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    Croatia has emerged triumphantly as a safe, stable, and attractive tourist destination, having put years of civil and ethnic unrest behind it. With its magnificent coastline boasting picturesque islands, islets, and reefs, and a countryside scattered with Roman ruins and medieval villages, Croatia is fast becoming a rival to the magical Greek islands for luring those looking for beautiful beaches, great food, and a rich history.

    After centuries of being geographically sliced and diced to suit empires, conquerors, and political and ethnic divisions, Croatia has been left with a diverse cultural legacy and a wealth of historical attractions. The long Adriatic coastline forms the western leg of the arc-shaped country, tapering to the unique ancient seaport of Dubrovnik in the south, while the land between the rivers Drava and Sava form the northern section. The capital, Zagreb, sits in-between.

    Although Croatia's history is dramatic, the atmosphere of this balmy Mediterranean country is now tranquil, with sleepy old towns and impossibly picturesque lakes and beaches just begging travellers to relax. The wonderful landscape is easily explored on foot or by mountain bike as the country is criss-crossed with good trails. The food and wine is so delicious that a bit of exercise might be necessary too.

    The most prominent feature of most Croatian holidays is the glorious Dalmatian coastline, indented with rocky cliffs, peninsulas, and small inlets. Many good quality hotels and marinas have been resurrected or constructed in the past few years, rapidly making Croatia 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 as far back as the 4th century BC. With a reserved but hospitable population, a Mediterranean climate, scenic beauty, and lush vegetation, Croatia is one of Europe's best tourist hotspots.

    Croatia's popularity as a European holiday destination has grown rapidly over the last few decades. There is much to see and do along its magnificent coastline, boasting over 1000 islands, islets, and reefs. Most visitors come to Croatia for the cruising, boating and beaches, but the country also boasts cultural attractions and plenty of ancient history.

    Many of Croatia's cities are built on the sites of ancient Greek and Roman settlements dating from as far back as the 4th century BC. Explore the Roman ruins in Zagreb and Split, stroll through the cobblestone streets of the fairytale medieval villages, or just enjoy taking in the local cuisine and history. The Croatian History Museum in Zagreb features an impressive display of Neanderthal remains, while culture vultures will enjoy a trip to the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb.

    Dubrovnik, and in particular its medieval old city, is one of Croatia's top holiday destinations, boasting exquisite beaches along its rugged coastline and a very picturesque cityscape. Split is a great base for exploring the Dalmation coast and is a breathtakingly beautiful old town. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and promises some exciting attractions, such as the city of Trogir and Brac Island just off shore.

    Spring and autumn are good seasons to visit as milder weather, fewer crowds, and lower prices mean tourists can explore the country more freely; however, summer (June to August) is peak season and the best time to enjoy the country's stunning beaches.

    Travelling by bus is economical, while ferries and catamarans are the only mode of transport to the islands and a way of life on the coast. For a more relaxed but slightly more expensive option, hiring a car allows visitors to get off the beaten track and explore the stunning country at a leisurely pace.

    Diocletian's Palace

    Roman Emperor Diocletian, having abdicated his throne in AD 305, decided to spend the last years of his life in Dalmatia and built a palace for that purpose on the bay of Aspalathos, on the south side of a peninsula extending into the Adriatic Sea.

    The spot he chose is now the very heart of the city of Split and the palace is still one of the city's main tourist attractions. The building and the entire historic Split inner city area around it have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Within the palace walls are a network of narrow cobblestone alleyways that house a mixture of residential apartments, modern shops, cafes and restaurants, ancient Roman relics, and a magnificent cathedral.

    The palace is interesting in that it was designed to combine a luxurious residence with the defences of a military camp, having towers and fortifications on its landward sides with three monumental gates.

    Originally situated on the water, the palace is now fronted by the city's popular waterfront promenade and faces onto the harbour. The buildings are made from local white limestone, quarried on the nearby island of Brac.

    Diocletian's Palace Diocletian's Palace Judith Duk
    Archaeological Museum

    Founded in 1820, the Archaeological Museum in Split is the oldest museum in Croatia. Its displays include artefacts from prehistoric times, the Greek colonial period, and from the Roman, early Christian, and Medieval ages.

    Most of the relics found in excavations of the Roman city of Salona are displayed here, and there is an interesting collection of submarine archaeology. The museum also contains a large collection of antique coins and a prominent library. Outside the museum there is a lovely garden with a covered walkway and a number of statues on display, which makes for a good opportunity to wander a bit and take some photographs.

    Those who have smartphones can make use of the free wifi audio guide, which is informative and enhances the experience. Although this museum is not extensive, it remains very interesting and a great place to get familiar with Croatian history.

    Address: Zrinsko-Frankopanska 25
    Ancient artefacts on display Ancient artefacts on display Connie Ma
    Franciscan Monastery

    The original Franciscan monastery in Dubrovnik was built in the 13th century in the Pile area. But when war broke out in the 14th century, the monks were forced to relocate to gain the protection of Dubrovnik's formidable defensive walls.

