2017.10.22 08:53 | David Scharf
This museum city does not fail to astonish thousands and thousands of tourists throughout the years. If you take a tour around the town you will be amazed by every step. It owes its majestic appearance to fortifications with forts Bokar, Lovrijenac, Minceta, Revelin, St. Johns and St. Lukes Tower. Do not miss a chance to walk around these walls, to take a look at some magnificent and picturesque landscapes. Take a moment and try to absorb the city’s energy. An important part of Dubrovnik’s heritage `are Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and church of St. Blaze (Sv. Vlaho). A proof of how many valuables were in the cathedral’s treasury is the fact that it was locked with three keys. One was kept by the bishop, the other one by the rector and the last one by the Republic secretary. The door could have been unlocked only when using all three keys simultaneously. One of the most exquisite monuments of profane architecture on the Croatian coast is definitely the Rectors Palace – a Gothic building with Renaissance and Baroque reconstructions. It was the administrative centre of the Dubrovnik Republic. Rolando’s Column is another symbol of the Republic era. According to the legend, Roland saved the town from the Saracens and defeated them near the island Lokrum. At the time, the white flag of the Dubrovnik Republic with the image and initials of st. Blaise was put on the column. Nowadays, during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival another white flag decorates the column, inscribed with “Libertas” it represents Dubrovnik’s historic liberal character, humanitarian principles and concern for justice. The Sponza Palace – an astonishing ornament of the Dubrovnik streets, built in Gothic-Renaissance style. Today it houses the Dubrovnik Archives, considered to be one of the richest archives in Europe.There are many museums and art exhibitions in Dubrovnik. The one that delights us the most is the Visia 5D Multimedia Museum. It’s a unique interactive museum that allows visitors to experience Dubrovnik’s history through the use of new Technologies like hologram projections and virtual reality.
Wine, the sun and the sea…After exhausting hours of sightseeing, you can taste some of the delicious Mediterranean food and wines from nearby peninsula called Pelješac. These wines are considered to be one of the best in Croatia. Their exquisite taste will complete your perfect impression of this Mediterranean pearl. While on vacation in Dubrovnik do not forget to enjoy the sun and sea on some of the surrounding pebbly beaches. Many hotel beaches are marked with the Blue flag and on the isle of Lokrum there is a naturist beach. Where to stay in Dubrovnik? Accommodation in Dubrovnik during the summer months is pretty expensive, but luxury five stars hotels are definitely worth it. If you like private accommodation more, there is a lot of private houses, apartments and villas rented for tourists. Events and the nightlife of Dubrovnik.. Known as a City of culture, Dubrovnik offers an extensive list of cultural events. The perfect time to come to Dubrovnik would be during Dubrovnik Summer Festival, known worldwide musical and theatre festival. Another great musical event to check out is the Julian Rachlin & Friends Festival which is known for its laid back and intimate atmosphere. Dalmatian vocal groups and the troubadours often perform on the city streets. Their melancholic songs about love and life, happiness and grief bring a romantic touch to Dubrovnik’s evenings. The film art is well represented in the city. Beside the Libertas Film Festival which was founded six years ago, the Dubrovnik Film Meeting also succeeds to draw attention of the seventh art enthusiasts. It is organised in cooperation with the management of Sarajevo film festival and is located in the old city centre between family houses. This idyllic scenery provides a typical relaxed atmosphere of the Mediterranean.The city never sleeps. It pulls you in with its vivid spirit and lures you to experience its nocturnal magic. There are a lot of bars in Dubrovnik, some with live music, which will seize the last bit of energy out of you.
The best beaches in Croatia- Beach Sakarun, Dugi otok - this beautiful sandy beach with a view of the open sea is situated in a gulf near Veli Rat on the island of Dugi otok. It is reachable by ferry from Zadar and when you arrive at Dugi Otok there is a tourist train that drives to Sakarun.
