Tuesday, 2 March 2021

People Also Ask Google: How Far is Porec from Other Parts of Croatia?

March 2, 2021 – You've found yourself in Croatia, you've heard about Porec being an exciting town in Istria, and now you want to seize the opportunity to visit it? In our People Also Ask Google series, we explain how far is Porec from other parts of Croatia.

Although beautiful in all areas, Croatia is a country with an extremely unusual shape, making it difficult to travel from one part to another (for example, from Osijek to Dubrovnik). The long and very indented coast on the Adriatic Sea hides some of the most beautiful seascapes. Due to its specific position and numerous bays and islands, it is impossible to explore it in one fell swoop.

The largest peninsula in Croatia – Istria – is located in the north of the Croatian Adriatic coast and hides many natural and cultural sights in the west part of Croatia, where also lays Croatia's westernmost point – Savudrija. If in Croatia, it would be a shame if one does not take the opportunity and visit Istria. Cities on the west coast of Istria, such as Rovinj, Poreč, and Pula, have been attracting tourists' attention for years because of their proximity and excellent connections with Central Europe and its irresistible cultural heritage that makes them interesting destinations worth exploring.

We recently described whether Porec is worth visiting, and in this article, we will try to explain how far Porec is from other parts of Croatia and how to reach this one of the many Istrian gems easily.

However, if you are interested in how to get to Istria from Italy or Slovenia by car, bus, train, plane, or ferry, you can find all the information in the TCN's special guide.

How far is Porec from the airport?

Pula Airport – If coming by plane to Croatia, Pula Airport is the closest to Poreč. The distance between Pula Airport and Poreč is about 58 kilometers, of which 42 kilometers is the Istrian highway (i.e., the Istrian Y). The bus drive from Pula Airport to Poreč takes an hour, while the car ride takes 45 minutes. However, you can also take the local road through Istria. Still, even though it is a slightly shorter distance (52 kilometers), your journey will take at least 15 minutes longer in ideal conditions. Before you choose a route, consider that local roads in Istria can be very crowded during the summer season.

There are shuttle bus lines from Pula Airport to the main Pula bus station, 30 minutes after the landing of the aircraft, from where you can take a bus to Poreč (as well as to other parts of Istria). The shuttlebus drive to Pula takes 10-15 minutes, and the ticket costs 30 kunas. You can check the Pula Airport shuttlebus schedule for 2021, as well as other shuttle bus services from Pula Airport.

From the main Pula bus station, you can easily take the bus to Poreč with services provided by Arriva, Flixbus, and others. The bus connection between Pula and Poreč is excellent, with many bus lines throughout the year and day, especially during the summer season.

If you decide to take a car ride from Pula Airport to Poreč, several rent-a-car businesses offer services at Pula Airport.

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Pula Airport / Romulić and Stojčić

If you choose to take the local road to Poreč, you should follow the local D21 road, as seen on the photo below, and the journey will take about an hour.

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However, if you're taking the highway, you enter the E751 highway (A9 in Croatian) Istrian Y highway, at the Pula junction, and then get off at the Baderna junction. Note: A toll is charged on this route and costs 27 kunas for the first vehicle category. (Check all prices on Istrian Y here.) From Baderna, Poreč is only 17 minutes away by the local road. This route is showed on the photo below.

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Check more cheap and quick ways to get from Pula Airport to Poreč here.

Rijeka Airport – The second closest Croatian airport to Poreč is Rijeka Airport, situated on the island of Krk, which is connected with the Croatian land by bridge. It is located about 30 kilometers from the center of Rijeka. Just like at the Pula Airport, the Rijeka Airport also offers shuttle bus services to the Rijeka city center, shortly after arrival of airplanes. However, during winter months, there's no regular shuttle service, but only service on demand from/to Rijeka and Omišalj on Krk. From Rijeka, you can take a bus to Poreč, and you can find more details about that route later in the article.

If you are traveling from Rijeka Airport to Poreč by car, you can rent a car at the Rijeka Airport, from where you'll get to Poreč in an hour and 45 minutes. The car route from Rijeka Airport to Poreč is about 115 kilometers, of which 75 kilometers is the highway (Istrian Y), and this is shown on the photo below. Find more info about Poreč to Rijeka by car later in the article.

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Check more cheap and quick ways to get from Rijeka Airport to Poreč here.

Other nearer airports to Poreč are Zagreb Airport, Ljubljana Airport, Trieste Airport, Treviso Airport and Venice Airport.

How far is Porec from Rijeka?

Poreč is 102 kilometers from Rijeka, and it takes an hour and 25 minutes of driving along the Istrian Y highway and local road by car. Of course, the traffic conditions should be taken into account, because during the season, the traffic can be increased which prolongs the time of traveling.

To go from Rijeka to Poreč by car, you can take the Istrian Y highway from Matulji near Rijeka and exit it in Rogovići near Pazin, from where you must continue to Poreč along the local road. Note: A toll is charged on the route from Rijeka to Pazin and costs 37 kunas for the first vehicle category. However, if you do not fancy paying a highway toll, and you'd like to stop at the Učka National Park along the way, you can take a local road D48 or D44 local road bypassing the Istrian towns of Buzet and Motovun. If you want to go along the eastern Istrian coast, you can take the local road number D66 to get from Rijeka to Poreč.

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Rijeka / Donatella Pauković

Suppose you decide to take a bus from Rijeka to Poreč. In that case, there are several daily bus lines provided by Arriva, Flixbus, and other Croatian bus operators throughout the year and day. During the summer tourist season, the bus lines from Rijeka to Poreč are more frequent. It takes about an hour and a half from Rijeka to Poreč by bus, depending on the traffic conditions.

How far is Porec from Rovinj?

Poreč is 42 kilometers away from Rovinj, and you can quickly get there by bus in 45 minutes, and even faster by car. During the high summer season, there can be more traffic, so traveling time can vary. Since these two Istrian towns are so close, there are also boat lines connecting them.

Ferry from Rovinj to Poreč served by TriesteLines runs twice per week in the high summer season but does not operate outside the season. The journey takes 30 minutes and is only a foot-passenger ferry. Neither pets nor bikes are permitted onboard. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are likely to be many alternations and cancellations of the ferry schedules, so you will have to double-check all information. The TriesteLines operates daytime connections exclusively during summer, from Trieste to and between the port of Piran in Slovenia and the ports of Poreč, Rovinj, and Pula in Croatia.

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Rovinj / Romulić and Stojčić

If visiting only one town, you can easily book a one-day trip to another city. Poreč and Rovinj are separated by the Lim Bay (Lim Fjord), created as a rias of the river Pazinčica which in the past flowed into the Adriatic Sea, which today sinks in the Pazin Cave near Pazin. Hence, the road is enjoyable whether you ride a boat or car.

Several bus lines are running between Rovinj and Poreč every day, and during the summer season, there are even more of them. Bus lines from Rovinj to Poreč and in the opposite direction can be found here. You can also take the taxi from Rovinj to Poreč or find other transfer options.

How far is Porec from Dubrovnik?

Considering the fact that Dubrovnik, due to its separation and distance in the southernmost part of Croatia, is one of the hardest cities to reach in Croatia, it is quite far away from other parts of Croatia outside Dalmatia, including from Poreč. Since Poreč is 691 kilometers away from Dubrovnik, there are no direct bus lines between the two cities, but the alternative travel option would be through Rijeka. There are several bus lines operating from Dubrovnik to Rijeka, and Rijeka and Poreč are very well connected with bus lines, as explained earlier in the article.

A few bus lines from Dubrovnik to Rijeka operate throughout the year, while during the summer season, there are even more of them. The journey takes about 12 hours.

If you decide to take a car ride from Dubrovnik to Poreč, it will take about 7 hours and 50 minutes of traveling. For more details about crossing the Croatian-Bosnian border near the Bosnian town of Neum, check our dedicated article. From Dubrovnik, you can drive along the Croatian coast, i.e., the Jadranska Magistrala (D8 state road), and connect to the E71/E65 highway (A1 in Croatian) all the way to the junction Žuta Lokva in Lika (and pay a toll). From there, you can again take a local road and Jadranska Magistrala to Rijeka, where you can connect to the Istrian Y highway (as explained earlier in the article).

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There are no ferry lines between Dubrovnik and Poreč either, nor between Dubrovnik and Rijeka.

How far is Porec from Split?

The distance between Split and Poreč is 451 kilometers, and just like with Dubrovnik, there are no bus lines connecting these two Croatian cities. Also, Poreč can be reached from Split by bus lines through Rijeka, as well as by car and highway.

How far is Porec from Zagreb?

Poreč is 250 kilometers away from Zagreb, and you can quickly get there by numerous bus lines throughout the year, as well as by a personal vehicle. If coming from the continental Croatia, Istria and Kvarner are the closest seaside destinations and easiest to reach.

How far is Porec from Osijek?

As with Zagreb, Poreč is also well connected with Osijek by bus lines operating throughout the year. Poreč is 530 kilometers away from Osijek, and it takes five and a half hours to get there by car. Some bus lines going from continental Croatia to Poreč stop in other smaller Croatian towns, such as Novska, for example, providing connected lines to Poreč. Check all bus lines to Poreč with Flixbus, Arriva, and other Croatian bus lines.

If you'd like to know the exact distances between cities in Croatia, you can check them all at one place (in Croatian).

To follow the People Also Ask Google about Croatia series, click here.

Sunday, 28 February 2021

People Also Ask Google: Is Croatia Expensive or Cheap?

February 28, 2021 - Continuing our series answering the questions people also ask Google, a very common one: Is Croatia expensive? A look at cost of living, flights, travel, restaurants, rental price... and of course the price of beer. 

If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked how expensive Croatia is, I would have been able to buy my own superyacht with permanent mooring on the Hvar waterfront. Is it a simple question, with many layers of answers. Let's dive in.  

Is Croatia cheap or expensive? Where are you looking from?

As with most things, it depends on who is asking. Croatia appears much more expensive if you are living here and working on a Croatian salary. The money I earn here compared to what I was earning back in the UK means that my spending power is a lot less here. But then so are the stress levels, and one can't knock the lifestyle. But if you are a tourist from Scandinavia, for example, Croatia is incredibly cheap by comparison - the same continent, just three hours by plane with sunshine more or less guaranteed most of the year. 

Is Croatia expensive for tourists?

Again it depends to a large extent where you go. My local bar in Varazdin in the north charges me 12 kuna for a half-litre of beer, and I fondly remember paying 55 kuna on Stradun, the poshest address in the old town of Dubrovnik. Croatia is as expensive as you want to be. I know of Russians who think nothing of blowing 30,000 euro on a good lunch at Gariful on Hvar, while round the corner you can eat well for 15 euro. 

The tourist hotspots are obviously more expensive and (in some parts at least) getting more expensive. It is also the case, however, that choice is expanding rapidly, and real quality added to the tourism offer. 

Visiting Croatia and on a budget? Don't head for the top spots in peak season. There is an incredible amount to be discovered both in continental Croatia and on the coast and islands away from the popular spots where prices are much more affordable.  

How to get the 'local' price even if you don't speak Croatian?

It is illegal under EU law to have dual pricing (as I understand things), but it is common practice, not only in Croatia but in many places. The 'local' price is reserved for friends, regulars and anyone the owner feels like indulging. If you point out the discrimination, the results are hilarious to watch.

One of my favourite instances was in Split several years ago, when the waitress quickly withdrew my ripoff invoices, after my Croatian colleague arrived and asked why I had been charged so much. The justification was that her (much cheaper coffee) - served on a Sunday as the cathedral bells rang close by - was due to a discount given by the cafe to churchgoers. The fact that she had not been inside a church in 25 years had us laughing all the more. You can read the full tale in Cheap Catholic Coffee and Local versus Tourist Prices in Croatia.

Another favourite was on Korcula where I drank with local friends at lunchtime. They kindly paid the bill, which was 20 kuna a beer. I returned alone an hour later to be given a bill of 32 kuna. When I enquired (in Croatian) as to why the price had increased by 60% in an hour, my bill was hastily withdrawn, to be replaced with one at the original price. 

Now, as a semi-local, I am used to these ways, so how do you as a tourist ensure that you get the cheaper price? If you learn one Croatian sentence on your holiday, learn this:

Molim Vas, to je domaca cijena?

Excuse me, is that the local price? Even if you can't understand the reply, the message will have come across that you are aware of the dual pricing, something that is not supposed to be known by higher-paying guests. You will often be rewarded for your efforts with a smaller bill.  

Why is flying to Croatia so expensive?

Why indeed? Croatia is a very seasonal flight destination, and things used to be a lot worse. The season is much longer than it was when I first moved here in 2003. Back then, there were no budget airlines. The 'cheap' flight option out of season was Ryanair to Graz or Trieste, then bus or train/bus to the ferry in Split and then on to Hvar. Exhausting. 

Ryanair entered the market in 2007, and the floodgates opened. Obviously, we will have to see how COVID-19 affects things, but for those of you who can plan ahead, there are some VERY cheap flights usually with the like of Ryanair, easyJet, Eurowings and Vueling if you book early enough. These understandably get much more expensive closer to departure. 

A key reason why the Croatian market is not more competitive is the protection given to the dinosaur that is Croatia Airlines, a loss-making State company which the powers that be refuse to let die a graceful death. As a result, there are no low-cost flights into Zagreb, for example, which would transform the capital's tourism if it were introduced.  

How expensive is Croatian food in restaurants and supermarkets?

The price of restaurant food in Croatia obviously depends on the level of dining quality you are looking for. There are a growing number of Michelin Star restaurants, for example. For people on a budget like mine, restaurant prices do vary according to how hot the tourist destination is, as well as the time of year. And things are definitely much cheaper in continental Croatia than on the coast. 

As a very rough guide, expect to pay in the region of $5- $15, main courses from $10 - $30, and desserts from $5 - $15 for a reasonable restaurant. 

Supermarket prices are reasonable, although they perhaps seem less so to people living on a local wage. 

Is Croatia cheaper in Winter and more expensive in Summer?

