At Least 101 Reasons to Live in Dalmatia
Hitching, Corinne, The Mail on Sunday (London, England)
Byline: CORINNE HITCHING
A beautiful shore dotted with islands but with few tourists in sight - the Dalmatian coast has been named the new Riviera, with opportunities for those seeking a bargain home in the sun. But be quick, prices are sure to go up when Croatia joins the EU.
At least 101 reasons to live in Dalmatia Edward and Mrs Simpson knew all about it, as did Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Now, after the war-torn years of the Nineties, Croatia - home of tennis ace Goran Ivanisevic - is being rediscovered by the likes of Prince Charles, Princess Caroline, Brad Pitt, Sharon Stone and Clint Eastwood.
The 1,000-mile coastline is dotted with a similar number of islands, all with unspoilt beaches, clear blue seas and a wealth of ancient walled cities and ruins. The seas are perfect for cruising or sailing and you won't be in poor company. Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone's wife Slavica is from Croatia and the couple spend most summers on their yacht off Dalmatia.
The cuisine has an Italian influence, the local wines are delicious and the climate is balmy - just a few reasons why the Dalmatian coast is attracting huge interest from people wanting to move somewhere as yet undisturbed.
Where is Dalmatia?
It stretches along the east coast of the Adriatic, with Italy bordering in the north and Montenegro in the south. Dalmatia is the southern part of Croatia.
What is its appeal?
Before the Nineties conflict, it received 470,000 British tourists each year. In 2002, only 130,000 visited, so nowhere is crowded.
The coast is among the most beautiful in this part of the world, with warm, crystal-clear waters, preserved natural landscapes, medieval cities, historical monuments and Unesco World Heritage sites.
The tourism minister has promised not to destroy the coastline with overdevelopment, as has happened in other Mediterranean locations.
Sailing holidays, exploring the waters and islands, dolphin watching and stopping at idyllic villages are the most popular activities. Villages on the mainland and islands are buzzing with cafes, restaurants and nightlife.
The southern part of the coast is generally more Greek in style and atmosphere, with sandy beaches, warmer weather and a sleepier feel.
To the north, the Istra peninsula hooks westwards and curves south.
Four hundred years of Venetian rule helped create the peninsula's modernday melting pot of architecture, cuisine and language.
'The summer season is quite long, particularly in the southern parts where it stays warm well into October,' says Tara Hawkins, of holiday company Croatian Villas. 'The north is very much like Tuscany, with its beautiful countryside and, as a result, is getting very popular. …