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Croatia

Croatia Highlights: The Republic of Croatia is a fascinating country located at the crossroads of Central Europe and the Mediterranean. Its modern capital is Zagreb, a sprawling, vibrant city, while its historic capital is Varaždin, a beautifully preserved town replete with elegant Baroque buildings. Other popular sights include Split, home to the magnificent Diocletian’s Palace, and of course the remarkable walled town of Dubrovnik, which overlooks the Adriatic Sea. The Dalmatian Coast, with its pretty resorts and gorgeous scenery, is a huge attraction, and boasts more than a thousand magical islands. These include picturesque Hvar and Mljet, a beautiful and unspoilt island which is now a National Park. Other celebrated national parks include the Plitvice Lakes National Park, where the mountains and forests contain sixteen breathtaking waterfalls. Food & drink: Each region of Croatia has its own culinary specialities, but some dishes are wildly available across the country. Favourite meaty dishes include ‘janjetina’, lamb roasted with herbs, or ‘odojak’, roast pork, and plenty of rich, country stews, including ‘gulaš’ – a Croatian-style ghoulash. Along the coast you’ll find a huge choice of seafood, with octopus, squid, mussels, cuttlefish and sardines among the most common local delicacies. ‘Brodet’, fish stew, is a favourite in Dubrovnik and along the Dalmatian Coast. Pasta dishes are also popular, particularly ‘njoki’ (gnocchi), and macaroni. Off the beaten track: Almost a tenth of Croatia is protected a nature reserve or national park. The most famous national parks, such as the Plitvice Lakes National Park, attract many visitors, but it’s still easy to find a corner for yourself. Other national parks worth exploring include Kopački Rit, one of Europe’s largest and most unspoilt wetlands, which is located near the Serbian border.