Yes, on very many levels. Ferry prices and motorway tolls, for example, are less expensive out of the summer months. Supermarket food is too, and I always smile when I see the summer premium on the case of beer at a large supermarket chain I could mention, but won't. 

There are big price changes outside the peak season in accommodation as well, and you can often get the same accommodation for half the price in the shoulder months. And if you want to do a longer stay out of season when it would otherwise be empty, you can almost name your price in some places.  

Is Croatia more expensive than Greece, Italy or Spain for a holiday?

Again, that depends. If you are looking for package holidays, then I really think that Croatia cannot (or rather chooses not to) compete with Greece or parts of Spain. But if you look around, you will find extremely good value in Croatia (as well as a lot of overhyped, overpriced stuff).

Is it expensive to travel around Croatia?

What's that phrase again? It depends. Driving around Croatia IS expensive IF you stick to the motorways. I think I am correct in saying Croatia has the highest tolls in Europe. A 3.5-hour drive from Zagreb to Split, for example, will set you back $30 in tolls alone. For a one-way trip. 

You don't have to use the motorways, however, and the old road from Zagreb to Split in season is a true joy. Here is my experience a few years ago

You also have the option of services such as BlaBla car, which are growing in popularity. 

The bus service is generally excellent and very affordable, while the train network is limited and slow, but also inexpensive. More on both in the TC Bus in Croatia and Croatian Train Travel pages. 

Taking a car ferry with car can be pricey, and it is worth considering renting a car locally on the island for the time you are there.

How expensive is tourist rental accommodation in Croatia?

Again it depends, but I would also add that there is a LOT of overpriced stuff out there. There is a lack of quality hotels for the demand, and tourists are often shocked by the prices they are faced with, especially in peak season. 

The situation with private accommodation is even worse in many respects. With no clear strategy and an insane tax policy, Croatia has tripled its private beds since 1990 from 267,000 to over 800,000 in 2018 (excellent article by Kresimir Macan in How Croatia's Tourism 'Strategy' Created Tax-Free Paradise for Private Renters).  

The pandemic has really shaken up the market, however, with more renters now open to longer-term rentals. There are far more bargains to be had. 

How expensive is Croatia compared to the UK?

The cost of everything is pretty much cheaper in Croatia than the UK IF you are talking actual amounts. However, if you factor in the disparity in salaries between the two countries, then I would say that Croatia is more expensive. 

But for UK tourists used to UK prices, your pound sterling will go a lot further in the bars on the Adriatic than in your local back home. There are other great savings to be had as well, and a growing number of Brits are coming to get their teeth fixed and other medical procedures done while on holiday. Croatian medical tourism is on the rise, and you can often get the work done, enjoy a flight and a holiday and still go home with some change compared to what you would pay back in the UK. Learn more about Croatian medical tourism in the Total Croatia health tourism guide.  

Is Croatia an expensive place to live? 

With a Western salary, not at all. There is a saying in Croatia that the idea of perfect living is to live in Croatia for the lifestyle with a Western salary earned with a foreign company. 

I have the Croatian lifestyle and the joys of running a media business with a Croatian company. I certainly would enjoy a more comfortable life in terms of buying things in the UK, but I wouldn't swap it for what I have in a million years. 

Getting by on a Croatian salary is not easy, and there is a reason why the average age of people moving out of their parents' homes is much higher here than most of the EU.

How much are basic consumer goods in Croatia?

Here is what Numbeo came up with in February, 2021.

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You can see what the latest prices are when you read this article (assuming you get this far) on the Numbeo website

Is property expensive in Croatia?

Yes, although there are also good deals to be had. The Great Croatian Property Boom inflated places a lot in my opinion, with some foreigners paying crazy prices for derelict goat sheds and other ruins. Much more on real estate in Croatia in the Total Croatia property guide

Is Croatian wine any good? How expensive is it?

Did you know that Croatia is the home of the original Zinfandel, grown on vineyards just outside Split in Kastela? Or that it has over 130 indigenous varieties? Or that it was served at the inauguration of President Biden in January 2021? Or that it was served at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and you can still buy a bottle to the same 1947 vintage served on that royal occasion. Learn more in Croatia's Most Expensive Wine: Selling Well at 7,400 Euro a Bottle.

Learn all you need to know about Croatian wine in the TC guide.

Are drinks expensive in Croatia? How much is a beer?

A few years ago, Joe Orovic wrote a great article called Beer Prices in Croatia 2018: A Cost-Conscious, Inebriated Guide To Getting Hammered. It included a hilarious (and very accurate) coefficient for calculating beer prices, depending on proximity to the sea, top destination, time of year etc. I heartily recommend it if you want to understand the nuances of this important topic. 

Beer prices in Croatia vary a LOT. To give you an example, that trusty half litre in my local in Varazdin up north costs 12 kuna (less than $2), with the same bottle costing 22 kuna in my local on Hvar. Much more on beer in Croatian in our dedicated TC beer guide.

Is it cheaper to live inland or on the coast in Croatia?

Again it depends. I was shocked at how much cheaper things were when we moved to Varazdin from Hvar (see the beer example above). Salaries also tend to be lower in many cases, and there is liltle or no tourism for locals to supplement their income with. But all the money I saved in the pub was taken back to me when I got my heating bills up north. 

Overall, the cost of living is much cheaper in continental Croatia, although that is from a viewpoint of starting with the same amount. 

Is it cheaper to buy fuel in Croatia or neighbouring countries?

If there is a place in the EU which has more expensive fuel prices than Croatia, I have yet to find it. I was stunned when I visited a petrol station in Graz driving through Austria last year. Just 1.07 euro per litre. The current cost of diesel is just under 10 kuna in Croatia, about 1.30 per litre. If you are driving from Split to Dubrovnik, tank up in the Neum Corridor (the section of Bosnia you have to travel through. Your savings will buy you a good portion of a hearty lunch.  

Let's look at some of the hotspots: How expensive is Dubrovnik?

Back to that two-word answer again - it depends. 

A few years ago, I was having a coffee on Stradun with a local, and I asked if she thought Dubrovnik was expensive and how she felt about the label. 

"No, we are not expensive. For this location in Paris, Madrid and London, you would probably pay even more." More expensive than the rest of Croatia, less expensive than comparable cities of culture in Europe. We are back to that viewpoint again. 

There ARE many tourist traps in Dubrovnik, but similarly, there are more affordable places. Get to know the Pearl of the Adriatic in our Dubrovnik in a Page guide

How expensive is Split?

When I moved to Croatia back in 2003, Split was not so much of a destination as a transit lounge. Indeed it was more often referred to the Gateway to the Dalmatian Islands. How things have changed! I love Split now for its diverse offer, although the crowds were starting to become an issue pre-COVID-19. 

Prices have increased in the tourist areas accordingly, although they are nowhere near Dubrovnik levels. But there are still plenty of places with more reasonable prices. Learn more about the Dalmatian capital in our Split in a Page guide

How expensive is the capital Zagreb? 

I find Zagreb in general to be quite a bit cheaper than the big cities on the coast, and excellent value as a capital city in the EU. I can still find my trusty half litre for as little as 10 kuna, certainly for 12, something that is no longer so easy in Split and Dubrovnik. Learn more about the Croatian capital in our Zagreb in a Page guide

How expensive is Hvar really?

Ah, Hvar.

Having lived there for 13 years, I have a fair bit to say on the subject. Firstly, there is a huge difference in terms of pricing between Hvar Town and the rest of the island of Hvar. And within Hvar Town, you can spend tens of thousands on lunch, or get by very well on a backpacker budget. More on Croatia's premier island in our Hvar in a Page guide.

A clue in the pricing is reflected in the makeup of the tourist. In Hvar Town, for example, Brits, Americans, Brazilians, Germans, Italians and Scandinavians make up a lot of the guests, while in Jelsa, there are a lot more from Czechia, Slovakia, BiH, Serbia and Hungary. Prices are much cheaper and so attract a lower-spending clientele. But yes Hvar is more expensive than other places,  especially on the continent. But there is a reason for that, which brings us to the last point. 

Learn the Croatian phrase to explain how cheap/expensive Croatia is.

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So how expensive is Croatia? We are back where we started - it depends. 

But I leave you with one of my favourite questions in Croatia, which you see a LOT on Facebook on a beautiful day. And I found myself doing the same on the terrace of our Jelsa home before we moved and turned it into the Panorama Penthouse Jelsa holiday rental.

Ko ovo more platit?

Who can afford that?

Nice view isn't it? Is it expensive or cheap?

If you have any thoughts on the above, or any corrections or suggestions, drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Expensive  

To get the answers to more questions in our People Also Ask Google series, visit the dedicated section

Check out Croatian national television checking out the San Francisco digital nomad lifestyle on Hvar. Ko ovo more platit... 

Saturday, 27 February 2021

People also ask Google: How do Croatians Greet Each Other?

February 27, 2021 – How do Croatians greet each other? Saying hello isn't always as straightforward as it could be in any language. But, in Croatian, there's no need to be apprehensive. The rules are easy to master. Until you enter the minefield of personal space intrusion. Oh, and the thing with the eyes...

If you're asking how do Croatians greet each other, you're probably considering greeting a Croat in their own language. Bravo! By and large, Croatians are bilingual or multilingual. They mostly learn and speak English to an excellent standard. Why do they do this?

Well, Croatians are more than aware that 1.5 billion people in the world speak English. That's 20% of the world's population. They use the English they learn in business, tourism and when they travel or go abroad to work or live. Croatians are also more than aware that only around 4 million people live in their country. By comparison, very few people in the world speak Croatian.

That's why it's particularly impressive to a Croat if you make an effort to greet them in the same way Croatians greet each other. You're making your first tiny step in the Croatian language. And you're showing respect. Needless though your efforts probably are, they will be met with appreciation by the Croatians you greet. They will also be met by a return greeting in Croatian. Let's do the simple stuff first. You can be proficient at this in under 5 minutes.

How do Croatians greet each other? Dobar dan

How do Croatians greet each other? Dobar dan

The standard greeting in Croatian is 'Dobar dan'. This means 'Good day'. You will actually hear 'Dobar dan' at any time of day.

If you go in the supermarket at 9am, the person on the checkout may say 'Dobar dan' to you, even though it is morning. This is not only because 'Dobar dan' is such a standard greeting, but it's also because they've been working since 6am. While you were sleeping. It definitely feels like 'dan' to them.

Whether or not the 'dan' is indeed 'dobar', you will have to ascertain from looking at their face. But, it's actually irrelevant if their day or your day is good or not. You say 'Dobar dan'. It's the standard greeting.

If a Croatian says 'Dobar dan' to you, the correct reply is, of course, 'Dobar dan'. If this is not your first meeting, or if you know the person you're greeting, this will probably be followed by 'Kako ste?' (formal) or 'Kako si?' (informal). This means 'How are you?' The standard reply is 'Dobro' (OK/Good), closely followed by 'a vi?' (formal) or 'a ti?' (informal). That means 'And you?' But, we're jumping ahead of ourselves a little.

If it is the morning, the standard Croatian greeting should change to 'Dobro jutro'. Obviously, this means 'Good morning.'

If it is the evening, obviously you change to 'Good evening'. The Croatian for 'Good evening' is a little contentious.

You'll notice that the word 'Good' in the morning and daytime greeting is not spelled the same. That's because each noun in Croatian has a gender. Like in French or German, there are three genders for Croatian nouns – male, female, neutral (don't call this third one 'non-binary' or 'bisexual', Croatians don't find that funny)

It's 'Dobar dan' because the word 'dan' is male. It's 'Dobro jutro' because the word 'jutro' is neutral.

The word 'večer' is feminine. The correct way to say 'Good evening' in Croatian is, therefore 'Dobra večer'. But, that's not altogether how do Croatians greet each other in the evening.

In place of 'Dobra večer', you can also hear 'Dobro večer', 'Dobro veče' and 'Dobar večer'. For simplicity's sake, just stick to the correct 'Dobra večer' and you'll be fine.

Other variations of these standard greetings remove the 'Good' altogether. So, you'll definitely hear 'jutro', 'dan' and 'večer' or 'veče'. This actually makes them slightly less formal. These would be usually be expressed between people who are familiar with each other – a work colleague, someone you share a house with, the lady in the store who saw you a hundred times before.

If you're meeting someone for the first time, stick to 'Dobar dan', 'Dobro jutro' or 'Dobra večer'

How to greet in Croatian in a formal way
men-1979261_640.jpgHow do Croatians greet each other? Formal greetings are a whole other ballgame

There are some circumstances in which more formality is required if you're greeting in Croatian. The best example would be when you start writing a letter or email to someone you don't know, such as in an application for a job.

In this instance, you would start the letter or email with the word 'Poštovani'. In letter writing, this is used in place of the English word 'Dear'. But, it probably more closely translates as 'Greetings' but formal. The word for 'dear' is 'dragi' or 'draga', but this more applies to 'dear to me', rather than the opening of formal communication.

If you're writing a letter or email, begin with 'Poštovani'. You use this word to address your letter to a man or to multiple people. If you don't know if the recipient of your letter or email will be a man or woman, 'Poštovani' is perfect – you're covered because it addresses multiple people.

If you know for sure that the recipient of your mail will be a lady, then use 'Poštovana. As with 'Dobra večer', you can see the word has changed to have an 'a' on the end. 'A' denotes a feminine noun or that you are addressing a female in Croatian.

Learning the gender of every Croatian noun takes time. But, if you remember 'a' means female, you're on your way. It's easy to remember – it's near impossible to think of a Croatian female name that doesn't end in 'a' – Marija, Vedrana, Mia, Ema, Lucija, Lana, Sara, Petra, Ana.

'Poštovani' is not only used in written Croatian. You will hear it spoken and it is used in formal situations. Back to the supermarket. When the staff want to warn you the store will soon close, you'll usually hear one of them start their call over the tannoy system with 'Poštovani kupci' (dear/greetings shoppers).

You may also hear poštovani used in combination with the standard greetings. “Poštovani i dobar dan” This is a quite formal and flowery use of language.

