Croatia 7 MINS READ

Fun Facts About Croatia: 50 Things You May Not Know

Fun Facts About Croatia: 50 Things You May Not Know

Croatia 7 MINS READ

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?

fun facts about croatia with a view

Croatia has one of the most fascinating histories, cultures, and environments of all the 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

CapitalZagreb
Official LanguageCroatian
Country Code+385
Currencykuna (HRK)
Time ZoneUTC +1
FlagThe Tricolour (Trobojnica)
Population4.076 million (as of 2019 report)
LocationSouthern Europe
Area56,594 km2
Neighbouring countriesSlovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro,
and Bosnia and Hezergovina
AnthemLijepa naša domovino (“Our Beautiful Homeland”)


Croatia’s History

View of the historic buildings in the coastal city of Rovijn, in Croatia.

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?

Croatian Geography & Cities

croatia cathedral in zagreb

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 with Italy, the two countries share a maritime border.

Fact 8. Croatia may be one of Europe’s smaller country’s 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 in 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.

Croatia’s Culture

dalmatian dog and child in croatia

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 Croatian’s 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. The 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, 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.

Croatia’s Food

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, has entered the Guinness World Records for being home to the world’s longest strudel, which was 1,479 metres long.

Croatia’s Great Outdoors

Plitvice Lake National Park Croatia

Fact 44. Croatia’s highest mountain is the Dinara peak which 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 it’s 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.

Extra fun fact: Croatia has some of the best vacation rentals and hotels found on CuddlyNest. Plan your dream vacation in Croatia!


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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The Best Things To Do In Sinj, Croatia

The Best Things To Do In Sinj, Croatia

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Family-friendly beaches on the Adriatic Coast and medieval cities dotted with Game of Thrones filming locations might be the first options for those who visit Croatia. But the country also has a showcase of offbeat places that appeal to the most inquisitive travelers. Sinj, for instance, is a small Croatian town with a rich cultural heritage. The city might not be the first option when it comes to a trip to Croatia, but it’s surely a worth visiting destination.

Located in the heart of the Dalmatian hinterland, within a 40-minute driving distance north from Split, Sinj is an agricultural center that lies between four scenic mountains: Svilaja, Dinara, Kamešnica, and Visoka. Sinj has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and aside from boasting a range of monuments, and historic buildings, Sinj plays host to the iconic Sinjska Alka, a traditional knight tournament that happens during the summer, and was inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Heritage, in 2010.

There is no doubt whether travelers should visit Sinj or not — it’s a definite yes. The city is especially great for a day trip to Croatia, and there are a lot of tourist attractions and amazing activities in Sinj for a culture-filled trip. And if you get the chance to be in Sinj during the Sinjska Alka tournament, make sure to marvel at the majestic horses galloping the city street while passionate riders dressed in traditional costumes aim their lances at a hanging metal ring.

But, before you go, have a look at our travel guide to find out what are the top tourist attractions in Sinj, one of the most fascinating cities in Croatia!

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

Planning A Trip To Sinj, Croatia

Sinj: A Small Town With A Rich History

The chapel above the town of Sinj, in Croatia

As you may guess by name (or, several of them), the history of Sinj spans over many time periods, and the city landscape provides tourists with diverse cultural experiences that reflect the rich heritage of the Sinj.

Sinj has been inhabited since the Stone Age, as the valley of Cetina river, cast between the mountains, and favored the region with a mix of continental and sub-Medditarean climates, which allowed for the locals to settle and flourish.

The Illyrian tribe, the first inhabitants of Sinj, had left a large footprint in the Croatian culture. For example, the famous peka food preparation style, cooking under the bell jar, it’s a heritage as ancient as 2250-1600 BC.

In the late Medieval period, Sinj outgrew the ancient fortress, which surrounded the city. In the 17th century, during the times of the Ottoman Empire, Sinj grew around the monastery and the church of the Miraculous Lady of Sinj (Gospa Sinjska), which you can still visit today on the main square.

By the end of the century, Sinj was taken over by Venetians, and 100 years after Sinj town was annexed to Austria, where it remained for another century. In the 20th century, Sinj was under the rule of Yugoslavia, until independence, in the late 20th century.

Find Hotels Near Sinj, Croatia | Find Homes Near Sinj, Croatia

The Best Time To Visit Sinj, Croatia

Aerial view of Sinj surounded by the Dalmatian hinterland, in Croatia.

Sinj has a sub-Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summer days, and very cold winters. So, for the ideal climate, visit the city between March and July. This is when the weather is warm and pleasant, which allows travelers to indulge in a range of outdoor activities and uncover the top attractions in Sinj. August is the hottest month, which can be overwhelming for some travelers. But bear in mind that the Sinjska Alka tournament happens during this month, so if you want to watch it, you’ll have to endure the warmer weather.

How To Get To Sinj, Croatia

Aerial view of Sinj in Dalmatia hinterland southern Croatia


Getting to Sink depends on the location you’re at. Arriving there from Split is quite quick and easy, and you can either take the bus, taxi or even go on a road trip and drive to the final destination. If you’re in Dubrovnik, which located by the Adriatic Sea, you can go by bus (the trip takes a bit more than 6 hours), or take the ferry to Split and then go to Sinj,

Top Activities in Sinj, Croatia

Watching The Sinjska Alka, in Sinj

Alkar on his decorated horse galloping, hitting the metal ring  with his spear during Sinjska Alka, tournament, in Sinj

This is, undoubtedly, one of the top activities in Sinj. The Sinjska Alka is an equestrian competition held in Sinj every first Sunday in August, since 1715. The tournament was established to celebrate the Croatian-Venetian victory over 60,000 Ottoman soldiers on August 1715.

Witnessed every year by thousands of spectators, the Alka gathers between 11 to 17 Alkar (the knights) that ride their horses at full speed towards the Alka, a ring that consists of two concentric iron circles joined by three bars. The goal? To target the inside circle of the ring with a 3-meter long pointy spare while riding the horse. The knights are awarded points according to which sector of the ring they are able to pierce: the central circle, which is the smallest one, is worth three points, the upper field two points, and the two lower fields one point each.

Sinjska Alka is spread over three days, and the grand celebration is held on Sunday, which is the last day of the event. The day starts with a beautiful traditional procession, which passes through thousands of spectators, including travelers, and the proud families of the knights.

Curious fact: only men born in Sink or one of the surrounding villages can compete in the tournament. They wear elaborate ornamented costumes that are identical to the ones worn by the knights in the 18th-century.

Exploring The Old Town of Sinj

Aerial view of small picturesque town of Sinj in Croatia.

Most of the top attractions in Sinj are located in the Old Town. So, if you dedicate some time to truly wander the streets and explore the historic city center, you’ll be able to uncover most of Sinj’s landmarks. With remnants of the old fortress that protected the city, “The Town”, as locals say, used to harbor people and the soldiers during the Turkish invasions.

While strolling around the center of Sinj, you’ll be able to spot the church of the Miraculous Lady of Sinj, which sits in the city’s main square. Considered one of the top tourist attractions in Sink, the church was built from 1699 to 1712, and it endured wars and earthquakes over the years, preserving its original appearance.

In the city center of Sinj, make sure to also go to the piazza fountain, which is locally known as “funtana” and was erected in 1852 by mayor Antonio Buglian.

Also in the very town center of Sinj, opposite the Church of the Miraculous Madonna of Sinj, there’s the Kamičak Fort, a star-shaped fort built in 1712 on top of a hill of the same name. The fort displays a layout that dates back to 1890 when the walls were built and the pine trees planted on the site.

After discovering the top attractions in Sinj, a great idea is to plan a day trip to a nearby destination. Check below what are the top cities that are located within a driving distance from Sinj for the perfect Croatian getaway.

