Croatia's long coastline is sprinkled with secluded bays and hundreds of islands and isles, while the sea is astonishingly clear, making it suitable for swimming, snorkelling and diving, and one of the best ways to explore is by boat. Not only does it have a rich history, there is an abundance of outstanding beauty too - from the blue waters of Adriatic, fringed by pine forests, to impressively well-preserved architecture. Although it is well-geared to tourism, Croatia is one of the more unspoilt destinations in the Mediterranean, making up for its lack of sandy beaches with stunning resorts and a glorious climate. Explore best of Croatia with our travel guide providing best places to visit, things to do, hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants and more.
Croatia, formerly part of Yugoslavia until the 1990s wars, has 1800 kilometers of coastline along the shimmering blue Adriatic Sea. The coastline itself is made up of either rocky coves or beaches backed by deep green conifer forests. Tiny fishing villages also dot the coastline, villages where fishermen for centuries have been getting out before sunrise looking for the day's catch. Yachts are often seen cruising up the coastline, usually pulling into at least a few of the country's 1185 islands, and of course all cruise ships make a call at Dubrovnik. Ancient ruins and lively modern cities can be found in Dalmatia. As for the interior of Croatia, there are thermal hot springs in Istria, ancient untouched pine forests in the western mountains, and waterfalls in Plitvice. As for the people, this is a culture that has undergone Roman domination, followed by Venetian, then Italian, followed by Austro-Hungarian, making for an eclectic culture of vastly varying and far ranging influences. Zagreb contains baroque architecture influenced by central Europe, while Italian influence is felt along the coast and in the food. Croatian holidays have a strong Slavic flavor as dancers in brightly-colored costumes perform folk dances in the streets as people clap and sing along.
The people have always felt a strong nationalist pride that dates back centuries and they're especially proud of their coastline. Now, with independence and developers from outside trying to cash in on their largely unspoiled coastline, the people are fiercely committed to conserving their treasured coast. So far, they've been successful.
With all the beauty of the coast, visitors often forget to explore inland. Zagreb is an intriguingly spectacular city with mixes of both the West and East evident everywhere you turn. This is the cultural capital of the country as well as its economic and political one. The city pulses with activity and nightlife yet manages to retain its Old World charm. As in other parts of the Balkan peninsular taken over by the Austro-Hungarians, its architecture is largely elegant, white and large, now housing fashionable restaurants, cafes, shops, museums and galleries. An emerging art scene thrives in the city — as it was so long suppressed under the communists — and art is a source of great pride here as local artists are showcased in galleries throughout the city. Musicians also make their mark and it's entirely possible to spend the night going from one bar to the next hearing local bands. A beautiful park divides the town in two and the park, even in winter, is never empty of locals and tourists alike. Outdoor cafes are always bustling and busy. Truly, this is a city that should not be overlooked even if you are a beach bum.
Travel from Venice to Croatia is made easy by ferries and trains. Croatia bus travel is also well organized, and easy and inexpensive way to get around the country. Croatia's neighbors are Hungary, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia and Serbia.