ACTIVITIES IN CROATIA
As well as sailing and cruising in Croatia, the country offers many other activities that you can partake in, either during your cruise or you can schedule separately before or after your cruise. Such activities include scuba diving, sea & freshwater fishing, cycling, walking & rambling, rock climbing & mountaineering, canoeing & kayaking, visiting Nature reserves & National Parks, not forgetting their delicious gastronomy., which you can enjoy both aboard and ashore. Below are brief descriptions of these activities...
SCUBA DIVING & FISHING IN CROATIA
Croatia’s Adriatic Sea is not only an attractive nautical destination, but it also draws many lovers of the underwater world. The clarity of its turquoise waters, the beauty of its depths, the variety of marine life and the fascinating shipwrecks hidden at the bottom of the sea, are all part of its appeal.
There are numerous diving centres and clubs along the coast of Croatia. They cater for the inexperienced diver as much as for the experienced and offer courses which are both accessible and affordable. They also hire equipment and offer excursions that are within easy reach. For your safety and for the reputation of the industry, diving centres are strictly controlled by the Ministry for Maritime Affairs (please see below the general regulations for diving). With a sea so beautiful as the Adriatic, it’s no surprise that a lot of the diving clubs have been around for decades and so are very knowledgeable of their areas, knowing the best and most interesting places to dive - and the safest.
Shipwrecks are relatively common on the Adriatic seabed and most, like the German U boat off the Istrian coast in the picture, date from the Second World War. Wrecks from antiquity are known but their whereabouts are usually kept secret and to discover new ones is quite rare - but you never know! Greek amphora were discovered recently at Jakirusa on the Makarska Riviera. It is important to report finds like this to the authorities (like the police) straight away so they can protect the site from pillagers. It is actually a criminal offence to remove objects of antiquity from the sea. If you can’t take the objects you find how nice it would be though to be the discoverer of them.
Owing to the unusual geology of the area, called karst, underwater caves are very common and some actually have rivers coming out of them. Some clubs include cave dives in their excursions although the deepest caves, some going down over 100 m, are reserved for only the very experienced divers. Diving in Croatia need not be so adventurous, nearly everywhere on the coast provides excellent diving with a minimum of risk.
Diving Regulations issued by the Ministry for Maritime Affairs
In order to dive in the areas which are not off limits, each diver must have a diving license issued by the Croatian divers’ association which can be purchased through diving clubs and centres as well as authorised tourist agencies along the entire Adriatic coast. The diving license is valid for one year. The price is 100 kunas, and is issued only to those persons, which have the appropriate diving qualifications from one of the internationally recognised diving schools.
Diving is permitted in prohibited zones only if the diver is accompanied by a diving centre that has a concession license of the Ministry of Culture or national park for that zone for the year 2004. Diving may be organised or individual.
1. Organised diving is diving performed exclusively in the company of a guide or a diving instructor verified by the Ministry of Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, and organised by a diving centre or a diving club registered in the Republic of Croatia.
2. Individual diving is performed on the basis of Permits for individual diving. Permits are issued by the Port Authorities. Permits are issued to persons with a valid diver’s card of the Croatian Diving Federation for the period of one year from the date of issue. The cost of issuing the Permit is 2400.00 KN.
SEA FISHING IN CROATIA
You only have to look over the side of any quay in Croatia and you’d be stunned by the number and variety of fish which are swimming around, like a well stocked fish tank! Owing to the unusual geology of the area, called karst, which makes the sea bottom very jagged, it is very difficult for trawlers to find a stretch to fish. This together with Croatia’s quite small population, even though they do love fish, has helped maintain the stocks in this part of the Adriatic.
Fishing with a rod and line is a passion for Croatians of all ages, for man and women alike, not least because nearly everything you catch is edible. The past time can vary from dangling a line over a quay, feathering for squid off the rocks or big game fishing, which is now one of the up and coming tourist activities.
