Destinations

Makarska

Makarska is a small town located in Central Dalmatia, about 60 km south of the city of Split. Makarska is located on a horseshoe-shaped bay, under the spectacular Biokovo mountain where it developed around a natural harbor shielded by the peninsula of St. Peter. During the Medieval times, this natural harbor was used by the Omiš pirates and merchant ships as a safe place during the storms. Makarska had a very turbulent history, the first settlements appeared in the middle of the 2nd millennium BC, in the Roman times it was famous as a port named Inaronia, in the Middle ages it was a small fortified town with towers, built under the Ottoman rule, then conquered by the Venetians. According to Alberto Fortis, a Venetian writer, in the 18th century, Makarska was the only Dalmatian town with absolutely no historical remains.

Makarska by night

Nowadays, Makarska is a famous resort town and a center of Makarska Riviera, around 60 kilometers long coastline under the Biokovo mountain. Makarska Riviera abounds with spectacular beaches and breathtaking nature and includes several famous Croatian tourist destinations like Brela, Baška Voda, Tučepi, and Podgora.

Makarska riviera sunset

What to visit

The town of Makarska is a perfect destination for all those in search of beautiful beaches and impressive landscapes. The city center characterized by the promenade lined with palm trees where you can stroll along and enjoy the magnificent sea views.

Makarska waterfront promenade

Photo credit: Petr Kopka / Shutterstock.com

Narrow stone paved streets will lead you to several small squares, town museums, churches, and galleries. St. Mark’s Cathedral from the 17th century dominates the main square. It is a beautiful baroque church, never completely finished and severely damaged in the devastating earthquake that hit the region in 1962, but it was fully renovated several years later.

Makarska aerial view

On the small peninsula of St. Peter there is a small homonymous church from the 13th century, rebuilt in 1993. St. Peter’s peninsula is a nice place for an evening walk enjoying the amazing views, sunbathing or cliff jumping for adrenaline junkies. There is also a man-made cave from the WWII, a statue of St. Peter holding the keys and overlooking the town, where couples can leave a lock on the fence under it and a beautiful lighthouse. The Franciscan monastery from the 16th-century houses a Malacological Museum where you can admire a world known collection of shells from all over the world (more than 3000 samples). There is also a small Town museum, situated in the Tonoli Palace which is a historic monument itself, where you can discover the intense history of the region with a rich archeological, ethnographic and cultural historic collections. Another interesting and particular museum is the Museum of fish and crabs, all caught in the Adriatic sea, mostly by local fisherman. Don’t forget to visit the town’s observatory, located in the city center on a small hill.

Makarska day trips

Makarska beach

Nightlife

Although the town is quite sleepy during the winter, Makarska’s nightlife scene in summer is packed with something to suit everyone’s taste and it abounds with great events as a part of Makarska cultural summer, from concerts, exhibitions, folk festivities, shows etc. Along the charming promenade, there are numerous bars and restaurants where you can enjoy the local tastes. Makarska has also several disco clubs and it is a popular party destination in the region as many young people, locals and tourists come from other places to Makarska just to spend an unforgettable night out.

Makarska nightlife

Food

In Makarska, you can enjoy Dalmatian cuisine which is typically Mediterranean. Traditional Dalmatian dishes are made with herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, and oregano. There is a large use of extra virgin olive oil and garlic. Some of the traditional dishes we recommend you to try are Dalmatian smoked ham, Octopus under the lid, Black risotto, Dalmatian pasticada (stewed beef in wine with prunes and vegetables) and grilled fish with vegetables. Locals mostly eat in small, intimate traditionally Dalmatian restaurants called Konoba, that prepare fresh local food and usually have lower prices than upscale restaurants. Narrow streets of Makarska and its beautiful promenade offer many bars and restaurants with intimate and romantic atmosphere, delicious food and excellent wine.

Octopus salad

Sport and recreation

There are many beaches in Makarska Riviera where you can practice various water sports like windsurfing, kitesurfing, scuba diving, and sailing. There is a sports complex that has a rugby and soccer field, tennis, basketball and handball courts where you can spend an active afternoon. For real adrenaline junkies, the area offers plenty of extreme sports like rock climbing, extreme hiking, cliff diving, cave exploring, paragliding and much more. Just 45 minutes away from Makarska there is Cetina river and canyon, that offers you a great opportunity for an active vacation. Cetina canyon with its unspoiled nature and breathtaking sceneries makes all the adrenaline junkies feel at home, setting the perfect scene for rafting, canyoning, zip line, and kayaking.

