern city of skyscrappers.  Zagreb has everything you would expect of a modern city, including museums, galleries, shops, and restrauants as well as an urban nightlife where you can party the night away on your visit to Croatia.

Pula A special find, Pula has been a center since ancient Roman times.  The Romans fortified the city with a wall with ten gates, of which the triumphal Arch of the Sergii, the Gate of Hercules, and the Twin Gates still stand today.  Much of the great amphitheatre, Pula Arena, constructed between 27 BC – 68 AD is still standing today.

Pula is situated at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula. It has a population of about 60,000, and is known for its mild climate, tame sea, and unspoiled nature. Beyond the Roman ruins, the city is known for fishing, shipbuilding, winemaking, and tourism.

Mljet Mljet, known as the ‘Green Island,’ is largely forested and features two saltwater lakes, one of which is now a national park.  Mljet gets its name from the Ancient Greeks, who called it “Melita” or “honey.” Well known by the ancient Greeks and Romans since the 6th century BC, Mljet is believed to have been visited by Ulysses (Odysseus) and the shipwrecked St. Paul. Mljet was gifted to the Benedictine Order by King Stefan II in 1222, they renounced their rule in 1345, keeping a third of the land.

The island is 23 miles in length and averages 2 miles in width.  Mljet has just one hotel, the Odisej (from the Greek Odysseus). 

Dubrovnik Located on the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik is known as a historical center of maritime trade and as a popular tourist destination.  Highlights are the annual Dubrovnik Summer Festival, a month-long cultural event with live plays, concerts, and games, and the February 3rd feast of Saint Blaise, the city’s patron saint, celebrated with parades and festivities that last for days.  During the right times Dubrovnik is one of the best places to visit in Croatia. Be sure to stop by the Old Town and at least one of the beaches.

Hvar City Hvar is a popular destination for merrymakers during the balmy summer months.  It boasts art galleries, museums, theaters, street cafes, and night clubs among its attractions.  Hit the beach for sunbathing during the day and beach parties at night which can be some of the most fun things to do in Croatia.  Hvar is a port city on the island of Hvar, with a long history as a center of trade and culture. 

Sailing The Adriatic Sea around Croatia is becoming a major yachting destination. With over 1,000 islands, only a handful of which are inhabited, the 2,500 mile Croatian coast is the perfect cruising adventure.  Try Sail Croatia, one of the only charter companies specializing in Croatia.

Rock Climbing Croatia's coastal mountains are composed of porous limestone that makes for good climbing. Some of the best rock climbing destinations in Croatia are Paklenica National Park with 400 routes, one for every skill set; above the beach at Baska on Krk Island; a 1,000 foot climb at Mt. Bivko; Marjan Forest Park near Split; and Cliffbase on Hvar Island, with 120 nearby routes. 

Diving With wall dives, wreck dives, drift dives, cave dives, night dives, deep dives, cliff dives and even eco dives, Croatia certainly has variety in its underwater world.  Vela Luka is one of the most interesting marine environments in the Mediterranean.  Rogoznica is famous for having the clearest water in the Adriatic as well as the biggest underwater drop offs. If you're a diver, you'll want to take at least one dive when you visit Croatia. With a 2,500 mile shoreline and nearly 1200 islands, many with small bays, Croatia has many perfect spots for professional or beginning divers.

Note scuba diving is serious business that requires professional training.  Most diving centers include instructions for beginners, who start with the more shallow dives.  Croatia requires every diver to have a diving card, issued by the Croatian Diving Association only to people who have diving qualifications from a diving school.

Snorkeling is also available in many areas and is recommended for the less adventurous who still want a view of the underwater world in Croatia’s sparkling blue seas.

 
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Croatian Delicacies

Restaurants:

Buffet Fife A favorite of locals and tourists, Buffet Fife is a “konoba” or ‘cellar’, as many small taverns with casual dining and drinking are called.  Featuring traditional home cooking of grilled fish, meat and sausages, saucy braised meats, pastas, risottos, and vegetables.  Fresh ingredients, prepared simply and traditionally, at a good price. Hearty and delicious home style cooking.  Located in Split, along the promenade by the harbor; a meal there is a great Croatia restaurant experience.

