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Croatian National Tourist Office

Kroatische Zentrale für Tourismus

Narodowy Ośrodek Informacji Turystycznej

Iblerov trg 10/IV, p.p. 251;10000 ZAGREB, HRVATSKA Tel:+385 1 46 99 333; Fax:++3851 455 7827 Internet: www.hrvatska.hr E-mail: info@htz.hr

New York 10118, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4003, U.S.A. Tel:+1 212 279 8672 Fax: + 1 212 279 8683 E-mail: cntony@earthlink.net

Kroatische Zentrale für Tourismus

Republiki Chorwacji 00-675 Warszawa, IPC Business Center, ul. Koszykowa 54 Polska Tel: +48 22 828 51 93 Fax: +48 22 828 51 90 E-mail: info@chorwacja.home.pl

Kroatische Zentrale für Tourismus

11135 Stockholm, Kungsgatan 24, Sverige Tel: +46 853 482 080 Fax: +46 820 24 60 E-mail: croinfo@telia.com

1010 Wien, Am Hof 13, Österreich Tel: +43 1 585 38 84 Fax: +43 1 585 38 84 20 E-mail: office@kroatien.at

60313 Frankfurt/M, Hochstrasse 43, Deutschland Tel: +49 69 23 85 350 Fax: +49 69 23 85 35 20 E-mail: info@visitkroatien.de 80469 München, Rumfordstrasse 7, Deutschland Tel: +49 89 22 33 44 Fax: +49 89 22 33 77 E-mail: kroatien-tourismus@t-online.de

Kroatiska Turistbyrån

Kroatisch Nationaal Bureau Voor Toerisme

Ente Nazionale Croato per il Turismo

1081 GG Amsterdam, Nijenburg 2F, Netherlands Tel: +31 20 661 64 22 Fax: +31 20 661 64 27 E-mail: kroatie-info@planet.nl

Ente Nazionale Croato per il Turismo

1000 Bruxelles,Vieille Halle aux Blés 38, België Tel: +32 255 018 88 Fax: +32 251 381 60 E-mail: info-croatia@scarlet.be

20122 Milano, Piazzetta Pattari 1/3, Italia Tel: +39 02 86 45 44 97 Fax: +39 02 86 45 45 74 E-mail: info@enteturismocroato.it 00186 Roma, Via Dell’Oca 48, Italia Tel: +39 06 32 11 0396 Fax: +39 06 32 11 1462 E-mail: officeroma@enteturismocroato.it

Chorvatské turistické sdružení

110 00 Praha 1, Krakovská 25, Česká Republika Tel: +420 2 2221 1812 Fax: +420 2 2221 0793 E-mail: info@htz.cz; infohtz@iol.cz

Chorvátske turistické združenie

Office National Croate du Tourisme

Хорвaтckoe туристическое соовщество 123610 Moscow, Krasnopresnenskaya nab. 12 office 1502, Russia Tel: +7 495 258 15 07, Fax: +7 495 258 15 07 E-mail: HTZ@wtt.ru

Hrvaška turistična skupnost

1000 Ljubljana, Gosposvetska 2, Slovenija Tel: +386 1 23 07 400, Fax: +386 1 230 74 04 E-mail: hrinfo@siol.net

821 09 Bratislava, Trenčianska 5, Slovenská Republika Tel: +421 2 55 562 054 Fax: +421 2 55 422 619 E-mail: infohtz@chello.sk

Kroatische Zentrale für Tourismus

Horvát Idegenforgalmi Közösség

Oficina Nacional de Turismo de Croacia

1054 Budapest, Akademia u. 1, Magyarország Tel.: +36 1 267 55 88, Fax: +36 1 267 55 99 E-mail: info@htz.hu

Office National Croate de Tourisme

75116 Paris, 48, avenue Victor Hugo, France Tel: +33 1 45 00 99 55 Fax: +33 1 45 00 99 56 E-mail: infos.croatie@wanadoo.fr

Croatian National Tourist Office

London W6 9ER, 2 Lanchesters, 162-164 Fulham Palace Road, United Kingdom Tel: +44 208 563 79 79 Fax: +44 208 563 26 16 E-mail: info@croatia-london.co.uk

8004 Zürich, Badenerstrasse 332, Schweiz Tel: + 41 43 336 20 30, Fax: +41 43 336 20 39 E-mail: info@kroatien-tourismus.ch 28001 Madrid, Calle Claudio Coello 22, esc.B,1 °C España Tel.: +34 91 781 5514 Fax: +34 91 431 8443 E-mail: info@visitacroacia.es Danmark Kroatiens Turistkontor, Bjørnholms Allé 20; 8260 Viby J; Tel.: +45 70 266 860 Fax: +45 70 239 500 E-mail: info@altomkroatien.dk

w w w . c r o a t i a . h r

HRVATSKA TURISTIČKA ZAJEDNICA

JAPAN, Ark Hills Executive Tower N613, Akasaka 1-14-5, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052 Tel.: +81 03 6234 0711 Fax: +81 03 6234 0712 E-mail: info@visitcroatia.jp

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THE WONDROUS NATURAL HERITAGE OF CROATIA

Although Croatia is not a large country, it is a land that is Mediterranean, Central European, mountainous and flat, coastal and continental. It can therefore be safely said that Croatia is characterised by a diversity and wealth of nature seen in much larger European countries; that is to say, within a relatively small area are landscapes that otherwise one would have to seek in larger areas of Europe, and indeed the world. This is why Croatia ranks as one of the top five European countries with regard to biodiversity, with some parts being amongst the world’s richest such areas. Croatia has a richly indented wooded shore line with numerous islands, as in the Southern Seas, preserved old Mediterranean towns with stone-built houses and narrow streets, as in Italy, but also green coastal meadows with dry stone walls that seem as though they have been transported from Ireland. The mountainous areas abound with wide expanses of woods and forests, as in Scandinavia, romantic lakes, fast flowing rivers and picturesque places, as in the Alps, as well as harsh and barren karstic landscapes with deep gorges and canyons, much like those in the “Wild West” of the U.S.A. In the wide plains of lowland Croatia there still exist preserved wetland areas otherwise found only in the most eastern parts of Europe, in Russia or the Ukraine, whilst the country’s mellow, gently undulating areas are decked with vineyards, medieval castles, burgs and fortresses the like of which are seen in Germany and Austria. The most treasured parts of Croatia’s natural heritage comprise 447 different protected areas covering a total of 5,178 km2, i.e. about 10% of Croatia’s land area. The most important amongst those areas are eight national parks (the Plitvice Lakes, the River Krka, the Kornati Archipelago, the Brijuni Archipelago, the island of Mljet, Northern Velebit, Paklenica, and Risnjak); eleven nature parks (Kopački rit, Papuk, Lonjsko polje, Medvednica, Žumberak, Samoborsko gorje, Učka, Velebit, Telašćica, Vransko jezero, Biokovo, and the Lastovo islands) and two strictly regulated reserves (Bijele and Samarske stijene, on Bjelolasica, and Rožanski and Hajdučki kukovi, on Velebit). On the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage List are the Festivity of Saint Blaise, lacemaking in Lepoglava, Hvar and Pag, the annual Carnival bell ringers’ pageant from the Kastav Region, Procession “Za Križen”, (‘following the Cross’) on the Island of Hvar, two-part singing and playing (music) in the Istrian scale, in Istria and Hrvatsko Primorje, the annual spring procession of “Kraljice/Ljelje” (queens) from Gorjani and traditional manufacture of wooden toys in the Hrvatsko zagorje region. Croatia is among the countries with the most protected


intangible cultural heritage elements, recorded on the UNESCO list. In addition to national parks, nature parks and strictly regulated reserves, Croatia has another 426 different smaller areas and places under protection. Of those, 78 are special reserves (botanical, wooded/forested, geomorphological, hydrological, ichthyological, ornithological, maritime and zoological); 38 are parklands; 71 are classified as landscapes of outstanding beauty and 104 are natural monuments (geological, geomorphological, palaeontological, and rare examples of trees). Special protection has also been extended to more than 135 monuments of park architecture: arboretums, botanical gardens, parks, individual trees and groups of trees. A total of 846 animal species have been placed under protection (including 359 birds and 74 mammals), 809 plant species and 314 types of mushroom. The three main natural areas of Croatia: lowland, mountainous and coastal, are fundamentally different in their main characteristics. The largest of these areas comprises fertile and well populated lowland Croatia, which is situated at the south-western edge of the vast Pannonian Plain. Its main natural characteristics are the centuries-old oak forests of the diluvial plains, numerous rivers, which maintain their original courses, and an abundant plant and animal world on land, in the waters and in the air. However, although located within the Pannonian Plain this region is not always uniformly flat. Rising along the horizons of the fields and meadows are the wine growing hill slopes and wooded elevations of Pannonia which, like islands, stand out above the sea of wheat. In contrast to the lowlands, mountainous Croatia is small and very sparsely populated, which explains why it has been so well preserved in its original state. Its dense forests of beech, pine and spruce are the domain of bears, wolves and lynx, while its sparkling clean and clear rivers are ruled by otters and trout. The heights reached by Croatian mountains may not be those of the Alps, but the shapes of the white limestone are often such that they can be an inspiration to even the most imaginative of sculptors, thanks to the wide range of karstic phenomena within the limestone composition of rocks so specifically typical of Croatia. The wealth of karstic forms, such as fissures and sink holes, found on the surface, continues through a subterranean world of caves, caverns, galleries, chasms and other distinctive relief forms not easily found elsewhere in Europe. The significance of the Croatian karst is best seen in the technical literature for the majority of these forms, the names of which are difficult to accurately translate, where the original Croatian terms are used, for instance: uvala, polje, hum. Finally, the jewel in the crown is the coastline, which attracts most visitors to Croatia. The Croatian coastline, like the Greek, has the largest number of islands and is the most indented in the Mediterranean. The length of the coastline is 1,880 km and, together with the shores of the 1,244 islands, isles, crags and reefs, extends to an amazing 6,278 km. The number of coves, bays, nooks and crannies and secret places along those shores is difficult to comprehend. All are washed by crystal clear seas and boast a wide variety of aspects: from craggy and harsh rock-bound steep slopes swooping down into the sea to the wide and gentle areas sunk into lush Mediterranean vegetation. Here, all our visitors, particularly those on their boats or yachts, are able to discover their own little corner. So now let us set off and get to know the areas of natural beauty in Croatia, and help us to make sure that they remain as they are today for future generations to enjoy.


CROATIAN TOURIST REGIONS CENTRAL CROATIA

CITY OF ZAGREB

KVARNER ISTRIA

SLAVONIA LIKA − KARLOVAC

DALMATIA − ZADAR DALMATIA − ŠIBENIK

DALMATIA − SPLIT

DALMATIA − DUBROVNIK

The publisher cannot guarantee the complete accuracy of the information contained herein, nor be held responsible for any errors that may be contained in future amendments or changes to such information.


PUBLISHER: Croatian National Tourist Board / DIRECTOR: Niko Bulić, M.Sc. / EDITOR IN CHIEF: Slavija Jačan Obratov CONCEPT - TEXT: Prof. Zoran Klarić, D.Sc. / MAP PRODUCTION: Studio Bregant / DESIGN: Sergio Gobbo / Studio Gobbo Grožnjan / PHOTOGRAPHY: Sergio Gobbo; Other photographic credits: Plitvice Lakes / Kopački rit: Marin Topić, Zvonimir Tanocki; Underwater photography: Daniel Frka, Arne Hodalić, Borut Furlan; Animal world photography: Tihomir Makovec, Boris Krstinić, Tomislav Šporer; Speleological photography: Vlado Božić TRANSLATION: Volga Vukelja-Dawe; Linda Rabuzin / PREPUBLICATION: Comgraf Umag / PRINTED BY: RADIN PRINT, Zagreb, December 2010


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ISTRIA

High point of the Mediterranean The Istrian peninsula is located at the northennmost part of the Mediterranean Sea. The tourist region of Istria, comprising just one county, the County of Istria, is one of the smallest in size, but for popularity it is the prime tourist region in Croatia. Although the mention of Istria prompts many to think first of numerous hotels and crowded beaches, the peninsula boasts a sizeable number of well preserved natural attractions and picturesque landscapes, not only in its coastal part but in particular in its hinterland. Due to its position at the crossroads of diverse natural and cultural attractions, Istria stands out through its unique culture, music and gastronomy, all of which have earned it the appellation of “magical land”.

