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Croatia

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After more than a decade of civil and ethnic unrest, Croatia has emerged triumphantly as an attractive and stable tourist destination. With its magnificent coastline boasting 1,185 islands, islets and reefs, and countryside scattered with Roman ruins and picturesque medieval villages, Croatia is fast becoming a rival to the magical Greek islands in luring lovers of fun, sun, local colour, great food and history.

The most prominent feature of Croatia’s tourist industry is its Dalmatian coastline, which is indented with rocky cliffs, peninsulas and small inlets. Numerous good quality hotels and marinas have been resurrected or constructed in the past few years, and the Croatian province is once again beginning to enjoy a tourist boom reminiscent of its heyday in the 1930s, becoming ever more popular as a cruise destination. There is a special atmosphere in Croatian towns and villages, many of which were built on the sites of ancient Greek settlements dating from the 4th century BC. This, coupled with a welcoming and determined population, Mediterranean climate, scenic beauty and lush vegetation, is aiding Croatia’s transformation from war-torn territory into one of the world’s best tourist hotspots.

Dalmation Coast

The Dalmatian Coast is currently reaping the touristic rewards of being both an increasingly trendy riviera getaway and a laid-back, comparatively undiscovered gem, without the glitzy resorts and teeming crowds that have marred other once-delightful cruise destinations. The most prominent feature of Croatia’s tourist industry is its Dalmatian coastline, which is indented with rocky cliffs, peninsulas and small inlets. Numerous good quality hotels and marinas have been resurrected or constructed in the past few years, and the Croatian province is once again beginning to enjoy a tourist boom reminiscent of its heyday in the 1930s, becoming ever more popular as a cruise destination. There is a special atmosphere in Croatian towns and villages, many of which were built on the sites of ancient Greek settlements dating from the 4th century BC. This, coupled with a welcoming and determined population, Mediterranean climate, scenic beauty and lush vegetation, is aiding Croatia’s transformation from war-torn territory into one of the world’s best tourist hotspots.

Dubrovnik

For centuries it has drawn those seeking fine accommodations, excellent cuisine, beautiful surroundings and recreational opportunities. George Bernard Shaw is quoted as describing Dubrovnik as ‘heaven on earth’. Once an off-the-beaten-track destination, since regaining political peace Dubrovnik has become a booming tourist hub.

The centre of the old town is the Stradun, its main street, which was originally a channel separating an island from the mainland, and was filled in to join two towns into the merged city of Dubrovnik. There are numerous churches, monasteries and museums to explore; the old town boasts plenty of restaurants, bars and shops; and the coastal belt is awash with pretty marinas, coves and promenades. Most of the hotels and the best beaches are located northwest of the old town, at Lapad, or in Ploce to the northeast.

Split

The pretty city of Split has a rich history that sits mainly on a peninsula on the eastern part of the island of Ciovo, although it has nowadays spread onto the mainland and encompasses the mouth of the River Cetina.

Split is also world renowned among seafarers for the quality, and quantity, of its marinas. There are 44 of them in the city area altogether, drawing yachts and catamarans from all over Europe and making it a great cruising destination in the Adriatic.

Zagreb

Zagreb, capital of Croatia, is the country’s economic centre and the gateway to Western Europe. The city is situated on the slopes of Medvednica Mountain, along the banks of the Sava River, in the northern part of Croatia.

The core of Zagreb consists of the Gornji grad (Upper Town) and Donji grad (Lower Town). The Upper Town is home to the well-preserved medieval city, known as Gradec and Kaptol, while the residential area covers the southern slopes of the Medvednica Mountains. Since the 1950s the city has grown appreciably to the south of the Sava River, and the main industrial area is in the southeast.

Besides being a commercial hub Zagreb is a tourist centre, and a popular international conference venue, with a history dating back nearly a thousand years. It is rich in historical monuments, museums and galleries, has modern shops, restaurants, sport and recreation facilities, and a good transport infrastructure. Its attractions are largely historical, ranging from the Palaeolithic Veternica Cave, through the vestiges of Roman culture, to the fascinating medieval old town.

Zagreb is well-situated to explore the picturesque medieval towns of northern Croatia, including Samobor, Vrbovec, and Karlovac. There are also nearby hiking opportunities on Medvednica Mountain, which casts its 3,280 foot (1,000m) shadow over the city.