From Croatia with Love
It may rank high as Europe’s vacation hotspot but Croatia hasn’t succumbed to mass tourism. The motto of Croatia’s tourist board, “Mediterranean As It Once Was” may not apply to the most popular coastal destinations but there are plenty of authentic experiences to be had off the radar.
Wine Portfolio would like to welcome Anja Mutic to our team of writers. As we prepare for a shoot in Croatia Anja will help our community get up to speed on the country. Anja Mutic is a Croatia-born New York-based travel writer. Follow her at
www.everthenomad.com/blog/ for lots of great insight and stay tuned at the end of this article for more ways to learn about Croatia. We’ll bring you more info on Croatian wines in the weeks ahead and as always we’ll have regular updates on our Facebook and Twitter sites while we’re on location. And now over to Anja to introduce you to the country she loves.
In some of the trendier spots you may entirely forget the horrid civil war that ravaged Croatia in the 1990s. The country has bounced back admirably, which only speaks to its people’s remarkable resilience. This country in transition, poised between Mitteleuropa and Mediterranean, is as diverse as its landscapes, both budget and experience-wise. Head to some of the better-known Adriatic destinations and you’ll have to negotiate hefty price tags during the high summer season. But skip the coast and go inland and you’ll find great value in the locales of continental Croatia.
On the Croatian side of the Adriatic boot, find glitz and glamour aplenty in hotspots like Dubrovnik and Hvar, where celeb spotting, designer cocktails and fancy yachts became the order of the day. If the star appeal and the buzz of these don’t seduce you, find some peace and quiet in Croatia’s many coastal hideaways – from remote lighthouses that you can rent for a week, gorgeously weathered fishing villages, secluded beaches and half-deserted islands (Croatia has over 1000!).
After you’ve explored the coastline, don’t miss the unsung beauties of continental Croatia. Enjoy pristine farmland in one of the rural hotels or ‘agro-tourisms’, roam rugged wilderness, raft or canoe the wild rivers, hike lake-sprinkled national parks and bike through picture-perfect villages. Do explore Zagreb, the country’s pocket-size capital with its buzzing cafe life, a new contemporary art museum, ancient hilltop quarters and a rich repertoire of festivals and events.
Pair all of the above with Croatia’s delicious food – and plenty of it! Climbing up in Europe’s culinary rungs, Croatia showcases a full spectrum of gastronomic assets. These include prime-quality ingredients, locally sourced from its land and sea and cooked up in creative ways by celebrity chefs as well as mom-and-pop-style taverns. The wine regions of Croatia are as booming as the country itself, and its olive oils (particularly those produced in Istria) are receiving top accolades. Dobar tek and živjeli! (Enjoy your food and cheers!)
To help plan your own Croatia trip check out Anja’s
brand-new edition of Lonely Planet Croatia.: