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Croatia: the country of a thousand islands



Croatia: the country of a thousand islands

I took a boat from Ancona, a small Italian city on the Adriatic coast, to go to Croatia. Split, the second largest city in the country, was the destination of my trans-Mediterranean transport.

At seven in the morning the city was approaching. The tower of the cathedral, located in the famous palace of Diocletian, was already visible. The emperor, who was born in a city located a few kilometers from Split, Salona, ​​decided to build a sumptuous palace in the place of his birth to rest before his death. The current city of Split grew within the palace with the population, precisely, of Salona, ​​who fled from the invasions of the Slavs.

I did not know that I was going to find myself in one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. Essential for lovers of civil and popular medieval architecture. In addition, the central courtyard of the emperor’s palace is preserved and is the main square of the old town. Nowhere else have I seen Roman ruins so integrated into the real life of a city. A jewel.

Article contents: [ hide ]

  • The islands of the Adriatic
  • Border and political division of Croatia
  • Climate and relief of Croatia
  • Demographics of Croatia
  • Ethnic minorities in Croatia
  • Spoken languages ​​in Croatia
  • A country with infinite attractions

The islands of the Adriatic

Without a doubt, Croatia is famous for its many beautiful islands. It has more than a thousand (the number can increase to 1,246, depending on what is considered an island), although only 48 of them are permanently inhabited. The islands are also the sunniest area of ​​the country, with more than 2,700 hours of sunshine per year for Hvar and Korcula.

The largest islands are Krk and Cres (this is naturally larger, but the Romans cut a channel to separate it from what is now Losinj), with approx. 405 square km, and the smallest is Smokvica Vela, with only 1 Two of the islands, Jabuka and Brusnik, are of volcanic origin.

It is an area of ​​frequent earth tremors, although the vast majority of them are too light to feel. Even so, every several decades there is some considerable earth movement and one that can cause serious damage to infrastructure and housing every century.

Border and political division of Croatia

The form of Croatia can attract attention. They themselves say that it is a dragon, where Istria would be the head, Dalmatia the chest and, the part that goes into the continent, the wings.

The truth is that Croatia borders Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro. It is divided into 20 counties plus the municipality of Zagreb, the capital, which is in practice a county per se .

Counties are usually named after their capital, although some counties have an additional name, usually a traditional regional name. For example, the county whose capital is Split is called Split-Dalmatia. Others, few, have a county name.

The entire country is a NUT1 region, according to the statistical nomenclature of the European Union, it is divided into three regions (what in Spain would be the autonomous communities) for the NUT2: north-western, central-eastern and Adriatic. Finally, the NUTS3 are the counties (which in Spain would be equivalent to the provinces).

Climate and relief of Croatia

The entire coast, from Istria in the north to Dubrovnik in the south, enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. The Dinaric Alps separate the coast, whose line they follow from north to south, from the interior, and form the border between the Mediterranean and continental climates.

It is even possible to find locations that are close to high mountain temperatures. In the interior the climate is continental, with cold and rainy winters and mild summers.

The lowest temperature ever recorded was -35º in Čakovec, while the highest was 42.4º in Karlovac. The amount of rain varies greatly depending on the area. Where it rains the least is on the coast, more specifically on the islands. The area with the most rainfall is the mountain range of the Dinaric Alps and, within this, the part of the Dinara mountain, near the border with Bosnia.

The winds, meanwhile, as is often the case, are stronger on the coast. Bora comes from the north or northeast and is cold and dry. Another, less common, is sirocco, which comes from the Sahara and is usually warm.

Demographics of Croatia

The total population of the country is estimated at about 4.3 million. The highest population density is in the capital and other points in the north and in some coastal counties, such as Zadar and Split-Dalmatie.

However, Croatia’s birth rate is one of the lowest in the world: 1.5 children per woman. Therefore, it is estimated that by 2051, if this trend continues, the country will have 3.1 million inhabitants. The arrival of immigrants, which seems an urgent need, is scarce: around 7,000 per year before the refugee crisis.

A characteristic of the Croatian population has been massive emigration, in the form of an exodus, to which it has been forced at different times in history. The most recent is the one that took place between 1991-1995, during the Croatian war of independence, which displaced more than 400,000 people.

Ethnic minorities in Croatia

90% of the country’s population is Croat, although there are also important minorities of Serbs, Bosniaks, Hungarians, Italians or Slovenians. Specifically, the largest minority is Serbs, who number just over 180,000 people, according to the 2011 census. However, their number is far below the more than 500,000 Serbs who populated the country in the 1950s. century.

