Croatia – the most detailed information about the country with photos. Attractions, cities of Croatia, climate, geography, population and culture.
Croatia is a state in the south of central Europe in the northern part of the Mediterranean. This small country is washed by the warm waters of the Adriatic Sea and bordered by Slovenia in the north-west, Serbia and Hungary in the northeast, Montenegro and Bosnia in the south and Italy on the west. Croatia is divided into 20 counties and is a parliamentary republic. Most of the population is Catholic.
Croatia is a small southern country with a rich cultural heritage, beautiful nature and delicious cuisine. This is a real pearl of the Adriatic with beautiful beaches of Istria and Dalmatia, warm emerald sea, charming ancient seaside towns, olive groves and peaks of Dinaric mountains. Croatia is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe, a country of amazing contrasts, where ancient Roman buildings are built on the ancient Roman heritage, and the Venetian architecture meets monumental Austrian and socialist buildings.
Useful information about Croatia
- The official language is Croatian.
- The currency is kuna. The kuna consists of 100 limes.
- Visa – Croatia has been a part of the European Union since 2013. To visit it, it is sufficient to have a Schengen visa.
- The standard of living is high.
- The population is more than 4 million people.
- Area – 56 594 sq. m.
- The capital city is Zagreb.
- Time zone +1. Relative to Moscow time -1 in summer and -2 in winter.
- Croatia is famous for its beaches and clean sea. Many beaches have the prestigious blue flag. The best beaches in Croatia: Spiaca on the island of Susak, Nin near Zadar, Bacvice in Split, the beaches of the island of Brac and Hvar, Kupari south of Dubrovnik.
- Tax-Free can be refunded on purchases over 740 kuna.
Geography and Nature
Geographically Croatia is located in the south of Central Europe and occupies part of the Balkan Peninsula. The country’s territory can be divided into the Adriatic coast, the Middle Danube Lowlands and the Dinaric Highlands. In terms of relief, most of Croatia is lowlands and plains. The Danube, the Drava, the Sava and the Mura flows through its territory. Interestingly, about 60% of the rivers belong to the basin of the Black Sea. The largest lake is Vranskoye. Very picturesque are Plitvice lakes.
Due to the geographical location, topography and climate the nature of Croatia is diverse and rich. Here you can see mixed forests, Mediterranean landscapes and alpine meadows.
Adriatic coast has a length of more than 1700 km. In its water area there are many islands, the largest of which are Cres and Krk. The sea in Croatia is clean and warm. Because of this Croatian resorts are very popular holiday destination. The most popular are Istria and Dalmatia.
Regionally, Croatia is divided into:
- Istria – a peninsula in the northwest of the country on the Adriatic coast, bordering Slovenia.
- Kvarner is the surrounding area of the bay of the same name between Istria and continental Croatia.
- Dalmatia – the southern part of the Croatian Adriatic to the border with Bosnia.
- Slavonia is the northeastern part of Croatia, a region of fields and forests.
- Central Croatia is a continental part of the country with Zagreb.
Croatia has a very diverse climate. The north of the country has a temperate continental climate, the coast has a warm Mediterranean climate, and the Dinaric highlands have a mountainous climate. In the central and mountain areas winter can be quite cold and snowy, while the coast is warm and humid. Summers are warm almost everywhere, and hot on the Adriatic coast.
The best time to visit
The best time to visit depends on the purpose of the trip. If you want to focus on culture and sightseeing, spring and autumn (until November) are ideal. If the main goal is a beach vacation, then the best time is July-September (although the beach season lasts from May to October).
Before Christ, the territory of Croatia was inhabited by the descendants of the “Impresso” culture. By the beginning of our era, the entire territory was conquered by the Romans. Croatian tribes came to the land in the 7th century. They formed two principalities: Croatia and Pannonia. The Trpimirovic dynasty united the two principalities into a single Croatian kingdom.
