Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter in Croatia

Easter observances begin on Palm Sunday and continue throughout Holy Week. In many towns, there are ceremonies and processions every night. In the coastal towns of Dalmatia, neighborhood associations put on traditional costumes and sing ancient hymns. There are reenactments from the Bible and a blessing of the city gates.
In central Croatia, villagers build huge bonfires known as krijes, kres or vuzmenica, while others shoot from an old-fashioned pistol called the kubura.

Another custom is to create noisemakers known as klepetaljke or cegrtaljke that differ by region. Some are made of boards from which metal plates are hung, while others have wheels and sprockets attached to boards that are pulled to make a rattling sound

Palm Sunday

Since palms are scarce in Croatia, olive or rosemary branches are an acceptable substitute. The branches are decorated with ribbons and flowers and woven into wreaths or crosses known as poma. They are taken to church to be blessed. After the blessing, the poma are hung around the house as protection against bad luck and evil spirits.

Holy Saturday

The faithful attend a late night Mass at which the foods in their baskets are blessed and eaten for breakfast on Easter morning. Easter food is traditionally ham with radishes, spring onions and horseradish (hren) or roast lamb, and all the other foods that were forbidden during Lent. A special fruit-studded yeast-raised Easter bread that borders on being a cake called pinca or sirnica is the highlight of the meal. It is usually round in shape with the sign of the cross cut into it after it has risen and before baking. Some families make Croatian Easter Bread Dolls - Primorski Uskrsne Bebe.

Easter Eggs

Pisanice (from the Croatian word for "colored") are brightly painted eggs using the wax-resist method and decorated in the different styles of the regions. Before paint became common, villagers used natural dyes made from plants and vegetables. The most common color for eggs was red because of the abundance of red beets. In some areas, soot would be mixed with oak to make a dark brown color, and green plants would be used to make green dye. The most common phrase put on pisanice is Sretan Uskrs or "Happy Easter." Other decorations are doves, crosses, flowers, and wishes for health and happiness. Simply colored and undecorated hard-cooked eggs remain on the dinner table all day for family and guests to enjoy before the main meal is served, and also to be used in a game known as kockanje or tucanje in which opponents knock their eggs into each other to see whose egg comes out the winner (unbroken). The more elaborately decorated pisanice are exchanged with friends and family. Years ago, it was common for young men to give the girl they admired a pisanica   

Monday, March 25, 2013

Treasure of impressive history

The core of old town Krk, Island of Krk

Welcome to Croatia! A land whose rich cultural heritage is not discovered only from within the walls of numerous museums, galleries and churches, many of which today, as zero category monuments, are included in a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, but much more in that magical place on the Mediterranean, where even the shortest stroll becomes a journey down a staircase thousands of years old which takes one through a history that is at the same time turbulent, exciting and glorious. Whether walking the intricate grid of narrow white stone streets and alleys, or revelling in the teeming life of the port towns of Istria, Kvarner or Dalmatia, or climbing the green serpentines of Central Croatia to the fairy-like fortresses and castles, each step is an ever fresh experience, made special by the fact that on her territory as many as four cultural circles meet, intertwine and complement one another - west, east, Central European and the southern spirit of the Mediterranean. Croatia is a land of urban culture which numbers more cities than any other part of the Mediterranean.

Euphrasius Basilica, Poreč

If you are interested in the days of antiquity, you should start from the Roman amphitheatre in Pula, through Zadar and its forum - the largest excavated forum on the eastern shores of the Adriatic - and then to the magnificent palace of Emperor Diocletian in Split. Walk through time, from the pre-Romanesque Church of St. Domnius in Zadar dating from the 9th century, to the world of the Romanesque that is the magical monument city of Trogir, or the islands of Krk and Rab. Follow the Gothic period in Zagreb, Pazin, or, for instance, the town of Ston on the Pelješac peninsula. Discover the Renaissance in Osor on the island of Cres, Šibenik cathedral, the islands of Hvar and Korčula, and finally, the one and only Dubrovnik. The towns of Varaždin, Bjelovar and Vukovar glow with the splendour of the Baroque, while the heritage of the 19th century is at its best in Rijeka, Osijek and, of course, in downtown Zagreb.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Natural stress relief

You like an active holiday? You love sailing and diving, and you prefer cycling to site-seeing tours? You love climbing mountains and reaching their peaks and you are no stranger to casting off from those peaks on the wings of a paraglider? In that case, Croatia is the place for you.

