Croatia Ranked #2 as an Emerging Travel Destination
Enjoy the clear waters of the Adriatic Sea…
Travelers love the beauty of Croatia…
Croatia emerges #2 on the Virtuoso report for travel destination coming of age for 2019.
While shipbuilding is a prominent industry for the country, tourism and a growing wine region is closely on its heels…and it’s no wonder.
Travelers remark how beautiful the country is. A mixture of location and history combine with modern tastes for wine, food, art, music, and culture to bring a refreshing taste of Eastern Europe to the rest of the world.
Did you know, Nikola Tesla was born in Croatia?
And the dalmatian dog which has won the hearts of children and fireman everywhere can trace breeding roots back to the country.
Sheep’s milk cheese? Croatia.
Donkey meat? Croatia.
Roman ruins? Croatia.
Castles, Forts and Walls to rival the one in China? Croatia.
Fingerprinting technology? Croatia.
Ballpoint pen? Croatia.
Shooting a rooster out of a cannon? Croatia.
The legend around the “town of picoke”…
Many legends in Croatia have been passed down through generations by storytelling. In the legend of the rooster, the tale goes something like this:
In the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire’s army surrounded the city walls of Durdevac with intent to siege the city. The fighting went on for days and the towns people were starving because they were stuck inside the protection of the wall. So were the soldiers outside the gate, but they were intent on taking the castle so fought back their hunger believing they would emerge victorious.
Then, an old woman from the town had a brilliant plan. “Shoot a rooster from the cannon into the army.”
Now, she didn’t suggest to supply the hungry army with a meal!
Instead, the purpose was to fool the army into believing the townspeople had plenty of food within the walls, so much so that they could spare a rooster, and therefore, had no reason to surrender.
In other words…she was bluffing!
The bluff worked. The army left and went on to other cities which they believed had fewer roosters to spare. They named the town, “the town of picoke” aka the town of the rooster and left them with the curse that their children would be called picoke.
Picoke is a name today’s Croats apparently use with pride.
Diverse Landscapes and Wine
Storied history seen from the windows of everyday life in Croatia…
Croatia is made up of 20 counties, more than 1000 islands in the Adriatic Sea, and a landscape as diverse as its over 4 million inhabitants. At any given time in history, Croatia has drawn the attention of its neighbors ranging from Italy to Yugoslavia to Hungary and Austria. It seems many people wanted a piece of Croatia, or at least control over Croatia.
Many articles you find today focus on the beauty of the coast. Perhaps because there is so much of it! Plus, with mild year-round temperatures who wouldn’t want to spend it basking on the pebble beaches and seaside towns like Zadar which Alfred Hitchcock claimed had the “best sunsets in the world.”
But it’s not all beaches and sunsets. Croats encourage travelers inland to land that lies east of the Dinaric Alps.
History tells us Croatia was desirable to nobles and peasants alike. Today, we see the remains of castles, fortresses, great walls, baroque buildings, marble streets. and a well-preserved ampitheatre that many think puts the Roman ruins to shame.
You may ask, why would anybody ever leave this beautiful country and move to someplace like America or other surrounding countries where many of our own ancestors emigrated in the late 1800’s?
The answer: Opportunity.
By some early writings on the history of Croatia, the seafaring towns along the Adriatic Sea were more prone to exploration and travel. Then, when the railroads opened in 1873 from Karlstadt to Fiume (now called Rijeka), people from inland towns could easily travel over the mountains to the sea and then onto faraway countries like America.
For wine lovers, you’ll be interested in knowing that Agram County, where you find the city of Zagram, was one of the winegrowing districts affected by phylloxera in the 1800’s. The phylloxera epidemic destroyed most of the vineyards for wine grapes in Europe, including those in France, Italy and Spain. In fact, many of the families that owned vineyards throughout Europe relocated to North America, South America (such as Chile) to start over during this time.
Food and Wine Lovers Love Croatia
You’ll be delighted with the cuisine which celebrates fruits of the land and the sea..
For what is becoming a common theme for many popular destinations around the globe, crowds and over-tourism can be found in Croatia. Especially during high season (summer months) and especially in the most popular cities and attractions.
Still, that shouldn’t defer you from traveling to these spots to enjoy the rich history, food and wine created in this region of Europe. Simply be aware of where and when you are traveling. And, learn as much about a location before you go. Not just the “top 10 hotspots” of a location, but also some of the history around the country and what is currently going on in the world of food, wine, and active pursuits.
You don’t have to go far to read about or see pictures of the delicious food served in Croatia. Sheep milk cheese and quality olive oil can be part of a tasting or culinary experience with a professional chef. The fruits and vegetables are fresh and organic. You see, “organic” is not a “thing” in Croatia because, after all, what else could they be?
With so much of the country kissing the sea, you will get your fill of seafood! From black risotto (died with squid ink) to oysters and an array of fresh-off-the-boat catches of the day and then inland to the coveted “black truffles” of Istria…good meals and delicious wines will flow!
