Islands and half-islands
Discover more than a thousand islands and a few peninsulas
Every coast is charming in its own way, but once you experience the beautiful blue Adriatic, you will never want to leave! Small islands, interesting peninsulas, uninhabited isles and heart shaped islets, hidden coves and even more hidden vineyards in stunning bays will thrill you almost as much as the fantastic people who have chosen to build their lives in this at times cruel but always breathtaking beauty, far away from the mainland.
In northern Adriatic lies the mystical peninsula rich with history where everybody who was anybody in history spent their summers: ancient Romans, noble Austrians, well-to-do Italians, Hungarians, Russians and, of course, the British. Today it is eagerly visited by tourists from all over the world. An exquisite cuisine that is an unusual mix of Italian, Austro-Hungarian and Croatian influences, the famed truffles and the world renown Istrian Malvasia, one of the best preserved amphitheaters outside of Italy, picturesque little towns on hilltops and a long tradition of tourism are what guarantees an excellent vacation in Istria, the biggest Croatian peninsula.
Just below Istria you will find the most densely inhabited Croatian island which was also thought to be the largest one. However, at the end of the 20th century the title of the largest island was claimed by the neighboring Cres. But nothing can take away the fact that the gorgeous Krk, inhabited since the ancient Greeks built colonies on it, is the birthplace of Croatian kings, as well as home to the first Croatian written monuments.
Young people all over the world know this island as the one where there the best beach parties in Europe take place. Slightly older people know it as the incredible Adriatic island that looks so much like the Moon, a barren landscape caused by wind exposure. Yet it is anything but barren. Tourists adore its excellent camps and clean sandy beaches, while locals have an unholy love for its food: Pag is where the legendary lamb comes from as well as the phenomenal Pag cheese.
The aromatic south-dalmatian island might be the tallest of them all in the Adriatic due to its Vidova gora mountain (778 m), but the world knows it and adores it for the incredibly beautiful beach of Zlatni rat, whose fickle tip changes which ever way the wind blows. On Brač you can visit the Dragon's Cave or the Blace Hermitage with a rich old library and an ancient observatory, but nothing will take your breath away as much as the stunning beauty of its nature.
Right next to Brač is the island the put Croatia onto the map of contemporary jetsetters. But such esteemed guests are hardly the first ones there. Back in 1612 Hvar was the place where the first public theatre in Europe was founded and during the 20th century, the small archipelago of islets off its northern tip, Pakleni otoci, became a very popular destination for the rich and famous.
The westernmost inhabited Croatian island is famous not only for its unspoilt nature, beautiful coves, excellent fish restaurants and the local delicacy called komiška pogača, but also because of its 50 years long ban on tourism. Under Yugoslavia, there was a heavy military presence on the island and tourists were not allowed whatsoever due to strategic reasons. Today it still inspires awe as the home of the falkuša, the sailboat that the people of Vis claim their ancestors used to sail all the way to the Americas before anyone else.
In the south of Croatia, surrounded by sea and history, lies the second largest Croatian peninsula. It is here that you will find the famous Ston Saltworks. Among the karst fields and on the slopes of its numerous hills, there are olive groves and vineyards which yield some of the best Croatian wines, such as dingač and postup. Above the town of Orebić the biggest cypress forest in Croatia thrives, and the wild orchids growing here cannot be found elsewhere. You will forget all your troubles when you eat the local clams from the Malostonski bay, chief among them the world famous Ston oysters.
The most inhabited island of southern Adriatic will surprise the island-hopping visitors with its combination of urban architecture and well-preserved nature. Beautiful beaches that are not always easy to reach, young people who practice moreška, traditional war-dancing with real swords enacting legends from bygone times of Turkish threat and excellent wines will enchant all who come to Korčula.
The diversity of Croatia has always delighted visitors and the same can be said of its tourist offers. Still, some of her jewels remain hidden even today, quite undeservedly so. Scattered all over the country, they are worth every minute and every effort spent in discovering them.
One thing rarely crosses our minds when picking a vacation destination and yet we do think of it quite often while decorating our homes – the importance and influence of colors. Blue does not do for the living room or study, calming though it is, since it induces depression and exudes cold. On the other hand, green is the current queen of interior design: it relaxes the body, diminishes stress and improves vision. However important our living environment may be, the best way to get exposed to colors is in nature. Because nothing calms the soul like a body in movement surrounded by the beautiful shades nature creates
Croatia is most often referred to as the country with a thousand islands, but in this small country for a big vacation, there are over a thousand castles, palaces and forts as well. Some are home to museums, some to hotels, and in some people still live, be they in private hands or just happen to have towns grown around them.
Croatia is a small country extremely rich in history. Since the seventh century, when Croats are supposed to have arrived to this territory, countless armies have marched through it, antique empires built their strongholds in it, but we stubbornly kept claiming what we considered ours. The cultural diversity of all these centuries has become an integral part of our identity.
Wherever you might find yourself in Croatia, you are likely to stumble upon fragments of history: Zagorje and Slavonija are full of burgs, forts, castles, but also prehistoric archaeological sites, while Dalmatia and Istria are brimming with traces of antiquity, Byzantium, medieval times and the Renaissance carved into stone. Tribes, nations and rulers have succeeded each other with a higher frequency than anywhere else, as can be seen in the recent turbulent history of the region.
The "small country for a big vacation" is filled with picturesque and unusual little towns in which big things happen! Each one has its own story and personality that makes it worth taking the time to both find it and find out all about it.
Every country has its charms, but some places are truly special; whether they are the result of natural processes, remains of ancient civilizations, or cities with ancient histories that still overflow with life. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, better known as UNESCO, has formed a World Heritage List of sites that serves to protect these magnificent localities, whether they belong to natural or cultural heritage, or sometimes both. In Croatia, seven sites have been inscribed on the List in the last 36 years, while 15 more have been nominated.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, goes the ancient proverb. It is the best advice any traveler ever got. Go local and do everything locals do in order to live the country you are visiting!