Hotels in Dubrovnik
Unanimously considered the jewel of Croatia, Dubrovnik in the southernmost region of Croatia is best known for its well-preserved historic centre contained within 13th-century city walls, its terracotta rooftops, and a stunning location overlooking the Adriatic. Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city was a wealthy independent republic up until 1808. The finest monuments date back to those golden years: the 16th-century Rector’s Palace, the Franciscan Monastery (home to Europe’s oldest pharmacy) and a number of delightful baroque churches, including the Cathedral, St Blaise’s Church and the Jesuit Church.

• Croatia’s second-largest city, Split is also the economic and cultural capital of Central Dalmatia. The city was founded in the third century AD by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Today, the traffic-free historic centre lies within the imposing walls of Diocletian’s Palace, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A vibrant cafe scene focuses on the Roman Peristil, presided over by the majestic Cathedral with its 13th-century Romanesque bell tower. On the hill above town, Marjan, an extensive nature reserve planted with pine woods and fragrant Mediterranean shrubs, affords stunning views over the Adriatic.

• Nearby, the tiny medieval city of Trogir, founded by the Greeks in the third century BC, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site noted for its beautiful Venetian Gothic stone buildings.

• Istria is the largest peninsula on the Croatian coast and, thanks to its easy transport links with nearby Italy and Austria, has also become the country’s major tourist destination. The region’s administrative centre and chief port, Pula, was founded by the Romans in the fifth century BC. Several interesting buildings remain from this period, notably the Arena, a well-preserved amphitheatre, which hosts summer concerts and the annual film festival. The city is a good starting point for excursions to Brijuni National Park, an archipelago of 14 unspoilt islands. It is possible to stay overnight on the largest island, Veli Brijun, where a range of tourist facilities is available.

• On the west coast of Istria lies Croatia’s most visited resort, Porec. Fortunately, the large hotel complexes of Plava Laguna and Zelena Laguna are situated out of town, a little way along the coast, leaving the historic centre intact. Built on a small peninsular, Porec dates back to Roman times, and its star attraction is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Euphrasius Basilica, decorated with stunning sixth-century Byzantine mosaics.

• Inland Istria, with romantic hill towns such as Motovun and Groznjan, makes an ideal day trip from the coast.

• The economic and administrative centre of Kvarner, a popular and busy island region, is Rijeka, Croatia’s largest port. Other than Trsat Castle, built on a hilltop commanding splendid views out to sea, Rijeka has little architectural interest, its main claim to fame being the exuberant celebrations it puts on each year in February for Carnival.

• In Northern Dalmatia, the chief city and port is Zadar, the historic centre of which is made up of narrow cobbled streets, some Roman remains and several interesting churches, notably the 12th-century Romanesque Cathedral.

• The region’s second city is Sibenik, worth seeing for its 15th-century UNESCO-listed Cathedral, and a good base for visiting Krka National Park. Here, the river Krka has sculpted a picturesque canyon, famed for its spectacular Skradinski buk (Skradin Waterfalls) and the islet of Visovac, home to a Franciscan Monastery, which can be visited by boat.

Tourist Information
Croatian National Tourist Office in the UK
2 The Lanchesters, 162-164 Fulham Palace Road, London W6 9ER, UK
Tel: (020) 8563 7979.

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