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Dubrovnik, located along Croatia's
scenic Adriatic coast.

Watch for Croatia to take the next great step in becoming a major travel destination when it finally joins the European Union in July 2013.

A stone's throw away from Northern Italy across the Adriatic Sea, lies Croatia.

Surrounded by Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the north, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the southeast, the country that is best remembered for its part in the outbreak of the 90s Balkan conflict is today a jewel in the crown of Eastern European tourism.

Croatia's physical beauty is only part of the story that lies behind its success — as Europeans of all stripes are drawn by media buzz surrounding the country's new travel motto "The Mediterranean As It Once Was". Read into that "cheaper prices as they once were", and Croatia becomes the much more affordable option compared to the likes of sunny Spain, or its closer neighbor Italy, in stiff competition to lure tourists who want to stretch their holiday or vacation budget.

The coast is, of course, Croatia's summer calling card, beckoning tourists to its crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches, a flotilla of yachting or jet-skiing opportunities, as well as world class diving and snorkeling areas.

Dubrovnik attractions

Coastal and very scenic Dubrovnik, "the pearl of the Adriatic" is at the center of Croatia's tourism revival, combining fun in the sun with Old World charm.

Scenic walks on the old city walls, a visit to the Rector’s Palace, the cathedral, the Maritime Museum, and the aquarium are also on top of must-sees while on a visit here. Or, just relax in Dubrovnik''s welcoming cafes and restaurants, set amid vividly well-preserved medieval and Renaissance architecture.

At the height of the season, also don't miss the Dubrovnik Summer Festival of theater and music performances held annually from mid-July to mid-August.

More to see in Croatia

Aerial view of Dolac, the main
market in the capital city of Zagreb.

While inland Croatia holds fewer attractions, the booming capital city of Zagreb offers a hubbub of activity in its colorful market and well-traveled town square.

As the cultural nerve center of Croatia, Zagreb is a heady mix of historical monuments and museums combined with modern office buildings and the inevitable plans for hi-rise apartment buildings. While on a visit here, also expect to find dozens of theaters and entertainment centers, as well as outdoor summer concerts and other entertainment events planned throughout the year.

Another Croation tourism hot spot, Varazdin, is a popular 2-hour day trip just 50 miles north of Zagreb, offering a stunningly beautiful city scape of baroque architecture and medieval castles at every turn. In addition to its many historical attractions, Varazdin of late has also been attracting 100,000 visitors a season to its end-of-summer outdoor rock concerts and baroque music fest.

also see in Wines of the World -> Croatian wineries

More about Croatia & Dubrovnik travel & tourism around the Web:

Croatia travel guide - Wikitravel - Extensive guide to the whole of Croatia with insider details on getting around, hotel and restaurant reviews, background notes on Croatian history and culture, practical travel advice and safety tips.

Croatia Travel Information and Travel Guide - Expert travel advice from Lonely Planet including overviews of Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Samobor, Pula, and Plitvice Lakes National Park, with suggested hotels and restaurants, maps & photos.

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