There are less and fewer villages in Croatia due to young people leaving towards big towns where they build their future home. Villages mostly do not offer employment and that’s the main reason why young men and women decide to leave and to look for happiness somewhere else.
Villages realize that and have found a way not to disappear completely, but to open its ‘door’ to the world and evolve. The development of rural tourism could probably maintain its inhabitants in their native place of origin. Here are a few villages which were recognized by its touristic potentials.
1. Čigoć and Lonjsko Polje
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The village of Čigoć is famous for the many storks which tend to live there and give the village a unique edge. There is no other such village in the world. You cannot find a house which is not accompanied by a family of storks. They usually build their nests on high lampposts and settle there with their young ones.
This village was declared a European stork village in 1994 because there are more storks than there are people. The village is now an ethno village and a stop to many visitors.
The village of Podgarić is located on the slopes of Moslavačka gora and does not have many inhabitants. However, the natural beauty of the village is beyond imagination. This wonderful place is rich in greenery, clean rivers, forests, hills and is a place where you can relax, go fishing, and just enjoy yourself in peace and serenity.
3. Grabovnica (Christmas fairy tale)
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The village of Grabovnica has become very popular lately, due to the Salaj family, who created a beautiful Christmas Story and captured the spirit of Christmas. Every year, this family decorates their home and all of their estates with thousands of light bulbs making it a unique experience and true adventure. The village is quite nice as well, but during Christmas time it gets a new shine!
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The Ethno village Kumrovec is located in Hrvatsko Zagorje and just exudes with a smell of the past, in a positive sense of course. The village is located near river Sutla which is the lifeblood of this area. If you decide to visit this place, you are in for a treat. You will be able to see an ethnographic open-air museum and the birthplace of Josip Broz Tito.
Karanac is a village located in Baranja, eastern Croatia. It’s a small place full of friendly people and a lot to see and do. You can try their amazing local cuisine or you can ride around in an old fashioned country wagon. If you want to experience the real country life, you can definitely book an old-fashioned room (don’t worry, it only looks old, actually it’s pretty comfortable) and wake up to the sound of roosters. This village is loved by the locals and tourists as well because it offers warmth and love and it has such a positive vibe to it that you simply can’t be negative or troubled when you’re there.
Gajić is another village in Baranja with an ethno note which has much to offer. When you visit this village, you can see houses from the 18th and 19th century and nature which surrounds this place is simply amazing. This place is for the ones who want to experience the village life and also relax their mind and soul a bit. It’s quiet, the wine cellars are close to it as well as some hunting and fishing spots, they offer rooms you can book and the locals make homemade souvenirs you can buy for yourself or your loved ones. Visit them and see the beauty of this village for yourself!
This ethno village is located on the Adriatic Coast, not far from the beautiful Vrgorac. You should check out both of these places if you have the time for it. Kokorići is a rather big but still modest ethno village with beautifully preserved traditional houses and items. This village offers old-fashioned tavern with good food and drinks, or you can go to their wine cellar to taste their wine. They offer rooms for the visitors in a 18th-century house, and they can also check out the ethno collection if they are interested. If you visit them, you have to try their local cuisine in the restaurant because it’s said to be amazing!
8. Stara Kapela
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Stara Kapela is a Slavonian village and it’s not so far from Požega, a well-known Croatian town. If you can’t survive a day without your cell phone, I don’t recommend this place for you since you won’t get any service up there. The village is truly for the ones who adore nature and who love to spend time outdoors. This region is also known as a tourist region so you will have a lot to do and see there. StaraKapela has a walking/cycling track which leads around the village and there are 6 bigger resting spots where you can sit down and take in all the beauty this place offers you.
9. Stara Lonja
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This ethno village is situated next toLonjskoPolje, the biggest protected wetland in Croatia. You can enjoy the pure and beautiful nature, surrounded by oak woods. You can see and hear many animals there since you’re in the heart of nature. What this place offers you is peace, quiet, long walks in nature, bike rides, various sports events, you can even rent a boat and take a look at the water life in it. Since the village is right next to LonjskoPolje Nature Park, your hosts can take you there for an excursion, or you can ask them to take you to fishing, they won’t have anything against it.
Eco-ethno village Strug is a part of the village Plesmo and it’s situated on the river Strug. This one, just like Ethno village Stara Lonja, is also right next to Lonjsko Polje Nature Park so if you visit them, you can be sure that you’ll have a lot to see and do. They offer two restaurants where you can try local and non-local cuisine, a bakery where you can buy bread or different kinds of pastry and you can stay in houses which are at least a 100 years old! Visit them and enjoy the intact nature. Let go of all your troubles and let your mind and soul relax!