40 Interesting Facts about the Croatian Coast
How much do you really know about the Adriatic coast of Croatia?
First things first. Let’s start with some basic facts. The Adriatic Sea is the northernmost and the most indented part of the Mediterranean Sea, separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan peninsula. The countries with coasts on the Adriatic include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Montenegro and Slovenia.
- There are over 1,300 islands in the Adriatic sea, most of which located along its eastern, Croatian coast. To be exact, there are 1,246 islands in Croatia, including small islets and rocks of all sizes (even including ones emerging only at low tide). The number does, however, vary according to different classification and measurements.
- The largest Croatian islands are Cres and Krk. These two islands have been competing for the title of the biggest island for a long time. The surface area of the two islands is approximately the same – 405.78 square kilometres. However, the island of Cres and Lošinj once formed a single island, known to Greeks as Apsyrtides. The two islands were separated by a narrow canal in the Roman times.
- The smallest island is Smokvica Vela (Kornati) with an area of 1.04 km2.
- The tallest island is Brač, whose peak Vidova Gora, or Mount St. Vid, stands at 780 m, making it the highest island point in the Adriatic.
- Most of the islands in Croatia are uninhabited. There are 47 permanently inhabited islands in Croatia, the most populous among them being Krk, Korčula and Brač. The least populated island is Male Srakane near Lošinj, with a reported population of just two people, who reside there only during summer.
- The South Dalmatia (Dubrovnik waters) has the highest number of islands, small islets and rocks – the total of 274, out of which only 10 are classified as islands, 102 as islets, 55 as small islets and 107 as rocks. The Zadar archipelago has the highest number of islands – 23 out of total 265 islands, islets and rocks.
- The islands of Jabuka and Brusnik are of volcanic origin, including the area of Komiža on the island of Vis.
- The islet of Galijula in Palagruža archipelago is the southernmost point of the Croatia. On the mainland, the southernmost point is Cape Oštra of the Prevlaka peninsula in Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
- The island of Galešnjak located in the Pašman channel is known as the Island of Love or Lover’s Island for its naturally occurring shape in form of a heart.
The Adriatic Sea
- The origin of the name Adriatic is linked to the Etruscan settlement of Adria, which probably derives its name from the Illyrian ‘adur’ meaning water or sea.
- The maximum depth of the Adriatic sea is 1,233 meters (4,045 feet) and the average depth is 252.5 meters (828 feet).
- The Adriatic’s salinity is lower than the Mediterranean’s because of the great amount of fresh water that many major rivers discharge.
- The surface water temperatures generally range from 30 °C (86 °F) in summer to 12 °C (54 °F) in winter.
- There are seven marine protected areas in Croatia: Brijuni Islands and the Lim Canal in Istria; Kornati and Telašćica in the Zadar archipelago; Lastovo, Bay of Mali Ston Bay and Mljet in southern Dalmatia.
- The highest temperature of 42.8 °C (109.0 °F) in Croatia was recorded on 5 August 1981 in Ploče.
- The least precipitation in Croatia is recorded on the outer islands of Vis, Lastovo, Biševo, and Svetac.
- The sunniest parts of the country are the islands of Hvar and Korčula, where more than 2,700 hours of sunshine are recorded per year.
- The bura (bora, northerly wind) and the jugo (jugo-scirocco, southerly wind) are the predominant winds on the Adriatic. They prevail in the winter period from September to May, while maestral mostly blows in the summertime. The bora brings cold and dry air and is strongest in the Velebit Channel (Senj) and Gulf of Trieste, with gusts of up to 180 kilometres per hour (97 kn; 110 mph).
- In the last 600 years, fifteen tsunamis have occurred in the Adriatic Sea.
Random Fun Facts
And now here are some more interesting and fun facts. Did you know for example that…
- English poet Lord Byron was the first to describe Dubrovnik as ‘the pearl of the Adriatic’. Playwright George Bernard Shaw also once said: “Those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik.”
- By now you must have heard that the popular tv show Game of Thrones is filmed in Croatia, the most popular filming location being the Old Town of Dubrovnik, which is used to represent the King’s Landing, capital of Westeros.
- There is a genuine Egyptian sphinx in Split’s Diocletian Palace, which was brought in from Egypt by Emperor Diocletian to adorn the entrance to his tomb.
- There is also another Sphinx in Zadar, however, its origin is not from Egypt. This Sphinx was built around 1091 by the local artist, painter and historian Giovanni Smirich as a memorial to his beloved wife.
- World’s first sea organ that uses wind and waves to create hauntingly beautiful and hypnotizing sounds is located in Zadar. The city of Zadar also boasts has the most beautiful sunset in the world, according to Alfred Hitchcock.
- World’s first torpedo was developed in Rijeka in 1866, by Ivan Vukić, also known as Ivan Lupis.
- Arena in Pula is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers and with all three Roman architectural orders entirely preserved, and is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the World.
- The Walls of Ston, also known as the ‘European Wall of China’, are one of the longest preserved fortification systems in Europe (5 km long).
- Picigin is traditional ball game from Croatia that is played on the beach, which originated from Split. It is an amateur sport which is played in the shallow waters with the objective of keeping the small ball in the air and away from water as long as possible.
- The most famous beach in all of Croatia is Zlatni Rat Beach in Bol, on the island of Brač. The beach changes its shape depending on the wind and sea currents.
- The island of Brač has a tourist attraction which is a house inside of a house.
- Rab is the birthplace of a stone cutter called St. Marino, who founded San Marino.
- Supposedly, if you give birth on a Jadrolinija ferry from Hvar, your child will be able to for free on the ferry for life.
- The longest distance ever swum without flippers in open sea is 225 km (139.8 miles) by Veljko Rogošić (Croatia) across the Adriatic Sea from Grado to Riccione (both Italy) from 29-31 August 2006. It took him 50 hours and 10 mins. (Source: guinessworldrecords.com)
- The longest single-handed distance sailed in a dinghy (male) is 798.04 km (495.9 miles) and was achieved by Christian Kargl (Austria) in Croatia, on 1 June 2016. As an experienced single-handed sailor, Christian wanted to break this record. He started his journey in Biograd and finished in Rovinj. (Source: guinessworldrecords.com)
- The greatest distance wakeboarding in 24 hours (male) was 514 km (319.38 mi) by Igor Deranja (Croatia) in the Adriatic Sea on 15-16 September 2010. Deranja was towed between the cities of Crikvenica and Pula, as well wakeboarding around an open water circuit in the city of Poreč midway through the journey. (Source: guinessworldrecords.com)
- The oldest continuously working pharmacy is located in Dubrovnik, inside Dubrovnik’s Franciscan Monastery founded in 1317.
- Also, one of the earliest sewage systems was installed in Dubrovnik in the Middle Ages.
- There are over 200 dinosaurs’ footprints located on Veli Brijun island, part of the Brijuni National Park.
- There are number of rare species found along the Croatia’s coast, such as the common bottlenose dolphin, which is frequent around Lošinj waters.
- The Mediterranean monk seal, probably the most endangered sea mammal in the world, once lived in the Adriatic. The last specimen of this species was killed in 1964. Since 2003, there have been several sightings of this rare animal – around Biševo island and Opatija.
There are also several ‘facts’ which have never actually been proven, such as the claim that stones from Brač island were used to build the White House in Washington D.C., that Korčula is the birthplace of Marco Polo, and that the Dalmatian breed of dog originates from the region of Dalmatia. Sadly, there is a lack of evidence to support these claims. Although, there really are many people on the island of Korcula with the last name Polo, so who knows?