The year 2019 is the year when we started releasing several of our long planned themed tours on the topics of sustainability, meditation, and astronomy. We are excited to announce in this blog that the “Astronomical Night Tour From Zagreb” is all set up and ready. It is unique in several ways, one of them is that it is a night “out of the city” tour , that during summer starts at 8 PM and finishes at 1.30 AM. This start time however will be gradually moved as the night time starts earlier and earlier, and at that case a dinner will be organized in the local mountain hut.

Secondly, the topic of astronomy has inspired imagination in many people, and on this tour we will have presence of an amateur astronomer from the Zagreb’s “Infinity Astronomical Society”, with whom I will co-operate to bring the presentation on stars, planets, nebulas etc. on an inspiring level. This person will also deal with setting up the equipment, such as a telescope etc.

Life is all around us. Even if we may not notice it, it is still there and is often time calling us to come and explore its secrets. Places for our Nature and Meditation Five Day Tour in Croatia and Slovenia have been very carefully selected to promote the maximum benefits both in term of visual impact as well as for meditation. These places are some of the few ones that are still not on tour groups list and yet abound with beauty and peace:

1. Bohinj lake – this Alpic lake is surely one of the nicest ones in Slovenia. Bigger and more quiet than its neighbor Bled lake, yet surrounded with beautiful nature. A strong presence of this body of water will help us understand an influence that lakes have on meditation and consciousness.

2. Vršić pass – situated amidst the Julian Alps, the highest mountain pass in Slovenia is on altitude of 1611 meters. From there we will hike on an easy road-path for some twenty minutes until reaching one of the tops that is surrounded with high mountains. This place is great for experiencing meditation on top of a mountain.

Our two meditation tours for 2019 are now both released. After releasing the One Day Meditation Tour in Northern Croatia, we have now also released the sequel to that tour. Both of these meditation tours deal with noticing the effect of various natural environments on consciousness and meditation, and include spending time in beautiful natural environments, away from distractions of the modern and busy life, and looking within to reach silence and insight. The sequel to part one is Nature and Meditation Five Day Tour. This one will entail meditation at ALL of the natural environments that we have it planned: river, lake, forest, top of a mountain, cave, waterfall, open sea beach, and temple. On this tour we will visit the places that are the cream of all the natural environments in Croatia and Slovenia, so by joining our tour you will gain not only deeper learning about meditation and spending time accessing your true self, but also you will be immersed in incredible natural places (in the following post I will write more about the places themselves). This tour is for now available as a private tour, but will soon also be announced as an open booking.

After some time of planning, we have finally released our One Day Meditation Tour In Northern Croatia, which will be part of a series of educational tours on the subject of meditation, sustainable living and astronomy. As mentioned before, the Sunlands company is dedicated to bring about tours that will satisfy not only the fun component of touring, but also life changing ones! Or at least that’s where the hope is…

In the one day meditation tour in Northern Croatia the goal is to familiarize people with meditation in diverse natural environments, and to consciously acknowledge the influences of such environments on meditation. In this first released one day meditation tour, we will be able to cover meditation by a river, on a mountain meadow, ‘inside’ a tree, and in a cave. However in the full five day and seven day tour, we will also cover mountain top, lake, waterfall, temple, and a beach, in order to experience wider spectrum of effects on meditation.

During this guided meditation tour you will learn about some powerful techniques from ancient Vedic and Buddhist tradition for calming the mind and getting in touch with your consciousness, through which the state of peace and joy can be experienced, while at the same time seeing beautiful places and learning more about the country, local life and the customs.

Majority of travelers that visit Zagreb and that have intention to use it as a starting point during their travel in Croatia, do not take their time to visit the north of the country. Yet, I hear time and again from those who actually do make the effort to visit it, how amazing is that part of Croatia, and that they will recommend it to all their friends and relatives.

So why you should consider visiting Northern Croatia?
First of all it is a large part that encompass three counties (Varaždin county, Međimurje county, and the Krapina-Zagorje county). The landscape in the north consists of hills and mounts, covered with lush vegetation, vineyards, and in between them are large and small valleys of  meadows, agricultural fields, and forests. Driving through this region you will see old houses made of natural material, and the entire environment will make you feel as if you passed through some kind of a crack in time. Furthermore if you stop somewhere in such area and start walking through one of its many meadows and forests, do not be surprised if you see a deer or some other harmless forest animal that will be curious about your visit.

Just a heads up that we have added a new themed tour on the subject of Geneology/ Family Tree Tour in Croatia. Every year we get more and more inquires from travelers if we can take them to places where their ancestors are from. And why not? It is a real joy arranging the tour, and seeing visitors happy and content faces after getting an idea about what the place is like from where their ancestors migrated to far-away lands. It’s even more satisfying when success happens on the spot, which can include talking to neighbors who knew some of their relatives and narrating to them what they were like. As Croatia is known for its hospitality, particularly the rural areas, it is not uncommon to be sponaneously invited into the house and offered food, drink, and snacks.

