Diocletian was onto something when he decided to spend his golden years in Croatia.
As the only Emperor of the ancient Rome to retire, he substituted the majestic Imperium for lush and unspoiled Croatian beauties.
And he couldn’t have made a better choice.
Almost two millenniums have passed since then, but one thing remained the same. Croatia is still a retirement heaven. Narrow winding roads interspersing the hilly region of Istria, the myriad of rich islands trailing along the Dalmatian coast and miles of grape vines wounding among the green slopes of Hrvatsko Zagorje provide the perfect backdrop for the relaxed life of retirement.
There are several reasons why you should consider retiring in Croatia and spend your post-work years indulging in some of the finest things the world has to offer.
1) Ideal location
Croatia might be a small country, but good things come in small packages.
Any part of the country is only a short car ride away, easily reachable within a few hours. You can explore the neo-baroque streets of Zagreb’s Upper Town and watch the spectacular Zadar sunset all in one day.
But the advantages don’t end there. Croatia’s ideal position makes all other parts of Europe easily within grasp.
For example, it takes only 4 hours to reach Vienna from Zagreb by car and 10 hours to reach Berlin. If you have your eyes set on romance infused Venice, take a ferry from Rovinj and be there in 4 hours!
After several decades of hard work, the golden years should be spend enjoying life to the fullest and seeing as much of the wonderful world we live in as possible.
If you retire in Croatia, you will have Europe on the palm of your hand.
2) The climate
The climate in Croatia is perfect, as there is something for everybody.
Northern and Eastern Croatia enjoy continental climate. It consists of hot summers and cold, snowy winters.
Mountainous Croatia has an alpine climate, ensuring a winter fairytale from late autumn until early spring. The snowy tops of Mount Biokovo offer some of the most spectacular views of Dalmatian coast.
Unsurprisingly, the most popular is the coastal area which enjoys the Mediterranean climateknown for having hot, dry summers and mild winters.
While the people of Zagreb have to shovel snow from their driveways in December, you can leisurely sip on your coffee, enjoying the winter sun on Split’s promenade. You can easily exchange beachy delights for a cosy wooden cottage nestling in snow on the slopes of Mount Velebit all within a few hours.
Even though you might like to spend the retirement years basking in the sun, you should always have the option of easily indulging in innocent winter fun. If you retire in Croatia, that couldn’t be more simple to achieve!
3) The food
No matter which Croatian region you decide to retire in, there is one thing you will never lack in. Of course, we are talking about mouth-watering Croatian cuisine, able to satisfy people with the most selective tastes.
Croatian cuisine is exceptionally diverse, influenced by the greats such as the Italians and the Greek, as well as by succulent culinary traditions of Central Europe.
Dalmatia promises extraordinary taste of seafood, Istria is famous for its truffles and the most delicious prosciutto, Zagreb will offer the ultimate comfort food in the shape of cheesy štrukli, whilst eastern Croatia is a true meat lover’s paradise.
If we had to pick just one reason why you should retire in Croatia, these wonderful delicacies are the ultimate pro argument.
If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, Croatia will be the love of your life.
4) The wine
A hearty meal must be pared with a glass of the most exquisite wine. It’s the Croatian way. And it has been the Croatian way for the past 2,500 years.
Retiring in Croatia and not indulging in renowned Croatian wine should be illegal. After all, the famous Zinfandel grape variety originates from no other than ravishing Dalmatia.
5) The scenery
Not much can compare to the unique blend of Croatian scenery.
The hypnotic blues and turquoises of the Adriatic are in the perfect contrast to the imposing heights of Mount Velebit. Mosaic of churches and red-tiled houses dot the undulating hills ofgreen Hrvatsko Zagorje. Tiny fishing villages adorn the galaxy of islands protruding from the crystal-clear waters. The winding trails of Istria lead to stone houses and give way to sunflower fields.
Exceptional one third of Croatian territory is covered in forest, whilst 10% is protected. National Parks such as Plitvice Lakes and Mljet offer perfect grounds for exploration, while Telašćica and Lastovo Nature Parks are ideal stops on the Adriatic sailing route.
Retiring in Croatia promises an exciting exploration of some of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes.
Sipping on renowned Croatian wine after enjoying a traditional Croatian meal while looking at a spectacular sunset setting behind lush Istrian hills – now that is the way to spend your golden years!
6) The culture
The land of today’s Croatia has a remarkable history dating back to the ancient times.
Even today you can still find remnants of old Greek and Roman colonies, medieval towns proudly stand enclosed by stone walls and modern glass buildings peek between the 19th century domes.
There is much to see and then some if you retire in Croatia. The country has 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 14 traditions inscribed on UNESCO Intangible Heritage list. There are 8 national parks, 11 nature parks and two strict reserves. Numerous film, food, wine and art festivals promise a rich cultural life all year round.
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- UNESCO Intangible Heritage
- National parks infographic
- Film Festivals
- Food festivals
7) The people
They might be guilty of giving in to complaining once in a while, but if there is one thing Croatian people know how to do – it is enjoying life.
Croatian people are cheerful, quirky and proud. They might seem slightly aloof at first, but that changes quickly.
- Funny Croatian stereotypes by regions
- Croatian phrases: the translation of the untranslatable
Having Croatian people as neighbours ensures numerous summer nights spent sharing life stories over homemade wine with cricket chirping wafting through the air.
You will spend Sundays in good company over traditional family lunches and overeating because your Croatian host won’t take no for an answer when they offer you sarma.
The infamous Croatian coffee culture will teach you the art of enjoying every second passing, spending it with the most important people in your life.
Retirement in Croatia brigs you closer to authentic life, life the way it is supposed to be.
Author: Petra Škofić
Photo Credit: (1) Photonet, (2) Nevenka Mazic, (3) Emily Orpin, (4) Yasushi Ish, (5) Pixabay, (6) Henrik Johansson, (7) Andrija Carli, Photonet, (8) Roberto Taddeo