One of Europe’s most beautiful coastal countries, Croatia has many things to offer visitors. But what do we really know about Croatia? We know it has incredible food, dreamy landscapes, and some of the friendliest people. We know it is one of the most famous film locations and is very well-known for its picturesque red-roof houses and crystal blue waters.
But there is still so much to learn before packing your bags and heading off to the Dalmatian Coast. That’s why we are sharing with you the most interesting fun facts about Croatia, that you cannot find anywhere else. Whether you have or have not visited this Balkan country, there is so much to discover, that you’ll want to visit again and again.
What is Croatia known for?
Croatia has one of the most fascinating histories, cultures, and environments of all European countries. With incredible outdoor attractions and historic monuments, it’s important to learn all the interesting and fun Croatia facts, and more to plan the perfect getaway. Let’s dive in, starting with the history of this Balkan country.
Quick Croatia Facts
|Time Zone||UTC +1|
|Flag||The Tricolour (Trobojnica)|
|Population||4.076 million (as of 2019 report)|
|Neighboring countries||Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Hezergovina|
|Anthem||Lijepa naša domovino (“Our Beautiful Homeland”)|
Fact 1: The country of Croatia was inhabited as early as the Paleolithic Age. The Croats then arrived in the 6th century.
Fact 2: On June 7, 879, Croatia was internationally recognized as an independent state. 46 years later, Tomislav became the first king in 925. Croatia thus became a kingdom and maintained its sovereignty for two centuries.
Fact 3: After years under different rules including the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Croatia finally gained its full independence on June 25, 1991.
Fact 4: Zagreb is the capital and largest city in Croatia. It became the capital of the Balkan country in April 1941. and is 247 square miles (641 square kilometers). It is home to a fifth of the country’s population.
Fact 5: Croatia is also home to an original Egyptian sphinx. In 297, twelve sphinxes were brought to Split, Croatia. Currently, only a black granite one remains and is standing at the Peristyle.
Fact 6. The Pula Arena in Pula, Croatia is the only remaining Roman amphitheater in the world to maintain its four side towers. It is one of the remaining three pieces of Roman architecture to keep its architectural integrity.
Did you know any of these fun facts about Croatia?
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Croatian Geography & Cities
Fact 7. Croatia borders five countries. Hungary to the north, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, as well as Serbia to the east, Montenegro to the south, and Slovenia to the west. The Adriatic Sea borders the majority of Croatia’s southwest region. While it does not directly border Italy, the two countries share a maritime border.
Fact 8. Croatia may be one of Europe’s smaller countries but it is actually the 127th largest country in the world.
Fact 9. There are nearly as many Croatians living outside of the country as there are living there. The current population is a little over 4 million people.
Fact 10. Croatia has more than 1,200 islands, islets, and crags off the coast of the mainland. However, only 48 are inhabited. Hvar and Korcula receive the most visitors of all the islands.
Fact 11. The largest island in Croatia is Krk, with a surface area of 405.78 square meters.
Fact 12. Croatia has a heart-shaped island, Galešnjak, which is also known as the Island of Love or Lover’s Island.
Fact 13. The city of Dubrovnik, in Croatia, had one of the first medieval sewer systems in Europe.
Fact 14. The world’s smallest town is Croatia. The town of “Hum” is so small its population is only between 17 to 23 people.
Fact 15. Vinkovci in eastern Croatia is one of the oldest towns in Europe. It has been continuously inhabited for more than 8,000 years!
Fact 16. Zlatni rat beach changes in shape and color depending on the wind. This beach is in Bol, on the island of Brac. Its nickname is the Golden Horn.
Fact 17. Dubrovnik was the main film location for King’s Landing in the popular HBO show Game of Thrones. The city of Split was also used as one of the film locations.
Fact 18. Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, used to be known by the name Agram.
Fact 19. Every first weekend in August since 1715, the Croatian town of Sinj hosts a knight tournament named Sinjska Alka. During the chivalric tournament, knights ride horses along the main street, aiming lances at an iron ring.
Fact 20. The 108 meters high Zagreb Cathedral on Kaptol is the largest building in Croatia.
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Fact 21. Croatia is the home of the popular dog breed Dalmatians. The breed dates back to the 17th century. The coast is named after the breed.
