In the ranking of tourist values in Croatia, along with many other qualities, the beauty and level of preservation of the natural environment holds a convincing first place along with an ecological awareness that is reflected in the relationship with nature, the organic production of food, and doing business with companies that have harmonised with environment protection standards.
There are eight national parks in Croatia and ten nature reserves. These are: Plitvice Lakes National Park (NP), Risnjak NP, Brijuni NP, Mljet NP, Sjeverni Velebit NP, Krka NP, Kornati NP and Paklenica NP. The nature reserves are: Kopački rit Nature Reserve (NR), Papuk NR, Učka NR, Vransko jezero NR, Telaščica NR, Lonjsko polje NR, Velebit NR, Medvednica NR, the Žumberak – Samobor Highlands NR, Biokovo NR and the Lastovo Islands NR. These are areas of exceptional beauty that are attractive as tourist destinations but also for all those that wish to study the flora and fauna of the area and natural processes. Even outside of these protected areas there are many tourist destinations that attract visitors with their preserved natural environment and their hiking and cycling trails, the opportunities for organised water navigation (rafting, canoeing and the like) and exceptionally beautiful and clean rivers and other natural sites.
One of the strong points of Croatian tourism is a tourist industry with an offer that is eco-friendly. There are some 340 eco-producers currently registered in Croatia, many of which sell their products to hotel companies and in doing so offer tourists food of recognisable, full and, in other places somewhat already forgotten, flavours. Some of them are involved in the exclusively ecological production of fruit, vegetables, cheeses and many other products, and some offer the option of an overnight stay on the estate along with the manufacture.
Fresh food designated as organic – production that is regulated by law in Croatia – is increasingly present on the Croatian market, and there are a growing number of producers that have opted to produce health food, the quality of which is attested to by the appropriate certificate.
Vegetables, fruits and grains are grown on eco-estates using entirely organic methods and are served fresh to guests or are processed into winter preserves, also manufactured following ecologically friendly methods. Fruits and vegetables picked just before they are served – frequently and by the guests themselves – is an experience that is particularly fondly remembered by visitors and that guarantees them that they are being served truly fresh and healthy food.
Eco-estates are frequently workshops of sorts and guests can join their hosts in harvests, the preparation of foods and even their preparation as winter preserves.
With the growing demand for natural, organically grown production, many Croatian hotels have opted to follow the trend and are more and more often putting eco products on their menus. The trend is present in the entire tourism industry and in particular in many small family-operated hotels whose offer is based on the local values of the region they are located in. Organic production is a part and parcel of their culinary and overall offer and features many locally produced products.
Croatian National Tourist Board
Web site: www.croatia.hr