The Croatian Adriatic sea has a unique characteristic which puts it in front of other fishing destinations, and that is the bluefin tuna. Otherwise a highly migratory species it has chosen the Adriatic sea for its home and this is the only known place on earth, where bluefin can be caught any time of the year. Tunas here range from baby size to giants in the range over 300 kg. They are present along the outer coast of the islands and often they come well inshore entering estuaries and channels.
The ultimate fishing challenge for many sports fishermen, the broadbill swordfish, is also present in fair numbers, which are decreasing from south to north, but the fact is that even in Central Dalmatian they are often spotted breaking the surface during daytime, although seldom caught. Still, the challenge is there. Sharks, even though not as frequent here as in tropical waters, are around in respectable numbers, the major species being the blue shark and thresher shark. The best time of year for these are the summer and autumn months.
But fishing isn’t all about catching big fish, there are very many respectable species which can be caught without sophisticated equipment. In March and April there is great fishing for little tunnies, which come in huge shoals to the inshore waters. Little tunnies in the Adriatic grow to sizes up to 13 kg, and average about 10 kilos. At the end of summer the squid have their turn and you’ll see hundreds of locals feathering for these off the rocks. Their catch is then barbecued the same night. Around the islands species such as the albacore, the amberjack and mahi-mahi are present in great numbers. Even smaller still, and just as delicious, are the various species of sea bream, and the grey mullet which you will see swimming around the sides of rocks and quays. These can be fairly easily caught on freshwater tackle using a bit of mussel or cheese for bait.
FRESHWATER FISHING IN CROATIA
Croatia’s rivers and lakes are amongst the cleanest in the world and as a consequence are well stocked with trout and course fish. Their rivers, such as the Cetina river, are also very beautiful, so if you haven’t had a lucky day fishing, you will at least have had a very pleasant day out.
BIKING & WALKING IN CROATIA
Cycling has been very popular in Croatia for a century, not least because years ago it was the quickest means of transport across their seemingly impossible slopes and rugged terrain. Today the roads connecting the towns are much better but, in summer, when the coastal roads are congested, one of the most convenient forms of transport is still the bicycle. How often one passes a car stuck in jam only to see it arrive at the beach half an hour later, while you've been enjoying yourself! Then the poor chap in the car has to spend another half an hour finding a parking place!
Even if you've come to Croatia specifically for the cycling, the chances are, your accommodation will be on the coast. This is a great place to start your cycling adventures, and probably the gentlest as most of the roads follow the contours of the coast and so are reasonably flat. It is also a great way to pop down to the restaurant for a meal.
There are many wonderful cycling circuits in Croatia. The level of difficulty of these varies considerably, some being designed for the recreational cyclist and some for the sports cyclist. For the latter you’ll need to be in top form. For example, the great bicycle tour of Makarska leads up and over the Biokovo Mountain, which is over a mile high!
The circuit ascends across the Biokovo area of Staza, through the Biokovo Nature Park to the highest peak of Sv.Jure (1762 m), where you can finally relax and enjoy the spectacular view of the Dalmatian Coast - and look forward to the downhill journey back.
There are numerous clubs along the coast where you can hire both racing bikes and mountain bikes. If your visit happens to coincide with one of the towns biking marathons you are, of course, welcome to participate.
WALKING & RAMBLING
Walking in Croatia is a wonderful experience, whether it be a gentle walk along a sun soaked beach, a promenade under palm trees or a hike up a mountain. Croatia is so suited to this activity it is impossible to advise where best to go - well, everywhere is best. Hundreds of kilometres of marked paths are at the disposal of walking lovers, from gently sloping tracks to the hardly passable.
All over Croatia recommended paths are marked out by small red circles with a white dot in the middle, which you can find on trees, on lamp-postes and on the sides of buildings, guiding you along through the most interesting parts of the country. Of these tried and tested paths, there are as many completely unexplored, untouched even, except by roaming sheep and their shepherds.
Croatia has such a diversity of landscape, from steep mountainous slopes, covered in pines or rugged and bare, to gentle slopes covered in vineyards. What’s more, you have 8 National Parks to choose from, many with unsurpassed beauty (please see our National Parks page) and where the fauna & flora is abundant and diverse.