In 1102 the Croatian kingdom lost its independence after the union with Hungary. Hungarians ruled Croatia until the early 16th century. Later the Turks occupied the north of the country, Istria and Dalmatia were seized by Venice. Only the republic headed by Dubrovnik retained its independence.
Roman Amphitheater at Pula
In 1526 most of Croatia became the property of the Habsburgs. After the fall of the Venetian Republic, Istria and Dalmatia were added to their possessions. After World War I, Croatia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which was later renamed Yugoslavia.
In 1939 Croatia was granted autonomy. In 1941, a pro-Nazi Croatian state was formed under the leadership of Pavelic. After World War II, the Pavelic regime fell and Croatia became part of Yugoslavia again until 1991. In 1991, the Croatian state declared independence. This led to a war that lasted until 1995. Croatia’s borders were finally established in 1998.
Map of Croatia
Croatia is divided into 20 counties:
- Zagrebacka with its center in Zagreb.
- Krapinsko-Zagorska – Krapina.
- Sisacko – Moslavacka – Sisak
- Karlovacka – Karlovac
- Varaždinska – Varaždin
- Koprivnicko-Krizevacka – Koprivnica
- Bjelovarsko-Bilogorska – Bjelovar
- Primorsko-Goranska – Rijeka
- Licko-Senjska – Gospic
- Viroviticko-Podravska – Virovitica
- Požeško-Slavonska – Požega
- Zadarska – Zadar
- Osijeko-Baranska – Osijek
- Sibensko-Kninska – Sibenik
- Vukovarsko-Srijemska – Vukovar
- Splitsko-Dalmatinska – Split
- Istarska – Pazin
- Dubrovacko-Neretvanska – Dubrovnik
About 90% of the population are ethnic Croats. Croats belong to the group of South Slavic nations. They speak Croatian language and practice Catholicism. Croats are very hardworking, patriotic and independent. Respect their traditions and culture, and avoid topics related to Yugoslavia and Serbia.
The largest airports are located in Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik and Pula. You can travel to Croatia by plane from London, Istanbul, Prague, Madrid, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Paris, Vienna, Moscow, Kiev, Milan, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Tokyo, Seoul.
The rail network connects all major cities in the country (except Dubrovnik). There are direct rail routes to Croatia from Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Greece.
The fastest and most economical way to travel within the country is by bus. The main points of international transportation are Split and Dubrovnik. The Adriatic coast of Croatia has regular ferry connections to Italian cities (Bari, Ancona, Venice).
Croatia has a fairly good road network, so the car is also an excellent way to travel. Speed limits: 50 km / h – in built-up areas, 90 km / h – outside built-up areas, 130 km / h – on the highways. Your headlights must be on at all times, and all passengers must have their seatbelts on.
Cities in Croatia and popular destinations
The most popular cities in Croatia:
– Croatia’s capital and the country’s largest city. – one of the most picturesque Croatian cities, included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. – an ancient port city with Roman ruins. – the largest city in Istria with an ancient Roman amphitheater. – capital of Slavonia. – country’s largest port. – Baroque pearl of Croatia. – One of the most beautiful cities in Dalmatia.
- Istria, a peninsula on the Adriatic coast, is one of Croatia’s most famous and popular destinations. It is famous for its picturesque coastal resort towns with Venetian architecture and Italian flavor – Porec, Pula, Umag, Rovinj, Medulin, good wines and olive oil.
- Kvarner is the stretch of coast between Istria and continental Croatia around Rijeka. The most popular resorts are Opatija and Crikvenica.
- Northern Dalmatia is a region between Kvarner and Split. Here one can find the beautiful seaside town of Zadar, the attractive Sibenik and the beautiful Trogir.
- Makarska Riviera is one of the most famous tourist spots on the Croatian coast with many beautiful beaches, pine forests and sparkling emerald sea water.
- South Dalmatia is famous for its fine wines and beautiful places. The brightest city of the region is Dubrovnik.
