Sep 28, 2012 15:19 - iprospect | 1,749 views
With its unusual blend of Mediterranean, Central European and Balkan cultures, its long coastline on the Adriatic Sea, and its extensive inland forests, lakes and mountains, Croatia is a gorgeous holiday destination for 2013. Many sun seekers head straight for the coast, which boasts more than a hundred Blue Flag beaches, but it’s definitely worth taking a look at some of the other highlights the country has to offer.
What better place to start than Croatia’s stunning capital city of Zagreb? This city, formerly one of the centres of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, mixes old-school refinement with a vibrant cultural scene. Several major art collections include the Mimara Museum, Strossmayer’s Gallery of Old Masters, and the brand new Museum of Contemporary Art, showcasing Zagreb’s avant-garde art scene.
Traditional Croatia is represented by the central Dolac produce market and the Museum of Arts and Crafts. Restaurants serving huge portions of goulash and traditional strukli pastries jostle with a contemporary culinary scene, while fantastic bars and cafes abound. For a post dinner drink (or two) the city’s buzzing nightlife is also sure to have something to please all tastes.
If you enjoy the great outdoors, a trip to Plitvice Lakes National Parks should certainly be on your agenda. The 300 sq.km protected area is dominated by a series of 16 shimmering lakes connected to one another by a series of waterfalls, while the surrounding forests are home to an abundance of wildlife. There are a number of hotels and campsites within the park – and even a hop-on-hop-off shuttle bus if you’d like to travel with less effort!
If the inland gems aren’t enough to keep you away from the beaches but you’d like to take a trip nonetheless, hop on a boat to Hvar, one of Croatia’s sunniest islands. Having attracted the rich and famous for decades, Hvar’s villages, marinas and rugged landscapes provide an idyllic retreat from the bustle of mainland life. There are plenty of opportunities for sunbathing on one of the island’s many beaches, or you can just sit and watch the high-life at the marina.
Dubrovnik is an essential destination for those who want to soak up as much Croatian culture as possible. This impressive walled city on the Adriatic Sea provides a feast for the eyes, including the Sponza Palace, an ancient arboretum and beautiful monasteries, while the vast choice of cafes, boutiques and restaurants will ensure you keep well-fed and watered. George Bernard Shaw called it “heaven on earth” – we say it’s worth a visit at least! Why not try a bit of sea-kayaking while you’re there?
You’ll find a number of affordable holidays to Croatia online, starting from just £200.
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