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Where to go and what to see

Where to go, what to see... without wading through piles of tourist brochures or ploughing through too many websites?

Young people looking for fun and those particular about good facilities and comfort flock to Istria. Lovers of the genuine Mediterranean atmosphere (cicadas included) go to the islands in the south. People of all ages with respiratory troubles go to the island of Lošinj. Art lovers enjoy the mysterious mixture of styles, including gothic, renaissance and baroque churches, palaces and sculptures, and paintings of towns such as Šibenik, Trogir and Dubrovnik.

It’s worth trying to time your visit to Korčula to coincide with the performance of the moreška, a ritualized re-enactment of battles of bygone ages. Since this is not just a show put on for tourists, but a regulated event, check the dates with your local Croatian tourist office before you go. And out of season, the island of Hvar (Pharos), with its strong Greek flavour, is your safest bet for sunny weather.

Kopački rit, in the Danube’s backwaters, is deer hunter’s (no, please, disregard the famous movie!) and birdwatcher’s dream. The virgin forests and the lakes of the island of Mljet and the more distant, less developed islands of Vis and Lastovo (inaccessible to foreigners until a few years ago) for those who prefer unspoiled, authentic atmosphere to more developed infrastructure.

Čigoč is a village where the white stork’s population exceeds the number of inhabitants. Opatija, a distinguished lady, is the preferred escape from the sunless days of winter months, the flavour of the Habsburg times still in the air.

And now, for something very special: How about joining the world of the reticent dormouse-hunters in Gorski Kotar and spending a few nights in the autumn setting traps (tiny baited boxes) on branches of trees? Even if you decide that the taste of the edible, fat dormouse not quite to your liking, the serenity of forests, creeks and wildlife will definitely recharge your batteries. And on top of that, you can take home some dormouse fat, reputed to be the best cure for burns.

The last few tips: A visit to Modra spilja (Blue Cave) on the island of Biševo near Vis is an absolute must. As is a visit to slapovi Krke (Waterfalls of the Krka River), and the mysterious forests and virgin meadows of the Velebit mountain. Fancy something completely different? Then try open-air concerts and plays in the authentic medieval setting of Dubrovnik. Or how about sampling the culinary delicacies at the delta of the river Neretva or fresh shellfish at Ston? I’m going to stop here. After all, something has to be left for you to discover on your own...


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How to survive in and even enjoy Croatia - a guide for smart foreigners © Jakov Buljan, 2006
Illustrations: Dubravko Mataković     Language editor: Francesca Brizi