Beach Mala (small) and Velika (big) Raduca, Primošten - Mala Raduca is situated in Primošten and covered with pebbles so it’s perfect for families with children. Since this beach does not have any facilities, maybe you will like Velika Raduca more. It is also a pebbly beach and it’s separated from the smaller one only with trees.
Koversada, Vrsar - If you like rocky beaches Vrsar is perfect for you, in Vrsar you will also find Koversada, one of the biggest nudist beaches in Europe.
Beach Laguna Stella Maris, Umag - Umag is perfect for active vacation since there is a lot of recreational and sports activities offered on almost every beach. One of them is the beautiful pebbly beach Laguna Stella Maris and its Blue flag that guarantees clean sea and environment.
Baška, Krk - this beautiful pebbly beach with a lot of recreational activities is an extremely popular destination for families.
Beaches in Crikvenica - Crikvenica is famous for its 28km long Riviera full of beautiful sandy and pebbly beaches. The beach Crni molo is, because of its shallow sea, perfect for small children, or maybe a pebbly beach Balustrada with a Blue flag or even beach Omorika which offers a lot of sport activities. We would also like to recommend Podvorska which is a pet friendly beach. Plaža Dražica, Biograd - a pebbly beach surrounded with trees that offers a lot of recreational activities and bars. Mildly interesting fact – the sea is a bit colder in this area, during hot summer days this can be very refreshing.
Zaton, near Zadar - a popular sandy beach situated in Zaton Holiday Resort, abundance of beach facilities makes it perfect for families with children.
Slanica, Murter - a sandy beach full of recreational activities and bars. It is situated on the island of Murter near Šibenik and is connected with the mainland by bridge. Zlatni rat, Bol on the island of Brac - We can’t not to mention the picturesque Zlatni rat which is famous for its pointy end which changes direction depending on tides and currents. It is a sandy beach ideal for beach activities appropriate for any age group.
Beach Palmižana, Pakleni otoci - it is situated on the small island of Klement which belongs to Pakleni otoci near by Hvar. This pebbly beach is ideal for beach activities and very popular with the younger population. Copacabana, Dubrovnik - this pebbly beach offers a lot of recreational activities like kayaking, jet skiing, water skiing etc.. It is also adapted for people with disabilities. All previously mentioned beaches are pretty crowded during summer months. If you like secluded beaches more, we recommend a visit to any of Croatian islands. They are full of hidden gems, so maybe you will be lucky enough to discover one by yourself.
Among the wonderful places of this world, there are some where time seems to never pass the same as everywhere, where a unique combination of natural beauty and deep cultural heritage form marvelous destinations. Croatia is such a place, recently emerging as a fascinating tourist destination, it has more to offer than most people know or even imagine. An amazing experience awaits those who venture to explore and discover theauthentic Croatia, with an immense variety of experiences and sights. From the stunning Adriatic coast with hundreds of beaches and coves, over a thousand islands and majestic medieval towns cut into the sea, with charming traditional villages that still preserve the authentic culture of Croatia, with some exceptional natural landscapes and parks, but also with modern cities and quality hospitality services, this truly is a great tourist destination. Croatia has much to offer, but most travelers dream of visiting the coastline, the long seashore at the Adriatic Sea, featuring maybe the most dramatic scenery of Europe. From the famous city of Dubrovnik in the south, passing through cities like Split, Zadar, Rijeka or Pula, each new kilometer reveals stunning sights, the turquoise waters of the Adriatic kissing the rocky or sandy beaches, remote coves where travelers can find intimacy and romanticism, lush sunny islands where one can still find old fishing villages and so much more. One thing that Croatia is famous for are the old towns of the seashore, veritable medieval strongholds built right by the sea, with stone walls and cobblestone streets, with that rustic atmosphere that attracts visitors over and over again. Although Croatia has become one of the top destinations of the world, the vast expanse of coast and the countless islands still make it extremely desirable.