    Parts of the current monastery, and most of the church, have had to be rebuilt over the centuries due to damage. But parts of the complex date back to 1317. This Franciscan church and monastery, still enclosed in the walls of medieval Dubrovnik, boast one of the most beautiful Romanesque cloisters in Dalmatia.

    Within the monastery complex there is also a working pharmacy, which has been in business since 1317 and is thought to be the third oldest pharmacy in the world. A museum houses relics from the original medieval pharmacy such as medical books, instruments, and weight scales, as well as some gilded church relics.

    The massive monastery library, one of the richest in Croatia, is renowned globally by historians for its inventory: it contains some 30,000 volumes with 1,500 handwritten documents. The monastery is a great refuge after sightseeing in the heat and crowds of the city. It is cool and quiet and also has some tranquil gardens to venture into.

    Address: Placa 2
    Franciscan Monastery Interior Franciscan Monastery Interior Sailko
    Dubrovnik City Walls

    The impressive walls enclosing the ancient city of Dubrovnik were laid out in the 13th century and became an ongoing project for almost two centuries. They are among the finest in the world and are featured prominently on the HBO Series, Game of Thrones.

    The fortified walls are up to 10 feet (3m) thick on the sea side and at least twice as thick on the land side. Made to guard against invasion by the Turks in the 15th century, they reach 82 feet (25m) in height. Visitors can access the walls via a steep stone stairway and once they reach the top they'll be rewarded with superb views over the old city and out to sea.

    A walk around the old city from this fascinating vantage point is a must for visitors to Dubrovnik. In fact, it's a good way to get acquainted with the city. The detached Lovrjenac Fort to the west of the old city stood guard against both land and sea invasion and is also worth a visit for some stunning views.

    Dubrovnik City Walls Dubrovnik City Walls Judith Duk
    Marin Drzic's House

    Marin Drzic is Croatia's best-known literary genius, immortalised in his Dubrovnik home which serves as a museum dedicated to the famous playwright and author. It gives visitors a great insight into the writer with a 40-minute presentation on his life and work.

    Drzic was born in Dubrovnik, probably in 1508, and he was a popular playwright, entertainer, and musician. The house itself has been restored to reflect the 16th-century Renaissance period that Drzic lived in.

    The Marin Drzic House is more than just a memorial. Indeed, it is an exhibition space and museum of theatre. The museum collects theatrical material for study and further dissemination and it is the only institution of its kind in Croatia.

    The museum has a collection of posters, programmes, and photographs from performances of Drzic plays all over the world. While the exhibition provides a good introduction into the history and culture of Dubrovnik itself, those without a particular interest in Croatian literature and theatre may find the museum a bit obscure.

    Address: Siroka ulica 7
    Marin Drzic's House Marin Drzic's House Sailko
    Cathedral Treasury

    Dubrovnik has had at least three cathedrals on the same site during its long history (some argue there have been as many as five since the 6th century). The first was a Byzantine building dating from the 7th century; the second a Romanesque Cathedral which was destroyed by the great earthquake of the 17th century; and at present the beautiful Baroque structure which was designed by Italian architect Buffalini from Urbino and completed in 1713.

    Within the current cathedral, called the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, there are several magnificent statues and paintings, including the appropriately themed 'Assumption of Mary' by Titian, which dates back to about 1552. This cathedral has stunning Baroque features as well as valuable art and is definitely worth a visit.

    The cathedral also has a treasury where hundreds of religious relics are stored. There is a cover charge for seeing the treasury, which is rich in artefacts, icons, and paintings. The organisation of the artefacts is somewhat chaotic but there is something intriguing about this mysterious collection of treasures. Visitors will also see the archaeological excavations that continue on the cathedral site.

    Address: Kneza Damjana Jude 1
    Dubrovnik cathedral Dubrovnik cathedral Judith Duk
    Andautonia Archaeological Park

    Near the village of Scitarjevo, close to Zagreb, are the remains of the excavated ancient Roman town of Andautonia. Andautonia was a prominent administrative, economic, cultural, and religious centre about 400 years ago.

    Archaeologists are still excavating the site. However, at the Andautonia Archaeological Park, visitors can view a 26,910-square-foot (2,500 sq m) area of the Roman City, including parts of the main street, city baths, colonnades, and side streets.

    There is a museum at the site which exhibits artefacts from the Greek and Roman periods. Additionally, tourists can also visit the present-day village of Scitarjevo to get a glimpse into rural life and see some traditional wooden housing.

    Address: Archaeological Museum: 19 Nikola Subic Zrinski Square
    Website: www.amz.hr
    Andautonia Andautonia Fraxinus
    Croatian History Museum

    The building that houses Croatia's history is itself a part of that history. Situated in the historical town centre, it is the beautiful Baroque palace, Vojkovic-Orsic-Rauch, built at the end of the 18th century and formerly the private residence of three successive baronial families. In the late 1930s the palace became the residence of Zagreb's mayors, before being designated as a repository for the historical relics of the city. It currently houses more than 140,000 artefacts in various collections, from stone monuments to fine art, religious artefacts to heraldry.

