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.

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.

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.

Croatia is a very diverse country, both culturally and geographically. At the moment it is one of the top tourist countries in the world, especially cities such as Dubrovnik, Split, islands Brač and Hvar, and national parks like Plitvice Lakes and Krka. These are probably the top destinations, but there are many more hidden gems both on the coast and in the inland of the country.

Firstly, Croatia is one of the countries situated on the 45th parallel north, which is the halfway point between the North Pole and the Equator. It is said that this position would give it a “perfect” climate, where all four seasons are experienced every year. Speaking of climate in Croatia, spring comes in March or April, which is followed by summer starting in June. Summer weather then lasts until the end of September. October gets colder, and sometimes in that month the rainy season already hits Croatian, but that would happen more commonly in November. The rains generally stop in December when the weather gets significantly colder, which is then followed by snow and winter that lasts for several months, up until March. This is a typical continental climate that we experience in the inland. The coast of Croatia, particularly Southern part, on the other hand, enjoys Mediterranean climate, which gives nice weather year round, without snow.

Secondly, history in Croatia goes back far back into the past, starting from over 100 000 years ago when Neandhertals lived in the area of Northern Croatia, remnants of which can be seen in museums such as in Krapina town. The latter also hosts the Museum of Evolution, a high tech museum depicting development of the Universe and humans, based on a theory of evolution.

Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is definitely a city that stands out due to its uniqueness and all that is to see there. Often time when I guide visitors, they are stunned by its beauty. In a surprised manner they are telling me: “We have not expected this at all!”. Certainly there is a special feel to the city, and the layout of its historical center, the pedestrian zones, the calmness and cleanliness, all of that leave a deep impression on visitors. I am not surprised anymore when they tell me, “we will definitely come back!”.

I like to guide walking tours (as well as by using public transport) of both downtown Zagreb and its wider area, so to bring visitors closer to the core of the city, to its history, culture, art, and the everyday living of the people of Zagreb. By doing this, visitors start to feel Zagreb in themselves, rather than just quickly passing through its streets.

There is much to see in the area of historical center of Zagreb. Normally we start our tour from the Josip Jelacic square, which is also the main square of Zagreb, or even better, from King Tomislav square, situated next to the railway station. As we start our walk Northwards we go back in time, to the 19th century, when Lower Town was being built and when dozens of palaces arose, ornamenting the city with its beautiful shapes and facades, that tell us so much about the culture of the time. As we pass by some important buildings in the area we travel further back in time, discovering more about the history of Croatia and how the culture was shaped into what it is today. We observe the life flowing, and people going about their everyday bussiness. We see the past merged with the present.