And speaking of wine…
When you decide to peel yourself away from the beaches along the Adriatic Sea, take a Wine Tour in Croatia. Here are just some of your choices:
Fourth generation wine makers say, “Due to their geographical position and climate Šibenik and the area of the Šibenik-Knin County have been recognized as the ideal place for growing grapes and producing excellent wines. Scarce land and difficult rocky landscape, “forced“ farmers to start producing wines which resulted in them being great wine growers and producers….On the global and European markets our wines represent a negligible quantity but with excellent quality of our autochthonuous wines, richness of taste and smell we seem to be able to find our place under the sun.
“Philosophy of our family is based on togetherness which is preserved through generations. We have always followed same goal and worked on it with diligence and serious dedication. Our aim is to widen horizons and cross borders in wine world, always keeping a single promise of quality which for we guarantee by our family name.”
“Love, energy and courage are the main drivers of the winery Trapan. Since 2005 to this day with hard work and perseverance, we have created 12 hectares of ecologically clean vineyards.
The learned knowledge and experience we transfer into the winery creating fine and elegant wines of a specific character, recognizable, with a special Mediterranean touch.
Wine production is primarily a family business and requires a lot of attention and mutual understanding. Believing in the success of our mission, creating from the heart, giving ourselves to the entire production process, we found the right path that leads to achieving our target – to create a distinctive product, in which even those of most refined taste will enjoy…”
“Viticulture and winemaking is a tradition of our families from the north and the south of the Adriatic coast. Grape meant life and it still means life to our family. Three generations of our family participate in the grape growing, wine and spirit production. Our work rests on knowledge that was passed on for generations together with the academic education of our members. Grapevine was our past and it will be our future.”
“At the heart of every family tradition is a meaningful experience…” For an afternoon of tasting wine and sampling olive oil and light plates, try Babos.
”Experience wine tasting and olive oil tasting in the heart of Brač island! Traditional location between old stone houses combined with great wine, oil and heritage. Our place for wine tasting, olive oil tasting and wine tour is at Nerežišća, island of Brač.”
“In the very heart of the old town of Dubrovnik, there is a luxuriously furnished wine tasting cellar where you can taste, enjoy and buy everything the basement Matuško offers.”
A century old tradition: “Grandfather Markežić once worked and created in this region. What would he say today? It’s hard to say, but if we indulge our imagination just for a moment and go back in time, we will see his cellar, his old dusty barrels, his hardworking boškarin (the indigenous Istrian ox), and him – proud and happy that this land rewarded his efforts and endowed him with good wine. Through his life as a peasant, he succeeded in passing on to us all the values that are leading us into the future.
This is the strength that encouraged our family to stand firm and continue to produce wine by investing a great deal of effort and maintaining respect for tradition.”
“The island of Brač is unique and famous for its white stone (Stina), but also for numerous artists who lived and created on the island. Many famous Croatian poets, authors, sculptors and painters were born on Brač. Brač stone has always been a source of inspiration due to its beauty, but it is also a symbol of hardship when it comes to viticulture and viniculture. This is why we chose the name STINA for our wine. In the Dalmatian dialect, this word means stone, the strongest symbol of the island of Brač…”
Wine Tasting: “The fruits of our work are most appreciated when shared. Among the many pleasures the wine offers, it also opens a communication path between people.
Come and feel the magic of wine in the very place it was produced. Let us know you’re coming. We will happily share the pleasure of the wine tasting and toast to
a new friendship.”
“Living on the island of Hvar and making top quality wines is, for us, both a challenge and a logical choice. As early as the 4th century BC, the Ancient Greeks brought the grapevine to this sunny island and started planting it on the fertile fields of the ancient town of Pharos. Throughout the centuries of rich and turbulent history, the people of Hvar cultivated their vineyards with great skill and care, blessed with the lushness of the Mediterranean. Grapes and wine gave them safety, food and medicine. They grew some of the finest varieties in this area, but the challenge still remains: how to turn this richness and harmony into great wines….”
Family values and tradition are the key “condiments” of Benvenuti wines. They are the foundation upon which we produce our wines which in their grape variety reflect the abundance of our vineyards, located on several specific micro-locations. One of these, San Salvatore, is the heart of our varieties. The terraced configuration and the white soil, along with the micro-climate, give the grapes character which translates to very mineral, fresh wines, fully expressive of the characteristics of the varieties. These characteristics are expressed in all of our wines, from basic to aged Malvasias, fresh and harmonious Terans, through to intensive and pleasantly acidic sweet wines….to us, wine has always been inseparable from life…”
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Travelers say it is “out of the way” from Spit and very much worth the trip! Food and wine pairing can be enjoyed on the courtyard and the staff gets high marks all around from those who have visited this winery.
“Tasting wine at the Korta Katarina is certainly a very special experience. The three types of tastings offered by Korta Katarina will surely satisfy the needs of the most demanding gourmets and wine lovers. Particular importance is attached to the pairing of wines with local specialties. Tastings are done exclusively by reservation because it is very important that our professional staff can be fully dedicated to each guest. Perhaps that attention to each guest is part of what makes Korta Katarina a particular favorite for wine tasting.”
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“Winemaking is a dream with a deadline.
