Croatia © Les Haines

Croatia has emerged triumphantly as an attractive and stable tourist destination, having put years of civil and ethnic unrest behind it. With its magnificent coastline boasting 1,185 islands, islets and reefs, and countryside scattered with Roman ruins and picturesque medieval villages, Croatia is fast becoming a rival to the magical Greek islands for luring lovers of beaches, great food and history.

After centuries of being sliced and diced geographically to suit empires, conquerors and political and ethnic divisions, Croatia has been left with a diverse cultural legacy and a wealth of historical attractions. The long Adriatic coastline forms the western leg of the arc-shaped country, tapering to the unique ancient seaport of Dubrovnik in the south, while the land between the rivers Drava and Sava form the northern section. The capital, Zagreb, sits in-between. Although Croatia's history is dramatic the atmosphere of this balmy Mediterranean country is now tranquil, with sleepy old towns and impossibly picturesque lakes and beaches just begging travellers to relax. The wonderful landscapes can be easily explored on foot or by mountain bike as the country is criss-crossed with good trails, and the food and wine is so delicious that a bit of exercise might be necessary.

The most prominent feature of Croatia's tourism offering is the glorious Dalmatian coastline, which is indented with rocky cliffs, peninsulas and small inlets. Numerous good quality hotels and marinas have been resurrected or constructed in the past few years, and Croatia is once again beginning to enjoy a tourist boom reminiscent of its heyday in the 1930s, becoming ever more popular as a cruise destination. There is a special atmosphere in Croatian towns and villages, many of which were built on the sites of ancient Greek settlements dating from as far back as the 4th century BC. This, coupled with a reserved but hospitable population, Mediterranean climate, scenic beauty and lush vegetation, is aiding Croatia's transformation into one of the world's best tourist hotspots.


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