The islands of the Croatian Coast are ideal for a walking holiday. None of the islands are so big that you couldn’t present yourself with the challenge of exploring a whole island on foot during your stay - some islands might just be big enough for you to need two weeks though!
If you go to Croatia for a walking holiday the chances are you will be staying in accommodation on the coast. Many of the little resorts along the coast are connected by promenades such as the ones in the photos above and right. They might not be very demslanong but one can easily lose the idea of distance, and of time, while walking these paths, and before you know it you've walked so far there isn't time to make it back for dinner.
Maounatineering & Climbing in Croatia
About 60% of Croatia’s surface is mountainous which, together with its unusual karst phenomena, makes it one of the most interesting places to climb in Europe. There are a lot of routes which have been tried and tested, some made secure with fixed anchorage bolts, but a whole lot more that have not. Croatian climbers await and welcome all you adventurous rock climbers out there to join them in pushing the boundaries of exploration further.
The mountains of the Republic of Croatia mainly belong to the Dinaric range, which is known in the world as a classic region of deep karst. The sharp karst shapes, the domination of bare karst, the lack of water, poverty of vegetation, harsh climate and sparse population require the same efforts from the climber as many much higher mountains.
There are differences among the Dinaric mountains. Those in the north, in Gorski kotar, for example, are lower and milder and those in the south, the Dalmatian mountains, are higher and more deserted. Good climbing mountains are not just restricted to the mainland, there are some excellent climbs on the islands of Hvar, Brac and on the almost-island, the Pelijesac peninsular.
Unlike the mountains of the mainland, the foothills of the island mountains have been shaped by the action of the sea. The best such example is the coast of Dugi otok, with its vertical cliffs that rear right up from the sea for over 100 metres, but this is a common feature of all the islands. Well known climbs on Hvar include Miss Jadrana and Crown point, both on the cliff base of Suplja stina. Nowhere in Croatia is the climate as mild as in the islands. The average temperature in January is never below zero which means that the summer climbing season lasts all the year round. The main trouble that a climber may encounter is the summer heat and lack of water.
Velebit at 1,758 m is one of Croatia’s tallest mountains and the longest mountain of the Dinar system, with a limestone structure and steep sides. It is part of the Paklenica & Sjevern Velebit National Parks and includes the famous vertical rock formation, known as Anica Kuk, which is one of the most popular training areas for Croatian mountain climbers.
The Biokovo mountains of Central Dalmatia, with Sv Jure as its highest peak at 1762 m, are perhaps the most imposing mountains of Croatia. The most important feature of these mountains is that the highest mountain regions here do not have the form of a ridge but of a high plateau (up to about 1700 metres), with a very complicated relief, with many gorges and peaks, caverns and spurs. The edges of the plateaux often finish in huge vertical cliffs that plunge into deep, flat karst fields. As a rule the cliffs tend to be found on the south slopes, an exception being Troglov, which has cliffs on the northern slopes.
The Biokovo mountains dominate the whole landscape, towering above all the little resorts on the Makarska Riviera, providing a spectacular back-drop to an already beautiful coastal area. Where else better to take a holiday than here; it has the best beaches, some of the best accommodation in Croatia, a wealth of cafes and restaurants - and it has Biokovo!
THE CROATIAN MOUNTAINEERING ASSOCIATION
Tel: +385 1 48 23 624
The association offers a complete range of related activities, such as speleology, orienteering & mountain rescue, as well as climbing. It is responsible for the maintenance of mountain huts and paths in Croatia, and is the publisher of the magazine Hrvatski planinar, The Croatian Mountaineer, and of other promotional materials. Through schools and courses it provides relevant professional education and training. Whatever information you may need on the Croatian mountains and mountaineering, you can get from the The Croatian Mountaineering Association.
Member of the Association and members of the UIAA have a 50% discount on accommodation in all huts in Croatia. Currently the Association numbers some 20,000 registered members from 170 clubs and regional associations.