Fact 22. The Croatian military first wore knotted neckties in the 1600s, thus many historians believe the necktie was invented in Croatia.
Fact 23. Croatia is very well known for its delicious cuisine, including specialties like Peka and Pag Cheese.
Fact 24. There are names of two Croatians on the map of the Moon. Scientists J.R. Boskovik and A. Mohorovicic.
Fact 25. Nikola Tesla was born in the northern Adriatic region of Lika.
Fact 26. The world’s first torpedo was constructed by Rijeka native, Ivan Lupis.
Fact 27. Croatian innovator, Slavoljub Penkala, invented the very first mechanical pencil. The name pen comes from his surname.
Fact 28. While the popular film Mamma Mia 2 takes place in the Greek Isles, it was actually filmed on the Croatian Island, Vis.
Fact 29. The main exports of Croatia consist of textiles, transport equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, and fuels.
Fact 30. On the Island of Susak, in Kvarner, women are known for wearing the shortest folk costumes in Europe.
Fact 31. The Croatian currency, the Kuna, is named after the pine-marten, a cat-sized mammal that’s part of the weasel family. This is because, in the past, pine marten’s fur was used for trading.
Fact 32. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was set in Dalmatia, a historical region located on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, in Croatia.
Fact 33. A Croatian alphabet is also a form of the Latin script, but it has 30 letters in total. Their alphabet does not contain the letters q, w, x, and y, but it has the following additional letters č, ć, dž, đ, lj, nj, š, and ž.
Fact 34. The longest Croatian word is “prijestolonasljednikovičičinima”, which means “heirs to the throne”.
Fact 35. Croatia has the highest number of UNESCO Intangible Goods of any European Country. In addition to our Croatia interesting facts, there are also 10 sites in Croatia listed on the UNESCO World Heritage site list. The list includes the Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian, Dubrovnik city, and Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Fact 36. The Irish author James Joyce worked and lived in Istria, a peninsula located at the Adriatic Sea and shared by three countries: Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy.
Fact 37. Lord Byron, a British Romantic poet, was said to have called Dubrovnik, in Croatia,” the pearl of the Adriatic”.
Fact 38. The traditional Zagreb Advent was voted the best Christmas Market in Europe for 3 years in a row.
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Fact 39. The medieval Croatian town of Motovun, in Istria, is known as the ‘land of truffles’.
Fact 40. One of the largest truffles in the world weighing 1.31 kg was found in Istria by Giancarlo Zigante and his dog, Diana. The truffle was listed by the Guinness World Records.
Fact 41. In Croatia, there are nearly 300 wine regions with a strict classification system for quality check.
Fact 42. The peninsula of Istria, in Croatia, is a big producer of award-winning olive oils. The region is often referred to as the ‘new Tuscany’.
Fact 43. In 2016 the village of Jaškovo, in Croatia, entered the Guinness World Records for being home to the world’s longest strudel, which was 1,479 meters long.
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Croatia’s Great Outdoors
Fact 44. Croatia’s highest mountain is Dinara peak which is over 6,000 feet (1,831 meters).
Fact 45. Croatia is one of the most verdant and green countries in the world. 10% of the country is home to 11 Nature Parks, 8 national parks, and 2 nature reserves. One of its most famous national parks is Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Fact 46. Croatia enjoys 2.715 hours of sunshine a year. That’s more than Sydney, Australia. The Hvar Island, located off the Dalmatian Coast, receives the most with almost 2,800 hours of sunshine.
Fact 47. According to Alfred Hitchcock, the city of Zadar has “the most beautiful sunset in the world, more beautiful than the one in Key West in Florida, applauded at every evening.”
Fact 48. Aside from having the most beautiful sunset in the world, the Croatian city of Zadar is home to a Sea Organ. Designed by Nikola Basic, this experimental sound object captures the movement of the waves and transforms it into music.
Fact 49. The national flower of Croatia is the iris.
Fact 50. Croatia has the richest collection of remains of Neanderthal people in the world.
Now that you know the most interesting and best facts about Croatia, it is time to plan your getaway. Let us know what destinations you can’t wait to visit first, and we will help you find the perfect place to stay in Croatia.
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