Another formal greeting in Croatian, but less formal than 'Poštovani', is 'Zdravo'. This is more commonly used among older generations of Croatians. One slightly less formal than Zdravo is 'Pozdrav'. Pozdrav is kind of in the middle of formal and informal, but if you use it in a formal setting, nobody will mind at all. Like some other Croatian greetings, pozdrav is also used to end a dialogue, to say goodbye. Sometimes, when used as a denotation of parting, pozdrav is shortened to 'poz'. Poz is extremely informal. You would only ever say 'Poz' to a friend.

How do Croatians say hello to their friends? How to greet someone in Croatian informally?

Bok



swedishchefbork.pngThe famous catchphrase of the Swedish chef character from The Muppets is "börk, börk, börk". This isn't actually a word in Swedish. To you, this may sound similar to how your Croatian friends greet each other casually with the word "bok". To them, it doesn't (not least because the Croatian 'r' is rolled and pronounced much more strongly than in English). Don't compare your Croatian friends with the Swedish chef. They will think you're an idiot and not at all funny.

The standard way to say 'Hi' to a friend in Croatian is 'Bok'. This is a very informal greeting.

You wouldn't say it to the lady in the supermarket or store unless you know them and have spoken several times before. Similarly, you wouldn't say it to your elders, your boss or your friend/girlfriend's parents, unless they first say 'Bok' to you. After you're greeted with 'Bok', you know you're in safe 'Bok' territory with this person.

This is actually a pretty good line to follow in many ways when both greeting a Croatian and when using the Croatian language generally. Want to know if you can downgrade your 'a vi?' (formal) to 'a ti?' (informal). An older Croatian will decide when you are acquainted well enough to call them 'ti' and they will tell you. Following someone else's lead is also the essential way of dealing with the physical aspects of greeting someone in Croatian.

Ask a Croatian where the word 'Bok' comes from and many won't have an answer. It's unique to Croatia. Though the language used in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost identical to Croatian, they don't say 'Bok' in those countries (unless you are a Croat living in Bosnia and Herzegovina and you are greeting another Croat).

The Croatian word for God is 'Bog'. It would be a very good guess to assume that the word 'Bok' is a shortened version of an old Croatian greeting that contained the word God - 'God be with you', 'God bless you'. Many now archaic greetings using the word God can be found in almost every language within the Christian world. Indeed, Croatians still use religious text in greetings to this day. If you want to greet a nun or a priest in Croatian, you will always say 'Hvaljen Isus' or 'Hvaljen Isus i Marija' (Thanks be to Jesus or Thanks be to Jesus and Mary).

Other informal Croatian greetings

Croatians have many different and creative ways to greet their friends. Translating some of these is difficult. Recognising them as actual words is no easier.

The 'Dalmatian grunt', as intensely featured in TCN's great video series, is one you might learn to recognise. But, it may not be worth trying to master it yourself. In many instances, it sounds similar to the cry of a large sea mammal that is in distress.

seal-1347886_640.jpgHow do Croatians greet each other? Dalmatian is a tricky dialect to master

Similarly, you might hear a rather startling abbreviation of 'Hey!'. Hey is Croatian is 'Hej' (the letter j in Croatian is pronounced like y is in English). Hej is quite often shortened to 'Ej', although this is sometimes slightly harder in meaning.

For instance, your friend might say 'Hej' to you as a greeting and it will be delivered with a smile and softly spoken (well, as softly spoken as Croatian gets). But, if someone wants you to stop doing something that is dangerous, foolish or annoying, they might more sternly say 'Ej!'

If you're causing offense or being rude and someone wants you to desist or check yourself, they might actually say 'Hallo' or 'Alo'. Yes, 'Hello' is an English word that Croatians have adopted into their own language. And in Croatian, it doesn't mean hello. You might hear the word 'Hallo' or 'alo' used to attract the attention of a waiter or barman. More often, you'll hear the word 'Sorry' used to get a waiter or barman's attention. 'Sorry' is another English word adopted by Croats. And, again, in Croatian, it doesn't mean 'sorry'. If you said 'sorry' to an English or American barman, they might wonder if you're about to inform them of the affair you're having with their wife or of the drink you've spilled. To say sorry in Croatian, you say either 'Zao mi je' (I'm sorry to hear that) or 'Oprosti mi' (Forgive me). The correct way to get a waiter's attention in Croatian is actually to say 'izvinite' (Excuse me). All waiters will recognise this, but some of your Croatian friends around the restaurant table might give you a weird look if you say it, depending on where they are from. That's because truly correct Croatian sounds more like Serbian to some Croatians than the modern language or local dialect they use.

The lowest grade of 'Hej' that you need to recognise as a friendly or informal greeting is one employed by people from Bosnia. They might greet you with the monosyllabic 'Eeeeeeeee'. The exact number of e's in this greeting is influenced by regional dialect, the closeness of friendship, how long it's been since the greeter saw you and how much alcohol they've had to drink. As this is a common greeting for those originally from Bosnia, it is very common to hear 'Eeeee' throughout the streets of Zagreb.

How do Croatians greet each other informally? Ćao

Ćao is more often than not how you'd say 'Hi' in Italian. Traditionally, the second language of many Croatians in the coastal regions was this language. As a result, Ćao has entered the Croatian language and is now a perfectly normal way of saying Hi, especially if you're on the coast. Indeed, it is also commonly used by young people in Zagreb. However, 'Ćao' is also the definitive way to say 'Hi' in Serbia. To some in the east of Croatia, to some in Zagreb, and moreover, to some older people who are not from coastal regions, 'Ćao' is Serbian, not Italian, and therefore rather frowned upon. Such persons prefer more distinctly Croatian greetings.

How do Croatians greet each other? Where are you?


binoculars-1209011_640.jpgHow do Croatians greet each other? Where are you?

The most charming and initially unusual greeting you will receive from a Croatian friend is that they will ask you where you are. 'Gdje si?' is 'Where are you?' in Croatian. You won't often hear that as a greeting. Because this is an informal greeting between friends, it is usually shortened. In Dalmatia, they say 'Di si?'. In other parts of Croatia, they say 'De si?' (specifically, in Primorje, Zagorje and some in Zagreb). Bosnians pronounce it 'Đe si?' (pronounced Dje si). So, in Zagreb, you'll hear all three.

The correct response to a Croatian asking you where you are is to ask them also where they are. Yes, it's completely self-evident where you both are. You're looking at one another. That's not the point. Just say 'De si ti?' in reply and be done with it. If your logic takes over and you instead reply 'Evo me' (I'm here), you're breaking the rules of the game. But, as this is an informal greeting between friends, your pal will recognise you are an idiot foreigner, forgive you instantly and smile.

How to physically greet someone in Croatia


woman-888406_640.jpgHow do Croatians greet each other? Shake a paw

Handshake

A handshake upon your first meeting with someone is pretty standard, just as it is anywhere in the English-speaking world. Just as you do elsewhere, you must look the person you're shaking hands with directly in the eye as you do so. Anything other than direct eye contact may be met suspiciously or as rudeness on your part. It's the same everywhere, so just do it.

How do Croatians greet each other? Watch the eyes!

It's also very good practice for later that evening. If you can master the hand-coordination-whilst-looking-elsewhere required for a greeting, you're well on your way to being able to take part in Croatian toast. In a bar or at a party, when a toast is made and you clink glasses and say 'cheers!', you similarly have to look your co-cheerer directly in the eye.

This is much more difficult to do if you are worried about spilling your full pint during the clink because Croatian custom demands you take your eyes off the golden prize. The way around this is to have a sneaky sip before the toast, so you don't spill any. But, actually, you're supposed to toast before the first sip. Ah well, you'll just have to figure that one out yourself.

Kissy, kissy, free hugs


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How do Croatians greet each other? A hug is sometimes part of the exchange. Deal with it.

The minefield of kisses and hugs in Croatian greetings has been covered by TCN before. Some people kiss, some people hug. Some do both. Some kiss once, some kiss twice. In Serbia, they kiss three times. In France, they all kiss – sometimes once, twice or three times, depending on the region.

This invasion of personal space is usually quite horrifying to the more reserved British gentleman, particularly if a French man you don't know dives in to kiss you upon first meeting. In Croatia, the only kissing that goes on between men in greeting is between good friends, so relax, no worries.

Kisses and hugs as a part of greeting in Croatia are generally informal, but not always. And, as some indulge in this while others don't, the golden rule is to follow someone else's lead. So, pay attention to body language and the side of the face which is offered. Start passive, then respond. Problem solved.


How do Croatians greet each other? Let them take the lead

For more answers in the People Also Ask Google series, follow the dedicated section

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Friday, 26 February 2021

People also ask Google: How Many Days Should I Spend in Dubrovnik?

February 26, 2021 - Continuing the TCN series answering the questions posed by Google's People Also Ask function - how many days should I spend in Dubrovnik?

Dubrovnik, the walled city Lord Byron once called the 'Pearl of the Adriatic,' has dazzled tourists for decades.

Historians claim that tourism first really set off in this picturesque walled city in 1945. Its inclusion in UNESCO's World Heritage List over 30 years later only heightened its fame.

The breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s pushed Dubrovnik into the spotlight once again, however not for its grandeur and charm, but as the target of the Yugoslav People's Army during the Seige of Dubrovnik. Intensive shelling blasted the medieval city walls, and over two-thirds of buildings in the historic core were damaged. The tourist jewel in pieces. 

But even after its darkest days, Dubrovnik shone again thanks to an extensive reconstruction between 1995 and 1999. The Adriatic Pearl was polished to its pre-war perfection, and it has been Croatia's champion of tourism ever since. 

I first visited Dubrovnik on my first trip to Croatia in 1996, not yet six years old and just after the war. I have photos of me striking poses on Stradun, slurping ice cream melted from the hot summer sun, and chasing pigeons around St. Blaise Square. The city's monumental effect on me as a child never dwindled, and its magic only grew as I got older. 

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As a teenager, I would dream of visiting the baroque city during month-long stays in my mother's village of Kosa, just outside Metkovic and only 45 minutes from Dubrovnik. On Dubrovnik day trips, I begged my mother to dress up with me for fancy fish lunches and sunset gelato. It was my favorite Croatian city, without a doubt. 

We have brought dozens of friends from the US to Dubrovnik, staying for days in old-town apartments we wished we maybe hadn't booked after schlepping oversized luggage up 100 steep steps. But once the golden hour lit up Stradun, nothing else mattered - and the magic of Dubrovnik was infectious.

But that was over a decade ago. 

If Dubrovnik wasn't already popular then, today is it one of Europe's top travel destinations and a summer haven for cruise ship tourists who pile into the town for a day. A victim of 'overtourism' next to Venice before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the city's charm has often been met with critique and tourists wishing they hadn't visited in the summer after all. 

But there are ways to beat the bustle and ensure you get the most out of what Dubrovnik has to offer, so you too can experience its perpetual allure. Just read carefully. 

How Many Days Should I Spend in Dubrovnik?

While I thought it was tough to decide how many days you should spend in Split, quantifying it for Dubrovnik is infinitely harder. If you asked me in 2006, I would say a week, in 2010, maybe 3 days, and in the last couple of years, I would say no more than a day.

Though I would hardly agree with that now.

Factoring the potential of summer crowds (though we can't predict they'll return so fast after COVID-19), the key to Dubrovnik is taking your time. 

How long should I spend in Dubrovnik to see the Old Town?

Truth be told, Dubrovnik's center looks much mightier than it really is. This rather compact old-town town could be explored on a speedwalking tour in just a few hours, but that's not as much fun. 

To really explore the cracks and crevices of Dubrovnik's old town, I'd recommend one day - minimum. This gives you time to wander and stop to examine numerous historical attractions like Onofrio Fountain, built in 1438, the Franciscan Monastery (which is also home to Europe's oldest pharmacy), and the baroque Church of St. Blaise (circa the early 1700s). 

 

Don't forget the Rector's Palace, which held the Rector's seat of the Republic of Ragusa, nor can you miss the Romanesque-style Cathedral of the Assumption, designed by Roman architect Andrea Buffalini, which dates back to the 12th century. The 16th-century Sponza Palace is best seen at dusk, while the 31-meter-tall Bell Tower can be used as your marker as you wander around town. 

You'll certainly need time to peruse the shops hidden in high alleyways and people watch with a probably over-priced beverage on Stradun, which won't matter much to you then as you embrace the history around you.  

How much time do I need to see the city walls?

Dubrovnik's main attraction, its walls, has guarded the town for centuries. Built between the 12th and 17th centuries, these defensive stone walls are almost two kilometers long and wrap around the Old Town with scenic views overlooking Dubrovnik's red rooftops and sparkling Adriatic Sea. 

You haven't really been to Dubrovnik unless you've examined the city from this height, and history will continue to reveal itself at every tower, fort, and turn.

 

By entering from the busy Pile Gate, you'll find that walking the walls will take around two hours, that is, if you really take your time to enjoy it. Should you choose to visit in summer, it's best to book in advance and book to tour the walls in the morning - you'll thank me later. 

Because you'll likely need to rest after this wall-workout, don't rush to see the next thing - take the day in Dubrovnik to relax at a cafe or beach! 

How many days should I spend in Dubrovnik to visit Mount Srd?

One of Dubrovnik's top recommendations is Mount Srd, which you can reach in style with the cable car (5-10 minutes to the top), by hiking (about an hour), or driving (13 minutes from Pile Gate). Offering incredible panoramic views of Dubrovnik and the Adriatic, no matter which way you choose to make it to the top, you'll be rewarded with a panoramic restaurant, buggy tours, and the Croatian Homeland War Museum, which exhibits the Croatian War for Independence in haunting photographs from 1991-1995. 

 

Depending on what you choose to do, you could make Mount Srd a full-day activity! 

Can I see everything on Lokrum in one day?

Just 15 minutes by boat from the Dubrovnik Port is Lokrum, a small green island oasis that dates back to pre-historic times (1023). The perfect day-trip idea, Lokrum, is a natural habitat that boasts a botanical garden, medieval Benedictine monastery, nudist and rocky beaches, and even a Dead Sea-like saltwater lake. 

