Cities

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 ,
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 ,
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 ,
Omiš

Omiš is a charming Central Dalmatian town located just 25 kilometers southeast of Split. It is famous for its rich history, amazing landscapes and as one of the best places in Croatia for adventure holidays. The area was permanently inhabited more than 2000 years ago when the locals living on the other side of the mountain started to move and build their houses near the sea. In medieval times Omiš was famous for its pirates, who ruled the seas from Split to Dubrovnik, taking a fee from all the ships sailing the channel of Brač in front of Omiš. Many foreign attackers tried to conquer Omiš, like the Turks and Venetians. Venetians attacked the famous Corsairs of Almissa (from lat. Omiš) several times without success, until the late 13th century, when the Pope organized another crusade against Omiš pirates and finally won. Uner the Venetian rule, Omiš gained its present appearance, except the town walls, which were pulled down after the fall of the Venetian Republic.

Omis panorama

What to visit

Other than sunbathing and enjoying in crystal clear sea, there are many interesting things to do and see in Omiš. You will be enchanted by this charming little town, its narrow alleys, squares and beautiful old houses. In Omiš there are several places that witness the rich and turbulent history of the town and its famous Corsairs of Almissa, who protected Omiš and the mouth of Cetina river from foreign invaders.

Omis town

Mirabella Fortress, also called Peovica, is a beautiful medieval fortress built in the 13th century above the town of Omiš and used by Omiš pirates as a perfect hideout. In its foundations, the 13th-century Byzantine coin was found, making it much easier to determine when it was built. Mirabella fortress played an important role just as Starigrad fortress, in many battles and frequent attacks on the town, especially by the Turks and the Venetians. Legend tells that during the Ottoman attacks in the 16th century, the pirates of Omiš retreated to the fortress and with shouts and shots confused the attackers so much that the Turks overestimated the number of defenders and ran away. You will easily find the way to the fortress from the center of the town (Šubić street, near the church of the Holy Spirit), simply by following the signs and after a few minutes of climbing up the stairs, you will be amazed by the spectacular view of the town of Omiš.

Omis aerial view

Starigrad Fortress (Fortica) was built in the 15th century and just as the Mirabella Fortress, it was a perfect hideout and the ideal place to overlook the channel of Brač and protect the town from the foreign invaders.  There is a well-marked path that leads from the eastern part to the fortress and it will take you approximately an hour to climb up. The amazing view over the town, the islands, and Cetina river if absolutely worth the effort of climbing up and it is a site that you should not miss if visiting Omiš, as you will be rewarded with the unforgettable view and unique landscape.

Omis starigrad fortress

Omiš has many beautiful churches, precisely eight, which are well worth visiting. We recommend you to visit the remains of the single-nave Christian church of St Euphemia, built in the 6th century, the church of the Holy Spirit a beautiful Renaissance church from the 15th century, built in the place of a Gotic church and the lovely parish church of St Michael, that combines the characteristics of Gothic, Renaissance and early Baroque style. On the right bank of the Cetina river, you can find the church of St Peter, built in the 10th century. This single-naved church is an important example of Croatian Pre-Romanesque sacral architecture.

Omis town center

During the summer there are many events and concerts organized as a part of Omiš Summer Festival and the most important event is the traditional music festival of the Dalmatian a cappella singing groups, called Klape. The festival is usually held on the weekends from the end of June until the end of July.  In 2012, UNESCO inscribed the klapa singing on the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Omis sunset

Food

In Omiš 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, Olives and the famous goat cheese from nearby islands as an appetizer, Black risotto, Dalmatian pasticada (stewed beef in wine with prunes and vegetables), Octopus under the lid or many other fresh specialties. Locals mostly eat in small, intimate traditionally Dalmatian restaurants called Konoba, that prepare fresh local food and usually have lower prices than upscale restaurants.

Black risotto

Sport & Recreation

Omiš is a perfect place for all those in search of action-packed activity holidays. Cetina canyon with its unspoiled nature and breathtaking sceneries will make all the adrenaline junkies feel at home, setting the perfect scene for rafting, canyoning, zip line, hiking, and kayaking.  For its unspoiled nature and impressive canyon, parts of Cetina river were chosen as some of the filming locations of the famous Winnetou movie series (1962-1968).