- The Croatian Adriatic includes more than 1,000 islands. The most popular are: Cres, Krk, Rab, Brac, and Hvar.
City of Split
Dubrovnik is the most popular city in Croatia. It is known for the magnificent old town, enclosed in a ring of strong medieval walls, old houses with red tiled roofs, charming streets and a beautiful view of the emerald waters of the Adriatic.
Diocletian’s Palace in Split is one of the most famous Roman buildings in Croatia. It was built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Inside the walls there is a magnificent arcaded courtyard, a cathedral with a beautiful bell tower. The old town of Split is also very interesting and is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Amphitheater in Pula or Arena
The Arena is the main attraction of Pula and a symbol of the city. It is a large amphitheater, built in the 1st century during the time of Vespasian for gladiatorial fights simultaneously with the Colosseum. It is considered one of the 6 largest amphitheaters of the period of Antiquity. The Puglia arena had a seating capacity for more than 20,000 spectators. It is a large oval structure, 130 meters long and 100 meters wide, built of limestone.
Hvar is an ancient town on an island in the Dalmatian region, free of cars. The historic center consists of a spacious main square overlooking the cathedral of the 16th century, a beautiful fishing harbor and a fortress on the top of the hill.
Plitvice is one of the most beautiful places in Croatia. 16 emerald blue lakes connected by a series of waterfalls, surrounded by hills and forests.
Upper Town in Zagreb
Upper Town in Zagreb is a medieval town with ancient sights: the cathedral with its neo-Gothic facade and twin spires, St. Mark’s Church with a colored tile roof, the parliament building and the 13th-century tower.
Kornati is an archipelago of 80 picturesque islands.
Romanesque churches of Zadar
The old town of Zadar is famous for its Romanesque churches built between the 9th and 13th centuries.
Zlatni rat Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Croatia on the southern coast of the island of Brac. Depending on the winds and currents, it shifts and changes shape from season to season. The sea here is very warm and clear.
Korcula is an ancient town in Dalmatia on the island of the same name. It is considered the birthplace of Marco Polo and is famous for its medieval walls and towers.
Mljet is a national park on the western part of the island of the same name with picturesque nature and two salt lakes with turquoise water.
Rovinj is one of the most picturesque cities in Istria. Its old town is famous for its Venetian architecture and colorful houses near the water.
Due to the tourist popularity of Croatia to find accommodation is not a problem if you start your search in advance. It offers a wide range of hotels, villas, apartments, the concentration of which increases near the resorts. In general, the prices for accommodation in Croatia are close to European and slightly lower than, for example, in neighboring Italy.
Croatian cuisine is very rich and varied. It is a mix of Mediterranean (Italian) and Eastern European cuisine. The strongest Italian influence is on the Adriatic coast, which is mixed with a lot of fish and seafood. In Istria you can try dishes with truffles. Eastern Croatia is famous for stews, soups, goulash and meat dishes. Of traditional products are known: olive oil, wines and cheeses.
- Brodet – fish stew with polenta or rice. It is very popular in Dalmatia.
- Hvarska gregada – typical fish dish with potatoes, greens and white wine.
- Pasticada – stew with gnocci.
- Fuzi s tartufima – pasta with truffles.
- Omelette with asparagus.
- Istarska jota – pork stew with beans and potatoes.
- Čobanac – mix of different kinds of meat with red paprika sauce.
- Pršut – ham.
- Purica s mlincima – turkey.
- štrukli – Croatian pasta with cheese.
€80 for a tour
Dubrovnik on the palm of your hand!