    The exhibitions in this museum are not permanent but constantly changing so that all the collections get an airing. This means that it is possible to visit the museum many times and never tire of the exhibitions. The artefacts are grouped into 17 collections which include maps, coins, religious items, stone mouments and military uniforms, among other thing. Despite being quite a small museum the exhibits are well-curated and interesting.

    Address: Matoševa 9
    Website: www.hismus.hr/en
    Croatian History Museum Croatian History Museum Andrew Nash
    Croatian National Theatre

    The building housing the Croatian National Theatre (or HNK Zagreb) is as much a national treasure as the world-class theatre, opera, music, and ballet productions that take place on its stage. Construction began on the theatre building in 1894, with Croatian artist Vlaho Bukovac painting the ceremonial curtain while Viennese artist Alexander Goltz decorated the ceiling of the auditorium.

    The building was officially opened by Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz-Joseph I at the end of 1895. The theatre is owned and operated by the Croatian Ministry of Culture and it is constantly busy with full performing arts programmes. At the entrance to the theatre visitors can see the famed wall fountain called 'The Source of Life', designed by Croatian artist and sculptor Ivan Meštrovic in 1905.

    The Croatian National Theatre has hosted famous artists and performers from all over the world and culture vultures shouldn't miss seeing a show. If travelling with a group, the mezzanine boxes are a wonderful way to experience the performances together. It's worth taking a walk by simply to admire the building even for those who don't have the time to catch a performance at the venue itself.

    Address: Trg Marsala Tita 15
    Website: www.hnk.hr/en
    Croatian National Theatre Croatian National Theatre Diego Delso
    Town Squares

    Praska Street, in the lower part of old Zagreb, leads on to a sequence of attractive park squares, each flaunting their own attractions and worth a walking tour. Zrinski Square features a music pavilion dating from 1895 and fountains, with the Archaeological Museum at No.17.

    This square also features a row of busts of distinguished Croatians and the palace of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences, which houses the Strossmayer Gallery. On Strossmayer Square is a monument to Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer, founder of the academy, as well as several other historic buildings.

    Tomislav Square features the Art Pavilion, fronted by a monument to Croatian Renaissance painter Andrija Medulic. King Tomislav rises on horseback at the southern end of the square. Starcevic Square is home to the City Library and Hotel Esplanade, and gives access to the Botanical Gardens and Frane Bulic Monument.

    In Marulic Square, the University Library building stands as a magnificent example of Art Nouveau architecture. Mimara Museum is on Roosevelt Square, and the neo-Baroque Croatian National Theatre stands on Marshal Tito Square. Any or all of these squares are worth a visit so it is best to take a leisurely stroll around them all with camera in hand.

    Jelacicplac Square Jelacicplac Square Miljenko Hegedic
    War Photo Limited

    Located in the historical centre of Dubrovnik, the War Photos exhibition space features temporary, changing exhibitions of photographic works relating to war and conflict. The photos aim to showcase war as it really is, exposing the horror and brutality that is experienced by innocents and combatants alike through the photographic medium.

    War Photo Limited exhibitions are intended to be educational and showcase the work of world-renowned photojournalists. Although they have no political agenda, the minds behind War Photos Limited consider war a disease and the intention is to expose its cruelties and rid people of the perception that it can be at all glorious and righteous. They showcase some of their exhibitions at schools, universities, and other educational centres.

    Anybody interested in military history or photography (or indeed the strength of the human spirit) will be fascinated by War Photo Limited. As the exhibitions change frequently, it is of course possible to visit the space many times and the documentation of particular wars and atrocities is very informative and well handled. Although some exhibitions may be quite shocking, a visit to War Photo Limited is an overwhelmingly rewarding experience.

    Address: Antuninska 6
    War photography War photography David
    Brac Island

    Brac's main claim to fame is the strip of beach near the resort of Bol that stretches out like a finger into the sea, featuring on almost all Croatian tourist brochures. Brac is the largest of the central Dalmatian group of islands and its major agricultural products are wine, olive oil, and fruit. The island is also known for its exported white stone, which was even used to build Washington DC's White House.

    Bol and Supetar are the two main resorts on Brac, with attractive old towns and a laidback charm. Bol is the windsurfing capital of Croatia, and Brac is a great destination for a number of watersports. The rest of the island boasts numerous villages and dramatic coastal scenery.

    Like much of Croatia, the beaches on Brac Island are mainly rocky, boasting stunningly clear blue water and calm seas. If you are desperate to find a sandy beach head down to Lovrecina, which has its own beach bar and restaurant and is a lovely spot to spend the day. Brac is generally less crowded than Split and other popular areas on Croatia's mainland, but can get very busy during the peak summer months.

    Website: www.bracinfo.com
    Brac Island Brac Island Zuffe
    Sponza Palace

    Built between 1516 and 1522, the Sponza Palace was the centre of medieval Dubrovnik. Apart from featuring the customs office, the palace once also housed a number of the Dubrovnik Republic's state offices, the mint, the bank, the treasury, and the armoury.

