Croatia Guide, Europe
Dubrovnik Old Town, Croatia guide. Photo by Bracodbk.
Croatia guide: why visit?
Joining the European Union in 2013, Croatia has been independent for only two decades and shares borders with Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro, while facing Italy across the Adriatic Sea.
It has been a low-cost, sun-trap destination for neighbours such as Austria, Italy and Germany for a hundred years with its splendid beaches and sailing along 1, 800 km of dramatic coastline with crystal-clear water, steady winds and endless little undiscovered islands.
Croatia encompasses many national parks with unspoilt lakes and dramatic mountains as well as striking historic towns with a rich cultural heritage such as Dubrovnik, Split, and the new capital of Zagreb, with no shortage of interesting, relaxing, holidays to Croatia!
A small historic city on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula, hosts some of Croatia’s most important religious monuments including the 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica with exquisite mosaics, regarded as one of world finest examples of Byzantine art. The Episcopal complex of the Basilica is a UNESCO’s Heritage site and is in the old part of city.
** Sjeverni Velebit National Park
It contains the largest mountain in the country, Velebit. The park offers several different length of hikes including a thrilling 57 km hike along the Premuzic Trail, with magnificent views of the peaks. The trail was built in the 1930’s and is today regarded as a masterpiece of trail building.
Dalmatia and islands
Dalmatia is a ‘Mediterranean’ type region located on the far south of Croatia. It includes hundreds of Croatian islands as well as the mountains of Velebit, Biokovo and Sveti Ilija on the Peljesac peninsula and mainland cities including Dubrovnik, Split, Trogir, Sibenik and Zadar.
Another fortified city with a 3, 000 year history and many impressive historic buildings is also ideal base for exploring the country’s five national parks; Plitvice Lakes, Paklenica, Kornati, Krka Waterfalls and Northern Velebit, which are no more than one or two hours away by car or boat.
The star sights are pre-Romanesque and Romanesque churches including 9th century, circular St. Donatus, a landmark of the city. Check out the ‘Sound and Light’ show of the Sea Organ art installation which is built into the Riva seafront promenade, especially at sunset. In fact the city was once declared to have the world’s best sunset according to Alfred Hitchcock.
If you would like to see the world’s smallest cathedral, the 9th century Little Church of St. Kriz, is located in the nearby town of Nin.
** Mljet Island and its National Park
The park, covers about 30 sq km of the west side, is an Adriatic jewel with untouched nature, great for outdoor lovers and those looking for peace and quiet. It has two salt lakes, which are actually bays, connected by a channel and surrounded with dense vegetation, an excellent place for a swim after a hike. Saplunara Beach on the southeast end of the island is a delightful.
One and a half hours from Split by train, is not commonly visited but its World Heritage Cathedral of St. Jacob is a good reason to visit, if you like church art. The Cathedral building is in Gothic and Renaissance forms and has distinguished sculptural decoration, including 71 human heads.
Sibenik is also a brilliant base for exploring two excellent national parks, the Krka Waterfalls NP and the Kornati Islands NP – the latter makes a great boat trip.