Croatia is a paradise for holidaymakers
At 1,777 kms long and boasting 1,246 islands sitting peacefully and serenely in the sparkling blue Adriatic Sea, it’s no surprise that since ancient times the Croatian coast has been attracting visitors looking for luxury Croatia holidays. The country is, without doubt, renowned mostly for its coastline. But head inland and you’ll also find a plethora of fascinating places to visit, from grand cities to the stunning mountain valleys and peaks of the Dinaric Alps, karst plateaus and the most amazing array of waterfalls you’re every likely to see.
Bordering Slovenia to the north, Montenegro to the south and, interestingly, bisected in the south by Bosnia, the Croatian coast is easily accessible by air, land or sea. The northern tip comprises the Istria peninsula, whose main airport is Pula, a fascinating town in itself.
Istria is most appropriate for gourmands and all those who love to enjoy life and are not in a hurry when doing it.
Pula (in Croatian) or Pola (in Italian) is the largest city on the peninsula. Pula airport is served from hundreds of destinations. The city centre is packed with Roman buildings, which are a shining example of its popularity in ancient Roman times. In fact, one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world can be found here.
The Pula Arena is one of the six largest surviving arenas in the world, and quite a sight to behold. Built between 27 BC – 68 AD, it’s the only one in the world with all four side towers and all three Roman architectural orders perfectly preserved. Every week during the summer you can watch a re-enactment of the gladiator fights that took place here on a regular basis.
The first of Croatia’s beautiful islands lie here right off the coast of Pula. The Brioni (Brijuni) Islands are so beautiful that Tito made them his personal state summer residence after World War 2.
The islands have long been a place for luxury Croatia holidays. They were designated a national park after independence and four hotels re-opened on Veliki Brijuni. However, the first time the islands were used as a resort was when the Viennese businessman Paul Kupelwieser bought the whole archipelago and created an exclusive beach resort. Since then the islands have become one of the most popular resorts for luxury Croatia holidays.
From Istria to Dalmatia
Sitting in the section of sea separating Istria from the mainland, the Kvarner archipelago islands of Krk, Cres (the largest islands in Croatia) and Losinj mark the start of the massive chain of islands that spread out down this mammoth coastline.
The islands and coast are mostly an extension of the karst interior, and are characterised by rocky inlets and mostly pebble beaches. The best beaches are on the islands. King Edward VIII obviously liked his luxury holidays and took his new wife Wallis Simpson to Rab island in 1936, likely because he’d heard of its lovely bays.
You’ll find two sandy beaches at Korcula (2nd most populated island after Krk) and the finest sand on Susak. The island of Brac is another of the extremely popular destinations for luxury Croatia holidays, with its gorgeous spit of white pebbles at Zlatni Rat being its most distinctive attraction.
With so many islands to visit, one of the best ways to experience the magic is by sailing or on an island hopping cruise.
Towns and cities
Beaches are not the only place for luxury Croatia holidays. The country is also renowned for its towns and cities. Tucked neatly into sheltered harbours or sitting proudly on jutting promontories, you’ll find beautiful towns and modern thriving cities that perfectly blend with the roots of their historic past. Roman, Venetian and Ottoman influences abound in cities such as: Zadar, Sibenik, Split, and of course not forgetting the ever-alluring Dubrovnik.
The vibrant capital city of Zagreb is not to be missed. The upper town’s cobblestone streets are perfect for an afternoon or evening stroll amid the twin-spired Zagreb Cathedral and 13th-century St. Mark’s Church and the lovely red roofs of the surrounding buildings. Zagreb is especially beautiful at Christmas and New Year, as the popular Christmas market and city lights and decorations are a feast for the eyes.
The nearby town of Cazma is also famed for its festive lights. The Cazma Christmas Tale was started by the Salaj family in 2001, where they began to decorate the houses, trees and bridges of the family estate with an array of Christmas lights. Over the years it has grown and this year will boast 2 million lights. It’s now a major attraction for visitors and is open every year throughout Christmas and New Year.
While there is so much to see in the wild mountains of inland Croatia, the most amazing spectacle has to be the Plitvice National Park. Granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979, the park is located halfway between Zagreb and Zadar. In an area of 300 sq kms, sixteen lakes are interconnected with a series of dramatic waterfalls and surrounded by woodland populated with a beautiful array of flora and fauna, including deer, wolves and brown bears.
From coastline to interior when it comes to luxury holidays Croatia is unsurpassed.
Luxury Croatia Holidays by Liberty Adriatic