Monday, May 18, 2009

A Perfect Mediterranean Getaway: Hvar Island, Croatia


Hvar Island, located in Dalmatia, Croatia, is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Hvar Island covers an area of 290 sq. km, with a population of under 15,000 inhabitants. The yearly average temperature is 16 degrees Celsius, with an average of 7.7 sunshine hours per day.

The island has been inhabited since 3,500 BC. Hvar was then colonized, in turn, by the Greeks (4th Century, BC), the Slavs (7th Century), the Republic of Venice (12th Century), the Kingdom of Hungary (1238), the Venetian Republic, the French Empire (during the Napoleonic Wars), and the Austrian Empire. It became part of the Republic of Croatia in 1992.

The major places to visit in Hvar are: the town of Hvar, Stari Grad, Jelsa, Sucuraj, and Vrboska. They are all located on the coast. The east cape of the island (Sucuraj) is located just 6 km away from the mainland. The town of Hvar and other towns and villages on the island have many architectural and cultural monuments that await discovery. Friendly people, pristine beaches and bays, a rich history and culture, the scents of lavender, olive trees, and wine are some of the reasons that Hvar makes for a perfect vacation in the Mediterranean sun.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hum - Smallest town in the world

The Guinness Book of World Records officially recognizes Hum, Croatia as the world's smallest town with 23 inhabitants. Created in medieval times, Hum continues to maintain medieval structural integrity in the modern world. With the distinction of being the birthplace of Croatian literacy, Hum is also the Mecca of the Glagolitic alphabet.
The medieval practice of electing a Prefect continues in Hum with males of the tiny town gathering in the municipal loggia to engrave their votes on a wooden stick. The election is followed by a folk festival showcasing the finest traditional dishes and the excellent homemade wine and brandy of the locals.

While Hum is the world’s smallest town, visitors can find accommodation at a guesthouse, as well as local food at the town’s restaurant. A combination of breathtaking scenery, unparalleled historical value, and cultural significance, Hum may be off the beaten path, but it is an adventure into the past. The ability to traverse the stone paved streets of their forefathers is an adventure the residents of Hum treasure. History is not only rich and abundant in Hum, it is alive and well. Hum is a must see on the list of incredible adventures for the explorer interested in medieval architecture, and a definite destination for anyone desiring a relaxing retreat.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Seaside Opatija-beautiful coastal town

Opatija Lungomare
Opatija Sv. Jakova, or the Abbey of Saint Jacob, was built in the area of modern Opatija. This Abbey was built in the 14th century by Benedictine monks, and is where the town derived it's name. For the next few hundred years it was a normal monastic village, with inhabitants ranging from monks, to fishermen and local tradesmen. Then, in 1844, Iginio Scarpa, a patrician of neighboring Rijeka, built a summer home in Opatija, and cemented the routes of a now thriving tourist economy for the area. Scarpa's summer house drew many distinguished guests and the area soon became known as a popular meeting place, drawing in Vienna’s Southern Railways Company furthered substantiated the area, and hotels, summer houses and villas were being built. Soon after, a park, a sea promenade and a forest pathway sprouted up. Many notable European statesmen and celebrities have visited Opatija, including Franz Josef, German Emperor Wilhelm II, Isadora Duncan and James Joyce just to name a few.

Opatija and it's surrounding area offer many things for tourists to do while visiting. Settled in a beautifully lush garden, The Church of Saint James, a 1930's replica of a 1790's structure beckons onlookers. There is also a cloister and small monastery on the sight as well, and choirs can be heard from nearby hotel terraces, lending more enchantment to an already magical location. Duro Matija Sporer Arts Pavilion is an art gallery adjoining the monastery. It provides a wonderful view of the famous statue of a woman that standing on rock at the edge of the sea, aptly known as "Greeting the Sea". Another attraction of the area is the mandarin and olive harvesting, where tourists are invited to play an active role in. When in Opatija, one is wise to also visit the beautiful islands nearby. The area also offers many modernized hotels and many restaurants to choose. Opatija is one destination that should not be missed by the avid traveler, and is sure to please even the most finicky!