    A mixture of Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles, Sponza is one of the most beautiful palaces in the city and has been well-preserved so visitors today can still enjoy its stunning facade.

    It has been suggested that the architectural style of this well-preserved old palace gives some indication of what the public buildings in Dubrovnik may have looked like, before they were destroyed in an earthquake in 1667. Although this natural disaster caused considerable destruction to Dubrovnik, the palace itself was largely undamaged.

    Today, it houses the Dubrovnik archive, which contains 7,000 volumes and about 100,000 individual scripts. The atrium of the palace is an art gallery which showcases various exhibitions from contemporary artists as well as those who were prominent in Dubrovnik's past.

    Sponza Palace Sponza Palace Marcin Konsek
    Dubrovnik Port

    Lined with palm trees, Dubrovnik's Old Port is a major focal point of the city thanks to its unforgettable scenery. Located right next to the picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Old Town, the port features great shopping at small markets along its tiny cobblestoned streets as well as fantastic sightseeing opportunities.

    Known as the 'Jewel of the Adriatic', the beauty and fun of the Old Port makes Dubrovnik a popular cruise port. The cruise liners generally stop off at the modern Port of Gruz in Dubrovnik, which is less than two miles (2,5km) from the Old Town. The old harbour has a rich history as a trading hub and continues this tradition through its delightful markets and quaint shops.

    Many different kinds of boat tours are operated from the Old Town harbour and these trips offer a wonderful chance to explore the stunning coastline from the water. Many of these tours will point out attractions and landmarks, and provide insights into the port's history and Dubrovnik in general.

    Dubrovnik Port Dubrovnik Port Dennis Jarvis
    Stradun

    The biggest, longest, and widest street in Dubrovnik, the Stradun dates back to the 13th century, while the uniform houses that line it were mostly built in the 17th century. The street is 958 feet (292 metres) long and is the commercial, entertainment, and spiritual centre of Dubrovnik. The shiny, slippery, marble-paved Stradun is the main walkway of Dubrovnik's Stari Grad, and the best place to get a feel for the pulse of Dubrovnik.

    The Stradun holds many of the city's monuments and some great restaurants and shops. One of its more famous attractions is Onofrio's Fountain, which is located in a small square near the Pila Gate and Franciscan Monastery. This large fountain was built in 1438 by the famous Italian architect from Naples, Onofrio della Cava. After sustaining severe damage in a 1667 earthquake, the fountain was repaired and now features 16 masked faces, known as maskeroni, which supply water via an aqueduct. This construction was a masterpiece of its time. A smaller Onofrio's fountain is located on the opposite side of the Stradun.

    Stradun Stradun Diego Delso

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Croatia's climate differs quite dramatically from the coast to the interior of the country. The coast has a typically Mediterranean climate with hot, dry, and sunny summers (June to August) and relatively mild, sometimes wet winters (November to February). Summer temperatures average around 79°F (26°C) but it frequently gets as hot as 90°F (32°C).

    Winters are significantly colder but they are not severe and along the coast snow is unusual. Winter temperatures seldom drop below 41°F (5°C). Visitors should experience some sunny days in autumn and even a few in winter, but the colder months can be rainy.

    In the interior of Croatia the climate is continental and more extreme with colder winters and more common snowfall; temperatures in winter frequently drop below 32°F (0°C). Summers, on the other hand, are similar in temperature to the coastal regions but feel hotter in the interior due to the lack of refreshing cool breezes from the sea.

    The peak tourist season in Croatia is in the summer months when the weather is hottest and driest, but the best time to visit is probably September or May when the weather is still warm enough for swimming but the country is less crowded.

