With its sublime stretch of Adriatic coast, Croatia has long been regarded as one of the most beautiful parts of Europe. Despite the tragedy of war, its charms remain largely intact. Most of the tourist areas have been restored, but reminders of the country's painful history abound.
The aura of medieval Croatia endures in the cobbled streets of Rovinj and the recently restored other-worldliness of Dubrovnik's Stari Grad. The country is also home to some of Europe's finest Roman ruins, including the immense palace of Diocletian in Split.
Pre-1991 Croatia (then part of Yugoslavia) was shaping up as the new Costa del Sol. Planeloads of tourists - 10 million a year - were hitting the Adriatic shores in search of sun, cheap living, medieval quaintness and perhaps a spot of naturism. But with Croatia's push for independence during the violent break-up of Yugoslavia, war inevitably soured the tourism boom. Prooving that you can't keep a good thing down however, European holidayers are being lured back by its irresistible coastline and cruisey Croatian charm.
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Off the beaten track