Spoken languages ​​in Croatia

Language policy in Croatia is municipal. If there is a linguistic community in a population that exceeds 33.3% of the total, its language becomes official in the municipality. In addition to Croatian, other languages ​​are official.

This is the case of Italian, especially on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula and on the island of Cres. Serbian is official in border areas in the south, center and east. Hungarian is also official in the west. Czech is official in the center of the country. Rusino (a language very close to Ukrainian) in the west and Slovak, also in the west. There are others, such as Roma, Yiddish or Istro-Romanian, who do not reach the minimum required for official status.

A country with infinite attractions

For me it was a real pleasure to spend a few days in Split, a city that captivates history lovers. It was wonderful to see from a bus how the landscape was gradually changing from the Mediterranean coast, sunny, rocky, with stone buildings and Gothic palaces, to Zagreb. Cross the Dinaric mountain range and reach a more lush, more humid landscape, with much more Austrian or Hungarian architecture, Central European after all.

I returned to the Mediterranean on a bus, this time to Istria, where more than the change in the landscape, the same as the previous trip, it was a delight to see how close we were to Italy. The architecture of Split was mixed with the typical colors and facades of the neighboring peninsula, as well as the gastronomy and, apart from many Italians, the occasional Italian-speaking Croatian.

Croatia is a country that enjoys the wild beauty of youth in a mixture of Mediterranean nonchalance and Austrian seriousness, and that has an infinity of attractions to offer to those who even approach it.

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Adventure Tours

Travel Guide: A whirlwind tour of Porto, Portugal



Travel Guide: A whirlwind tour of Porto, Portugal

Often lurking in the shadows of better-known Lisbon, the coastal city of Porto is by no means its poorer cousin. It’s a fascinating blend of culture, history and a vibrant dining scene. And he’s remarkable considering he’s lent his name to his country and its world-famous alcohol exporter.

His second city in Portugal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the northwestern corner of the country at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean. His convenient two-and-a-half-hour flight from the UK is an attractive option for a quick tour.

These are some of the prime places for interests, tastes and experiences to add to your agenda.

check the view
Getting high is one of his best ways to orient himself, and in Porto he has plenty of options. The majestic arched steel bridge Ponte Don Luis crosses the Douro River with his double decker. Designed by a pupil of Gustave Eiffel, this bridge is one of his six that span the waterways of Porto. Choose the top level of the bridge and enjoy first impressions of the luscious Douro River and its banks as you follow the rattling yellow-green tram.

A beautiful public park dotted with palm trees, the Jardim do Morro welcomes you on the other side and offers another excellent vantage point with a postcard view of the Ribeiro in front. The twisted merchant houses, colorful terraces and historic skyline of this old district are beautiful from every angle, especially from the quiet green space of Jardim do Morro. Check out landmarks like the needle-thin Baroque bell tower and the Torre de los Clerigos, which pierces the view from the top of the hill.

Glide over jagged terracotta roofs back to earth and descend into the Vila Nova de Gaia district on a 5-minute cable car ride picked up at the Jardim do Morro entrance.

enjoy porto

Along the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the Douro River, it’s impossible to go more than a few steps without encountering fortified wines and the name of the city. The entire riverfront and surrounding area is dominated by the familiar names of myriad port wine cellars, each offering tours and tastings. It is imperative to sample and learn at least one or two.

If the multiple options seem overwhelming, Sandeman is a good place to start. Here, tour the airy cobblestone cellars and museum and learn about the history of alcohol advertising, led by the mysterious cloaked hero that is synonymous with the Sandemann logo. As The Sports Hat Guide explains, Sandeman was one of the first wine brands to label and promote his products.

Port is a traditional drink, but don’t miss the stylish converted shipping container bar out front where mixologists have put a modern twist on the ancient drink with an array of interesting cocktails.The Sandeman Sangria or Port and Sandeman Fizz’s Stimulate your taste buds with a combo.

The port house next door, Porto Cruz, catches the eye. Its striking blue-tiled façade soars to an open-air rooftop bar. On a warm day, enjoy his 360-degree views of the Douro River and towering bridges, and sip your famous drink to the soundtrack of the resident DJ’s slow beats.

where to eat
When you’ve worked up an appetite, find the epitome of Porto’s emerging food scene at the historic Mercado Beira Rio. The small food hall dates back to his 1800s, and from plump shrimp to cakes to cod pies to vinho verde to cheese plates to ice cream, vendors offer something for every palate. Sit at one of our indoor or outdoor tables and follow your senses to find what you like.