    Franjo Tuđman Airport Zagreb
    Location: The airport is situated 10 miles (16km) southeast of Zagreb.
    Time: Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from last Sunday in March to end October).
    Getting to the city: A convenient bus shuttle operates between the airport and the Central Bus Station in Zagreb, running from about 7am until 10.30pm and scheduled to meet arriving flights. The journey takes roughly 30-45 minutes.
    Car Rental: Car rental agencies at the airport include Hertz, Dollar Thrifty and Europcar, among others.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside the terminal.
    Facilities: The airport has a bank, post office, tourist information kiosk, 24-hour left luggage services, business lounge, conference facilities, and shops selling souvenirs and luxury products (including duty-free). There is also a restaurant and a few cafes.
    Parking Parking for visitors costs HRK 27 for one hour, up to a daily maximum of HRK 150.
    Rijeka International Airport
    Location: The airport is located near Omisalj on the island of Krk.
    Time: Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from last Sunday in March to end October).
    Getting to the city: Bus services travel from the airport to Rijeka, Kraljevica, Omisalj, and Crikvenica.
    Car Rental: There are a number of car rental companies, including Sixt, CarpeDiem, and Last Minute.
    Airport Taxis: Licensed taxis operate at the airport.
    Facilities: Facilities include coffee shops, a souvenir store, restaurants, ATMs, duty free, baby care facilities, currency exchange, and an information desk.
    Dubrovnik Airport
    Location: The airport is situated about 15 miles (24km) south of Dubrovnik.
    Time: Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from last Saturday in March to end of October).
    Getting to the city: An Atlas Bus meets all scheduled flights and runs between the airport and the main bus station. Fares are set at HKR 40. Passengers can get off at the stop outside the main gate to the old city on the way to the main bus station. Taxis are also available.
    Car Rental: Car hire companies at the airport include Hertz, Avis, Budget, and Thrifty.
    Facilities: A bank and exchange office are open daily. There are also souvenir shops, duty free, and snacks and drinks available.
    Parking There is a parking lot attached to the airport, offering both long-term, and short-term rates.
    Split Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 16 miles (25km) west of Split.
    Time: Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from last Saturday in March to end of October).
    Getting to the city: Croatia Airlines operates a bus between the airport and the main bus station, on the waterfront, in Split. Taxis are also available.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and others.
    Airport Taxis: There are taxis available outside the terminal during operating hours.
    Facilities: Airport facilities include a restaurant and café, duty-free shopping, banking and currency exchange services and a post office.
    Parking Parking is available at the airport with discounts available for long-term parking.
    Pula Airport
    Location: The airport is located four miles (about 6km) northeast of the city of Pula.
    Time: Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 from last Saturday in March to end October).
    Getting to the city: A bus service connects the airport to the station in Pula.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Hertz, Budget, Sixt, and Alamo.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside the arrivals area.
    Facilities: Facilities include ATMs, bureaux de change, restaurants and cafés, internet access, a nursery, and duty-free shopping.
    Parking Short- and long-term public parking available.
    Money:

    The official unit of currency is the Kuna (HRK). One Kuna is divided into 100 Lipa. ATMs are plentiful throughout the country and banks, authorised bureaux de change, post offices, and most hotels will exchange foreign currency.

    Banks open Monday to Saturday and some banks also open on Sundays in the main cities. Major credit cards are widely accepted at the main hotels and restaurants, and may be used to draw cash from ATMs which are widely available throughout the country.

    Language:

    The official language is Croatian.

    Electricity:

    Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. European-style, round, two-pin plugs are standard.

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals: US citizens must present a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay. Visas are not required for stays of up to 90 days.

    UK nationals: UK nationals must have a passport valid for the period of intended stay in Croatia, or valid for three months beyond period of intended stay, depending on the endorsement in the passport. For stays of up to 90 days, a visa is not required for holders of British passports endorsed British Citizen, British National (Overseas), British Overseas Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen, British Protected Person or British Subject. Other UK passport holders should check with the embassy whether a visa is required for travel.

    CA nationals: Canadian citizens must have a passport valid for three months beyond period of intended stay in Croatia. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

    AU nationals: Australian citizens must have a passport valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Croatia. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

    ZA nationals: South African nationals must have a passport valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Croatia, and a visa is required, unless already holding a multiple-entry Schengen C visa.

    IR nationals: Irish nationals must have a passport valid for the period of intended stay in Croatia. No visa is required.

    NZ nationals: New Zealand citizens must have a passport valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Croatia. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    All foreign passengers to Croatia must hold return/onward tickets and the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, as well as proof of sufficient funds (at least EUR 70.- per day of stay, at least EUR 30.- per day of stay if holding a confirmed invitation or a tourist voucher). It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

    Travel Health:

    No vaccinations are required. The medical facilities and care in Croatia are fairly good, with free emergency medical care available to EU citizens with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Some medicines are in short supply in public facilities. Non-EU nationals are advised to invest in comprehensive travel insurance and those who need particular medications should take the supply needed for the duration of their stay with them, with a doctor's letter on hand to get them through customs.

    Tipping:

    In tourist or upmarket restaurants a tip of 10 percent will be appreciated, but otherwise it is usual to just round up the bill if the service has been good, unless a service charge has already been added. Tour guides expect to be tipped. Most other services receive a small tip by rounding up the bill.

    Safety Information:

    Most visits to Croatia are trouble-free. Crime levels are low and violent crime is rare; however, petty theft can be a problem in busy tourist areas so it is worth keeping a careful eye on valuables. Outside the normal tourist routes, travellers should be aware that unexplored mines might remain in rural areas, particularly in Eastern Slavonia and the former Krajina.

    Tourists are urged to be cautious in former conflict areas, including Eastern Slavonia, Brodsko-Posavska County, Karlovac County, areas around Zadar, and in more remote areas of the Plitvice Lakes National Park. They should stay on known safe roads and areas. If in any doubt, check with authorities before setting out into remote areas.

    Local Customs:

    Passports or some form of identification should be carried at all times. I some towns and cities, it is prohibited, or considered inappropriate to walk around town centres shirtless or in swimming costumes.

