Croatia is a land of jaw-dropping landscapes and natural beauty. Plitvice Lakes National Parks holds lush, dense, forests, while Dubrovnik is surrounded by jagged cliffs and golden beaches. Its love of sport, especially football is feverish countrywide, and its club rivalries and their supporters are some of the most passionate in the world. Touted as the new French Riviera, the Dalmatian Coast offers revellers incredible beauty set against a majestic, mountainous backdrop.
Many of the cities will have names that you recognise and so a holiday to Zagreb may not be quite the step into the unknown you might imagine it to be. With other areas, such as Split and Dubrovnik, available, Fred.\ Holidays can help you find the perfect itinerary for you trip to Croatia.
Rome and Greece are heavily woven into Croatian history, and festivals are an enormous part of its culture and society. Every year since 1950, The Dubrovnik Summer Festival has been a six week open-air music, theatre and dance extravaganza. Sculpture is also prevalent in Croatia's cultural history and one of its most spectacular examples being the 'wooden doors of Split cathedral' by Andrija Buvina. It is also full of architecture and music.
Food and Drink
Olive oil is an integral part of Croatian cooking. For generations it has been used to roast and grill fish. Flavours are defined by the meat is cooked over and how the fish is grilled. A method using Dalmatian olive oil is traditionally known as Gradelavanje, which generates a unique flavour. Roasted lamb and grilled pork are also common. Slavonia's, speciality is Kobasice, or pork sausages. The reputation of Croatian wine is growing rapidly. Their special flavours are a result of the warm conditions in the south of the country. It also boasts some of the best drinking water anywhere in the world.
The Croats arrived in what is today called Croatia in the 7th century. Croatia was first declared a kingdom in the 10th century. From the 12th century it remained ruled by parliament, but took orders from Hungary and Austria. The reign of King Robert was followed by that of Louis the Great (1342-1382) which is considered the golden age of Croatian medieval history. The 15th century marked the start of bitter struggles with the Ottoman Empire that raged until the 17th century. By the end of the First World War, Croatia and Slavonia became a part of the State of Slovenes, with a transitional government based in Zagreb. In 1945 the country went through massive changes. Its ability and desire to embrace industrialisation and build its economy was the basis for the development of its tourist industry. In 1992 Croatia regained independence from Yugoslavia and on November 6 1996, became a member of the Council of Europe. It was granted EU applicant status on June 18, 2004. With negotiations ongoing, Croatia is aiming to secure its accession into the European Union by the end of 2011.
As well as being a country full to the brim of fascinating history and culture, Croatia is also home to some of the most stunningly diverse landscapes in Europe - much of which rests within one of its many stunning national parks.
A natural phenomenon of a rare and unique beauty, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is Croatia's best known national park. Listed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites, its main attraction is its sixteen lakes joined together by a series of cascading waterfalls. Absolutely stunning at any time of the year, the Park is surrounded by dense forests and meadows and is easy to get around thanks to its panoramic electric trains and boats.
East of Zagreb lies the largest nature park in central Croatia, in the heart of the river Sava valley. A peaceful and tranquil wetland area, Lonjsko polje is home to 250 bird species including storks and is surrounded by beautiful oak forests.
Mountain-lovers will rejoice at the sight of the rugged Risnjak National Park thanks to the beauty of its forests, karst rocks and mountains. Named after its most frequent inhabitant, the Lynx, the Park is also home to numerous animal species including brown bears, martens and dormice. From Risnjak you will also be treated to spectacular views of the Kvarner Bay islands as well as mountains as far off as the Alps and neighbouring Slovenia.
If you are looking for endless forests of beech, oak, fir and more, as well as flowering meadows and beautiful waterfalls, then spending time in Papuk National Park is an absolute must. Unique in Croatia thanks to its unique geography, the Park is the first in the country to be included on the list of world geological parks. Here you will come across rocks from across the ages from Palaeozoic to Quaternary times, including volcanic rocks.