As you know I’ve committed myself this summer to visit Europe! So one of the countries I definitely want to visit is the Balkan Country of Croatia. I’ve alsked for a post about this to try and inspire me to visit certain places in Croatia and this came up..
Far from the coast’s hustle and bustle, sand and sea, inland Croatia has its own magical appeal. While most tourists stick to the Dalmatian islands and the country’s coastal cities and towns, inland Croatia has untapped potential and is a lovely and often serene area to explore. With its contrasting landscapes—from idyllic hilly environments, national parks and ancient woodlands to rivers, UNESCO World Heritage sites and vineyards—central Croatia is an ideal destination for your next Croatian getaway. Here’s where to start:
Plitvice Lakes National Park
The oldest national park in Southeast Europe, Plitvice Lakes National Park is a 73,350-acre nature reserve in the mountainous central region of the country. Located near the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Park was founded in 1949 when the area was still part of Yugoslavia, and was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.
The park’s various waterfalls, 16 interlinked lakes, varied trails and wooden walkways are worth exploring for hours on end. Formed by natural dams of travertine, the lakes are renowned for their distinctive colours that continuously change from bright turquoise to bold green, blue and grey, depending on the minerals and organisms in the water. The surrounding forests of beech and fir trees are also worth exploring and are home to numerous animals including brown bears, wolves and over a hundred species of birds.
A driving tour between the various towns of Istria is a lovely way to see the area and spend a day touring around. Grožnjan and Motovun are two well-known towns, but don’t forego lesser-known gems such as Buzet, Draguac, Hum and Boljun.
A picturesque hilltop town in the province of Istria, Motovun is an old medieval town with breathtaking views over the valley and onto the tiled roofs below. It’s known for its food and wine so plan a stop for lunch before moving on. Grožnjan, on the other hand, is known as the city of artists where many of the picturesque old stone buildings have been converted into art galleries, ceramics shops and boutiques selling handmade jewellery and gifts.
Located in one of the most celebrated wine-growing regions, Ilok is Croatia’s easternmost town overlooking the Danube River and home to an 18th-Century Franciscan monastery, a 13th-Century castle and a rare cellar that produces a variety of world-class wines. Wine production has a long history in the area beginning nearly 2,000 years ago and a tour of the old wine cellar is a must for even the most beginner of oenophiles.
The region also has several Baroque towns including Varaždin, northeast of Zagreb, and Osijek, a former fortress town in eastern Slavonia worth exploring.
I’m pretty convinced to leave the coastline and head inland!
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