Makaraska kayaking

Day trips from Makarska

From Makarska, you can take several different day trips as it is close enough to many interesting and famous tourist destinations. Other than previously mentioned destinations along Makarska Riviera where you can find incredible beaches and hidden bays, take a day trip to Bol on the island of Brač. Bol is one of the most famous destinations in Croatia as it is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Zlatni rat. From Makarska, you can take a car ferry to Sumartin and then a bus to Bol or you can book an organized day trip directly in Makarska. If you are a history lover then don’t forget to visit Split, as it is very rich in history and art. This 1700 years old city will leave you breathless with its historic monuments, Diocletian’s Palace, small narrow streets and one of the most beautiful promenades in Croatia. Also visit Omiš, a small town famous for its pirates that looted the seas in medieval times, today best known for the canyon of River Cetina that reaches the Adriatic sea right in the town center.

Omis aerial view

Omiš

Of course, there is the Biokovo mountain right above the town of Makarska which offers a spectacular view of central and southern Dalmatian islands and sometimes, after the strong wind called bura, Italy can be seen. In 1981 Biokovo was declared a Nature Park, including one of the most beautiful Botanical gardens in Dalmatia. From Makarska, you can also take day trips to the world’s famous city of Dubrovnik and the islands of Korčula, Pelješac, Mljet, and Lastovo. If traveling south don’t forget to stop at Ston to see the famous Ston walls, also known as the “European walls of China”, are a series of defensive walls built in the 14-th century, along with 40 towers and 5 fortresses and the best – eat the most delicious oysters in the world.

02.05.2017 / by / in ,
Sakarun Beach, Dugi Otok

Dugi Otok (Long Island) is the seventh largest island in the Adriatic Sea, located in Dalmatia region, west of Zadar. The name of the island derives from its shape as it is almost 50 km long and between 1 and 5 km wide. The island is sparsely inhabited, as there are only around 1500 inhabitants living in 12 villages. All the villages are clustered on the coast of the island facing the mainland and the part of the coast facing the open sea is uninhabited. The island is characterized by a dramatic landscape of great contrast, with steep slopes, thick pine forests, numerous sandy beaches, hidden bays, and coves. It is a perfect place for those in search of tranquility and relaxing holidays, swimming in the stunningly turquoise sea, enjoying sea, sun, and summer.

Dugi otok sakarun bay

The most beautiful and popular beach of the island is Sakarun beach, located on the northwest side of the island, facing the open sea. It is best known for its white sand that is not very common in Croatia, where the beaches are usually completely pebbly. But to be exact, the beach itself has small smooth pebbles and sand on one side and bigger pebbles on the other, but the sea floor is completely sandy and it is white sand on the sea floor that lends the water that spectacular light turquoise blue. Sakarun beach is located in a bay, facing south and it is around 800 meters long. This beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia, but also one of the best-kept secrets.

dugi otok sakarun sailing

The water is calm and shallow, so that makes it a perfect place for families with children. Ropes divide the safe swimming area from the zone where sailing boats usually put down their anchor. On the beach, there are two facilities that offer food and drink, but besides that the entire western coast of the island is not settled, giving you the experience of pristine coastline unspoiled by man. The beach can be reached by car if you are coming from the other side of the island and there is a car park located just behind the beach, well hidden by pine woods. Soline is the nearest settlement and from there the beach can be easily reached by mountain bike and from Božava village there is a small tourist train that runs every two hours.

Dugi otok sakarun sea

dugi otok sakarun beach

 

26.04.2017 / by / in ,
The island of Šolta

Šolta is an island situated in Dalmatia region, just south of the city if Split and west of the island of Brač. It is a small island, with a population of only 1700 inhabitants. The island is a perfect destination for all those in search of crystal clear sea, secluded beaches, and delicious fresh food offering ideal conditions for a relaxing and quite holiday.