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Let us begin our perambulations through magical Istria, which is at the northern end of Croatia’s Adriatic coast, in Savudrija bay on the border with neighbouring Slovenia. If we continue down the western coast of the Istrian peninsula, after just a few kilometres we come upon the imposing Savudrija lighthouse. Built at the beginning of the 19th century (2), 38 metres tall, it is located at the most western point of Croatia. Like many other Croatian lighthouses it has been turned into a tourist attraction, but with a difference: it allows those who stay there to enjoy the peace and solitude. In a symbolic manner it beckons us to explore Istria and its three magical parts, each named after the colour predominant in the landscape: “red”, “grey” and “white”. “Red” Istria, taking its name from the fertile red soil, mostly covers the flat areas along the western shores of the peninsula, dotted with old, picturesque towns. The majority of these are situated on the most prominent capes, as for instance, Novigrad (1), whose appearance has remained unchanged since the Middle Ages. “Red”


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Istria has a beautifully indented coastline, with many islands, together with a versatile vegetation, particularly the numerous olive groves (6). To protect the natural environment, many parts of the coast, and in particular the islands, have been spared invasion by tourists. The most beautiful and most famous are the Brijuni islands. “Grey” Istria occupies the central part of the peninsula and gets its name from another type of fertile soil: the greyish-coloured flysch, a mixture of marl, sandstone, clay and limestone. The beauty of this part of Istria lies not in the colour of its soil but rather in its picturesque, undulating landscapes, where the hilltops are decked with enchanting little towns and villages (5). Many villages and towns boast picturesque churches known for their imaginative architecture, such as the church in Grožnjan (4). “White” Istria refers to the north-eastern part of the peninsula,

where the high mountains of Učka and Ćićarija rise. For centuries these mountains have stood as a barrier between Istria and the other parts of Croatia, and their impenetrability has ensured they have remained in their natural state. “White” Istria takes its name from the white limestone rock that swoops steeply into the interior of the peninsula and the rugged eastern coastal area, which is far more sparsely populated and attracts a lesser number of tourists than the western coast. Standing out in the landscape are imposing limestone cliffs (7) and fairy-tale like mountain meadows (4) frequently lashed by strong winds (6). One of the best preserved and beautiful parts of the Istrian coastline is the LIMSKI ZALJEV (Lim fiord) in the central part of the western coast, whieh cuts deeply into the peninsula (10). It is protected as an outstanding landscape and maritime feature because of its remarkable characteristics and unspoiled vegetation.


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Of most interest to yachtsmen is the Kamenjak cape, south of Pula (8), around which they have to sail if they wish to change course from Istria towards the eastern coast of the Adriatic. If they continue sailing along the eastern coastline they can always find a safe berth in the deep Raška Bay (9). Lately, however, visitors are increasingly drawn to Istria’s interior, well known for its beautiful landscapes, unspoiled natural vegetation (16) and numerous karstic phenomena. Very prominent amongst these is the Baredine cave near Poreč (13), where unique animal species (15) can be seen. However, the interior is mostly known for good food and wine, as well as its well preserved autochthonous ar-


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chitectural heritage. This quite specific architecture, blending so well into the landscape, is at its best in the small towns at the top of undulating hills, where visitors to the noisy tourist resorts on the coast can find real peace and enjoy the true harmony between man and nature. One such little town is GroŞnjan, as beautiful in summer (11) as it is in winter (14). This specific character has been retained in the villages too, like Kotle (12), whose name clearly depicts its location (kotao: cauldron). However, the most beautiful part of Istria's natural heritage is the BRIJUNI National Park (17). Brijuni, a group of islands comprising two large and twelve smaller isles strung along Istria’s south-


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western coast, are located not far from Pula. Their surface area is barely 7 km2, but together with the protected surrounding sea the total area of the park is 34 km2. The Brijuni islands are renowned for the indented nature of their respective coast lines (18) and their unspoiled Mediterranean vegetation, particularly where landscaped into parkland (19). The islands also boast a valuable cultural heritage dating from Roman and Byzantine times. In more recent times, to be more precise, over the past hundred years or so, the beauty of the islands has made them a popular holiday resort for world statesmen and the aristocracy. Although not permanently inhabited , there are people who live on the islands throughout the year due to numerous visits by tourists ferried over from the mainland by boat(22). Veliki Brijun (Great Brijun) offers accommodation in three small hotels, enabling their guests to savour an atmosphere of peace, surrounded by beautiful nature, with the tourist flurry of Pula being within easy reach. This is also the site of the oldest golf course in Croatia (25). Despite the numerous visitors, the landscape has been well preserved, as wittnessed by the large number of birds which winter on the islands. Almost half of the islands' land area is laid out as landscaped parks and grassland, a prominent feature being solitary holm oaks, with their clipped crowns (21). During the time when Brijuni was the official residence of Josip Broz Tito, then President of Yugoslavia, a part of its landscaped park was turned into a safari-park. Its inhabitants were predominantly exotic herbivores such as elephants, antelopes, gazelles, llamas and zebras (23). The cultural and historical heritage of the Brijuni islands contributed significantly to this area being declared a national park. Particularly rich is the heritage of Roman times when, in the 1st century AD, there existed in Verige cove one of the summer residences of the Roman emperors. Numerous well preserved statues (20) are testimony to that fact. Still more abundant are finds from the Byzantine period, during which a well fortified castrum (fort) was built in Dobrila bay, which was occupied until the 14th century (24). In the 19th century the Austro-Hungarian monarchy built an impressive system of fortifications in order to ensure the defence of Pula, then its main naval port. These fortifications have been well preserved to this day, and through their size they represent a prime example of European fortification architecture (26). However, we should thank the Austrian industrialist Paul Kupelwieser for the present day appearance of the islands. At the end of the 19th century he purchased the islands and, with the assistance of a famous doctor, Robert Koch, eradicated malaria from them. Then, at the beginning of the 20th century, he transformed the islands into a park like tourist area.


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KVARNER

A crossroad of Europe’s eco-systems Extending between Istria in the north and Dalmatia in the south is the wide bay of Kvarner. This, the largest of the Croatian bays, is deeply indented in the coastline between Istria and the rugged eastern coast. The bay is not open to the sea but has five larger and several smaller islands in it. A small part of the natural region of mountainous Croatia, the forested Gorski kotar, is oriented towards Kvarner. The biggest city of Kvarner and the greatest Croatian port is Rijeka. The tourist region of Kvarner covers the County of Primorje-Gorski kotar, which encompasses the mountainous coastal area (littoral) with its numerous islands and the mountainous area rich in protected natural sites. Among them, the most prominent are the national park Risnjak on the northeastern forested edge of the mountanious area and the UÄ?ka nature park on the northwestern edge towards Istria. The variety of plant and animal life is a result of the fact that the area of Kvarner lies upon one of the crossroads of European eco-systems. It is here that the Mediterranean and Central Europe meet; the Alps and the Dinaric Range join and the Mediterranean and moderate continental climates mix, all of which makes Kvarner a region of contrasts.

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The coastal part of Kvarner, though mountainous, is cultivated. This cultivation distinguishes it from the neighbouring wild karst coasts of the Lika-Karlovac region to the south. The mountainous part of Kvarner in the region of Gorski kotar (mountain district) is also different from the neighbouring mountain areas, and is characterised by the diversity of its relief, as well as the abundance of water and forests. The Kvarner islands have a specific nature, sometimes soft and green and other times rock-bound and harsh. Travelling from Istria eastwards on the way to Kvarner, we first come across the 1400 metre high UČKA mountain. It is a nature park because of its protected landscapes and its wealth of flora and fauna, resulting from the special climate there, where the Mediterranean climate becomes continental. Amongst the main attractions of Učka are the unique limestone formations in the area of Vrana (1), and at the very top of Učka, where an old tower (2) is erected. Mountaineers like to be photographed (8) next to this tower. From the summit of the mountain there are unforgettable views of the nearby islands (3) and Opatija Riviera. Opatija owes its refreshing evenings to the shelter afforded by the lush forests of Učka. Učka’s peaks are frequently bathed in sunshine whilst its slopes are often blanketed in fog. This creates a special atmosphere (6). Walkers and mountaineers (10) visiting Učka in mid-summer can enjoy it in all its beauty, whether through the refreshing wooded parts (5) or along the mountain’s wind-swept ridge (7). Also there for their enjoyment are numerous other features of interest, such as caves (4) and chapels, which provide shelter in inclement weather (11). The most courageous visitors like to take advantage of the favourable air currents and use the top of Učka as a launch pad for paragliding (9). However, the most significant attraction of Kvarner is its only national park, RISNJAK. It was named after its most popular inhabitant, the ris, that is, the lynx, and covens an area of 64 km2. Being located where the Alps meet the Dinaric Range, where the Mediterranean gradually gives way to the Pannonia Plain, it combines almost all the forest types of these areas, as well as containing numerous plant and animal species. Nature lovers come to Risnjak for the beauty of the mountains, forests, waters and karst. The most frequent visitors are mountaineers, who find the highest peak of the massif a most rewarding challenge (12). Risnjak’s summit is equally attractive in all seasons: in winter, when covered with snow (15); in spring, when the meadows around it are transformed into carpets of flowers (19); in summer, when it offers respite from the heat in the nearby littoral area, and in autumn, when the trees are bathed in a myriad of colours (17). In addition to the lynx, the trade mark of the mountain, there are also brown bears (13), martens (14) and dormice(22). Risnjak is also famous for its fantastic views of the islands of the Kvarner Bay and of the mountains in neighbouring Slovenia (18), and all the way to the Alps.

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The first few kilometres of the 300 km long course of the River Kupa (20), which flows towards the Pannonian Plains, run within the boundaries of the national park. In its upper course the Kupa is a fast flowing, crystal-clear river with numerous rapids, which makes it very popular with lovers of white water sports. The river’s powerful source, emanating from beneath a high cliff (16) is one of the largest and most beautiful in Croatia. Some of the local houses are excellent examples of the architecture typical of Gorski kotar, with their steep wooden roofs (21) designed to slough off snow during heavy falls. Apart from the Risnjak national park, the region of GORSKI KOTAR is also renowned for forbidding canyons, numerous caves, fast flowing clear rivers and waterfalls showering mist. The most popular attraction is Vražji prolaz (Devil’s Pass), near the town of Skrad, its name speaking volumes for its actual appearance (26). The highest peaks of Gorski kotar are not in Risnjak but at the southern edge of the region. There, centred around Bjelolasica (25), which is the highest peak, is a whole array of attractions: the stony, forested wildernesses of Bijele stijene and Samarske stijene, numerous old hill forts and many other interesting features. Although an altitude of 1,533 metres may not seem much, with the abundance of snow and the length of its duration through the winter months, the atmosphere here is that of the Alps. This is why the best skiing terrains in Croatia (23) are located on the slopes of Bjelolasica. The Croatian Olympic Centre is in its foothills. The most striking part of the mountain massif of Bjelolasica are the strictly regulated reserves of Bijele stijene and Samarske stijene. Similar in appearance to Rožanski kukovi and Hajdučki kukovi on Velebit, this is the second, but more forested, of the two strictly regulated reserves in Croatia. The main attraction of this reserve is a string of strange rocks (27) which rise like white mountains from the “sea” of the surrounding forest. The reserve is also known for its unspoiled dense forests (24) and numerous endemic plant species, which are often seen growing in seemingly impossible places (28). In spite of it not boasting national and nature parks, the region of Kvarner provides much beauty in its littoral parts, mostly on the ISLANDS of KRK, CRES, LOŠINJ, RAB and PAG, and their adjacent smaller islands, each of which is special in its own way. The two largest islands of the Kvarner Bay and of the whole of the Adriatic - Krk and Cres - differ greatly from one another. Krk is gently undulating and, for the most part, cultivated and well populated, while mountainous and more sparsely inhabited Cres is predominantly covered with pastures and macchia. Rab and Pag also have two different facets: wild and stony in the east, and mellower in the west, while lushly green Lošinj, despite its location in the north of the Adriatic Sea, is a kind of oasis, with a climate that is almost subtropical.

