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Explore the Balkans

If you want to get away from big city holidays in Rome, London or New York, then you should visit the exciting, unknown and vibrant cities in the Balkan countries. Here you can get culture, nature and gastronomy of high class.

As an inspiration guide to our favourite Balkan cities, we will do a double blog and write about a couple of cities in each post. Read the first post today and the next Monday the 25th of March 2013.

Split, Croatia – City with sea view

Where: Split is Croatia’s second biggest city after Zagreb with about 200,000. It is possible to travel between Split and Zagreb by car in approx. four hours.

Why: If you want to go one a beach holiday in an urban area, then Split is a perfect destination throughout the summer. Split is also a hub with excellent connections to the Dalmatian archipelago, and in recent years the city has become a permanent stop on many Mediterranean cruises. Croatia is the only country in Europe that has an archipelago that is competitive to the Greek and you can find some of the most beautiful and attractive islands located in catamaran distance from Split. Split is also close to the popular beach holiday destination Makarska Riviera and only a few hours drive from another very beautiful seaside city, Dubrovnik.

Highlights: Split is built around the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s 1,700 years old palace. The palace remains an integrated part of the city, and with more than 3,000 people in this old part of the town, the palace is certainly not just for decoration. Streets and alleys are built into each other or over each other in all styles from antiquity to modern style from the present day, and the entire old town is now on UNESCO’s list of worthy heritage.

When: The best time to travel is from May to October, but in winter it is still relatively warm.

Zagreb, Croatia – Gastronomy and Austro-Hungarian imperial splendor

Where: Croatia’s capital, Zagreb is sheltered by the mountains around and on both banks of the Sava River. With about 800,000 inhabitants, it is the country’s largest city and the center of the parliamentary system, culture and student life.

Why: In the former Yugoslavia, Zagreb was often in the shadow of the capital Belgrade, but since independence in 1991, the city has found its true character. When it comes to gastronomy, Zagreb is one of the major cities in the Balkans, where it is possible to get the greatest dining experiences, and with a number high international quality hotels, there is also the opportunity to live well for relatively little money – especially in summer months, when most choose to go to the coast.

Highlights: Zagreb has unfolded itself and it culture and it is especially advised to explore the Upper Town, which consists of two fused medieval towns. Go to the green horseshoe – Zelena Potkova – which is a horseshoe-shaped chain of green plants where major cultural institutions lets you explore the strong architectural prints from the days of Austro-Hungary. Zagreb’s greatest asset is undoubtedly the lively café life, which the many local students keep going.

When: Zagreb is beautiful in spring and early fall. Summer is also fine, but in July and especially August, many residents of the city to the coast, and when the temperature rounds the 35 degrees during mid-summer, the city is at its slower pace with not as much happening. In return you can stay at fine hotels for relatively little money during this time.

Remember to catch the follow-up blog next week Monday and please tell us about your favourite cities in the Balkans.

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