The incredible coastal landscape, lovely indented coastline, coves, beaches sheltered by pine woods, and small and perfect coastal towns and villages scattered along the mainland coast and on hundreds of islands and isles, captivate with their singular character. Whether you are sailing along those shores, or diving in the blue waters lapping against them, the world before you will include a wealth of flora and fauna, traces of centuries gone by - from ancient amphorae to sunken galleys, and ships that met their end in the whirlwind of two World Wars. You will discover that the Croatian coast is a paradise for yachtsmen and divers. And the preserved natural environment is just as ideal a destination for those who love walking, hiking, mountaineering and camping. In short, it is the place for those who seek a holiday where they can truly become one with nature. And then, there is cycling, riding, numerous trails and tours which will take you in different directions in the rhythm that suits you. Finally, if you are an adrenalin addict, if the activities you are looking for include rafting, parachuting, or paragliding, then the rapids and rivers from Central Croatia to Dalmatia, and the mountains from the heights of Biokovo mountain on the mainland to Vidova Gora in the island of Brač will provide you with unparalleled excitement and challenges.
source: croatia tourism board

Monday, March 18, 2013

From Gastro and wine corner

The continental cuisine is typical for its early proto-Slavic roots and more recent contacts with established schools of gastronomy – Hungarian, Viennese, and Turkish. Meat products, freshwater fish and vegetables dominate.

The coastal region is characterized by the influences of the Greeks, Romans, Illyrians and later Mediterranean cuisines – Italian and French. It features many seafood specialties (squid, cuttlefish, octopus, shrimp, lobster...) prepared in various ways, olive oil, prosciutto, various vegetables, Dalmatian wines such as Babić, Malvasia, Prosecco and Vrbnik Žlahtina, and various liqueurs like the famous Maraschino.

In 2008, the national culinary team participated for the first time in the world encounter of chefs and pastry chefs, the Culinary Olympics held in Erfurt, Germany, and won the bronze medal.


Paški sir, a hard cheese from the isle of Pag, is an excellent cheese and one of the most reputed in Croatia. The traditional Croatian fresh cheese (svježi sir) is also very popular, often sold at markets in plastic sacs and usually eaten as an accompaniment to a salad, with salt and pepper

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Country of thousand islands

Islands of Brijuni
 The Croatian coastline together with its islands ranks among the most intricately indented coastlines in the world. Of 1244 islands, islets, cliffs and reefs that have remained following the dramatic rise in the level of the Adriatic Sea around 13000 years B.C., today only 50 are inhabited.

This wealth of islands and islets attracts adventurous travellers from all over the world. Kayakers and yachtsmen never fail to be delighted by the smaller isles and their romantic atmosphere, and by the relaxed way of life amid such tranquillity and beauty.

Many island towns please the senses with their beautiful architecture and atmosphere, by their monuments dating from Antiquity, works of art in stone, wood, on canvas and on ancient parchments.
Superb quality stone and highly skilled stonemasonry is a tradition on a number of the islands. Stone from the Island of Brač has been incorporated into towns, summer residences and many splendid works throughout Croatia, Italy and indeed the world.

The Adriatic lighthouses - those signposts of stone and guardians of the sea - are mostly automated, only about 15 of them still being manned.
Some have been fitted out as residences and can be rented for a Robinson-like adventure on a deserted island. 

The islands are best seen by undertaking a hiking or cycling tour, which should certainly include at least some of the largest islands: Lošinj and Cres, Krk, Rab, Brač, Hvar, Vis, Korčula, Mljet.