Our story has no traditional beginning. It is not a fairy tale featuring humble ancestors and their hardworking descendants continuing the tradition. We are crazy and courageous spirits who know they cannot go back to create the perfect beginning. We moved on from the place where the dream found us, positive we can create the perfect ending, the one you will find right into your glass.
Some call it business; we call it winemaking, the adventure in which we have dared to put our hearts on top of all the rules and regulations. Over and over again, for more then fifteen years now.”
“Peljesac Peninsula , a place where sun, sea and stone create a perfect home for Plavac Mali , indigenous Dalmatian variety that brings out the best from the “barren land” and gives us “divine nectar.” Marlais family, that drags roots from France, settled on the peninsula in the early 17th century, bringing with them the knowledge that every Frenchman has in its blood – how to make good wine.”
A small winery with a charming wine cellar that specializes in producing local grapes.
“We are more than a small family-run vinery: we offer a completly presentation of our homegrown products, wine and olive oil. Our wine story dates back about 100 years ago, when our ancestors produced Dobričić wine in more traditional and kind of rough way. Since than up to the present our hard work and patience gave us this incredible wine story inspired by the desire to preserve our local wine sort from Šolta…”
“During the past half century, the grandfather Edoardo Arman diligently and devotedly was planting Malvasia and Teran. With hard work, in which he put unmistakable love and all his life, he perfected the art of making “good” wine. Today, on the basis of this invaluable tradition, the Arman family rises again and again to new heights and to new spheres of excellence…”
“Fakin wines are a blend of experience, commitment and long-standing family tradition.”
“The family-run vineyard and wine cellar of Marijan Arman are located in the Western Istrian winegrowing area, in the immediate vicinity of Poreč, in the Vižinada district, specifically in the village of Narduči…While you are treating your palate to a drop or two of the indigenous Istrian Malvazija, you can be strolling through immense, winding, ancient or newly planted vineyards and olive groves, catching glimpses in the distance of the sea and the Alps, free to lose yourself in dimensions of time, and far from everyday worries and the milling city crowds.”
Wine, cheese, apple chips…enjoy a tasting on this family winery that also grows apples and produces apple juice.
“The agricultural cooperative ”Olive and wine” was established in 2006 with the aim of development rural area of Ravni kotari. The headquarters of the cooperative is in Polača.
The aim of the cooperative is production of top quality products through olive growing (edible olives in different preparation and extra virgin olive oil) and viticulture as well as figs and products made from figs.”
A Croatian family winery making wines from organically grown grapes. Your wine tasting experience can be with or without and accompanying brunch, lunch or dinner. Here’s what they say about the goals of growing organic: “The objectives of ecological winegrowing are maintaining and increasing the natural fertility of the soil with appropriate cultivation measures, while avoiding all measures that are contrary to that objective, such as excessive soil cultivation, the use of synthetic herbicides and easily soluble synthetic fertilizers. This type of cultivation stimulates the diversity of plant and animal species within the vineyard, with the aim of reducing the consequences of monoculture and achieving conditions in the vineyard that are similar to those in natural ecosystems.”
Croatia: Home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites…and more!
Croatia is home to cultural and natural wonders of the world…
Outdoor lovers, hikers, snorkelers, paddleboarders, and boaters can’t get enough of Croatia and her fairytale inspired scenery. Imagine having a picnic lunch on a cliff and then diving into the crystal clear waters below. You can do that here…and so much more.
What are your fellow adventure-seeking travelers recommending?
- The island of Mljet is the most beautiful place in the world.
- For hiking trails in unspoiled nature and cycling away from the crowds, try the Island of Krk.
- Don’t miss the longest European mountain trail carved in rock called Premužićeva staza located at Sjeverni Velebit National Park.
- Lighthouse lovers will enjoy Dugi Island with the Veli Rat Lighthouse.
- How about a village built on the waterfalls? Try
The list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Croatia include:
Episopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Center of Poreč
Historic city of Trogir
Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian
Old City of Dubrovnik
Stari Grad Plain, Hvar
Stecci Medieval Tombstone Graveyeard
The Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik
Venetial Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries: Stato da Terra – Western Stato da Mar
Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe
Plitvice Lakes National Park
What Else Should You Know About Croatia Travel?
If it moves or grows, the Croats celebrate it!…
Here are some food, wine, and historical sight-seeing suggestions from locals and travelers as you head to Croatia:
- Check out the Beer Festival in Karlovac in August. “Dani Piva” (Days of Beer).
- Visit Vrsar, a small town near Rovinj! Great restaurants, bars, beaches, old town, food and wine.
- Looking for a food festival? Croatia has plenty. They say if it moves or grows, the Croats celebrate it! Anything from dormouse to lavender ice cream, paprika and chestnuts…they have a festival.
- Love oysters? Go to Bota Sare in Mali Ston. During oyster season you can go out on a boat and eat oysters fresh from their oyster farm.
- You’ll really feel like you’ve gone back in time in the medieval town of Dubrovnik. Locals and travelers admit it’s touristy and crowded and experiencing it is completely worth it.
So…when will you go to Croatia?