THE MOUNTAIN RESCUE SERVICE
The Mountain Rescue Service (GSS, initials in Croatian) works and offers help only in inaccessible regions, far from the highways, where the regular emergency services cannot help. The GSS offers its service without any charge to those in trouble. The GSS can be informed via the nearest information point or via a police station (Tel: 92). You can consult the GSS stations and the GSS Commission for any information concerning climbing by consulting the association's web site.
MARKINGS OF ROUTES
Markings of routes in Croatian mountains, which also apply to hiking paths, are quite standard: a red circle with a white dot in the centre. Sometimes, very thin trees are marked with two parallel red lines and a white line between them. The mountaineering clubs look after the maintenance of the markings, usually those that have their lodge or hut in the mountain. Mountains far from the climbing clubs, and especially those in which there are no huts, are sparsely marked.
Canoeing & Kayaking in Croatia
With the freedom a kayak gives you what better place to be than in Croatia, with its multitude of historical coastal sites to visit and even more little bays and coves where you can find a beach to yourself. The crystal clear turquoise waters are great for swimming and snorkelling, being warm most of the year, and you can stop off at any of the resorts along the coast to sample some of Croatia’s superb gastronomy. As you’ve probably already read, Croatia has over a thousand islands, some of which are considered the most beautiful in the world, a dream destination for kayakers.
So, with so much choice, where would you go for your kayaking holidays? Well, anywhere, but if you want the biggest concentration of history combined with spectacular beauty, you would do no wrong starting off in Central Dalmatia.
On the mainland you have the fascinating, bustling city of Split with its Roman remains, and the Makarska Riviera with its beautiful beaches, resorts and night life. Out to sea, just a few paddles away, you have two of the most beautiful islands in Croatia, Hvar and Brac
Without any doubt, the Cetina river is one of the most beautiful places in Croatia for freshwater kayaking and is definitely the place to go for white water rafting. It is situated in a luscious region surrounded by quaint little villages and is very important, both historically and archaeologically.
The character of the Cetina varies considerable along its length. In the upper regions it is mostly fast with plenty of white water rapids, and lies in deep ravines with rugged rocky outcrops. In the lower regions the river is much slower, more like a lake, with the tall canyon walls which rise on either side being wider, occasionally punctuated by flatter areas smattered with small villages, deciduous woodlands and green meadows full of flowers, which in Spring are really quite intoxicating. What better place to be than in these calmer lower reaches when you’ve just come down from the rapids.
The Cetina river itself is very clean and clear, supplying drinking water to much of Dalmatia, so don’t hesitate to go for a swim. It is also teaming with trout, so don't forget your fishing rods!
The mouth of the Cetina river opens into the sea at Omis, a fantastic setting for a town, separated by a deep ravine which, after many kilometres of being fairly wide, closes in here to just a few metres wide. The area is very geared up for boaters, especially for kayaking and white water rafting, and there any number of centres in Omis which hire out kayaks and other boating gear, and an equal number who organise trips. So, you could come to Croatia with nothing preplanned and still get to go on the river.
White water rafting
The Cetina river is the most well known place for white water rafting. We meet at the intersection of Omis’s only bridge and take the road that leads towards the picnic area Radmanove Mlinice, actually the stop off place at the end of the rafting, where the tourists can leave their cars. We continue on to the starting place which takes approximately 20 minutes. The journey there is very interesting and allows the tourists to see the beauty and nature of the river’s surroundings.
We begin the trip on a very calm spot on the river. Once everyone is seated on the boat the skipper explains to the crew how to row, what to do if they fall into the river, where it’s calm and what to do in the rapids. The skipper will always check if everyone in the boat can swim. The first 16 kilometres of the river is a part where the river is very calm, the scenery is gorgeous and the water is crystal clear and clean.
We then pass through to sections of the river where the trees have overgrown and formed tunnels. This is the section of the river that is very technically demslanong, so the crew must follow all instructions carefully. This section of the river is called the labyrinth. We will then come to a small lake-like expanse of water where we take a break for about 10 minutes, so rafters can go swimming and refresh in the clear blue-green river.