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Nature is most unspoiled on Cres, whose picturesque villages have a somewhat rugged atmosphere (35), whilst its numerous coves, like Punta Križa (37), are washed by the crystal clear sea. The largest natural phenomenon on the island of Cres is the unique fresh water Vrana Lake (36). Reaching a depth of 80 metres, it contains about 200 million cubic metres of fresh water so precious to the islanders. Consequently, access to the lake is strictly prohibited, which means that its mystic beauty can be enjoyed only from vantage points along the main road. The symbol of Cres is the Griffon vulture, one of the largest European birds (34), which nests in the island’s sheer cliffs. These cliffs are protected as an ornithological reserve. South of Cres is the island of Lošinj, Kvarner’s most popular tourist destination. Yet, its hilly region, around the Osoršćica peak, has remained completely unspoiled (30). It is a favourite excursion site (33) for tourists who prefer to leave the clamour of humanity behind them on the beaches. The sea around Lošinj is known for its numerous schools of dolphins (32), a protected species here. Located in the immediate vicinity of Lošinj are several lovely small islands to which only walkers and cyclists have access (38), as, for example, Unije (31) with its unspoiled autochthonous atmosphere and characteristic architecture, and Ilovik (29), much favoured by yachtsmen as a destination.

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LIKA - KARLOVAC

the area richest in natural heritage The most scarcely populated part of Croatia stretches between the coastal regions of Kvarner and Dalmatia on one hand and the interior Pannonian Croatia on the other. This area comprises the major part of the mountainous region of Croatia - the entire region of Lika, a minor part of the Gorski kotar and a smaller part of the littoral region beneath the Velebit Mountain and a part of the Island of Pag. This region also comprises a part of Pannonian Croatia around the city of Karlovac, an important transport hub, which is the crossroad for all major roads from the interior to the coast. Out of all the regions that have access to the Adriatic, the Lika-Karlovac region is the largest. The tourist region Lika-Karlovac comprises two counties - the Lika-Senj County and the Karlovac County. The Lika-Senj County is the largest Croatian county, but is also the most scarcely populated as it is characterised by extremely mountainous karst areas and wild littoral areas beneath the biggest Croatian mountain -- the Velebit. The Karlovac County is also not densely populated as it comprises the area of Pannonian Croatia that is not naturally rich and has more karst areas as it is nearest to the mountains. The Lika-Karlovac region is renowned for its richness in karst phenomena and a high level of biodiversity. It is no surprise, therefore, that out of all the Croatian regions, this one is richest in natural monuments. It is in this region that two of the eight national parks are located (Plitvice Lakes, Northern Velebit), as well as the major part of the largest of all of Croatia’s nature parks, Velebit. The Velebit reserve (HajduÄ?ki and RoĹžanski kukovi) and some other small areas enjoy the strictest form of nature protection in Croatia. Together, these parks spread over an area larger than all the other protected areas in Croatia. This is why this region is considered to be the lungs of Croatia. Due to the karst relief and its inaccessability, as well as for historical reasons, with numerous wars fought here, the region is one of the least densely populated areas of Croatia

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The Lika-Karlovac region is extremely diverse. Its littoral part and the island of Pag are characterised by wilderness and steep cliffs, as well as untouched natural beauty. The Lika highlands are characterised by vast karst fields and monumental and wild landscapes. The Karlovac area is known for its richness in water (the renowned four rivers Kupa, Korana, Dobra and Mrežnica) and the contrast between the forested wild mountains to the south and the tame Pannonian plains to the north. It is precisely where Lika and the Karlovac region meet that the region's most important natural area and some consider the greatest pearl of Croatia's entire natural heritage THE PLITVICE LAKES (1) is located. This is Croatia’s best known national park and the only natural site included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage sites. There is a total of seven such sites in Croatia. The main attractions of this park, unique in the world, are the 16 small lakes joined by waterfalls created by the sedimentation of travertine, a special type of limestone. This national park encompasses the source of the River Korana, which is located in an area surrounded by dense forests of beech, fir and spruce. There are also several caves in the park, as well as springs and flowering meadows. The brown bear stands out as one of many protected animal species. The popularity of this park is also boosted by the special means of transport used to ferry visitors around: the panoramic “trains” (13) and the noiseless electro-powered boats (5). It is impossible to say whether the park is more beautiful in the spring, when the flowers in its meadows are in full bloom and when the trees have turned green again (3), or when the riot of autumn colours (2) is reflected in the waters of the lakes (7), or indeed during the winter calm, when ice petrifies the waterfalls and when the surrounding trees are heavily laden with snow (6). By a network of paths, visitors can get around and access the numerous waterfalls (8) and the rocky lake shores (4). The intense green colour of the lakes is also a magnet for curious tourists (9). The Plitvice Lakes are divided into the larger Upper Lakes, set amid wooded and gentler slopes, and the Lower Lakes, situated in a rugged and rocky canyon. The highest of the lakes is situated at an altitude of 637 metres. The River Korana (10) begins its course at the base of the Sastavci, the lowest waterfall , at an altitude of 503 metres. The Sastavci's 134 metre long span is further divided into a myriad of greater and lesser waterfalls which endlessly change their appearance and height. Specially built footpaths erected on wooden supports (11 & 12) allow visitors to approach the waterfalls, whilst at the same time protecting the natural creator of the lakes, travertine, which is easily damaged by people walking over it. Travertine is a special type of soft, porous rock created from limestone deposits carried by the water and which, assisted by micro-organisms, deposit diluted limestone. The highest of the lakes is Prošćansko jezero, and the roar and rumble of waterfalls is absent here, whilst its distance from the main walking routes has ensured that its natural environment has remained unspoiled(14). Prošćansko jezero, immersed in its green surroundings, contrasts with the canyon like Lower lakes, which are characterised by white karstic rocks (15). The visitors can enjoy the pure beauty of nature and learn about fundamental natural values. At the Plitvice Lakes, this knowledge is provided by numerous information boards and by leaflets which can be acquired at the park facilities. All these items are produced from natural materials typical of this area. Most frequently used is timber (16), or sometimes, as in the case of the main park building, stone (17).


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The second greatest natural jewel of the Lika-Karlovac region is majestic VELEBIT, the largest Croatian mountain which is rich in natural phenomena. Protected as a nature park and extending over 2,000 km2 in area, it is by far the largest protected area in Croatia, larger than all the others put together. Within the nature park is a whole range of smaller protected areas, including two national parks: Northern Velebit in the Lika-Karlovac region and Paklenice in Dalmatia. Velebit mountain contains so many natural sites which rank among the most precious in Croatia. So much so that the entire mountain, throughout its full length of about 150 km, has been placed under UNESCO protection as a World Biosphere Reserve, the only one at present of its kind in Croatia. Velebit is significant for its wealth of flora and fauna, and not only for the total number of species, but also for the number of endemic species. Velebit has two facets: the harsh, forbidding and barren aspect facing the sea (18) and the endless forests on its continental side (22 & 24). Among a vast range of breathtaking sights, those which stand apart are the various karstic formations, one being the bizarre figure of Stapina, a vertical rounded obelisk some 100 metres high (20). The mountain is full of abysses and caves, wild canyons, rapids and, above all, unrepeatable, often forbidding vistas of wild and unbridled nature (19). This amazing mountain also has a great many natural features of interest outside its two national parks. The most striking among these is its central part around Baške Oštarije, a picturesque place located in a mountain pass beneath the imposing crest of Kiza (21), which can be reached via the old road (23). Situated in Baške Oštarije is one of the few hotels on the mountain (26), providing warmth and comfort, and an ideal starting point for hiking expeditions. The best times of the year for visiting Velebit are late spring, early summer and early autumn, when the hot sun does not beat down on its meadows (27 & 31), barren rocks and ridges (32). Needless to say, Velebit is equally fascinating in the winter, but a visit to its wind lashed, snow covered slopes is recommended only for the most experienced mountaineers (25). Nature lovers are drawn to Velebit by the abundance of the plant and animal worlds (29 & 30) and for the preserved rural architecture in the few mountain villages and hamlets (28). The unique landscapes and the greatest wealth of flora and fauna are to be found in the area of the NORTHERN VELEBIT National Park. Located in the peak area of the northernmost part of the mountain and extending over a mere 109 km2, are a number of exceptional features: the cone like karstic formations known as Hajdučki kukovi and Rožanski kukovi, the botanical garden set in a natural environment, and the deep Lukina jama (Luka’s hole). That is why Croatian mountaineers regard this area as the most precious jewel among all of Croatia’s mountains. Hajdučki kukovi and Rožanski kukovi, an endless range of rocky peaks with diverse and bizarre forms (kukovi) up to 200 metres in height, are situated in the very centre of the national park. This amazing rocky landscape is protected as a strictly regulated reserve, the strictest form of nature protection in the country. Located amid Hajdučki kukovi, at an altitude of 1,475 metres, is Lukina jama. With its base being a mere 83 metres above sea level, its overall depth of 1,392 metres makes it the eighth deepest hole in the world. Despite the harsh and hostile rock bound wilderness, in the 1930s a trail was masterfully built through the Rožanski kukovi by engineer Ante Premužić, a dedicated lover of Velebit and after whom the trail is named (33 &41). The Premužić trail is considered to be the most beautiful hiking trail in Croatia, well known as one which enables even those of more modest physical condition (34) to walk it without the risk of danger along the edges of massive cliffs and precipitous abysses. From the trail

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one can enjoy wonderful views of the sea and the Kvarner islands (40). In addition to Hajdučki and Rožanski kukovi there are numerous other interesting karstic features, in particular sinkholes and abysses (38 & 39). Spread below the trail is the green umbrella of the tall coniferous trees of the primeval forest of Štirovača (36) whose vast, impenetrable, Stygian darkness and isolation has given rise to any number of spooky legends in the surrounding villages. Northern Velebit also harbours many endemic plant species, the best known being Degenia Velebitica, practically the symbol of the mountain (37). Also to be found are rare animal species, such as the eagle owl (35). The main gathering place for trippers, hikers and mountaineers visiting the Northern Velebit National Park is located beneath Zavižan peak, in the mountain lodge of the same name (54 & 56). It can be reached by a forest road from both the littoral and continental

sides. Located in the immediate vicinity of Zavižan is the Velebit Botanical Garden (44), its location on the edge of a deep karstic sinkhole making it unique in the world. Even in the middle of summer, ice sometimes remains at the bottom of that hole, as the sunlight cannot reach it. Right next to the botanical garden is the start of the Premužić trail (51) partially constructed and parapeted with stone (42) which in part cuts through the karstic rocks (43) and in places simply traverses Velebit’s many meadows. The only traces of civilization along this remarkable trail are tiny churches (45) and refuges for mountaineers, skilfully blended into the mountainous landscape (47). The inimitable views from the Premužić trail of the wooded interior (53), and more particularly of the sea and the islands (52 & 55), are especially memorable as the sun begins to set (50). Apart from being able to enjoy the walks (46) and scenes of untamed nature (48), visitors may also indulge in other forms of recreation, such


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as riding in the wooded foothills of the continental part of the park (49). LIKA, located on the continental side of Velebit, was a region of proud highlanders and warriors in the past. Apart from the Plitvice Lakes and Velebit, Lika boasts one of the country’s most beautiful valleys, Gacka Valley, near the town of Otočac. Its beauty and value are of such significance that the Zagreb - Split highway was built along its mountainous edge rather than through the valley itself. The views from the highway are astounding. The Gacka Valley is also famed for being one of the best trout fishing places, which is why it is a must for every dedicated angler. The River Gacka (61 & 63) and the small, picturesque lakes along its course (60) are characterised by an intense green colour, the village located right by the water (62) and the wooded landscapes surrounding it (64). Lika offers still more, with for instance, the area around Krušćica Lake, south of the Gacka Valley (57 & 65). Equally picturesque are the village houses with their typical porches (66), numerous towers symbolic of the belligerent past (59) and the churches which dominate the landscape (58). The littoral part of Velebit looks over the islands of Rab and PAG. The northern part of Pag belongs to the Lika-Karlovac region. To those approaching these islands from the continent, they seem like stony deserts, while those approaching from the sea are met with evergreen woods and lush macchia, as is the case near Lun on the island of Pag (67). The barren faces on the continental side (68 & 70) are the result of the bora, a strong, bitter wind that swoops down from the mighty mountain of Velebit on the mainland. On the other hand, the deep coves of Pag (69) hide many lovely pebble beaches surrounded by clear, clean blue waters. Finally, the northermost part of the Lika-Karlovac region, towards the Pannonian valley, is completely different from both Lika and other neighbouring lowlands of Central Croatia. This area boasts four amazing rivers: KUPA, DOBRA, KORANA and MREŽNICA, which flow from the rugged mountains down towards the Pannonian Plain. In the town of Karlovac they come together, which is why Karlovac is called “the town on four rivers”.


