Croatia is an up and rising destination for holidaymakers. Those who look into her five best kept secrets will bring home more than vacation memories.
First-time travelers from all over the world hardly miss the most popular tourist spots in Croatia, namely the Dalmatian islands and beaches like Hvar, Brac or even Vis; the national parks like Plitvice, Krka or even Mljet; the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Dubrovnik, Split or even Porec. But Croatia displays her charm beyond the touristic realm.
The Best Sights in Istria, Dalmatia and beyond
History may have left Croatia with many scars of bloody battles, ethnic conflicts, changing sovereigns and religious tension. But the historical twists and turns have, at the same time, passed on a rich and diversified architectural legacy.
The Roman ruins in Solin, the medieval fortress in Klis, the Romanesque basilica on the island of Rab, the remains of the Byzantium castrum on Brioni Island, the Venetian Gothic palaces in Dubrovnik, the Renaissance city walls in Varazdin, the fortified Baroque town of Slavonski Brod, the neo-Gothic parish church in Osijek and the neo-Romanesque cathedral in Dakovo call upon visitors to follow the many stories spanning more than 2000 years.
The Best Entertainment in Dalmatia
Paulo Coelho once said, “Listening to Dalmatian ‘klapa’, I realized that Croatians have a soul that should be shown to the world…”
Klapa singing is not just about the Klapa Festival in Omis even though it has become a national event since 1967. It is neither about the concert “Ne damo te pismo nasa” nor the oldest Music Festival held every summer in Split. It is a daily delight in the streets of any Dalmatian city.
The Best Festivals in Croatia
While travelers are busy with their vacation planning in summer, Croatian people are preoccupied with their festivities. In addition to the summer festivals in almost every big city and small town all over the country, Sinjska alka held on the first Sunday of August always stays close to the hearts of the Croatian people.
The knightly tournament first started as a memorial to the miraculous victory of 700 defenders against the Turkish siege of Sinj in 1715. Being the oldest festival in Croatia, Sinjska alka has turned into a cultural event of national significance. The traditional procession and picturesque ceremonies in authentic knightly uniforms make the contest of alka – horsemen hitting small iron rings 3.22 meters above ground with a spear at full gallop – all the more impressive.
The Best Feast Days in Split and Dubrovnik
The Communist rule did not stop the Croatians from building new churches. But the religious calendar was back to its full function only after the War of Independence. The patron saint day in Split (7 May for St. Domnius) and Dubrovnik (3 February for St. Blaise) keeps their ancient traditions and costumes. The procession of the relics always attracts the whole town of people until it is safely returned to the church of the saint.
The Best Sporting Experience
Croatian people are passionate about sport; no matter it is soccer, basketball, handball or water polo. The best way to experience the unique sporting atmosphere is to go directly into a stadium. “Boring” is not an adjective to be associated with any sporting event when Croatian supporters are around.