Croatia was first inhabited during the prehistoric age by Neanderthals, as evident by fossils discovered in the northern reaches of the country. Exceptionally rich in natural beauty and well-preserved cultural heritage, 1185 islands make Croatian coast unforgettable.
Take a ride by bike on the trails where, long ago, Roman legions walked, plunge into the sea depths and enjoy the pristine underwater world. If the freshness of the clean air and cold spring waters tire you, clear your mind while enjoying the benefits of thermal waters. The country is renowned for its limpid waters and picture-perfect scenery.
The country’s capital, Zagreb, is truly Central European. Everything from the architecture to the hearty cuisine reflects the region’s centuries-old ties with Austro-Hungary and the city also makes a good base for visiting the historic castles and vineyards of Zagorje.
Croatia is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, has a glut of world-class museums and plays host to dozens of festivals. The largest city on the Adriatic Coast, seaside delight Split has been under Roman, Venetian, Austrian, French, Italian and Yugoslav control.
There is an abundance of restaurants and wine cellars. Sites such as Diocletian’s Palace and Mausoleum, the Grgur Ninski Statue and the Cathedral and Bell Tower of St. Domnius justify its position as a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.
Zagreb got its start as two medieval fortress towns atop hills overlooking the Sava River, and was reborn in the Baroque period as center of business, perfectly located on routes connecting Central Europe to the Adriatic Sea.
These days, Zagreb is the heart of contemporary Croatia’s culture, art, sports, and academics, but its history is not forgotten. The unique blend of medieval towers, 19th century palaces, open-air markets, and ancient cathedrals, make Zagreb the perfect city to explore.
Croatia has long grappled with invading forces and external governments: Hungarian, Habsburg, Ottoman, Venetian, Serbian and Yugoslav. The country only just gained independence in 1991, and immediately thereafter was thrust into the devastating Bosnian War of the early ’90s. Now, Croatians are truly free, with a well-deserved sense of national pride. Therefore, steer clear of calling them Yugoslav.