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The rivers of Karlovac are full of rapids and waterfalls, as at the confluence of the Mre탑nica with the Korana (75), which runs, clean and clear, through the centre of the town. How could the Korana (71) not be clean and clear (72) when its waters are fed by the Plitvice Lakes, and with no industry along its course to pollute its waters? This is why there are always anglers to be seen along its banks (73) and why so many ducks constantly congregate here (74). Also clean is the largest river in this area, the River Kupa, which flows from Karlovac, straight through the valley towards Sisak, where it joins with the River Sava. The River Dobra is just as beautiful and equally clear (76), but its crowning feature is the impressive canyon. It is also known for the abyss in the town of Ogulin, which many connect with legends of witches gathering around the impressive mountain Klek, the cradle of Croatian mountaneering (77). According to many, however, the most beautiful of all is the shortest of the rivers of Karlovac, the reason being that down its entire length, flowing mostly through a canyon, its course is interspersed with waterfalls, one after the other, each succeeding one more beautiful than the last, created, just like the Plitvice Lakes, by travertine barriers. Consequently, the greater part of the Mre탑nica (78) is in fact comprised of a string of small lakes linked by waterfalls and flanked by irresistible, natural bathing spots.

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CENTRAL CROATIA

Between the Alps, the Dinaric Range and the Pannonian Plain In the interior of the country, abutting the Lika-Karlovac region, is the tourist region of Central Croatia. To the west it is bordered by the Alps, which, here, peter out into hilly terrain, and by the rugged Dinarides to the south. Towards the east, Central Croatia expands into the fertile Pannonian Plain and the valleys of the Rivers Sava and Drava. This is Croatia’s largest tourist region, comprising as many as seven counties (Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje, Varaždin, Međimurje, Koprivnica-Križevci, Bjelovar-Bilogora and Sisak-Moslavina) which, like a necklace, encircle Zagreb, capital of the Republic of Croatia, situated in the very centre of the region.

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Due to population density, there are no national parks in Central Croatia, but there are two very interesting nature parks: Lonjsko polje (River Lonja Range) and the Žumberak-Samobor Highlands, and a part of Medvednica, the latter being the best visited nature park in Croatia, which is also linked to the City of Zagreb.It is in Central Croatia that the last preserved Central European wetlands can be found, that one can enjoy fishing on clean rivers, ramble through picturesque wine growing country, or recuperate body and soul on hikes through wooded mountain terrain. One of the most important gifts bequeathed by nature in this part of Croatia are the numerous rivers, their courses for the most part having remained as nature intended. This includes the longest Croatian river, the Sava, whose banks give a great deal of pleasure to numerous anglers (5). Similar landscapes are just as common along other major rivers, such as the Drava, Kupa and Una (1); the old Croatian town Hrvatska Kostajnica on the banks of the Una (3), the hills rich with vineyards, especially in the region of the Croatian Zagorje (2), and many interesting characteristics such as the Đurđevački pijesci, the last remnants of the expansive sandy deserts of the Pannonian plain (4). The largest nature park in Central Croatia is LONJSKO POLJE, located in the valley of the Sava, east of Zagreb. Covering an area of 506 km2, it is one of the largest preserved European wetlands, protected by the Ramsar Convention as a wetland area of world im-

portance. The park provides an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity (8) characteristic of wide wetland expanses. Growing alongside calm waters covered in water lilies (10) are primeval oak forests, particularly beautiful at dusk (11). However, by far the greatest wealth of Lonjsko polje are its 250 bird species. These include numerous small birds (13 & 14) and different types of duck (9). The best known inhabitants of the park are storks (7), which habitually build their nests on the roofs of the lovely timber built village houses. One such village is Čigoć, in 1994 declared to be the first European Village of Storks. Needless to say, the waters of Lonjsko polje attract other creatures, such as snakes (12), but we should point out that there are fewer poisonous snakes here than in the rocky south of Croatia. In the valley of the Kupa there is another area with similar characteristics: the avian reserve of Crna Mlaka, also protected by the Ramsar Convention. The fishponds of Crna Mlaka (6 & 15) are made even more special through being an oasis for birds normally frequenting the immediate vicinity of any large city, in this case, the City of Zagreb. West of Zagreb is ŽUMBERAK SAMOBORSKO GORJE (Žumberak and Samobor Highlands). By definition this is quite different from Lonjsko polje, since it encompasses the distinctly mountainous area of Mount Žumberak, the highest mountain in the whole of continental Croatia. Its distinctive nature stems from


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the number of karstic phenomena untypical of areas adjoining the Pannonia Plain: deep canyons, small, sparkling rivers bursting with numerous waterfalls (16) and broad, flowering meadows. The special feature of Žumberak is its people, who live on the higher parts of the mountains, in villages clinging to the steep slopes (21). The majority of the population are descendants of the famous Croatian guardians of the sea - Uskoks from the town of Senj, on the shores of Kvarner. As a section of these people are of the Greek Catholic persuasion, the villages of Žumberak are dotted with numerous small, picturesque churches (22), including those on the highest peak of Mount Žumberak, the 1202 metre high Sveta Gera (19). There are also places where, standing side by side, are Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic churches, as is the case in the hamlet of Dojutrovica (20). The foothills of the Žumberak Samobor Hills are gentler, particularly the vineyards on the slopes of Plešivica (18). Grape vines blend nicely with the landscape (17), as do the numerous ruins scattered across the surrounding hills, like the old town of Samobor (23). The most important hilly part of Croatia is HRVATSKO ZAGORJE, a truly enchanting region north of Zagreb. Dotted across the undulating landscape are numerous manor houses, castles and churches, whilst the wooded hills conceal many old ruins. All who come here can enjoy fairy tale like vistas, climb the wooded slopes, or bathe in any of the numerous spas. Among the castles there is one that holds a special place, Trakošćan Castle (24), which today houses a museum with a rich collection of weaponry and antique furniture. As a result of its beauty and position, overlooking a small, quiet lake and surrounded by woodlands, the area of Trakošćan has been granted the status of a protected outstanding landscape. Hrvatsko Zagorje is also an area which boasts the most important palaeontological site in Croatia: the archaeological site of the Neanderthal Man, near Krapina. Next to it is an open-air museum (27). The significance of this site is such that in January 1996 it was shown on the cover of the world famous National Geographic magazine. The town of Gornja Stubica shelters a linden tree which is over 400 years old (30).

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This is the best known protected tree in Croatia, because in 1573, the leader of the peasants’ uprising, Matija Gubec, assembled his followers beneath its boughs prior to their revolt against the feudal lords. The dominant perception of a typical landscape of Zagorje is one of undulating hills, orchards and vineyards, dotted with the so characteristic stick mounted rattles designed to scare off the birds (29). One such location is Vinagora, with its imposing church on the top of a hill (25), from which there are beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Landscapes such as these are to be found in other areas of Central Croatia too, like, for instance, in northernmost Međimurje, known for its quality wines (28). Medieval ruins are a frequent sight on top of hills and mountains, such as at Kalnik, near the town of KriŞevci (26).

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CITY OF ZAGREB

A metropolis surrounded by gorgeous greenery There are few European cities able to boast such an abundance and variety of attractive landscapes and preserved natural environments in their immediate vicinity as Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia. Adjacent to the city, extending virtually into its cen-

tral artery, Ilica, is Medvednica and the hills of vineyards at the foot of that mountain. There are also preserved wetlands and lakes rich in bird life, numerous castles set in landscaped parks... Less than an hour’s drive from Zagreb is the rugged mountain of Žumberak, enchantingly undulating Hrvatsko zagorje, the four rivers of the Karlovac area, hunting grounds teeming with game large and small, and many more appealing sites. Like many other capital cities, Zagreb is a separate administrative unit (county) and, therefore, a separate tourist region. In addition to the built-up city area, it encompasses the adjacent “green” surroundings, which means that the Medvednica Nature


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Park, the park on its northern edges, is also a part of the city. Extending along the southern and eastern limits of Zagreb is the valley of the River Sava, and within it, lovely picturesque villages, while at the south-western edges of the city area, all the way to the River Kupa, are the hills of VukomeriÄ?ke gorice, covered in vineyards. (gorice: vineyards). In the middle of all this greenery, the key site is MEDVEDNICA, a unique example of an almost fully preserved natural environment encompassed within a large city. The Medvednica mountain massif is covered by dense forests of beech (3), oak, chestnut and fir and is certainly the favourite excursion destination of the citizens of Za-

greb and their guests. The mountain is criss-crossed by numerous paths and trails, the more leisurely fitted with benches and information boards, while the more demanding are designed for mountain walkers and mountaineers who are in better physical shape. For those more interested leisure, there is a funicular which starts from the city and goes to the very top of the mountain. One of the most popular places on Medvednica is the ruins of the medieval town of Medvedgrad (5), located on an elevation in dense forest, a mere half hour walk from the last of the city’s houses (1 & 2). Medvednica hides other attractions too: ravines, caves, waterfalls, old mine shafts, and small picturesque churches (6). Most people visit its


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peak, Sljeme, which is dominated by a TV broadcasting tower. Located around the summit are a number of mountain lodges (4) where hikers, climbers and trippers can rest and restore their energy with popular “Sljeme” specialties such as bean soup with sausages and apple or cottage-cheese strudel. Where there are no lodges, there are numerous shelters in case of storms (7). A great deal of greenery has also been preserved within the inner city area, Zagreb’s tradition of guarding its green areas has been strong since the Middle Ages. Consequently, Zagreb has many large parks across the city, including the one around the main city centre square, Trg Bana Josipa Jelačića. This is why Zagreb appears to be a distinctly green metropolis for many visitors. The most significant part of the green belt located through the centre of Zagreb is LENUZZI’S HORSESHOE, named after the architect Milan Lenuzzi, who played a key role in its concept, which was devised at the turn of the 19th century. The concept comprises a string of parks which surround the nucleus of the city like a horseshoe, from Trg Maršala Tita (Marshal Tito Square) and neighbouring Rooseveltov trg (Roosevelt Square) in the north-west (18), across Trg Kralja Tomislava (King Tomislav Square) in the southeast (19), to Strossmayerovog trg (Strossmayer Square) (13) and Zrinjevac in the northeast, not far from the previously mentioned central Trg Bana Josipa Jelačića. Of all the parks in the centre of Zagreb the largest and the most special is the Botanical Gardens of the Natural and Mathematical Faculty in Zagreb, located in the southwestern part of the “horseshoe” and covering an area of five hectares. The gardens contain numerous types of trees (12), bushes and flowers (15), mostly those typical of a continental climate. The most beautiful and largest park in Zagreb is Maksimir, located northeast of the city centre and covering an area of 316 hectares. The park was founded in 1794 by the Bishop of Zagreb, Maksimilian Vrhovec, after whom the park was named. Contained within it are several very beautiful pavilions, which are representative of the Bishop’s times (11), and Zagreb Zoo (14), regarded as one of the more beautiful zoos in Europe. Zagreb’s main recreational area is around JARUN LAKE. Back in 1987, when Zagreb was hosting the Universiade, otherwise known as the Student Games, a 2 km long lake was built in what, up until then, was a backwater of the River Sava. The lake has a rowing course, other water sports facilities (9) and several bathing areas. In summer, thousands of people come here to refresh themselves by bathing in the waters of what the citizens of Zagreb fondly call their “Zagreb Sea”. The second most popular lake in Zagreb, Bundek, was transformed into a park in 2006. It is particularly popular as a recreation area for the new parts of Zagreb, rising on the right bank of the River Sava, where a large number of people live but which lacks many urban facilities. Here, there are pathways with small bridges (10 & 16) and several playgrounds for children (15). Part of the lake has been left in its natural state (8) to remind us of the times, some 50 years ago, when this whole area was covered by woods and wetlands.