You can easily spend the day on Lokrum to beat the summer heat and crowds. This forested wonder even has a restaurant! 

 

Can I see the Elaphiti Islands in one day?

I didn't visit the Elaphiti Islands until maybe my 6th or 7th time in Dubrovnik, and I'm so sorry I didn't go sooner. The Elaphiti Islands, which get their name from the Greek word elafos, are a small archipelago of several islands slightly northwest of Dubrovnik. The three most famous are Kolocep, Lopud, and Sipan, populated by less than 1,000 people in total, though 13 islands make up the archipelago.

Tranquil, forested, and mostly car-free, the Elaphiti Islands offer a picturesque escape from the busy city. While you can visit Kolocep, Lopud, and Sipan by ferry, the timetables could get a bit tight, so booking a private speedboat tour for the day ensures you get the most out of your adventure - and lunch at an island konoba to boot!

 

How many days should I spend in Dubrovnik if I'm a Game of Thrones fan?

Calling all Game of Thrones fans! If you didn't know by now, Dubrovnik was transformed into King's Landing for the hit TV series, and you'll notice many famous scenes just by walking around the Old Town. For example, Cersei Lannister's steps of 'Shame!' (or Dubrovnik's Jesuit Stairs), St. Dominic Street (most marketplace scenes in King's Landing), while the Rector's Palace, Rupe Ethnographic Museum, Fort Bokar, Fort Lovrijenac, Ploce Gate and more all have their chance in the spotlight. 

There are several Game of Thrones tours you can choose from, most lasting around two hours, which will not only take you to filming locations but give you the history spiel of the city, too.

 

You can also head 30 minutes outside of Dubrovnik to the Trsteno Arboretum, whose gardens are featured in seasons 3 and 4! 

How many days should I spend in Dubrovnik, depending on the season?

Summer is without a doubt the busiest time in Dubrovnik thanks to the scorching hot sun, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is the best time to visit. Trying to do everything you want in a day or two during the summer could be an impossible task, given that long lines and crowds make many tourist activities tough to tick off. If you have time to spend in Dubrovnik in the summer, do it, and book yourself accommodation outside the bustling Old Town so you can maintain a somewhat slower summer pace. 

Spring may be the best time of the year to visit Dubrovnik for various reasons - 1) usually good weather, 2) tolerable crowds, less traffic, and emptier walls, and 3) more affordable prices. Most tourist attractions are open as well, and booking in advance is probably not necessary. Summer flight schedules to Dubrovnik usually kick off in the spring, making it easier to get in and out. 

 

Winter in Dubrovnik exposes the city's local life, which is often hard to experience any other time of the year. Dubrovnik is still enhanced by events in the wintertime, like Advent Christmas markets, its Winter Festival, and, of course, the celebration of its patron saint, St. Blaise. The weather may be cooler, but the vacant streets give the town a new kind of enchantment that only winter can bring. 

Conclusion: How many days should I Spend in Dubrovnik?

Another impossible question to answer, I believe it all comes down to why you're visiting in the first place. If you want to be fully immersed in the history, culture, and beauty of Dubrovnik, do yourself a favor and don't cut your trip to one day. However, if you're only looking to walk walls to say you did it and prefer a quick gander around town, one day is plenty. 

 

Keep in mind that the time of year you choose to visit will have a huge part in how your trip plays out. Even so, we're pretty sure you'll feel the magic no matter when. 

To follow the People Also Ask Google about Croatia series, click here.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

People Also Ask Google: What Language Do They Speak in Istria?

February 25, 2021 – Continuing the TCN series answering the questions posed by Google's People Also Ask function, one that confuses many: what language do they speak in Istria?

Where is Istria?

Istria is the biggest and northernmost peninsula in Croatia and the Adriatic. It lies in the northern part of the Adriatic, in Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy. Geographically, 90 percent of the Istrian peninsula is part of Croatia, while nine percent includes Slovenia.

Most Croatians live in the Croatian part of Istria (68,33 percent), while minorities make up a quarter of the population, of which Italians are the biggest group – six percent. In the Slovenian part, Slovenes make up the absolute majority population. Only one percent of the Istrian surface is part of Italy. It includes only two small municipalities near Trieste, of which the majority of the inhabitants in one are Slovenes and in the other are Italians.

According to the 2011 census, 25 percent of people in Croatia declared their regional identity as Istrian, of which 12 percent live in Istria County, one of 20 Croatian counties. The name for a regional identity developed by a part of the citizens of Istria, mainly its Croatian part, is Istrianism. Thus, regional identification is more pronounced in Istria than in other parts of Croatia.

How many official languages are there in Istria?

Since there are two official languages in Istria – Croatian and Italian – Istria is a bilingual community. Italian is the second official language in Istria since 1994, and the Constitution guarantees the rights to bilingualism in Croatia. Out of 208,000 inhabitants in Istria County, 180,000 stated that their mother language was Croatian, while 14,000 of them stated Italian as their mother language.

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Native speakers of Italian in Croatia according to the 2011 census / Wikipedia

In addition to Croatia's Constitution, local legislation, i.e., the Istrian County Statute equates these two languages in public use and encourages learning Italian as an environmental language. The Istrian bilingual community includes both smaller and larger Istrian settlements.

Due to this bilingualism, Istria is a specific region in Croatia, so there are many Italian public institutions (schools, kindergartens, etc.). Istria has a long tradition of education in another language. Besides, the environment itself is bilingual, which means that Italian is not only spoken by Italians but people of other nationalities too, including Croatians. Also, Istria is historically, culturally, and economically strongly connected with Italy.

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Buje, Istria / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

Reputable cultural, scientific, pedagogical, and artistic minority institutions have been established in Istria: Italian Drama in Rijeka (Dramma Italiano), Center for Historical Research in Rovinj (Centro di Ricerche Storiche), Italian department at the Faculty of Philosophy and departments in Italian for teacher education at the College of Teacher Education in Pula. Also, La Voce Del Popolo, a daily newspaper in Italian owned by the Italian Union (Unione Italiana), is published in Rijeka.

During his visit to Istria last year, Italian Ambassador to Croatia, Pierfrancesco Sacco, said that Italians in Croatia feel at home, like Croats in Italy. This is especially evident in Istria and Pula, where there are a deep friendship and a desire to find new cooperation methods. On that occasion, the Mayor of Pula, Boris Miletić, said that the fundamental values, which have been nurtured in this area for decades, are openness, multiculturalism, and coexistence.

What language do they speak in Istria?

The vast majority of Istrians speak the Croatian language's Chakavian dialect, meaning they use the interrogative pronoun "ča." Only in some parts near the border with Slovenia, some people use the interrogative pronoun "kaj," so they are often mistaken for Kajkavians. Still, the structure and characteristics of these speeches are distinctly Chakavian.

Chakavian dialect is also spoken in Dalmatia. However, the Istrian Chakavian dialect is different from the Dalmatian one due to the numerous Italianisms. It is also difficult to understand it in the rest of Croatia. The most widespread Chakavian dialect in Istria is the Southwestern Istrian dialect. There are also Buzet, Northern, Central, and Southern Chakavian dialects in Istria.

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Chakavian dialects in Istria: Southwestern (purple), Buzet (orange), Northern (yellow), Central (green), and Southern Chakavian (blue) / Wikipedia

The aforementioned Italian minority lives in some towns on the Istrian west coast and in some villages near Buje, and they speak Italian. In the Slovenian part of Istria, the Slovenian language is spoken.

In the eastern part of Istria, at the foot of the Ćićarija mountain, in several smaller villages live Istro-Romanians or Ćići, a population of Romanian origin who speak their own Istro-Romanian language, which is a mixture of Romanian and Croatian. Today, many of them have adopted the Croatian language and are now considered Croats.

In addition to the dominant Croatian and Italian languages, other minority languages are spoken in Istria, namely Serbian, Bosnian, Slovenian, Albanian, and Macedonian. One can hear the Shtokavian dialect in Istria as well.

What language do they speak in Istria? Istro-Romanian language

Istria is home to two of the 20 most endangered languages in the world by UNESCO – the Istro-Romanian language and Istriot.

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Istro-Romanian language is a Balkan Romance language spoken by only a few hundred people today in the northern Istrian villages of Žejane, Lanišće, and Šušnjevica. It is highly similar to the Romanian language, and for some linguists, the Istro-Romanian language is considered a dialect of Romanian. People in Istria who speak it are called Rumeri, Rumeni, Vlachs, or Istro-Romanians. Croats disparaging started to call them Ćići or Ćiribirci.

In the middle of the 15th century, the Ćiribirci were settled by Ivan VII Frankopan from Velebit on the island of Krk. Since the Ćići plundered Ivan Frankopan in northern Istria in 1463, when their name is first mentioned, it is believed that they immigrated to Istria from Krk. However, Istro-Romanians are not officially recognized as a national minority in Croatia.

The most interesting fact about the Istro-Romanian language is that it was spoken by one of the most famous inventors of all time – Nikola Tesla – even though he wasn't even aware of the ethical existence of the Istro-Romanians. Since elementary school, Tesla was able to speak the Istro-Romanian language, despite the fact that Istro-Romanian was not taught in schools in those years. It was only spoken by a few thousands of people in Istria and Lika, and he could have probably learned it in his family.

Although Telsa always considered himself a Serbo-Croat, one Romanian academic, Professor Moraru, thought Tesla was an Istro-Romanian. When Romanian scholars contacted Tesla in the early 20th century and explained he was of Istro-Romanian roots, he allegedly showed amazement but did not comment on that matter. Therefore, Nikola Tesla has never denied the possibility of his Istro-Romanian origins.

What language do they speak in Istria: Istriot language

Istriot language, often confused with Istro-Romanian language, is a Romance language spoken by about 400 people in the southwestern part of Istria, particularly in Rovinj and Vodnjan. Still, it is also preserved in Bale, Fažana, Galižana, and Šišan. It should not be confused with the Istrian dialect of the Venetian language either.

According to some estimates, the Istriot has only a few dozen active speakers and about 300 people who understand it and can use it in part. It is a Romance language related to the Ladin populations of the Alps, currently only found in Istria. Its classification remained mostly unclear, but in 2017, it was classified with the Dalmatian language in the Dalmatian Romance subgroup.

Historically, its speakers never referred to it as "Istriot language." Instead, it had six names after the six towns where it was spoken: in Vodnjan it was named "Bumbaro," in Bale "Vallese," in Rovinj "Rovignese," in Šišan "Sissanese," in Fažana "Fasanese," and in Galižana "Gallesanese." The term Istriot was coined by the 19th-century Italian linguist Graziadio Isaia Ascoli.

Younger Italians in these places mostly understand Istriot, but they rarely use it, and Croats rule this idiom very badly or not at all. It is most endangered in Fažana, and it seems that it is most strongly maintained in Bale.

What language do they speak in Istria: Istrian dialect in Slovenia

Slovene dialects are separated into a few groups, and the Istrian dialect, spoken in Slovene Istria, falls in the Littoral dialect group. Istrian dialect is spoken in the rural areas of Koper, Izola, and Piran. The Slovenes living in the Italian municipalities of Muggia and San Dorligo della Valle, as well as in the southern suburbs of Trieste (Servola, Cattinara). In Croatia, it is also called the Slovenian-Istrian dialect.

The dialect has been influenced by Croatian as spoken in Buzet and Ćićarija and is further subdivided into the Rižana and Šavrin Hills subdialects.

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Slovene Istria / Wikipedia

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Rižana subdialect (yellow) and Šavrin Hills subdialect (green) / Wikipedia

The Rižana subdialect is spoken in the northern part of Slovenian Istria, in the Rižana Valley east and north of Koper, including the settlements of Bertoki, Dekani, Osp, Črni Kal, Presnica, Podgorje, and Zazid. In Italy, Rižana subdialect is spoken in most of the municipalities of San Dorligo della Valle and Muggia south of Trieste and some southern suburbs of Trieste, especially Servola.

The Šavrin Hills subdialect is spoken in the Šavrin Hills south of a line from Koper to the south of Zazid. It includes the settlements of Koper, Izola, Portorož, Sečovlje, Šmarje, Sočerga, and Rakitovec.

The mixture of Šavrin dialects proves the closeness to the Čakavian dialects, and the Rižana sub-dialect is entirely Slovene. There are many Romance loanwords in both sub-dialects linguistic legacy, mostly Venetian, Trieste-Romance, and Italian.

Why do locals speak Italian?

As previously explained in the second paragraph of this article, Croatians in Istria speak Italian because it has been implemented in public speech and institutions for such a long time.

As Marija Črnac Rocco, head of the Rovinj City Council office, explained for Novosti portal, the Italian national minority in Istria (and certain other Croatian parts) is autochthonous, meaning that the Italian component has always lived and existed in these territories.

Likewise, Italian was the official language during all the various reigns in Istria until the end of the Second World War – the Venetian Republic, the Kingdom of Austria, Napoleon's rule, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and the Kingdom of Italy.

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Rovinj, Istria / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

After the Second World War, Istria was annexed to the Federal Republic of Slovenia and Federal Republic of Croatia, namely the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Italian national community's position, which became a minority in a significant part of Istria due to sad post-war circumstances, has been the subject of consideration and securing the rights of many international agreements.

Therefore, the equal use of the Croatian and Italian languages in Istrian County and many towns and municipalities in Istria is undoubtedly a legal obligation, which for most Istrians is both a moral duty and a civilizational achievement of which they are proud.

Bilingualism in Istria is not only lived in translated official documents, it is lived in families, on the street, in everyday communication, in traditions, and customs. Bilingualism in Istria is natural, spontaneous, and it is perceived as an advantage and a richness.