Galija Galija is the name of a Croatia rock band, hotel, restaurant, and this pizzeria.  Located in downtown Split, away from the touristy areas, this is the spot to mix with locals while enjoying perhaps the best pizza offered by Croatian restaurants. 

Kod Joze Hard to find but a charming favorite of locals.  Seafood, spaghetti, cheeses and bread are good bets. 

Makrovega Vegetarian, with vegan & macrobiotic food choices.  Just off the waterfront in Split. Extensive menu, well prepared, and great choices for a healthy desert. 

Nostromo A favorite of the upper class, Nostromo is expensive, even if it’s modestly decorated with local art (which may be purchased).  Located in Split near the fish market, it features fresh fish, lightly seasoned, plus local produce.   Three time winner of the Golden Chef of Croatia award.

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Touring Croatia

Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments Founded in Knin in 1893, the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments moved to Split after World War II.  Containing medieval stone monuments including those of Croatian kings, and collections of weapons, tools, coins, and jewelry. A large collection of every day objects gives insights into the economic, cultural and political life of the Croatian people during the Middle Ages. Captions are in Croatian.

Old Town Museum - Korcula The Old Town of Korcula contains 5 museums, but is often considered to be a museum in and of itself.  The Museum of Korcula features displays of Korculian history, skills and crafts. The Bishop's Treasury of Korcula contains collections of fine and sacral art.  The Museum of Icons has a permanent display of religious icons in the rooms of the All Saints' Brotherhood, and features a fifteenth-century triptych of The Passion.  The "House of Marco Polo" is believed by many Croatians to be the house in which the famous explorer Marco Polo was born, although most believe the famous merchant and traveler was born near Venice in 1254.  Museum Maximillian Vanka contains a collection of the painter’s artwork.   Captions are in Croatian. 

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Your Stay in Croatia

Places To Stay:

Hotel Neptun Located on Porec Harbor, waterside rooms have an unbeatable view.  Popular and modern, it is centrally located for day and night activities in town as well as near the beaches.  If you get a waterside room, hotel Neptun is one of the best places to stay in Croatia.

Hotel Adriatic A modern, beach-front hotel set amidst a pine forest, it is only 2 miles from the historical city center of Dubrovnik. The pebbly beach is man made.  The nearby Lapad Bay promenade is a pleasant walk past shops, restaurants and cafés, even a large shopping mall is nearby.

Hotel Splendid Splendidly named, it is near the Hotel Adriatic and offers the same local attractions, including the nearby Lapad Bay promenade with its shops, restaurants and cafés, large shopping mall, and the nearby historical city center of Dubrovnik.

Ana and Miki Guest House The great view from the balconies sets the Ana and Miki Guest House apart from the many other home accommodations in Split.

B&B Hotel Kastel Located near the historic section and the 1700 year old Diocletian palace in Split, it offers air conditioning, cable TV, and a private bath in each room.  Caution, the hotel has 4 floors and no elevator.  Economically priced. But if it is still too pricey, you could try staying in a Split hostel or negotiate to rent a local apartmane

 
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Croatian Night Scene
Night Life

Croatian National Theatre The Croatian National Theatre actually could refer to any of 6 theaters located across the country.  Check out the schedule of the play, opera, or ballet available during your stay in Zagreb, Split, Osijek, Varaždin, Mostar, or the Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc in Rijeka.

Găetto Club Party with the arty at night or enjoy some rich coffee during  the day, this charming café and night club is along the courtyard inside the palace in Split.

Tribu Club Split’s trendiest club, frequented by Europe’s international set, is an ultra hip, dress up, party until you drop all night good time.  Located on the waterfront, it features the great music, cocktails, and the prettiest people in town.

Tropic Club Ecuador For the tropical, Latin vibe in Croatia, this is the place to be.  Palm trees, fruity cocktails, and throbbing Latin dance music set the tone in this hot spot.