    In some places, such as parts of Dubrovnik, there is signage indicating that people are required to cover up and that fines will be imposed on those that don't comply. Even when there is no such signage, travellers are advised to be sensitive to local conventions and sensibilities.

    Business:

    Business in Croatia tends to be quite formal. Punctuality is key, dress should be smart and conservative (suits and ties are the norm for men), and polite greetings are made with a handshake.

    Titles and surnames are usually used unless otherwise indicated and business cards are often exchanged at the beginning of a meeting. English and German are widely spoken but any attempt at speaking some Croatian will be appreciated. Women frequently hold high positions in business and are well respected.

    Building a good working relationship is important in Croatia and it is useful to work with a reliable local partner. Although Croatia appears typically European in its dealings, business can take some time to conclude. Business hours are usually 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

    Communications:

    The international access code for Croatia is +385. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). The city code for Zagreb is (0)1 and for Dubrovnik (0)20.

    Duty Free:

    Non-EU travellers to Croatia can enter the country with the following items without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 4 litres of wine, 1 litre of spirits, and up to 16 litres of beer; and other goods up to the value of HRK 3,200 if arriving by air, or HRK 2,200 if arriving by other means of transport. Regulations apply to firearms and radio instruments. No item of archaeological, historical, ethnographic, artistic, cultural, or scientific value may leave the country without a license issued by the appropriate authorities.

    Useful Contacts:

    Croatian National Tourist Board, Zagreb: +385 (0)1 469 9333 or www.croatia.hr

    Croatia Embassies:

    Embassy of Croatia, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 588 5899.

    Embassy of Croatia, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7387 2022.

    Embassy of Croatia, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 562 7820.

    Embassy of Croatia, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6286 6988.

    Embassy of Croatia, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 342 1206.

    Embassy of Croatia, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 476 7181

    Consulate of Croatia, Auckland, New Zealand: +64 274 998850.

    Foreign Embassies in Croatia :

    United States Embassy, Zagreb: +385 (0)1 661 2200.

    British Embassy, Zagreb: +385 (0)1 600 9100.

    Canadian Embassy, Zagreb: +385 (0)1 488 1200.

    Australian Embassy, Zagreb: +385 (0)1 489 1200.

    South African Embassy, Budapest (also responsible for Croatia): +36 1 392 0999

    Embassy of Ireland, Zagreb: +385 (0)1 627 8920.

    New Zealand Consulate, Rome, Italy (also responsible for Croatia): +39 06 853 7501.

    Croatia Emergency Numbers : 112 (General Emergency Helpline)
    Croatia
    Mljet Island

    Covered by small villages, forests, and vineyards, Mljet is famous for its national park on the western half of the island. Main attractions include the two saltwater lakes of Veliko Jezero (Great Lake) and Malo Jezero (Small Lake), as well as a 12th-century Benedictine monastery.

    The lakes are popular spots for swimming and the beauty of this unspoilt oasis attracts nature lovers and those in search of peace and tranquillity. Mljet is said to be Croatia's greenest island while in Greek mythology it allegedly captivated the legendary hero Odysseus for seven years.

    Mljet is popular with couples because the lack of crowds and pristine natural beauty, making it ideal for romantic getaways. It is also a great option for those who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, mountain biking, hunting, fishing and kayaking. There are of accommodation options on the island and a variety of great places to eat. Mljet could easily keep an outdoor enthusaist suitably occupied for an entire holiday.

    Website: www.mljet.hr
    Mljet Island Mljet Island Jose Miguel
    Hvar Island

    Off the coast of Split, just 15 nautical miles (24km) from Baska Voda and accessible by ferry, is the island of Hvar, which abounds with Romanesque and Renaissance buildings and a true Mediterranean atmosphere.

    Hvar has been populated since prehistoric times, with archaeologists finding evidence of life on the island dating back to 3500 BC. The island is noted for its fertile soil and was the site of the world's first parcelling out of arable land by the ancient Greeks, who farmed here.

    It is now mainly a wine-growing area, with the island's main towns of Vrboska and Jelsa famed for their Dalmatian vintages. Hvar is dotted with picturesque villages, many of which remain fairly untouched by time and tourism, and are well worth a visit for a glimpse into rural island life in Croatia.

    Must-see attractions in Hvar include the incredible Hvar Fortress which can't be missed by history buffs and anybody who appreciates a great view. It is a bit of a climb to get to the old fortress but from the site you can see the whole town and harbour. No visit to Hvar would be complete without a visit to Dubovica Beach, which is often delightfully free of the usual crowds.

    Website: www.hvar.hr
    Hvar Island Hvar Island Gaucho
    Dubrovnik Riviera

    There is enough to do in the area surrounding Dubrovnik to fill any holiday and leave visitors desperate for more time. In close proximity to the city of Dubrovnik there are lots of picturesque villages and stunning resorts to explore.

    About 11 miles (18km) away, on the road to Split, is the quiet bay of Zaton, with its sandy beaches and pine forest. The town has numerous restaurants, a relic of the days when it was the chosen retreat for the aristocrats of the Dubrovnik Republic.

