Cities

Samobor

Located just 25km west of Croatia’s capital Zagreb, Samobor is a cute little town that despite its size attracts many tourists all year around with its beautiful surroundings and rich tradition. Thanks to its connection with Zagreb, Samobor is a historical town but all the same modern, well developed and financially stable place that has preserved its identity, culture, natural beauty and heritage during the years. Many famous artists, both painters, and sculptors, but composers as well, came to Samobor to create their pieces and often came back after once falling in love with it. The town has a reputation of an important gourmet destination and its carnival is well known.

Samobor panorama

What to visit

As a typical medieval town, Samobor is full of sacral architecture. The chapel of St Mary is the oldest building in the town and is an internal part of Franciscan Church of Mary’s Assumption. On the other hand, there’s the church of St Anastasia, built in the 17th century and one of the few early baroque constructions in Croatia. The church of St Michael is the third one worth seeing and was built around 1500.

Samobor centre
Other than sacral architecture, there are a number of 19th-century buildings and romantic bridges all over the town. If you want to learn more about Samobor’s history, definitely visit the Samobor Museum. Another beautiful place is the Liberation Park that was dedicated to Croatian soldiers who died in the Croatian Independence War. Take a walk on the Anindol Promenade on the slopes of Tepec hill and feed your eyes and soul with its well-preserved nature. On the Tepec hill, there are the ruins of the Samobor castle, built in the 13th century, where you can admire the remains of a massive castle entrance and the walls. Samobor-s first tourist facilities date back to 1810 and it is one of the earliest tourist resorts in the region.

Samobor castle
If you happen to visit the town in February, you may witness the large carnival that is organized every year and see the burning of the fasnik (a big ragged doll blamed for all the misfortunes during the previous year). Another big event that attracts many people in Samobor is the Salami Festival that takes place in March and April.

Samobor nature park

Sport and Recreation

Samobor is surrounded by thick forest, so you can enjoy long walks and explore its numerous hiking trails. For adrenaline junkies, there’s the possibility to do some rock-climbing, as well as learn how to horseback ride in the little villages outside the town. If you are visiting Samobor during the spring or summer, take a walk to nearby hills of Samobor from where you can enjoy an amazing view of the town of Samobor and Zagreb. Samobor also has a tennis court and a swimming pool and during the winter you can perfect your skiing or snowboarding skills.

Samobor hills

Food

The most popular and widely appreciated local specialty is samoborske kremsnite ( a type of cake) that are definitely one of the town’s main symbols. Other sweet delicacies are rudarska greblica (the miner’s cake), honey and gingerbread biscuits and fasnik krafna ( a type of doughnut eaten during the carnival time). If you think the local food is all about sweet stuff and nothing else, you are terribly wrong. On the restaurant’s menus, you can find traditional meals like Samobor cutlet, trout, mushroom soup made from fresh local mushrooms, Samobor salami, cesnofka, and the meal that has been associated with the town for centuries now – bermet and mustarda.

Krempite

Nearby Destinations

There is a lot to see and do outside of the town as well as in it. Just next to the Slovenian border there’s the stunning Zumberak Nature Park with its amazing nature and hiking trails. Archaeological Park at Budinjak has been almost perfectly preserved to this day and at its hill-fort, you can see the remains of a settlement inhabited during the late Iron Age. If this is not enough, go see Jagetic, Gradna Stream or take a stroll down the educational trail called Path of the Princes.

Souvenirs

Samobor is known for its crystal factories that still to this day manually grind the crystal. Choose something nice among the vast collection of dishes, glasses, bowls and much more. All this at very reasonable prices.

12.02.2017 / by / in ,
Šibenik

Šibenik is a historic town located in the Croatian region of Dalmatia. Unlike other cities in Dalmatia, Šibenik was founded by the Croats on a strategic place where Krka river flows into the Adriatic sea. This small, but absolutely fascinating town will leave you great memories as it has so much to offer. Beautiful narrow streets and small squares, peaceful bay and hidden beaches, kind people and good food, nearby islands and national park will make your vacation unforgettable.
Sibenik panorama

What to visit

Cathedral of St. James – The Cathedral is one of the most beautiful and impressive attractions in Šibenik. It was entirely built in limestone back in the 15th century. Decorative elements of the Cathedral represent the amazing amalgamation of Gothic and Renaissance details. The building of the Cathedral began in 1402 and it was completed in 1536. The concrete work was consigned to masters from Dalmatia, Northern Italy, and Tuscany in 1436, and they began to transform the older Romanesque Cathedral in the one we admire today. The Cathedral was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