Istria in Italian and Croatian: some important bilingual place names

Istrian County has ten cities and 31 municipalities. When you drive through Istria, you will notice bilingual traffic signs, including both Croatian and Italian names of towns and municipalities, such as:

  • Buje – Buie
  • Buzet – Pinguente
  • Fažana – Fasana
  • Grožnjan – Grisignana
  • Labin – Albona
  • Medulin – Medolino
  • Motovun – Montona
  • Novigrad – Cittanova (d'Istria)
  • Pazin – Pisino
  • Poreč – Parenzo
  • Pula – Pola
  • Rovinj – Rovigno
  • Umag – Umago
  • Višnjan – Visignano
  • Vodnjan – Dignano
  • Vrsar – Orsera
  • Žminj – Gimino

As such, in Croatian, we say Istra, and Italians say Istria.

When was Istria a part of Italy?

Istria was a part of the Kingdom of Italy after the First World War when the Austro-Hungarian Empire disintegrated. In 1920, with the Rapallo Peace Treaty, Istria, the Croatian city of Zadar, as well as the islands of Lastovo, Cres, and Lošinj, belonged to Italy. Rijeka belonged to Italy in 1924. During the Second World War, the population organized a movement of resistance to fascism by Benito Mussolini. Therefore, after the war, Istria became part of Yugoslavia, where it remained until its disintegration in the early 1990s when the Istrian peninsula was divided by Croatia and Slovenia.

During the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, a significant Italian linguistic and ethnic community in Croatia mainly concentrated on the west coast of Istria and in Rijeka, Dalmatian, and Kvarner towns. After the First and especially after the Second World War, most Croatian Italians emigrated to Italy.

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Grožnjan / Copyright Romulić and Stojčić

Today, almost three-quarters of all Italians in Croatia live in Istria County. The only municipality in Croatia where Italians make up a relative majority is Grožnjan in Istria, with 39.4 percent ethnic Italians in the population and 56 percent of the people whose mother language is Italian.

The Italian community's position and rights are guaranteed by the Constitutional Law on Human Rights and the Rights of Ethnic and National Communities of the Republic of Croatia, as well as various international agreements and treaties.

To follow the People Also Ask Google about Croatia series, click here.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

People Also Ask Google: How Many Days in Split is Enough?

February 23, 2021 - Continuing the TCN series answering the questions posed by Google's People Also Ask function, this time, one that is asked more often than not. How many days in Split is enough? 

This is the ultimate question. And if you really wanted my honest opinion, I'd tell you to stay forever (here is why). Because that is not a reality for everyone, I've set out to find a happy medium for travelers making their way to Split, based on various scenarios, like seasons, main attractions, and those balancing the work-travel lifestyle of a digital nomad. 

So, how many days in Split is enough?

While I have been visiting Split since 1996, I only really first fell in love with the city during my first full year here, or once I experienced Split outside of the peak summer months. September is now my favorite month in Split, and the magic of Diocletian's Palace during a brisk bura breeze or a warm spring day on Marjan is beyond compare. 

But Split has and always will draw hordes of tourists in the summertime, and it's not difficult to see why. Thanks to its glistening coastline, outdoor activities, bustling city center, vibrant nightlife, and booming culinary scene, Split could equal one of Europe's top metropolitan cities if it maintained the summer buzz year-round.

But there is certainly an argument for each season and how many days are adequate given the time of year. Though I believe it all comes down to preference, in the end. 

How many days in Split is enough in the preseason?

Ah, the magic of spring! While Croatia's preseason begins earlier each year, it's safe to say that Easter weekend is the official start of the preseason. However, before COVID-19, many airlines launched their summer flight schedules at the end of March, bringing tourists to Split even before the spring holiday. While there may not be as many connections now given the current circumstances (some airlines are pushing traffic back to May), if there is a will, there is a way - and Split in spring is pure bliss. 

You'll notice restaurants and bars reopening after winter hibernation, sunny days and temps in the teens (Celsius), and empty alleyways usually swarmed by tourists in the summer. The biggest crowd you'll find is that of sunglass-clad locals gathering on the Riva for their morning coffee, enjoying every moment of spring sun before the summer storm (of tourists). 

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Matthew Christopher Miller

Nature flourishes in the spring. The local green markets are decorated with seasonal charms like wild asparagus and fava beans. Active tourism enthusiasts can hike in the hinterland or enjoy Mosor mountain without the blazing heat. 

Spring is also crowned by events, the highlight of which is Split City Day, Sveti Duje, celebrated on May 7 each year. The event gathers thousands of citizens in the center for concerts, boat races, and fairs for days. While we can't say which events will happen this spring, the Croatia Boat Show has been announced for May, bringing the nautical elite, restauranteurs, and tourism reps to Split for five days before the official start of the 'peak' season.

Those of you looking to take day trips to islands will find that Jadrolinija still operates on the winter schedule, resulting in fewer connections (and much of the island closed). Still, those traveling by car can embark on journeys up and down to the coast, and even enjoy cheaper ticket prices at Krka National Park, only an hour away. 

Visiting in the spring also comes with friendlier accommodation prices, making it a season with more bang for your buck! 

Split in the spring is a sort of re-birth - when the city and its people come alive. While much of the city is just waking up, we suggest you take your time to enjoy the serenity of Split in the spring, and if you stay here long enough, you may even be able to swim. 

How many days in Split is enough in the peak season?

Because most people choose to visit Split in the summer, how many days in the peak season is enough? 

My honest answer to friends visiting from California is usually no less than five days. Why? Because while Split is a travel hub with access year-round, it is the epicenter of Dalmatia in the summer. 

The truth is, those five days are never enough, and the majority of my friends plan to come for a week or more the next time they visit. 

But what makes Split so hot (literally) in the summer?

 

In short, the city is a playground for all types of tourists. Whether you're in your early 20s and want to go bar hopping and nightclubbing until the early morning hours, or rather spend your days at the beach, trying your hand at water sports and rock climbing adventures, or exploring the historic center and its culinary charms, there really is something for everyone here. 

And if you grow tired of Split (though highly unlikely)? It's the perfect base for a day trip to the islands, with numerous connections and Brač, Hvar, and Šolta only an hour away. You can hop on the bus or rent a car to visit the UNESCO-protected museum town of Trogir in 30 minutes, or head down the coast for a canyoning adventure in Omiš (but beware of summer traffic). You can tick off Šibenik, Primošten, and Rogoznica on a day trip to Krka National Park and head inland to horseback ride in Sinj (or watch the  Sinjska Alka) in under an hour. 

Music festivals like Ultra Europe see partygoers stay in Split for a week during the summer, while the Split Summer Festival and Diocletian Days events keep tourists amused with live music and historical entertainment for weeks on end. 

 

The weather is HOT, the sun is shining, the sea is warm, and the air connections aplenty. If you don't mind the crowds or the heat, there is no time limit to Split in the summer. That is if you can afford it. 

How many days in Split is enough in the offseason?

Split's shoulder season has become a favorite time for visitors, as September and October offer the perks of summer with usually milder weather and without the peakseason crowds. 

The true offseason, however, is usually the quietest time of the year in Split. Some of Split's restaurants go into winter hibernation, as do its people, and empty squares and promenades are a reality in November.

But winter does have its perks, and while locals need some time to rest after a summer of hard work, they come back out to play in December for the festive Advent event. While we didn't get to enjoy it in 2020 due to obvious reasons, Advent usually lasts the entire month of December and into January, where you can ice skate, imbibe on mulled wine and hot gin, and enjoy sausages, live music, and Christmas-themed events. 

 

You’ll also find that many restaurants in Split embrace the colder months with fare destined to warm your bellies, and many restaurants in the city stay true to the classics and traditions of Croatia for the new season to give you a taste of home cooking. 

January and February are always the slowest months in Split, and whatever bars and restaurants reopened for Advent may close for 'renovations' until the spring. 

 

But the offseason still offers plenty to do, like visiting its museums (Split City Museum, Meštrović Gallery, and Museum of Illusions are some of the most popular). You can enjoy ballet and musicals at the Croatian National Theater or catch the city's beloved football club Hajduk at Poljud until mid-December before they break until the end of January. 

Split is also only a couple of hours away from Kupres in Bosnia & Herzegovina, a hit for Dalmatian skiers in the winter. 

Nature never goes anywhere, and you could spend weeks exploring the natural wonders of the region with Split as your base. And if you can brave the winter bura wind, you may want to stay even longer. 

How many days in Split is enough to explore Diocletian's Palace?

Now, one of the main draws to Split is Diocletian's Palace - and it's no surprise why. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was once Emporer Diocletian's retirement home, and today it wows world travelers thanks to its beauty and grandeur.  

But how many days in Split do you need to explore this 4th-century palace? 

It's first important to know that the palace makes up the city center's historic core and is marked by four gates through which you enter - the Golden Gate, Silver Gate, Iron Gate, and Brass Gate. Once you're within the palace walls, you'll notice shops, restaurants, bars, all connected by narrow cobblestone alleyways, which will likely get you lost more often than not. 

 

The palace is also marked by many historical attractions, like the Saint Domnius Cathedral, Peristyle, Vestibule, Temple of Jupiter, and, of course, the famous substructures, or Diocletian's basement. 

You could spend all day walking around Diocletian's Palace without really realizing it as local life bustles through, but should you stop to examine the details; you'll want to spend a bit of time here. Some say that a 75-minute walking tour is enough to experience Diocletian's Palace and its 1700-year-old history, which is probably true. But if you were to really embrace the essence of what Diocletian's Palace is for the city today, you'll need at least a few days eating and drinking your way around palace walls, among the locals, to stumble upon all of its charms. 

How many days in Split is enough for a digital nomad?

If you're balancing the work-travel lifestyle and are planning on taking advantage of the new digital nomad visa in Croatia, we suggest you make full use and stay a year. Split is a mecca of coffee shops and new coworking spaces. You can enjoy fast internet, good weather, and safe streets. It's also affordable for long-term rentals in comparison to other European cities. Not to mention you'll get to experience everything I've written above - every season, every inch of Diocletian's Palace, and everything that makes Split as special as it is. 

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Saltwater Coworking Space

Conclusion: How many days in Split is enough?

All in all, that's entirely up to your time, budget and preference. Truly, there is no number of days too large. I am going on six years here and Split still finds ways to surprise me. You will certainly feel the magic of Split during an afternoon coffee or a night around town, but to truly embrace the essence of the city, do yourself a favor and stay a little longer. 

 

To follow the People Also Ask Google about Croatia series, click here.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

People also ask Google: What Type of Food does Croatia Eat?

February 23, 2021 – What type of food does Croatia eat? Well, it's a small country, only around 4 million people. The food must be pretty similar all over Croatia, right? Wrong

The type of food Croatia eats depends on which region you are in. The Croatian menu is wonderfully varied. Homegrown or domestic Croatian food is usually the product of the country's wonderful natural assets. The type of food Croatia eats is also influenced by its close neighbours. Some food Croatia eats comes historically from the menus of places quite far from Croatia.

Croatia is known for food that is often cooked simply, allowing the finest natural ingredients to sing. Food in Croatia often travels a very short distance from the field to the plate or from the sea to the plate. So, what Croatia eats very much depends on the land and assets in the area close by. For instance, in the mountainous region of Lika, potatoes grow well and appear regularly in the cookbook. In Karlovac, the city's wealth of rivers means that freshwater fish and frogs legs appear on the menu.

Sto_vidjetikarlooooo.jpgKarlovac, a city whose four rivers inform the local cuisine © Croatian National Tourist Board

What type of food does Croatia eat in the flatlands of Pannonia might be very different to the food Croatia eats in the coastal regions of Dalmatia or Istria. But, not always. Some kinds of food Croatia eats is ubiquitous – you can find some Croatian food that is popular in every region, like grah – an inexpensive, filling and delicious beans-based dish, popular at lunch or punjeni paprika (stuffed peppers). Sarma - meat-filled cabbage rolls cooked in a tomato sauce – is also popular throughout Croatia. Cabbage is a staple part of the Croatian diet, being used fresh in delicious crunchy side salads or in is fermented form, as sauerkraut.

picture_2sarmy.jpgSarma

Snack food or fast food in Croatia is available on almost every street corner, from the pekara (or pekarnica), the popular local bakeries. Here, you can grab a burek, pizza slice or pita, which is like a cross between a small pastry pie and a pasty (if you're British and know what a pasty is!)

Other fast food in Croatia includes burgers and kebabs, which range in quality from standard to super-premium. The Zagreb restaurant and fast food menu, in particular, has expanded massively over recent years. The choice of food in Zagreb is now varied and international. But that's not the only place. Want to eat Indian food in Dubrovnik? Can do. Fancy some sushi while staring out over beautiful Kvarner Bay in Opatija? Može (you may)!

navisssssssssssssssssssss.jpgNavis Hotel overlooking Kvarner Bay - Opatija's first sushi restaurant © Hotel Navis Opatija

Croatia now has many Michelin-recommended and several Michelin-starred restaurants. Their number grows each year. But, while the variety of international and top-flight continues to expand in Croatia, this does not tell the real story of what Croatia food is.

Pizza is not really Croatian food (although, like that other Italian import ice cream, Croatians do make it very well). Burgers are not Croatian food, even if pljeskavica is. Pekara might be ubiquitous, but that is not real Croatian food. No. To find out truly what type of food does Croatia eat, you'll have to find a seat in a traditional restaurant or tavern (a konoba, if you're on the coast, krčma, klet or gostiona, gostionica or restoran elsewhere). There you can soak up the wonderful vibes and sometimes spectacular scenery. But, more important that that, you might find a meal you'll never forget.

The only thing in Croatia that truly beats traditional food from a great tavern, is food in Croatia that is made by mom or grandma in the home. If you're lucky enough to be invited to try traditional Croatian food in someone's home, you simply must go. It's the best!

What type of food does Croatia eat?

What food is Croatia known for in the region of Istria?
103990514_2766842676932885_8553088344150944332_ofdzsgabdfbagtfbafgbnasfg.jpgWhat type of food do they eat in Istria? © Draguč, Istria by Romulic and Stojcic

The most northwesterly region of Croatia, food in Istria is often distinctly different to that found in the other areas of Croatia. The region's close proximity to Italy can be tasted within much traditional Istrian food. Homemade pastas take centre stage on meat, fish and vegetable dishes and also find their way into Istrian soups and stews. Many small fishing villages exist on the Istrian coast and the catch of the day is not only popular with those who live on the coast – seafood makes its way into the interior of Istria too. Familiar Mediterranean meals featuring seabass, bream, sardine, sole, squid, scallops, crab, scampi, mussels and oysters can be found on the Istrian food menu. Black cuttlefish risotto and the stews Brodet and Buzara are also a favourite here, like elsewhere on the Croatian coast.