Solta island view

The island has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and for the first time, it is mentioned by Pseudosilakhs in the 4th century BC under the name Olyntha. Residents were engaged mainly in olive oil and wine production, and fishing which today is more of a sport rather than necessity. As a tourist destination Šolta is interesting to nature lovers, sailors as well as to diving, sport fishing, and hunting lovers.

Solta Rogac

Photo credit: Dziewul / Shutterstock.com

Located on the northeastern coast, Rogač is the main port of the island, situated in a small, charming bay and it is connected with Split by ferry and catamaran lines. Rogač is situated near the islands biggest and oldest settlement Grohote. Other mail inland settlements are Gornje Selo, Donje Selo, and Srednje Selo, while Maslinica, Stomorska and Nečujam are small fishing villages, very popular among tourists. These beautiful picturesque villages with traditional Dalmatian stone houses and narrow streets will surely enchant everyone who visits them. Maslenica is a small fisherman village, located in a bay on the western coast of the island.

Solta maslinica

Near Maslenica bay there are seven other small islets, all uninhabited, but on the biggest one, Stipanska, there are remains of the Benedictine monastery from the 5th century. Nečujam is the most famous tourist destination on the island. The smallest bay of Nečujam was used by Diocletian, the famous Roman Emperor who built his palace in Split, as a fishpond and the ruins are still present under the sea.

Solta Necujam

Well, if your main goal is to enjoy the nature at its best and relax on a beautiful beach, then you have found your next ideal holiday destination. Šolta abounds with natural beauty, stunning peaceful bays, and coves surrounded by pine trees and beautiful beaches bathed by a crystal clear sea. Some of the most stunning bays are Šešula, Poganica, Zaglav and Tatinja bay, all located on the southern coast of the island.

Solta bay beach

When it comes to food, the best thing you can do is to try some specialties from traditional Dalmatian cuisine, and there are so many. Traditional Dalmatian dishes are rich with herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, and oregano. There is a significant use of extra virgin olive oil and garlic. Šolta like many other Dalmatian islands is famous for its olive oil and wine. The most famous dishes are prepared with fresh fish and shells. Some of the traditional dishes we recommend you to try are: Dalmatian smoked ham, Black risotto, Octopus under the lid, Fish brudet, Dalmatian pasticada (stewed beef in wine with prunes and vegetables) and various types of fresh grilled fish with vegetables. Don’t forget to taste the wine made of islands indigenous grapes called Dobričić.

Black risotto

There is a small island of Mrdulja, located between the islands of Šolta and Brač. The legend says that the inhabitants of Šolta and Brač disputed over whom Mrdulja belonged to, so they used a rope in the attempt to pull the island closer to theirs. In honor of that legend, there is an annual competition called “Pushing Mrdulja” held between two crews from the island of Brač and Šolta.  The island is rather small and uninhabited, but there are remains of an old tower fortification. Mrdulja is also famous for the homonimus annual regatta, held in October, which is also one of the oldest regattas in Europe.

 

23.04.2017 / by / in ,
The Island of Ugljan

The island of Ugljan is located in the region of Dalmatia and it is part of Zadar archipelago. It is separated from the mainland by the Zadar channel and connected with Pašman island by a bridge. The island has been populated since the Neolithic period and today is one of the most densely populated islands in Croatia. Interesting thing is that all the settlements on the island are located on the northeastern side. The island was also densely populated in the Roman period, so there are many ancient Roman ruins that are worth visiting on the island.

Ugljan view Zadar

The island of Ugljan is also called “the green island” as it is covered with dense Mediterranean vegetation, vineyards, fig and olive trees. It has a long fishing and olive oil production tradition that dates back to the Roman period, in fact, the small port village of Muline was very famous during the Roman period for the best olive oil in the whole Empire. The island of Ugljan is perfect for all those in search of stunning beaches, hidden bays, crystal clear sea and unspoiled nature.

Ugljan Preko View

What to visit

On the island of Ugljan there are several villages mainly located in bays and the most famous are Lukoran, Sutomiscica, Poljana, Preko, Kali, Kukljica and Ugljan which embraces several smaller villages. All these small picturesque villages will absolutely enchant you with their charming stone houses, narrow streets and breathless views.

