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1.185 islands in one country no bigger than Austria, imbedded in crystal clear water along a 4.012,4 km coast – that is Croatia!
With nature so beautiful that it has to be preserved in 8 National Parks along the country - one of the park is in the UNESCO World Heritage Endangered list since 1995.
Croatia has a long and moving history, and has been steadily increasing in the radar of tourists. It is valuable for its culture and the many possible activities if offers. The diversity of its cuisine reflects the influence of its surrounding countries and cultures of Hungary, Slowania, Bosien-Herzegovina, Serbia and Italy.
Culture is everywhere and can be especially seen in the big towns like Zagreb or on the island of Rab. It can be found in clothing or in sport and architecture. In many of the churches across the country, you can see the Roman influence that Croatia had in the past, like the wooden doors of Split Cathedral and the stone portal of Trogir Cathedral. Throughout the year, there are many festivals celebrated such as Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day, which is a feast of Croatian freedom (August 5th); Statehood Day on June 25th; and Epiphany on January 6th.
The very first fountain pen, parachutes, the necktie and a couple of Nobel prize winners all originated from Croatia.
Croatia is devided into five regions, and each region has its own food tradition. The northeast region is called Slavonia and has a spicy cuisine with many meat and game dishes reflecting its influence from neighboring Hungary. Next to it is the Hrvatsko Zagorje and Medimurje region, famous for Austrien influenced sweets and dumplings. Home-made cheese and heavy roast dishes is eaten in middle Croatia, which is the complete opposite of its east region neighbor, Istria, that has light food with many herbs and truffle dishes. Istrians' proximity to Italy certainly influenced the food there. Dalmatia is well known for fresh fish and its light, simple Mediterranean cuisine. Along with its culinary delights, Croatia offers some really good wine to pair with your food of choice.
What to do?
Croatia has a long history that can be seen in its architecture such as Trogir with its old city wall or beautiful St. Laurentius Cathedral. If you like to shop, you might find something nice to bring back home in one of the little shops along the narrow alleys. Stop at one of the many ice cream parlors for a shopping break. You might get lucky and stop at the right time to see the ice cream man performing for their guests!
After a long day of exploring, you could have dinner at Konoba Pasike where your food is served by waiters and waitresses wearing the old Trogir clothing while Dalmation life music plays in the background.
But there is more to Croatia than Trogir:
For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, you could find waterfalls with crystal clear water in the national parks: Plitvice lakes (Plitvicka jezera) and Krka.
For more of a nightlife scene, you should go to Novalja (island Pag) to the beach ZRCE, where many different bars, discos and café's await you.
If this doesn’t suit your fancy, here are some additional suggestions:
Whatever you decide, the country at the sea, with beautiful scenery, is waiting for you.
Christina Schulz (Vacation in Croatia)
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