Let’s hit the road! Today, we will present to you the second country in our selection – Croatia, the Pearl of the Adriatic.
Croatia is a wonderfully diverse, friendly, and authentic country. It is a very popular tourist destination, and tourists are therefore well catered to. Although the crystal-clear Adriatic Sea with its many beaches and deserted islands is Croatia’s main attraction, the country also boasts tall mountains and a number of other natural and cultural treasures – Roman monuments, eight national parks, and other points of interest inland from the sea.
In recent years, Croatia has also struck a chord with its modern gastronomy featuring such regional specialties as truffles, quality wines, and olive oil. Let yourself be inspired, and you’ll not regret it!
THE RIVER CETINA’S PURE WATER ENTICES RAFTERS
The mighty River Cetina flowing into the sea near Omiš is interesting for its canyon in the Mosor Mountain Range and several gorges. On its upper course, the river attracts various water sports enthusiasts and canoers whereas the middle and lower courses are enjoyed mainly by rafters. Its water is even bottled and sold.
You can find two water parks on Istria (Istralandia near Novigrad and Poreč) and a third one on the nearby island of Lošinj (Čikat). Another was built in Dalmatia, at the Solaris resort near Šibenik. You can enjoy traditional attractions at all those places (swimming pools, water slides, water rides, whirlpools, and waterfalls).
Krka National Park is second only to Plitvice among the best known and most visited places in Croatia. You can look forward to a boat ride on Lake Visovac, an island monastery, ancient historic sites, technical monuments, waterfalls and ponds – including for swimming!
In addition to Zagreb’s Technical Museum, you can visit there the private car museum of Ferdinand Budinský. Continuing southwards to Smiljan near Gospić on the A1 motorway you can find the Memorial Centre dedicated to Nikola Tesla, who was born here.
According to the 2017 Flos Olei annual ranking, more than one-tenth (61) of the 500 top olive oils from 59 countries of the world originate from Istria! Since 2000, a million trees were planted here, old terraces and brands were renewed, and state-of-the-art processes introduced. First-rate producers are in Bale, Vodnjan, Rabac and Umag. Most famous is the Ipša family, from Oprtalj. Tastings are provided directly on farms along the so-called olive trail, and lower prices are offered directly by the producers.
In the summer holiday season you can expect frequent speed checks, especially at the end of villages (the signs are usually far beyond the last houses). On the A1 motorway, when exiting to Zadar, pay attention to the speed radar and crosswinds (especially motorhomes, camper trailers). Coastal roads can be extremely slippery during rain due to salt blown from the sea and limestone.
In summer, the only way to avoid traffic jams is to drive on workdays. You can save time and money (as much as 25%) when you buy the ENC box. A prepaid package is more practical for tourists. It can only be bought in Croatia (toll gates, HAC) or rented in the Czech Republic (saving you especially time).
It is better to pay any fines on the spot. The police can also issue a payslip due within 8 days. As a preventive measure, they can a take away one’s driver’s licence in case of a fine and even for driving while exhausted! A fire extinguisher is part of mandatory equipment.
DRIVING THROUGH 7 EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
Do you have plans for your vacation yet? We have a better tip for you than drawing a finger on the map. Each week in our series of articles, we will present to you one of the seven selected European countries and their most attractive destinations. Overview of the countries is on the map below - click on each country to find out more. Stay tuned and let our interactive map inspire you.