Best Daytrips From Sinj

Orlova Staza, For Adventure Travelers

Are you ready to experience a bit of action during your vacation? After enjoying the top activities in Sinj, head over to Orlova Staza for the Eagle’ s trail near Sinj. The 44 km route is not quite flat, with an elevation of 969 meters. It is not boring, though – the mix of cross trail and road cycling will keep you awake. Starting with asphalt, continuing with picturesque gravel roads, and ending with oak forest, the route is demanding but provides travelers with excellent views of places such as Lake Peruča. You can also cycle until you reach the spring of the river Cetina.

The Klis Fortress, For Game of Thrones Fans

The Klis Fortress, located near Split, in Croatia.

Traveling with your kids and not sure if they’ll enjoy long hours on a bike? Then you can take them to a Game of Thrones filming location instead. And, surprisingly enough, we’re not talking about Dubrovnik, but actually the Klis Fortress. Located between Split and Sinj, this medieval fortress was built at an altitude of 360 meters to ensure the control of invasions. This magnificent fortress is featured in Game of Thrones season 4 when Daenerys Targaryen and her army go to Meereen to free the slaves.

You can get there from Sinj by taking a taxi (24 km) or renting a car. Alternatively, if you come from Split, take the bus No.22 from the National Theatre (buy the ticket in the kiosk). The trip is totally worth it, as it’s one of the best family-friendly tourist attractions around Sinj.

Krka National Park, For Nature Lovers

The Krka National Park, in Croatia

The best way of ending a tour around the top attractions in Sinj is by having an authentic travel experience in nature. So, if being immersed in natural beauty sounds appealing to you, make sure to include a visit to the Krka National Park in your itinerary. Located within one hour drive from Sinj, in southern Croatia, the park covers an area of over 142 square km and includes two-thirds of the Krka River. The main highlight of this pristine paradise is the Skradinski Buk, an area 400 m in length and 100 m in width which encompasses 17 waterfalls that range in height by over 45 meters. The National Park also harbors rich wildlife, with over 800 species of plants, over 200 bird species, and some 18 different species of bats.

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

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A Guide To The Game Of Thrones Locations In Dubrovnik

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While the stunning lowlands, rugged coastline, and green hills of Northern Ireland were the main locations for filming the eight seasons of Game Of Thrones, other European destinations, including Spain, Malta, Scotland and Bulgaria provided the perfect medieval settings for the show’s fictional cities in Westeros. King’s Landing, capital of the Seven Kingdoms, was recreated in Dubrovnik, a charming city located in southern Croatia, right in front of the Adriatic Sea.

Known for its postcard-worthy Old Town dotted with well-preserved ancient constructions, Dubrovnik played host to more than 10 Game Of Thrones filming locations. So, when exploring the city, the show’s fans will immediately be transported to the fictional realm of King’s Landing, the stronghold of the Lannister family where the coveted Iron Thrones sits.

To help you make the most out of your Game of Thrones deep-dive in Dubrovnik, we’ve rounded up 10 filming locations that are worth visiting in the city. After checking Dubrovnik off your bucket list, you can also explore the Game Of Thrones filming locations in Spain.

And in case you’re still watching the show: this post might contain spoilers!

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

About Dubrovnik, Croatia

Overlooking the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, with views of the Adriatic Sea, Fort Lovrijenac and the Old Town.

“If you want to see heaven on earth, come to Dubrovnik.” These were the words of Bernard Shaw, a prominent Irish playwright Bernard Shaw, after visiting Dubrovnik, in 1929. Located within a six-hour drive from Zagreb, the city is one of the most desired Mediterranean destinations, especially during the summer. With a rich historical background that dates back to the 7th century, Dubrovnik is filled with ancient buildings, including the Arboretum Trsteno, the oldest arboretum in the world, built around 1492. The city also boasts a showcase of Renaissance-style buildings that survived the earthquake of 1667, as well as Gothic, and Romanesque-style architectural gems.

Dubrovnik is also applauded for its Old Town, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Placed in the heart of the city, the Old Town is a late-medieval area, home to a variety of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings — from churches to palaces —, and quaint narrow cobbled streets. The Old Town is encircled by Dubrovnik’s iconic stone walls, which run almost 2 km around the city, and were built from the 11th to the 17th century to protect the city.

Fun fact: adorned with historic jewels and offering sweeping views of the turquoise sea, Dubrovnik was nicknamed “Pearl of The Adriatic”.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Dubrovnik?

A yellow, blue, and pink sunset in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Dubrovnik has a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers and mild winters. In July and August, temperatures can reach 30°C, which is perfect for those who want to soak up the sun and uncover the city’s turquoise-water beaches. During this time of year, however, Dubrovnik gets crowded, as it’s high season. So, in case you want to visit the city during the off-peak season, we recommend September and October, which is when the summer is transitioning into mild autumn, offering pleasant temperatures, and less crowded attractions (even though there’s still a reasonable amount of tourists in the city).

Game Of Thrones Locations in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Fort Lovrijenac | The Red Keep

Fort Lovrijenac in Dubrovnik, Croatia
The Game of Thrones (film still)

Also known as St. Lawrence Fortress and “Dubrovnik’s Gibraltar”, Fort Lovrijenac is a fortress placed on the western side of the Old Town, on top of a 37 meters-high cliff above sea level. Overlooking the turquoise waters of the Adriatic, Fort Lovrijenac has a triangular shape and three terraces.

Fort Lovrijenac was the location for the filming of Game Of Thrones in Dubrovnik. In the show, Fort Lovrijenac doubles as the Red Keep in King’s Landing, and one of the most well-known scenes shot in the fortress is the one where a tournament is held in honor of King Joffrey (season 2).

Curious fact: Fort Lovrijenac is also being a theater, where plays like Midsummer Nights Dream and Hamlet are presented.

Minčeta Tower | The House Of The Undying

View of the Minčeta Tower, in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
The Game of Thrones (film still)

In case you want to visit one of the Game Of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik, and enjoying the most sweeping views of the city, head over to the Minčeta Tower. Locally known as Tvrđava Minčeta, the tower is placed at the highest point of Dubrovnik’s defense system, and consists of a large round fortress with an enormous base. Originally built in 1319 as a four-sided fort, Minčeta Tower was named after the Menčetić family, who owned the ground where the tower was built upon.

Part of the Minčeta Tower can be seen in the last episode of Season 2 of Game Of Thrones. The base was used as the exterior of the House of Undying, an ancient stone ruin located in the fictional town of Qarth. In the episode, Daenerys Targaryen goes to the House of the Undying with Jorah Mormont and Kovarro to retrieve her stolen dragons.

The Rector’s Palace | Game of Thrones’ Qarth

Rector's Palace interiors in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Aside from King’s Landing, Dubrovnik was the filming location of Qart, which is another fictional city in Game Of Thrones. Located on the southern coast of Essos, Qart is ancient port city also referred to as the Queen of Cities.

One of the most prominent Dubrovnik buildings that is featured in Game Of Thrones is the Rector’s Palace, the residence of the Spice King, in Qarth. In season 2, Daenerys Targaryen visits the building to ask the king for ships where she could take her army across the Narrow sea.

Build in the 13th-century and rebuilt twice later, the Rectors Palace perfectly combines elements of the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque style. Nowadays home to the Museum of Dubrovnik, which displays artifacts from Dubrovnik’s history, the Rector’s Palace features a Baroque staircase leading to a mezzanine gallery, a monument designed by Piero Paolo Giacometti, and an atrium space that hosts classical music concerts. If either you’re a Game of Thrones fan or not, the Rector’s Palace is totally worth the visit.

Lokrum Island | Party in Qarth

Old Town of Dubrovnik and Lokrum Island, in Croatia.

Do you know what the Minčeta Tower, Rector’s Palace and Lokrum Island all have in common? These three Game Of Thrones filming locations played host to scenes that take place in the fictional city of Qart.

Placed in the Adriatic Sea, 600 meters from Dubrovnik, Lokrum Island is a 72 hectares forested sanctuary inhabited by abundant flora and fauna, including families of peacocks that we brought to the island in the 19th century.