See the most cinematic city in Croatia from the best angles on a sightseeing tour
€221 per excursion
Split and Trogir – Croatian Heritage
Explore the emperor’s palace, learn about the creation of the country’s coat of arms, and touch its ancient past
Republika Hrvatska [xř̩ʋaːtskaː] is a state in southern Central Europe and the western Balkan Peninsula, a former republic within Yugoslavia that became independent in 1991. The form of government is a democratic republic. The name is derived from the ethnonym of the people – Croats. The capital and largest city is Zagreb. It borders with Slovenia in the northwest, with Hungary and Serbia in the northeast, with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro in the south and with the Adriatic Sea in the west. The national currency is the kuna. Member of the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, and NATO since 2009. On July 1, 2013 (after the referendum held in 2012), Croatia is expected to join the EU. The country will become the 28th member of the European Union  .
Croatia in Yugoslavia
In the pre-Roman period, there were several important pre-Indo-European archaeological cultures along the Adriatic coast, the oldest of which was the “Impresso”. During the Bronze Age on the Adriatic coast there were descendants of the “Impresso” culture among which the Butmir culture stood out for its ceramics and later the Castellera culture from which several hundred fortified settlements remained. By the beginning of A.D. the whole territory of modern Croatia (Liburnia) was conquered by the Romans (for more details about Roman Illyria, see Illyria and Illyrian Revolt).
The Slavic Croatian tribes, which gave rise to the Croatian nation, migrated to the east coast of the Adriatic Sea in the seventh century. Soon the Croatian kingdom became one of the strongest in the region. In 1102 the ruling Trpimirović dynasty died out and the Croatian crown was united in a dynastic union with the Hungarian one. In the mid-15th century, Hungarian rule in the north of the country was replaced by Turkish rule, while Dalmatia became part of the Venetian Republic. At the same time the Dubrovnik Republic retained its independence to a large extent.
In 1526 the successful dynastic marriage of Ferdinand I brought the Hungarian and Croatian crowns to the house of the Habsburgs, who ruled Croatia until the beginning of the 20th century. After the fall of the Republic of Venice (Treaty of Campo Formi in 1797) Istria, Dalmatia and Dubrovnik (in 1809-13 the Illyrian provinces of Napoleonic France) were added to the lands of the Habsburg monarchy.
After World War I in 1918 Croatia became part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, although the coastal areas of the Austrian Seaside (Istria, Rijeka and Zadar) went to Italy under the name Venetia Giulia. In 1929 the state was renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. On August 26, 1939, based on the Cvetkovic-Macek Agreement, Croatia received the status of autonomy within the kingdom as a separate Banovina.
In 1941, the Ustashas, led by Ante Pavelic, established the pro-Nazi Independent State of Croatia, which carried out a genocide against Serbs, Jews, and Roma. Under the onslaught of Josip Broz Tito’s communist-minded partisan units, Pavelic’s regime in Croatia and Nedic’s in Serbia fell and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, or SFRY, was created, comprising six federal republics: Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In 1991, against the backdrop of an acute intra-republican conflict between Serbs and Croats, Croatia declared independence. Iceland was the first country to recognize the new country on December 19, 1991 . Interethnic clashes in the republic after the declaration of independence escalated into the War in Croatia (1991-1995), which lasted until the end of 1995 (Operation Storm). The declaration of independence by Croatia and Slovenia was the beginning of the disintegration of the SFRY. Croatia’s integrity was finally restored in 1998. The first president of the newly independent Croatia was Franjo Tudjman.
On January 22, 2012, a referendum was held in Croatia with a 66.25% majority of voters voting in favor of joining the European Union. 
Croatia is a unitary state, a parliamentary republic with a presidential form of government. The legislative body since 2001 is the Sabor (parliament). Between 1991 and 2001, the parliament was bicameral.
The head of state is the president, elected for 5 years. On January 10, 2010, Ivo Josipovic, a candidate of the Social Democratic Party, won in the second round of regular presidential elections . On February 18, the inauguration of the new president took place  . The head of government is Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor.
The local government body of the Županija (territorial unit) is the Županijska skupština, the executive and administrative body is Župan, the local government body of the community is the communal council (Općinsko vijeće), the executive and administrative body of the community is the communal chief (Općinski načelnik).
