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About Croatia

The Republic of Croatia is a European country situated along the Adriatic Sea and its hinterland. It stretches from the slopes of the Alps and deep into the Pannonian Valley to the banks of the Danube and Drava rivers.

Thus according to its natural characteristics, as well as its cultural and historical development, Croatia can be divided into three geographically distinct zones:

the Coastal region
the Mountain region
the Pannonian region

Like many countries in Western Europe, Croatia was founded on the ruins of the Roman Empire. When they arrived in the territory of present-day Croatia, the Croats were politicaly organized in principalities. In 925, Croatian King Tomislav united the principalities, establishing the first Croatian state. Later, Croatia retained its legal status and autonomy within the framework of the Hungarian empire, and the Habsburg Monarchy.

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Tourism

In Croatia, where the Mediterranean, the mountains and the Pannonian plains come together in a unique harmony of natural beauty, within just a little more than a hundred kilometres, you can come across excitingly different landscapes.

The Adriatic, with one of the most indented coastlines in Europe with its 1,185 islands and islets, of which only 66 are inhabited, is undoubtedly the most popular tourist destination. Continental Croatia, however, also abounds in beauty: it is a land of forests, rivers rich in fish, swift mountain streams and deep gorges of Gorski Kotar, and the magnificent Plitvice Lakes in Lika. It is a land of golden wheat fields, oak woods and wide rivers of Slavonia and Baranja, a land of quaint little villages, romantic castles and manors, and picturesque rolling hills and vineyards of the Croatian Zagorje.

The most popular possibilities for travel and tourism, of course, is summer tourism. You can also enjoy the benefits of rural tourism in many of the villages in the continental region of Croatia, as well as of health tourism in a number of spas and thermal and mineral springs, such as Varazdinske, Tuheljske, Stubicke and Krapinske spas, Lipik, Daruvar or Topusko in the continental region, and along the coast : Losinj, Umag, Opatija, Crikvenica, Hvar, Makarska, Vela Luka and Istarske Spa in Istria.

If you are a gourmet and a connoisseur of fine food, or simply like tasty and healthy food, you will certainly more than enjoy Croatia. Another attraction certainly worth exploring are Croatia's wine cellars. Red wines are best along the coast - Teran, Cabernet and Merlot in Istria and Opolo, Plavac, Dingac and Postup in Dalmatia. In the coastal area, some quality white wines are also produced, such as Pinot, Malvazija, Kujundzusa and White Muskat, while continental Croatia produces Traminac, Burgundac, Graševina and Kraljevina.

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Popular destinations

Zagreb is a vivacious new European metropolis that has well preserved its Central European charm, the capital city of Croatia and the country's political, economic, intellectual and cultural centre.

Istria is the most developed Croatian tourist region, closest and most easily accessible from Western Europe, whose landscape can be compared to that of Tuscany or Provence. The first know inhabitants of Istria were the Histri, from whom Istria received its name. Numerous peoples and cultures, from Romantimes to today, have left evidence of their cultures in the architecture, wall painting and in the rich church architecture. Vineyards and picturesque little towns are scattered all over the interior of the peninsula.

Porec - is probably the most visited resort in Istria, known for its hotel settlements, the Blue and the Green Lagoons, and the islet of St. Nicolas in the vicinity. A Roman colony since the 2nd century BC, Porec is a town with a preserved Roman urban pattern and numerous unique Ancient Roman, early and late medieval buildings, the most outstanding being Euphrasius' Basilica built in the 6th century on the site of an earlier basilica from the 4th century and of the even earlier Mauro's oratorium, of which floor mosaics have been preserved.

Rovinj - is also a famous resort, with many historical sacral buildings and Renaissance and Baroque palaces. The old nucleus is situated on a peninsula, previously an island connected to the shore in 1763.