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The Istrian interior is a beautiful landscape, with rolling hills covered in vineyards, long stretches of olive groves and fruit trees, picturesque hilltop towns and river valleys which cut through unblemished nature and forest. It is within these forests that one of Istria's most famous ingredients can be found.

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Istria is famous for truffles. The rare and costly delicacy makes its way generously into Istrian food, shaved over pasta dishes or added to oils, cheese or even chocolate. You can take a guided tour to hunt for truffles in Istria. Truffles aren't the only things hunted in the region's woods – game makes its way into some delicious Istrian food dishes.

tartufi_pljukanci_1-maja-danica-pecanicdgfadsgadfvbgdz.jpgHomemade pasta with truffles - classic Istria! © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Other produce the region is famous for include honey, Istrian prosciutto (prsut) and Istrian olive oil. In 2020, Istria was voted the world's best olive oil region for a sixth consecutive year. You can find it in most Istrian pasta dishes, salads and on almost every dining table. Delicious.

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You can find different local specialities in villages all over Istria, usually informed by the crops most grown nearby or the produce popularly made there. These are celebrated at food and drink festivals which regularly occur in villages and towns throughout the region. Go to any of these if you can. They're a brilliant opportunity to try some of the best traditional foods of Istria, and you'll be able to wash it down with excellent Istrian wine varieties like Malvasia or Teran.

imagefrittty.jpgAsparagus is just one of many ingredients for which the Croatian region of Istria is famous, seen here made into a frittata or omelette © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Some famous Istrian food dishes include Manestra, a minestrone-type soup made with vegetables (and sometimes meat or bones are used to flavour), Istrian žgvacet, a more meaty stew, asparagus (which is often eaten with eggs or made into an omelette or frittata) and speciality beef dishes which come from the region's rare, indigenous Boskarin cow.

What do they eat in Croatia in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast?
split-3712767_1920_1.jpgThe city of Split on the Dalmatian coast

The food eaten in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast is classic Mediterranean food. Croatian waters of the Adriatic sea are very clean and offer up a stunning range of seafood. Fish like sardines, tuna, seabass and bream are incredibly popular and are often served simply grilled, sometimes flavoured with olive oil, salt, garlic and nothing more. A popular – if not ubiquitous – side dish to accompany grilled fish is blitva, which is a hardy green chard that thrives even in the extreme heat and nutrient-weak soil of the region. It is traditionally cooked with potatoes and flavoured with olive oil and salt.

fish-3684985_1920_1.jpgWhat do they eat in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast? Sea bass grilled and served simply is an unforgettable meal of any holiday in this part of Croatia

Other seafood such as squid, octopus, crab, scampi and prawns are popular in Dalmation cooking. Many get the same simple treatment as the fine fish – they are grilled simply, black bars of mild charring from the grill scarring their surface upon serving. Octopus also makes its way into a delicious salad, often served as a starter. Dalmatian seafood is also used in risottos, with prawn risotto and black cuttlefish risotto particular favourites.

fish-725955_1920_1.jpgOctopus salad is a popular starter in Dalmatia

Many more varieties of fish than the famous ones mentioned can be found in coastal fish markets (there are great ones in Rijeka, Kvarner and in Split). You'll find various varieties of fish used in delicious stews and soups served in Dalmatia. Brudet and Buzara are also a favourite here, like in Istria.

4_gastro-stew-optimized-for-print-maja-danica-pecanicyfkufjf.jpgDalmatian food found on the coast often relies heavily on the gifts of the Adriatic sea. This dish, known as Brudet (Brodet in some places) is a fish stew/soup popular all through Croatia's coastal regions © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

A popular traditional method of cooking in Dalmatia is 'ispod peka' – food cooked under a metal bell-shaped covering upon which hot coals and embers are placed. These long and slow-cooked dishes often contain a mixture of meat and vegetables and could be comparable perhaps to a Moroccan tagine – but without north African spices. This method of cooking holds a theatre that matches its great taste, but many places ask you order a day in advance if you want to try it because the cooking time can be long. Octopus, lamb, pork and beef are the most popular choices to be found cooked 'under the bell'

Pekazaton.jpgWhat do they eat in Dalmatia on the Croatian coast? A dish of great theatre is 'peka' - food cooked 'under the bell'. Try the one with octopus! © Zaton holiday resort

Dalmatia is famous for smoked prosciutto (prsut), smoked, dry-cured bacon (pancetta) and lamb. You'll see both whole sucking pig and whole roasted lamb cooking on spits above flickering flames all across Dalmatia. Dalmatian lamb is full of flavour. Unlike elsewhere, where it is flavoured with garlic, rosemary, other spices or even anchovy, Dalmatian lamb is seasoned only with salt and a little olive oil. It needs nothing more and this is the absolute truth. A highlight not to miss.

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Elsewhere, Dalmatia is famous for its cheese. The cheeses from island Pag are particularly famous – usually hard in texture, full of flavour and not inexpensive. You'll find them served alongside prsut and olives on the buffets of any parties or official functions and are best enjoyed with local wines. Croatia's most powerful red wines come from Dalmatia. If that's your kind of wine, this is one of the best regions in the world.

e0210f36257c3dffb45491df5f1ba0c8asfjpaioshfGAILSDHGFLsdfsadhgasjd.jpgWhat food do they eat in Dalmatia in Croatia? The cheese from the Dalmatian island of Pag is extremely famous © Croatian National Tourist Board

Apart from peka, another famous Dalmatian coastal dish is Pašticada. Like peka, an authentic Pašticada requires pre-ordering – it takes a minimum 24 hours of preparation time to make a good one, as the beef used within it is marinated. Finding a truly great Pašticada is difficult. The best are cooked with care, love and attention within the home and are served for special occasions. If you're lucky enough to try one of those, recapturing that distinct fruity taste will be difficult and many restaurant-ready versions will disappoint.

1440px-Pasticada_1.jpgWhat type of food do they eat in Dalmatia on special occasions? Pašticada. If you try the best, it will likely be homecooked © Popo le Chien

A lot of Dalmatian coastal food is comparable to that found all along the Mediterranean shoreline. One distinct anomaly is the city of Omiš, whose cuisine is supplemented by its position at the mouth of the huge Cetina river. You can read a detailed article about the cuisine of Omis here.

What kind of food do they eat in Croatia within inland Dalmatia / the Dalmatian hinterland?
gorchf.jpgWhat kind of food do they eat in Dalmatia in the hinterland? It varies. In the city of Drniš, they are famous for making a distinct prosciutto (prsut) © gorchfin

The Dalmatian hinterland is one of the great gastronomic regions of Croatia, yet it remains largely undiscovered by the crowds visiting the coast. It can be tough to leave the beautiful beaches, but a trip behind the mountains is worth it for multiple reasons, not least the food.

It really is the shortest of journeys to make. For that reason, the cuisine of inland Dalmatia contains all the treats you'll find on restaurant menus by the coast (but probably at half the price!) In addition, they have their own specialities you're unlikely to find by the sea.

drnyyyyyyy.jpgWhat kind of food do they eat in Dalmatia in the hinterland? Drniški Pršut © Tourist Board of Drniš

In the city of Drniš, they are famous for their cheese and distinct pršut, in Imotski they're known for a delicious almond cake. In the hinterland behind Omiš, you'll find Poljicki Soparnik – a truly authentic Croatian dish. In the villages around the Neretva valley, close to Metkovic, you'll find frogs and eels used in local cuisine.

soppy.jpegWhat type of food does Croatia eat? The hinterland behind the city of Omis in Dalmatia is one of the few places you'll find Poljički Soparnik, a truly authentic Croatian food © Marc Rowlands

Continental Croatian cuisine and traditional Mediterranean cooking collide in the Dalmatian hinterland – it really is the best of both. Much of the lamb Dalmatia is famous for comes from the foothills on either side of the Dinaric Alps and meat plays a perhaps bigger role in Dalmatian cuisine than it does on the coast.

What food is Croatia known for in Zagreb?
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Compared to just ten years ago, the Zagreb food offer has exploded in its number of options. You can find Japanese sushi, Chinese food, Levantine food, Mexican food, Indian food, food from Sri Lanka, Lebanese and Arabic food, Thai food and Turkish food in authentic Zagreb restaurants and other food outlets. You'll also find some of Croatia's best burger joints and pizza restaurants in the capital. These excellent imports now rival the classic Balkan grill/barbecue joints for the attentions of restaurant-goers and those who order takeaway.

fallyfffs.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In Zagreb, these days you can eat food from all over the world - including delicious falafel © Falafel etc.

If you're only in Zagreb for a short amount of time, please don't miss the grill experience. The Croatian capital really does have some of the best in the country and it's a much more authentic experience than a burrito or sweet and sour pork with fried rice.

turkeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Foods like burek, kebab and baklava can be found all over the Balkans, a remnant of the time the Ottomans were here. But, the best baklava in Croatia is available in Zagreb, made by Turkish guys at La Turka © Mateo Henec

Alongside the pljeskavica, cevapi, sausages and pork steaks on the Balkan grill menus, you'll often find stuffed meat options. Some of these are very popular in Zagreb. It could be a burger, with bacon included or one filled with cheese. Or, it could be a chicken, turkeys, pork or veal portion, tenderised and flattened with a cooking mallet so that it can be rolled around cheese and ham and cooked in breadcrumbs, like the famous Zagrebački odrezak.

magazinnnnn.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? DO NOT miss the grill restaurants in Zagreb. Magazinska Klet, just behind Autobusni kolodvor (intercity bus station) is a really good one © Magazinska Klet

Zagreb food is much more influenced by continental European cooking than the menu found near Croatia's coast. Austrian influences can be seen not only in the city's rich architecture – its cakes and pastries are comparable to some found on just the other side of neighbouring Slovenia.

Strukli is a Zagreb speciality – a baked or boiled pastry dish which can have different fillings and accompanying sauces, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, sour cream and cream being among them. Another distinct element of the Zagreb food offer is gablets – small dishes of food, served in restaurants at lunchtime, for a below-normal restaurant price. These are a great way to sample traditional Croatian food inexpensively. Ask a local for a recommendation of where does the best.

1440px-Štrukli_iz_Okrugljaka_1.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In Zagreb, they are very proud of the dish known as štrukli © Bonč

A modern European city of almost a million people – approaching a quarter of the country's population – it goes without saying that not a large percentage of Zagreb's land space is devoted to farming and agriculture. So, when we are discussing the food, plus much of the produce and menu of Zagreb, in many cases what we are actually talking about is the food of a much wider region surrounding the city. Zagreb County produce plays a big part in the cuisine of Croatia's capital. So too does that of the agricultural area which lies on the other side of the mountain Medvednica, which dominates Zagreb's skyline. That area is traditionally known as Zagorje.

sommy.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In much of the capital of Zagreb, the food and cuisine is actually informed by the areas surrounding, like Zagreb County. The pretty hills of Samobor in Zagreb County © Samobor Tourist Board

What food do they eat in Croatia in Zagorje and northern Croatia?
zgrrlksfh2.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? The unspoiled rural landscape of Zagorje 'over the mountain' of Medvednica, informs much of what we class as Zagreb cuisine  © Ivo Biocina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Zagorje produce forms the basis of much that you'll find on the menu of Zagreb. This traditional region today stretches across several Croatian counties, each containing rolling hills, with vineyards rising above agricultural fields. It is very often a very pretty landscape.

dsjkafjgfJGVK1111.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Pffft! Forget the food, I want to eat this impossibly pretty landscape! This is Zagorje © Ivo Biocina / Croatian National Tourist Board

The food of Zagorje is traditionally the food of an agricultural region – simple, hearty fare, using the freshest produce that grows in the fields surrounding. Soups (in particular, a famous creamy potato soup), stews and bean-based dishes sit alongside sausages, filled pastries and fowl on the Zagorje menu.

militin11111111111111.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Zagorje mlinci © Mlin Jertovec doo

The region's cuisine is famous for some distinct inclusions. Polenta is used more in the Zagorje kitchen than in other regions. You'll likely find a greater choice of fowl here than anywhere else in Croatia. Duck, geese, guinea fowl, pheasant, chicken and turkey can be found on the Croatian food menu and many of these are commonly found being farmed in Zagorje. Such birds can be found in the diet of Croatians right the way through Zagorje and up to the most northern part of Croatia, Medimurje.

majaturk.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? In Zagorje, turkey and other birds are usually served with pasta sheets called mlinci. Both Zagorje turkey and Zagorje mlinci are protected at their place of origin at an EU level © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Zagorje turkey is Croatia's most famous. Like other bird dishes cooked all across Croatia, it is frequently served alongside distinct pasta sheets called Zagorski Mlinci, which is cooked in the bird's roasting juices and fat. In Zagorje, they are known for their baking – excellent pastries, both savoury and sweet, and their speciality grain breads, make their way across the mountain and into the hungry capital. Look out too for a savoury strudel they make with a mushroom filling. Yum! And, if you venture as far up as Medimurje, look out for one of their specialities called Meso 'z tiblice. Like much of continental Croatia, in Zagorje, locally made cheeses are an important part of traditional food, as are preserved meats and sausages.