The constitution was adopted on December 20, 1990, independence from Yugoslavia was declared on June 25, 1991. Amendments to the constitution were adopted: 1) on the rights of minorities, 2) to change the semi-presidential model of government into a parliamentary model of government, 3) to reform the parliament. The parliament is unicameral (most are elected by party lists, some from minorities). Before 2001, there was a chamber of districts.
The main political parties (represented in Parliament):
|Parties||Positions in Parliament|
|Social Democratic Party of Croatia (SDP)||61|
|Croatian People’s Party – Liberal Democrats (HNS-LD)||13|
|Croatian Party of Pensioners (HSU)||3|
|Democratic Assembly of Istria (IDS-DDI)||3|
|Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)||44|
|Croatian Citizens’ Party (HGS)||2|
|Democratic Center (DC)||1|
|Croatian Labour Party (HL-SR)||6|
|Croatian Democratic Union of Slavonia and Baranja (HDSSB)||6|
|Independent List of Ivan Grubišić||2|
|Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) ||1|
|Dr. Ante Starčević’s Croatian Party of Law (HSP) ||1|
|Croatian Party of Law (HSP)||–|
|Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS)||–|
|Independent Democratic Serbian Party (SDSS)||3|
|Other national minorities ||5|
Croatia is located in southeastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. It has an area of 56,542 km² and a water area of 33,200 km². There are a large number of islands in the water area, with a total of 1,185, of which 67 are inhabited. The largest islands are Krk and Cres.
Croatia borders on Slovenia (670 km) in the north, Hungary (329 km) in the northeast, Serbia (241 km) in the east, Bosnia and Herzegovina (932 km) and Montenegro (25 km) in the south. The country consists of two parts: a continental part, located mainly in the Sava River Basin, and an Adriatic, stretching along the Adriatic Sea.
The territory of Croatia is divided into 20 zupaniyas (regions), 122 cities and 424 communities. The status of the 21st zhupania is Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.
The leading branches are shipbuilding, mechanical engineering, chemical, food, textile, wood-working, electrotechnical and electronic industries and the pharmaceutical industry. An important branch of economy is tourism.
Advantages: stable economic growth. Under the aegis of the IMF there is a program to reduce government spending. The growth of tourism.
Weaknesses: privatization dragging on since 2001 and resistance from trade unions. War damage of about $50 billion. High unemployment (17.7% as of January 2010).
The population is 4 290 thousand. National Composition  , according to the census of 2001:
- Croats (89.6%),
- Serbs (4.5%)
- Bosnians (0.5%)
- Hungarians (0.5%)
- Slovenians (0.3%)
- Romanians (0.2%),
- Albanians (0.1%),
- Montenegrins (0,1%)
- others (4.1%).
Religious composition , according to the 2001 census
- Catholics (87.8%),
- Orthodox (4.5%)
- Other Christians (0.4%)
- Muslims (1,3 %)
- others (0.9 %)
- non religious (5,2%)
The official language in Croatia is Croatian. In some cities of Istria, the state language is Italian. Minority languages are Serbian, Slovenian, Hungarian, Czech, Ruthenian, Albanian, and others. On the Istrian peninsula there are two endangered Romance languages – Istroromanic and Istroromanian.
In Croatia there are many festivals and various celebrations. Zagreb hosts Music Biennale Festival (April), St. Mark’s Philharmonic Festival (June), Flora-Art Flower Show (June), Eurokaz International Festival of New Theatre (June – July), Cartoon Festival (June), International Folklore Festival (July), Zagreb Summer Festival (July – August), International Festival of Puppet Theaters (August – September), International Jazz Days (October) and Zagreb International Fair.
Dubrovnik hosts an annual Carnival (February), the Festival of St. Blaže (February), as well as the famous International Summer Festival (July-August), during which there are about a hundred different performances.