    The village of Tristeno features the Arboretum, a Gothic-Renaissance park on the coast. In the centre of this village, visitors are awed by two gigantic sycamore trees which are reputedly 500 years old and standing 197ft (60m) tall.

    Even closer to the city, the towns of Kupari, Srebreno, Mlini, Soline and Plat lie along a chain of hills descending to the rim of Zupa Bay, known as one of the most beautiful resorts on the Dubrovnik Riviera.

    Here, visitors will find plenty modern hotels offering a variety of watersports to keep guests entertained. Also very close to Dubrovnik is Lapad Beach, a popular sandy beach with a number of bars and restaurants make a lovely spot to while away a sunny afternoon.

    Dubrovnik Riviera Dubrovnik Riviera Thomas Kohler
    Trakoscan Castle

    Trakoscan is a legendary 13th-century Gothic castle that was home to various influential families for centuries before finally falling into abandoned disrepair in the second half of the 18th century, when it belonged to the Draskovic family.

    In the 1950s, the castle was taken over by the state and turned into a living museum, reconstructing life in a medieval castle. Visitors can explore four levels, including the dungeon, and finish their tour with a stroll through the surrounding parklands.

    Trakoscan Castle is a spectacular journey for the imagination as it feels so authentic. Guests can wander with freedom through the stone corridors, up and down the winding staircases, and into the various rooms. It is also a great attraction for the younger children as the castle, lake, and forest settings transport the little ones to a fairytale world.

    The castle features original artefacts from its history, including furniture and weaponry, and displays are informative and well laid out. As wandering through the castle, and its beautiful grounds, can be somewhat tiring, visitors often stop for a break at the restaurant by the lake.

    Trakoscan Castle Trakoscan Castle Maxman
    Elafiti Islands

    A popular excursion from Dubrovnik is a day trip to the offshore islands of Kolocep, Lopud, and Sipan, which are part of a larger archipelago northwest of Dubrovnik. They are the only inhabited islands in the group and the most popular for visitors.

    The islands are an escape from the mainland crowds and boast olive groves and orchards, sand and pebble beaches, 15th-century summer residences, and several interesting churches and monasteries.

    Kolocep is the smallest and closest island to Dubrovnik, and it is beautifully covered in green vegetation. Lopud is the most visited and is famed for the stretch of sandy beach at Sunj. Sipan used to be the summer getaway of choice for aristocratic families in Dubrovnik and is fascinating from an historical point of view.

    Each of the islands has something unique to offer visitors and it is worth investigating them all if time allows. Kolocep and Lopud are both car-free islands but they are tiny and easy to get around on foot. You can choose to stay on one of these charming islands and accommodation here is generally less expensive than in Dubrovnik.

    Kolocep Kolocep August Dominus
    Korcula Island

    Korcula Island is one of the bigger Adriatic islands, boasting beautiful views, secluded beaches, vineyards and olive groves, as well as pretty towns and harbours. Korcula Town is the island's main commercial area and is situated on the northwest coast.

    This old town, sticking out into the sea, is typically Dalmatian and often likened to a small Dubrovnik, with its red-roofed houses and enclosing walls. Some theorise that Marco Polo was born here and his rumoured house is now a museum open to the public. The town is also famous for its 15th-century Moreska sword dance which is performed during summer.

    Other main towns on the island include the tourist centre of Lumbarda, which is surrounded by vineyards and coves, and the port town of Vela Luka on the east coast. Korcula is said to have been a favourite Greek holiday spot over 2,000 years ago and since then it hasn't stopped delighting visitors with its culture and green landscapes. Of the 1,000 or so islands in Croatia, Korcula is often ranked most highly as a holiday destination by tourists.

    Korcula Island Korcula Island Simon Pearson
    Trogir

    Trakoscan is a legendary 13th-century Gothic castle that was home to various influential families for centuries before finally falling into abandoned disrepair in the second half of the 18th century, when it belonged to the Draskovic family.

    In the 1950s, the castle was taken over by the state and turned into a living museum, reconstructing life in a medieval castle. Visitors can explore four levels, including the dungeon, and finish their tour with a stroll through the surrounding parklands.

    Trakoscan Castle is a spectacular journey for the imagination as it feels so authentic. Guests can wander with freedom through the stone corridors, up and down the winding staircases, and into the various rooms. It is also a great attraction for the younger children as the castle, lake, and forest settings transport the little ones to a fairytale world.

    The castle features original artefacts from its history, including furniture and weaponry, and displays are informative and well laid out. As wandering through the castle and its beautiful grounds can be somewhat tiring, visitors often stop for a break at the restaurant by the lake.

    Trogir old town Trogir old town Judith Duk
    Sibenik

    Sibenik is an historic town, located in central Dalmatia. A notable feature about the town's history is the number of civilizations which have laid claim to the territory: Between the 11th and 12th centuries, Sibenik was claimed by Venice, Byzantium, Hungary, and the Kingdom of Bosnia.

