Croatia, a mid-european, mediterranean country, borders with Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia, and Monte Negro. Due to the colourful and turbulent history of Croatia the population is extremely diverse. Majority of people are however of croatian descent (78%) and follow the roman catholic creed. The principal language is croatian, a slavic language based on the latin alphabet. Today Croatia is a multiparty democracy after many years of socio-communistic rule.

The croatian coastline is one of the most rugged and picturesque in the Mediterranean basin, having 1185 islands with a total coastal length in excess of four thousand kilometers. Of the numerous islands five are large and are readily recognizable on maps of the region; Krk (the largest, with a total land area of 410 km2), Cres, Brac, Hvar, Pag and Korcula. Two major peninsulas project from the croatian mainland; Istria in the north and the Peljesac in the south.

The climate is defined as continental in the interior and mediterranean on the coast. With an average of 2600 hours of sunshine annually the Adriatic is one of the sunniest coastlines in Europe. The sea temperature in summer reaches up to 27°C.

Land area 56 538 km2
Coastal area 31 900 km2
Length of coastline 1 777,7 km
Length of islands coastline 4 012,4 km
Total land area of islands 3 300 km2
Inhabitants of Croatia 4 784 265 (1991)
Capital city, Zagreb 933 914 (1991)
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  Due to its privileged position in the most northerly part of the Adriatic, the bay of Kvarner is easily accessible from all mediterranean and mid-european countries. The resorts of this region are the most frequented. The Kvarner, consisting of some 3300 km2, stretches from the Opatija Riviera in the northwest to the island of Pag in the south and encompasses the islands of Krk, Cres, Losinj and Rab.

The climatic conditions are specific to this region. Located at 45° longitude and 14° latitude this area of the Mediterranean enjoys a very pleasant climate with hot summers and mild winters. The average annual temperature is approximately 14°C. During August, the warmest month, the average temperature is 24°C reducing to approx. 5°C in January. The difference throughout the year is more than 40°C (-6° to 37°C).

The entire Kvarner bay is mercifully protected from the truly harsh elements by a mountain range running from Mount Ucka in the north to Gorski Kotar and Velebit in the east and south. It is largely due to these high mountains and the Bura wind that blows from them that summer nights are very often pleasantly refreshing. The Bura is equally guilty of sudden and unpleasant dramatic drops in temperature during the winter. Three main winds are prevalent in the bay; you will often hear locals talk of them with predictions of the following days weather and associated fishing prospects;
Bura, bringing colder but sunny weather.
Yugo, southeasterly wind with warmer but cloudy weather.
Maestral, a refreshing summer sea-breeze.

The proximity of the warm coastal strip to the cool mountain range offers summer as well as winter sport opportunities - sometimes in the same day!

With more than 2100 hours of sunshine annually in Rijeka, and as much as 2600 hours blessing Rab, the Kvarner region truly belongs to the sunny Mediterranean. Snowfall is extremely rare, especially on the islands. Thus it is not uncommon to find hotels offering free accommodation in the unlikely event of snowy weather during your stay (a safe gamble on their part).

The seawater temperature reaches 27°C during the summer months, but even in winter it seldom falls below 10°C, with an annual average of approximately 16°C.

The specific geo-topographical position of the bay and its influence upon climatic conditions also yields an interestingly diverse flora and fauna. Certain land pockets are even suitable for subtropical plants. Opatija, for example, snuggling in the foothills of the massive Ucka mountain, enjoys a protected position. As a result, the surrounding area is drowned in greenery and sumptuous growth, like nowhere else in Europe; forests of bay trees (the town of Lovran derives its name from the latin word for bay - lovor); large chestnut groves and stately palms. In the gardens you will find mandarins, kiwi, lemons and other citrus fruits. The Parks of Opatija are the result of a hundred years of attention by residents and visiting sailors, creating in some an almost tropical atmosphere. Interestingly, Opatija's emblem is the japanese camellia.

The bay of Kvarner is rich with a variety of fish. Typically there is a prevalence of blue fish (sardine, mackerel etc.). However a wide variety of quality white fish may also be found (grouper, hake, bass, skate, etc.). The waters of the bay are particularly good hunting grounds for squid and octopus which no doubt you will see on the tables of coastal restaurants in abundance - delicious!


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