Every year in Rovinj there is a pilgrimage in honor of St. Eufimia (September 16), which gathers thousands of believers from all over Europe, in early May the Rovinj-Pesaro regatta, in August the Rovinj fair, and in September the yacht race.
Since independence, Croatia has participated in all the Olympic Games and won 27 medals, 10 at the Winter Olympics. The most popular sports in the country are soccer, basketball, handball, water polo and tennis. Despite the fact that Croatia is considered a southern country with warm climate, it is popular for winter sports such as skiing, ice hockey and biathlon. Some of the most famous and successful skiers of recent years are brother and sister Ivica Kostelic and Janica Kostelic. The Medveščak hockey team from Zagreb is hugely popular in the capital, plays in the Austrian Hockey League and is in talks to join the KHL.
The most successful tournament for the Croatian national soccer team was the 1998 World Cup, during which the team won third place .
Many of the players of the current national soccer team play for famous European clubs.
Croatia’s Adriatic coast and numerous islands are a popular international tourism destination. Tourism on the Adriatic began to develop in the XIX century; in the XX century the Croatian coast was one of the most developed tourist destinations in the socialist world. In 1990s, tourism in Croatia has experienced a serious decline caused by the war in the former Yugoslavia and outdated tourist infrastructure, which does not meet Western quality standards. Since the early 2000s, the tourism industry is booming. Many vacationers believe that it is best to go to Croatia in summer or early fall.
In addition to the aforementioned, yachting is becoming increasingly important for the Croatian tourism industry. State policy is also aimed at increasing investment in this kind of active tourism, attracting in this industry more and more new members. So, in the country is organized and cultivated infrastructure of yacht charter, built hundreds of marinas. At the state level qualified training of yachtsmen with the reception of the state exam, and issuance of international qualification documents is practiced.
Northern Croatia has a continental climate, Central Croatia has a semi-hilly and mountainous climate and the coast has a Mediterranean climate. Winter temperatures reach -30 ° C on the continental part, from -5 ° C to 0 ° C in the mountainous areas and from 0 ° C to +5 ° C on the coast. In summer, the warmest on the coast (from 25 ° C to 30 ° C), the temperature in the mountains is usually not more than 15-20 ° C, and 22-26 ° C on the continent.
Croatia’s transport system
The most common form of public transport in Croatia is the bus. Beside buses in large cities (eg, Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Osijek, Pula, etc.) there is also a network of streetcar lines (Zagreb and Osijek streetcar). Tickets for travel are usually sold in the bus or streetcar cabin or at newsstands.
International bus service in Croatia is quite developed. Buses travel to Croatia from many European countries.
Almost all parts of the country are covered by a network of bus services. In almost every town and city there is a bus station (Autobusni Kolodvor), where you can buy tickets and check the schedule.
Ferries, motor ships, hydrofoils, and ferries ply between the cities on the Croatian Adriatic coast. You can get to most inhabited islands by water transport. There are also international flights. From May 28 to September 30, there is a summer schedule with more frequent departures.
In Croatia, there are 6 international airports and three civilian airports for local and charter flights
(17 km from the center of Zagreb), (24 km from the center of Split), (18 km from the city), (6 km from the center of Pula), .
Airports for local and charter flights:
- From Croatia came the fashion for wearing ties, as well as the word “tie” itself in some languages. During the Thirty Years’ War, the French liked the way Croatian horsemen tied scarves around their necks. The story goes that the French pointed at the Croatians’ breasts and asked, “what is this?” The Croats thought they were being asked “who are you?” and answered “Croatian.” This is how the French word “Cravate” (“tie”) came about; there is also a variant translation of the word “tie” as “Krawatte” in German. The word tie has a similar form in a number of other European languages. For example, the Ukrainian language uses the word “kravatka,” which comes from the French “cravate.”
Note. In Russian, the word “tie” has a different origin: it comes from the German word “Halstuch”, which literally means “neck scarf”.