Wing of airplane flying
© Nuttawut Uttamaharad / Unsplash

Here's why Norwegian tourists choose Croatia as their holiday hotspot

Written by
Lara Rasin

According to Norway Today, Norway's leading English-language publication, one of Norwegians' favourite vacation destinations is Croatia.

Croatia, visited by over 20 million tourists in 2019, is beloved by travelers who fly, drive, hop on a bus or train - or maybe even cycle - to the country each year. And the people of Norway are among them (though they're not likely to arrive via the latter method of transport). 

We're bringing you the reasons why Norwegians truly love to visit Croatia. Warning: This article might cause wanderlust.

Summertime in Norway, which is bisected by the Arctic Circle, means northern areas of the country experience the phenomenon of the midnight sun and southern spots experience up to 20 hours of daylight per day. Still, the country's temperatures don't soar and surrounding seas do remain chilly. 

And so, one of the main draws of travel to Croatia are its endless sun-doused beaches where bath-like summer sea temperatures average in the mid-20s Celsius. 

Croatia, Hvar island, Bol. Panoramic aerial view at the Zlatni Rat. Beach and sea from air. Famous place in Croatia. Summer seascape from drone. Travel - image
© Ievgenii Biletskyi

Norwegians delight in the Croatian shoreline, where palm trees and pine groves provide shade when it gets too hot. And hot it can get, indeed - with summer temperatures known to rise well above 30 degrees Celsius.

After a day of swimming and sunbathing, they can experience golden Mediterranean sunsets which are soon followed by vidid views of the stars, moon and Milky Way. This gives Norwegians their fix of the night sky even during summertime.

Watch the moon rise over Korčula island
© Luigi Morbidelli

"The heartiness of Croatia's specialties helps Norwegians feel right at home while trying out novel flavors, too", Norway Today tells us. It makes sense - many dishes in Norway are also centered around seafood, like in coastal Croatia, and are hearty, like in continental Croatia.

Cuisine conception, however, is totally different between the two countries - which is where the opportunity to try exciting new flavours comes in.

Croatia's seafood specialties, like Norway's, are diverse and include everything from shells and scampi to fish and octopus. Norwegians enjoy trying traditional flavour pairings which often include locally sourced herbs like rosemary and always feature a sprinkle of olive oil.

Continental Croatian specialties, with a twist, can hit close to home, too. Norway is known for its lamb stew - while Croatia is known for its lamb (served spit-roasted or baked pod pekom; under a bell-shaped lid covered with hot coals) and stews (like čorba, served with beef and veggies), too. 

Lamb pod pekom
© Konavoski Dvori National Restaurant

Norwegians and Croats share a mutual enjoyment of drinking both brews and booze.

Croatia is famous for its coffee culture and Norwegians also love their caffeine, which they savour at the slower pace at which Croats sip it while they holiday in the country.

From grapes ripened by the Adriatic sun and herb-infused liquers to a burgeoning craft beer scene, Norwegians have prime choices when it comes to wetting their whistle in Croatia. Locally made but world-renowned wine is a major draw, along with the similarly lauded Croatian brandy, rakija.

Places to party are plentiful, too. Croatia's got everything from Ibiza-like club hubs and underground pubs to elegant cocktail bars - to the joy of Norwegians of all music and nightlife tastes.

© Ivo Biočina

Outdoors-loving Norwegians also flock to Croatia for its natural wonders.

With eight national parks, 11 nature parks and almost 2,000km of pristine coastline - and that's not counting the islands - Croatia offers open-air activities aplenty. Norwegian tourists can revel in saltwater kayaking, seawater rafting, mountain biking, skydiving over the sea, and much more - and do it all in one day, at that.

Plitvice Lakes National Park
© Lukas Bischoff

There's no end to indoor activities in Croatia, either - especially those related to culture. Explorable Roman-era architecture dots the Croatian coast and Hapsburg-era architecture can be found across the country's inland cities.

In Zagreb, museums are found on almost every street corner and include art spanning millennia - but a few quirky gems like the Museum of Broken Relationships are also on Norwegians' must-see lists. 

Brokenships Bistro, Museum Of Broken Relationships
© Museum Of Broken Relationships

To the delight of adventure-seeking travelers from both Norway and Croatia, the two countries are well connected.

Connecting flights between the two countries, especially between their capital cities, can last as little as five hours. The longer - and maybe funner - options are trains and buses (which take 30+ hours) as well as road trips (around 25 hours non stop). 

Croatia has an embassy in Oslo and Norway has an embassy in Zagreb, as well.

Franjo Tuđman Airport
© Franjo Tuđman International Airport

Happy travelling from Norway to Croatia - and vice versa! 

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