When it comes to food, globalization has a peculiar side effect. The more universal we become, the stronger our need to discover the local. Burgers and pastas may have swept the world, but when we travel, we look for what is authentic. Traditional food is among the greatest appeals of a destination. And these delicacies thrive on the discovery of ancient recipes concocted with local ingredients.
There are some cities that seem to be defined by a guiding artistic angel. For instance, it is nearly impossible to visit Barcelona and not to come across Gaudí. The same might be said about Scottish Art Nouveau architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. When his native Glasgow became the 1990 European City of Culture, Mackintosh’s art and legacy were rediscovered. Now a visit to Glasgow goes hand in hand with admiring his public art.
There may not be many virgin territories left. But there are places that reinvent themselves every few decades. The result? Visiting them feels like stepping into a new world. One such destination in Croatia is the city of Rijeka. This industrial and cultural jewel of the North Adriatic has a rich history and a vibrant buzz. It is home to 130,000 residents, but still an uncharted territory for foreign travelers.
In the last couple of years, Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, has joined the ranks of Europe’s most popular cities to visit. And, it is the way Zagreb lives outdoors that makes travelers fall for it. It could be a simple pleasure of lounging at a city park and dining alfresco, or joining a buzzier city strip with festivals rolling in all year round. But what Zagreb separates the city from other “urban” areas is its proximity to the Medvednica Nature Park, just north of the center: a perfect spot for adventurers.
The rolling hills of Medimurje are said to be one of the best white wine growing regions in Europe. The indigenous variety is called pušipel, but the locally grown chardonnay, pinot gris, gewurztraminer, sauvignon blanc and moscato capture the uniqueness of the sandy soil and its blend of minerals.
The southern half of the Croatian coast—Dalmatia—has become a magnet for Hollywood A-listers and chart-topping singers. And since the Game of Thrones series, masses of tourists wander the spectacular Dubrovnik Old Town in search of King’s Landing. It’s hard to say which came first: Hollywood to Croatia or Hollywood-ization of Croatia.