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Set sail and let the wind do the rest

International Love

About a dozen regattas held in the Croatian part of the Adriatic are international. Most of them are sailed between Italian and Croatian towns, like the famous Rovinj-Pesaro-Rovinj Regatta. There are also dozens of sponsors’ regattas and a unique ladies’ regatta – Teuta – sailed just off of Zadar. If you want to feel like you’re “gone with the wind”, choose one among the widespread offer!

The All-Nighter

Among such demanding regattas with a long history is also the day-and-night Galijola Race, which sails from the town of Opatija to Galijola, an islet with a lighthouse at the southern end of the Bay of Kvarner. First enjoy the view from the sea and then from the lighthouse!

The Demanding One

Also demanding is the Jabuka Regatta, which is sailed in mid-November from the town of Vodice to the 45-mile distant magical volcanic island of Jabuka – a rocky cone in the middle of the Adriatic, and back. The start of the regatta is before midnight, and the target island must be reached within the ten-hour limit. Sounds like a real challenge, doesn’t it?

The Professionals

If that isn’t enough for you, we have two even more demanding courses that are aimed solely for professional crews, both starting from Split. The first is the Sušac Regatta for two-person crews, who must sail to a small island between Vis and Lastovo and back. The other, regarded by sailors as the most challenging, is the Sv. Nikola (St Nicholas) Singles’ Regatta. In honour of this patron saint of sailors, one-man crews sail on the route to Palagruža, an island closer to the Italian than to the Croatian coast, and then to the near-mythical fishermen’s port of Komiža.

Mr. & Ms. Popularity

Split is also the starting point of the two most popular regattas in Croatia. One is Mrduja, open to all possible types of sailboats. The winner is the boat that first turns around the island of Mrduja in the Gate of Split and gets back to Split. The other most popular race is the Vis Regatta, a 70-year-old race from Split to the island of Vis.

The Ultimate

Their popularity and massive participation is only matched by the Fiumanka Regatta of the city of Rijeka. It is a series of smaller introductory regattas lasting for a week in June before the city shoreline, topped by the main race on Saturday, in which over a hundred boats take place. What a view to enjoy from another sailboat, the coast, or the air!

The Rock Stars

Don’t forget about the Lošinj and South Dalmatian regattas and their long histories. The first day of the Lošinj Regatta is a navigation race from the city port to the island of Susak, then to the island of Ilovik and back, while the second day is a race around the ports within the almost two-mile-long port of Mali Lošinj. The South Dalmatian regatta is exclusively navigational and sails in three stages – on the first day from the town of Orebić in the Pelješac Peninsula to the village of Pomena on the island of Mljet, on the second day to Prožura, the southernmost port on the island, and on the third day to the city of Dubrovnik. This tour sounds better than any band tour, if you ask us!

The Best for Last

There are two more regattas that are worth special mention. One is the Easter Regatta, which attracts the best-known Croatian sailors and comprises several races and stages over three days in front of the shoreline of the town of Hvar. The other is the Krčka Jedra Regatta, organized by the oldest sailing club in this part of the Adriatic, the Plav of the town of Krk, founded in 1876. You can literally sail through history with this one!

Now comes the tough question – which one will you choose?

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10 Wooden Boats That Would Make Even Noah Jealous

Falkuša – Vis

A falkuša is a traditional fishing boat used by fishermen from the town of Komiža. About 7-8 metres in length and 3m across, the falkuša’s distinctive feature also contributes to its name, two removable wooden side strakes called ‘falke’, which protected the boat out in the open sea, and were removed to ease the fishing process. There are a couple of beautifully restored falkušas in Komiža today, available for charter and a chance to relive those voyages of yesteryear.

Betina Gajeta

Betina, near Murter, is another famous home to traditional wooden shipbuilding, in the form of the gajeta from the 18th century. A solid cargo boat with Latin sails, it was used to transport goods to other islands and along the coast. This famous vessel is honoured every year in Betina with an annual wooden ship regatta. There is also a wooden shipbuilding museum in the town, where local families have donated a number of artefacts. The business runs in the families here.

Korčula Gajeta

Another famous home of the gajeta is the island of Korčula, whose shipbuilding traditions are thought to date back to Illyrian times, while the earliest written records date back to 1214. No wonder Marco Polo found it so easy to go travelling!

