Croatia's Most Unique Travel Experiences
You’ve paraded through Diocletian’s Palace, you’ve sauntered along Dubrovnik’s city walls. Now it’s time to veer off the beaten path for some experiences that are uniquely Croatian -- from sipping wine in an ancient cave under a busy city airport to basking in 5-star luxury in a remote century-old lighthouse. Here are our picks for Croatia’s top one-of-a-kind sights.
Among them is St. Nicolosa Bursa, whose 500-year-old mummy is claimed to be the best preserved in Europe, and is furthermore reputed to work miracles against a host of ailments. The church is also home to a reliquary with more than 350 glass-protected holy artifacts, including a thorn from Jesus’ crown and the undecayed tongue of St. Mary of Egypt.
Đurović Cave, as it’s officially known, is therefore now also called Skycellar, and is accessible by a 130-foot tunnel via an entrance near the airport’s main office. After touring the magnificent cave, guests can sample the Skycellar wines; if they like what they taste, more can be had by the bottle at the onsite shop.
The ever-growing collection of wildly diverse breakup-related mementos (made up entirely of donations) went on a world tour starting in 2006, eventually being seen by some 200,000 people. In 2010 the collection came home to Zagreb, where its founders turned it into the city’s first privately owned museum. The following year it won Europe’s esteemed Kenneth Hudson Award, established by the European Museum Forum, for its unique subject matter, with judges noting that the museum “encourages discussion and reflection not only on the fragility of human relationships, but also on the political, social and cultural circumstances surrounding the stories being told.”
Hunting the prized fungus can be half the fun, and one of the best Buzet resources for this is the expert Karlić family, who (with their team of more sensitive-nosed dogs) lead guided forays into the local forests on the prowl for the underground delicacies.
Waves coming in from the sea create different tones, which emerge almost magically through discreet openings in the stairs. The Sea Organ creates oddly beautiful tunes that are never the same twice, making walking along the steps a harmonious delight unlike any other in the world. The instrument earned Croatian architect Nikola Bašić the European Prize for Urban Public Space in 2006.
It’s not cheap (starting at about $1,300 a night), but up to 8 can stay, and airport transfers as well as use of a speed boat (for touring the Zadar archipelago and the National Park Kornati islands) and mountain bikes (trails extend around the entire island) are included.