On Cetina white water rafting trip, canyoning or kayaking you will experience moments of pure excitement, moments of total serenity and a deep connection with wild nature. Zipline adventure across the canyon, 150 meters above the Cetina river is really an amazing experience for all the adrenaline lovers. Three hours of pure joy and excitement along more than 2 km long route. Other than having loads of fun on Cetina river and in the canyon, crystal clear sea and Omiš beaches offer many other exciting activities like beach volley, stand up paddling, windsurfing, exploring the amazing underwater life by snorkeling or scuba diving. In other words, Omiš is the ideal place for your next adventure holidays.

Omis sea

 

20.03.2017 / by / in ,
Varazdin

Often called “Little Vienna” among the Croatians, Varazdin is a lovely city located in the North of the country on the southern bank of the river Drava. Its streets are  saturated with breath-taking baroque buildings, full of kind and outgoing locals and rich parks at every corner.

Varazdin has been the nine-times winner of the award presented by the National Tourism Board and it is a popular destination not only during the summer time thanks to the famous street festival Špancirfest, but in autumn as well because it is when Varazdin Baroque Evenings take place to celebrate music, architectural inheritance and authentic local instruments.

Varazdin

Photo credit: iascic / Shutterstock.com

What to visit while in Varazdin

The first thing that will surely pop into your eyesight once you find yourself in the city of Varazdin is its gorgeous Castle, situated at the very center of the city. Other than admiring its beauty from the outside, you can enjoy the permanent exhibition inside the castle that includes numerous paintings, photographs, ceramics, books, historic documents, sculptures, furniture and much more.

Castle Varazdin
It won’t take you long to figure out that the beautiful building of the Castle is just a tiny piece of Varazdin’s rich architectural heritage. The city is full of breath-taking Baroque palaces, some of them being Town Hall, Draskobiv Palace, Jankovic Palace, Palace of Varazdin County, Pauline Mansion etc. While you lose yourself in the fairy-tale atmosphere of Varazdin’s streets and squares, it may be easy to forget to dig a bit deeper and explore some of its hidden treasures of this city as are its secret courtyards or the famous Varazdin Cemetery that is more of a monument of garden architecture than a classical grey cemetery.
If you are into museums, don’t miss out on visiting Varazdin’s Town Museum. To find out more about culture and history, visit the Old Town Fortress, lovers of old paintings will adore the Gallery of Old Masters and those rather interested in biology or animals will appreciate the Herzer Palace that hosts a permanent entomological exhibition “The World of Insects”.

Varazdin small street

Sports and Recreation

The city of Varazdin has a complex of pools ideal for both recreational and professional swimming and a large number of various sports centers and clubs, soccer fields, fitness studios and drop-in classes. Don’t forget, however, that the locals go everywhere on their bikes and you can try out this trend as well while you’re there and get your fitness on the go!

Varazdin nature

Souvenirs

The are lots of cute and affordable souvenirs to buy in the city and they are mostly being made by the local artisans, so keep your eyes wide open when passing by the small stands around the city as you may find some true jewels of local crafts.

Food

Traditional Varazdin’s cuisine was under the strong influence of Hungary and Austria through the history, but it has been modified and enriched later on. The “must try” local specialties are mlinci, klipič, zlevanka, štrukli, poultry dishes with vegetables and homemade puff pastry cakes.

Nearby Destinations

There are many organized trips around the Varazdin area and the surroundings that will expose you not only to its stunning nature but to its cultural and historical heritage as well. You can take the Path of Castle and Museum (Varazdin-Ivanec-Lepoglava-Trakoscan), Green route (Varazdin-Zelendvor-Vinica-Klenovnik), Varazdin Hills or Medimurje trip.
If you prefer going around on your own, without a guide or a group, we recommend you to rent a bike, take a map with bike routes and start your own little adventure in the North of Croatia!

Varazdin by night

Nightlife in Varazdin

Other than regular bars and clubs open all year round, the city is known for its rich offer of events like Spancirfest, Summer in Varazdin, Folkofonija, Trash Film Festival, Varazdin Baroque Evenings, Advent in Varazdin and many more.

