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Let’s focus on the best of Croatia in 2017. The year has been difficult enough. So the best way to end it is to remember all those super awards, medals and accomplishments. Ready?

Best of Croatia in 2017: tourism

1 Zagreb named Best of Europe by Lonely Planet

Each year Lonely planet compiles their hotlist of Best in Europe destinations. This year, Croatia’s capital Zagreb comes out on top. Congrats Zagreb on getting ranked No 1!

Things to do in Zagreb | Zagreb Honestly
Yoga in Zrinjevac Park, photo by Sanjin Kaštelan

2 Hvar among world’s best islands

300,000 travellers took part in the 30th annual Readers’ Choice Awards by Condé Nast Traveler. Croatian jewel island of Hvar made it into 30 best islands in the world.

Best of Croatia in 2017
Hvar island with the view to Pakleni islands.

3 Four Croatian beaches among 50 best in Europe

Sunday Times includes four Croatian gems on their list of Europe’s 50 top beaches. The widely known Zlatni Rat and Stiniva join the ranks. But the newcomers are also the lesser known Sveti Ivan on Cres and Šunj on Lopud, near Dubrovnik.

Best of Croatia in 2017
Sveti Ivan beach on the island of Cres. Photo courtesy of Croatia Week.

Check out my Dubrovnik Guide that I wrote for the leading travel blog The PlanetD.

4 Vis island welcomes Mamma Mia 2 film crew

Vis, one of Croatia’s remotest and most beautiful islands gets ready for the Hollywood fame. This year the sequel to the popular musical Mamma Mia was filmed on Vis for 24 days.


5 Istria has Europe’s 2nd best water park

Aquapark Istralandia gets named the 2nd Best Water Park in Europe. It opened in 2014 as Croatia’s first water park and quickly became one of the best summer attractions. Anyone up for a wet thrill ride?

Best of Croatia in 2017
Istralandia Aquapark. Photo courtesy of Istralandia.

6 Zagreb Advent best in Europe once again

They say third time is a charm, but Zagreb did’t need luck to get named third-time Best European Christmas market.

Advent is still in full swing, this year also listed among 15 world’s best Christmas markets by CNN.


Best of Croatia in 2017: culture

7 Croatian photographer wins Nikon Contest

When hundreds of lanterns flew into the Zagreb sky last December, Tomislav Veić was quick to snap a photo. A few months later When Lanterns Flying in the Sky won the first prize in the prestigious Nikon 100th Anniversary Award.

Best of Croatia in 2017
The winning photo When Lanterns Flying in the Sky by Tomislav Veić.

8 Croatian designer signs a MoMa catalogue

Exhibition ITEMS: is fashion modern? is on at the New York’s MoMa. It was created by world renowned curators Paola Antonelli and Michelle Millar Fisher. But the equally swish catalogue is work by Croatia’s own Lana Cavar.

Best of Croatia in 2017
MoMa catalogue for the exhibition ITEMS: is fashion modern? Photo courtesy of MoMa.

9 Sisak mural among best in the world

Mexican artist Farid Rueda painted his Totem mural in Sisak as part of the art project Re: Think Sisak. The mural made it to the best of July 2017 list, presented by Street Art Today magazine.

Best of Croatia in 2017
Totem mural by Farid Rueda. Photo courtesy of Street Art Today.

10 Croatian pianist on top of the music world

At only 20 years old, Croatian pianist Ivan Krpan is already on top of the world’s classical music scene. This year he won the prestigious Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition.

Listen to his grand finale performance of Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concert.

Best of Croatia in 2017: business

11 Zagreb airport welcomes 3 millionth passenger

Zagreb airport got its brand new terminal this year. It’s impressive both in its looks and design. The smart building has numerous solar panels and the collectors of rain water.

This December it welcomed its 3rd millionth passenger!

Best of Croatia in 2017
Zagreb Airport. Photo by Josip Škof, courtesy of Zagreb Airport.

12 Bruketa & Žinić go global

One of Croatia’s top marketing agencies, Bruketa&Žinić OM, partnered up with the world’s largest communication group WPP.

Now part of the WPP’s Grey Group, Bruketa&Žinić&Grey continue to grow with more opportunities in the region and globally.

Best of Croatia in 2017
Bruketa and Žinić. Photo courtesy of Jutarnji list.

13 Croatian inventors scoop up new medals

Union of Croatian innovators won 9 medals at the Nuremberg international innovations exhibitions. Think electric bikes, submarines, medical beds and yard doors for smart houses…

Croatians definitely continue to impress with state-of-the-art concepts.

Best of Croatia in 2017
Croatian innovators in Nuremberg. Photo courtesy of Udruga inovatora Hrvatske.

14 Pag Cheese best in the world once again

This year in London Paška sirana reeped more Wold Cheese Awards for their selection of cheeses. The Pag cheese factory won gold for their Pramenko and silver for their Dalmatinac cheese.

Best of Croatia in 2017
Pag cheese on the island of Pag. Photo courtesy of Paška sirana.

15 Zagreb café among the best in the world

According to many Zagreb locals, the best coffee in town is served in Eliscaffe. Now, world top coffee professionals rank it among 600 best cafés in the world.

You can find this Zagreb gem listed in Where to Drink Coffee insider’s guide, compiled by best baristas.

Best of Croatia in 2017
Eliscaffe. Photo courtesy of Eliscaffe.

16 Croatian brand wins a design award

Croatian design brand VAU wins a prestigous award from the German Design Council. VAU’s products are functional everyday objects made from metals. Their Triangle bottle opener and the Curve letter opener received German Design Award – Winner 2018.

Best of Croatia in 2017
Triangle bottle opener. Photo courtesy of VAU.

Best of Croatia in 2017: sport

17 Croatia wins world waterpolo championship

After beating the Hungarians in Budapest, Croats became world waterpolo champions. Led by coach Ivica Tučak, Croatia’s team reclaimed their world title they last won in 2007.

Sandro Sukno, Luka Lončar, Xavi García and Marko Bijac were once again our shining stars.

Best of Croatia in 2017
Croatia wins World Waterpolo Championship. Photo by Davor Javorović/PIXSELL.

18 Sandra Perković wins discus gold

Already a double Olympic discus champion, Sandra Perković won her second World Championship title in London. Her throw continued to impress, landing her another gold at Birmingham Diamond League. 70.31 meters – who can beat that!

Best of Croatia in 2017
Sandra Perković in action. Photo courtesy of Total Croatia News.

19 Croatian swimmer completes Triple Crown

When 21-year-old Croatian swimmer Dina Levačić swam across the English Channel, she joined an exclusive club. Dina completed the Triple Crown, a marathon swimming challenge consisting of three swims, within 90 days.

Only five people in the world boast this result!

Best of Croatia in 2017
Dina Levačić by the English Channel. Photo from Facebook.

20 Award for best social inclusion project

Croatia’s National Paralympic Committee won the top prize for their inclusion project. Allianz Social Innovation Fund awarded EUR 50,000 to their project ‘Wholehearted coaches’.

The project launched in 2013 with the aim to enable children with impairments engage in sports.

So what made you proud the most in 2017?

Do your own personal best of list and share a few items in the comments below!

Fancy something similar?

  • Nice list, spent time in Zagreb, Hvar, Vis…and Zlatni Rat beach in 2017. A Croatian friend actually had a role as an extra in Mamma Mia and got to meet Pierce Brosnan.

    All the best for 2018!

    Frank (bbqboy)

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