    After the First World War, Italy briefly claimed Sibenik, and during World War Two it was occupied by the Germans and the Italians. As one might imagine, the town is the product of diverse influences and has a rich cultural heritage.

    Sibenik is home to the crowning glory of the Dalmatian Coast: the Cathedral of St Jacob. The cathedral was the masterpiece of sculptor Juraj Dalmatinac and is reputedly the largest church in the world to be built entirely from stone.

    It is unusual for its 71 stone heads on the exterior walls, a beautiful baptistery, the domed roof complex, and various works of art in the interior of the building. The city also makes a good base from which to visit the nearby Krka National Park.

    Sibenik Harbour Sibenik Harbour Macic7
    Plitvice Lakes National Park

    The Plitvice Lakes have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the national park that encloses them is the oldest in Southeast Europe. It is the natural beauty of the 16 green and turquoise lakes, linked by waterfalls and surrounded by forests, attracts thousands of visitors every year.

    Wooden walkways meander over, around and across the magical watery setting that was formed by mineral deposits in the water creating travertine barriers within the constantly changing limestone landscape.

    The lakes are divided into lower and upper lakes and trails are well marked. Visitors can cover the 11 miles (18km) of walkways on foot, but the park entry ticket also includes the use of buses and ferries that cover certain sections.

    The incredible lakes are not all the park has to offer; it is a heavily forested area with an extremely diverse variety of flora and fauna, including rare European species like the brown bear and wolf. It is one of the last regions in Europe in which these two species can be found living in the wild.

    Plitvice Lakes National Park Plitvice Lakes National Park Judith Duk
    Makarska

    About 30 miles (47km) south of Split is the popular resort town of Makarska, with its cobblestoned streets and natural harbour nestled in the shadow of Mount Biokovo and fringed with the two green peninsulas of Osejava and St Peter.

    This beautiful spot offers secluded beaches washed by an azure sea and lies at the heart of the Makarska Riviera, which is characterised by pine forests and a string of white pebble beaches. Makarska was an important trading port throught its history, which spans occupation by the Venetians, Turks, French and Austrians, all of whom left a taste of their culture and tradition behind.

    The town boasts a world-renowned collection of sea shells, a Franciscan monastery dating from the 16th century, a Venetian fountain, and several churches and Baroque palaces. However, its main attraction is its splendid natural beauty.

    The main tourist area of Makarska is lined with fashionable boutiques, cafes, and bars, all a stone's throw away from the yachts and catamarans docked in the harbour. Popular photo spots include a few beautiful churches and cathedrals dating back to the 13th century, as well as monuments dedicated to Friar Andrija Kaèiæ Miošiæ and Napoleon Bonaparte.

    Makarska Beach Makarska Beach vacation2
    Rijeka

    The commercial capital of the idyllic Adriatic Coast is the cultural city and holiday destination of Rijeka, with its international harbour lending it a cosmopolitan flair. Rijeka is not only the gateway to the beautiful coastal island resorts, but a tourist's delight in itself with its charming historic buildings.

    A stroll along the Korzo Promenade in the old part of town provides an eyeful of classic buildings and a variety of street cafes ideal for resting your feet and enjoying the passing parade. Rijeka also has an annual carnival full of lively music and dancing, providing a glimpse into ancient Slavic folklore and mythology. Revellers don masks to scare away evil forces and there are numerous events, concerts, and the carnival parade.

    There is plenty to eat, drink, see, and do in this vibrant port city. The best way to see Rijeka's cultural and historical attractions is to follow the well-worn tourist path that takes in all of the most important sights of the town.

    Most of them are accessible by foot, as they are located in or near the city centre. To see Rijeka's remarkable Trsat Castle, visitors need to grapple with some formidable stone steps. But it is certainly worth the climb.

    Rijeka Rijeka Roberta F.
    Krk Island

    The largest island in Croatian archipelago, Krk is a haven of sparkling beaches and lovely holiday towns. Nicknamed the 'Golden Island', Krk is the nearest Croatian island to mainland Europe and has a laidback Mediterranean atmosphere.

    Getting to Krk from the mainland is made easy by a 4,500-foot (1.4km) bridge. Once there, visitors are spoiled for choice as there are many beaches and villages to explore. Krk Town is the largest and most popular hub for tourists with many restaurants, shops, and bars in the attractive Old Town area.

    The best beaches are found in Baska, which boasts more than 30 beaches connected by a promenade. Though most are covered in pebbles, soft mats and chairs are available for hire. Other popular beach towns on Krk include Njivice and the sandy coastline of Klimno Bay, though often these towns have more to offer than just beaches. Vrbnik is home to vineyards that produce some of the best white wines in Croatia, while the August folk festival in Dobrinj draws crowds from all over the country.

    Krk Island is popular for weekend excursions from the Croatian mainland. However, visitors can easily spend a week exploring the winding streets and hidden corners of the island. A haven for watersports, diving, bird watching, and hiking, there is lots to see and do on Krk for just about anyone.

    Krk Krk Berthold Werner