Croatia, located in Southeast Europe is a land of urban culture and impressive history. With a vast array of historical sites, pristine national parks, captivating castles and breathtaking coastline, the country has so much to offer its visitors. It is home to numerous museums and galleries, many of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. What makes Croatia special is the fact that the country is made up of four cultural circles, the west, east, central Europe and the southern Mediterranean intertwine and compliment one other to form a uniquely interesting country. The coastal areas and the continental parts of the country are vastly different and both areas need to be visited in order get a good feel of the country. Croatia is a country with many cities to visit and explore; each worth visiting as most towns have a historical center and is home to some amazing architecture.
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city, and is by far the most fascinating city in the country. Its beautiful architecture and array of museums and art galleries would impress any discerning traveler. Built on the foundation of two medieval burgs, Zagreb has always been the cultural metropolis of the country. Historic monuments can be seen throughout the city. Although it is a modern city it still has a laid back feel to it. Places of interest include the Museum of Art and Craft, the Art Pavilion, Mimara Museum to name a few from the many museums and galleries in the city. Traveler could also visit the city’s many parks and gardens and travel north of Zagreb to Zagorje and visit the Veliki Tabor and Trakošćan castles.
Dubrovnik is a city of monuments and museums under UNESCO patronage. It is home to the Stradun, the 1940 metre long wall with bulwarks, the gothic renaissance palace of Sponza, Orlandos Pillar and the Rectors Palace; all of which show the importance of Dubrovnik in Croatia’s cultural heritage. The city is famous for its coastal architecture however; it is not the only city worth visiting as Croatia has many cities, each with its own magical and unique charm. Other destinations worth visiting include; Split, Zadar, Istria and Slavonia just to name a few. Travelers could also take a cruise along the Croatian coastline and kickback and enjoy a relaxing holiday or try out some activities such as kayaking, skiing, swimming and cycling. Visitors could also explore the country’s ecology and nature as it is home to 8 national parks and many nature parks. There is plenty to explore and many activities to partake in, around the country depending on personal interest. Tourists could also visit the many open-air markets where local handcrafts and fresh produce are sold. Other items tourist could purchase are beautiful glass jewelry and handcraft items sold in Zagreb.
Muslim travelers visiting the city need not worry about finding Muslim-friendly facilities, as Croatia is home to a sizeable Muslim population and Islam is an officially recognized religion in the country. Islam was introduced by the Ottoman Empire; however the current Muslim population consists of many ethnic communities. Croatia’s capital Zagreb has one of the largest mosques in Europe and a new mosque was opened recently in Rijek. Other mosques spread across the country are Islamic Center in Gunja, Islamic Center in Split, Islamic Center in Dubrovnik, Islamic Center in Umag and Islamic Center in Slavonski Brod. Muslim travelers looking for halal food will be able to find a number of restaurants they could dine at. Croatia has a halal certifying body known as The Center for Halal Quality Certification. Funtana Restaurant in Baška, Tiara Restaurant in Zagreb, Kaptol Restaurant, Vidikovac, Turist in Varazdin, and Pod Lampom are all halal certified restaurants in Croatia. However, Muslim tourists must be aware that some restaurants also serve non-halal items and most serve alcohol or allow guests to bring their own. Therefore, it is always best to check with the owner of the restaurant regarding how the food is prepared, before dining.
The best way to see the country is to rent a car and visit as many cities as possible, or for those trying to keep their spending down; public transport is a good option. Croatia truly does have something for everyone. It is a great destination for a holiday with the family, as well as a great one for those traveling alone.