A Land of Dramatic Landscapes and Culture

For many, Croatia is synonymous with a holiday on the coast. It would be hard to argue otherwise. The boomerang-shaped country, in the northwest corner of the Balkan Peninsula, has more than 1,200 islands and one of the longest shorelines in Europe. But it would be a shame to come only for sunbathing and ignore the cultural traditions here. Croatia has a thriving capital city of Zagreb and a green and fertile continental region. Beyond just the landscape, however, the country also has a dense and multifaceted heritage defined by the crossroads of history— carved for millennia by the empires that met and mixed here. Over the centuries, an assortment of cultures influenced the region, including Greek, Illyrian, Roman, Ottoman, Byzantine, Hapsburg, Venetian, Austro-Hungarian, and Yugoslav.

A unique combination of topographies, Croatia is made up of distinct regions. The mountains are part of the Dinaric Alps Range. The Adriatic coast, stretches from Slovenia in the north to Montenegro in the south. And the continental section that extends east to the Danube River.

How to get there?

Visitors can reach Croatia by car, plane (with international airports in several cities, including Zagreb, Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik), ship and ferry—with regular connections to Italy and from the mainland to Croatia’s islands—bus, and train (with connections to the Schengen Zone through Zagreb’s main station). Active travelers can also pedal through the country by bicycle, which crosses the border through the EuroVelo 6 and 8 routes, or trek on the Via Dinarica hiking trail, which traverses the entire Western Balkans region.

  • Time Zone
    GMT +1
  • Population
    4.23 million
  • Capital
  • Official language
  • Currency
    Croatian Kuna, or HRK (1 EUR = 7.43 HRK)

EU citizens do not need a visa to visit Croatia. Though a member of the EU, Croatia is not a member of the Schengen Area.

Cultural Routes in Croatia

In total, nine Cultural Routes go through Croatia. Part of two EU macro-regional strategies—the Adriatic-Ionian and the Danube—these areas all intersect to create an embarrassment of cultural riches. Croatia’s nine Cultural Routes include: ATRIUM – Architecture of Totalitarian Regimes of the 20th Century in Europe’s Urban Memory, Iter Vitis, Phoenicians’ Route, Routes of the Olive Tree, Saint Martin de Tours Route. The four biggest Cultural routes in Croatia are the European Route of Historical Thermal Towns, European Cemeteries Route, Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route, and Destination Napoleon.

European Route of Historical Thermal Towns

Perhaps one of the most relaxing of all the routes, this network promotes the long history and culture associated with dedicated to health through thermal waters. In Croatia, the partner is the Daruvar Spa.

European Cemeteries Route

Among this route’s priorities is to “promote the significant funerary heritage for its artistic and historic value; bring public and private awareness to an irreplaceable and highly important heritage for the European cultural movement; and drive cultural tourism offering new spaces.” There are six different sites scattered throughout Croatia, including cemeteries in Zagreb, Zadar, Rijeka, Varaždin, Karlovac, and Dubrovnik.

Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route

This path encompasses five countries along the Middle and Lower Danube. Focusing on the movement of the Romans in the “northern frontier of the Empire,” the sites on the route include archeological sites and wine regions. In total, 21 Croatian sites are listed among the points honoring the heritage.

Destination Napoleon

This route, according to its website: “endeavours to unite European cities whose history was influenced by Napoleon.” Croatian cities include: Dubrovnik and Orebić.

ATRIUM – Architecture of Totalitarian Regimes of the 20th Century in Europe’s Urban Memory

The Architecture of Totalitarian Regimes of the 20th Century in Europe’s Urban Memory includes the Croatian municipalities of Labin, Rasa, and Uble.  According the the route’s website: “[ATRIUM] wants to offer a way for European citizens to explore certain aspects of their 20th-century history and look at traumatic events through the prism of urban landscapes in different cities. At the same time, the route aims to promote the appreciation of the architecture and urban design left by these [totalitarian] regimes for their quality.”

Iter Vitis Route

This route is predicated on the idea that the terroir and history of wine-growing is essential to a destination. In Croatia, the town included on this route is Brtonigla. According to the route’s website: “The landscape constitutes a factor of primary importance for the discovery of a territory and an element of great attractiveness. The culture of vine and wine and the wine-growing landscape are a material and immaterial heritage of the community, an essential component of the history of a territory, signs that can be read and experienced: this is the assumption at the base of the European Cultural Route of the Vine and Wine “Iter Vitis – Les Chemins de la Vigne”, promoted by the European Federation Iter Vitis and certified Cultural Route of the Council of Europe in 2009.”

Phoenicians’ Route

The purpose of this route is to honor and improve the knowledge of ancient Mediterranean civilizations. In Croatia, the contact for the route is the Croatian Association of Independent Travel Agents.

Routes of the Olive Tree

According to their website, this route includes “itineraries of intercultural dialogue framed with cultural events and other activities around the themes of the Olive Tree and the Mediterranean.” Croatia’s network members are based in Dubrovnik and Buje. The route’s key principles include: “[The creation of] bridge among the Mediterranean countries, and between them and the world, thanks to the Olive Tree, a symbol of peace, friendship and well-being; and [the encouragement of] intercultural dialogue, entrepreneurial synergies and exchange of know-how.”

Saint Martin de Tours Route

The paths for this route are dedicated to this historic figure from the 4th century.

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