The interior of the country is equally enchanting for people who wish to explore, departing from the beautiful capital of Zagreb, with its specific traditional and old feel, featuring fascinating museums and medieval architecture, but also beautiful natural parks and surroundings. Another famous destination in Croatia is the Plitvice Lakes National Park, a true wonder of the natural world, unique and unforgettable. The azure crystal clear waters of these otherworldly lakes form an enchanting scenery, worth exploring and admiring. Croatia is also a rich cultural destination, with plenty of places where traditions and customs are still present, part of the everyday life. Croatia offers a rich and diverse cuisine, great wines and an overall positive experience. The country has come a long way in the last two decades or so, developing a modern tourism industry. While traveling through the beautiful landscapes of the Balkans, you will encounter an amazing country that will, once you visit it, make you come back over and over again. This country is Croatia, one of the most precious gems of Europe, located in the crossing of Middle and Southeast Europe; a perfect location for making it one of the most diverse countries that has a lot to offer to its visitors. The beauty of Croatia is admired in the different sights and attractions that it contains, from mountains in the North across the central part where the cities like Zagreb lie, to the South where the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea and long, sandy beaches are awaiting your arrival. Croatia is a country that has something for everyone, whether you are a fan of historical heritage, natural beauties, of parties that never stop or you just want to find some peace and quiet on your vacation. Whatever your thing is, Croatia is the place to be. One of the most amazing and probably best-known places among several national parks in Croatia is the Plitvice Lakes National Park. It is famous for its unique landscape that includes the wooded area with 16 bigger and smaller lakes with stunning emerald green color. The lakes are made of small rivers and streams, and are interconnected by waterfalls. The diverse landscape of the Plitvice Lakes is not something you can find everywhere; this park is stunning for anyone, and for those who are amazed with its natural beauty, it is a true peace of heaven. The real splendidness of Plitvice Lakes can’t be denied, and that is why it was recognized by the UNESCO as a part of the World Heritage. In the inland of the country is the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. The City of Zagreb is famous for its historical and cultural architecture, numerous museums, historical quarters and many more, dating from the age of Baroque till today. The charm of Zagreb will capture you and lead you to the enchanting places it treasures for decades and centuries. While approaching the South, before you hit the numerous islands in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea, you will encounter coastal towns like Zadar, Šibenik, Split and others with original architecture that will take you back to the old times when the first residents walked down the narrow, cobbled streets. One of the most popular towns in the coastal area, not only in Croatia but the whole Mediterranean, is certainly Dubrovnik. It is a prominent tourist destination filled with great number of historical and cultural sights. The most popular part of Dubrovnik is the Old Town, and the city itself is considered a part of the World Heritage. Getting further South and diving into the waters of the Adria, you will find an array of wonderful islands that make the coastal part of Croatia so fascinating. Besides the incredible natural resources on islands like Hvar, Korcula, Krk, Rab, Brac and Pag, you can still see some of the traditions and customs that these islands were famous for before the tourism, such as cheese making and salt works. Here, urban is mixed with rural and, one can say for sure that, it is the charm of these islands. On one of them, Pag, is the most popular location for youth and those who feel young – Zrce is for the ones who like to party hard. Besides the clear water and a huge pebble beach, this destination is the burning core of the beach parties. It became so popular in the past few years that people call it the Croatian Ibiza. You will find that Croatia is a country that treasures more than you expect and has a lot to offer to its tourists; amazing nature, tradition, cuisine, hospitality, culture and history. One visit is not enough to see everything, but it is a good starting point, and when you visit this beautiful country, you will not stop. Once you are here, you will