Croatia: The sun-kissed country at the crossroads of Europe

Croatia, a country known for its stunning beaches and over 1000 islands, is a top destination for nautical tourism. This diverse country is home to the largest boat charter fleet worldwide. It lies at the crossroads between central and southeast Europe, on the Adriatic Sea.

You don’t have to worry if your seasickness strikes, because there is something for everyone here in the Balkans.

How can I get to the Peljesac Peninsula?

Dubrovnik’s cobbled streets, which are jam-packed with Game of Thrones enthusiasts (the city was a crucial location in the series), can be explored by those who live an hour away to discover Croatia’s peaceful side.

The Peljesac peninsula is 65km long and is the second largest in Croatia. It’s located just 87km north from Dubrovnik, and 144km South of Split. This popular spot is great for long weekend getaways.

Kristjan Stanicic, Director of Croatia National Tourist Board, said that the peninsula would soon be connected to the rest of Croatia by the Peljesac Bridge. This is “big news for anyone who wants to explore the larger Dubrovnik–Neretva County.”

ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP

Travellers will not have to spend time crossing the border at Neum in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s coastal strip, Neum, to get to the Peljesac bridge when the first vehicles cross it in spring 2022.

What are my options in Ston?

The 5.5km-long defensive walls will be the first thing you see when you arrive via the Adriatic coast road to Dubrovnik. They run along the steep slopes connecting Ston to Mali Ston, which are two fortified medieval villages on the isthmus (a narrow strip of land).

The 1333-built Ston Wall is believed to be Europe’s longest and best preserved medieval stone fortification system. It also happens to be one of the longest such walls anywhere in the world.

It is also home to the Ston Wall marathon, which takes place every September. Ston’s salt works are well worth a visit. They are the oldest salt harvesting site on the Mediterranean. Ston’s famed mussels and oysters can be enjoyed by foodies right from their beds at Mali Ston Bay.

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Where can I find Croatian wine?

Croatia’s most renowned wine region is located on the peninsula. Trstenik’s colourful harbour is home to Grgic Vina. This winery was established by Miljenko Grgich, a legendary Napa Valley winemaker.

Mike was best known for his winning Chardonnay at 1976’s Paris Tasting, which was the first major triumph of Californian wines in Europe. Mike noticed a resemblance in 1958 between the Napa Valley Zinfandel grapes and Croatia’s Plavac Mali.

35 years later, he planted Plavac Mali, which means “little blue” and was grown in a small area of steep vineyards at the southern slopes of the peninsula. It is perched high above the Adriatic Sea.

What’s the food like in Neretva

The Neretva is Croatia’s largest agricultural region and is also known as the home of mandarines. Kristjan Stanicic explains that this part of Croatia lies between the sea and the land. “This region is the link between green and blue.”

Many Neretva Delta restaurants specialize in serving frogs caught from nearby swamps and rivers. Frog and eelbrudet is a special dish that features a rich and chunky stew with hot peppers and bay leaves.

Kitesurfing is also very popular at the Neretva River mouth. It is known for its beautiful beaches, shallow sea and steady, reliable thermal winds in the summer months.

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What is the best place to sail in Croatia?

Kristjan Stanicic suggests that you “truly experience Croatia” by sailing along Adriatic, stopping at several of the coastal cities and docking at some islands.

“It’s the best method to see Croatia from Spring through Fall – cities like Dubrovnik and Split, Zadar, Rijeka, Zadar, Zadar, and Zadar are great places to start. You can rent a car to explore the Istria and Dalmatia regions if you are a land-lover.

Where are the best places for Croatian food?

Croatia has 78 Michelin-starred restaurants. Stanicic says that this is a large number for such a small country.

He adds that truffles can be found on the Istrian Peninsula, as well as “the finest olive oils in the entire world” and excellent white wines (mostly Malvazija).

Dalmatia is home to some of the best red wines. You can find budget-friendly restaurants that offer traditional, regional cuisine as well as fine dining. They are called Konoba (tavern). If you live near the ocean, seafood is included. If you are in continental areas, meats are also included.

Croatia: Where to stay for a quick break

Stanicic suggests that Zagreb and any other coastal cities are worth a trip for a unique Christmas experience.

Split, the Dalmatian islands Hvar, Brac and Vis are always the top choices for visitors.

Try Zadar, Pula, Rijeka, and Zagreb for something different.

Where can I see animals from Croatia?

Croatia offers 12 Nature Parks and eight National Parks to nature-lovers.

Plitvice lakes National Park is located in central Croatia. It has been UNESCO-recognized. It is located in a forest reserve and consists of a series of 16 lakes that are connected by waterfalls.

Some of the finest examples of Croatia’s ancient flora can be found in the Nature Park Kopacki Rit and Nature Park Papuk.

Lika and Gorski Kotar are also great places to view the wolf, lynx, and otter in their natural habitats.

Croatia also houses some of the most rare bird species in the world such as the golden eagle, griffon vulture and long-eared Owl. Many shorebirds as well as migratory birds make stops in Croatia while on their way to Africa.

You have the unique chance to view the birds in their natural habitat by visiting the protected swamplands of Nin, Nijemci, or Nature park Vrana

2021 saw the naming a new park, Dinara Nature Park.

Which is the best season to visit Croatia?

Croatia is most well-known as a sun- and seaside destination. However, if you visit in April or October, you will be able to enjoy some of the most popular destinations such as Dubrovnik with fewer people.

You can visit Croatia’s capital, as well as other cities such Split, all year. From there, you can also explore the rest of the country by vehicle, even in winter.

Croatia: Where to Stay

The Hilton Rijeka Costabella Beach Resort & Spa is a 5-star luxury resort in Rijeka.

You can also try Villa Nai on Dugi Otok (Long Island) if you are looking for sustainable luxury.

The new Aquapark Shhhuma is a great place for families to explore, and it’s located in the Nature Park Papuk.

What are the restrictions on travel to Croatia?

The Croatia National Tourist Board website contains current guidelines for Croatia. The campaign “Safe Stay in Croatia” has a national safety label. It was launched this spring.