The next place we stop is at a small floodgate where the crew can taste the fresh clean water running from a small stream. The next couple of kilometres is the best part of rafting on the river Cetina, starting with the Studenci waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the river. After the waterfall comes the beautiful and very dangerous rapid Oblacnik. The crew exits the raft at this point, unless they are very experienced, and travel along the river edge for 50 metres while the skipper manoeuvres through the rapid. The crew return to the boat and the adventure continues...
WILDLIFE & NATIONAL PARKS OF CROATIA
There are 8 National parks in Croatia, overflowing with fauna and flora, forests, cascading waterfalls, rivers and deep blue lakes. Four of the parks are in the mountainous region, which are Risnjak, Sjeverni Velebit, Paklenica and Plitvice Lakes, and four are in the coastal region, which are Kornati, Mljet, Brijuni and Krka. There are about 450,000 hectares of protected natural assets. Included in this figure are reservations, natural monuments & nature parks. There are too many Nature Parks to list here but two, among many, which are not part of National Parks are: Biokovo, a botanical garden on the mountain with spectacular views, and Vrasko Jezero, Croatia's largest lake, whose brackish water attracts many bird species. In Croatia over 44 herbal and 381 animal species are protected.
Over 400 bears roam wild in the mountain forests and wild sheep, mountain goats, wild cats, wolves and an abundance of lynx live happily here. The amount of bird life is too vast to mention! Of course, there are the various geological phenomena too - mountains, valleys, canyons, sinkholes, ravines, springs, gorges and caves, some unexploited.
You don't have to go to the National Parks to enjoy nature here. Croatia only has a population of 4.5 million people, so it is very easy to find secluded spots, where you’ll probably not see another person all day.
You’ll note that Croatians take great care of their environment, and it is rare to find any rubbish discarded in their protected areas. In winter there is a wind, the Bora, which at times blows very strongly along the coast, so please make sure your plastic bags are thrown away securely. Let’s not forget the marine life of Croatia. Look over any quay side in Croatia and you’ll be stunned by the number and variety of fish. If you keep your eyes peeled you’ll also see dolphins!
CROATIA'S NATIONAL PARKS:
The Brijuni Isles, a group of two large islands and twelve small islets off the west coast of Istria, are a National Park due to their spectacular beauty and abundance of nature, which was appreciated even in antiquity. This is also the home of the famous Brijuni safari park. You can take a ride around the park on a little train (actually a tractor disguised as a train). Finally, don't forget to take your swimsuit as there are some lovely bays just perfect for a quiet swim. Information: Tel: +385 52 525 888; Fax: +385 52 521 367; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.brijuni.hr/en/Home.aspx?PageID=1&gohome=true
In Kvarner & Highlands:
PLITVICE LAKES (Plitvicka Jezera)
Situated inland behind the Velebit mountain range, it is the most beautiful and best-known Croatian National Park, and an integral part of the UNESCO World Heritage. It comprises 16 small and large lakes connected by waterfalls created through sedimentation of travertine, a particular type of limestone. The area is covered by thick forests of beech and pine, with a section of it being primeval forest. Animal life is rich with the brown bear being present. Special panoramic tours are organised for visitors both on land and on the largest lakes in panoramic buses and electro-powered boats. Information: Tel: +385 53 751 015; Fax: +385 53 751 013; E-mail: email@example.com; www.np-plitvice.com (English) www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr (Also English)
In the central part of the Velebit mountain range in the most attractive part of this region, around Velebit’s highest peak, it includes the Rozanski and Hajducki Kuk nature reserves. They are comprised of karst rock formations and include the Lukina Jama (Luka Cave) - one of the deepest in the world - and the famous Velebit Botanical Garden. Information: Tel/Fax: +385 53 884 552; +385 53 884 551; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A forested mountain massif to the north of Rijeka, encompassing the source area of this small area, a haven for an amazing wealth of biological diversity, including brown bear, lynx, chamois, deer, and snake eagle. The beauty of its forests, the karst phenomena and magnificent views attract great numbers of mountaineers. Information: Tel: +385 51 836 133; Fax: +385 51 836 246; E-mail: email@example.com; www.risnjak.hr