Thanks to immense natural beauty — Lokrum Island is a Nature Reserve and a Special Forest Vegetation Reserve—, the island appears in a few across Game Of Thrones that are set in Qarth, such as the party where Daenerys meets the city’s elite, in season 2.

St. Dominic Street | Cersei’s Walk Of Shame

St. Dominic Street in Dubrovnik.

Framed by the Dominican Monastery, St. Dominic Street was the setting for several Game Of Thrones scenes. This narrow street connects the Ploče Gate with Stradun, and because of the show, it became one of the most photographed spots in Dubrovnik.

Curious to know which scenes were shot in St. Dominic Street? We can name a few, but the most iconic is Cersei’s “Walk Of Shame”, in which she walks naked through the street, as a sign of penance, accompanied by Septa Unella that repeatedly screams out “Shame!”.

Jesuit Stairs | Walk Of Shame Stairs

The Jesuit Staircase leading up to the Jesuit Church of St. Ignatius Loyola and the old Collegium Ragusinum in Dubrovnik

The Jesuit Stairs are not only one of the most famous Game Of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik, but also representative samples of the Baroque architecture in Dubrovnik. Designed by Pietro Passalacqua, a Roman architect, the stairs leads up to the Boškovićeva Poljana, or Bošković Square, which is home to the Jesuit church of St. Ignatius.

On Game Of Thrones season 5, the staircase is also part of Queen Cersei’s walk of shame. After being imprisoned by the Faith of the Seven, the queen confessed adultery, incest, and regicide, and was forced to walk completely naked as a sign of penitence.

Ploče Gate | The Red Keep Gate

The Ploče Gate, in Dubrovnik.

Ploče Gate is the final stop of Cersei’s walk of shame, and it’s used as the entrance to the Red Keep after the queen completes her penance in season 5, episode 10. Build in the 14th-century, the outer Ploče Gate is connected to a stone bridge, while the inner Ploče Gate features really small doors built in Romanesque style.

Bokar Fortress | King’s Landing

The Bokar Fortress viewed from  Fort Lovrijenac, Dubrovnik.

Built in the 15th-century to protect Pile Gate, the main entrance to the Old Town, the Bokar Fortress is placed at the top of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The fortress, which is a semicircular two-story building, was designed by the architect Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi, one of the great Renaissance pioneers.

The Bokar Fortress is one of the filming locations of Game Of Thrones, and it’s featured in seasons 2 and 3. One of the most prominent scenes shot in the fortress is the one where Tyrion Lannister and Lord Varys look at the sea while planning the defense of King’s Landing against Stannis Baratheon.

Gradac Park | The Purple Wedding

The Dubrovnik coast seen from the Gradac Park.

Placed within a walking distance from the Old Town, above Danče beach, and overlooking the Lovrijenac Fortress, Gradac Park dates back to the 19th century, when it was established as a retreat for people to enjoy some time around nature.

Gradac Park is also where the Purple Wedding (Game Of Thrones season 4, episode 2) was filmed. One of the most iconic moments of the episode is when, after the wedding ceremony, King Joffrey is poisoned and dies, and Tyrion Lannister, Joffrey’s uncle, is arrested for murder.

Ethnographic Museum Rupe | Littlefinger’s Brothel

Outer view of the Ethnographic Museum Rupe, in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Orininaly a four-storey building, the Etnographic Museum Rupe was erected in 1590, but after the 1667 earthquake, it had to be rebuilt and it turned into the three-storey building that it is to this present day. The museum houses around 6.500 objects that are a heritage of the Dubrovnik region, and the Croatian people.

One of the best-known Game Of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik, the Ethnographic Museum doubles in the show as the exterior of Littlefinger’s brothel, where Tyrion Lannister meets Oberyn Martell in season 4.

Tips For A Game Of Thrones Tour in Dubrovnik, Croatia

View of Dubrovnik's Old Town with historic buldings, and the Adriatic Sea on the back.
  • A great idea is to opt for a guided walking tour through the Game Of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik. There are several options of guided walking tours, and they’re an amazing option for travelers who don’t want to worry about creating an itinerary in advance. In Dubrovnik, there are Game Of Thrones walking tours that take guests to Lokrum Island, and to the Trsteno Arboretum, placed about 24 km from Dubrovnik;
  • Another pro tip is to purchase a Dubrovnik Card in advance, so you can save on sightseeing. There are three different cards: 1 day, 3 days, and 7 days, and each of them allows entrances to different historical monuments. With the cards, you can have access to prominent Game Of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik, such as the Ethnographic Museum, Ploče Gate, and Rectors Palace;
  • Go early. Especially during the high season, the city gets crowded with tourists, which causes huge lines for the attractions. If you get up a little earlier, you might be able to enjoy seeing Game Of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik a bit more.

Where To Stay In Dubrovnik, Croatia

Aerial view of the Grand Villa Argentina and Villa Sheherezade, in Dubrovnik.

While you may love staying in the wild Croatian mountains, we suggest booking your Dubrovnik stay as close to the city center as possible. That way, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the architecture of the city, which is one of the oldest towns in Croatia and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Find Hotels in Dubrovnik, Croatia | Find Homes in Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Fun Facts About Croatia
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Croatian Food Guide

Croatia 7 MINS READ

The Top 10 Foods To Try In Croatia

The Top 10 Foods To Try In Croatia

Croatia 7 MINS READ

If you’re a real foodie, then your favorite travel moments in Europe happened while you were eating. From the delicate Italian pizza and the hearty German cuisine to the soulful Spanish tapas, the Old Continent offers delicious treats that appeal to the most demanding food connoisseurs.

Aside from the most obvious gourmet destinations, such as Italy, France, Portugal, and Spain, there are also remarkable offbeat hotspots for foodies in Europe. In Croatia, for instance, food is taken with pride, and family recipes are a legacy passed through generations and generations.

Rich and varied, Croatian food is one of the must-try cuisines for those who are planning a trip to the Balkans and during your trip, you’ll find yourself filling your itinerary with famed eateries where you’ll be able to sample the most delicious flavors of the country. But, before your trip, read our comprehensive guide to learn all about this flavorful cuisine and learn what are the top 10 foods to try in Croatia.

An Overview of Croatian Cuisine

Croatian Food: Rich and Varied

A plate with blitva and grilled squid, a traditional Croatian dish.

Croatia might not be the first destination foodies consider when planning a trip to Europe. But, surprisingly enough, the country is filled with traditional eateries, offering world-class options that are sure to please the most demanding palates.

One of the first things you’ll notice about the local food when visiting Croatia is that the country’s cuisine is extremely heterogeneous, and it varies both in preparation and ingredients according to the regions. This means that every region of Croatia has its own staple culinary traditions, which are highly influenced by the location. Croatia is located on the Adriatic Sea, and the coastal region of the country is characterized by the use of olive oil, sage, lemon, orange rind, and super fresh seafood. Also, thanks to it’s proximity to Italy (Croatia shares a maritime border with Italy), Croatia was highly influenced by Roman and especially Venetian cuisine, and many Croatian dishes are Italian fusions.

Dalmatia, which is a region of Croatia that encompasses a central coast strip along the Adriatic Sea, is known for using a lot of fresh vegetables and seafood in its dishes, aside from Mediterranean ingredients such as olive oil and garlic. One of their most famous dishes is the black risotto, which is made with squid’s ink.

Another amazing spot for coastal food in Croatia is Istria, which is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. Just like Dalmatia, Istria’s food was also influenced by the Mediterranean flavors, but the difference is that Istrian cuisine is a blend between continental and Mediterranean food. In Istria, a lot of fresh seafood is eaten, aside from homemade pasta.

While the coastal regions of Croatia take influence from the Mediterranean the mainland region of the country incorporates Slavic tradition and ingredients in its food, including stuffed bell peppers, poppy seed strudel, and other ingredients that can be found in neighboring countries, such as Hungary and Turkey.

Fun Facts About Croatian Food

A man holding a basket filled wih black truffles.