Island or Galesnjak
many lovers from around the world consider it the ideal spot for a romantic Valentine's Day break

The 130,000 square yard islet of Galesnjak came to prominence after its unusual shape was highlighted on Google Earth.
Even the owner of the uninhabited island - now known as Lovers' Island - didn't realise how perfectly heart-shaped the island off the Croatian coast was until he was swamped with requests from couples to stay there.
It seems many lovers from around the world consider it the ideal spot for a romantic Valentine's Day break.
Vlado Juresko said: "It has been incredible. We think it is the most perfect heart-shaped island in the world. Nobody lives there so if lovers really do want to spend time alone it's the perfect desert island.
"We always thought it looked a bit like a heart but since it's been on Google Earth everyone else has seen it too and the whole world seems to want to stay here."
The island is located in Zadarski Kanal between Zadar and the Island of Pasman.
Croatia is ranked as the 18th most popular tourism destination in the world, proving especially busy during the summer months.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Nature in full color

Island of Mljet

Northern Velebit
Croatia is one of the ecologically best preserved parts of Europe. It is a land where the hues of the sunny and warm Mediterranean happily blend with the tranquillity and freshness of mountains and the gentle sway of the golden plains of Pannonia. A land of truly divine inspiration that has delighted many of the world’s prominent men of letters. A rare European landscape which boasts as many as eight national parks in so small an area!

With Risnjak, Paklenica, the Plitvice Lakes and Northern Velebit in the mountainous area, and with the Kornati Archipelago, the island of Mljet, the Brijuni Archipelago and the Krka waterfalls in the coastal area, Croatia is indeed a jewel of the primeval beauty of nature. Adding to that two arboretums, one in Trsteno, near Dubrovnik, and Opeka, near Vinica, numerous historical parks and protected nature parks, it is indeed a green land, with as many as 4300 plant and as many animal species.

Do not delay: sail the azure blue waters of the Adriatic and discover the island which is one of the last habitats of the griffon vulture in Europe. For dedicated nature lovers in Croatia you can put to sea with an adopted dolphin or, if you are particularly lucky, encounter the mysterious and rare Mediterranean monk seal. Whatever you decide to do, you will find that this is a place where the colours of nature are at their warmest and fullest.

Krka waterfalls


Adriatic Sea

Why the Adriatic Sea? Because you never, till now, enjoyed the most beautiful sea in the whole wide world. Let me tell you something about this pearl in the earth.

The big blue of the small Adriatic sea is 783 km long, and if one includes the islands then the coastline is 7868 km, from which the croatian part is 74% or 5835 km and truly epitomises the best qualities of the Mediterranean. If you want the precise figures: the clarity and transparency of the open sea reaches depths of 56 m, whilst at Palagruza it reaches up to 250m and around the most distant island of Jabuka it reaches 1300 m in depth. The average temperature of the sea surface in teh summer months is between 22-27 C, whistl it is at its lowest in winter at around 7 C and in the spring it is comfortable 18 degrees.
Adriatic Sea
Beach of Zlatni rat, Island of Brac
Croatia offers absolutely all types of beach. There are family beaches with gentle coves that are made from pebbles or gentle rocks, which can be found almost everywhere on the Adriatic coast, tidy town beaches and modern beaches for walking and having fun such as the crazy beach of Zrće on Pag, naturist beaches such as  Koversada and Valalta in Istria, Punat and Baška on Krk or Lokrum beach near Dubrovnik, there are those that are deserted and difficult to get to on the islands, as well as pretty sandy beaches such as those on the island of Susak, the so called Saharun on Dugi Otok, Lumbarda on Korčula, and Orebić and Kukljica on the island of Ugljan. A large number of beaches in Croatia are crowned with a fluttering blue ecological flag ,where asides from having a sea and coastline that is totally clean, they also offer complete safety as well as numerous accompanying facilities.