Monday, November 10, 2008

See the City of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik - pearl of Adriatic
Dubrovnik is a major seaport city on the southern coast of Croatia and a popular tourist destination because of its illustrious island territory. The prosperity of Dubrovnik has persisted since the Middle Ages, when it became a prominent center of maritime trade. Although Dubrovnik, originally known as Ragusa, was founded in the 7th century by the Latins, it has survived and flourished under the rule of wealthy French, German, and Austrian empires. In 1991, Croatia declared its independence from the Socialist state of Yugoslavia and was renamed the Republic of Croatia.

What to Expect

Dubrovnik's multicultural European population has made this city a center of rich cultural heritage that is appreciated by tourists from around the globe. Dubrovnik's old-world splendor has been preserved in the expertly designed city fortress, ancient architecture, and dazzling views of the nearby Adriatic Sea. The Baroque and Romanesque cathedrals are a sight to be remembered.

Dubrovnik is hailed for its luxurious hotels and hip clubs and cafes, but the city has much to offer in cultural activities, such as the Summer Festival of music and theater, and the Libertas Film Festival. The Spring and Fall are the best seasons to visit the city. Dubrovnik has a typical Mediterranean climate, with rainy winters and warm summers; although, warm clothing is good for the frequently windy weather and occasional thunderstorms. Don't hesitate to see the city of Dubrovnik.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

View Nature Between the Adriatic Sea and the Biokovo Mountain

Directly on the Adriatic Sea are the beautiful beaches backed by rich green trees of the Makarska Riviera on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. It is approximately 60 kilometers in length and a few kilometers in width. The Biokovo Mountain towers over these pebble beaches with their incredible climate of sunshine. Along the coast are settlements running from the Omis Riviera, northwest, to the Neretva Delta, southeast.
With accommodation facilities the Riviera becomes a most popular tourist stop. The old town in Makarska’s center has narrow streets that are stone-paved, a flower and fruit market in the church square, and a sea shell collection in the Franciscan monastery including a giant clam shell. Many hotels in the city are set right off the bay and provide private beaches for their guests. It is a mountain area with an incredible naturalistic view featuring the deep blue sea, intensely green forests and its tempting rocky mountain height. One is placed between the Adriatic Sea and the Biokovo Mountain with its Botanical Garden Kotisina that makes plant life protection and nature conservation possible. In the mountain there are many caves and pits where one might encounter wild muflon, countless bird species and foxes.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Island Cres - The Hidden Gem of Croatia

Island Cres, Beach in Lubenice
Island Cres with its many coves, lagoons, caves and beaches has always been a favorite vacation spot for the natives of Croatia. Now this island garden spot is gaining the attention of tourists around Europe and the world.
The largest of the Croatian Islands, Cres is a long and mountainous island of with some 248 kilometers of idyllic coastline. Pebble covered beaches on the west and south side invite you to partake of the sea. The north and east sides of the island feature spectacular rocky slopes. A favorite of ecotourists, Cres is home to several endangered species, including the largest of European birds, the Griffon Vulture. The freshwater Lake Vrana supplies the island with drinking water and it is said that one drink will assure your return.
The island has several small hotels, but to experience the culture at its best, consider renting a room. There are also apartments available. Camping and short term apartment rentals will also let you blend into this island paradise. No matter where you stay; museums, gallaries, and ancient collections await you. Then at the end of the day you can lose yourself in the unspoiled natural beauty of this hidden gem.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Horseback Around Rocky or Flat Beaches in Porec, Istria

On the western coast of Istria sits a beautiful port of a town filled with Roman architecture. This small town, Porec, offers pine forests and stone pine around the sea in certain spots and allows for an abundance of vegetation and resists unwanted temperatures with summer times without unbearable heat. Home to a bathing beach the town also has a campsite near the south cove. Farming, fishing, fruit and olive growing are the general occupations.
Tourism was begun around 1844 by the steamers society. Once in 1863 the meteorological station was founded, the castle on the islet of St. Nicholas was built by Marquis Polesini. The history of Porec begins long before then and even before the time of the Romans. Porec became the administrative and economic center for the Roman’s colony. From many historical monuments the most important today is Euphrasius Basilica which was built in 6st century. It is Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Porec is great for tourism with its many resorts. Brulo is situated in a pine forest above one of Porec’s rocky beaches and has maintained paths for its guests while also including swimming pools and several terraces. For flatter beaches the Zelena Laguna tourist resort is around a forested coast with a recreational center offering horseback riding, jogging trails, basketball, tennis courts, and much more. Boats can be taken from the town to the islet of St. Nicholas known for its rocky coast, well kept beaches and beautiful castle.