Sibenik St James Cathedral

St. Nicholas Fortress – this fascinating fortress was built in the 16th century on the island Ljuljevac located at the entrance of Šibenik’s harbor. Before the fortress was built, the island was home to a Benedictine monastery of St. Nicholas from which it got its name. During the Turkish invasion, locals with the help of Venetians built the fort to prevent enemies from reaching the port and destroying the city. Other than this imposing fortress, during your stay in Šibenik, you can visit the St. John and St. Michael’s fortress. The second one is located at a height of 70m above the sea level. The fortress of St. Michael, also called the St. Anne’s fortress by the locals, offers a spectacular view of the city and the Šibenik channel. The fortress was mentioned for the first time back in 998 as castrum built to protect the entrance to the bay and Krka river. Over time, the fortress was expanded several times, destroyed, rebuilt and finally in the 16th century it got structured as we see it today.

St. Nicholas fortress sibenik

Sibenik st Michael fortress

City Museum – the museum was founded back in 1925, in occasion of celebrating the thousandth anniversary of the Croatian Kingdom. It is located in the former Duke’s Palace, near the Cathedral of St. James. Duke’s Palace was a part of the coastal defense system of the city, built in the 13th century. Today we can admire only two wings of what was once a much bigger structure. The museum consists of the archeological, cultural and historical division with rich collections of valuable items related to the history of the city from ancient times to this day.

Town Hall – situated just across the Cathedral of St. James, this beautiful town hall was built in the 16th century. Although severely destroyed during the WWII, it was completely rebuilt following the original plan of the famous Venetian architect Michele Sanmicheli.

Sibenik Town Hall

Medieval Mediterranean Garden – part of a St. Lawrence monastery, this small and peaceful garden is a great place to just sit, relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. The garden was abandoned for many years, then it was renewed by the famous landscape architect Dragutin Kiš who received the Millennium Award for Flora in Japan in 2000.

There are also several beautiful churches in the town of Šibenik like the Church of St. Barbara where you can admire numerous paintings and sculptures dating back to 14th century and the Church of St. John the Baptist built in Gothic-Reinessnace style back in the 15th century.

Dalmatian Ethno Village – small stone village built in an old traditional style to give an insight into Dalmatian history and traditions.

Sibenik Dalmatian Ethno Village

Food & Drink

In Šibenik 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 nearby islands famous goat cheese as an appetizer, 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.

Sibenik narrow streets

Sibenik street

Sibenik bay

Nearby Destinations

Krka National Park – a vast, mainly unchanged region of extraordinary natural value and includes many preserved or insignificantly altered ecosystems. Perfect place for a day trip while in Šibenik. See more about Krka National Park here.

Kornati Islands National Park – another spectacular National Park located near the city of Šibenik. Kornati archipelago consists of 140 islands and 89 of them were declared a national park back in 1980. It is a perfect place for numerous activities like sailing, snorkeling, diving, swimming, hiking, observing the plant and animal wildlife. See more about the Kornati Islands here.

Split – fascinating historic city, located just 90 km away from Šibenik, is really worth a visit. Split was founded more than 1700 years ago by the Roman Emperor Diocletian and his imperial palace occupies the most important part of the old town. With the beachfront and palm trees right in front of the palace, Split offers the perfect Mediterranean postcard. See more about the city of Split here.

Split

Zadar – the city of Zadar is a monument on its own offering an amazing opportunity to its visitors to dive into the remains of ancient settlements, old churches, and ruins. Zadar won the title for The Best European Destination in 2016 and as it can be assumed it is a popular touristic spot. See more about Zadar here.

Zadar collage

06.02.2017 / by / in ,
Roman Ruins in Croatia

Split

The most important monument in Split is the Diocletian’s Palace dating back from 305 A.D. The Palace was built as a massive structure, with its 200 meters long and 20 meters high walls. It was built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian, as his residence after the retirement. Underneath the Palace, there are Diocletian’s cellars that lead from the Riva waterfront to the Imperial square Peristil, the colonnade ornamented plaza with two sphinxes from Egypt. Peristil also formed the northern access to the imperial apartments and it gave access to Diocletian’s mausoleum on the east and to three temples on the west. An interesting fact is that Diocletian was a great persecutor of the Christians, and over his mausoleum, stands today a beautiful Cathedral of St. Domnius, patron saint of Split, martyred during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian. Find out more about Split here.

