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Where do you look for Croatia on the map? Well, you can locate it even without a magnifying glass: look for the northernmost tip of the Mediterranean Sea, move your finger a bit to the east of Venice and Trieste, one more centimetre and you’re there.

Zagreb, the capital, is a bit to the west of Stockholm and Vienna and at almost the same latitude as Geneva; the 45° northern parallel nearly splits Croatia into two halves.

Too lazy to think of geography? OK, whether you’re in Frankfurt, Zürich, Prague or Strasbourg you’ll need some six to eight hours by car to enjoy excellent coffee at one of the delightful cafés in Zagreb’s main square. Add two more hours and you can relax in the crystal blue waters of the Adriatic Sea.


Green plains dotted with oak forests between the Danube, Drava and Sava rivers. The snow-capped mountains of Gorski Kotar and Lika, home to a large brown bear and wolf population. Sixteen emerald green Plitvice lakes cascading into one another. Over a thousand islands in the Adriatic Sea, with tiny coves and picturesque bays. All this squeezed into an area only slightly larger than Denmark or Switzerland and smaller than the state of West Virginia in the USA.

Small wonder that there is a widespread belief among Croats that they have been given the land that St. Peter (reportedly a somewhat mischievous apostle) had originally discreetly put aside for himself.

However, do make sure you take along a very good map, because the locals are evidently firmly convinced that too many road signs would confuse travellers.


How to find Croatia

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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