by Tina Kovačiček
As we promised, for all you travelers with wandering feet, we will recommend interesting weekend ideas that can be easily planned in no time.
In Part 1, we focused on the inland and green parts of Croatia such as Zagorje and National park Plitvice. This time we are taking you to the coast.
Although autumn is slowly turning into winter, it’s still a good time to visit Adriatic coast because even the winter is easier with a sea view and we all know temperatures are bit higher by the sea. These destinations are still close enough for weekend getaways and these are the last moments to catch some sun.
Beautiful City of Rovinj
The whole Istria peninsula is a great choice for weekend trip and here are couple of reasons why Rovinj is a perfect location to put your anchor down: this is the place with the smallest number of cloudy days on the Adriatic, they call it the most romantic city and in case you feel like exploring Istria – from Rovinj everything is close. Rovinj is situated on the western coast of Istria, in the 142km long area that includes Lim Bay until Veštar.
Mediterranean charm is widely present here, in its narrow streets and small squares are still untouched by modern urbanism. Rovinj’s life started on what used to be the island of Mons Albanus.
The first archeological traces of life date back to the Bronze Age and the old city started developing in the 3rd century. At the beginning of the 18th century, the city started expanding outside the city walls to the mainland.
The channel between the island and the mainland was filled with earth in 1763. The characteristically built chimneys are a special feature of the old city as well.
Plenty of good hotels and resorts will give you an option to spent a good wellness weekend in this surrounding. But interesting attractions won’t let you spend your time only inside a hotel.
To fully experience Istria you should also sail out – not only to see the most beautiful parts from the open sea, but also to feel the connection between the people and the sea. In the offer of a number of boat excursions in Rovinj, you will discover the „call of the sea“, either if you go on a circular ride, pirate cruise and fish-picnic, underwater sightseeing or a night excursion with spotlights.
National park Brijuni is also close and short boat ride from Fažana (20 km distance from Rovinj) will take you to the beautiful landscapes of once Tito’s favorite place to relax, but that is another story.
In case you feel like spending your time in the town, then Batana Eco-museum is not to be missed. It is the first eco-museum not only in Istria but also the first in Croatia which has completely come to life within its local community. In a special way of placing the management of heritage in the hands of the local community, this eco-museum is dedicated to the same-named little fishing boat and the local community who has recognized it as the symbol of its heritage.
The batana is the most common traditional vessel in Rovinj and it reflects the continuity of the local tangible and intangible maritime and fishing heritage, as well as the continuity of the everyday life of the local population. By nurturing and preserving the indigenous maritime heritage of Rovinj, the eco-museum with its programmes participates in the development of the authentic cultural offer for all the visitors to the town Rovinj.
The Routes of the Frankopan
From the beginning of the 12th century to the second half of the 17th the Croatian aristocratic Frankopan family left numerous traces of their influence and power throughout Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. ‘The Routes of the Frankopans’ is a well-organized route for you to learn, explore and admire culture heritage of long lost times.
For all of you curious to learn about Croatian history this is an interesting project who will present 17 of Frankopan castle and 3 sacral buildings, and all of them close enough so you can visit them in a couple of well planned days.
The Nova Kraljevica castle is the starting point on the historical cultural journey and an invitation to the exploration of the material and spiritual heritage of the Frankopan and Zrinski families strung from Krk over Vinodol to Gorski Kotar. It is open every day from 10 am to 8 pm ( Saturdays and Sundays 10 am till 6 pm) and here you can get all the information about the route and the best ways to explore the castles.
When done with the county of Vinodol find a place to sleep at the island of Krk since there you can visit more historical Frankopan sites such as Kaštel Gradec, Kaštel in the town of Krk and Franciscan monastery at the Isle of Košljun. After visiting Krk and county of Vindol, you only have left Gorski Kotar where you can visit four castles and 1 monastery as the last ones of the route.
All of this places will tell you stories about battles, victories and defeats, diplomatic games and conspiracies, personal dramas and national turning points of this powerful family. Keep in mind that during the Advent time they are preparing special program here.
Island of Vitality – Lošinj
For all of you looking for a place to charge the batteries – this is the island to visit. Lošinj is part of the Cres-Lošinj island group, which constitutes the western segment of the Kvarner’s islands inside the Kvarner Bay. The Kvarner Bay together with that of Trieste forms the most inland point of the Mediterranean Sea.
Lošinj’s tourist beginnings are linked to health tourism, as the benefits of climate and vegetation of the island were first discovered by the wise Austro-Hungarian aristocracy. Along with proclaiming Lošinj a health resort, they built numerous villas and summer residences, which have been restored, and today enrich the landscape.
Along with them, there are numerous newly built hotels, which are continually being upgraded with new facilities. Some of them already boast four stars, offering Wellness Centre programs and swimming pools with heated sea water, while others are transformed into smaller family hotels and guest houses. In private accommodation, you will have the opportunity to meet the friendly locals.
On this island you’ll experience a symphony of colors, fragrances and tastes, as they are combined in the island’s traditional cuisine based on wild, aromatic plants and olive oil. The fragrance programs are revived throughout the whole year, bearing the name of the month in accordance with the wild and autochthonous flora, and offering a profusion of healthy and unique fragrances and tastes.
That is why aromatherapy is present everywhere here. When you decide to leave cozy warm bath or wellness, you should definitely visit Museum of Apoxyomenos in the center of Mali Lošinj (former Kvarner Palace).
It is the new and permanent home of the antique bronze statue of an athlete, 192 cm tall, taken from the seabed between the islet of Vele Orjule and the island of Lošinj on 1999. It is assumed that it was deposited in the sea at the beginning of the 1st century when it was thrown overboard during bad weather because of the danger of the ship overturning or as a sacrifice to the gods for safe passage through the Osor channel to a prosperous destination/port of call on the north Adriatic.
We come to the conclusion that you can not escape the magical history moments when visiting Croatia, which is a good thing, at the end.