Varazdin square

07.03.2017 / by / in ,
The town of Korčula (Island of Korčula)

Korčula is a small fortified town located on the northeast coast of the island of Korčula. The form of this charming historic town is determined by the form of small peninsula protruding into the sea and its connection with the island was cut off by an artificial channel. Building outside the walls was strictly forbidden until the 18th century when the wooden drawbridge was replaced.

Korcula riva

It is surrounded by the walls, built in gothic style, reinforced at the strategic points like those near the port, where major attacks were expected. The streets of the town are arranged in a herringbone pattern in order to reduce the effects of the sun and wind. The old town is the main attraction with its walls, towers, narrow streets and the wondrous architecture mainly influenced by Venetian Renaissance. Almost all town’s narrow streets are stepped, except the Charity Street, often referred as the Street of Thoughts, as one did not have to worry about the steps.

Korcula old town

Korcula main entrance

What to visit

Cathedral of St. Mark –  is a Gothic-Renaissance building, built in the 15th century by Korčulan masters from local stone. Three apses witness the existence of an earlier church from the 13th century. The portal with the lions and St. Mark is the work of master Bonino from Milano. He also designed the door on the south aisle with the figure of St. Jacob. Marko Andrijić created the glorious rosette, the wreath and the belfry and the ciborium above the main altar as his masterpiece. In 1557, an organ was placed in the cathedral and in 1787 new organ was built by Vinko Klišević.

Korcula square

St. Michael’s Church – is located on Antun and Stjepan Radić Square, overlooking the Town Hall. During the 17th century, the church gained its baroque appearance and the small chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Consolation was built in the 19th century. The painting above the main altar is the “Virgin of Consolation” by Domenico Maggiotto from the 18th century.

Town Museum – is located in the Gabrielis Palace on the St. Mark’s square, built in the 15th century. The exhibits display a fascinating insight into the cultural and commercial milestones of Korčula from ancient times to the present. Among the most worthy exhibits are the bronze pendant of Tiziano Aspetti and the piano played by Beethoven’s close friend, Edith Streicher from early 19th century.
In the museum, there are many important presentations like the page from the Statute of the City and the Island of Korčula from 1214, the artistic imagery of the city, stamps, stone inscriptions, documents and coats of arms.

Korcula tower bridge

Abbey Treasury – next to the Cathedral of St. Mark and the town museum, there is the former bishop’s court (14th and 15th century) where the Abbey Treasury is held. It was set up by the abbot Ivo Matijaca and the Croatian painter Ljubo Babić back in 1954. The museum displays many precious works of art of Croatian and Venetian artists. The most important work is the polyptych “Our Lady With Child and Saints” by the Dalmatian painter Blaž Jurjev Trogiranin from 1431. In the museum, you can admire many books and documents that witness a rich history of Korčula, and one of the most important ones is the “Korčula Codex” from 1214. There is also a rich numismatic collection, containing also coins minted for Korkyra Melaina from the 4th century B.C.

Moreška Sword Dance – it is a traditional sword dance and drama, common in the 12th century, reaching Korčula in the 16th century from Dubrovnik. It combines spoken word, dance, and pantomime. The dance originates from Spain and it is associated with the conflict between Moors and Christians, although in Dalmatia was linked to the struggles of Christians against Ottoman Empire. In the Mediterranean countries, there is no more trace of Moreška and it can only be found in Korcula where it is performed for over 400 years. It is Moreška sword dance in 2014 joined the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Moreška sword dance through the years became one of the most important tourist attractions and it was performed yearly on the day of St Theodore (27.07), but due to its popularity, the event has been transformed into a regular summer event. The event is held every Monday and Thursday in the Open air cinema (Ljetno kino) located on the edge of the old town.

Moreska sword dance Korcula

Photo credit: Stjepan Tafra Shutterstock, Inc.

Korčula has many other interesting things to see and places to visit. Just walking through the old town you can admire numerous arches, charming narrow streets, numerous churches and seven towers. Visit also St. Anthony’s Hill, located just half an hour from the old town. There are 102 steps leading to the top of the hill bordered by a cypress alley planted in 1708. On the top of the hill, there is a small church dedicated to St. Anthony the Abbot from the 14th century. From the hilltop, you can admire an amazing panorama.

