Croatia’s rich cultural heritage, combined with its magnificent natural beauties, make it a tempting proposition. Its location, situated between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, provides visitors with the opportunity to ski in the winter and take the plunge with watersports in the summer.
There are seven national parks in Croatia; three being in the mountainous regions and four in the coastal regions. The country is home to a large number of settlements, many of which date back to Roman and medieval times. The Croatian Adriatic coast, with more than 1,000 islands, islets and reefs makes it a most impressive coastline.
Population: 4.5 million
People: Croat, Serb, others including Bosniak, Hungarian, Slovene, Czech, and Roma
Languages: Croatian, Italian, Hungarian, Slovenian, Serbian
Religion: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Islam
Government: presidential/parliamentary democracy
Dubrovnik is well worth a visit, with highlights including the Onofrio Fountain, built in 1438, the Franciscan Monastery, the Orlando Column and the baroque church of St. Blaise. In the old port town are the city walls; built between the 13th and the 16th centuries, which encircle the city and have been remarkably well preserved.
One of the most important sites is Diocletian’s palace, built at the end of the 3rd century AD. This palace is the heart of the inner-city of Split where all the most important historical buildings can be found. Within the palace is a square housing an ethnographic museum and nearby is a city museum. Other museums include the Maritime Museum, the Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments and the Museum of Croatia.
The capital is a city of green parks and walks, with many places to visit in beautiful surroundings. The Austro-Hungarian architecture in the town centre, houses newly opened boutiques displaying the latest fashions from France and Italy.
One of the main sights in the town is the Franciscan monastery, built in 1614. The basement houses a Malacological museum which apparently has the largest collection of snails, shells and mussels in the world. Fossils from the region are also on display.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
The Plitvice Lakes National Park, was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979. The beauty of the 300 sq km park lies in its 16 lakes, inter-connected by a series of waterfalls and set in dense woodland. The Park is open daily all year round with numerous trails on which to walk and hike as well as boat and shuttle bus services.
The ruins of the ancient city of Salona (now known as Solin), are considered an important archaeological site. Salona was the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia from the time of Julius Caesar until AD 614, when it fell to the barbarians.
Best time to go
Busiest time is July and August, so are best avoided to miss the crowds. May and September are good months for visiting for cheapest prices and least crowds, whilst still having reasonable weather. There are also great skiing opportunities in the winter months.