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SLAVONIA

Poetry of oak forests and fertile fields alongside the Rivers Danube, Drava and Sava The most eastern part of Croatia comprises the tourist region of Slavonia, which makes it the largest Croatian region after Dalmatia. Slavonia is renowned for its wheat fields, endless oak forests extending along the Danube, Drava and Sava, and for its ancient rural landscapes. However, there are broad mountains covered with dense beech forests and vineyards on the hill slopes in Slavonia too. There is also a well preserved autochthonous folklore heritage, the sound of tambouritzas, and a delectable cuisine with local specialties. Two nature parks are located in Slavonia: the wooded mountain of Papuk and Kopački rit - a unique wetland region, as well as several other protected areas, mostly woods and parks. The main natural defining lines of Slavonia are the three largest Croatian rivers, the Danube, Drava and Sava, which border to the east, south and north. Hence, stretching through the north, east and

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south of the region is a wide expanse of plains, Podravina, and to the north, Baranja, along the moody Drava; Posavina, along the placid Sava, whose course is flanked by primeval oak forests, and fertile Croatian Podunavlje and the region of Srijem, along the mighty Danube. The only mountainous area is in the west, with a range of wooded mountains: Papuk and Krndija in the north, Psunj, Požeška gora and Dilj in the south, and in the centre, the wonderful and fertile Požeška kotlina (Požega Valley), famous for its vineyards. After Central Croatia, Slavonia is the largest of Croatia’s tourist regions, comprising five counties: Virovitica-Podravina, PožegaSlavonia, Brod-Posavina, Osijek-Baranja and Vukovar-Srijem. Located away from the main tourist routes, most of which lead to the sea, Slavonia attracts relatively few tourists even today. However, for those who do visit, Slavonia will be a surprising and richly rewarding experience.


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The things which best define the soul of Slavonia are its flat wheat fields, extending as far as the eye can see, the monumentality of its tall oak trees in the great wetland forests, and the placid nature of its wide rivers. Those rivers have not been restrained within canals, and one can still enjoy their green waters and the endless forests that follow their courses. This applies both to the Danube, whose wide course is festooned with numerous small islands (4), and the tame Sava, which is bordered by dense oak forests (1). This is why Slavonians best like to spend their leisure time in their modest timber built weekend huts on the banks of those rivers (5). A particularly popular form of recreation is fishing in the peaceful ambience of the woods bordering the calm rivers (3). Many Slavo-

nians have old wooden boats (2) with which they sail the sheltered backwaters, where civilization is but a distant thought. Greenery in Slavonia reaches into its towns, all of which have at least one lovely park in their centres. This applies equally to large towns like Osijek or Slavonski Brod and small ones such as Našice. Indeed, many say that the most beautiful of all the town parks in Slavonia is in fact the one in Našice (6), in which stands the imposing Pejačević manor house. Slavonia is also renowned for its tradition of horse breeding and traditional folk festivals, such as Đakovački vezovi or Vinkovačke jeseni, were horses are a central feature. The main horse breeding centre is Đakovo, next to which is the famous Lipizzaner stud farm (7).


The greenest waters and forests in the whole of Slavonia are to be found in KOPAČKI RIT Nature Park. The park covers the wetland area around the confluence of the Drava with the Danube, near Osijek, covering a total of 238 hectares, and which, due to its inaccessibility, has remained in its natural state since primeval time. Kopački rit is one of the largest natural wetlands in Europe and as such has been recommended for inclusion in the UNESCO List of Natural Heritage. Due to its extraordinary natural value and the unique beauty of its wetland landscapes, if Kopački rit had been located in some other state, it would have certainly been awarded the status of a national park, but in Croatia, this has not been possible because of the strict

criteria applied to national parks. In some areas of this park, there is cultivated woodland, whilst in others hunting is permitted. The reason for this lies in the fact that the area of Kopački rit is one of the most attractive hunting grounds in Europe, particularly with regard to deer (10) and wild boar (17). Since Croatian laws strictly forbid such activities in national parks, for the time being, Kopački rit is “merely” a nature park. Many nature lovers would be happy to see such activities prohibited altogether, and not only in the zoological reserve, which covers an area of up to 80 hectares in the central area of the park. Large herds of deer are practically a trade mark of Kopački rit, despite the fact that herds of wild boar are just as large. There are other


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mammals in the park, but far more numerous are birds (8), totalling almost 300 different species (11, 14 & 15). The most important among them are the very rare and protected species: white tailed eagle and black stork. Among other rare animals living in the park, turtles occupy a special place(16). The park can be easily reached by car from nearby Osijek, the largest town in Slavonia, and visitors can abandon themselves to the primeval ambiances of the wetlands, forests and diluvial fields (9). The best way, however, is to tour the park on excursion boats (12) which are able to reach even the shallow, swampy backwaters. The beauties of the park are also enjoyed by tourists aboard large river cruisers sailing the Danube, which marks the eastern border of this truly magnificent nature park (13).

Slavonia comprises not just flat lands but also wooded mountains, the majority of which are situated in the westernmost. The most widespread and beautiful of these is the protected nature park of PAPUK. The feature that visitors find the most captivating is the woods of Papuk, extending as far as the eye can see (18). These woods are mainly mountain beech (20), but there are also oak, fir and other types of trees. Imposing trees also grow in the foothills of Papuk, particularly in town parks such as those in Slatina, Orahovica and Naťice (19). By far the most beautiful part of Papuk is Jankovan park-wood, one of Slavonia’s favourite excursion sites. It is named after Count Janković, who owned the surrounding estates and who, deciding to spend his dotage here, made himself a place to rest in and to


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enjoy. In a magical valley up in the mountains there are several sparkling brooks surrounded by flowering meadows and dense beech woods. At the top of the mountains is the loveliest of all its adornments: the Jankovac waterfall (22). There is also a mountain lodge of the same name (21), regarded by many Croatian mountaineers to be the most beautiful and the most comfortable of all of Croatia’s mountain lodges. However beautiful the woods, brooks and waterfalls may be, what makes this mountain unique in Croatia is its geology. Here, one can see all the ages of rocks, from the Palaeozoic to the most recent Quaternary period. This is also the only Croatian mountain to have an abundance of volcanic rocks. Consequently, this is where Rupnica - the first Croatian geological park known for the unusual strata it contains (23) - was founded near the picturesque village of Voćin. Due to its exceptionally interesting and valuable geology, Papuk has been included in the list of world geological parks, the first such park in Croatia.

In addition to its clean and preserved nature, Slavonia stands out with its harmonious blend of natural heritage and human intervention. This relates in particular to the picturesque region of BARANJA, in the northeasternmost region of Croatia, north of the Drava. In fact, Baranja is not a part of Slavonia but a separate region, the bulk of which is located in neighbouring Hungary. The largest part of Baranja is made up of endless plains, but there are occasional low hills covered by vineyards, as well as steep, sandy slopes along the banks of the Danube. The romantic quality of the plains is at its most enchanting in the area around the small village of Topolje. Here, in the solitude of a backwater of the Danube, there stands the small church of Saints Peter and Paul, built in 1722 by the famous Prince Eugen of Savoy in gratitude for the great victory achieved over the Osmanlis (24). The beauty of Baranja’s vineyards can best be sensed in the village of Zmajevac (25), where its unique wine cellars (27) have been dug into the thick strata created through centuries of sedimenta-


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tion caused by the passage of winds across the limitless Pannonian steppe. Many will say that the vineyards and wine cellars in the region of Srijem (29) are even more beautiful. These are located in the far eastern part of Slavonia. Here, near the easternmost Croatian town of Ilok, the romantic vineyards, practically extending over the Danube itself (28), are famous themselves, but their wine, IloÄ?ki traminac (the Traminac of Ilok), is even more famous. Wine grow-

ing is significant for the western part of Slavonia as well, especially around the town of Kutjevo (26) in the PoĹžega Valley. Inspired by its fertility and beauty, the ancient Romans named it Vallis Aurea, (Golden Valley). Kutjevo is the town with the famous 13th-century wine cellar that was once visited by many members of the nobility, most famous among them being Empress Maria Theresa of the House of Hapsburg.


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DALMATIA - ZADAR

Centre of the Croatian Adriatic at the foot of the monarch of Croatian mountains Dalmatia is the southernmost and the world’s best known Croatian region. This is a region of sun, warm seas, lush, evergreen vegetation, olives, wine, fish, song and enchanting places with stone built houses: the real Mediterranean. Starting from the north and heading southwards, Dalmatia begins at the southern edge of the monarch of Croatian mountains: Velebit. Here, in the very centre of the Croatian Adriatic, is the first of four Dalmatian tourist regions: the Dalmatia - Zadar Region.