Peristil Split

 

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 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.  Here you can admire the remains of the 2nd-century amphitheater, which despite its small size had the capacity of up to 18,000 spectators. 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. 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

Burnum

Burnum was a Roman Legion camp, today it is an important archaeological site located 2.5 km north of Kistanje (County of Šibenik and Knin). Building of the military camp was initiated by the Roman governor for Dalmatia Publius Cornelius Dolabella and continued by Emperor Claudius. The remains include a praetorium, the foundations of several rooms, the amphitheater from the 1st century and the 32 km long aqueduct. Burnum aqueduct – Plavno Polje is an entirely underground aqueduct, so that water stayed cool in the summer and could not freeze in the winter. The aqueduct is around 32 kilometers long with a 170m height difference between the source and the town. It is a live site and the archeologists are still exploring and reconstructing it. You can also visit the museum of Burnum archeological site with the exhibits of the amphitheater, Roman bust and photographed items.

Burnum

Zadar

In Zadar, you can admire The Roman Forum, which was a municipal square founded by the Roman Emperor Augustus (built from 1st to 3rd century). There was built a 2-meter high capitol with nearby a temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, many columns and stone carvings. There is also a monumental Roman pillar used as “the Pillar of Shame” in the Middle Ages, where people who committed some crime were chained and pilloried. Find out more about Zadar here.

Zadar forum donat

Pula

The Arena is surely the most famous and important monument in Pula, but in Croatia as well, due to the fact that is is the sixth largest and one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. The Arena is the only remaining Roman amphitheater to have four side towers with all three Roman architectural orders completely preserved. It was built in the 1st century outside the old city walls and today it hosts many events such as Film Festival, Opera Season, concerts and much more. So while in Pula, don’t forget to see the unique event Spectacvla Anticva that recreates historical Roman gladiator simulated fights in Arena (Read more about the event here). Admirers of the history of Roman Empire can also visit the Temple of Augustus, constructed between the year 2 BC and AD 14 and situated in the Forum changed its function a few times during the past: first, it was used for pagan ceremonies, afterward as a church and in the beginning of the 19th century it became a museum. Arco dei Sergi, another Roman monument, is a triumphal arch that was originally a city gate, constructed as a symbol of victory at Actium. Roman Floor Mosaic is an impressive floor mosaic that has been found in the remains of Roman houses after the World War II and has been well preserved since then, definitely worth seeing! Find out more about Pula here.

Pula Arena

 

05.02.2017 / by / in ,
Motovun

Motovun is a small medieval village in central Istria with a population of 531 inhabitants and a very rich historical heritage well worth visiting. It is a famous tourist attraction and one of the pearls of the Istrian inland. This enchanting little city will leave breathless anyone who comes to visit. Walking through small narrow streets, discovering its rich history through medieval buildings or simply admiring the amazing view from the hilltop will make you fall in love with this magical place.

Motovun Josef Ressel Square

Eileen_10 / Shutterstock, Inc.

Motovun is situated on Motovun hill and built over on a site of ancient settlement Castellieri. It has been added to the UNESCO Tentative List in order to enter the World Heritage list. Motovun was mentioned in written records for the first time in the early 9th century, but it was fortified as we know it today by the Venetians, who took over Motovun in the 13th century and it made part of Venetian colonies for more than 500 years. During that period city walls, towers, and gates were built and remained almost completely intact till this day. Motovun is truly an exceptional place to immerse yourself in the past and discover what an amazing heritage our ancestors left us to take care of, and enjoy its beauty. Although Motovun is a small town, there are numerous interesting places to visit and things to do. So take a look at some:

Motovun church

For those in shape, there is the longest Istrian stairway with more than 1000 stairs that lead from downhill to Motovun’s city core. The church of Saint Stephen is the parish church built in early 17th century in the late Palladian style. The church holds several valuable artworks od various late baroque artists. Other than the parish church, there are three other small churches built in the 15th and 16th century. Located just near the parish church there is a bell tower that dominates the city’s historic core.