Ugljan island galovac

Preko village is the main port connected to Zadar by a daily ferry line running every hour and it takes around 25 minutes to get to Preko. As you step on the island, you can admire this small village with beautiful stone houses, surrounded by dense Mediterranean vegetation. Just in front of the village, there is a small island called Galevac, home to a Franciscan monastery from the 15th century. Don’t forget to visit the beautiful Romanic church of St John which dates back from the 11th century. Near the village of Preko, you can visit the ruins of St Michael’s Fort.

Ugljan st michael fort

In Muline village you can visit Villa Rustica, which is the oldest Roman building on the island and the ruins of an olive oil mill where the best olive oil in the Empire was made. Lukoran consists of several settlements, Mali Lukoran, Turkija, Zmorac, Primorje, and Punta Rancicevi-Sikiricevi. It is surrounded by untouched nature and it has a rich historical heritage. Veli and Mali Lukoran are perfect places where to enjoy the gentle summer breeze while sunbathing in a peaceful bay surrounded by beautiful pine trees.

Ugljan Preko village

Kali is a small fisherman village, where you can admire two small ports full of fishing boats and see fisherman preparing their nets for the next catch. Above the village there is a small hill from which you can enjoy a stunning panorama, dominated by the church of St Lawerence and it beautiful tower bell.

Ugljan Kali village

The village of Ugljan does not have a classic shape of Dalmatian village, but it stretches for several kilometers along the coast including several small settlements. When in Ugljan, don’t forget to visit Califfi Castle,  built in the 17th century. Today the castle carries the name of famous Croatian basketball player Krešimir Čosić.

Ugljan beautiful sea

Beaches on Ugljan

On the island there are numerous beaches, those in and near the villages during the summer can be crowded, but don’t worry as there are many hidden bays sheltering spectacular beaches waiting for you to be discovered. Most beaches in Croatia are pebbly, but on the island of Ugljan, those who prefer sandy beaches will find their paradise. We recommend you to visit the well equipped sandy beach Mostir, perfect for families with children and nonswimmers as the water is shallow and also the beach in the cove of Luka. Other beautiful coves to visit are the cove of Gaj, Garmina, Tratica, Pavlesina, Drazica, Jankova and Lucica.

Ugljan Kali view

19.04.2017 / by / in
Osijek

Osijek is the biggest city in the eastern Croatian region of Slavonia and the fourth biggest city in Croatia, located on the bank of the Drava river. It is the economic and cultural center of the region, full of new, urban architecture as well as the historical remains that narrate the city’s tumultuous past. The imposing 18th-century fortress dominates the city that is getting more and more popular among Croatian students who choose Osijek as the place to jump-start their university experience. The city has a lot to offer to tourists and visitors as well, and the number of hotels and restaurants has been growing exponentially during the last decade.

Osijek Drava

What to visit

The city’s fortress, so-called Tvrđa, was built under Habsburg rule to defend the city from Turkish attacks and has remained almost undamaged ever since. Well-preserved baroque-style streets, spacious squares and beautiful mansions will take you to some other time and allow you to experience a unique atmosphere of this special site. The Museum of Slavonia is known for its well-curated collection of findings, it’s housed in two separate buildings and it presents a real gem for history-lovers. If you like museums, but you’re not so much into history, don’t worry, as Osijek has many others amazing museums, such as Gloria Maris which is dedicated to sea shells and marine life or Museum of Fine Arts that contains a collection of artworks by Slavonian artists from the 18th century onwards.
A somewhat new and fresh attraction of the city is the replica of wooden Watermill, anchored on the river of Drava. In the little cottage, you can witness the demonstration on how the grain is ground as Osijek had around 60 watermills in the 19th century which have all been closed down.

Osijek fort
Wandering around the Square of Ante Starcevic, you may notice the red-brick neo-Gothic cathedral of St Peter & Paul that is definitely worth entering due to its elaborate interior design and breathtaking frescoes by Croatian artist Mirko Racki.
If you travel with kids (or even if you don’t), take some time off to visit Zoo Osijek which is the Croatia’s biggest one with more than 80 animal species and a reptile aquarium.

Osijek

Sport & Recreation

Whether you’re just in a short visit or you’re planning to spend some time in Osijek, there are numerous ways to stay active. The city has lots of gyms, sports centers, and various sports events. Take a jog on the banks of the river Drava, rent a bike, try some of the extreme sports or put aside a few hours for fun paintball round with friends.