Our Geneological tour will primarily focus on visiting places of your ancestors, such as the village/town where they lived, the local cemetery and church, and talking to neighbors who might know some extra information. Now, as Croatia is filled with places of interest, both nature and culture-based, we can pay a visit to some of them that are in the area that we are visiting. Finally, the tour also entail visiting a local restaurant to have a meal that is common for the area. Visiting a place of ones ancestors can be such a fulfilling thing, giving more meaning to ones own past and heritage. So if you are nearby, make sure to contact us and we will arrange the tour for you. For more information, please visit this link: http://www.sunlandstours.com/tours-2/geneology-tour-in-croatia/

Many visitors in Croatia often ask me about the type of souvenirs that they should buy, and that are unique to Croatia. The latter having a long history and rich cultural heritage, there is a variety items that you could take home to your loved ones, friends, or acquaintances. Many of them relate to historical significance, but also architecture, food, and art. Here are the most important ones:

Licitar Hearts

Licitar heart is a heart-shaped colorful biscuit that has a tradition going back to 16th century. It is mostly associated with Zagreb and Central Croatia, and is made of a food material of a rougher kind, so not meant to be eaten nowadays. In the past, it is said that the Licitar hearts were used for many purposes, one of them being a romantic ones: the story has it that in the 16th century central Croatia, when a boy would want to make a girl know that he likes her, he would give her such a heart-shaped biscuit on which it would be written his name, and sometimes it would even have a small mirror attached to it, for the girl to know who is the ‘love of his life’. Nowadays this is a type of gift that can be given to anyone.

Being one of the most popular European countries, Croatia attracts people of all profiles and walks of life. The stunning natural beauty, rich culture and history, and diverse historical architecture, are some of the elements that attract people from around the world to visit this small but vibrant country in Southeastern Europe.

Despite of its popularity, Croatia is generally thought of as a country that is worthwhile to visit during warmer months. This makes sense, as most travelers plan to visit places that are comfortable in terms of temperature, unless they are visiting a ski resort, which again is for specific purpose. Nevertheless, many Europe-loving travelers have wondered – “how would it be to visit Croatia during winter?” In order to answer this question, it is necessary to break it down to get fuller understanding:

Croatia consists of several major parts – Northern Croatia (regions of Zagorje, Međimurje, and Podravina), Central Croatia (where the capital of Croatia is, as well as region such as Lika), Western Croatia (regions of Gorski Kotar and Istia), Southern Croatia (Dalmatian coast with all its islands), and Eastern Croatia (regions of Slavonija and Baranja). All of these parts have unique things to see and experience; they are rich with culture, cuisine, architecture, and various natural attractions.

Christmas time is always a very special time of the year. It is celebrated in both Western and the Eastern world as a joyful event symbolizing the birth of a new light. In nature we can see this as the first day of Winter when days grow longer in length, and in religious sense it is represented by the birth of Jesus. This puts the entire month of December in a special atmosphere, where people tend to be in a gentle and more caring mood, as in the rest of the world, so too in Croatia.

Because Croatia is predominantly Catholic country, a lot of emphasis is put on celebration of Christmas. For decades both public and private places are decorated with trees, joyful glittering lights, and the tranquil song of the carols, which during Christmas time one hears in many places across the country. In her ancient past, Croatia shared religion with other Slavic nations, and one of the larger celebrations of the year was for the Winter solstice, where the coming of the new light and consequent rebirth of nature was ascribed to higher forces. Because of that, in some places in the country the traditional Chrismas celebration is combined with ancient traditions that have their roots in pre-Christian era.

The month of December, the time of Christmas and the New Year, is highly esteemed by majority of Croats. Especially in bigger cities a lot of emphasis is put on decoration of the public places and to setting up of appropriate events. Zagreb being the capital and by far the largest city in Croatia, the Tourism Association and the city of Zagreb have done a great job of turning the historical part of the city into a traditional Adventic space where people of all age and various nattionalities come to relax, have fun, and in a modern way feel the sacredness of this time of the year.

Do you sometimes have enough of chaotic and rushed environment of many places that, albeit beautiful, are crowded with tourists? I know exactly how you feel. This is the reason why so many people search for a place which is of equal beauty, but not as touristy, or almost completely (or even fully) secluded. Even though Croatia is a small country, you will always be able to find vast amount of peaceful places to spend an hour or two, a few days, or even a week. As a matter of fact, it is not uncommon that European tourists who come to Croatia with their cars, see a beautiful environment, mostly as they travel to their holiday destination on the coast, and decide to stop there. Once there and look more into it, they recognize its beauty and calm, and change their primary destination to the one which they have just discovered. One of such example is a Swedish family who was fascinated by the Mreznica river close to Karlovac, and have decided to spend their holiday there.

But there are many more hidden places in nature where you can relax, reflect, and recuperate your strength. In fact, every region of Croatia has certain natural characteristics that add to the overall beauty of the country: thick mountain forests and mountain meadows, flat and gentle sloped grass covered hills, hundreds of Mediterranean islands with their pine trees scent and the sea that dissolves any worry. Then there is a region coved with hills where the Alps start, with little towns that sits on top of many of them. And finally there are Dinaric Alps, the Velebit villages that remind of some far distant time that can evoke both perfect relaxation away from society,  as well as sharpen the faculties of the mind.

In short, there are many of such hidden spots in Croatia – beautiful gems that only locals can take you to, where you would feel fully recharged and inspired. These are the places where I like to go to.