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This region, encompassing the County of Zadar, the most northern of Dalmatian counties, has three facets: mountainous, littoral and islands. The mountainous area covers the southern part of the Velebit Nature Park and the Paklenica National Park. The main attraction of the littoral area and its fertile hinterland is Vransko jezero (Vransko Lake) while the pride of the well indented island area is yet another pearl of nature: Telašćica Nature Park. Having set off down the Adriatic tourist road hugging the coastline, we then come to the Zadar region of Dalmatia, via the road at the foot of Velebit. If, however, our journey began from the continental part of Croatia, then we see Dalmatia only once we have gone through Velebit by way of the Sveti Rok tunnel on the Zagreb-Split motorway, or we have crossed any of the nearby Velebit passes. In either case, the first sight that will open before us is a magnificent view of the River Zrmanja (1), a karstic beauty with an abundance of rapids and waterfalls (5). No less beautiful are the waterfalls along its tributary, the River Krupa (7). If we turn our eyes westwards, the view of the rugged, stark beauty of the rock bound desolation of the island of Pag is simply magnificent (8). It was the same in the distant past, when the first roads were being constructed, including the most important for Dalmatia, known as the Napoleonic Road, built during the brief period of French rule at the beginning of the 19th century. This road, which today is in a state of dilapidation, passes through wild and craggy terrain, with the only witnesses to man’s presence being monuments to the builders of Velebit’s roads (11), old small bridges (4), houses long deserted (9) and a few tiny churches. Rising above the interesting church of St Francis (6) and the newly built church dedicated to the Homeland War (3) is one of the most beautiful parts of Velebit: Tulove grede (2) (grede: cliffs). Located


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on the other side of Velebit, in the small area of Lika that belongs to Zadar, are what many consider to be the most beautiful caves in Croatia: CerovaÄ?ke spilje (10) (Cerovac caves). The greatest natural jewel of the Zadar area is PAKLENICA National Park, which covers the most attractive parts of Southern Velebit, concentrated in a mere 96 km2. Its most striking features are two forbidding gorges - Velika and Mala Paklenica - gouged into the mountain from the sea, to the bases of Velebit’s highest peaks (12). The park abounds with bizarre karstic forms, caves and other natural features, as well as a wide range of climatic conditions that has benefited the wide variety of flora and fauna. Despite its wild nature, Paklenica is easily accessible by virtue of its proximity to the Adriatic Tourist Road and the highway. The vistas of Velebit rising above the resort of Starigrad-Paklenica (13), which are at once intimidating and alluring, beckon to those tourists seeking light-hearted adventure. Movement through the park is aided


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by numerous signs in several foreign languages (14). Through the wild ruggedness of Velika Paklenica, where highland women once carried salt on their backs from the coast and brought wheat from the fertile hinterland of Lika, today runs a comfortably negotiable hiking trail (22). In part the trail runs at the foot of sheer crags where, a long time ago, small tunnels were carved through the living rock (26). Once out of the canyon, it climbs a gentle course across meadows (28) through the wooded slopes of Velebit (30). This makes it an excellent walk for people of all ages and enables children (19), and indeed not only children, to learn a great deal about the surrounding nature from the numerous information and interpretation boards (18). When thirst strikes, the traveller can freely drink from the water generously provided by the numerous pure mountain springs (16). Among the multitude of caves, the most beautiful is Manita Peć (15 & 24), while among the world of fauna, the most attractive are various types of butterfly (17) and birds of prey (21). As these landscapes are somewhat similar to those found in the American “Wild West”, it is no wonder that they have attracted quite a few film makers of European “Westerns”, in particular the makers of the film version of Karl May’s Winnetou. This is also an ideal location for bird watchers, who are able to use several well prepared hides (39). The waters of the lake are brackish, which means that the fish found in it are of both freshwater and sea varieties - a veritable paradise for anglers (33 & 35). The lake can be toured by boat, allowing access to its swamp areas that either cannot be approached from land (32 & 41) or are otherwise difficult to get to (31). The third nature park located in the Zadar region of Dalmatia is TELAŠĆICA, located in the south of Dugi otok, the largest of all of Zadar’s islands. This deep bay is one of the most popular havens for yachtsmen in the Adriatic, which provides a safe berth during the strongest of storms (43). The rocky shores of the bay are low on the landward side (46), while facing out to sea are imposing cliff faces (44), in places reaching heights of 180 metres. Nestled between the


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bay and the central attraction of Paklenica is the 400 metre high Anića kuk. Because of its height, sheer sides, beauty and the possibility for climbing throughout the year due to the vicinity of the warm sea, Anića kuk has become one of the best known Alpinist sites in Europe (23 & 25). Hikers and mountaineers in Paklenica are able to rest in any of several abandoned traditional shepherds’ huts (20 & 27), which is particularly welcome before a final assault on Velebit’s summit (29). For those who prefer a less physically demanding form of enjoying the world of nature, the VRANSKO JEZERO (Vrana Lake) Nature Park is tailor-made. Located quite close to the sea, it is centred on the largest lake in Croatia and is home to an exceptional number of bird species (36 & 37), in particular, wild duck (34) and egrets (38 & 40). Telašćica is approachable by land and partly by road, but for the most part via the hiking trails through picturesque Mediterranean landscapes (45).


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Located in the north of Dugi otok is Solišćica, another deep bay at the entrance to which rises the imposing Veli Rat lighthouse (47). From this point one can easily reach the numerous small islands of the Zadar archipelago. Most islands have only one village and are therefore spared the nuisance of motorised road vehicles, as for instance, the island of Ist (48). Uninhabited islands are more numerous, which allows would be Robinson Crusoes to find their very own lonely little island (49). The mainland shores around Zadar are renowned for the large number of sandy beaches. The majority are concentrated around the old town of Nin (50 & 52), but they can also be found at the foot of Velebit (51). Rising opposite Velebit, against the bora lashed coast, is the barren ruggedness of Pag’s Dalmatian karst (53 & 55).

The special quality of this part of Dalmatia is two deep bays, known as the Novigrad Sea and the Karin Sea, both linked to the open sea via narrow straits. The passage between the Novigrad Sea and the Velebit channel, open to the elements, has been spanned by two bridges, although there are none in the passage between the Karin and Novigrad Seas (54). Occupying a sheltered position on the picturesque shores of the Karin Sea is an old Franciscan monastery (56).


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Unique and magical world of water, stone and sea

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From Zadar southwards the well indented archipelago of Northern Dalmatia grows ever more fragmented, until it turns into the spell binding intricacy of the Kornati islands of stone, strewn across the blue expanse of the sea, and instead of the River Zrmanja, it is the River Krka that weaves its green magic in the rock bound bleakness of the Dalmatian hinterland. In other words, the two national parks, Kornati and Krka, thought by many to be the most precious natural jewels of the whole of Dalmatia, are located in the small region of Dalmatia-Šibenik. The region camprises just one county, the County of ŠibenikKnin, which has been named after its two largest towns, one at the source and the other at the confluence of the Krka. The generosity of nature in these parts is equally evident in the relatively small but numerous islands of the so richly indented Šibenik archipelago (10). Apart from the best known of these islands, the Kornati and their sheer cliffs (4), there is Murter, the island of its keepers and famous fishermen, Zlarin and its renowned coral hunters; tiny Krapanj, and its equally well known sponge harvesters, and Kaprije, a yachtsman’s Mecca. Šibenik, the capital of the county, is reached through the labyrinth of the narrow Sveti Ante channel (6 & 9) and from there, onwards through the canyon of the Krka (2) towards its waterfalls (1 & 5). The eyes of those travelling through the littoral of Dalmatia’s Šibenik region are also drawn to the vineyards of Primošten, which represent a unique example of what diligent humans can wrest from harsh, unyielding stone (3 & 7), so much so that a photograph of them can be seen hanging in the UNESCO building. The beauty of the hinterland to this wondrous place is no less alluring, for in addition to the Krka there are the peaks of the Dinara (8), the highest Croatian mountain, and numerous ruins in the rocky desolation of the karstic interior. However, the favourite destination in the Šibenik area for nature lovers is the RIVER KRKA National Park, located next to Plitvice Lakes, the country’s most popular national park. The Krka waterfalls, just like those of the Plitvice Lakes, result from travertine sedimentation. The national park covers the major part of the course of this 11 amazing river and in addition to natural monuments, it abounds with cultural and historical monuments. The most outstanding of these is the Franciscan monastery on the tiny island of Visovac, set like a precious stone in the middle of a lake widening in the river (11). Within the monastery there is a picture gallery (14) and a church (15) whose origins can be traced back to the 14th century. In the middle of the canyon, upstream of the river, is the interesting Krka Orthodox monastery; while on the high ground above the river sit several old ruins. A magnet for visitors are the old mills (16) which have been transformed into small ethnographic museums (18) where one can see how wheat was ground in olden days (17). Demonstrations are given by interpreters of history, dressed in traditional folk costumes (19), which is particularly interesting and entertaining for children, who are frequent visitors to this park (12). The main attraction of the Krka National Park is its seven waterfalls. The widest of these is Roški slap, although Skradinski buk is the biggest and most well known. Roški slap (20 & 28) is further enhanced by its impressive ambiance, the lofty canyon cliffs in its immediate vicinity and the lush greenery of its surroundings (23). Still more imposing is Skradinski buk (21 & 22) whose seventeen steps extend to a length of 800 metres, with a total altitude difference of 46 metres. It is small wonder that most visitors gather around those two waterfalls for, in addition to being able to enjoy the magic and roar of the water, one can also enjoy walks through a myriad of paths which, for the most part, follow ancient trails, testified to by the numerous little old bridges (24). All around Roški slap and Skradinski buk are numerous resting places, the most favoured being those in front of old stone houses set in the shade of the surrounding trees (30).

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Of the seventy two kilometres of the Krka’s course, about two thirds run through a canyon (26), and the remainder of its course is as wide as a lake (27). The widest part surrounds the island of Visovac (25). The blue hues of the river and the greenery of its banks seem like a mirage against the surrounding waterless limestone plateau, watched over by ancient ruins (31). Beyond the charming little town of Skradin (29), which happens to be the favourite starting point for boat trips to the park (32), the Krka gradually widens, first into Prokljansko jezero (Prokljansko Lake) and then into a deep sea bay, towards the city of Šibenik. The beauty of the Kornati, the other crown jewel of the Dalmatian region of Šibenik and the most richly indented archipelago in the Mediterranean, is in no way overshadowed by the Krka. The only reason that the Kornati do not attract as many visitors lies in the fact that they can be reached only by water, after a relatively long boat journey. The KORNATI archipelago consists of 140 uninhabited islands and reefs with a total area of only 70 km2. They are famous for the peculiar shapes of reefs and crags and particularly for their high cliffs (34). There are those who claim that the number of the smaller islands is greater, since an old saying goes: “As is the number of days in a year, so is the number of the Kornati islands” (33). The largest part of the park is accounted for by the main island: Kornat (35), after which the whole island group is named. Due to the dangers involved in sailing through this maze of stone and sea, there are many old lighthouses in the Kornati, such as Blitvenica (36) and Sestrice (39), which today are destinations for would be Robinson Crusoes. The biggest fans of the Kornati are yachtsmen, who find in this area that which they seek most: a sun soaked warren of sea and islands set in unspoilt nature. Yachtsmen are able to find safe anchorage in the numerous protected natural coves (37), in Piškera Marina (the only one in the park) (38) and in the ten marinas around the park. Fish specialties of the local cuisine can be savoured in the marinas and in any of the several inns which exist in the old houses of fishermen from the surrounding islands (41). The special features of the Kornati National Park are its numerous old ruins and hill forts, many dating from Illyrian times, like Tureta (42), the largest of them all. It is not only the surface of the land and sea which is of interest in this archipelago, but also its underwater world (40), which is a very popular destination for many divers (43).


