Article sponsored by OT Croatia
Of course there is the sea, the islands, the delicious atmosphere of the small Dalmatian ports and the beaches bathed in turquoise blue water. But Croatia is not only that, far from it. Along the coast as well as inland or even in the hinterland of the Danube you will discover all the authenticity of a land which is a melting pot of history.
On the blue wire of Krka
Krka (pronounced Keurka) connects the mountain with the Adriatic Sea and is a mythical river in Croatia for its exceptional blues. It rises in the Dalmatian hinterland, at the foot of the Dinaric Alps, just before the town of Knin, to reach the outskirts of the coastal town of Šibenik, 73 km downstream. This waterway is characterized by seven large waterfalls and is a series of wonders. Like the well-known Plitvice Lakes, a little further north, the river, protected by the Krka National Park, hypnotizes the visitor with its colors. In summer, many visitors settle for the nearest part of the coast, around the adorable little port of Skradin and the self-named waterfalls, Skradinski Buk. The place is really sublime with its spectacular waterfalls, but the good plan is to explore the surroundings of Krka by going up towards Knin. In the latter, do not miss the fortress, one of the largest in Europe. From there, head down to Drniš, which has preserved very beautiful relics from the Turkish period. It is also an ideal starting point for walking routes. Fabulous route, especially between Roski Slap Waterfall and Lake Visovac, where a great moment awaits you. You can actually take a boat from the national park to get to the small island located in the center of the lake. There has been a Franciscan monastery there since the 15th century, where three monks still live. Recommended stopover in Šibenik. At the water’s edge, protected by a rocky bay, the town has a lot of charm, with its alleys all in stairs, its castle offering stunning views of the coast, but above all the very famous Saint Jacques Cathedral, built as a UNESCO heritage .
Zadar Municipality deserves much more than a short stopover. If nothing else for its old town with its incomparable Venetian charm. On the quays, everyone always ends up gathering towards the tip of the town where the sea organ is located. This work was created in 2005 by the architect Nikola Bašić and uses the swirls of the sea and the breath of the wind to echo a unique music emanating from the quay itself. Get there a little before sunset: you do not want to be alone, and yet the place exudes a very special serenity. Right next door, another work by Bašić sets off at dawn: Greetings to the Sun. Scattered on the floor, solar panels light up alternately. Magical! Finally, Zadar is also a very good starting point for discovering the Kornati archipelago during a day trip.
In the heart of Split life
Split is not to be missed. But maybe not for the reasons we imagine … Of course, the large port city on the Dalmatian coast, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, fascinates with its wealth of heritage, especially its Diocletian’s Palace, which is literally integrated into the city center. . But in Split, the real pleasure is also to escape from the tourist center. Here there is a whole art to live, a special relaxation. For example, go to the fish market in the morning and have a cup of coffee under the arcades of Republike Trg, a large and beautiful square in Neo – Renaissance style, which is one of the locals’ favorite places. If you have time, you should also go on the Marjan hill, Split’s green lung. Between the maritime pine trees, a magical view of the Adriatic Sea. Recommended stop at the Mestrovic Gallery, named after the greatest Croatian sculptor. Right at the foot of this extraordinary place, several beaches bring city dwellers together in a delicious exotic atmosphere. The large port of Split is also the starting point for many islands to discover in the surroundings, including Brač, which is considered one of the most beautiful in the country.
Slavonia, the other Croatia
If you want to get off the beaten track, you can see something other than the sea, so head east. You will not regret it ! From Zagreb there is a three hour drive to Slavonia. In the end, the reward is there. In this region, which is the country’s granary and wine cellar, it is said that the true soul of Croatia is cultivated. It’s not fake. Another atmosphere is revealed, full of traditions, full of authenticity. The corner is especially known for the quality of its table. Here we are very close to the Danube, which surrounds the border. An important stop in Osijek, the great city of the East, whose heritage will delight you, and then head to Kopacki Rit Natural Park, where one of the last great wetlands in Central Europe is revealed. A maze of bogs and canals teeming with birds. The park opens out to the border region of Baranya, where you can feel the influence of nearby Hungary. Landscape change guaranteed! Similarly, head to Ilok, the easternmost town in Croatia. A splendor, with its ramparts and underground wine cellars. The locality is proud to make the best drinks in the country.
To prepare for your trip
The site of the Croatian National Tourist Office is a mine of ideas and practical information to organize an itinerary or choose your stay according to your wishes (nature, beaches, cultural heritage, yachting, etc.). croatia.hr/en-gb