Food

The region of Slavonia is famous for its wine production, so make sure to taste some of the local, high-quality wines. The cuisine of the region was strongly influenced by the Hungarians, which means that it is somewhat spicier than in the rest of the country. Regional specialties you may try while in Osijek are fish paprikash (fish stewed in paprika sauce and served with noodles) and kulen (paprika-savoured sausage, often served with cottage cheese, peppers, and tomatoes or pickled vegetables).

Nearby Destinations

There is a lot to see and do around the Slavonian region! Kopacki Rit Nature Park is one of the most beautiful parks of Croatia, ideal for birdwatching, hiking, cycling and admiring the magnificent nature. Pejačevic Castle is perfectly maintained late baroque neoclassical castle run by ten nuns that will take you on a little tour when you get there. There is also a museum in the complex. For those craving some relaxing time, there are Bizovačke Toplice, the natural thermal spas consisting of indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpools, jacuzzis and much more. To experience life in a traditional Slavonian village, we recommend visiting Karanac Ethno Village and for those who like urban settings, go to the nearby Đakovo and Vukovar.

Nature Park Kopački rit

Nature Park Kopački rit Photo: Marin Topić

Souvenirs

Popular souvenirs include traditional table cloths, instruments and handmade objects from various ethnicities. You can find everything you’ll need in souvenir shops around the center or at the open-air market located on the main square.

Nightlife

Along with numerous pubs and bars, the most popular night destinations in Osijek are the Promenade along the Drava River and the Tvrđa, both guaranteeing warm and cozy atmosphere, good music and friendly local people.

14.04.2017 / by / in ,
Nature park Kamenjak

“A nature reserve on the edge of the world that has 21 metre high cliffs, hidden caves and flat stone surfaces formed by nature, ideal for sunbathing. ” – National Geographic Traveller

Kamenjak park bay

Nature Park Kamenjak is located at the peak of Premantura peninsula in Istria, just around 20 km from the town of Pula. More than 30 km of rugged coastline with numerous bays, coves, and beaches makes this spectacular peninsula well worth visiting. There are also several small islands and islets near the mainland, all in swimming distance. Kamenjak is a Croatian hidden gem, a perfect place for nature lovers and those in search of natural hidden treasures.

Kamenjak cliffs

The park is a great cycling location, so it gives you the opportunity to satisfy your craving for adventure while exploring the park and its wonders. Other than cycling, there are numerous activities that you can do like hiking, trekking, kayaking, scuba diving and windsurfing, as Premantura is a famous destination for windsurfing lovers. Cliff jumping is also popular, especially at Kamenjak’s southern tip. Nature park Kamenjak also offers educational trails like the “Dinosaur path” with actual fossilized steps located at the end of the trail on the Cape Grakalovac. The length of this interesting educational trail is around 600 meters, along which you will find models of dinosaurs that lived in the area in actual sizes. Another interesting educational trail is the sensory-didactic path Gradina, that offers you a chance to discover the cultural and historical heritage of the peninsula, fully adopted fo visually impaired people. Nearby there is Gradina cave, where many artifacts from prehistoric times were found, like the iron cross axe, around 3000 years old.  The entrance to the area of protected landscape in Kamenjak is free for pedestrians and cyclists, but it will be charged for vehicles.

Kamenjak bay

Photo credit: PhotoMediaGroup / Shutterstock.com

In the small settlement of Premantura, there are several interesting things to visit, like the church of Saint Lovro, the old tower “Turanj” and an interesting stone bread oven built as a separate facility.

Kamenjak nature park

 

 

13.04.2017 / by / in ,
Island of Krk

The island of Krk is located in Kvarner Bay in the northern part of Croatia. The island is connected to the mainland by the Krk Bridge and it is located around 40 kilometers from the Croatian third largest city of Rijeka. In the ancient times, Croatia’s biggest island Krk was known as the “golden island” thanks to its natural characteristics. Nowadays, many people visit it for various reasons: either to enjoy its natural beauties, explore its rich cultural heritage or simply to relax during the holidays enjoying the island’s beaches, bars, clubs and similar.

