The Adriatic coast in Croatia features many small medieval towns, including Trogir which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Dalmatian towns are living reminders of the region’s past. Some towns have not significantly changed for more than 500 years. You can wonder what was and almost see what was. An espresso on the town square may not have been served with the same smile reserved for tourists these days but it is still the same square and, sitting and watching the market each day, you get the picture.
Early morning bustle of daily fresh fish markets and produce markets will keep you fascinated and well stocked. Old ladies tout organic tomatoes and snow peas and if you are fortunate, will offer you a taste of fresh cheese.
The coast is a delightful trap for lovers of Dalmatian cuisine. If you are a lover of food, you will enjoy the konobas. Konoba is a cellar bar, restaurant, tavern, simply a place to enjoy traditional food and music.
Dalmatian staples include fish soup, prsut, grilled meats of all description, salted sardines, cevapi, grilled seawolf, swiss chard boiled with potatoes and local olive oil, octopus salad, and dessert of palatschinken (pancakes) with crushed walnuts or jam.
Konoba prices do not vary greatly. Entrees from 15 kuna ($3.65). Main courses from 30 kuna ($7.30). Expect to eat and drink well for very little. Domestic brandies start around 10 kuna ($2.42). The varying strength and choice of brandies throughout Eastern Europe is mind boggling. Croatia’s varieties are particularly tasty.
Trogir is one of only seven Croatian UNESCO sites. Others include the Plitvice Lakes National Park, the old City of Dubrovnik and the historical complex of Split (Diocletian’s Palace). Split harbour is a popular starting point for sailors keen to explore the islands of Šolta, Brač, Hvar, Korčula, Mljet, Vis, as well as Dubrovnik and the east coast of Italy.
Culture and Music
Dalmatian culture was created under the influence of old Greeks, Romans, and Venetians.
Medieval towns such as Šibenik, Trogir, Split and Dubrovnik feature remarkable palaces, churches and towers, and sometimes, intact town walls. Trogir’s Renaissance town gates date from 1593 and on the main square, you can see the town loggia from the 15th century and the ancient hall of justice.
These days, Croatians celebrate with numerous festivals, saint days and carnivals every year. Trogir’s annual summer of culture festival is a highlight.
Highlights of Croatia are the spontaneous Klapa celebrations.
Klapa is traditional Croatian a capella singing. It means ‘a group of people’ and harks back to coastal church singing. It is essentially a male domain of harmony and melody celebrating love, wine, one’s homeland and the sea. Klapa comprises a first tenor, a second tenor, a baritone and a bass (usually in multiples) and it also draws on the Croatian favourite, the tamburitsa (stringed instrument).
Tourism, fishing and a strong tradition of agriculture (including olives) drive the coast’s economy.
The morning’s fresh catch is converted to the night’s menus, including the speciality bakalar, Croatian cod stew with a Mediterranean feel which takes 24 hours to prepare. Indeed, many people liken the Adriatic Coast to the Mediterranean as it once was.
You will learn to enjoy an espresso and a fresh burek pastry as you watch small boats drop anchor and fisherman return and unload live curly octopus. The fishermen remain the hub of what are still very much working residential towns.
Dalmatia’s rich history of varied occupation has left a multilingual legacy and the European Union’s policy of mother tongue plus two which aims to ensure everyone speaks three languages has spread beyond the EU’s borders into Croatia. Multilingual waiters on the Dalmatian coast often work for only three months a year and enjoy a retainer for nine months to secure their return to the same restaurant.
Dalmatians remind you that they speak Dalmatian not Croatian. It is a different dialect and for locals, an important distinction.
Visit Dalmatia before Croatia becomes a member of the European Union (likely in 2011) and a busier tourist destination as eastern Europe widens its doors.
You can fly to Split from various destinations including Vienna, London, Rome and Paris. Trogir is six kilometres from Split Airport.
Buses and trains run day and night from many European cities. The train trip from Vienna to Zagreb and then to Split is worth considering if you have time. You will see some spectacular scenery.
If you have a car, it’s an easy trip to Dalmatia comprising mostly highways, some with tolls. The alternative panoramic coastal road takes longer.
In summer, Blueline and Jadrolinija ferries will take you to Split from Ancona and other Italian coastal cities.
Based in Trogir you have an enormous choice of day trips. Some options are explained in more details on our Tours page of this website. They include trips to the islands of the Adriatic.
If you would like us to prepare a draft itinerary for you, please let us know. We can also arrange town self guided and guided walking tours.
Your hosts Peter Thomas and Justine Noy have visited the places suggested for independent travellers and those included in our tours. We highly recommend all of them.
If you are travelling independently, we can recommend some great restaurants in Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Welcome to our range of quality products - all hand made in eastern Europe by talented artisans.
Our products are sold and marketed under the trading name Next Christmas in Bosnia.
Peter Thomas and Justine Noy personally source and choose all products during their trips to eastern Europe.
These masks are made in Zagreb by sculptor Tihomir Marinkovic. Tihomir learnt the art of mask making at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice over a period of 6 years. He is one of Europe's finest mask artists and his creations take pride of place in many galleries and boutiques throughout the world.
The superior quality and original designs of Tihomir's masks mean they are in demand even in Venice, the 'home' of the carnival and masks. He regularly supplies retailers in Venice and also Split, Trogir and Dubrovnik on the Adriatic Coast in Croatia.
Tihomir's studio is in Zagreb and his family assist him in creating these beautiful pieces of art.
The masks can be worn for carnivals and masked balls however we find that their beauty and originality is best displayed by placing the masks on a wall. They make an exquisite decoration.
The masks are hand made. Each one is individual and no two masks are the same.