What food does Croatia eat in Slavonia?
donjion1111.jpg What type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia eat fresh food from their gardens or fields © Croatian National Tourist Board

As a rule, Croatians don't really like their food too hot and spicy. In an unpublished section of an interview with a Croatian Michelin restaurant chef, TCN was told that this appreciation of more milder flavours even extends to a reticence to eat older, aged and fully flavoured game and other meat. This conservative palette and minimal appreciation of strong spicing can be seen throughout the Croatian menu. And, in many cases, it's understandable. When produce is so fresh and full of flavour, it only impedes a dish to mask the taste of these ingredients with spices. The one region in Croatia that absolutely loves bold flavours within its traditional food is Slavonia.

slavvuy.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia have a much more spicy menu than the rest of Croatia © Romulić & Stojčić

A huge traditional region running east of Zagreb, across the flatlands of the Pannonian basin, right up to the border with Serbia, Slavonia is today divided up into several different counties. Also, within the history of this traditional region, two distinct regions share space alongside Slavonia in the Pannonian basin – Syrmia and Baranja. It perhaps does a disservice to these two small regions that they are often just swept under the broader title of Slavonia. Each makes its own incredible contribution to the Croatian menu.

Slawonien-850x491jdkssfADS.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia have two huge rivers bookending the north and south of their traditional region - the Drava and the Sava © Croatian National Tourist Board

In Croatian Syrmia (the other half of this traditional region lies across the border, in Vojvodina, present-day Serbia), you'll find some of the best white wines produced in continental Croatia. In Baranja, they are masters of preserved meats. The smoked, dry-cured bacon here may not be as famous as Dalmatian pancetta, but you'd be hard pushed to decide which was better. One of Croatia's oldest and best-regarded meat producers, Belje, is from Baranja.

Baranja is also famous for kulen, a sausage made only from premium cuts of pig and coloured red by a generous spicing of paprika. But, like so many parts of this region's menu, kulen is also made in Slavonia proper. The land is the same meaning much of the menu is the same so, please consider the following inclusions to be common in all.

MK4_5082rommyslav.jpegWhat type of food does Croatia eat? A selection of Slavonia and Baranja cold meats. Baranja kulen is the irregular-shaped sausage in the top left of the platter © Romulić & Stojčić

Slavonia's close proximity to Hungary is responsible for much of the strong spicing and flavours of the region's food. Paprika, in sweet and mild and more hot and piquant styles, can be found in many dishes of the Slavonian cookbook. Indeed, although the condiment ajvar is popular as an accompaniment to grilled meat everywhere and therefore made all over Croatia, it is in Slavonia that you'll regularly find the spiciest (although even theirs is milder than some brilliant, more brutal versions made elsewhere in the Balkans). Paprika makes its way not only into preserved sausages like kulen but also into Slavonian soups and stews.

Kulen_Maja_Danica_Pečanić.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Slavonian kulen. Slavonian kulen does not have the same irregular shape as Baranja kulen © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Two great rivers border the north and south of Slavonia – the Drava and the Sava, with smaller ones running off or into them through the entire region. These produce a wealth of river fish which are popular in the Slavonian diet.

Throughout almost all the year in Slavonia, it is common to see large Šaran (carp), gutted and butterflied, then impaled outside on branches bored deep into the earth. This allows them to be suspended next to open fires which impart an incredible smoky flavour in the cooking of the fish. These Šaran frequently grow to incredible sizes in the big two rivers. The sight of this al fresco, traditional cooking method, known as u rašljama, is impressive, unforgettable and mouth-watering.

Šaran_Ivo_Biocina.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Šaran (carp) u rašljama © Ivo Biocina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Šaran also can be found among other river fish in the favourite Slavonian stew of fish paprikas. Richly red from paprika, you can again see this impressively cooked outdoors in Slavonia. Traditional heavy pots are suspended over open fires by the riverside, the dish bubbling and steaming above an intense heat. You would traditionally eat its liquid part first, as a soup, before delving into the fish parts that remain in the bottom (it's advisable to eat it only in this way as it's the best way of avoiding the many bones so typical of the river catch).

fishpap.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Fish paprikash (fiš paprikaš, sometimes shortened to simply fiš) © Romulić and Stojčić

Comparable to fish paprikash but made with meat is the Slavonian favourite of Cobanac. Again, boldly flavoured with paprika, this stew is bolstered in its punch by the use of hunted meats such as venison and wild boar. It is hands down one of Croatia's best dishes. You can find similar game meat used in Slavonian hunters stew and perklet, another thick and tasty dish informed by Hungarian neighbours.

cobanac81269598126589.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Cobanac, a hearty, spicy stew made in Slavonia using wild meats © Youtube screenshot 

Slavonia and neighbouring Vojvodina was once the breadbasket of much of the former Yugoslav federation. Here, this land that was once underwater is incredibly rich in nutrients. Indeed, in harder times, many people from all over the region came to live here, assured of finding work in the region's thriving agricultural industry. Slavonia today is not nearly so integral to the supply of the whole domestic nation's food, but agriculture still thrives here. And, the land is still rich.

areal05donji.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? People in Slavonia eat river fish and fresh fruit and vegetables grown in their own, often large back gardens © Osijek-Baranja County Tourist Board

In Slavonia, many live a rural life and even in some towns and large villages, Slavonian houses have huge gardens behind them which are traditionally used for growing vegetables, fruits and nuts or rearing chickens and pigs. Some Slavonian households engage in all of these and others too keep beehives (Slavonian honey is famous and comes in a variety of exciting, different flavours). The products of their labour ensure the freshest ingredients end up in Slavonian home cooking (although, some of their fruits are diverted from the dining table to the pursuit of making rakija). The personal rearing of animals for food also produces a culture in which none of the animal goes to waste.

Krvavica_Maja_Danica_Pečanić.jpgWhat type of food does Croatia eat? Krvavica © Maja Danica Pečanić / Croatian National Tourist Board

Alongside standard or garlic and paprika flavoured sausages like kobasice, or the aforementioned kulen, in Slavonia you can find Švargl, a terrine made from offal, Čvarci, deep-fried rind (pork scratchings) and krvavica, a Croatian blood sausage. Although perhaps straying far from Italian traditions, Slavonia is also responsible for what is arguably Croatia's greatest style of pizza. Slavonska pizza is a hefty festival of different types of pork meats, loaded with onions and cheese too. It's already a gut-buster but, order it with an egg on top and when you burst the yolk to run across your forkful, you'll forget that pizza was ever Italian in the first place.

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Sunday, 21 February 2021

People Also Ask Google: Is Porec in Croatia Worth Visiting?

February 21, 2021 – Continuing the TCN series answering the questions posed by Google's People Also Ask function. Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting? The shortest answer would be – of course – and here are all the reasons why.

What is Porec like in Croatia?

Located on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula in Croatia, Poreč can most simply be described as a seaside town with many tourist attractions but also with a rich and indispensable cultural history. It is perhaps best known as the home of the Euphrasian Basilica (so-called Euphrasiana) from the 6th century, one of the seven UNESCO's world heritage sites in Croatia.

However, in the last few years, Poreč has been filling newspaper columns as one of the best cities to live in Croatia, which has been contributed to by its economic, cultural, and social development. A famous tourist town that lives throughout the year? It seems like it could be. Since I have been spending almost every summer in Poreč since I was born, I would unquestionably like to get to know it better from the perspective of living in it. Maybe one day, but for now, I will focus on what I know Poreč is worth visiting for.

Historic center: Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for culture and heritage?

Apart from the aforementioned Euphrasian Basilica, a must-see cultural site to visit, the whole old Poreč city core is a cultural monument. The peninsula on which the old town of Poreč is located hides historic traces dating back thousands of years. The main street that passes through it – Decumanus – is full of tourists in summer due to its numerous shops and restaurants. At the intersection with Cardo Street, the so-called Dekumanova Street reveals several Gothic and Baroque palaces.

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The Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč is one of the most beautiful preserved monuments of early Byzantine art in the Mediterranean.

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Built in the 6th century during Bishop Euphrasius, after whom it is named, the Euphrasian Basilica is famous for glittering mosaics dating from the 3rd century. The picture shows the Euphrasian Basilica's apse decorated with Byzantine mosaics.

At the entrance to Dekumanova Street from Sloboda Square, attention is drawn to the Pentagonal Tower, at the top of which is a restaurant. At the top of the nearby Round Tower overlooking the waterfront, tourists love to enjoy a cafe.

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Dekumanova Street / Decumanus Street in Poreč

Evidence of life from ancient times is hidden near the oldest square of Marafor. Also, Poreč is the proud home of the largest Roman shrine in Istria, the Large Temple, and to the north of it are the remains of the Temple of Neptune.

For me, one of the usual evening activities in Poreč is a walk through the old town in the mentioned Decumanus Street, as well as along Poreč's lungomare or Ante Šonja Coast, with a romantic view of the north side of Poreč – Peškera Bay (where the city beach is located), Pical, and Materada. I call it the quiet side because there are no stands on it, for which the other part of the city is famous, just the open sea in front of you, with some lighthouse flashes.

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The old town of Poreč and Poreč lungomare / Romulić and Stojčić

I usually continue my walk along the coast to the newly renovated city waterfront, i.e., Marshal Tito's Coast, thus embracing the entire old core of Poreč. I admire numerous yachts, tourist boats, and fishing boats moored in the Poreč port along the waterfront side.

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Last year, the Poreč waterfront, an integral part of the Poreč old town, got a new attire – new facilities with signposts to the old town's sights. / Poreč Tourist Board

Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for beaches and sports activities?

I stayed in Poreč during all stages of my life – from a playful child, through a demanding teenager, to a serious student – and at no time was I bored in Poreč, nor my parents who have been spending their summers in this beautiful Istrian city for almost 30 years. As we are a family that likes a combination of active and lazy holidays, we love Poreč because we get both there – beautiful and clean beaches, as well as many cultural, gourmet, adventure, fun, and sports facilities.

As my all-time favorite activity is rollerblading (and as I'm not a fan of swimming), I enjoy long rides from the center of Poreč along beaches trails. There is a crystal clear sea on one side of the trail, while on the other side, there are various sports and catering facilities. The first beach to reach is Beach Brulo. Located in the mild Mediterranean and sheltered bay, surrounded by pine trees, it is ideal for a real summer vacation.

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Brulo Beach / Croatian Tourist Board

The trail along the coast goes all the way to Poreč Blue Lagoon, Green Lagoon, and White Bay, beautiful bays and hotel resorts. I recommend the popular tourist train that goes from the south side of Poreč Riviera! Also, If you like cycling and similar recreation, you will love cycling in Poreč.

As there are pebble, sandy, rocky, and concrete beaches, you will indeed find a beach tailored to your needs in Poreč. In 37 kilometers of the Poreč shore, there are as many as 22 beaches with a Blue Flag, an international symbol of clean sea and landscaped coastline. That is as many as 20 percent of all Blue Flags which flutter along the Croatian coast!

What I always liked about beaches in Poreč are numerous fun activities, such as water sports – pedal boats, canoes, paragliding, banana boats, parasailing, aquapark, and sports facilities such as tennis courts, volleyball courts, and mini-golf.

It is important to emphasize that the City of Poreč works tirelessly to provide access to all cultural facilities to people with disabilities. For example, last year, they carried out an adaptation project in the Euphrasian Basilica, and many beaches have been adapted for people with disabilities.

Our all-time favorite daily activity is visiting the Saint Nicholas island across Poreč, also known as Valamar Isabella Island Resort. In the summer months, the island is connected to the Poreč waterfront by a full-day ferry line. The boat from Poreč to the island goes every thirty minutes in both ways. The boat ride takes only five minutes, and the ticket price is 40 kunas (5,30 euros).

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The island of Saint Nicholas in Poreč and Isabella Castle, Valamar Isabella Island Resort / Poreč Tourist Board

I recommend visiting this lovely island across Poreč at least once during your stay to enjoy beautiful, clean, and tidy beaches. It has always been a kind of undiscovered place for my family and me, even before it was renovated by Valamar, the biggest tourism company in Croatia. A nice walk around the island to experience nature's calmness and see the old but now renovated Isabella castle is a must!

On the island and in the whole city, a lot of effort has been put into facilities and activities for children. Along the beaches, you can find numerous children's playgrounds and toboggans. Poreč invests a lot in education, which I witnessed last year when I found out they even have summer tourism workshops for children. Also, children's camps are organized on the beaches, where you can often see many animators with groups of children. There is also a diving school on Brulo Beach.

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Poreč Tourist Board

Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for daily boat excursions?

Daily boat excursions from Poreč to surrounding bays and cities are among the most popular activities among tourists. While walking along the waterfront during the evening, when many tourist boats are waiting for their next venture, you can book one-day boat trips to Rovinj, Vrsar, and Lim Fjord, fish picnic trips, and submarine ride. You can also find boats and taxi boats to the nearby Poreč bays, such as Green Lagoon, Blue Lagoon, and White Bay.

One of my earliest travel memories was a one-day trip to Venice from Poreč when I was eight, which I totally recommend. Even though I have seasickness, my first trip to Italy was by boat from Poreč, and I absolutely loved it. Hopping to another country and another city in the middle of your holidays was so exciting back then, and I hope that soon the circumstances will allow the like journeys again.

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Tourist boats in the Poreč waterfront / Poreč Tourist Board

Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for nightlife?

Here comes the fun part. During the summer evenings, at the beginning of the city waterfront, you will not be able to miss the sounds of the world's greatest hits and dance rhythms from the famous Poreč club Saint & Sinner.

There is no shortage of night bars and clubs in the city, and the Poreč casino is also popular. Various performers (most often musicians) perform at the summer terraces of hotels and restaurants almost every day. One of the most famous such summer bars is the Lapidarium.

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Saint & Sinner / Poreč Tourist Board

At the very top of the Poreč peninsula, at the foot of the Riviera Hotel, music from the attractive Palazzo Club attracts attention. Besides, there are numerous lounge and beach bars by the sea.

I also remember seeing organized transport vehicles around Poreč offering transport services for party people to the nearby famous nightclub Byblos. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is nostalgic about crazy summer parties! Last summer, it was relatively quiet in Poreč, but let's hope for the better in the upcoming summer season.

As for parties, Poreč is also known for hosting Poreč Open Air Festival, an all-summer-long festival that consists of street performances, music nights, cinema, theatre, and special events. The MTV Summerblast in Poreč was also held, but due to the current situation with the coronavirus, the holding of all festivals is uncertain for now.

Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for gastronomy, adventure, and education?