Fact 1. Croatia has 7 Michelin Star restaurants: LD Terrace, Korčula; Boškinac, Novalja, Pag; Noel, Zagreb; Draga di Lovrana, Lovran; Monte, Rovinj; Pelegrini, Šibenik, and 360, Dubrovnik.

Fact 2. Istria is known for its white and black truffles, and is regarded as “Croatia’s Truffle capital”. In fact, one of the largest truffles in the world weighing 1.31 kg was found in Istria.

Fact 3. Legend says that Julius Caesar bought his olive oil from Istria, as the region is a premium olive oil producer, and named the best in the world by Flos Oleil (the world’s most prestigious olive oil guide).

Fact 4. Croatia produces some of the finest sea salts in the world, which can be found in Nin, in Northern Dalmatia.

Fact 5. About 25 food festivals are held annually in Croatia.

Must-Try Foods in Croatia

1. A Vegan Delight: Poppy Seed and Almond Strudel

strudel desert foods of croatia

If you think Strudel is for Austrians, think again. Croatian poppy seed-filled strudels fill the air with the sweetest smell you’ll ever experience. The slightly crunchy top, sprinkled with snow-white sugar, and the rich taste of poppy seeds make the strudel a perfect start to the day. Paired with a soy cappuccino from freshly ground coffee beans, nothing can beat this duo for breakfast. Our favorite place in Zagreb for the best pastries in town is Dubravica pekarnica – just make sure to be early enough to get some right out of the oven!

2. For Dairy Lovers: Pag Cheese

Croatian Pag cheeses on the shelves.

If you are a fan of natural, free-range food, Croatian Pag cheese is a must. Made from sheep on Pag island, this treat is hard, salty, and gets more flavorful with age. For cheese lovers, it may remind you of Italian pecorino. One of the peculiarities in this cheese is the strong and distinct taste resulting from the sheep freely grazing the natural herbs, like rosemary. Paški sir, as it is referred to in Croatian, can also be tasted in a variety of food tours, so do not forget to consider checking some out before going to Croatia.

3. A Croatian Elixir: Korčula White Wine

croatian wine

Croatian weather and climate are especially good for winemaking. Traditional wineries offer one of the best white wine varieties in the region. In Croatia, Korčula Island is well known for its winemaking tradition. The island is proud of its white sand beaches that offer wine drinking paired with unforgettable views. Make sure to look for the distinctive dry taste, which is produced exclusively in Croatia. Croatia’s Korčula’s forests hide two well-known wine villages, Čara and Smokvica, where the famous pošip grapes are grown. Both wines go well together with seafood, lamb, and even traditional Peka stews. You can also taste the prošek, a sweet dessert wine, to accompany dessert fruits.

4. A Croatian Speciality: Octopus Salad

croatia octopus salad with olive oil

Croatian food is said to be similar to Venetian traditional cuisine, due to the abundance and variety of seafood it features. When traveling through the coastal regions of Croatia, you must order seafood. While the best Croatian restaurants offer a wide variety of lobsters, mussels, octopus, even black ink fish foods, and others, one of the best and most distinct traditional Croatian specialties is the octopus salad. Grilled and served with fresh leafy greens, it is the perfect lunch on a hot summer day. Some restaurants even add potatoes and capers, whilst others go for cherry tomatoes. You may want to order a glass of Korčula wine to go along with your meal. This is the best way to experience some of the best food in Croatia during your journey.

5. The Iconic Dalmatian Dish: Peka

croatian food with olive oil

In the winter, fish stew and hearty vegetable and meat dishes take over Croatian cuisine. One of the specialties and must-tries in case you visit Croatia in the chillier months of the year is Peka. Traditionally sauteed in a metal pot, this stew can include any kind of meat together with root vegetables. Its rich taste and full flavors come from hours of spices, vegetables, and meat simmering over an outdoor open flame. One enjoyable meal, and you’ll be energized to experience everything Croatia has to offer. Be sure to include Peka on your dinner or lunch menu the next time you’re in Dalmatia.

6. Pašticada: A Hearty Comfort Dish

Pasticada with gnocchi.

Pašticada is the ultimate Croatian comfort dish. It consists of slow-cooked meat, which is previously stuffed with garlic, cloves, carrot, and some bacon for extra flavor. The meat is salted and marinated in vinegar overnight, and it’s then roasted and cooked in a rich red sauce for 4 to 6 hours. The traditional Dalmatian pašticada is served with gnocchi or homemade pasta.

7. Crni Rižot: The Black Risotto

A squid risotto topped with three grilled shrimps.

Known as Crni Rižot, this risotto has an intense flavor, which is perfect for seafood lovers. The black risotto is made with cuttlefish or squid, aside from garlic, onion, rice, and squid ink. Crni Rižo is particularly famous in the coastal areas of Croatia.

8. Brodet: An Italian-Style Croatian Dish

Croatian style brodet with shrimp.

Brodet is a Dalmatian fish stew that is made using a variety of fishes such as dent fish, sea bass, tuna, and eel just to name a few. Famous in the coastal cities of Croatia, this fish-heavy soup can be served with polenta or bread to suck up all the flavorful sauce.

9. Fritule: A Sugary Christmas Treat

A copper bowl filled with Croatian fritules with powdered sugar on top.

Fritules are a popular sweet treat in Croatia, especially during Christmas time and Lent, which is the period before Easter. These fried dough balls are made with eggs, milk, flour, and usually contain citrus zest and rum. After they’re fried, the Fritules can be powdered with sugar and cinnamon for extra sweetness.

10. Ham: The Pride of Istria

Thin slices of ham.

You already know that Istria is famous for it’s black and white truffle and premium olive oil. But the region is also a renowned producer of ham. Cut into delicate thin slices, the Istrian ham is made from high-quality meat, which is enriched with sea salt from the Adriatic coast. Unique in flavor and texture, this ham has no adipose tissue, and the meat does not contain additives or nitrates. Another element that ensures the flavor and aroma of the Istrian ham is the fact that the meat is curated without smell, only with the help of clean air. Plus, the Istrian ham is legally protected, and it must be produced only in the hinterland of Istria.

Taste Croatia Your Own Way

Grilled squid with espargus and potatoes.

After reading our guide there is only one thing left to do: to go and experience the Croatian cuisine yourself. Aside from soaking up the sun in the best beaches of Croatia, take some time to eat your way out through the country and taste some of the best dishes it has to offer. Go to a new restaurant, be spontaneous, and keep in mind that every experience counts.

We hope you enjoyed our Croatian Food Guide. Make sure to try these incredible dishes during your next visit!

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CuddlyNest provides all accommodations to all travelers at the best price. Find unlimited travel inspiration on our blog and social media channels

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Balkans 5 MINS READ

Best Dirt-Cheap Balkan Ski Resorts for Family Christmas Holidays You Can Ski below $20 a Day

Best Dirt-Cheap Balkan Ski Resorts for Family Christmas Holidays You Can Ski below $20 a Day

Balkans 5 MINS READ

Balkan ski resorts In Southern Eastern Europe packs the best value per buck if you ask us. While there are many opportunities for Christmas holidays spent together with family or friends, Balkans can offer you one of the most fun and unforgettable ways on skis. You can choose from resorts totalling in 883 kilometres of slopes, served by 521 ski lifts. That said, skiing opportunities in Southern East Europe Balkan countries are virtually endless.

While skiing is for everyone, skiing in the Alps in France or Switzerland can get expensive. To have more fun while spending less, we suggest skiing in Europe in Slovakian Tatry or go to Balkans instead.
Not only it is much more enjoyable to stay away from tourist-crowded ski destinations; you will also save quite a bit of money by going to the budget Balkan ski resorts. Offering world-class skiing opportunities for just a fraction you would spend in the US, Western Europe or even Scandinavian glaciers, CuddlyNest made a list featuring the best Balkan ski resorts that are also family-friendly.

After all, Christmas is all about being together with your loved ones, isn’t it?