Batana from Rovinj

Batanas are flat-bottomed boats protected by UNESCO due to their longevity and traditional construction method. They can still be seen around Rovinj today. This is the reason why the Batana House Eco Museum was established, but you’ll get to know them best if you take a ride. Or two, three!

Bracera

Also known as Brazzera, these typically single mast sailing boats are the most common on the Adriatic coast. They were so popular that the Austro-Hungarian fleet register had 800 of them listed from Dalmatia to Istria. There is debate about the origins of the name, which some claim is derived from origins on Brač, while others say the name refers to the use of oars using manual power (in Italian “Forza di braccia”). The most important truth is that they are a delight to see!

Condura Croatica (Nin)

With its famous saltpans and the world’s smallest cathedral, Nin has plenty to offer tourists, including its own boating heritage. The Condura Croatica fleet had their heyday in the 11th century, and it was rumoured that King Tomislav had some 20,000 rowers on Conduras at his disposal in Nin. You can visit one of these at the Museum of Nin Antiquities.

Leut

Widely used throughout the entire Adriatic region, the Leut was both a fishing boat and a coastal freighter, with a speciality for bluefish fishing and the use of the ‘trat’, a net attached to the stern which was pulled out of the sea at the appropriate moment.

Trabakul

Once the mainstay of coastal shipping, this wooden freight ship dates back to the 15th century when it was used as a Dalmatian-Venetian merchant vessel, taking its name from ‘trabacca’ or tent, after the boat’s sails. Slow, reliable, and made of oak and larch, a typical trabakul was 20 metres in length, had two masts and a large rudder, and a crew of 10-20 ‘trabaccolos’.

Dubrovnik Galijun

The best ship of its era, the Dubrovnik Galijun’s (English galleon) prime time coincided with the golden age of Dubrovnik, from the 16th – 18th centuries. Solidly built and extremely flexible, the Galijun was used for long merchant voyages, as well as a warship when required. An essential part of the Dubrovnik fleet, which brought such wealth to the city.

Dubrovnik Karaka

The largest sailing vessel in Dubrovnik from the 14th – 17th centuries, the Dubrovnik Karaka was used mostly for cargo, and was a sign of the quality of Dubrovnik shipbuilding. The city had a booming shipbuilding industry of karakas and galleons, with the name ‘Argosy’ becoming synonymous with a quality trading vessel, even being referred to by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice. A boat, Dubrovnik, and Shakespeare? This just screams romance!

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A Thousand Islands, a Thousand Things to Do

Find Your Beaches

Where to start? Beaches of course. From the iconic Zlatni Rat in Bol on Brač to the delightfully hidden Stiniva on Vis, which was voted the best in all of Europe, Croatian islands shine with their beach selection. Thought there were no sandy beaches in Croatia? Discover the sandy heaven on the island of Susak – a whole island covered in sand. And for those naturists among you, choose the beach where naturism began with an abdicating British king on Rab in 1936, or perhaps CNN’s top FKK beach in the world on Jerolim island.

Explore the Legends

Don’t forget to explore the legends of the Croatian islands, for here both St Paul and Odysseus were shipwrecked on Mljet. And while you’re there, take a look at the stunning national park! Or go to Lokrum, just a stone’s throw away from Dubrovnik, and find out more about local tales of mermaids, fairies and pirates!

Taste the Wine

Let’s talk about the wine and Croatia’s famed 130 indigenous varieties. Many of them are island specific, including Grk on Korčula, Vugava on Vis, Bogdanuša on Hvar, Dobričić on Šolta and Žlahtina on Krk. You just need to learn one word: živjeli (cheers)!

Enjoy the Mediterranean Diet

Of course, the plentiful fruits of the Adriatic ensure that fish plays a large part on the menu, and it is said that a fish swims three times in Croatia. First, in the pristine Adriatic, then in olive oil during preparation, and finally in wine, as it is consumed. It is not without reason that the Mediterranean diet has been listed as an intangible UNESCO heritage. But the islands too have their own traditions and recipes such as Viška pogača (Vis pie), vitalac on Brač, and the edible dormouse festival on Hvar… Try not to try them all!

