It was a Christmas fairy tale for us in this colorful country.
Usually, our trips will be somewhat off-beat, but with Croatia we had the plans of absolutely visit all the main stream touristy places while driving in the scenic landscape.
I shall list the cities we visited in order and activities that we did. I want to make this blog little more conventional for the readers.
Our Tour started with the main attractions of Zagreb. Going from Ban Jelačić Square (main Zagreb square), it includes St. Stephen‘s Cathedral (biggest church in Croatia), open market Dolac, Stone Gate, Parliament and Government House, St. Mark‘s Church with its multi-coloured roof, St. Catherine‘s Church, Lotrščak Tower and vibrant Tkalčićeva street with many charming cafes. Enjoying the special Christmas atmosphere of the city of million hearts we walked in the vibrant Christmas markets of.
Few things worth noting
Zagreb Cathedral, Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Also dedicated to King Stephen. Construction-1093, but lot of restorations were being made. 1880 earthquake turned it into Neo-Gothc style.
A highly ornated entrance. Done by Ivan Meštrović, a famous croatian Sculptor
St Mark's church in the upper old town of Zagreb. I find it very interesting, the legend about the chequered patterns on the Croatian flag. Legend says that the king of Croatia won his freedom through chess, against an Italian king and claimed his freedom. To mark that, the flag has these patterns.
The towers of the cathedral seen from the old town or upper town as it is called.
Museum of Broken relationships
This museum is exactly what the names suggests; all items featured here are relics of broken relationships. Each item is accompanied with a story: some funny, others sad.
It is quirky, fun, and it takes less than hour to wander through everything. They even have a little bar to have a drink.
Next stop, the gorgeous Plitvice lakes. We got our first glimpse of the Croatian countryside almost as soon as we left Zagreb. The drive took us through small villages, which was straight out of a fairy tale.
Plitvice lake is an exceptional beauty. A Walk in the Plitvice Lake is such an amazing and peaceful thing to do. Plitvice Lake is in the Karst area of central Croatia. Plitvice lakes has terraced lakes and waterfalls. Winding walkways and trails make the area very interesting.
The ensemble of 16 natural lakes are in its splendid glory. It is a UNESCO heritage site due to its breathtaking views, its fauna and the unique turquoise waters.
Split is the second largest city in Croatia after Zagreb. This city is vibrant and super active. The thing we loved the most here is to sip a cup in the chrming brasseries lines along the busy streest of the old town.
Must visit is the magnificent Diocletian’s Palace, built in white stone and considered one of the most impressive Roman buildings in the world. There you will also find important archaeological ruins like the Temple of Jupiter, Cathedral of Santo Domingo and the Diocletian’s mausoleum. Explore the city by walking, what better way to understand the lifestyle and culture of a country other than walking. Indeed its so much fun exploring the city by walking by the sea.
Our drive was the most fun part of the trip, I must say, watching the beautiful mountains, sometimes by the amazing Croatian coastline full of islands and beauty. Before reaching Dubrovnik, we stopped at stop in the small town of Ston, known for its amazing walls, the oldest saline still in activity in Europe, oysters and mussels cultivated for centuries.
Dubrovnik, here we come!
There are plenty of things to fall in love with this exceptionaly beautiful medieval city. The bustling city activity within the walls of the stone walls, tiny cafes in the narrow lanes, the rustic beauty….its never enough.
Little history to enlighten you. This city was first established around 7th century, and was an independent republic for 450 years (1358-1808). The city remained independent throughout the rule of the Roman, Napoleon, and Turkish empires as a seaport with open trade. Even today the locals take pride in their identity and many will consider Dubrovnik separate from the rest of Croatia, as if it still is a republic. The local economy depends heavily on tourism, and has tactfully marketed Dubrovnik’s unique features.
Take time to wall within the city walls, you will relive the history. Literally I was gaping at every detail and every corner of the massive constructions of the fort walls.
For GoT fans, you can relate so many scenes and events being shot here.
Fort Loverjenac, has a triangular shape with three terraces. The sea facing side of the fortress has walls 12 meters thick but on the land facing side, the walls are only 60 centimeters thick. This was done so that fort was ever taken into enemy hands, the city’s cannons could break the walls.
For GoT fans….Fort’s interiors are used as the halls of the Red Keep and the exteriors are seen in shots of Blackwater Bay, were Myrcella Baratheon is shipped off to Dorne.
The Adriatic drive! Truly one of the great Mediterranean drives offerening the azure seas and picturesque fishing villages. The drive from Dubrovnk to Zadar is approximately 4 hours.
In every corner of the city you will see rich heritage of world importance: The Roman Forum, St. Donatus’ Church, St. Mary’s bell tower, the St. Anastasia’s Cathedral and other monuments. The Sea organ, an architectural object and an experimental musical instrument which plays music by way of sea waves and tubes located underneath a set of large marble steps.
Few things for Fun and joy
In the New Year’s Eve don’t miss the walk through the main square, park Zrinjevac and Tomislavac or Strossmayer promenade, everything in the very center of the city. Take part in the welcoming of the New Year on the Ban Jelacic Square with thousands of other people. The streets are full of people and lights. The smell of the food still lingers in my mind.
While at the market we tried some of the local delicacies.
If I miss something during christmas is the hot wine. Here I had the best. Kuhano Vino. the croatian hot wine. Try this and tell you felt so good sipping in the cold winters of this european land.
I am not much of a sweet tooth, but Germknedle, a fluffy cake did tickle my good part of my sweet taste buds. Inside is a plum cake and filled with melted cream and hazzel nut sauce. It was Goood
You cannot miss this very famous Fritule. Every chance we had and saw the shop making hot round and crunchy yummies, we had it. Fritule, crispy crunchy christmas sweet.
Being vegetarians we have our challenges during all our travels. But I must say here we were never short of anything veg for us to eat.
This is Langos, fried bread. It was so much like our one of Indian delicacies called Puri, I decided to have it with our pickle...that Indian-ness never dies!
Some fun fact before I sign off
Legend tells the word Cravate in french comes from...a neck tie that is called Kravata in Croatian.
king Louis XIII was impressed by these neckties, he hired mercenaries who wore these ties!!!!