Krk bridge
For many years the island was associated with the number 7, as it was inhabited by the Croats in the 7th century, it survived successfully seven pirate attacks, the 7th Frankopan prince was the last prince of Krk and there are 7 administrative units on the island today. Several works of literature in the Glagolitic alphabet were created and in part preserved on Krk, like Baška tablet, one of the oldest preserved texts in Croatian, dating back to the early 12th century and found in the Church of St. Lucy the nearby Jurandvor, the remains of a Roman settlement.

Krk roman ruins

What to visit

The island of Krk is proud of its rich historical and cultural heritage that can be seen and admired at every step. The “main” place of the island is the town of Krk, known for its two thousand years old walls that are also the third largest walls in the country. Visit Frankopan castle built in the 13th century and somewhat younger City Hall that dates back to 16th century. The town is dominated by the magnificent Krk Cathedral.

Krk town
On the north-east part of the island, close to Silo, is located Biserujka Cave that has been adjusted to tourists to give them the opportunity to go in and admire some marvelous decorations made by nature – stalagmites, stalactites and calcareous sinters. Another interesting monastery and a church are situated in Glavotok, a small settlement on the western tip of the island. Don’t miss out on visiting the town of Omisalj and Vrbnik as well, as the latter is famous for the production of the excellent local wine Žlahtina. Baška village is another spectacular small settlement, where you can admire old stone houses, narrow streets, and its rich historical heritage. When in Baška don’t miss to visit the early Christian archaeological site from the 5th century,  local museum in Baška houses an ethnographic collection and Baška aquarium.

Krk Vrbnik

Malinska is also very popular tourist destination on the island, as it is home to many incredible beaches and great places where to enjoy the tastes of the region. A beautiful panoramic view of Krk Bridge can be enjoyed from the harbor Voz.

Nearby the island of Krk, there’s a little charming and unique islet named Košljun that not many people know about. It is around 300 meters in diameter and its main inhabitants are Franciscan monks that live in a 600 years old monastery and take care of the islet.

Krk town aerial

Beaches

The island of Krk has numerous stunning beaches and many of them have a Blue Flag. This is one of the few Croatian islands that offers sandy and pebble beaches, so there is something for everybody’s taste. Beaches near the town of Krk and small villages are usually crowded during the summer, but there are numerous hidden bays and charming coves, where one can enjoy peace and tranquility while sunbathing and swimming in the crystal clear sea.

Krk Baska beach

There is a sandy beach in the Soline bay known for its healing mud baths, with shallow water, so it is also perfect for children and nonswimmers. Other than beautiful “Blue Flag beaches” mostly located in town of Krk, Baška and Malinska, we also recommend you to visit Vela Luka beach, Golden Bay beach and Oprna beach.

Food

The cuisine of the island consists of typical Mediterranean food, rich in fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish, with a sprinkle of local olive oil. Other than tasting traditional regional dishes like seafood specialties – octopus under the lid, black squid risotto or grilled fish with seasoned vegetables, we absolutely recommend you to taste presnac, specialty made from sheep’s milk cheese, homemade pasta (šurlice and makaroni) and lamb dishes. Some of many gastronomical events organized during the year on the island are “Žlahtina festival” in Vrbnik in July, “Fig days” in August, “Šurlice days” in July, “Krk Wine days” in August and “Lamb and cheese days” in May.

Krk Vrbnik wine

Krk town aerial view

Krk island beach

Krk island town

Krk hidden beach

Krk bays aerial

 

 

11.04.2017 / by / in ,
Medvednica

Medvednica is a mountain in central Croatia, located north of Zagreb with its highest peak Sljeme, at 1,035 meters. Sljeme is one of the most popular places for a truly relaxing break near Zagreb, where locals love to spend their weekend afternoons surrounded by nature, enjoying in long walks, jogging, cycling or alpinism. Sljeme is also famous for Snow Queen, a World Cup alpine ski race. Most of the area of Medvednica mountain is declared a nature park thanks to its stunning beauty, natural and cultural heritage, geology, special and unique species of plants and rich fauna. Medvednica nature park offers numerous interesting sites to visit and many educational trails, some suitable for families with children and people in wheelchairs. Some of the most popular educational trails are the 500 Horvat’s stairs, Bistra educational trail and the forest trail Bliznec. 500 stone stairs trail was built in the mid-20th century, by Vladimir Horvat, journalist, and a great admirer of Medvednica mountain. These stairs will lead you through diverse forms of karst limestone terrain, small dark caves and over deep sinkholes.