Fall in Love with Nature

And for all the stunning natural beauty – the sensational Blue and Green Caves on Biševo, the heart-shaped Galešnjak and more – there are also man-made wonders, which are fascinating to explore. Not to mention that wildlife lovers have plenty to enjoy, including the unique griffon vultures on the island of Cres and dolphins in the Lošinj archipelago!

Man-Made yet Breathtaking

Visually it is hard to beat the tiny islet of Baljenac near Šibenik. Just 0.14 km2 in size, but with a staggering 23.36 km of immaculate dry stonewalls. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stari Grad Plain, the magnificent Blaca Monastery, complete with a piano carried manually by nine monks, who consumed an alleged 56 litres of wine on the way, the mysterious Dragon’s Cave on Brač, and the military caves of Vis are all outstanding man-made highlights.

Join the Tradition

From the Lastovo Carnival to the Jelsa Easter Procession, Croatia’s islands excel in celebrating their heritage, and so be sure to check with your local tourist board what festivals are taking place during your visit, for Croatia’s history has deep roots on Hvar – it is where you find its oldest town. Organised tourism in Europe began on the Croatian island of Hvar in 1868 with the founding of the Hvar Health Society, and the recuperative powers of its temperate climate continue to this day. The island of Lošinj is also known as the island of vitality, with good reason to claim so.

Travel by Boat

And how to capture as much of this vast selection as possible on your holiday? Croatia has a well-integrated system of maritime transport, with major inhabited islands connected throughout the year. Private speedboat providers can bring additional convenience to your trip, and with proper planning, it is possible to explore the maximum of Croatia’s rich island diversity as you choose.

The only question that remains is – which Croatian island experience are you looking for?

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One Man’s Fear is Another Man’s Thrill

Ziplining

Let’s kick off with a first in Europe, the very first zipline over the sea at Crikvenica, one of several zipline experiences which you can enjoy by a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Plitvice, over pirate country, and one of Lonely Planet’s top 40 experiences on the Cetina, as well as Pazin in Istria, and Konavle to the south. Ready, steady, zip!

Rafting

The Cetina River is the focus of much of Dalmatia’s adrenaline tourism. Once a hideout for the feared “Pirates of Omiš”, today there are other thrills such as white-water rafting and extreme diving at the source of the Cetina, where no diver has ever reached the bottom.

Bungee Jumping

Perhaps a bungee jump or two? New opportunities exist on some of Croatia’s most iconic bridges, near Dubrovnik and Šibenik, while Maslenica is perhaps the best known, and no party on Zrće would be complete without some extreme jumping. Jump, jump, jump around – all over Croatia!

Hiking

Croatia’s sometimes rocky terrain and plethora of national parks makes it ideal hiking country, as well as a picturesque haven for rock climbers. There are numerous sites all over the country, but perhaps none as unique as hiking on the Premužićeva Trail, which is located in the Northern Velebit National Park*, and rated as the best one in all of Croatia!

* Northern Velebit was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the “Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe”, which makes beech tree forests in Northern Velebit and Paklenica National Parks in Croatia a new world heritage site.

Škraping

In Croatia, locals do things differently, and it is perhaps no surprise that locals have invented their own peculiar event on Pašman, called škraping, a rather bizarre race held each year over a terrain which Dalmatia offers in abundance – rocks. The race is increasing in popularity each year, and involves contestants racing over rocky terrain, some of which contains razor sharp edges. Are you ready for the hardest track EVER?

Slacklining

A true adrenaline destination inspires its visitors of course, and Croatia’s adventure portfolio has recently expanded to include slacklining, initiated by a group of Austrian tourists slacklining over the famous Red Lake of Imotski, just weeks after a Frenchman became the first person ever to successfully dive to the lake’s bottom.

Kite-surfing, wakeboarding, cycling, scuba diving, kayaking, the list goes on and on. Now you just need to figure out – which one is your adrenaline addiction?

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Step by Step to an Unforgettable Holiday

Opatija

With its temperate climate, increased accessibility to the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and excellent medical facilities, Opatija became a prominent health tourism destination in the 1880s, and the construction of the town’s famous Lungomare dates back to 1889, as a means for its convalescing visitors to enjoy the pure air and recuperative climate. Today, this picturesque seafront stroll stretches a full 12 km, from Volosko to Lovran, a delightful public walkway which has become the centre of local social life, as well as a relaxing and healthy way to explore the coast.

