Croatia just might be Europe's hidden treasure. It was made a part of Yugoslavia after World War II and then became an independent, sovereign country in 1991. It is now a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and NATO.
The country is slightly smaller than West Virginia and has a population of approximately 4,500,000. Zagreb is its capital. Europeans who know Croatia well will tell you that it's much like countries along the Mediterranean in past years. The country is safe, unspoiled and beautiful. It has beautiful, timeless fishing villages, clear clean seas and 1185 islands. The famous ocean explorer, Jacques Cousteau, once called Croatia's waters the world's clearest and cleanest.
Here are our picks for three of the best places to retire in Croatia.
One of the best places to retire in Croatia is the city of Pula. What makes this city interesting is that it is both Croatian and Italian. While this might seem something of a paradox, Pula was once part of Italy and the city is bilingual. Pula has a superb climate as well as the Mediterranean's beautiful waters. The city offers many cultural activities, including ancient Roman ruins such as a Roman Amphitheater. It is called by locals the Arena and was built in the first century. In its time, it could handle 25,000 spectators. While you won't find any gladiators there, it does play home to many film festivals during summer months.
Pula is a popular holiday area due to its beaches. It is on the Adriatic Sea and offers fishing, sailing and cliff diving. There is also underwater diving as its waters are home to many Roman historical wreck sites.
The city also has some great cuisine. It has a thriving nightlife and the Brijuni Islands, which is a group of 14 islands that form a national park. The islands have some amazing fauna and flora and a zoo park, archaeological exhibition and preserved dinosaur footprints.
Real estate in Pula, like in most of Croatia is on the pricey side. Recently listed at $201,874 was a fully furnished apartment in a nice location with storage, a huge balcony and was located just a mile from beaches and a marina. There was also listed a home described as being less than a mile from the sea with two apartments near the beach $620,000. On the high side was a villa in Primosten listed at $ 655,371,
Gorski Kotar It is really an area more than a city. It is a rocky and mountainous region that lies between the coast of Kvarner and the Lake Kupe valley.
It lies in Croatia's lush mountains and is said to be a great investment opportunity as land there is considered to be under priced. It has clearwater lakes and mountain panoramas. The area lies halfway between the Adriatic coast and Zagreb and is often called "the Green heart of Croatia."
Many people expect it to become the next "in-place" in Croatia. The area boasts centuries old forests, imposing mountain peaks, emerald green rivers, crystal clear lakes, rich wildlife, panoramic views and gentle valleys. It provides nature lovers with all the scenery they could hope for and, for this reason, has become a focal point for Croatian holiday adventures.
Gorski Kotar is now a winter hotspot for sports activity such as skiing with its crisp air and white, powdery snow. In the spring and summer Gorski Kotar offers rafting, gliding, mountain biking, fly fishing, rafting, hunting, hiking, cave exploring, mountain climbing, and mushroom and wild berry picking. Or, for those who are not the adventurous type, there are plenty of places to just relax and picnic.
The city's climate is called "Continental." This means it tends to have short, cool summers and cold winters with much snow.
Since Gorski Kotar is a region, there are many different kinds of real estate available at many different prices. On the high end, there were recently listed luxury apartments on a beautiful location in Malinska, with a view of Kvaner Bay for $603,223.
On the other hand, there was a wooden house listed for sale in Lokve at $183,222, and what was described as a family home in Istria Buje for $352,350.
This city is the capital of Croatia. It has a distinctive Austrian feel. Life there is lively and it has the spirit of a developed city. Zagreb boasts exciting sightseeing and a great cafe culture.
The city has many large squares, spacious parks and attractive promenades that have been placed between its symmetrical frames of streets. While this may seem odd, one of the cities most unusual attractions is its main cemetery, Mirogoj, which is said to be one of the country's most beautiful and is regarded by natives as more of a park and outdoor gallery than a cemetery. In fact, Zagrebians often take a Sunday stroll through Mirogoj.
Overlooking the city is Sljeme the summit of Medvednica Mountain. You reach it by tram or cable car. Once you get to the top, there are beautiful views of Zagreb, as well as the hills of the Zagorje region.
A must see in Zagreb is Tkalciceva Street that has small boutiques, cafes, shops and restaurants. At night it becomes a meeting place for both tourists and locals.
Zagreb's climate is considered "continental" and it has four seasons. Summers in Zagreb are hot and dry and the winters are cold. In winter, the average temperature is 34°F and in summer 68°F. It is common to see snowfall in the city during the winter months -- from December through March.
Housing in Zagreb tends to be on the expensive side. For example, a one bedroom flat (apartment) can cost $140,940 and a 3-bedroom, refurbished flat as much as $608,860. One 3-bedroom flat described as being in a 7-year old building in an excellent location was recently on the market for $363,625.
Croatia has plenty to offer a Baby Boomer. You've just read about 3 of the best places to retire in Croatia but don't stop there. There is plenty more to learn about the beautiful location.