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Vitosha, Sofia – Bulgaria

Budget-friendly Resort for All, € 18

We already wrote about 15 good reasons to visit Balkans this holiday. But here comes another one. Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, hosts one of the least expensive, but well-rated ski resorts in Balkans. With more than 20 km of ski slopes available and 15 lifts in the disposal of skiers, there is plenty of space to practice, learn and simply enjoy skiing for all technique levels.

The winter sports area is situated between 1340 and 2290 m, and while most of the slopes are for those aiming at blue trails (easy level), approximately 30% of ski slopes are for intermediate skiers. If you are sure about your skiing abilities and want to go for extreme adrenaline trails, there is not that much to see in Vitosha. Only 2 km of total ski slope area is surviving advanced skiers.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Sofia, Balkan Ski Resort Prices

As for pricing, you will save quite a bit when skiing in Sofia. Day ticket for adults costs approximately €18 (BGN 35), while youth and children day passes come at approximately €14 and €11, respectively.

Night Skiing in Sofia, Bulgaria

The resort is opened from 9 am to 4 pm, but you can also ski at night. Night skiing is operating from 6.30 pm until 10 pm, daily, so you can enjoy starry sky while going back to top on the escalator chair.

The resort is one of the best established in the whole region. Although there are no recently opened slopes, the very first slope with the 2-person fixed-grip Dragalezvi-Saslona chairlift was opened back in 1956. After that, the resort has undergone 2 large upgrades, with each adding 5 slopes. The current slopes are the result of 1984 upgrade. However, there have not been any Olympic games hosted in Vitosha, so while you get a great value for the buck, do not expect the world-class training slopes, especially if looking for moguls.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Skiing Babin Do – Bjelašnica – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Want to ski on Olympic Games slopes? The winter Bjelašnica Olympic Mountain Ski Centre facilities are located on the eastern slope of Bjelašnica. Close to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is plenty to do both in winter and summertime. While it is one of the most marvellous places to go for a hike in summer (or winter, if you are into ski shoeing), do not get carried away with hiking trails.

Olympic Ski Resort in Balkans

Indeed, Bjelašnica is one of the top ski resorts, having more than 12.5 of slopes available. Good for both skiing and snowboarding, the resort lies around 27 km away from the capital city of Bosnia, making it an attractive destination for those who want to spend some time in the city where the World War I started. The capital boasts beautiful architecture, and affordable restaurant scene – you may want to check it now and book Sarajevo hotel in advance.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Balkan Skiing Red Trails

Contrasting with other Balkan ski resorts, there is more to do for intermediates than those who are beginners. Located between elevations 1,270 and 2,067m over the sea level, skiing near the capital is also one of the most affordable, considered great Bjelašnica summit slopes. With day pass costing adults €18 (BGN 35), and €13 (BGN 25) for children, you can enjoy the slopes where the Winter Olympics of 1984 were hosted. It is an experience of a lifetime to ski the same slope where Bill Johnson (US) won the alpine skiing downhill, and twins Phil and Steve Mahre (US) slalom.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Stara Planina – Babin Zub for Beginners – Serbia

Located in Southern and Eastern Serbia, Stara Planina offers one of the least costly options for beginners. The perks of choosing Stara Planina as your Balkan winter ski destination also include the fresh countryside air. The slopes practically end at the village Jabučko Ravnište, and you can go straight to your home after a long day on skis.

Serbia Ski Resorts

As for the offering, the Babin Zub is perfect for those families looking for a place to practice skiing safely. Out of 13 km of the resort’s slopes, more than half is for those trying to learn. When surpassed the blue slope skill level, you can either go for red or black slopes, both of which are equally abundant, compromising 3 km each.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Stara Planina Ticket Prices

Day tickets for adults and children are a little bit more expensive but considering 5 lifts for just 13 km of ski slopes, you can be sure you will not freeze at the line waiting to go to the top. Gondolas will take you to the top, and you can be sure the chairlifts are up to the latest standards, being constructed just back in 2006. Daily ticket for adults costs €19 (RSD 2250) and €15 (RSD 1760) for children.

CuddlyNest blog Balkan ski resorts

Sljeme (Medvednica) – Zagreb – Croatia

While Croatia beaches and historical sites are appealing to those families seeking sun and summer in the midst of winter, there is a lot to do in Croatia for those willing to take up skiing, too.

Best Croatia Small-Scale Ski Resort

Sljeme ski resort near Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is small enough to feel cosy and always be sure about where your family members are. One of the best ski resorts for those with young children, Sljeme ski area is totalling in 4 km. Mostly serving those who go after blue and red tracks, the ski area is equipped with a 3-person chairlift to bring you 1030 m high into the mountainous area, and 2 J-bar lifts to bring you to the top of the slope again.

Croatia Ski Resort Near Zagreb

The day ticket is one of the least expensive, costing €13 (HRK 100) for adults and €7 (HRK 50) for children. Operating from 9 am to 4 pm, Medvednica is a good option for those looking for a wintertime activity close to Zagreb, Croatia. After visiting Zagreb SPAs, you can relax in tranquillity on skis!

Have you skied in Balkans? Let us know and share this with your Facebook friends, Instagram fellows and Pinterest audience!

Hacks & Tips 6 MINS READ

The Balkans: Health and Wellness Getaways from Croatia to Greece

The Balkans: Health and Wellness Getaways from Croatia to Greece

Hacks & Tips 6 MINS READ

In our previous blog post, nature travels took us to Croatia and Montenegro. From the beaches and 19th-century spas to the islands with legendary sites, there is so much to do, see, and enjoy during a Balkan getaway. Visits to Albanian and Greek natural parks offer so much to indulge in. From the freshwater to the smells of olive trees, you will want to soak up all the health and wellness benefits forever. When taking your trip off the beaten path, you too can find luxurious hideaways with less populated areas to explore and discover freely. First, start planning where to go! 

balkan getaway in croatia

Albania and Greece Wellness and Health Itinerary:

Albania is well known for its lush nature, green woods, and blue pristine sea. The country has so much to offer when it comes to pampering visitors with massages and world-class spa experiences. The best part is, you can indulge in a fraction of the cost you would spend elsewhere in Europe. As for Greece, the best way to take care of your mind and body is to soak up all the Vitamin D on the beaches, and diving in the pristine blue Ionian Sea. If there is one thing we know if your health can benefit immensely from an outdoor getaway. 

Best Spas and Wellness Centers in Albania:

As for the best spa and wellness centers in Albania, tourists have a wide selection to choose from. While many are located in Albania’s capital city, Tirana, there are several locations offering the same wellness experience in areas near the sea. Make a trip out of it and book an overnight spa to give you an extra dose of relaxation.

As for other retreat options, visitors can find several near the natural parks. Senior-friendly and accessible tourist wellness and spiritual meditation retreats are growing in this region. There are even Italian and English-speaking beachfront yoga retreats in Durres you won’t want to miss. Daily organic meals and yoga meditation can seriously up your tranquillity and help you hit the reset button. Are you looking to stay within your budget? Go and volunteer in Albania to enjoy the luxurious nature without spending anything on accommodation in exchange for lending a helping hand.

Best Yoga and Spiritual Retreats in Greece:

Greece offers just as many experiences if not more. We suggest doing your research to find the offbeat locations. Many websites will direct you to Greece’s more populated touristic cities upon first glance. However, there are so many secluded areas you will want to see first. Several yogini ashrams host retreats every summer with travelers and yogis coming to achieve spiritual awakening from all over the world. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will work wonders for your soul.

 

balkan getaway

Greek Health and Wellness History:

 Therapeutical bathing and wellness retreats date back to prehistoric times starting with the Babylonians and Egyptians. However, the earliest Western descriptions of these health and wellness retreats come from Greece. Public baths and showers were meant for relaxation and personal hygiene. However, the Greeks believed the natural springs and tidal pools had a sacred power of healing, as told in Greek mythology. People come from all over the world to take a dive into these natural springs. You will leave feeling healed and rejuvenated. Where do we sign up?