On the southern slope of Medvednica, there is a stunning medieval castle, Medvedgrad (“The town of bears”)  located on a small hill watching over the capital of Croatia. The castle was built in the 13th century after the Tartars invaded and burned the city of Zagreb and devasted the whole area. The castle was owned by several families during the following years, until 1590 when an earthquake devastated it. Medvedgrad remained in abandoned and in ruins until the late 20th century when some parts of the castle were reconstructed. You can observe the chapel of Saint Philip and Jacob, residential palace, part of reconstructed walls, the tower and enjoy the amazing view of the city of Zagreb. Just below the tower, there is a monument called  “Oltar Domovine” (Altar of the homeland), dedicated to all the Croatian soldiers that were killed during the Croatian War of Independence.

Another stunning fort located in Medvednica Nature Park is Susedgrad (Sused). The fort was built back in the 14th century and it is famous for a battle during the Peasants Revolt. It marks the far western part of the Croatian capital. It gave the name to a village that developed under the fort, now one of the districts of Zagreb, Podsused, which literally meanes “under Sused”. It can be easily reached by the educational trail that starts in the center of Podsused. Also visit the Orašić Castle, built in the 18th century, located near Gornja Stubica. The castle was built on the ruins of an older castle built back in the 13th century. Today, the castle is a home to the Museum of Peasant Uprisings, founded and opened for public on the 400th anniversary of the great 1573 Peasants’ Revolt. On the lower slopes of the mountain, you can visit several small churches and chapels. The first one to have been built was the Medvedgrad chapel of Saint Philip and Jacob.

Other than its rich cultural heritage, there are several natural beauties well worth visiting. One of them is Veternica cave, the sixth largest cave in Croatia, located in the western part of Medvednica Nature park. Under the guidance of an expert guide, you can visit the first 380 meters of the cave, that has more than seven kilometers of branching canals. Veternica cave is also a habitat for 18 different bat species, and as they are unfortunately very endangered, Nature Park Medvednica developed a program “Adopt a Bat” in order to collect funds destined for the protection of Veternica cave and the bats. Click here to read more about this commendable initiative.

 

10.04.2017 / by / in ,
Roman ruins of Salona

Roman ruins of Salona are located near the town of Solin, few kilometers away from Split. It is a fascinating archeological gem and a great place to visit for all those who admire the history of Roman Empire. Salona (Colonia Martia Iulia Salona) was the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia and at that time it was a populous city, with a population of about 60.000, and it was known as a resort of wealthy Roman citizens. But before being conquered by the Romans, Salona was a marketplace, set up by the Greeks in the 1st century BC. The city had classic Roman characteristics like walls, towers, public baths, forum, theater amphitheater, and an aqueduct. Many inscriptions in Latin and Greek have been found inside the walls and in the cemeteries outside, as Romans built their cemeteries away from the city limits. Some of the sarcophagi found in the cemeteries can be seen in the Archeological Museum in Split.

In Salona, you can admire the remains of the 2nd-century amphitheater, a home to the famous Roman gladiator fights, which despite its small size had the capacity of up to 18,000 spectators. During Diocletian’s persecutions of Christians in the 4th century, the amphitheater was used as a site of executions. The amphitheater was severely damaged by the Venetians during the wars against the Turks, back in 17th century. You will also find the ruins of the Great Thermae, one of the many thermal baths built in Salona in the 3rd century. Thermae were large imperial facilities for bathing and an important part of Roman urban life. It had a rectangular shape and consisted of pool, hot baths, sauna, dressing rooms, exercise and massage rooms. In the area there are two main aqueducts, one was built for the city of Salona in the 1st century and the other one for the Diocletian Palace three centuries later from the same source which was the Jadro spring.

Salona - amphitheatre - panorama

By Pudelek (Marcin Szala) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There are also remains of a cemetery basilica from the 4th century and ruins of a three-nave cathedral with octagonal baptistery.

 

08.04.2017 / by / in ,

Pin It on Pinterest