Croatia - More Information

Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia (Republika Hrvatska), is a sovereign state poised between the Balkans and Central Europe. Its capital city is Zagreb, home to the most museums per square foot than any other city in the world. These museums showcase some of the most cherished artefacts from Europe’s history and are both intriguing and shocking in equal measure. Croatia officially became a member of the European Union on 1st July 2013. Croatia’s weather is diverse with mostly continental and Mediterranean climates. It has a population of 4.28 million, most of whom are Croats. This land has been passed between competing kingdoms, empires and republics for centuries resulting in a rich cultural legacy being left behind. From Roman columns to Napoleonic forts, Croatia is abundant with historic treasures. In particular, Croatia still has a very prominent Italian influence. This is primarily apparent in their exquisite local cuisine and the fact that Italian is still very much so their second language.

The Croatian flag’s colours were inherited from the country’s coat of arms. Unofficially, the colours the flag represent the three symbols of Croatian history and people – the red symbolises the blood of Croatian martyrs, the white symbolises the peaceful lamb-like nature of Croatia and the blue represents the Croatian devotion to God. The checkerboard in the middle of the coat of arms is the symbol of the kings of Croatia, the five coats above it represent the historical regions which Croatia was originated.


Croatia is located in South-Eastern Europe along the Adriatic Sea. It borders Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro and Slovenia. Croatia has a varied topography with flat plains along its Hungarian border and low mountains near its coastline. Croatia includes its mainland as well as over nine thousand small islands in the Adriatic Sea. Sprawling across the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea and the western side of the Balkan Peninsula, Croatia’s long coastal region stretches from the Istrian Peninsula in the north to the Gulf of Kotor in the south, becoming increasingly narrow. In the north, between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia, Croatia extends inland as far as the Danube River.


The Croats arrived in present-day Croatia during the early part of the 7th century AD. By 925, they had their first king elevating Croatia to kingdom status. The Kingdom of Croatia retained its sovereignty for almost two centuries. By the mid-10th century, the country’s fragile unity was threatened by power struggles in its ruling class. Venice took advantage of this disarray and launched an invasion of Dalmatia which established their first foothold on the coast. The current Croatian king then regained control over Dalmatia, but the kingdom once again descended into anarchy upon his death; the same situation occurred again with the next king. Venetian rule over the Croatian coast lasted nearly 700 years resulting in many of the coastal towns still showing a marked Venetian influence.

Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. After World War I, in 1918, Croatia was included in the unrecognised State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary and merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. During World War II, a fascist Croatian puppet state existed. However, after the war, Croatia became a federal constituent of Second Yugoslavia (a constitutionally socialist state). In June 1991, Croatia declared independence which came into effect later on that year.

As a unitary state, Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system. Croatia is a member of the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN), the Council of Europe (NATO) and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. Now, decades after the end of the war Croatia is well established as a safe, independent and tourist friendly country with a strong economy and a stable government.


The climate of Croatia is both Mediterranean and continental depending on location. In Istria, where we feature our trek, the climate is much more Mediterranean. The continental areas of the country have hot summers and cold winters, while the Mediterranean areas have mild, wet winters and dry summers. The latter regions are along Croatia's coast. Croatia's capital city Zagreb is located away from the coast and has an average July high temperature of 80oF (26.7oC) and an average January low temperature of 25oF (-4oC).

Wildlife and Nature

There are 8 National parks in Croatia, all overflowing with fauna and flora, forests, cascading waterfalls, river and deep blue lakes. Four of the parks are located in the mountainous region and the other four are in the coastal region. There are currently 44 herbal and 381 animal species protected in Croatia. Over 400 bears roam wild in the mountain forests along with wild sheep, mountain goats, wild cats, wolves and an abundance of lynx, not to mention the vast amount of bird life. The marine life of Croatia is just as plentiful, with a stunning variety of fish you can spot in any quay side. If you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll also be able to enjoy watching the dolphins in the water.

Forests make up 36% of the surface area of Croatia and the dominant forests in the continental regions are English oak, hornbeam, beech and fir. The coastal belt and islands are characterised by alpine pine, downy oak, white and dark hornbeam and dense evergreen underbrush. Croatian rivers belong to the drainage basins of the Black Sea (62%) and Adriatic (38%).

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