Now that you know everything from the history of wellness retreats to the best places for a massage, it’s time to hit the road. 

Buna River-Velipoja Protected Landscape in Albania, Velipojë:

The Buna River, or Bojana, of the South Western Balkans, is an important river containing the most important wetlands in the Eastern Meditteranean. To get the best views, we recommend hiking on the coastal wetlands. Not only you will gaze upon the relaxing waters of the river, but also the estuary of Drin, and the lagoon of Villani. The gulf of Viluni runs across the city of Velipojë alongside the Adriatic Sea. It is one of the most beautiful sights one will see in their lifetime. To get from Skadar to Velipojë, it will take 40 minutes by car. There is no public transport, as the area is far from the main cities. Thus, CuddlyNest experts suggest renting a car in Albania to allow you to experience one of the best views and peaceful road trips during your vacation.

beautiful beaches in croatia

Kunë-Vain-Tale Nature Park

You do not want to miss taking a drive through the nature reserve Rezervati Kunë-Vain-Tale on your way to Greece. From the beautiful Illyrian forests to Mediterranean woodlands, the nature reserve is one of the most biologically diverse areas in Albania. With more than 277 species of plants, 23 species of mammals, 196 species of birds, and many more insects and fish, flora and fauna are abundant. Take your yoga mat, hiking boots, a warm sweater, and a hammock, and go explore the beautiful nature with lakes. The walking paths are so secluded that you will feel like the only people there. Your mind will thank you for the peace and serenity. 

Durrës, Albania:

Durres, Albania is one of the most beautiful and historically rich cities. As the second-largest city and a summertime resort paradise, it also has the largest port in the Adriatic Sea, connecting well with Italy and Greece. No matter your destination, when coming to Durrës, you should visit the ancient remains. Although there are not many left from the Ancient Roman times, the Durrës Amphitheatre built in the 2nd century AD is definitely a must-visit. You will find all types of architecture in Durres. From Illyrian to Greek, Roman, and even Italian architecture, Durres is definitely worth a stay for a day or two. Make sure to go to the Royal Villa of Durrës, among other museums for an extra cultural experience.

Vjosë-Nartë:

To go further from Durres to Vjose Narte, you will ride through the beautiful Divjaka-Karavasta National Park. The natural park has the largest lagoon in Albania, and one of the largest in the Mediterranean Sea. The Karavasta Lagoon, in Albanian, Laguna e Karavastasë is also a very popular location for bird-watching and camping. Once in Vjose Narte, though, you will need to find the Narta Lagoon and the famous “Land of Eagles and Castles.” Ecotourism is very important in Albania and the Balkans. This region is the best place to go for eco-tourism enthusiasts and slow travel supporters.

balkan getaway by the coast

Vlorë:

Without Vlora or Vlorë, the Albania travel destination guide would not be complete. Lying on the foothills of the mountains at the Strait of Otranto, the city belonged to ancient Greece. Tourists can indulge at the beach in the Gijpe Canyon, Zvërnec Island, and House if Ismail Bej Vlora. It will add to your experience of Vlora. The bay of Vlora is also considered the frontier between Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The island of Sazan so close, it is a good idea to go there for a couple of hours. Vlora weather is one of the best in Albania, and you cannot really go wrong when there are 300 sunny days per year.

Sarandë:

Sarande offers a historical sightseeing experience unlike any other. There are plenty of medieval areas to explore around the Albanian Riviera. Start by visiting Lëkurësi Castle and Monastery of 40 Saints. Book a boat tour in the afternoon to enjoy a leisurely ride around the sea. The best ways to travel around is by bus and ferry boat. You can get to Patras from Sarande in a 4-hour drive. If you are traveling with a group consider travel by bus. Patras city is quite large, therefore it is safer to have some backup options. You can’t miss exploring the entire metropolis.

Browse. Book. Stay.

CuddlyNest provides all accommodations to all travelers at the best price. Find unlimited travel inspiration on our blog and social media channels

Florida 9 MINS READ

Balkan Nature Wellness Roadtrip Itinerary to Croatia and Montenegro

Balkan Nature Wellness Roadtrip Itinerary to Croatia and Montenegro

Florida 9 MINS READ

Balkan Croatia Montenegro CuddlyNest blog roadtrip senior nature getaway relaxing

Senior travel in 2019 is great and booming. But while hotels and resorts offer more and more yoga and health, meditation and yoga holidays, some elderly prefer to go on an active holiday and enjoy nature hikes, mountain climbing, and even canoe trips, discovering what Europe has to offer from a different perspective.

Senior Holidays in Europe

If you prefer visiting Europe and its Central European capitals, or travel to Northern Europe for Art Noveau architecture, or visit

other Balkan countries for great food, go and visit some of our previous blogs. But if you want to treat yourself well, and allow your body to relax on holiday while giving it enough active time, keep reading and learn what great Balkan destinations to visit and add to your South-Eastern Europe bucket list when going on winter or spring holidays 2019. CuddlyNest put up an itinerary for your active, adventurous, and yet not too much physically demanding holidays – and we are sure you would love to get some relaxation time with SPA and beauty retreats in between! 

Balkan and Greece Itinerary Plan for Active Seniors

Balkan and Greece itinerary is a great option if you are looking for a laid-back travel destination country and want to go somewhere you’ve never been before. From Croatia to Montenegro, from Greece to Albania, there are well-known and popular destinations as well as harder to reach, much more rural and even abandoned nature-only places.

  1. Split, Croatia
  2. Brac Island, Croatia
  3. Pasjača Beach, Croatia
  4. Vranjina, Montenegro
  5. Locven and Skadar Lake National Parks, Montenegro
  6. Durrës, Albania
  7. Sarandë, Albania
  8. Corfu, Greece
  9. Patras, Greece

Split, Croatia.

Balkan Croatia Montenegro CuddlyNest blog roadtrip senior nature getaway relaxing

Split, Croatia Best SPA and Nearby Beaches

While Split is the capital of Croatia and one of the best-connected cities in the region, there is not much nature around the city, apart from the very well-kept white sandy beach. To relax and care for your health, we recommend staying at SPA apartments and enjoy the Split hospitality for very affordable prices. 

There is a SPA and wellness centre also in Divota Apartment hotel, where private studio apartments in Veli Varos District just 5 minutes from the UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace and the Riva seaside Promenade. The rooms have access to massages and SPA and wellness centres.

If you are more into hotels than private apartments, Hotel Park Split has a seasonal outdoor pool, and couped with SPA and wellness centre Filomena Priska Spa on its underground floor. The center includes a hot tub, sauna and even a gym! Located on one of the Split’ s most famous beaches Bacvice, it is Make sure to try out their 19th century inspired massages, facial and body treatments, as well as services like waxing, manicure and pedicures.

Balkan Croatia Montenegro CuddlyNest blog roadtrip senior nature getaway relaxing

Makarska, Sumartin and Brac Island 

To truly enjoy the wild spirit and sense the Split itself, you must dive into island-hopping even if only for a short time. From Split, you can travel to Makarska, a nearby town just a 1-hour ride away. Makarska is known for its Riviera beaches, and seafront promenade, but to get to less crowded and wilder beaches, we suggest visiting Kačić Square and then continuing to port and getting on a ferry to Brač island.

How to get to Makarska

To get to Makarska, get on a Promet Makarska bus. It will take a little over 1 hour from Split to Makarska. Get your tickets at the bus station, but check the schedule or if you wish to, then book your tickets on their website. The bus goes hourly from 5 am to 10.30 pm daily, and you can get a ticket for 50 HRR, approximately €7.

Sumartin and Brac.

