Location: Southeastern Europe
Language(s): English, Croatian
Total Area: 56542 km2
Croatia first became part of the old Yugoslavia under the popular socialist leader Tito. His death coincided with some of the most difficult events in their recent history, culminating in a war with Serbia, just after their independence in 1991. Croatia has since shown they are keen to become part of Western Europe, reluctantly putting their war criminals on trial and becoming increasingly open to tourists. Very soon they hope to become part of the European Union.
The Croatians are a fiercely proud people, always distinguishing themselves from their neighbors and fellow ex-Yugoslavians Serbia and Bosnia. If you ask most Croatians they state that unlike them, they are from Western Europe with Western European sensibilities. From their view, they are most certainly not part of Eastern Europe, willing to argue the point to the death. In recent years, their pride has transferred to the sporting and celebrity arenas. Tennis players such as Groan Ivanisevic and Marin Cilic are both hugely popular and hugely successful.
Croatia is one of the leading proponents of slow food- a movement that is the opposite of fast food- using fresh local ingredients. A man called Kukrika first introduced it to the country and his restaurant in Rijeka not only remains popular, but also sticks to its original philosophy. The bread and food are homemade, all the herbs are picked from the restaurant garden and the owner and the chef create a new menu each day depending on what the marketers are selling on their stalls. It is a leading example of what is becoming one of the main reasons the country is becoming so popular with tourists.
Croatia owns over 1244 islands, some inhabited, but others like Hvar and Brac, thriving with life. The most popular is Hvar. Though the island is tiny, the gothic town center hosts parties well into the night and it is not uncommon to see celebrities, walking around, arm and arm. What makes it so attractive, apart from the backdrop of gothic palaces, is marble, traffic free streets. Everything is concentrated purely on the 30,000 partygoers that visit daily. The island of Vis is a more remote location with great beaches and a seaside town atmosphere.
The Croatian Coast is known as one of the most beautiful coasts in Europe, and for good reason. The variety is incredible. Places like Dubrovnik and Hvar are purely party places while some are lovely, eccentric fishing villages that uphold all the old Croatian traditions. Perhaps the most popular tourist attraction, particularly in the summer months, is Zlatni Rat beach. Its waves attract both surfers and wind surfers. If you don’t like crowds however, you can take in the scenery cruise down the waters in a ferry, a glass of wine and plate of food in front of you. Surely, the best way to experience this is to pay a well-planned visit. You will surely not have any regrets taking your time to plan the trip!
Story By World By Shotglass
©2011 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to our contributors:
Simon Arms (Berlin, Germany) for story editing