Kostrena

Not far from the most famous Lungomare in Kvarner, another scenic promenade awaits you just a short drive away from Rijeka. Kostrena, a small town that is home to multiple generations of seamen and captains, lovingly preserves the long-running tradition of maritime affairs in the region. Its 3-km promenade curves along the coastline, overlooking Kostrena’s many gorgeous beaches that are often visited by locals from neighbouring towns. Take a walk, and maybe afterwards a bath!

Kaštela

Equally as impressive, and steeped in history, is the seaside promenade of Kaštela, just north of Split. Home to the vines of the original Zinfandel, as well as a Game of Thrones film set, keen walkers can explore these seven stunning coastal villages, each boasting their own castle and individual history and heritage. Reward yourself afterwards with some terrific Croatian wine!

Makarska & Crikvenica

There are numerous outstanding walks along the coast without official promenades – the Makarska Riviera never seems to stop and is full of life, while the Crikvenica Riviera further north has plenty of entertainment to take in.

UNESCO

But for a chance to appreciate the true magic of Croatia’s natural beauty and astonishing history, there is little to match walking the promenades of its fabled stone towns. UNESCO World Heritage Site enthusiasts need only to wander along the rivas of Poreč, Šibenik*, Trogir and Split to marvel at the Euphrasian Basilica, St James’ Cathedral, Trogir Old Town, and Diocletian’s Palace, respectively. These places even have a long history of amazing all those who take a walk here!

Dubrovnik

Or head into another UNESCO site, the old town of Dubrovnik, for two strolls of a very differing nature – Stradun, Croatia’s most exclusive street in the heart of the Old Town, but perhaps no longer the most famous walk in Dubrovnik, for Game of Thrones followers will recognise the Walk of Shame close by. Walkers are coming!

Zadar

Another old town promenade walk you must not miss is in the former Dalmatian capital of Zadar*, home to the best sunset in the world (Alfred Hitchcock’s words), the unique Sea Organ, and Greeting to the Sun, to accompany the picturesque stone buildings that line the route.

Islands

The islands, of course, offer their own treasures, with countless coastal routes which leave you at one with nature and the raw beauty of the Adriatic, such as leisurely strolls from Jelsa to Vrboska on Hvar, or Poljana to Preko on Ugljan, while its riva offerings are no less impressive. The glittering Hvar Town waterfront in summer is an A-list celeb hangout, the place to see and be seen, while the more sedate waterfront of Vis Town offers a tranquil but equally fascinating alternative.

Beach or coastal walk? It is for you to decide – Croatia’s idyllic Adriatic coast and islands have something for everyone.


*Šibenik’s fortress of St Nicholas and Zadar’s city defence walls have also been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.

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The Sweetest Part of the Adriatic

Take your Pick

From Istria in the northwest to Konavle in the southeast, one can find the ever-popular kroštule (shortcrust pastry mainly “tied” in the form of a bow, deep-fried in oil, and dusted with sugar); fritule (small round yeast dumplings with raisins, deep-fried in oil, and dusted with sugar); pandišpanj (sponge cake flavoured with prošek and dried citrus fruits); sugared-coated almonds; paprenjaci (hard cookies made with honey and spices); bobići (shortcrust almond cookie balls); and arancini (orange peels marinated in water, rolled in sugar, and dried). Something for everyone, or even better – everything for everyone!

Croatian Combination

If you like rakija, you will love smokvenjak. The smokvenjak is basically a type of cake made solely from dried figs with an addition of walnuts or almonds and other aromas. The island of Vis is known for its smokvenjak which they call hib, or hljeb. On Vis, they add roughly chopped almonds, dry anise, and travarica (herbal brandy). The hib mixture is then dried in the bura wind or in the oven. Smokvenjak is traditionally served with travarica or liqueurs.  Cheers and bon appétit!

The Mystery

If you are more into shortbread cakes with a rich filling, then head to the central Adriatic region. For instance, amareti are a baked rich mixture of ground almonds, egg whites, butter, and sugar, while klašuni have a similar structure, but the outside coating is made of shortcrust pastry, while the almond filling is additionally seasoned with mandatory rose water or liqueur (rozolin) made from the petals of a special type of rose. You will never be able to know all the ingredients for the most irresistible klašuni from the city of Korčula, because they are kept a secret by the greatest masters of the trade. But it is no secret they taste wonderful.

