Arising from the ashes of centuries of conflict, the region known rather imprecisely as The Balkans is emerging as what many are calling Europe’s “new frontier.” The ancient nations that were clumsily forged into the country of Yugoslavia after World War I and were part of the Soviet Bloc until the waning years of the 20th century have reverted today to their historic independence as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. They are the hottest new vacation spots in Europe with Croatia at the top of the list.
Separated from northern Italy by a narrow strip of Slovenia, Croatia has the most extensive coastline of the Balkan states. It extends from the Istrian Peninsula southward 350 miles to the ancient city of Dubrovnik near the Montenegrin border. Inland, the City of Zagreb dates back to prehistoric times and has a rich cultural heritage.
Zagreb is the capital and largest city of Croatia. Settled by Romans in the first century, Zagreb is home to ancient ruins, medieval churches, and an extensive collection of museums, theatres, parks and restaurants.
Split has been a magnet for visitors since at least 300 A.D. when the Roman emperor Diocletian chose the Adriatic port as his retirement home. The palace he built still stands as a major attraction. In 1979 the city’s historic center was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With 4+ million tourists passing through annually, Split is the third busiest port in the Mediterranean and is a major cruise ship destination with access to the central Dalmatian islands.
Known as “the pearl of the Adriatic,” Dubrovnik sits at the southernmost reaches of Croatia. Its location gives it a hybrid Mediterranean/subtropical climate that along with its natural beauty, beaches, and abundance of historical sites attracts thousands of visitors. Its picturesque beauty is portrayed as the city of King’s Landing in the current HBO steampunk fantasy Game of Thrones.
Food lovers will find Croatia’s cuisine a veritable buffet of variety. Dalmatia and Istria are Mediterranean menus dominate Dalmatia and Istria and draw heavily from Italian influences. Farther inland, the influence of Hungarian, Austrian, and Turkish palates brings meats and freshwater fish to the dinner table. Eateries abound…from trendy upscale restaurants to humble cafes where you can mingle with the locals.
Highway and rail routes are generally well connected and modern, so ground transportation is relatively easy and inexpensive. The major ports at Split and Dubrovnik are stops for cruise Zagreb, Split, and Dubrovnik have airports with direct flights to most major European cities, nonstop flights from the U.S. are only available on charters, so you will most likely fly to a hub in Europe for a connecting flight.
Whatever means you choose to get to Croatia, your journey will be simpler and safer if you stop at Magellans.com before you pack. Moving from plane to plane or ship to shore doesn’t have to be a challenge when Magellan’s offers hundreds of choices of luggage and packing accessories. The Briggs & Riley Transcend International Carry-On with its multiple compartments and convenient exterior pockets is tailored to fit the space constraints of both domestic and foreign airlines. The StowAways Compression Sack Set is designed exclusively for Magellan’s to get the most out of your limited carryon. Your transatlantic flight will seem a lot shorter if you can get in a few hours of shut-eye, so don’t forget a Good Night Sleep Mask and an Inflatable Komfort Kollar® to turn whatever plane you’re on into your own personal dream liner.
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