In North Dalmatia
KRKA FALLS - Sibenik
The National Park of Krka is one of the natural wonders of Croatia, 15 minutes south of Sibenik in the direction of Kin, and should not be missed. It covers an area of 111 km². In the south of the park is the river Krka with a series of spectacular cascading waterfalls. After follows the gorges of Meðu Gredama with its long lake and celebrated isle of Visovac, home to a 15th century monastery (Boat trips can be taken to the island). To the south of the lake are the Skradinski Buk waterfalls, the most spectacular in the park. Information: Tel: +385 22 217 720; Fax: =385 22 336 836; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.npkrka.hr
PAKLENICA - Zadar
Situated in the southern part of the Velebit mountain range, running from the highest peaks to the sea. There are two impressive canyons, Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica, a multitude of unusual karst formations, a number of caves and the flora and fauna of the park is rich and diverse. A vertical rock formation, known as Anica Kuk, is one of the most popular training areas for Croatian mountain climbers. Information: Tel: +385 23 369 155; Fax: +385 23 359 133; E-mail: email@example.com; www.paklenica.hr
KORNATI ISLANDS - Zadar
The Kornati Islands are the wildest & most indented archipelago of islands of Croatia, consisting of about 147 isles and rocks, most of them unpopulated. The Nature Park of Telasica, which covers 5 of theses isles is the big must. The park has a deep bay, 9 km long and 1 - 2 km wide. In all there are 25 bays, 5 isles and a Mediterranean vegetation of nearly 300 spices. Here at lake Mir you will find a serenity that is rare. The water of the lake contains two times more salt than normal and is 6 ºC warmer than the temperature of the sea, a superb environment for swimming. The islands are a favourite destination for recreational sailers. Information: Tel: +385 22 434 662; +385 22 434 166; Fax: +385 22 435 058; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.kornati.hr
In South Dalmatia:
An island lying south-west of Dubrovnik. The western part of the island is a National Park with two deep bays which are referred to as lakes because of their very narrow outlets to the sea. With lush and diverse Mediterranean vegetation, the park also has valuable Antique monuments and a 13th century Benedictine monastery set upon an islet in the centre of the lake. Information: Tel: +385 20 744 041; Fax: +385 20 744 043; E-mail: email@example.com
THE CROATIAN LANGUAGE
Croatian is not an easy language to learn, as Croatians themselves will tell you. It is a Slavic language with very few borrowings from either Latin or English so it will appear very unfamiliar to western Europeans. It has several genders, a complicated grammar and inflections on the nouns as well as the verbs when changing tenses. However, mercifully for western Europeans, the written language does use Latin script and the words are written phonetically, so once you familiarises yourself with the sound of the letters, you should be able to read and pronounce the words, even if, at first, you won’t know what they mean.
It is not our goal here to teach you the Croatian language, as there are books and CDs on the market which can do it far better. We would simply like to introduce the language to you. Happily, most Croatians can speak several languages very well, including English, German & Italian, but there is nothing more impolite, we think, than being a visitor to a country and not being able to speak any words of their language at all, and one should at least be able to say ‘thank you’, which is "hvala", and ‘please’, which is "molim".
The Croatian alphabet has 22 letters, with no Q, W, X or Y, but several of the letters, such as C, D, S and Z have accents that give them a different pronunciation to the non-accented letters. Some vowels are also accented but they have such subtle difference to the non-accented ones and are so rarely used that it would not make much difference to Western speakers to know how they are pronounced. Please note that there are no silent letters in Croatian, so all the letters in a word are pronounced, including any vowels at the end of a word.
Please note that browsers will not show accented letters properly without having Croatian fonts installed, which will be the case for the majority of non-Croatians. For clarity, all accented letters in Croatian place names mentioned on this website appear as just the root letter, without an accent.