Municipal Palace is particular for the walls, adorned with the remains of Romanesque double windows from the 13th century. There is also a town’s old hospice built in the 17th century. The Tower, also known as the The New Gate, is connected to the Municipal Palace and through it with the city walls. City Loggia, located on the Josef Ressel Square, was built as a belvedere from which the Mirna river and the valley can be seen.

Motovun street

Motovun is also the host of Motovun Film Festival, held for the first time in 1999. It is a festival dedicated to films produced by small cinematographies, a festival with a soul as the organizers describe it. “With its selection of films and guests of honor, the festival celebrates the authors sticking to their artistic stubbornness, unconventionality, and originality at all costs. With films and direct communication between filmmakers and film lovers we want to create a cozy spot for those who enjoy the magic of cinema.” – Motovun Film Festival 

Motovun

And finally, don’t forget to enjoy the real taste of the extraordinary Istrian gastronomic specialties with truffles, fresh pasta (like fuži), cured ham (pršut), Istrian ox (boškarin) and famous Istrian wines from grapes grown near Motovun like Malvazija and Teran.

Motovun Tower

28.01.2017 / by / in ,
Zadar

Zadar is a small town on the Dalmatian coast, but nevertheless, it is known for its rich and tumultuous history. It is a monument on its own offering an amazing opportunity to its visitors to dive into the remains of ancient settlements, old churches, and ruins. Zadar won the title for The Best European Destination in 2016 and as it can be assumed it is a popular touristic spot. It is also a magical place to enjoy one of the most beautiful and scenic sunsets in Europe. Alfred Hitchcock during his stay in Zadar in 1964 said: “Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world, more beautiful than the one in Key West, Florida, applauded at every evening”.

26.01.2017 / by / in ,
Zagreb, the capital of Croatia

Being for a long time in the shade of more attractive coastal cities, during the last two years Zagreb became one of the most popular touristic destinations in Croatia. That quite a sudden shift happened mostly thanks to its Christmas Market that was recognized as the best in Europe for two years in a row which surely helped to spread the voice about this interesting and amazing city that offers a lot to anyone who decides do dive into its magic!

25.01.2017 / by / in ,
Pula

Pula is the largest city in Istria region, Croatia, situated at the southern tip of the peninsula. Known for its long tradition of shipbuilding, tourism, and winemaking, the city also stands out among other larger Croatian cities for the rich and well-preserved Roman architecture, the amphitheater being the most famous and dominant part of it.
Other than its interesting historical background, Pula is a busy city with mild Mediterranean climate, beautiful beaches and a host to many exciting events and festivals, especially during summer.

24.01.2017 / by / in ,
Hum – the smallest city in the world

Hum with its 30 (2011 Population Census) inhabitants is formally listed as the smallest town in the world. It is located in the center of Istria region, near the town of Buzet, know as a “town of truffles”. The city which is only 100 meters long and 30 meters wide holds so much of history. According to the legend, Hum was created by accident when the Giants did not have many stones left when building the cities in the valley of the Mirna River, so they decided to build this miniature city….

23.01.2017 / by / in , ,
Kastela

Kaštela is an agglomeration of seven picturesque little towns of the central Dalmatia, situated between Split and Trogir. The Kastela (Kastel means castle) include these seven towns: Štafilić, Novi, Stari, Lukšić, Kambelovac, Gomilica and Sućurac built around medieval castles. Kastela were once an ancient Greek port, although we can see plentiful evidence of earlier civilizations that inhabited this area, like the remains found in Mujina Cave which go back to the Neanderthals. There are numerous historical landmarks that witness the rich history of Kastela like the remains of ancient villa’s, castles and towers, churches and other monuments.

Kastela also boasts beautiful and varied surroundings, narrow streets, small picturesque, pebble beaches and the famous seafront promenade between Kastel Luksic and Kastel Gomilica. If you plan on visiting Kastel Stafilic don’t forget to notice the 1500 years old olive tree. The fortress of Kaštilac in Gomilica has the unique presentation of a small island lying adjacent to the mainland. It was one of the locations where the TV series Game of Thrones was filmed. Apart from sunbathing and swimming on the many local beaches, you can hike to the peak of mountain Kozjak, do scuba diving as there are numerous interesting dive sites nearby and of course sightseeing. Hiking to the peak of mountain Kozjak will offer you the view that is hard to ever forget.

Nearby destinations:

Split
Trogir
National Park Krka
Island of Hvar
Island of Brac
Pakleni islands
Island of Vis

 

 

18.01.2017 / by / in ,

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