Go to Miss’Opo for dinner. This casual restaurant is both a guest house and a minimalist clothing store, but its main draw is creative Portuguese cuisine. With a unique, hand-drawn scrapbook-style menu that changes frequently, your experience here is sure to be one of a kind. From spicy risottos to rich Portuguese sausages, enjoy fresh flavors amidst industrial concrete walls and quirky, mismatched furnishings.

You can spend hours at leisure in Poroto. With its multi-level terrace and its own beach, Praia da Luz his bar and restaurant is designed for lounging. Order the fresh local specialty sardines with a spicy tomato sauce, wash it down with a fresh green wine, then sit back and watch the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

Enjoy the Douro River
Drinking Douro every day is a must in Porto, so set your alarm.

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Adventure Tours

The best free tours in Spanish in Europe



The best free tours in Spanish in Europe

More and more cities have free tours in Spanish among their most contracted and best valued excursions. These guided tourist routes, which do not have a fixed price, have become a perfect option through which you can get to know the most famous places while learning the history, anecdotes and legends of the city.
In addition, we cannot forget something very important and that is that free tours are a perfect way to save money on your trip, since the price is the will . That yes, as much as it is like that, try to scratch your pocket a little and have the good will to value a good guide and that thebest free tours in Spanish in Europe continue to exist.

All the specific data of the free tours, such as their duration, meeting point, ways to reserve… etc. You can find them in each of the links that lead to the free tours in Spanish .

Free tour of Amsterdam Free!

Known for being one of the most open cities in the world, Amsterdam is also a city that never disappoints. Canals, flowers, places full of charm and terraces where you can sit and enjoy watching life go by, are just some of the many things that await you in this incredible city.

Amsterdam free tour itinerary

Starting at the Train Station, this free tour of Amsterdam will continue through Zeedijk street until reaching the Oudekerk church, the oldest in the city of Amsterdam and the starting point of the Red Light District, one of the most controversial locations. from the city.
From here you will continue the route entering the Chinatown, and then continue through the Nieuwmarkt, the Jewish Quarter, where the Rembrandt house and the Waterlooplein flea market are located, and then arrive at the Flower Market, one of the most iconic points and beautiful of the city.
The free tour of Amsterdam in SpanishIt will end in Dam Square, another of the best known places in the city, where you can’t stop taking hundreds of photos, which will be one of the many memories of your trip to the city.

Free tour of Barcelona Free!

Cosmopolitan city where they exist, Barcelona is one of those destinations that will not disappoint you, whatever you are looking for and it is an ideal city for all types of travellers.

Itinerary Free tour of Barcelona

Starting in the emblematic Plaza de Catalunya, this free tour of Barcelona will take you to see some of the most interesting points of the city such as Las Ramblas, the Gothic Quarter, where you can see the Plaza de Sant Jaume, the Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia or the Plaza del Rey in addition to entering the incredible Call or Jewish quarter.
The free tour of Barcelona ends at the famous Els Quatre Gats and the Palau de la Música Catalana.

Free tour of Berlin Free!

Berlin, a city in constant evolution after its destruction in World War II, is known as the city of a thousand faces , as well as being one of the most visited destinations in Europe and a place with one of the most heartbreaking stories in the world. .

Berlin free tour itinerary

The route of this free tour of Berlin in Spanish begins in the Lusgarten gardens, on the Museum Island, where after learning about the history of the city and many details about it, you will continue the itinerary to Bebelplatz, a place known for the famous burning of books that took place during Nazism.
You will continue the tour of the city until you reach Checkpoint Charlie, another of the city’s iconic places, and continue to the Berlin Wall, where you will continue to learn details of the city’s history, until you reach the
Holocaust Memorial and then continue to Unter den Linden.
The free tour of Berlin will end at the Brandenburg Gate, one of the most famous and emblematic points of the city.

Free tour of Bruges Free!

Known for being one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium, and dare we say even in Europe and the world, Bruges is a perfect getaway from lively Brussels, where you can spend a day or several enjoying its incredible and magical atmosphere. .

Bruges Free Tour Itinerary

This Free Tour of Bruges in Spanish begins in the beautiful Grote Markt square, the nerve center of the city, to continue through the canal area, one of the most beautiful in the city, and continue to Minnewater, known as the Lake of Love.
From here and after getting to know the area, the history and many curiosities about the city, the Bruges Free Tour will take you back to the Grote Mark, where it will come to an end.