We hope this short description of the language will help you out a little. Good luck!
GASTRONOMY OF CROATIA
In the coastal regions of Croatia the cuisine has a rather Mediterranean flavour, as you would expect, with lots of olive oil used in the preparation. However, Croatian cuisine does have its own distinct identity, especially in regards to the cooking of fish. The tradition of grilling and roasting fish and delicacies of the sea has been carried down from generation to generation, where the taste of the fish depends on the grilling technique and the type of wood chosen. There is also the tantalising Dalmatian olive oil method of cooking, gradelavanje, which gives the fish a particular and fantastic taste. All along the coast and the isles, the fish menus are unrivalled - even the humble sardine will never taste quite so delicious. Many Croatian fish restaurants have their own fishing boats, so you can be assured of the freshness of the fish. Also, it is not uncommon to choose your own fish from a selection of different species kept on ice in the centre of the restaurant.
Croatian cuisine isn’t restricted to fish, they have many delicious meat dishes too. Grilled pork and roasted lamb are common dishes, and beef too, which is often cooked in a delicious tomato sauce, although you can, of course, have your steak ‘straight’. Regional differences in Croatian cuisine are quite evident and in the north of Croatia Austro-Hungarian culinary influences are strongest. One finds meats cooked in bread crumbs, goulashes served with stuffed cabbage, and a dish called sarma, a winter delight of a rare excellence. In the region around Zagreb, strukli, thin sheets of cheese cooked in water, is a speciality. In Slavonia, the speciality is kobasice, or pork sausages. Along with the many types of delicious sausages on offer, there is the famous kulen, which is very similar to salami.
Connoisseurs of cheese must try all the different cheeses on offer. In the markets one finds a thick white cheese svjezi sir sold in little plastic sacs and usually eaten, as an accompaniment to a salad, with salt and pepper. Paski sir, a hard cheese from the isle of Pag, is an excellent cheese and one of the most reputed.
Those who have sweet teeth will not be disappointed when it comes to choosing something off the shelves of the slasticarne. So many different influences: cream cakes of Austrian inspiration, nut cakes of eastern influence, kremsnites dripping in honey, rozata egg cakes, savijace strudels, delicious cakes oozing with cream, or one of the rich Dalmatian tarts.
In the resorts cafes and restaurants abound. From cafes you can order any type of beverage and almost all serve meals, which could be anything from a cheese sandwich or a delicious pizza to something a little more extravagant, like one of their fish specialities. Eating out in Croatia is not expensive; for a family of four each having a pizza (usually superb) plus a drink, the bill probably won’t come to more than 20€. Children are welcome in all establishments and you’ll find that cafes and restaurants are invariably spotlessly clean, including the toilets. Most importantly, your hosts will be friendly and provide a service which is second to none. Finally, the drink driving laws are very strict in Croatia, the alcohol limit being comparable to that in the rest of Europe. Happily, most accommodation in Croatia is within walking distance of a good restaurant.
Not to be forgotten is the wine, known for its special taste of the warm south. Croatian wines were already reputable but they are becoming more and more renowned.
Among the top quality red wines are Postup, Faros, Babic, the Dingac red from the Peljesac peninsular, and the Teran wine of Istria. Among the first class whites are Posip, Grk, Bogdanusa, and the well known sweet desert wine, Prosek. Even the region’s drinking water, which flows from the rivers Jardo and Cetina, is a speciality. Thanks to its purity and pleasant taste it is considered not only to be healthy, but is also mixed with wine to create Bevenda. The Croatian beers most frequently drunk are Ozujsko pivo and Kariovacko pivo, both of which are excellent. Foreign beers tend to be more expensive, so unless you have a preference for a particular foreign beer you’ll do no wrong choosing Croatian.
Finally you must try, before or after enjoying one of the many varied dishes from the Croatian menu, the different sorts of schnapps. ‘The water of life’, Rakija, when made from a base of plums is Slivovica, from grapes is Loza, and from herbs is Travarica.