After more than a decade of civil and ethnic unrest, Croatia is once again emerging as an attractive 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.
After centuries of fighting for independence, and being sliced and diced geographically to suit political and ethnic divisions, Croatia has ended up arc-shaped. Its long Adriatic coastline forms the western leg, 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.
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. There is a special atmosphere to Croatian towns and villages, many of which are 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.
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 or most
hotels will exchange foreign currency or travellers cheques. 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.
|HRK 1 =||US$ 0.17||Â£ 0.11||C$ 0.17||A$ 0.16||R 1.42||EUR 0.13||NZ$ 0.21|
Note: These currency exchange rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.
No vaccinations are required, but it is recommended that all travellers get vaccinations for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid. Although, if you are travelling for a short period and eating only in restaurants then typhoid is extremely unlikely. There is a risk of tick-borne encephalitis for those travelling in forested areas during the summer months. The bird flu virus was found in dead migratory swans and stringent measures have been taken by the Croatian authorities to contain the virus. Travellers to Croatia are very unlikely to be affected, but should avoid any contact with live birds and ensure poultry and egg dishes are well cooked. The medical facilities and care in Croatia is fairly good, with free emergency medical care available to UK citizens with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), though some medicines are in short supply in public facilities. Non-UK nationals are advised to invest in health insurance and those who need certain medications should take the supply needed for the duration of their stay with them, with doctor's scripts and letters on hand to get through customs.
All foreign passengers to Croatia must hold return/onward tickets and the necessary travel documentation for their next destination, and proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay in the country (at least EUR 100 or equivalent per day of stay in Croatia; or EUR 50 per day, if in possession of a tourist voucher or confirmed invitation). NOTE: 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.
Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.
Croatian National Tourist Board, Zagreb: +385 (0)1 469 9333 or www.croatia.hr
Foreign Embassies in Croatia
Despite a turbulent history during which it has been occupied and conquered by a succession of its neighbours and European colonial powers, Dubrovnik is now a city at peace, allowing visitors to make the most of its historic architecture, white pebble beaches, and crystal-clear sea. Political upheaval has seldom kept tourists away from this uniquely lovely Adriatic port city; 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'. Having said that, since regaining political peace Dubrovnik has become a tourist hub.
The old town, dating from the 7th century, is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. Enclosed by city walls built in the 13th century, the buildings represent a cross-section of medieval architectural styles and remain well preserved. Onofrio's Fountain, situated just inside the main entrance to the old city at Pile Gate, is one of Dubrovnik's most famous landmarks and a popular meeting place. 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 opposite towns into the merged city of Dubrovnik. There are numerous churches, monasteries and museums to explore; the old town also boasts plenty of restaurants, bars and shops; and the coastal belt is awash with marinas, coves and promenades. Most of the hotels and the best beaches are located north west of the old town at Lapad, as well as in Ploce to the north east.
Zagreb, capital of Croatia, is the country's economic centre and 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.
The pretty city of Split has a rich history. Since ancient times it has, in various guises, served as the economic and administrative centre of the beautiful Croatian Adriatic coastal region, today called Dalmatia. The city 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. From the 5th to the 2nd century BC Greek colonists settled the mainland and adjacent islands. Later came the Romans, in particular the Emperor Diocletian, who, being of Dalmatian origin, elected to build a huge palace at a spot then called Salona, in the year 303. A town grew up around the palace, and eventually, by the Middle Ages, the city of Split had begun to develop.
The Diocletian's Palace still stands in the very heart of the old part of Split, which charms visitors with its cobbled streets and Roman architecture. The greater Split area is characterised by its lush vegetation and green areas, particularly Marjan Hill on the west of the peninsula with its ancient indigenous forest. The city makes an ideal base from which to explore the islands, beauty spots, and historic villages in central Dalmatia.
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.
The largest island in Croatia, Krk (pronounced kirk) 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 laid-back 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 among the many small towns and villages. Krk Town is the largest and most popular for tourists with many restaurants, shops and bars in the attractive Old Town.
The best beaches in Krk are 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 many towns offer their own unique attractions; 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 island.
Krk Island is popular for weekend excursions from Croatia, however visitors can easily spend a week exploring the winding streets and hidden corners of the island. A paradise for summer watersports, diving, bird watching and hiking, there are many things to see and do on Krk for just about anyone.
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