The Dessert from Heaven

The Dalmatian classic is the paradižet whose roots originate in Austrian cuisine. This dessert has a thick liquid base, which is a mixture of milk and cooked egg yolks, to which are added shortly boiled spoon-sized dumplings made of whisked egg whites that resemble fluffy white clouds. And you will feel like you’re in seventh heaven when you try it, for sure.

La Caramel en Rose

Rožata is today probably the most popular sweet on the Adriatic, and it is easiest to compare it to crème caramel. Our traditional recipe calls for a mandatory addition of rose water or rose petal liqueur which is how it got its Croatian name, and what gives it its originality and special refined taste.

Special Treats for Special Occasions

On special occasions such as weddings and other very important family celebrations, the Croatians show off an unbelievable extravagance of divine cakes. Perhaps the most luxurious such cake on the Adriatic is the hrapaćuša from the island of Brač. In addition to the abundance of orange and lemon juice and maraschino, it is overflowing with almonds. The cake has a dense top layer of roughly chopped walnuts that resemble the rock formation found in the caves above the place it was named after.

Saint Cake

The Rab Cake is made with similar ingredients, except that its tantalising and incredibly delicious filling is wrapped in a wafer-thin dough. The history of this sweet goes back to the end of the XII century when Benedictine nuns made it for Pope Alexander III for his sea travels along the Adriatic. And holy moly, it is delicious!

Last But Not Least

In this trio of finest cakes, the Skradin Cake boasts a very different flamboyance and must have drawn its inspiration from the Viennese Sachertorte. The Skradin version is a bold interpretation resulting in an even better cake (yes, we said it!). The Viennese original is replaced with an extravagance of flavours where the marmalade is substituted with honey, an abundance of walnuts, and hardly any flour, as well as rose petal liqueur and a generous chocolate glaze.

We know what you’re thinking now and yes; you’ll have to try them all.

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6 Epic Cycling Trails

Escape from the Crowd

The Croatian capital has become one of the country’s hottest destinations, but how easy is it to get on a bike and explore? Head to Medvednica Nature Park, just 20 minutes from Zagreb, where the land climbs to 1,000 m, providing a natural haven for adventure cyclists – both road and MTB – just minutes from the bustle of downtown Zagreb. If you’re tired with the city rush hour why not replace it with Medvednica rush hour – a challenge when you have to RUSH down the mountain and get to the bottom of it in an HOUR’S time. And you’ll get a rush while cycling on the Medvednica routes because they are amazing!

Road of Gold

Croatia’s smallest and most northern county is known as home to gold panning and the world’s first oil well. Međimurje offers dozens of branded and marked routes throughout the county. A major wine producing region, the concept of bike and wine is well developed, allowing visitors to experience two of the region’s major attractions in one.

Road to the Centre of the World

Bike your way to the centre of the world! Fascinating Ludbreg claims to be the official centre of the world, so get ready to conquer it by bike! The oldest and best-known cycling route in the area is the Drava Route, whose 80-kilometer course follows the river Drava through a series of picturesque, interesting villages in the lowlands of the Drava basin.

Continental Croatia by River Roads

Looking for a little water to accompany you on the ride? Continental Croatia is rich in rivers, and their accompanying roads afford some great training routes for more experienced road racers. Start in Varaždin or Čakovec along the Drava River and Mura estuary, towards Koprivnica, Pitomača, Virovitica, Valpovo, Osijek, and end in Vukovar to the east. That’s over 300 km of road next to the rapids of the river Drava. When in doubt where to go, just do as Bear Grylls does – follow the river!

Cycling in WOW

By WOW we mean the World Of Waterfalls, and by WOW we also mean WOOOOW that place is amazingly beautiful! There is no greater symbol of Croatia’s attractive nature than UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, Plitvice Lakes, which are visited by over a million people a year. But not so many do it by bike. Around the Plitvice Lakes National Park* there are well-developed bike trails for all levels of cyclists, many of which take you to parts of the park out of reach of the regular tourist. Want to make it truly a day to remember? Start from Karlovac and cycle the 70 km or so over the pre-motorway mountainous route via Josipdol. Wow, what a challenge!

