A country in color that fades the blue of the waves, the green of the forests and lakes, the white of Dalmatian cities and the gold of honey, because in the islands Elafiti, those further south, has been produced since the dawn of time. Croatia is a mosaic of emerged lands and possibilities, alternating worldly beaches and nightlife places with fishing villages rich in traditions, it reveals an ideal hinterland for those who want peace and relaxation, combined with the pleasure of walking, trekking and excursions in mountain-bike immersed in the green of its expanses or the Dinaric Alps. And then the sea, another reality of the Adriatic, different from our coast that unfolds in a very long strip of sand between choreographies of sunbeds and umbrellas. Croatia is dotted with an archipelago emerged from the blue, where crescents of sand, ancestral rocks and silent pebble beaches emerge, only in some shorelines does the nightlife roar evoking the rhythm of mass tourism. A constellation of well-connected islands, the major ones served by ferries, the minor ones by small boats. Finally, Croatia is a land of history and culture, authentic traditions and a jewel city with floors like mother-of-pearl and amber-colored buildings.
Istria, Venetian charm
Geographically it is a natural appendix of Italy where the Venetian dialect is still spoken. Istria is the northernmost peninsula of Croatia, a land rich in history where the Venetian heritage and some cameos of antiquity emerge: in the beautiful town of Pula along its coast, there is a Roman amphitheater, a real miniature Colosseum. A borderland that reveals jewel towns, Byzantine basilicas, Venetian architecture and medieval hamlets. Not to be missed Poreč and the Euphrasian Basilica with Byzantine mosaics studded with gems, the charming historic center of Rovinj where is it Casa Batana, the historic fishing museum, and a myriad of small towns that pop up in the very green territory of the peninsula that fades to the blue of the sea. This area of the upper Adriatic is reminiscent of a reality of northern Europe but with crystal clear water and Mediterranean temperatures. Here the beaches are mainly pebbles and rocks, only sporadic beaches of fine sand between the high cliffs, as in the peninsula of Verudela where is the beautiful Hawaii, also known as the “Hawaii beach”, made of pebbles with a gradual entrance to the sea. Another feature of Istrian beaches is that they are bordered by lush pine forests, an extraordinary example is the pebble beach of Rabac, awarded with the prestigious Blue Flag.
Istria is also the charm of authentic traditions, such as those of the town of Umag, renowned for its waterfront restaurants, ideal for enjoying the best Croatian cuisine based on fresh fish and the evocative atmosphere of a dinner overlooking the sea that at night looks like a sky full of fireflies taking off.
The southern part is also known for its pristine environment, above all capo Kamenjak, south of Pula, a nature reserve cloaked in heather, shrubs and wild flowers where enchanting secluded coves reveal themselves. And it is in the southern part of Istria that you are already beginning to dream of the islands, the quintessence of the Croatian sea: the beautiful isole Brijuni, a landing place so loved by Tito, a place where he issued edicts and proclamations, combined with leisure in a paradise with an emerald sea and the land strewn with marine poppies.
Kvarner and northern Dalmatia, where islands emerge
The central part of Croatia is a succession of small rocky outcrops and large populated atolls. Here is the Kvarner region overlooking the gulf of the same name, a tourist destination since the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire: do not miss a walk on the elegant promenade of Opatija or a stop at the castle of River for a dip in history, before setting sail for the islands.
Krk it is the closest and largest in Croatia, connected to the mainland by a toll bridge. The island is among the most popular, ideal for families, especially the southern part where the climate is milder than the northern part, often combed by the strong Bora wind. To the south there is also the splendid beach of Baška suitable for those who practice water sports.
Ideal for families also the island of Rab, especially the northern coast full of pine forests and beaches. There Lopar peninsula it is perfect for those traveling with small children, here the waters are transparent and particularly calm.
To the south is the chameleon Pag, one of the largest in Croatia, which satisfies all kinds of tourists. A karst atoll with Mediterranean features, in some places almost lunar, where flocks of sheep graze among the oleanders in bloom. The island also reveals the more worldly side that consecrates it as one of the places of nightlife and entertainment. In fact, many know it for electronic music festivals with a line up of international DJs, others for cheese since the famous Pag cheese, protagonist of the local cuisine. He returns to the mainland to visit one of the most interesting cities in Dalmatia, Zara, a town with a cosmopolitan atmosphere among Roman ruins, medieval churches and contemporary works: do not miss theMarine organ, the work of Nikola Basic, a real musical instrument played by the waves: the water enters a system of canes and holes drilled on the base of the seafront, producing a hypnotic harmony, a suggestion to be enjoyed at sunset.
Southern Dalmatia, Mediterranean charm
In southern Croatia you can breathe the typically Mediterranean atmosphere, the islands become more barren and the cities are adorned with palm trees, such as the beautiful Split. Split is known for Diocletian’s Palace overlooking the harbor, a Unesco World Heritage Site: not a museum, much less a circumscribed monument, this site is an active part of the city that teems with life. A maze of alleys that wind among the white stone buildings, enclosed by millenary walls.
Diocletian’s palace was built with the white stone of the island of Brac, known as the “white island” and for the enchanting clear beaches that fade into the turquoise of the crystalline sea. Here is one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, Golden War a He was, a tongue of pebbles that stretches out towards the waves like an arrowhead, a wonder of nature that enchants. Bathing havens also on the nearby island of Hvar, the most fragrant of the archipelago as well as the most festive. Land of lavender and of beach party, hymn to Croatian nightlife and summers to drink with plastic straws aboard some yacht or in some exclusive place that characterizes the island. Hvar it is the largest and most luxurious seaside resort in Croatia but behind its own attitude glam, the south coast reveals some small wild coves, to remind you that discretion can be the real privilege. Thus an escape into unspoiled nature on the island of Mljet, the pearl of the Elaphites, the archipelago northwest of Dubrovnik. A dip in a paradise covered with pine forests that are reflected in spectacular salt water lakes with tropical colors, one step away from the sea.