Located in southeast Europe, Croatia is geographically diverse. The crescent-shaped country features low mountains and highlands near the Adriatic coastline, flat plains that hug the Hungarian border, and a multitude of islands. In mountainous regions, winters are cold and snowy and the summers are mild. Croatia is famed for its scenic pebbled beaches, which are beautifully lapped by crystal-clear waters. One of the most well known is Brac’s Zlatni Rat, also referred to as the Golden Cape. The tip of the beach is everchanging with the wind, meaning you never know quite what shape it’ll take when you visit.
Population: about 4 million people live in the country (2021)
Capital: Zagreb with 800,000 inhabitants.
Name: Republic of Croatia (Republika Hrvatska)
Motto: ‘Our beautiful homeland’
Religion: mainly Christians (86% of all Croatians are Roman Catholics)
Croatia declared its independence in 1991, sparking insurrections by the republic’s Serbs and occupation by the Yugoslav army. Croatia retook most of the Serb-occupied regions by 1995 and regained full control of its territory by 2002. The country joined NATO in 2009. When it comes to scenery, Croatia is a strong contender for Europe’s best in show. The country’s dazzling Adriatic coastline—with its sunny beaches, shimmering waters, and clusters of walled, red-capped towns sprouting from photogenic headlands—are well known (with an assist from Game of Thrones). One of the reasons Croatia earned a spot in our round-up of the world’s best adventure holidays for 2022, Plitvice Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that rewards solo ramblers, families, and travellers looking to take guided hiking tours.