Sugar Loaf or Pão de Açúcar is on the watch these days over joyful armies of fans in Rio de Janeiro. But, once the football inferno is over, from the Croatian Sugar Loaf Mountains, you will catch sight of the paradise....
Split is the second largest Croatian city and its residents are so proud of its beauty that they gave the city many flattering nicknames. Split is 'the most beautiful city in the world' and the 'Flower of the Mediterranean'. Their popular song says that 'there is no such a city as Split'. And, after magnificent sporting successes by Goran Ivanišević, Blanka Vlašić, Split basketball culb, Hajduk FC - to mention only the best known ones, there is an entire museum dedicated to the international achievements of Split sportsmen and sportswomen - Splitians, without a trace of modesty, declared their city 'the sportiest city in the world.'
Split residents owe their sporting spirit to Marjan hill, a beautiful sugar loaf that rises from the city centre, and on whose jogging paths and sports fields, many generations of elite athletes were brought up and many amateurs, back in their school days, initiated their sports life habits. From the top of the Marjan hill, there is a spectacular view of Split and the Brač Channel and wandering around the hill, you will discover more than 40 ancient religious buildings in which sailors' wives prayed for the safe return of their husbands.
Across the sea, there is the island of Brač. While visiting this island with countless faces, an excursion on the Vid mountain is something not to be missed. With its 778 m height, the mountain is the highest peak of the Croatian islands and offers a breathtaking view of the majestic town of Bol and the most famous Croatian beach, Zlatni rat. From the peak, you can witness the true wonder of nature while watching how the winds relentlessly change the shape of the beach.
Somewhere halfway between Split and Dubrovnik, you will be stunned with the beauty of the Makarska Riviera, and above a thousand of its beaches, the magnificent mountain of Bikovo opens its wings attracting many tourists to climb it. Climb up and enjoy an unforgettable view of the Dalmatian islands, but do not underestimate the mountain and ensure you are equipped with full mountaineering equipment regardless of the heat!
We mentioned Dubrovnik so it would be a shame not to recommend you to climb up Srđ hill. Inspire the soul with the view of the harmony of the sea, of Dubrovnik's medieval and Renaissance architecture and the Elafiti archipelago which like emeralds emerge from sea to adorn the perfection of this paradise on the earth.
The northern Adriatic also abounds in sugar loaves. Above Rijeka, the third largest Croatian city, and Opatija, which already in the 19th century discovered health tourism, rises proudly the Učka mountain, a nature park. From its 1041 m high peak, you are able to see not only half of Croatia but also half the Julian Alps and Dolomites.
There is a tunnel through the Učka mountain which leads you to the Istrian peninsula. Istria is rightly called 'Terra Magica' because it lives and breathes with its own millennia of old fairy tales about witches, fairies and giants. Istria trusts its fairy tales and according to one of them, Veli Jože, one of the giants built on the top of a hill the town of Motovun, with his bare hands, a town of enchanting beauty and charm. If you are lucky and you have a well-trained dog or pig, you will be able to find truffles, a divine aphrodisiac in the surrounding woods. Their price is very high but their flavour is worth every penny.
And the Croatian capital also has its sugar loaf. Above the white city of Zagreb, the green heart beats – the Medvednica mountain which has always been a favourite resort of Zagrebians. There are many mountain huts where they cook and serve the best bean soup. In the last ten years, the Ski World Cup slalom races have taken place on Medvednica and they are regularly among the most watched in the ski calendar.
Enjoy hopping by Croatian Sugar Loaves and discover which is your favourite and sweetest one!