Although the temperatures in Poreč are high and the sea is warm, I will not lie - almost every year, I experience one rainy day during holidays. However, such days allow me to explore Poreč and its surroundings.

In addition to the many hotels and apartments, many famous restaurants and cafes in Poreč offer only the best Istrian delicacies. Getting to know the local specialties is an indispensable part of getting to know the destination. In Poreč and Istria, those are, among others, truffles, olive oil, Istrian prosciutto, Istrian boškarin beef, asparagus, and seafood, offered in best of Poreč offer. Along the Dekumanova Street in the old city core, you can find many patisseries with ice cream.

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Istrian food - scallops, mussels, oysters / Poreč Tourist Board

I don't have to emphasize the importance and popularity of Istrian wines and wine roads. One must taste them when in Poreč, but what surprised me last year was the favorite activity of Istria people – truffle hunting. It was the best activity for me in the whole visit to Poreč and Istria the previous year, and it is worth experiencing!

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As part of a truffle hunting tour, we ate an Istrian specialty - scrumbled eggs with black truffles / Donatella Pauković

And since Istria has been named the best olive oil region in the world for the sixth consecutive year, my next visit will for sure include olive oil roads in the Poreč hinterland.

Near Poreč, there are many entertainment and educational facilities, such as Motodrom Poreč with karting. In addition to karting, many other activities are offered: bigfoot riding, cross-kart driving, segway, quads motor wheels, paintball, and Adventure Park SkyFox. It is possible to ride horses in the nearby horseriding centers in Poreč.

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Motodrom Poreč / Donatella Pauković

A few years ago, we spent a day visiting the Baredine Cave, at the bottom of which we saw one of the few specimens of a human fish. I recommend the Baredine Cave if you get bored of the heat because by descending to a depth of 60 meters, the air temperature also drops to 14 degrees Celsius, which is a shock compared to the outside 30 degrees during the summer days.

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Human fish in the Baredine Cave near Poreč, Istria / Donatella Pauković

If you want to get the best from water experience, near the tourist resort Zelena Laguna in Poreč, you can enjoy the largest Croatian water amusement park – Aquacolors Poreč. Also, the attractive Aquapark Istralandia, recently named fourth best water park in the world, is only a 20-minute drive from Poreč.

If you want to learn something about astronomy, the Višnjan Observatory, one of the 12 most productive observatories in the world of all time, is 16 kilometers away from Poreč. During 2018 and 2019, the Observatory discovered and documented over 1,400 asteroids, and recently, as part of a crowdfunding campaign, they secured funding for further investment in scientific and educational facilities.

Conclusion: Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting?

Suppose you want to have active holidays, then yes. In that case, Poreč is worth visiting because it offers a combination of lovely beaches, city sights, beautiful sunsets, rich culture, numerous sports and adventure activities, great food, and even a great nightlife. Poreč simply has it all.

I have visited Poreč countless times in winter when it turns into a quiet town without tourists, and I would always rejoice to see some pizzerias, restaurants, and cafes open even during the winter. Poreč is also a host to many sports teams during winter, who do the preparations for sports competitions in six Poreč sports halls. Did you know that Poreč will soon even have a football camp? It is the result of a long-term investment in sports in Poreč.

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Poreč Tourist Board

It is fascinating to me how every Croatian city and place hides many interesting facts, and sometimes it is challenging to discover them all in one visit. Therefore, I know there is a lot more to do and see in Poreč, and I can't wait to revisit it.

Although I have traveled a large part of the Croatian coast in my 24 years and the mainland, I think there is always something new to explore in Croatia, and I'm looking forward to finding out more about my beautiful country in the future.

To follow the People Also Ask Google about Croatia series, click here.

Saturday, 20 February 2021

People Also Ask Google: When is the Best Time to Visit Croatia?

February 20, 2021 - Continuing the TCN series answering the questions posed by Google's People Also Ask function, one I get asked a LOT. So when is the best time to visit Croatia?  

From the best Christmas market in Europe in December, to idyllic island beaches or some of Europe's top music festivals in July, there is plenty for everyone in Croatia. So when is the best time to visit Croatia? Part of the answer, of course, depends on what you are looking for. But the good news is - there is never a bad time to check out this fabulous country. 

Is it safe to travel to Croatia right now?

Before we begin, let's deal with the corona elephant in the room - is it even safe to travel to Croatia right now? I will leave the debate on whether or not one should be travelling at all during a pandemic to others. The situation in Croatia is changing all the time. At time of writing (February 20, 2021), it seems that we are easing towards a relaxing of measures and the reopening of bars and restaurants. Croatia has tried to stay as open as possible during the pandemic. Indeed it was the only country in the EU to welcome Americans and non-EU citizens last year. 

As things are changing, the best place to find current advice as you read is via the daily Croatia Travel Update. If you need a question answered quickly, the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community has helped hundreds if not thousands since it was formed in May, 2020. You can join here (you will need to download the Viber app).   

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(Photo Romulic & Stojcic)

Which part of Croatia is the best to visit?

This obviously depends what you are looking for. Most tourists come for the sun and the beach, which Croatia has in abundance. With some 1,777 km of coastline and more than 1,000 islands, there are plenty of option to find your perfect spot. 

The capital of Zagreb is emerging as a trendy destination in its own right (and was Lonely Planet's best destination in Europe in 2017). Historic cities such as Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Sibenik, Pula and Rovinj are also fantastic draws, while islands such as Hvar, Brac, Vis, Korcula, Mljet, Krk, Cres and Losinj all offer an authentic island experience, each unique in its own way. 

But try not to miss continental Croatia, which has many hidden gems and the warmest and most welcoming people in Croatia. If you are looking for authentic experiences and traditions off the beaten track, this region has them in abundance. 

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(Photo Romulic & Stojcic)

Croatia is also a foodies delight. With no national cuisine as such, from the truffles of Istria, seafood of Dalmatia, and hearty meat and river fish dishes of Slavonia, a culinary tour of Croatia is truly like no other. And that is before we have started talking about the wine...  

What month is the best time to go to Croatia?

Again, that really depends on what you are looking for. I wrote an article some time ago, breaking down the advantages of each month - Visit Croatia in April: Easter Traditions and the Start of the Season. Let the Swimming Season Begin! May in Croatia. June in Croatia: Summer without the Crowds. Visit Croatia in July: Peak Season Beach Heaven. Festivals, Beaches, and Parties: Croatia in August. For Gorgeous Weather and Emptier Beaches, Visit Croatia in September. An Indian Summer in Europe: Croatia in October. Olive and Wine Heaven: Visit Croatia in November. Advent in Zagreb and Elsewhere: December in Croatia. A Tourism Giant in Its Quietest Month: Croatia in January. The Best Time to Visit the Pearl of the Adriatic: Dubrovnik in February. Emerging from Winter Hibernation: March in Croatia.

You can read When to Visit Croatia: Your 12-Month Guide to Paradise here.

What is the best time to visit Croatia for the weather?

Sun worshippers rarely go wrong with July and August, when the beaches are full of the bronzed and the beautiful. As important as the air temperature for many is the sea temperature. If you are researching your trip, you can check the normal sea temperature here, as well as the quality of the beaches you are planning to visit. 

The swimming season is generally May to October, but there are several people who swim all year round. If you find yourself celebrating the New Year in Hvar Town, for example, the Polar Donkeys will welcome you on their traditional New Year's Day swim.

If you are not a fan of really hot temperatures, which can get into the high 30s in peak season, the shoulder months of May, June, September and October are usually really pleasant on the coast. September was always my favourite month on Hvar, both weather-wise and for the lifestyle after the busy season.  

If you are interested in more on the weather in Croatia, including fun facts such as the hottest day or strongest bura wind recorded, check out the Total Croatia Weather in Croatia feature article.

What is the best time to visit Croatia for party tourism?

 

I lost count of the number of people who contacted me over the years in April, May and late September:

"Where are the clubs and the famous Hvar nightlife?" was the usual theme.

Croatia is generally not - not yet, at least - a year-round destination, and the party tourism angle is VERY limited in terms of time. Mid-June to early September is when it all happens. Hot spots include Split for Ultra Europe in July, and Zrce beach on Pag with several festivals throughout the summer, as well as Tisno on Murter. Zagreb too has a reasonable music festival scene, including the INMusic festival in June. 

This was all in the pre-COVID-19 era of course. How much will party tourism return to Croatia? One of many unanswerable questions in these uncertain times. 

When is the best time to visit Croatia for flights?

Flights to Croatia are seasonal. VERY seasonal. Again, corona will have its impact, but the coastal airports of Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar and Pula all do the bulk of their business in the three months over the summer. Split services more than 100 destinations in July, but less than 10 in January to give you an idea. 

The situation has improved immensely on how things used to be, ever since Ryanair started the budget flight revolution in Zadar in 2007. The season has been getting gradually longer, and airlines such as easyJet and Euro Wings are very established on the market. They tend to start operations in March, gradually increasing routes and rotations as the weeks go by, before starting to reduce from September and stopping for the year in November. 

There are (or were) some great bargains to be had, but prices can go up dramatically. How the market will react post-pandemic is anyone's guess. 

As the capital city, Zagreb has many more international connections throughout the year, with the tourist season bringing more flights to the capital.  

For the latest flight announcements to Croatia in these uncertain times, follow the TCN flight news section.

And so to some of the top destinations in Croatia...

When is the best time to visit Plitvice National Park?

 

There is no destination quite like Plitvice Lakes National Park. Apart from being one of Croatia's top tourist attractions with over a million visitors a year, as well as being a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, Plitvice has four VERY distinct seasons. They are called Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn/Fall. And they offer a VERY different experience. Check out winter in one of my favourite Croatia videos of all-time, from the one man and dog team of Outdoors Croatia.

Now check them out again a little later in the year. This video has some excellent advice for those visiting Plitvice Lakes - "Best way to avoid the crowd is to enter the park early and then later, after 10am rent a wooden rowing boat."

When is the best time to visit Dubrovnik?

Dubrovnik was GLORIOUS in July 2020 when I visited. Without the crowds and with the summer weather, it was a true joy to behold. In normal seasons, however, overtourism and Dubrovnik have become almost synonymous. There are challenges ahead for the destination, and it will be interesting to see how it develops. 

In normal years, mid-June to mid-September sees the Pearl of the Adriatic packed. Day-trippers and cruise ship passengers add to the throng already staying in the city. Everything is crowded, it is hot, and while popular, it is a time of year I avoid Dubrovnik completely. The shoulder months are much more pleasant, both in terms of crowds and milder temperatures. For me, however, the very best time to visit Dubrovnik is the first week of February. This is when the city celebrates the Feast of Saint Blaise, its beloved patron saint. The city is filled once more, but this time with locals celebrating their proud traditions. This is how it was for me when I went a few years ago

Learn more about Kings Landing in the Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Page guide.

When is the best time to visit Split?

Split has undergone an extraordinary transformation in tourism in the last 15 years. Once known simply as the Gateway to Dalmatian Islands, the Dalmatian capital has emerged as one of the hottest destinations in Europe. 

As with Dubrovnik, the summer crowds can be a little off-putting, but the season is considerably longer now. Things start to pick up considerably after Easter until November, and Advent in Split is growing as an attraction. The old town of Split, aka UNESCO World Heritage Site and former Roman Imperial retirement home, Diocletian's Palace, is much more of a living organism than the old town of Dubrovnik, with many more locals still calling it home. As such, it has more year-round appeal, at least in my opinion. 

Don't miss the festivities of the patron saint, Sveti Duje on May 7 each year. If you are music fan - or if you are not - the city is transformed each July, as the largest electronic music festival in Europe, Ultra Europe, takes place in the city in July. Embrace or avoid totally, depending on your inclination.

Learn more about the Dalmatian capital in the Total Croatia Split in a Page guide.

When is the best time to visit Istria?

If you are a foodie, it is ALWAYS a good time to visit Istria. With the possible exception of Zagreb, Istria is the region least affected by seasonality. Those coming for the beach and swimming should veer towards the summer months, of course, but Istria is developing an identity as an all-year food and activity destination. Cycling around the vineyards past those idyllic hilltop mountain villages is heaven indeed.  

Learn more about this fantastic region in Istria: 25 Things to Know About the Terra Magica, a Croatian Jewel

Is Zagreb worth visiting? The best times to visit the Croatian capital.

Absolutely! A few years ago, some German media reported their opinion that Zagreb was the most boring capital in Europe. And, at the time, I agreed with them. But Zagreb has undergone a total transformation in recent years. Now that I am a regular visitor, having relocated from Hvar to Varazdin a few years ago, I can honestly say that I prefer Zagreb to going to the coast these days. 

It is at its most glorious in Spring, with May a particularly delightful month. Summer is also nice, as many of the locals have decamped to the coast, allowing a lot more space for those who visit - a welcome contrast to the mayhem on the coast.  

And Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Advent in Zagreb.

Learn more about the Croatian capital in the Total Croatia Zagreb in a Page feature.

Is Hvar worth visiting? A look at visiting Croatian islands throughout the year.

 

I lived on Hvar for 13 years. It was as magical in January as it was in July, but for very different reasons. The UNESCO Za Krizen procession just before Easter is incredible, my favourite time of the year. The beaches start filling up from mid-May until late September, with peak season in July and August. September and the grape harvest, followed by the olive harvest in October and November shows the true essence of life on this magical island. September is the best month overall - peak season crowds have gone, locals start to relax after the busiest part of the season, and the temperatures are much more pleasant. 

It is a similar story on all islands. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that the Jadrolinija ferry schedule changes from summer to winter schedules and vice versa. These changes usually occur in late May and at the end of October. There are considerably less ferries available in the winter schedule, which might affect your island-hopping plans. 

Learn more about Croatia's premier island in the Total Croatia Hvar in a Page feature.

So when IS the best time to visit Croatia? The answer depends entirely on you and what you are looking for.  

Is there something you would like to see added to this article, or do you have some information to contribute to make it better? Please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Google when to visit. 

What else are people interested in about Croatia? Check out more in our People Also Ask Google section.

 

 

Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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Drniš prsut
is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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