*To tour the National Park, park your bike and take a walk along the picturesque trails!

Find your Prince(ss)

If you’re looking for your prince(ss) maybe try this castle! A jewel near Croatia’s Slovenian border is the imperious Trakošćan Castle, one of Croatia’s most important, and a magnet for tourists and cyclists alike. Maybe one of them could be your “the one”. If you are not into prince charming stories and you just want to find a good old fashioned man with traditional manly skills, there’s no better place than Krapina – home of the impressive Neanderthal museum. A popular circular route to the castle starts and ends at Đurmanec, a 38 km ride over Mount Macelj, some 380 m above sea-level.

Challenge(s) accepted? Ready, steady, go!

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The Food that Amazed Anthony Bourdain

The Chef Recommends

Anthony Bourdain famously pronounced himself an idiot for not discovering Croatian cuisine sooner and delivering the magic of Croatia’s gourmet offer into living rooms all over the world. And one of the biggest secrets of this cuisine? Simplicity. Simple as that!

The Changing Menu

Freshness is another key factor in the changing seasonal menu , with its roots back in the harsh realities of life on the coast and islands. The family diet was totally dependent on what one could source locally. Peasant food, made at home based on grandma’s recipes that were passed on for generations. Perhaps your grandma was right; everything really used to be better!

The Natural Influence

The proximity of the sea was of course a major source of gastronomic treasures, and the fresh fish and abundant seafood remain one of the top attractions of a visit to the Croatian coast today. Other key ingredients, such as olive oil and wine, continue to be produced by almost all families for their home use. So wine-hopping around the neighborhood should definitely be on your to-do list.

The Beloved Ingredients

Come in spring, and you’ll see locals disappear into the wilds in search of wild asparagus, while in November you can find a sea of orange in the Neretva Valley, whose 1.4 million tangerine trees send quality fruit all over the world. Another key ingredient that makes up the Mediterranean diet includes the essential ‘blitva’ (chard), which combined with potatoes, garlic and olive oil, is one of the most popular side dishes. Meat lovers will be entranced by the sensational lamb on offer, usually prepared on the spit, then lightly flavored and served with a side dish and salad. Simply prepared, full of flavor.

The Comeback of the Century

Ancient recipes, which used to combine these ingredients to make popular peasant food, are today celebrated as gourmet wonders which contribute to the region’s culinary diversity. What a comeback!

The Gourmet To-Do List

Here are a couple of tips&tricks for foodies! Don’t miss out on soparnik (a tasty pie with chard) – the ultimate peasant food from the Poljicka Republic region and today protected as part of Croatian cultural heritage, Viška pogača – a pie from Vis, gregada – seafood heaven from Hvar, or vitalac,- lamb offal from Brač which is also protected as cultural heritage are just some of the unique Croatian offers which are a MUST.

The Markets Catch

Lemons from Vis, the Marasca cherries, Ljubotovica garlic, ubiquitous honey are some of the ingredients you should look for at the local markets. And let us not forget the flavors to be added by the wide range of herbs to be found in this natural paradise. Of course, you need to include some home-made rakija in your gourmet vacation. Cheers or as we Croats say: živjeli!

In a fast-moving world, take some time to slow down the Croatian way. A healthy lifestyle at a relaxed pace, with local food and vibrant tastes, simply prepared.

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Where the Mountains Meet the Adriatic Sea

Nature at its Best

One of Croatia’s eight national parks, Risnjak (named after the lynx) is located here with a plethora of unspoiled forests, meadows, streams, rivers, caves, and mountain peaks with unique flora and fauna. This includes the source of the mighty River Kupa, whose upper stream is known as the ‘magical butterfly valley’. But Risnjak is not the only protected area; the park-forest of Golubinjak and its coniferous forest and numerous caves and rocks earned its protected status in 1961, while Zeleni vir and Vražji prolaz in Skrad were declared a special geomorphological reserve in 1962. What a fantastic foursome!

There is much to entice cave lovers, including the 300m-long Vrelo cave, which is not only rich in cave formations, but also one of the most accessible in Europe, with no access problems for children or disabled visitors, while the Lokvarka cave, 1200m long, is one of the longest caves in Croatia. Its artificial lake of the same name adds to the stunning setting of the conifer forests around it.

