Treasures of diversity
Problems, problems, problems… as you begin to plan your travels you probably face the same problems as any other tourist. Where to go, what to see, what to experience… It's easy to take a tourist brochure, but the problem arises when you arrive at the destination, and now what?? Should you go for a swim, visit the National Parks, see the caves, lakes, rivers or visit towns and absorb the rich history and culture? You’re in luck. With its many treasures of diversity and the nature of its landscapes, culture and history, Croatia will allow you to experience it all. Start with the nature that will surely leave you breathless and lead you to a town full of ancient and historical treasures.
There is just no end for your pleasures here. The nature in Croatia will play with your senses in a magnificent way. Since there are 8 National parks in Croatia, 11 nature parks and more protected nature reserves, for all you nature lovers there is no doubt about where to start. You should see everything! Mission impossible? No, on the contrary, everything is possible, because visiting Croatia and its treasures should be on the very top of your ‘bucket’ list.
So let’s begin and head right over to the coast. Wow, what is that? A positive shock! 14 Brijuni islands that have been inhabited for more than 5000 years; now home to many animals such as deer, roe deer, bighorn sheep and rabbits. Since 1901 the Brijuni islands have included a zoo, and in the recent years a safari park and a fishpond too, leaving all that visit absolutely breathless.
Let's continue our trip towards the south. Wow! National Park Northern Velebit and next to it National Park Paklenica, part of the same mountain range. The southern part of Velebit is almost without any forests, while Paklenica is extremely full of a special black pine that releases a substance known as ‘paklina’, giving the range its name ‘Paklenica’. Sit back and soak in the natural beauties or walk around the world famous mountain rocks and get a much closer feel.
Further down south, we come across another miracle of nature, the National Park Kornati and its 89 islands, islets and rocks. Now, you’re probably thinking - “islands again… we already saw the Brijuni”, but the diversity between the two will leave you mesmerized. The Brijuni islands are rich with vegetation, while white stone covers the Kornati islands. They are said to be created by God on the last day of His creation. Legend has it that the Kornati islands were made out of white stones that remained after God created the world and decided to scattered them around. Seeing the results, He decided that nothing was to be changed. Fascinated by the beauty of the Kornati islands, the famous G.B. Shaw wrote: "On the last day of Creation, God desired to crown His work and thus created the Kornati Islands out of tears, stars and breath." Discover the Kornati islands on your holidays in Croatia and enjoy Mother Nature’s finest work. Rent a boat to cruise the shores and if you’re lucky you might just come across a pod of playful dolphins that live and dance in the Adriatic Sea.
Well, after visiting so many islands, we believe a short rest is in order, and so we're off to Zadar! Take a break on the beautiful shore and enjoy the sounds of the Sea organs as you watch the glorious sunset over the Adriatic Sea. Then take a look over your shoulder, face the city, as you stare at a capital older than the ‘eternal city’ of Rome. Zadar, the city that’s grown since ancient times, with its fascinating monuments, up until today, the modern era, with its Sea organs and Greeting to the Sun. Take one last look and say goodbye to the Sea Organs and the old city, as we head even further down south.
"I forgot about the ‘benefits’ of civilization with these simple people with whom you communicate in Italian, because all the fishermen here speak the language well. I ate onions with the beautiful fish you eat with your hands… I discovered something new and I drank the red wine of Biševo, the same wine that emperor Franz Joseph drank at the Viennese court… and this is one of my most amazing discoveries of simplicity and the beauty of life. Not only did I discover the Blue Grotto or the Blue Cave, I discovered this world - Biševo”
- Baron Ransonnet, 1884.
Enchanted by the experience of the island, Baron Ransonnet speaks of the island Biševo with its famous Blue Grotto. Biševo leaves no one indifferent. It is a blend of natural phenomenon, sandy beaches, friendly islanders and high quality red wine, creating the greatest memories of all. The Blue Grotto, or the Blue Cave, was originally accessible only by diving as its natural entrance was below the sea level. Based on the suggestions of Baron Eugen von Ransonet, an artificial entrance, large enough for small boats to pass, was built in 1884. Due to the temper of the sea in the channel of Biševo, this island is described as “an island at the end of the world”. Today, people from all over the world rent boats to experience the dreamlike grotto.
In addition to the eight National Parks, Croatia is also proud of its 11 nature parks and countless protected reservations. We haven’t even covered all of the National Parks, or the Falconry Centre near Šibenik or Kuterevo, the shelter for orphaned bears, nor the countless lakes, caves and rivers in Croatia. The diversity of Croatia’s coast makes it easy for one to experience a true mix of landscapes and cultural and historical heritages. Choosing the right part for you though – well, that’s your mission!
As your journey continues (or begins), we’d like to leave you with a little thought bubble. As you sit on the deck of your boat, or on the shore of the Adriatic coast, sipping a homemade brandy or some fine local wine, don’t be surprised to see Adriana.
Adriana, as the locals call her, is a Mediterranean seal and one of the most endangered mammals in the world. She is very shy, so if you do see her, know that you are one of the few who has had the honor.