become a loyal visitor because Croatia will lure you year by year with its charm to come and discover the rich heritage that it nurtures through history. Come and experience the real Croatia! In a country that is attracting more and more tourists each year a city like Karlovac can be a haven of tranquillity away from the more touristy spots. This region is rarely on the mainstream tourist radar and for some people this is what makes a trip. It’s a chance to experience “Real Croatia” or “Croatia off the beaten track”. Here you don’t have to go search for your own hidden corner to escape to, the whole town is the escape! If medieval castles, crystal clear rivers and unspoilt nature are your thing then read on… A Town on the Edge of Empires - In short – Karlovac began its existence as a fortified town built completely from scratch. In the 16th century this region of Europe was the ever shifting borderlands between the Habsburg (Austrian) Empire in the north and the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire to the south. In an effort to strengthen the poorly organised defences between the two, the Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand I decided that more forts and castles should be built along a rough geographical line from the Adriatic to today’s Hungarian border in order to establish a militarised buffer zone to be known as the “Military Frontier”or “Krajina” in Croatian. The “Star” or “Zvijezda” as it is known locally is the oldest part of the city. It has this name simply because it was designed in the shape of a perfectly symmetrical six-pointed star. Architects and city planners of the time were extremely excited that a brand new town could be built to specifications that they believed exemplified the “ideal renaissance city”. Around then it was all about geometry, symmetry and order. The man who made it happen was Archduke Charles II of Austria. He negotiated funding and manpower for building the project so this is where the city gets its name. Originally in German it was; Karlstadt (Charles’ Town) – Karlovac in Croatian. Works began on the 13th July 1579, a date that is celebrated every year as the “birthday” of the city. Within a year the fortress was garrisoned and the terrorised villagers flocked to its shelter. Let’s just say there were a few teething problems for the first hundred years or so. Plague, flooding and a couple of fires caused more concern than the occasional attempted siege by the Turks. Up until the biggest fire in 1692 most buildings were constructed from only timber. After that, city planners (taking the hint) began to rebuild with solid materials. At this time the city began to take on a baroque style. In the mid-18th century the fortifications and city underwent another massive renovation attaining an even more modern baroque look – a lot of what you see today. Inside the old town core you’ll find an assortment of repurposed former military installations (although some are still abandoned since the War), one time mansions of Karlovac Generals, artisans’ houses and palaces of wealthy noblemen and merchants. Nowadays the main pedestrian street through the star is Radiceva Street. Here and on the streets branching off of it you’ll find cafes, places to eat and shops. At the south end you can still find the city guard tower which looked out over one of the original entrances to the fortress. The main central square (Ban Jelacic Square) is home to the Church of the Holy Trinity with its distinctive yellow façade and bellower. The Church is one of the oldest buildings in Zvijezda having been built at the same time as the fortress. Attached to it is the 17th century Franciscan Monastery and across the square the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas. Nearby is Strossmayer square, home to the city hall and the oldest residential building in the star (early-17th century) which now houses the Karlovac City Museum; well worth a visit to get your bearings. Although not inside the original boundaries of the fortress, Zrinski Square, or “Korzo” as it is known to locals, is lined by the first residential area built outside of the fortifications. A lot of the big houses formerly belonged to wealthy business families and merchants or were constructed as cultural institutions. Some really nice examples not to be missed in and around the city centre/Korzo include; Vranyczany Palace (1869), The Grain House (1813), Barako Palace (1872), Frohlich Palace (early 20th century), Zorin Dom City Theatre (1892) and Karlovac School of Music (1890).These are just a few examples. Really, the best way to enjoy it is to just wander; every street tells a tale and definitely your exploration should include several coffee/beer breaks!
