Croatia Sustainable Travel Guide
With approximately 1,800 km of pristine coastline bordering the Adriatic Sea and numerous islands dotting along its coast, Croatia has become a popular seaside getaway for many international visitors. In fact, the country welcomed over 11 million tourists in 2013, up from 9 million that had visited in 2010. Today it continues to be a destination for beach holidays and oceanic recreation, such as diving, kayaking and sailing.
Going past the beaches however, are 400 protected natural areas, including eight national parks, ten nature parks, and two nature reserves. These natural areas open up to a number of landscapes, such as towering limestone mountains as well as dense forests. This makes Croatia a hidden gem for viewing wildlife in their natural environments. For example, in Risnjak National Park, animals such as wolves, lynx and brown bears can all be found. Plitvice Lakes National Park, the largest in the country, is a hotspot for bird species and bird watchers. The rest of the country is laced with numerous bike routes, allowing you to see the rest of the country with the ease and freedom.
Back along the coast, you’ll find hundreds of uninhabited or abandoned islands to explore. Sailing is a popular activity as one gets the opportunity to hop from island to island. During the peak season however, the larger islands such as Korcula and Hvar have been known to be overcrowded with sailboats. The beaches on these islands as well as throughout Croatia’s vast coastline are so pristine, that in fact, 22 of them have been awarded the International Blue Flag certificate for exceptional quality of environment.
If you’re seeking culture and art, then a trip to the capital of Zagreb should be in order. This 900 year old-city is considered an archeological destination as much of its history can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Archeologically speaking however, much of Zagreb belongs to the 18th century instead. Regardless, the Roman-inspired architecture in Zagreb provides a feel of how settlements must have been like during the Middle Ages. Today the city is bustling with contemporary art galleries, chic cafes and museums.
Finally there’s Dubrovnik, the “Jewel of the Adriatic”. This small coastal city in southern Croatia was built during the 13th century and has remained virtually unchanged until fairly recently when the city suffered heavy damage during the Croatian War of Independence from 1991 – 1995. Despite this though, the city has a reputation of being upbeat, bustling and full of positivity. For you Game of Thrones fans, Kings Landings is actually Dubrovnik!