Being in central Europe, between the Balkan region and the Mediterranean, Croatia profits from a largely continental/mediterranean climate. This means that temperatures vary from -3ºC in January to 18ºC in July. Since the stabilisation of the countries economic and political situation in 1992, with its declaration of independence and recognition by the UN, Croatia has been on a constant upward curve in attracting tourism. As expected, tourism is most prolific in summer and sources show that since the conclusion of the civil war, tourist numbers have grown to upwards of ten million visitors per year. It is therefore no surprise that tourism accounts for 20% of Croatia’s GDP and an annual income (figures from 2011) of €6.61 billion.
If looking for a city break, the medieval city of Split displays an amazing collection of new early-Christian, Byzantine architecture. Dubrovnik also displays similar architecture to Split, with it being declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979. The city is also considered one of the most popular touristic sites on the Adriatic coast and mustn’t be missed in any visit to the country. Being the capital, Zagreb is the largest city in Croatia, housing the governmental buildings and both historical and extremely modern museums and cathedrals, Zagreb cathedral being the biggest and most popular.
In regards to cuisine, there are two distinguishable types of Croatian cuisine. That of the mainland, taking some of its influences from Austria, Turkey and Hungary, using lard for cooking and spices such as pepper, paprika and garlic. The second cuisine is that of the coastal regions. This type of cooking bears much resemblance to what is known as mediterranean cuisine, with influences taken from Greece, Italy and Southern France, using olive oil and herbs such as sage, oregano and rosemary. Despite these general tendencies, each region has specific dishes that apply to their produce and climate. For example a famous dish in Split in the Dalmatian region, is dalmatinska pašticada (Dalmatian stew) which is a meat dish that takes two days to prepare.
Croatia’s ranking as 18th most popular tourist destination in the world reflects the way in which, since its turbulent history of conflict ended in 1992 with the declaration of independence, it has managed to use its historical past as a main touristic attraction.