Korcula church

Korcula canon

Food

In Korčula you can enjoy Dalmatian cuisine which is typically Mediterranean. Traditional Dalmatian dishes are made with herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, and oregano and some of the most famous are Black risotto, grilled fish with vegetables, eel stew, sardines on the skewer or meat and fish under the bell (peka). When in Korčula try also Lojenica (dripping cake) and Lumbija (traditional bread). Traditional desserts from the island of Korčula are Cukarini, Klašuni, Hruštule and Rozata. Korčula is also famous for its wines, so we absolutely recommend you to try Pošip, Grk, Rukatac (dry white wines) and Plavac (red wine).

Korcula tower

Korcula sea view

Korcula street

 

 

 

02.03.2017 / by / in ,
Blue and Red Lake, Imotski

Imotski is a charming little town, located on the northern side of Biokovo mountain, in Dalmatian inland. It is famous for its two karst lakes, a true natural phenomenon – Blue and Red Lake, often called the “pearls of nature”. Blue Lake is located on the very edge of the town and the Red Lake is located only kilometer away. Blue lake got its name from the color of the water, and the Red Lake from the color of the surrounding cliffs.

Blue lake surface

Blue Lake – it lies in a deep sinkhole, probably formed by a collapse of an underground cave. The depth from the upper rim is about 200 meters and the dimensions of the lake are 800 per 500 meters. The water depth varies with season, as in winter and spring it can reach the southern rim and during the hot summer days it may completely disappear. When the lake completely dries out, people from the town make an improvised football field and play. The lake is also a popular hiking destination. In the early 20th century, a stone trail descending to the lake was built, so people can easily get down during the summer days, sunbath and swim. The nearby cliffs are perfect as a diving platform, some of which more than 40 meters high. Fortress Topana, built in 10th century, is located on the rock above the amazing Blue Lake, from which you can enjoy an amazing panorama.

Blue lake

Photo credit: Hieronymus / Shutterstock.com

Dry Blue Lake in Imotski

Red Lake – just as a Blue Lake, it lies in a deep, roughly circular sinkhole. It is surrounded by almost vertical tall walls from three sides and slanted from the fourth side which collapsed during a destructive earthquake that hit Imotski back in 1942. Red lake is the deepest karst lake in Europe and one of the deepest in the world and it is almost impossible to approach it because of tall stone slopes around it. The depth of the sinkhole is around 500 meters, with a width of 450 meters. The diameter of the lake is approximately 200 meters and the depth is 290 meters. Beside the water lever of the lake, many small caves formed like the Čepitška Cave, with two entrances, one above and one under the water level. The cave is around 67 meters long.  Unlike the Blue Lake, the Red Lake never dries out.

Red lake Imotski

Red Lake is home to some organisms who live only in this lake and nowhere else in the world like the small, 12 cm long fish named Delminichthys adspersus. During dry springs, the fish can be seen in the springs in the area around the lake which is confirmation that the lake has underground connections with these springs. 

The legend says that if you can throw a stone in the Red Lake you will soon get married. Because of its surroundings and the depth of the sinkhole, it is very difficult to throw a stone in the lake, but the locals know the secret of how to make it hit the lake.

Other than visiting these amazing lakes, charming little town of Imotski, you can also visit the Green lake, Vrljika river, Basilica of Zmijavci – an important archeological site dating back to 6th century and the Proložac swamp.

Imotski Topana Castle and Soccer field

Green lake

01.03.2017 / by / in ,
Rijeka

Rijeka is the third-largest city in Croatia located on the Kvarner Bay and the country’s major seaport. Although often in the shade of more hype touristic destinations like Dubrovnik or Split, Rijeka surely possesses its own charm and may give you a glimpse of more “real” atmosphere of a Croatian city, together with lots of beautiful monuments, sights, and places to visit. Due to its tumultuous history, the inhabitants of the city speak not only Croatian but their unique dialect as well, called “fiumano”.