Activity at its Peak

With such an array of natural goodness to explore, it is little wonder Gorski kotar is a haven of activity. Hikers, walkers and especially cyclists will be more than pleased! With over 400km of marked cycle routes, cyclists can set their own challenges; why not connect the mountains and the Adriatic in one breath-taking adrenaline ride? The winter season brings its own sporting challenges, and while people come to enjoy that fresh mountain air, many do so by sledding or visiting one of several ski resorts. While there are thousands of possible activities, one thing is for sure; you can’t get bored in Gorski kotar.

Culture at its Highlight

While nature is king, there is plenty of heritage and tradition to explore, including castles, museums, churches, sacral heritage, ethno houses, mills and sculpture workshops. Not to be missed is the Zrinski Castle in Brod na Kupi, which dates back to 1651, and today houses a museum of hunting, forestry and fishing, while the Rački Ethno house, Palčava Šiša, Delač House and the Lič Ethno collection all serve to illuminate the region’s rich past. Of the 12 churches in the Brod Moravice area, the Orthodox monastery in Gomirje is one of the religion’s most western-located, and has always been a spiritual centre of religious life of the Orthodox population.

Cuisine at its Finest

With such a vibrant collection of plant life, the availability of an outstanding selection of flavoured rakijas – from juniper to pine – is perhaps no surprise, just one example of the rich gourmet offer. The specificity of Gorski kotar can be seen in the culinary offer that focuses on local availability such as a rich array of mushrooms, and even dormice, which are an uncommon specialty of the region. From May to November, an ongoing festival, ‘Plodovi Gorja’ celebrates and promotes the indigenous food and traditions of the region. Meat lovers in particular will indulge in local meat specialties, including bear, wild boar and deer, often served as game stew with gnocchi and forest fruit condiments. And while the fresh catch of the Adriatic may be all the rage in coastal restaurants, here the pristine rivers and lakes provide an array of fresh water fish, with trout being the most common.

Yes, this is also Croatia. A world of natural forests, mountains and lakes, a world away from the tourist hotspots, where one can convene with nature, relax or exercise, experiencing traditions and cuisines unique to a region that few tourists visit. But one which is among the most accessible in all of Croatia.

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Discover the Source of Health and Pleasure

Top-Terme Topusko – will make you wishes come true like a goldfish

The particularity of these spas is certainly the water that flows within them. It is water of volcanic origin that is suitable for health treatments and the rehabilitation of the nervous, muscular, and locomotor systems. Simply enjoy bathing in the volcanic water, and it will do all the rest. For those who like, in addition to this, other water activities, you can always go fishing in the nearby Glina river. Maybe you will catch a goldfish that will make your wish come true, but even if you don’t, it doesn’t matter, Terme Topusko will make most of your wishes come true.

Krapinske Toplice thermal centre – from geysers and waterfalls to ocean waves

Krapinske Toplice thermal centre boasts the therapeutic hyperthermal water and natural therapeutic mud, which create an ideal basis for the application of all modern physical medicine and rehabilitation treatments. The Aquae Vivae water centre, a large indoor pools complex, is especially delightful. You can enjoy the water attractions such as geysers, waterfalls, and artificial rain that will warm you up, refresh, and relax, all at the same time. If you are up for a bit of action, try out the swimming pool with its artificial ocean waves. This thermal centre will even delight divers, since you can dive in a special swimming pool using full scuba diving equipment. If you are taking the little ones with you, you will still be able to safely enjoy the kids swimming pool under the relaxing waterfall, while you keep an eye on your little ones. And if you need some fresh air, you can breathe it in the heated outdoor swimming pool.

Bizovačke Toplice thermal centre – swim in the warmest part of the Pannonian sea

The main feature of the Bizovačke Toplice thermal centre is its temperature that reaches up to 96°C, and is thus warmer than any other known thermal water. The water from Bizovac is actually the remnants of the Pannonian sea, and this is why it is salty and extremely rich in minerals. The Bizovačke Toplice thermal centre with its rich offer that ranges from night bathing, movie screenings and large water slide, to varying wellness choices, and other natural beauties and historical sights nearby, invites guests to visit this heart of Slavonia.

