Croatia is located in the Balkan Peninsula and extends along a major portion of the Eastern Adriatic coast. It is a country steeped in history, from the earlier Greek and Roman occupations through a tumultuous Medieval period, and more recently as part of the Ottoman and then Austro Hungarian Empires. It was a province of Yugoslavia from 1918 till 1991, when it became an independent Republic. Croatia joined the E.U. in 2013.
Its Dalmatian Coastline is speckled with more than 1200 islands. It offers visitors a dry and sunny climate, and wonderful coastal and mountain scenery. It is also one of the 20 top tourist attractions in the world, and as such can be very busy during the summer months. Spring and fall are the best times to visit.
Zadar is among the less crowded cities of the coast. It offers examples of Roman history with its antique ruins and interesting churches such as 9th century Byzantine St Donatus and 12th century St Anastasia Cathedral. The sea organ (2005) is a unique experimental large musical instrument where the waves and the winds create some harmonic sounds.
Trogir has Greek origins and the streets still follow the classic design from Antiquity; 13th century Cathedral St Lawrence and the Chapel of the Blessed John of Trogir are the main attractions.
Split is the largest city of the Dalmatian Coast and the 2nd largest city in Croatia (after the capital Zagreb) with 300,000 inhabitants. Founded by the Greeks in the 2nd century BC, it is now one of the three Unesco World Heritage Sites in Croatia, along with Dubrovnik and Plitvice Lakes National Park. The city keeps many imprints of its Roman, Byzantine and Venitian origins. Diocletian’s Palace, built by the Roman Emperor in the 4th century AD, occupies about 50% of today’s old town and was in essence a small citadel that included within it walls over 200 buildings. It also used to house a full military garrison. Most of the surviving structures are now used as shops, restaurants, and bars, and a population of a few thousand people still live within the old footprint of the Palace. Split also offers some beautiful beaches along the adjoining coast.
Dubrovnik: Known as the Pearl of the Adriatic with the old town packed within the walls of the city, it is surrounded by high, thick remparts which provide great vantage points from which to view both the city within, and the surrounding breakwaters of the Adriatic. Walking along the spectacular city walls, or strolling through the narrow marble streets among the Venitian buildings, Dubrovnik is surely one of the most beautiful towns in the world. Stairs, towers, forts, palaces are there in abundance. The most dramatic views can be had by taking the telepheric to the adjoining hilltop, which looks directly down over the terracotta tiled rooftops of Dubrovnik old town and the nearby island of Lokrum.
The nearby islands are numerous as we count 1244 of them. Some are not inhabited but they often hide quiet coves and secluded beaches which are well appreciated by visitors in their yachts and sailboats. Among the most visited are Brijuni, Krnati, Mijet, Lokrum, Hvar and Korcula planted with vineyards and olive trees.
Plitvice Lakes National Parks is the highlight of the Croatian hinterland. The numerous forested hills and turquoise water lakes are beautiful. Many waterfalls of crystalline water also enhance the landscape. Buses and boats will take you through the park. Spring with high volumes of water and Fall with the autumn colors are the best time to visit.
Zagreb the capital has become in recent years a center of attraction where you can enjoy the usual pleasures of most capital cities with cultural events, art galleries, concerts, theatre, museums, and nice cafes and restaurants. Zagreb Cathedral, the Botanical Gardens, Mirogoj Cemetery and St Mark Church are among the most interesting sights in the capital.