Croatia © Les Haines
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 georaphically 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.