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Adventure Tours

8 amazing places to travel and discover in 2022



8 amazing places to travel and discover in 2022

What are the best places to travel in 2022? That’s the question Vogue posed to a group of hospitality experts , and their answers are literally very mixed. Some are classic destinations where new hotels have opened , others are emerging areas that are on the verge of becoming trendy tourist attractions . Black Tomato , a travel agency known for offering extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime trips, has its sights on Romania.)

Here are 8 ideas for the best places to travel , from a little-known Caribbean island, to a vibrant Mexican city, to the top of the world.

Merida, Mexico

‘ Merida, Mexico , continues to fly under the radar, despite its proximity to incredible Mayan ruins and neon-blue cenotes. In addition, it has a unique culinary offer , ranging from perfectly fried churros in street carts, to the most refined versions of traditional dishes by chefs like Pedro Evia, whose restaurant, Kuuk, is a critical favorite. Look out for some great accommodation options, including rooms in sprawling historic haciendas and small, stylish apartments in the city.’ —Laura Motta, Lonely Planet Content Director


‘We have long admired the beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada for its understated appeal, powdery shores and sensory stimulation upon arrival, where the sweet air smells of sea salt, nutmeg and mace. But now, more than ever, the sheer popularity of the Caribbean means that Grenada is poised to be ‘the hot spot’ to visit , with so much more to do than fly and flop on the beach. Plus, it’s a 4-hour, 30-minute direct flight from New York. Miles of unobstructed beaches are juxtaposed with rich, unspoiled tropical forests that are ideal for intrepid experiences and opportunities for retribution.’ —*Black Tomato*

Easter Island

‘Due to its small and remote location, Easter Island has been closed for most of COVID. For now, the plan is to reopen to visitors in February. 2022 also marks the 300th anniversary of when the island was first ‘discovered’ by Europeans (1722). Nayara Hangaroa is the perfect starting point for exploring the island: from guided tours of Taharoa to quad biking around the island, past secret caves and remote beaches , to watching the sunrise over the moai.’ —Misty Belles, CEO of Virtuoso


‘Transylvania, birthplace of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (actually Vlad the Impaler), is steeped in extraordinarily rich history and this year Romania hosts its ninth UNESCO World Heritage Site , the Roșia Montană Mining Landscape . The area has seen a recent surge in customer interest and Romania is, in fact, the most biogeographically diverse country in the European Union and one of the best places in Europe for wildlife viewing, for those in the know.’

‘The newly opened, Bethlen Estates , a luxurious and revitalized manor house, is the place to stay . The idea and vision of Gladys and Nikolaus Bethlen, wife and son of the late Earl Miklos Bethlen, have made it their life’s work to keep their ancestral ties alive and help preserve the region’s incredibly important biodiversity .’ —Black Tomato


‘I think Antarctica will be a tourist destination in 2022 . There are exciting new ways to explore the White Continent: Ponant and his new ship, Silversea’s Antarctica Bridge cruise ship, which overlooks Drake Passage, and White Desert for the experience on land. There is an untouched purity to the destination that makes it feel worlds away from the rest of life, not to mention a global pandemic, making travelers want to make the journey.’ —Misty Belles, CEO of Virtuoso

napa valley

The Napa Valley hotel scene is accelerating. Stanly Ranch, an Auberge Collection Resort, will debut in spring 2022 at the historic estate, Stanly Ranch Winery, a 700-acre private ranch dating back to the 19th century. This comes on the heels of other openings, such as Napa Valley’s first Four Seasons . Meadowood recently reopened and there have been a handful of major renovations at properties like Solage and Poetry Inn’. —Misty Belles

Okavango Delta, Botswana

We are seeing a huge increase in customers booking epic trips in 2022 to Botswana , marking the great return of safaris in a truly wish list -worthy place . Botswana is the quintessential safari destination, an ideal place to enjoy a slower, more leisurely pace of travel, and perfect for multi-generational families too. Start your adventure in the fabulous Okavango Delta, which has just welcomed the impressive new, Xigera Safari Lodge, and visit the Makgadikgadi swamps for incredible day and night safaris, where you will meet the extraordinary fauna that inhabits this landscape. apparently barren.’ —Black Tomato


‘ Paris is also luring visitors into its restaurants and museums with a full vaccination schedule, with a stay at LVMH ‘s newest jewel , Cheval Blanc , being a must .’ —Misty Belles

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