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DALMATIA - SPLIT

Heart of the Mediterranean Although the “official” (for want of a better word) natural sites of Dalmatia are located in its northern area, it is in its central part, around the City of Split, where the true heart lies. This, the largest Dalmatian tourist region, encompasses what is also the country’s largest county, the County of Split-Dalmatia. The main Dalmatian islands are situated in its waters, as are several rivieras with lovely beaches and the imposing rugged mountains which rise practically right from the shores, while the broad hinterland contains a wide range of very precious natural heritage sites. If, as many claim, Dalmatia is the true Mediterranean, then it is its central part, around Split, that is the heart of the whole of the Mediterranean. The area around Split is the most densely populated and, culturally and historically, the richest in this part of Dalmatia. Understandably, there are no major areas which have remained in their original natural state. There is just one nature park: Biokovo Mountain, and there are no national parks. However, this does not mean that Central Dalmatia is without natural beauty or protected areas. On the contrary, it is here that Hvar, one of the ten most beautiful islands in the world, is situated, and here, on the island of Brač and along the Makarska Riviera, that one can enjoy the most beautiful beaches of the Adriatic. It is here that the magical River Cetina flows and the unique lakes of Imotski and the amazing Blue Cave on the island of Biševo are located. The Blue Cave competes with Capri for sheer beauty. The most far flung Adriatic islands of Jabuka and Palagruža also belong to this part of Dalmatia, as do many other smaller protected areas: special reserves, park-woods, natural monuments... Here, natural beauty is linked not only with its more remote islands and high mountains, but also with the greenery with which its capital, Split,

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greets all those who visit. Regardless of the direction from which it is approached, whether via the highway leading from the hinterland, along the Adriatic Tourist Route from the coast, or by plane or boat, the first feature to be noticed, right by the city centre, is green Mount Marjan (4). This wonderful embellishment of the city, its precious “green lungs”, has been celebrated in numerous songs. When the citizens of Split wish to flee the flurry of urban life, they escape to the green oasis of Marjan, walking, jogging along its paths (3), enjoying the vistas of their beloved city, or simply resting on the shores edged by the greenery of the mountain’s foothills (1). Moving southwards down the coast from Split, we soon come upon its most beautiful and best liked tourist destination, the Makarska Riviera (6). Natural pebble beaches, bordered on one side by crystal clear blue seas and on the other by lush vegetation (2) at the foot of the craggy heights of Mount Biokovo, attract countless tourists. This imposing mountain is by far the greatest sight of the Central Dalmatian coastline, and its only nature park. There are few places in the Mediterranean where peaks of over 1,500 metres in height come so close to the sea and where mountains rise so steeply and so high as they do here. Since the world of nature on Biokovo has been preserved in its virginal state, it is the belief of many that Biokovo should in fact be declared Croatia’s ninth national park. However, it is the forbidding and inhospitable peaks of Biokovo (5) that bestow upon the coast an ever so welcome freshness during the heat of summer, as well as proffering a whole range of nature’s gifts to its true lovers. Apart from fresh air and the atmosphere of unsullied nature, Biokovo has beautiful hiking and cycling trails (9 & 13), pleasant resting places (12) and interesting historical remains dating from the times when many shepherds (11) roamed this difficult terrain. Today, the nature park, including its highest peak, the 1,758 metre high Sveti Jure, can be reached by road, either from the shores of the Makarska Riviera or from Dalmatinska Zagora’s hinterland. With a little luck, visitors to Biokovo can catch a sight of chamois (7), the trade mark of this mighty mountain, as well as other protected animal species (10). All along the routes, strange karstic forms (17), deep karstic sinkholes (19) and a number of other natural phenomena characteristic of a karst area are to be seen. However, the most alluring aspect for those who come to Biokovo is the breathtaking views (8 & 15) of

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the Makarska Riviera, with its lovely beaches and picturesque villages (18). Also, from Biokovo it is possible to see all the large islands of Central Dalmatia, particularly Brač and Hvar (14 & 20). The vistas extend into the hinterland of rugged, forested Dalmatinska Zagora (16). Should we opt instead to move inland in search of more of nature’s gifts, there are many pleasant surprises awaiting us. One of the most beautiful prizes for diligent seekers of beauty is the magnificent Peručko jezero (Peruča Lake) at the foot of the peaks of Dinara (21). This man made lake, so vitally important for the supply of water to the insatiably thirsty karstic areas of Dalmatia and its fertile fields (27), is fed by the waters of the Cetina, Central Dalmatia’s main river. The unspoiled source of this river attracts people with the freshness and verdacity of its clear waters (24). Also attractive are its banks (29) and buildings in the immediate vicinity, such as the church in the village of Cetina (28). The downstream course of the river abounds with rapids, making it extremely popular with the rafting fraternity (23). However, by far the most striking natural phenomena of the Dalmatian hinterland are the LAKES of IMOTSKI. Set amid harsh karst, as if drilled by some gigantic boring machine, several huge water-filled holes reach deep into the bowels of the earth. The most beautiful of these is Modro jezero (Blue Lake) (22 &25), which is located virtually in the town of Imotski. The lake, which is 500 metres wide and more than 200 metres deep, is named after its unique blue colour and is a favourite bathing site for the people of Imotski. More unusual is Crveno jezero (Red Lake) (26), itself named after the surrounding red rock. It is more than 200 metres from the edge of the hole down to the surface of the lake, and a further 300 metres to the bottom of the lake, making it the deepest lake in Croatia. In the Split region of Dalmatia, some people are more attracted to the wildernesses of Biokovo and Dalmatinska Zagora, others prefer the beaches of the Makarska Riviera, but most people opt for the islands. Lined along the front of the shores of Central Dalmatia, going south, are several smaller and larger islands, each of them a story

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unto itself, stories of the beauty of nature and the work of man over thousands of years. All the islands are well connected to Split by ferry and shipping lines, which is one of the reasons why Split is one of the busiest passenger ports in the Mediterranean. Brač, the largest of the Dalmatian islands, is widely known for its lovely beaches and the harmony of the numerous bell towers in its towns and villages. Hvar, second in size, is renowned for its lush vegetation, the intoxicating fragrance of lavender and the exquisite charm of its towns and vilages, in particular the towns of Starigrad and Hvar. The outlying sentinel of the centre of the Adriatic, the island of Vis, is no less beautiful with its preserved old way of life and the wealth of fish found in its waters. There is also Šolta, which is the favourite summer resort for the citizens of Split, Čiovo, close to the historical city of Trogir, and a string of smaller islands, each of which is a world in its own. The best known holiday destination on the island of BRAČ is Bol, located at the foot of the highest peak of all the Adriatic islands: the 780 metre high Vidova gora (35). This mountain is one of the favourite places for paragliders, as well as possessing one of the finest viewpoints (30) from where Zlatni rat, the most beautiful beach along our shores, can be seen as if it were in the palm of one’s hand. The beach is surrounded by the lush greenery of evergreen Mediterranean woods (34) and is protected as an outstanding landscape. The special feature of this peninsula shaped beach, composed of fine, rounded, snow white pebbles, is that it tends to shift depending on the direction of the winds and the waves. Around Bol there are other beautiful beaches, while in the island’s mountainous area is Pustinja Blaca (33), renowned for its unique museum collection and its mystic, contemplative atmosphere.


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South of Brač lies HVAR, the island which the American magazine Traveller declared as one of the ten most beautiful islands in the world, alongside Bora Bora, Bali, Mykonos and Capri. The unique feature of this hilly island with many wonderful natural beaches (38) is the green of its woods and the colours and fragrances of its meadows (32) covered with a variety of medicinal plants, the best known being lavender, the symbol of the island (31). Hvar has also succeeded in preserving some very special olive trees (39) and cypresses (36) which grow next to the Franciscan monastery in the town of Hvar. In addition to Hvar, there are many other picturesque places, such as Stari Grad, Jelsa and Vrboska, which is nestled in a deep bay (37). More distant yet from Hvar, virtually in the open sea, lies the wonderful island of VIS, with its adjoining small islands, right in the middle of the Adriatic. In the two main towns, Vis (40) and Komiža (41), it is hard to decide what is more special and more beautiful; whether it is the ancient architecture and the natural beaches fronting them (48), or indeed the underwater world around them (43). Those who opt to spend a little more time travelling and visiting this distant island will surely be captivated by the picturesque villages in the interior, from where views of the open seas are breathtaking (47).

Dotted around Vis are several smaller islands, among them Biševo, with its magnificent Modra spilja (Blue Cave) (42) particularly worthy of attention, famous for the enchanting play of light and colour in its interior and, according to many, even more captivating than the similar but better known cave on the island of Capri, near Naples. Located farthest out in the open sea are the lonely small islands of Sveti Andrija, Jabuka, Brusnik and Palagruža. The most striking and somewhat forbidding in shape is Jabuka (45). Its dark, volcanic iron ore rocks once terrified the mariners of old because of the way in which they interfered with their compasses, giving rise to dark stories of the seas hereabouts. The nearby small island of Brusnik (46), which provides a habitat for endemic fauna, reptiles in particular, also bears witness to the volcanic activities of long ago. Most distant of all, right in the middle of the Adriatic, lonely and defiant, rises a group of tiny islands and crags, Palagruža, dominated by a 91 metre high lighthouse, skilfully blended into the savage relief (44).


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DALMATIA DUBROVNIK

Emerald beauty of the south At the far southern end of Dalmatia, and therefore of Croatia, lies a very special area, both with regard to nature and its cultural and historical significance. Although better known for its history and culture, the natural loveliness of the area around Dubrovnik, Croatia’s most beautiful city, does not lag behind the results achieved by human hands. Quite the contrary, for here, Mother Nature has been truly extravagant in bestowing her jewels. In this, the smallest coastal tourist region, comprising just the County of Dubrovnik-Neretva, those emerald like marvels appear one after the other. Among this string of islands it is difficult to decide which is more beautiful: verdantly green Mljet and Lastovo, Korčula, the largest island or the Elafiti islands, with their marvellous old summer residences. Not forgeting the beautiful, fertile Konavle valley, the mountainous Pelješac peninsula and its vineyards, the unique wetlands landscape of the Neretva Delta, Trsteno, the most beautiful of all Croatia’s arboretums, and many other features. Altogether they make this area one of the most attractive in the whole of the Mediterranean. The western part of the island of Mljet is protected as a national park and the remote island of Lastovo as a nature park, and there are also a number of other, smaller protected areas. Maloston Bay (1), which is a kind of gateway to the Croatian south, is cut deeply into the land where the Pelješac peninsula comes close to the mainland shore. The waters of this beautiful bay are so clean that the well known oyster farm is located there.

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If we approach this area from the north, before reaching the Maloston Bay, we come to a very special part of Dalmatia: the NERETVA DELTA. This is the only large natural delta and wetland area on the whole of the Croatian coast (2). Due to its unspoiled landscape and the large number of birds there, it has been protected as a wetland of world significance (the Ramsar Area). The abundance of water in the Neretva Valley is reflected in the traditional method employed to work the land: channels being dug in the wetlands in order to create arable areas using the excavated soil (3). Consequently, many plots can be reached only by boat: the unique trupica of the Neretva (4). Among the numerous agricultural products harvested in the delta, tangerines occupy a special place (5). The most important protected area of the Dalmatian south is MLJET National Park, situated on the island of the same name. The park covers the western part of the island, which many regard as the most alluring in the Adriatic, full of lush and varied Mediterranean vegetation. It includes two deep bays which, due to their extremely narrow links to the sea, are regarded, and indeed called, lakes: the Great Lake and the Small Lake. Mljet also has a very rich cultural heritage, the most prominent example being the complex of the 12th century Benedictine monastery. The monastery is located on a small island in the middle of the Great Lake (6 & 9) and is set in a lush park. Over the course of centuries, numerous chronicles, dissertations and other literary works have been written here. Located within the monastery (8) is the church of St Mary (7). Viewed from the air both lakes appear as though they are in fact bays (10 & 11). The shallowness and the slow flow of water towards the open sea ensures that in summer months the water temperature is much higher than on the open, seaward side of the island, which is very rugged and full of caves and cliffs (12). In order to protect nature, yachts and tourist vessels are allowed to approach only as far as the entrance to the Soline Straits (17) which allow access to the Great and Small Lakes. Yachtsmen can drop anchor only in the safe cove of PolaÄ?e on the northern shores of the park (19). While in PolaÄ?e, it is worth visiting the remains of the Roman fortification and palaces (20) after which the village took its name. Almost the entire area of the national park is covered by dense pine forest, especially enchanting at dusk (13). Owing to many years of protection, there are numerous extremely old trees (25) and a variety of subtropical plants (16). It is therefore small wonder that the favourite form of recreation among visitors are walks along the pleasant, shady paths in

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the wealth of the lush vegetation of the park (21) and cycle rides by the lakes (18). Many of the paths will also lead strollers to the village of Goveđari (14), known for its beautiful folk costumes (23), while, by crossing the old bridge (15), visitors can walk across the pass from the Great Lake to the Small Lake. The only vessels permitted on the lakes are the national park’s special excursion boats (22), kayaks, canoes (26) and boats belonging to the few inhabitants of the several tiny hamlets located by their shores (24). The other significant protected area in the Croatian south is LASTOVSKO OTOČJE (Lastovo islands) Nature Park. This remote group of islands is richly indented, full of greenery and boasts a unique folklore tradition. One of the reasons for such a high degree of preservation and the special atmosphere of peace and tranquillity, is their remoteness: it takes a more than four hour journey

from the mainland to reach them. The waters of Lastovo allow true lovers of a maritime life to indulge themselves fully, and only experienced yachtsmen sail these distant islands. Lastovo is equally attractive when approached from the north, in the direction of the small port of Pasadur (27), via the open sea towards enchanting Skrivena luka (Hidden Port) (29), or by simply sailing into any of the romantic coves to be found on all sides of this magical island (33). Having sailed into the waters of Lastovo, the most experienced sailors will not miss out on the chance of visiting any one of the island’s lighthouses (30), particularly Glavat, located on a tiny island east of the main island of Lastovo (31), or Sušac, sitting on a cliff far out into the open sea (34). Today, these lighthouses have been transformed into tourist facilities for those yearning for utter solitude and primeval romantic charm.