Rijeka Trsat aerial

What to visit

The city’s most popular street, that became almost a symbol of Rijeka is Korzo. It is more than just a street, however, Korzo is a place where people gather daily, sip their morning coffees while reading newspapers, do business, hang out or enjoy an evening glass of wine while making new acquaintances. After experiencing the Korzo’s contagious energy, take a deep breath as you’re up to some real sightseeing.

Rijeka aerial view

The first on our list is Trsat Castle, a lookout on a hill 138 meters above sea level dominating the city. From its plateau, you can enjoy an amazing view of the ruins situated on the opposite side (Katarina and Kalvarija) and the whole area of the Rijeka’s Old City. That’s not all! The Castle has been enriched by new facilities during the past years, so there are many open-air summer concerts, theater performances, literary evenings, fashion shows, art exhibitions, shortly – something for everyone!

Rijeka aerial night
Rijeka hosts the only Baroque rotunda of monumental proportions in Croatia – the St Vitus’ Cathedral. The church was designed by the model of the famous Venetian church Santa Maria della Salute. The City Tower, built in the Middle Ages, dominates the central part of Korzo and represents one of its main symbols recognizable in all of the country. Passing below the City Tower, you’ll find yourself in Rijeka’s Old Town. Don’t miss the opportunity to buy some fresh produce or simply experience the atmosphere of the City Market where local fishermen daily bring fresh seafood.

Rijeka Trsat

Don’t miss to visit the Old Gateway or Roman Arch which was the main entrance of the ancient town on whose ruins the medieval Rijeka was built.
Another beautiful place to visit while in Rijeka are its cemeteries – Kozala and Trsat – that are protected historical and cultural heritage and make part od the Association of Significant Cemeteries of Europe.
If the weather allows you to, go take a dip at one of the city’s beaches known for its clear blue sea and large diversity among them: there are those large and noisy, as well as the hidden ones; rocky, sandy, pebbly, concrete… You will surely find something that suits your preferences.

Rijeka aerial

In Rijeka, there are numerous interesting museums you can visit like the Maritime and History Museum of Croatian Littoral Rijeka (Governor’s Palace), Natural History Museum, Peek&Poke – Computer Museum, Peek&Poke – Childhood Museum or Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Sport and Recreation

Being the town on the seashore, you can try pretty much all of the water sports: diving, swimming, windsurfing, kayaking, you name it. Further on, Rijeka and the surroundings have a well-developed bike route, so you can rent one and explore the place on two wheels. For the mountains lovers, there is a nearby Ucka Nature Park, a perfect place to go hiking, free climbing, horseback riding, skydiving, caving and much more, so don’t worry about getting off the wagon fitness-wise during your visit to Rijeka.

Food

The menu of the region is composed mainly of seafood, fresh fruit, vegetables and local essential herbs. Dishes vary depending on the season in which you find yourself in the city, but you can be sure that the skills of local chefs will amaze both you and your taste buds.

Nearby Destinations

Thanks to its geographical position, you can go on many interesting day-trips from Rijeka. Just 18 kilometers from the city, there’s Klana, then Grobnik and Platak, take a boat trip to the Lošinj Archipelago, go see one of the oldest towns in the Northern Adriatic – the town of Bakar or treat yourself with a relaxing day in Opatija or Moscenicka Draga.

Opatija statue

Souvenirs

Surprise your loved ones at home with some of the local handicrafts, a jar of organic dried figs or mini bottle of the regional olive oil. Rijeka’s Tourist Association has created two labels so you can choose good quality souvenirs “Riječko izvorno” (Rijeka Original) and “Osobita kvaliteta” (Special Quality).

 

24.02.2017 / by / in ,
Opatija

Opatija is a picturesque town situated in the Gulf of Kvarner, just 13 km from the city of Rijeka. Once you get to this special city, you may be tempted to spend all of your time indulging its beaches, sun and the sea, but try not to do it, as Opatija offers lots of other stuff to see and do as well. Being a city rich in history and tradition, at every corner, you can admire buildings of completely different styles: Renaissance, Secession, Baroque, Gothic etc. Opatija has it all.
It has been a popular touristic summer and winter destination since the 19th century when nobles and aristocrats used to enjoy its calmness and beauty and it preserved that reputation ‘till today.

13.02.2017 / by / in ,

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