Stubičke Toplice thermal centre – step in beautiful, step out more beautiful

The so-called “Stubaki” are hidden in the vicinity of Zagreb, and they are famous for the cryosauna – a treatment of exposure to extremely low temperatures from – 110 °C to – 190 °C, which has a positive impact on the skin and boosts the immune system, but also helps the loss of weight. After these unusual treatments, you will certainly notice the difference in how you feel, but also in the way you look.

Terme Tuhelj thermal centre – renew your body and soul

Fans of water adventures will find their thrills in the Terme Tuhelj bathing and wellness centre. Besides the sources of thermal water and the therapeutic mud, the thermal centre is famous for its Water Planet, a bathing place with more than 5,000 m2 of water surface, suitable for all types of body and soul revitalisation. The geysers and waterfalls will make you relax with their relaxing water massage so much that you will forget about all your worries, and if you are a night owl, on Saturdays you can enjoy the magic of the Water Planet until 2 am.

Terme Sveti Martin thermal centre in Međimurje – active relaxation

The Terme Sveti Martin thermal centre is certainly the favourite destination for professional and recreational athletes. Today’s modern Spa & Sport Resort Sveti Martin is an optimal place for relaxation throughout the year. The thermal centre has a complex of indoor pools with thermal water, a summer aqua park, as well as a golf course and a wellness centre with holistic relaxation treatments. After each activity it is necessary to reward the body with a little something, and in the Terme Sveti Martin thermal centre you can do so with one of many massages, Finnish and Roman saunas.

Daruvar thermal centre – relaxation in the swimming pool and beyond

True nature lovers will enjoy the Daruvar thermal centre in many ways.
As for health, here you can recover from various sports injuries or alleviate pain from illnesses like rheumatism, and at the same time enjoy the benefits of thermal water and therapeutic mud, as well various massages and saunas. Whilst on the gourmet side, you will certainly love the original meals of Daruvar restaurants prepared with local ingredients.
For the lovers of nature walks, you can visit the park and the wood that surrounds the thermal centre, and further revitalize your body with the fresh air.

Terme Jezerčica thermal centre – so close, but far enough

The Terme Jezerčica thermal centre is located close enough to the Croatian capital city to attract many inhabitants of Zagreb, but at the same time far enough so that they can forget about their worries in a relaxing atmosphere. The abundant sources of thermal water and the indoor and outdoor swimming pools, together with five types of saunas in the Jezerčica Spa Centre regularly attract inhabitants of the capital city to feel this oasis of peace. It is very hard to describe that feeling, so the best way is to come and discover it for yourselves.

Toplice Lešće thermal centre – a wellness oasis in the heart of nature

The Toplice Lešće thermal centre will enchant you with its idyllic peace, clean mountain air, and the beauty of the surrounding nature. Escape from the busy everyday life and try to forget about all your worries, and if you cannot do it on your own, a relaxing massage will certainly help, as well as the infrared sauna, the whirlpool bath, or a simple swim in the thermal water. After you have stretched all your muscles in the pool, it is then time to wrap up the whole story about health, and for that you will need the healthy food in the ‘Lešće’ restaurant where they will welcome you with culinary delicacies prepared with local ingredients.

Varaždin thermal centre – enjoy like an emperor

The Varaždin thermal centre dates back to ancient times, and it has been a synonym for superior service and incredible healing powers for centuries. The thousand-year tradition of using thermal sulphurous water and therapeutic peloids from natural sources are the reasons why so many people come here for treatments or to enjoy the place, and very often they combine both. The emperor Constantine enjoyed the beauties of the Varaždin thermal centre, so you can easily say that you have enjoyed your time like an emperor after your visit to the Varaždin thermal centre.

Istarske Toplice thermal centre – a rock that heals

The Istarske Toplice thermal centre is located in the fairy-tale-like hinterland of the Istrian peninsula in the Northern Adriatic, and is surrounded by a beautiful landscape. The 85-metre high rock called the Giant is situated above the thermal centre, and below the rock there is the source of the thermal water, the basis of Istarske Toplice. Thanks to this good giant, this thermal centre has been known since ancient times for its water full of minerals, which has been scientifically and proven in practice to boost the recovery process and the treatment of many illnesses.

Naftalan thermal centre – it’s not only the water that is curative

The Naftalan thermal centre is unique in Europe as a natural source of naftalan curative oil, after which this thermal centre was named. This is the second finding place of that kind in the world, and the only one in Europe.