The Brijuni Archipelago consists of two large and twelve smaller islands off the west coast of Istria. The archipelago is one of the seven National Parks of Croatia, abounding in rare plant and animal species, including a zoo park with animals from other climate zones. Some extraordinary examples of Roman and Byzantine heritage can be found on the islands.

Pula is an ancient city on the southern tip of Istria, known for its 2,000 year old amphitheatre, one of the world's best preserved buildings of the kind, and other cultural monuments. . Pula, the largest city and port in Istria, a communication economic and administrative center, is an attractive place to spend a holiday for many tourists, with some 2,350 hours of sunshine a year.

Kvarner adjoining Istria, has several popular resorts, from the celebrated tourist centre Opatija to Kraljevica and Crikvenica. The area is frequented by tourists in winter as well, due to its mild climate and easy accessibility. The carnival season, from January until March, is particularly interesting. Tourists who want to experience nature, certainly must visit the islands, with their well preserved flora and fauna.

Opatija is one of the most popular resorts on the Adriatic. It used to be a favourite winter resort of the Central European elite and aristocracy, known for its well-tended parks, small botanical gardens, numerous cosy restaurants and elegant turn of the century as well as modern hotels.

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Further down south, Dalmatia, is the apogee of the Mediterranean, bursting with colours, fragrances and shapes, unforgettable in the intensity of the experience of nature. It is a region of long beaches, pine woods and the ancient towns of Zadar, Sibenik, Split, Trogir, Omis and Dubrovnik, that testify to the rich cultural and historical heritage of Croatia. The islands of Hvar, Brac, Solta, Korcula, Vis, Mljet and others, although equally enchanting, are all unique in their character. Dalmatia is also known for its good wines and friendly people.

Split is the second largest city in Croatia, and the regional capital of Dalmatia, built inside and around the historical Diocletian's Palace from the third century, included in the UNESCO world heritage list. The people of Split, who are particularly attached to their city and the hill called Marjan overlooking it, will proudly boast that there is no other place in the world like Split.

Dubrovnik, a medieval aristocratic republic from the 12th-19th centuries and the best preserved walled city in the Mediterranean, is one of Croatia's main tourist attractions and one of only three European cities ranked as a World Heritage Site of zero category by UNESCO, which the English poet Lord Byron named the "pearl of the Adriatic". The enchanting landscape, including the nearby islands, the beeches, the numberless historical sites, the colours, the shapes, the scents, the warmth of the climate and people... will all provide for an unforgettable experience.

There are manny beautiful islands in Croatia, like Korcula, the birthplace of Marco Polo, Hvar, Brac, which has one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean - Zlatni rat - which is also a windsurfing paradise. The island of Mljet which is situated between the island of Korcula and Dubrovnik. The most visited island is Krk, but in the Kvarner there are also Cres, Losinj, Rab, Pag... To mention only most famous.

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National parks

In Croatia there are seven National parks, here are links to some of them: The mountain of Risnjak is is a national park, situated relatively close to the coast, in the region of Gorski Kotar. The Plitvice Lakes are situated in the continental region of Lika, half way between Zagreb and Sibenik. The beauty of the virgin nature and the abundance of animal and plant life, were the reasons why the area was designated a national park in 1949 and why UNESCO put Plitvice lakes on its list of world natural heritage in 1979. The Paklenica Canyon, located in the vicinity of Zadar, is also protected as a national park. Its two 400 m deep gorges rank among the most impressive erosion formations in Europe. Paklenica is also noted for its flora and fauna. The Krka River, probably the most wonderful of all the rivers in the Croatian karst, is also a national park. The river runs through a canyon, and then as it cuts its way to the sea, it forms lakes, waterfalls and rapids.

For more information on tourism visit Croatian National Tourist Board - Hrvatska turisticka zajednica page.

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Conclusion

We invite you to discover and enjoy the beauties of Croatia, its mild climate, the crystal clean, warm sea water, beautiful beaches, virgin nature, combined with rich history and cultural heritage, delicious cuisine and good wines, an above all, warm and friendly people.

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