Sumartin and Brač Island are an old and scarcely populated island. Sumartin village is the youngest town on the island, homing around 500 people only. Established in the 17th century, the town comprises Fraciscian monastery, and some other religious buildings, among old farmhouses. When visiting Brac island, take it slowly and enjoy the local wines, food, and other  . If you earlier visited Split and saw the UNESCO inscribed Diocletian palace. Built for Emperor around 4 AD, today it forms around half of Split old town. If you wonder where the material for the magnificent building was taken, then it is just there, in Brac. Near Supertar, there were dolomite Rasohe quarry, in which slaves worked day and night to gather material for the palace. Still today, you can see a small engraving – the legend says the picture was engraved by slaves asking for guidance and strength to Hercules, the Roman hero famous for strenht and other features. When visiting Splitska, Smartin and other places in Barc, you can rent a bike to get around the island faster.

There are also several SPA resorts and nature and eco-travel guest houses offered for staying at and enjoying your holidays in a laid-back, natural atmosphere on this Croatian island.

Makarska to Brač Island ferry

To get from Makarska to Sumartin, you can take a ferry by Jardolinija route 638. The service runs 3 times a day in the off-season, 4 times a day in June and September, and 5 times a day in July and August. The ferry costs 30 HKR for an adult, but you can check more precise ticket information here

Pasjaca Beach.

Balkan Croatia Montenegro CuddlyNest blog roadtrip senior nature getaway relaxing

Best Beach in 2019: Visit Croatia Pasjača Beach

If you are keen to see one of the wild beaches compromising both white sand, pristine blue water and even some cliffs, then look for it no more and head to the now-famous Pasjaca beach. It was claimed to be the best beach in the world in 2019, sporting the 1st place and ranking above the world-famous beaches of Spain and Greece. If you can catch both, we also suggest going to Nugal beach just to see what the hype is about.

As for the origins of the beach, it is not exactly a natural beach, as you may expect. Developed from a symbiosis of man and nature, the origins of the Pasjac (or Popovic) beach date back to 1955 when there was a tunnel constructed, leading to the sea. Workers left the excavated rocks just there, and in a few years, the waves crashed against to fill the shore with white sand at the bottom of the majestic cliffs on Konavile. Today, you can, therefore, see both white sand and cliff shore watered by the blue Medditarea sea water.

How to get from Brac to Pasjaca

To get from Brac island to Pasjaca, the easiest way is to go from Supertar to Split by ferry, and then take a bus from Split to Popovic. The whole trip will take around 4 hours, and cost from €31. The bus route is not going by the seaside but is surely a picturesque journey, taking you through the mountainous region of Dio Kanjona Rijeke Cetine, the Dio Canion of the river Cetina. 

Kotori, Montenegro.

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Bay of Kotori, Montenegro

To continue your road trip, you can head to the nearby Cavtat caostal town to rent a car and go further on your own into the nature parks of Montenegro. The car drive from Cavtat to Kostanjica in Kotor, just by the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro will take you no more than a 1-hour drive, and the road is simply beautiful, with flat and landscape, small road going through the coastal towns. If you are not in a rush, definitely stop at Igalo Игало in Montenegro, take a dip in the water at Tople, walk the promenade and see the Old Škver Harbor, before heading to Kamenari passing Savina Monastery in Herceg-Novi, on the way overseeing the most beautiful bay in Montenegro, Boka Kortska.

Cavtat Car Rental 

Renting a car at Cavtat Croatia will not cost you a fortune. While some car companies allow you to drop a car off at your hotel in Cavtat for free and renting within Croatia will be around £54 for an economy car but you would have to pay €40 to take it into Montenegro. Axa rental service offers the prepayment to be around £21 for the excess, while for other companies, like iCrahire, it would cost 45 Euros for the green card to take it out of Croatia. There is also another cost you must take into account, hence the insurance To reduce the insurance to zero, you can use iCarhire and reduce the 1500 euro excess to £20 for the week to reduce it to zero. However, the company will still need your card to reserve the insured amount, and 15 euros to reduce the excess. All in all, you will hardly spend over 100 euros for a week of car rental, and the money will get you much further than taking buses. However, we only suggest booking a car after going to the islands, as ferry fees can quickly add up if you want to take your car with you.

Ferry from Kamenari to Lepetani

 To get from Kamenari to Lepetani by car, you cannot take a ferry or ride the walking bridge connecting Kamenari to Lepetani. Instead, you shall ride all the way the scenic route by the inner part of the bay, and going through Dobrota and Kotor towns. Whilst on the road, we recommend also take a chance and enjoy the local cuisine, and get some of the best Montenegro food, ordering either the tasty fish soup or squid-ink-colored black risotto at one of the restaurants in the towns.

Lovcen National Park, Montenegro

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Visit Lovcen National Park, Montenegro

Visiting Lovcen National Park is a must if you want to wind off and just enjoy the wild beauty of Montenegro. From weeklong meditation retreats on your own in the 62 km2 area in the central highest part of the mount Lovcen, to wandering the historical buildings, farmhouses and village guvnas, cottages in katuns and more man-made but integrated spaces. The mountainous region is popular with tourists but less so in September and October season. The best time to camp here in July and August, but for a digital recharge, or off-grid life for a few days to relax your senses and get back the health, you may also visit the park in the shoulder season. 

Lovcen National Park Practical Information: Entrance Fees and Accommodation

To enter the National park, you must buy a ticket for £2, but the entrance for children under 7 years old is free. You can also camp here, with your tent or camper. Sleeping in nature will cost you 10€ while there are also several hotels located within the nature park, hence Hotel Ivanov Konak ad Hotel Monte Rosa. The former one also has a bicycle and car rental for your convenience. 

Skadar Lake National Park in Montenegro

After taking time in Cetinje in Lovcen National Park, you can drive further to either Podgorica and Budva, to visit either the capital or one of the best-rated resort towns in Montenegro. However, you can just continue along the road  M23 from Centinje t Podgorica, and take a turn at Meterizi, turning onto a small countryside road going to Skadar. Skadar is well known for its nature, and the lake feels untouched by men.

If you wish to deep dive into nature and relax, then gong for birdwatching either alone equipped with a book and binocular, or in an organized tour, you can spot all kinds of birds all season long. As for other activities, like boat rides, you can relax taking a sunset ride into the beautiful lake.

Rijeka Crnojevića

Before coming to the lake itself, you will pass by the Rijeka Crnojevića, Ријека Црнојевића. To take the most from the local cuisine, we suggest having lunch with the local scallops in the Old Bridge Restaurant, alternatively heading to the nearby Šinđon and get some lake fresh food fro the Eko Restaurant Šinđon.

Balkan Itinerary: Visit Virpazar

Virpazar is one of the smallest villages around the lake, at the same time offering one of the best options for winding off, taking a break from city life and enjoying yoga retreat, off-grid life, and fresh air all day, all night. With a population of a little over 300 inhabitants, both Serbs and Montenegrins, the  village is the perfect place to escape the city buzz. When bored, you can climb up the Besac Castle which is open every day and watch the lake from up.

 

To follow up on the next edition of the Balkan itinerary, follow us on Instagram, Facebook and share this on Pinterest!

Balkan roadtrip senior nature getaway relaxing

The Balkan nature itinerary will be continued by a trip to Albania and rural Greek islands.

Activities & Adventure 3 MINS READ

Travel Croatia: What’s Hot in September 2019

Travel Croatia: What’s Hot in September 2019

Activities & Adventure 3 MINS READ

Croatia, believe it or not, is one of the most sought-after destinations in September and October 2019. Contrary to Slovenia and North Macedonia travel destinations, Croatia offers blue waters and pristine beaches, all of which draw travellers to Split, Zadar and Dubrovnik to visit Game of Thrones filming locations and eat and drink Balkan food like kings. Want to explore what’s new and hot in Croatia to tell your family and friends? We composed this top list by what visitors are excited about on Instagram, what they Google, and what our avid travel ambassadors suggest us seeing this month.

Game of Thrones – Travel Croatia: What’s New?