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Visitors arriving to Lastovo by ferry or ship can also enjoy the clean, natural environment, since throughout this hilly island there are numerous pleasant trails and paths, as well as magnificent views of the surrounding landscapes (28). The only relatively large settlement on the island, Lastovo (32), is quite remarkable in itself: spread in the form of an amphitheatre across the slopes of a mountain above a fertile valley. The village of Lastovo also has other features which set it apart: the unique chimneys of its houses, and its characteristic carnival. The emerald beauty of the subtropical south of Croatia is just as magnificently lush in the immediate vicinity of the ancient city of Dubrovnik, a pearl of World Cultural Heritage and a trademark of Croatian tourism. To its south, at the most southern point of the Croatian mainland, is the small Prevlaka peninsula, protected as an outstanding landscape. Due to its strategic position at the entrance to Boka kotorska Bay in neighbouring Montenegro, it has always been of particular interest to the military world, which is why even today it is dominated by a massive fortress (35). Lined along the sea in front of Dubrovnik are several enchanting islands, the most beautiful among them being Lokrum, right by the old City of Dubrovnik (36) and which has been transformed into a subtropical park. In the waters around Dubrovnik are some tiny islands that are virtually lost in the crystal clear blue waters. Finally, to the west of Dubrovnik is yet another amazing emerald of the south: the most beautiful of all Croatian arboretums, TRSTENO. Here, gathered in one place, is an amazing wealth of subtropical plants (44), all kinds of flowers (46 & 47), cacti (45), and a variety of trees (40 & 42). From afar, the arboretum appears as a dense subtropical forest (38), although it is in fact a landscaped park (43) also decorated with numerous works of art, the best known being the statue of Poseidon, standing in front of a pond fully stocked with tropical fish (37). Throughout the arboretum are rest places from which a view of the open sea can be enjoyed (39).

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KRK


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Brijuni National Park NP Brijuni, Brionska 10, 52212 Fažana Tel.: +385 52/525 888 Fax: +385 52/525 917 E-mail: brijuni@brijuni.hr www.brijuni.hr Risnjak National Park Bijela vodica 48, 51317 Crni Lug Tel.: +385 51/836 133, 51/836 261 Fax: +385 51/836 116 E-mail: np-risnjak@ri.t-com.hr www.risnjak.hr Plitvice Lakes National Park 53231 Plitvička jezera Tel.: +385 53/751 015, +385 53/751 014 Fax: +385 53/751 013 E-mail: info@np-plitvicka-jezera.hr www.np-plitvicka-jezera.hr Northern Velebit National Park Krasno 96, 53274 Krasno Tel.: +385 53/665 380 Fax: +385 53/665 390 E-mail: npsv@np-sjeverni-velebit.hr www.np-sjeverni-velebit.hr Paklenica National Park Dr. Franje Tuđmana 14a, 23244 Starigrad - Paklenica Tel.: +385 23/369 155, +385 23/369 202 Fax: +385 23/359 133 E-mail: np-paklenica@zd.t-com.hr prezentacija@paklenica.hr www.paklenica.hr Krka National Park Trg Ivana Pavla II 5, 22000 Šibenik Tel.: +385 22/201 777 Fax: +385 22/336 836 E-mail: anita.matacic@npk.hr www.npkrka.hr

Kopački rit Nature Park Titov dvorac 1, 31328 Lug Tel.: +385 31/285 370 Fax: +385 31/285 380 E-mail: uprava@kopacki-rit.hr www.kopacki-rit.hr Lonjsko polje Nature Park Krapje 16, 44325 Krapje Tel.: +385 44/611 190 Fax: +385 44/606 449 E-mail: info@pp-lonjsko-polje.hr www.pp-lonjsko-polje.hr Medvednica Nature Park Bliznec bb, 10000 Zagreb Tel.: +385 1/4586 317 Fax: +385 1/4586 318 E-mail: park.prirode.medvednica@zg.t-com.hr www.pp-medvednica.hr Papuk Nature Park Trg Gospe Voćinske bb, 33522 Voćin Tel.: +385 34/313 030 Fax: +385 34/313 027 E-mail: kontakt@pp-papuk.hr www.pp-papuk.hr Telašćica Nature Park Ulica D. Grbin bb, 23281 Sali Tel./Fax: +385 23/377 096 E-mail: telascica@zd.t-com.hr www.telascica.hr Učka Nature Park Liganj 42, 51415 Lovran Tel.: +385 51/293 753 Fax: +385 51/293 751 E-mail: park.prirode.ucka@inet.hr www.pp-ucka.hr Velebit Nature Park Kaniža Gospićka 4b, 53000 Gospić Tel.: +385 53/560 450 Fax: +385 53/560 451 E-mail: velebit@pp-velebit.hr www.pp-velebit.hr

Kornati National Park Butina 2, 22243 Murter Tel.: +385 22/435 740 Fax: +385 22/435 058 E-mail: kornati@kornati.hr www.kornati.hr

Vransko Lake Nature Park Kralja P. Svačića 2, 23210 Biograd n/m Tel.: +385 23/383 181 Fax: +385 23/386 453 E-mail: pp-vransko-jezero@zd.t-com.hr www.vransko-jezero.hr

Mljet National Park Pristanište 2, 20226 Goveđari Tel.: +385 20/744 041, 744 058 Fax: +385 20/744 043 E-mail: np-mljet@np-mljet.hr www.np-mljet.hr

Žumberak-Samobor Highlands Nature Park Slani Dol 1, 10430 Samobor Tel.: +385 1/3327 660 Fax: +385 1/3327 661 E-mail: park@park-zumberak.hr www.park-zumberak.hr

Biokovo Nature Park Marineta - mala obala 16, 21300 Makarska Tel./Fax: +385 21/616 924 E-mail: park-prirode-biokovo@st.t-com.hr www.biokovo.com

Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park “Trg Svetog Petra 7, 20289 Ubli, Island of Lastovo Tel.: +385 20/801 250, Fax: +385 20/801 252 E-mail: ju.park.prirode.lastovo@du.t-com.hr info@pp-lastovo.hr www.pp-lastovo.hr


Croatian National Tourist Office

Kroatische Zentrale für Tourismus

Narodowy Ośrodek Informacji Turystycznej

Iblerov trg 10/IV, p.p. 251;10000 ZAGREB, HRVATSKA Tel:+385 1 46 99 333; Fax:++3851 455 7827 Internet: www.hrvatska.hr E-mail: info@htz.hr

New York 10118, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4003, U.S.A. Tel:+1 212 279 8672 Fax: + 1 212 279 8683 E-mail: cntony@earthlink.net

Kroatische Zentrale für Tourismus

Republiki Chorwacji 00-675 Warszawa, IPC Business Center, ul. Koszykowa 54 Polska Tel: +48 22 828 51 93 Fax: +48 22 828 51 90 E-mail: info@chorwacja.home.pl

Kroatische Zentrale für Tourismus

11135 Stockholm, Kungsgatan 24, Sverige Tel: +46 853 482 080 Fax: +46 820 24 60 E-mail: croinfo@telia.com

1010 Wien, Am Hof 13, Österreich Tel: +43 1 585 38 84 Fax: +43 1 585 38 84 20 E-mail: office@kroatien.at

60313 Frankfurt/M, Hochstrasse 43, Deutschland Tel: +49 69 23 85 350 Fax: +49 69 23 85 35 20 E-mail: info@visitkroatien.de 80469 München, Rumfordstrasse 7, Deutschland Tel: +49 89 22 33 44 Fax: +49 89 22 33 77 E-mail: kroatien-tourismus@t-online.de

Kroatiska Turistbyrån

Kroatisch Nationaal Bureau Voor Toerisme

Ente Nazionale Croato per il Turismo

1081 GG Amsterdam, Nijenburg 2F, Netherlands Tel: +31 20 661 64 22 Fax: +31 20 661 64 27 E-mail: kroatie-info@planet.nl

Ente Nazionale Croato per il Turismo

1000 Bruxelles,Vieille Halle aux Blés 38, België Tel: +32 255 018 88 Fax: +32 251 381 60 E-mail: info-croatia@scarlet.be

20122 Milano, Piazzetta Pattari 1/3, Italia Tel: +39 02 86 45 44 97 Fax: +39 02 86 45 45 74 E-mail: info@enteturismocroato.it 00186 Roma, Via Dell’Oca 48, Italia Tel: +39 06 32 11 0396 Fax: +39 06 32 11 1462 E-mail: officeroma@enteturismocroato.it

Chorvatské turistické sdružení

110 00 Praha 1, Krakovská 25, Česká Republika Tel: +420 2 2221 1812 Fax: +420 2 2221 0793 E-mail: info@htz.cz; infohtz@iol.cz

Chorvátske turistické združenie

Office National Croate du Tourisme

Хорвaтckoe туристическое соовщество 123610 Moscow, Krasnopresnenskaya nab. 12 office 1502, Russia Tel: +7 495 258 15 07, Fax: +7 495 258 15 07 E-mail: HTZ@wtt.ru

Hrvaška turistična skupnost

1000 Ljubljana, Gosposvetska 2, Slovenija Tel: +386 1 23 07 400, Fax: +386 1 230 74 04 E-mail: hrinfo@siol.net

821 09 Bratislava, Trenčianska 5, Slovenská Republika Tel: +421 2 55 562 054 Fax: +421 2 55 422 619 E-mail: infohtz@chello.sk

Kroatische Zentrale für Tourismus

Horvát Idegenforgalmi Közösség

Oficina Nacional de Turismo de Croacia

1054 Budapest, Akademia u. 1, Magyarország Tel.: +36 1 267 55 88, Fax: +36 1 267 55 99 E-mail: info@htz.hu

Office National Croate de Tourisme

75116 Paris, 48, avenue Victor Hugo, France Tel: +33 1 45 00 99 55 Fax: +33 1 45 00 99 56 E-mail: infos.croatie@wanadoo.fr

Croatian National Tourist Office

London W6 9ER, 2 Lanchesters, 162-164 Fulham Palace Road, United Kingdom Tel: +44 208 563 79 79 Fax: +44 208 563 26 16 E-mail: info@croatia-london.co.uk

8004 Zürich, Badenerstrasse 332, Schweiz Tel: + 41 43 336 20 30, Fax: +41 43 336 20 39 E-mail: info@kroatien-tourismus.ch 28001 Madrid, Calle Claudio Coello 22, esc.B,1 °C España Tel.: +34 91 781 5514 Fax: +34 91 431 8443 E-mail: info@visitacroacia.es Danmark Kroatiens Turistkontor, Bjørnholms Allé 20; 8260 Viby J; Tel.: +45 70 266 860 Fax: +45 70 239 500 E-mail: info@altomkroatien.dk

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HRVATSKA TURISTIČKA ZAJEDNICA

JAPAN, Ark Hills Executive Tower N613, Akasaka 1-14-5, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052 Tel.: +81 03 6234 0711 Fax: +81 03 6234 0712 E-mail: info@visitcroatia.jp

FREE

/The-wondrous-Natural-Heritage-of-Croatia-2011  

http://business.croatia.hr/Documents/1523/The-wondrous-Natural-Heritage-of-Croatia-2011.pdf

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