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Croatian Adventures
Best Things To Do in Croatia

Visit Split The largest Croatian city on the coast, Split is filled with excitement and beauty.  A large port city with ferries constantly coming and going out to the Dalmatian islands, up and down the coast, to Italy and beyond. Visit the old town and marvel at the architecture, museums, art galleries, shops, and cafes.  Walk the harbourside promenade to the wooded park in the coastal mountains next to the blue Adriatic Sea, and relax at the beach below.  Visit the palace of Roman Emperor Diocletian built of local white limestone and marble, with imported Egyptian granite columns and sphinxes; it was built near the end of the third century. Split is one of the best places to visit in Croatia.

Visit Marjan Beach, a 15 minute walk along a promenade lined with palm trees, and filled with shops, cafes, and the ships anchored in the harbor. White sand beaches border the crystal clear blue water and are most appreciated by those traveling to Croatia.  The far end of the beach is nude friendly and the trees and rocky ledges give swimmers a bit of privacy on mini beaches, if they want.  Locals and families are plentiful on weekends.

Diocletian's Palace The world’s most complete remains of a Roman Palace, Roman Emperor Diocletian built the massive palace for his retirement.  A visit to this palace is one of the top 10 historical things to do in Croatia. Built of local white limestone and marble, with imported Egyptian granite columns and sphinxes, it was erected at the end of the 3rd century in what has today become the historic area of Split.

Krka National Park Woodlands, lakes, streams, waterfalls, decorate this park which is home to a 15th century Franciscan Monastery.    Canyons, mountains, the Krka River with eighteen species of fish and over 200 species of birds, including Croatia’s only hawking center, make a visit to convenient Krka National Park a must. The cascading waterfalls are gorgeous and it is a short distance from the Dalmatian coast. Croatia is the proud home of Krka.

Meštrović Gallery  Ivan Meštrović (August 15, 1883 – January 16, 1962) is considered to be Croatia’s greatest sculptor.  Politcally active he moved to Switzerland during World War II, and moved to the United States when offered a position by Syracuse University in 1946. Later he became a professor at Notre Dame.  He was a favorite of Pope and the Roman Catholic Church as one of the greatest sculptors of religious subject matter since the Renaissance. 

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Croatian Landmarks

Plitvice Lakes National Park Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of Croatia's most popular tourist attractions.  Within the park are 16 small lakes connected by a series of waterfalls.  The lakes are renowned for their deep, bright colors, ranging from blue to azure to green, which change colors depending upon the mix of minerals and organisms in the water.  The largest waterfall, Veliki Slap, is over 200 feet tall while the total drop is over 400 feet.  The park itself is set in a forest, home to bears, wolves, wild boar, deer and many bird species. An exciting place to see when you visit Croatia 

St Benedict Church A visit to the 11th century remains of the Pre-Romanesque church of St. Benedict is an enjoyable experience.  Partially preserved, you can view the nearby Renaissance chapel of St. Arnir.  Built in 1444 by the early Renaissance master Juraj Dalmatinac, the carved alter and sarcophagus are visible through protective glass. Located in Old Town, Split.

Gregorius of Nin Statue Touch the left big toe (now well shined) of this imposing statue of the 10th-century Croatian bishop and good luck will be yours throughout the year.  This massive statue of Bishop Grgur Ninski was sculpted in 1929 by Ivan Mestrovic to mark the 1000th anniversary of the bishop's fight to give the people of Nin the right to use the Croatian language instead of Latin in the liturgy.  Located in Split. 

Temple of Jupiter Located in the Roman Palace of Diocletian, the temple is dedicated to the Roman god Jupiter, the main deity of the ancient Romans.  A black, now headless sphinx sits at the entrance to the temple, one of the two brought from Egypt by the Emperor Diocletian.  View the carvings on the portal and the arched ceiling.  During the Middle Ages the temple was converted into a baptistery.  Below the temple is a crypt dedicated to St. Thomas, once used as a church.   Located in Old Town, Split.

 
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