Game of Thrones Cruise Ship 2020

While we still have to wait for Game of Thrones Season 8 to see what the new shooting locations are, there are new and exciting opportunities offered to GOT fans visiting Croatia in 2020.
The cruise ship Adriatic Sun sets the way around the most iconic GOT shooting locations around the island for 7 nights. From the yacht with private balconies you can oversee King’ s Landing, Qarth, Braavos and the Westeros Riverland. Limited to 38 passengers only, this will be one-of-a-kind-experience, and with $1.895 you can live like a king straight from GOT, with breakfast, lunch, plenty of cocktails and guided tours included. What not to forget? Make sure to taste the rakija or Croatia wine, whichever sort of tipsy you want to get. And do not worry about anything – the transportation from and to the airport is included as well!

Game of Thrones Museum in Split – New Opening 2019

After visiting Dubrovnik, Šibenik and Klis GOT filming locations you may think you’ve run out of things to do in Croatia as a Game of Thrones fan. This is, however, now solved with the newly opened GOT-themed Split museum opened in May 2019. Located close to Diocletian’s cellars, the new museum compromises 300 m2 interior space. The private museum owned by Luka Galic will transform you in space and time with all your senses. The black walls and scents of cedar and jasmine, together with over 100 exhibits ranging from dragon heads to swords of Valerian steel and life-sized Jon Snow and Tyron brings you into the mystical world of Seven Kingdoms. Located at Bosanska ulica 9 and open daily between 9AM and 10PM, the GOT museum will be a great addition to those for whom series are close to the heart.

Travel Croatia on Budget – Uber in Croatia | New Uber Boat Services

Uber for a cheaper and more reliable transportation service (unless you rent a car via Nova Rent a car or use Sixt, but the reviews are not that inspiring) is available in Dubrovnik and we highly advise it! Although Uber is nothing new to Croatia, you can now enjoy the pioneering Uber Boat service. It costs around 2,600 kuna (about $416, or $52 per person) to take 8-seat boat from Hvar to Split. For a budget option, we recommend trying ferry ticket priced at $16.

Travel Croatia on Budget – Bolt (formerly Taxify) in Croatia

Bolt, the Estonian transportation sharing service company is now expanding to Croatian coastal towns. Split and Dubrovnik are now easier to navigate with a local driver, also pushing the prices once dictated by Uber slightly down.
What new did you discover on your Croatia trip in August 2019?

Croatia 5 MINS READ

Visiting Croatia-Here’s What You Need To Know

Visiting Croatia-Here’s What You Need To Know

Croatia 5 MINS READ

When you’re visiting a new place like Croatia, you’ll likely want to fit in. What the locals traditionally do here, as well as what they eat and drink is important information to consider before booking your trip.

First things first – The best time to visit Croatia is in June and September. Although many tourists flock to Croatia in July and August, the busiest time is not always recommended to be the best time to visit. The reasons June and September are the best times to go is because there are fewer people, meaning fewer traffic jams, fewer crowded beaches, and certainly no long queues. Not to mention, the weather is still warm around this time and prices tend to be more affordable. It’s usually even still warm enough to take a swim in the sea! So, now that you know the best times to schedule your trip, let’s get into the other essentials you should know about.

Croatian Food

The food in Croatia is not only tasty, but fresh and locally-sourced as well. Inland locals tend to eat large amounts of meat, but in the more coastal regions, the food consists of fish and other types of seafood. Try some dry-aged beef in an inland town like Osijek, or get your seafood fix at a fishery in Zadar.

Visit here to get some ideas on Croatian food.

What About Drinks in Croatia?

If you’re concerned about catching something nasty from drinking tap water, there’s no need to worry. Just like in the United States, drinking tap water in Croatia is completely safe. However, if you’re like most people, you may be used to drinking bottled water. Make sure to keep in mind that drinking bottled water exclusively can be extremely expensive.

Many people enjoy sitting back, relaxing, and sipping on their favorite alcohol at times. If you’re bringing a guest, it’s good to know that there is no minimum legal drinking age in Croatia, but the minimum age to purchase alcohol is 18-years-old. Travelers of any age can enjoy the local drinking scene, but make sure to use your best judgment. As far as alcoholic drinks go, you’ll find that wines, spirits, and beer are all extremely popular. Any traveler is of legal drinking age here, so enjoy the plethora of options no matter what age group your group is!

If you’re looking for a unique dive into Croatian drinking culture, you should have a look at some old-age Croatian wineries. During the last couple of decades, several small family-run wineries paved the way for great quality wines that are made with indigenous grape selections, such as Malvazija, known as a dry white wine that is produced in Istria. In this day and age, the country has become a unique destination for a cultural wine experience for travelers of any age to enjoy.

If you enjoy drinking beer, you’ll fit right in with the locals – they are very fond of drinking beer themselves. Unfortunately, though, you won’t find such an exciting array of beer choices that you may find in your hometown. The most mass-produced beers in Croatia are Ozujsko and Karlovacko, and they are both light lagers. However, no matter your age, you can expect to have a great night drinking with the local populace.

Spirits are also well-enjoyed by the locals of any drinking age, and they come with several flavors. In Croatia, they are called rakija. They are usually made with grapes and have special flavors added. There are multiple options for those who prefer drinking spirits over wine or beer to find something they’ll enjoy, no matter their age.

It’s also useful to be aware that, unlike the United States, there is no legal age or law about the legal drinking age in public. While you’re unlikely to find obnoxious drinking behavior in public places, make sure to keep an eye on your younger-age guests if they do decide to partake in drinking alcohol. Also, drunk-driving laws are very strict, so make sure to plan ahead and take a taxi or get to places on foot if you have alcohol included in your plan.

Ultimately, without drinking, your trip to Croatia would be incomplete. Travelers of any age can enjoy the cultural individuality that the country’s drinking scene offers. Croatians are proud people, and they pride themselves on their drinking history and the expertise that has come with it. So no matter your age or drinking preference, the country will have something for you.

How About Some Fun Things to Do?

Sure, eating and drinking a little bit is always relaxing, but what about some fun things for travelers of any age to do? And what if some of your guests are not of legal drinking age? What do the locals enjoy? Just make sure you’re not drinking too much to enjoy these activities with your younger-age guests safely.

Cruises, Water Tours, and Sailing

Dubrovnik Elafiti Islands Cruise

If you’re up for an 8-hour cruise around the Elafitis Islands, this is a must. Travelers of any age will be able to explore the village of Sudurad and visit the Elafiti Islands of Kolocep, Sipan, and Lopud. Top it off with a simple lunch and drinking some refreshing beverages.

Small-Group Blue Cave Five Islands Snorkeling and Swimming

Taking just one single-day trip can allow you to experience an amazing Dalmatian coast adventure. This will also give you the ability to visit famous sites including Hvar Town, the Blue Lagoon, the Blue and Green Caves, and Stiniva Beach.

Blue Cave and 6 Island Tour

Not only will you be able to travel from Split to the majestic island of Hvar and explore the Blue Cave on this trip, but tourists of any age will be able to enjoy some free wine tasting as well.

Tours and Sightseeing

Dubrovnik Old Town 1.5 Hour Discovery Tour

When jumping on this discovery tour, you will be able to view the hidden gems and main sights. Not to mention, you will be able to embark on ancient tales about Dubrovnik, such as when it was one of the world’s most flourishing port cities.

Dubrovnik Combo Old Town Tour and Cable Car Ride

Don’t miss out on the potential gorgeous views when you visit Croatia. Take advantage of this spectacular opportunity and book this straight away. Your draw will likely drop as you go over Mt. Srd, which towers over the city.

Water Sports

Kayaking

Whether you already love kayaking or have always wanted to try it, you’ll love the Dubrovnik Sea Kayak Tour. This is a 2.5 to 3-hour sea kayak tour that comes with a guide. As you paddle away from a beach to Lokrum, you will be in “awe” over the 900-year-old city walls. What’s better than getting to know the landmarks in Dubrovnik from a kayak?

Scuba Diving

This is the perfect water sport for all ages and skill levels. See native wildlife up close in their natural environment. Whether you’re alone, with a friend, or with your family, this is a great adventure to go on.

Have you ever visited Croatia? If so, how was your experience? We’d love to know!

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