Welcome to Croatia!

The young state of Croatia can call just a short stretch-188 kilometers, or almost 117 miles-of Europe's second longest river its own, but the scenery is not any less enchanting. The Danube marks a large part of Croatia's eastern border with Serbia and Montenegro. In the broad expanse of the Baranja, an extension of the Great Hungarian Plain, the Danube enters Croatia from Hungary. It flows through fields, meadows and pastures bordered by primeval marshes, which are the home of many species of game. Famous as an area of swamps and marshes is Kopacki Rit, which is situated between the Danube, Drava and Osijek. The preserve of innumerable swamp birds, as well as pike, catfish, and pike-perch which thrive in the Danube's many side channels in a natural environment barely touched by man.

Osijek near where the Drava joins the Danube experienced its high point around the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as can be seen in the extensive areas of the town built in Jugendstil, or Art Nouveau style. The mighty fortress dates from the period of Ottoman Turkish sieges. Just fifty kilometers (about thirty miles) further downstream, beyond Vukovar, the scenery suddenly changes: the first hills appear on the right bank of the river while on the left bank the plains seem to stretch without end. In spring the blossoms of millions of fruit trees and fields of rape-seed touch the horizon creating a symphony in white and deep yellow, while in summer fields of wheat and sunflowers form a swaying sea of gold. In the fall the aroma of freshly pressed grapes and burning wood waft above this broad land, Croatia's breadbasket framed by the mighty Danube.