Of course at face value you could be mistaken to dismiss Zvijezda as having seen better days. It is true, it needs some love. In my opinion the fact that this little town has seen all the days is where the real charm is to be found. From when the fortress was command of the Croatian Military Frontier, to its declaration as a “free royal city” and the golden age of prosperity that followed, the short-lived but highly influential occupation by the French (1809-16) to the decline of the Ottoman Empire, two World Wars and the recent Croatian Homeland War (1991-95); the trials and tribulations of the city’s existence are visible for all to see, as are the reminders of great success and heady days of wealth and influence. A “City of Parks” - Exploring the outer fortifications it becomes clear why Karlovac is known “the city of parks”. After the city attained its “free royal status” and the Ottoman Empire’s borders had shifted further south, the fortress began to lose its defensive worth. It became a wealthy centre for trade and was expanding freely and rapidly beyond the confines of the fortifications. Over time the ramparts and ditches fell into disrepair, that is until it was decided in the late 19th century that parks should be created in the by then drained ditches. Rows of chestnut and linden trees were also planted along the outer rim creating a beautiful star-shaped promenade. A stroll along these paths will take you by sections of the original retaining walls and parts where the ramparts are still intact. Only then can you get some idea of the scale of the original construct.The wide space between Zvijezda and river Korana is now home to the forestry school’s Arboretumand Vrbanic botanical gardens, both havens for native woodland wildlife. Any given time of the year you can find locals jogging, walking dogs and relaxing. Natural River Beaches - In summer the left bank of River Korana really comes to life as the bathing season begins. The river-beach Foginovo has won many awards and is still the only officially registered river-beach in the country. It is also the only one that has access to the water for people with disabilities. Korana is traditionally known for its healing qualities and the water can reach temperatures in the mid-twenties during summer. If you have been to Plitvice Lakes National Park you will have some idea of how beautiful the water is because there is the source of River Korana. Renting a bicycle will open up even more opportunities for swimming. Close to the city there are many secluded swimming areas to be found. Some even have bbq and picnic facilities. A little further away you can take local transport to the more well-known “Island of Love” or “Mrežnicki Brig” near Duga Resa; both very popular with tourists and locals, particularly weekend day-trippers from Zagreb escaping the hot sticky city.Medieval Castle Dubovac - A short walk from the city centre on an ancient hill overlooking the city is the 14th century Old town Dubovac which has been home to various Nobel families and Frontier army Generals over the centuries. The castle is open to the public and has a small museum in the main tower. Dubovac was named as one of CNN.com’s “most beautiful places in Croatia” in 2014. If you are visiting I recommend you go to catch sunset from the tower. They can be as spectacular as the much lauded Zadar ones, trust me! The Kalvarija hiking trails behind Dubovac will take you through the forested hills to the west and just to the south is the Kozjaca nature trail. Both trails can be combined for a full day’s hiking.
A Perfect Base for Adventure - Karlovac is spoilt for choice when it comes to river activities. All four rivers in their early stages are popular destinations for rafting, kayaking and canoeing. From April to October; outdoor companies in the city offer day-trips that cater for all levels of expertise and age.
The dramatic River Korana canyon near the village of Rastoke is a popular destination for professional rafters and is the location for the international competition “RastRaft”. Remote sections of the river downstream are only accessible by raft which adds to the unspoilt beauty. River Mrežnica is a regular candidate for most beautiful river in Croatia. It cuts though some of the most rugged and uninhabited karst landscape in Croatia. Locals will say that the best rafting in the whole country is on the River Dobra. The first commercially organised rafting trips began on this river. In early spring, the wild upper-reaches of Kupa attract the more experienced enthusiasts. Off-road tours in all-terrain vehicles, mountain biking, canyon-ing, trekking, outdoor survival courses and even snowboarding in the Žumberak Mountains in winter are just a few more possible excursions on offer from the city. Guilt-free Gastronomic Offerings - After a long day exploring or if you are coming down off your adrenaline buzz it is good to know you can find an affordable place for a meal accompanied by several glasses of quality, locally produced wine. Karlovac has many excellent family owned restaurants serving hearty traditional Croatian food, all fantastic value for money. Even the seafood is excellent this far inland. Bars serving imported and local craft beer are fast becoming a thing now too – a very good thing in my opinion. This is after all also “the city of beer”, because – if you hadn’t already guessed it; “Karlovacko Pivo” has been brewed in Karlovacsince 1854. Dessert will not be a problem either, there are plenty of delicious cake, ice-cream and pancake shops strategically positioned in the city centre to tempt you. Don’t feel guilty though. With all the hiking, biking and rafting you’ll be doing, the kilos will fall straight off again the next day!
The facts that were included were just few out of many!!!
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