Easily the largest and most varied of all Danish regions, central Jutland encompasses dramatically different features, from the calm beaches of the sheltered east coast to the wild and woolly west coast, battered by North Sea winds. Lying in between, offering visual stimulation among the flatness, are the rolling hills and forests of the Lake District.
Sheltered by soaring mountains, the Kvarner Gulf has long been loved by visitors attracted by the mild climate and cobalt waters, and those in search of more than just beach appeal. In the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the wealthy built holiday homes here, bestowing places like Rijeka and Opatija with a rich legacy of stately Habsburg-era architecture.
Continental Croatia meets the Adriatic in Istria (Istra to Croats), the heart-shaped, 3600-sq-km peninsula just south of Trieste in Italy. The bucolic interior of rolling hills and fertile plains attracts artsy visitors to Istria’s hilltop villages, rural hotels and farmhouse restaurants, while the verdant indented coastline is enormously popular with the sun-and-sea set.
Serving that classic Dalmatian cocktail of historic towns, jewel-like waters, rugged mountains, sun-kissed islands, gorgeous climate and Mediterranean cuisine, this region is a holidaymaker's paradise. Yet it's the cities and islands further south that hog all the limelight, leaving Northern Dalmatia, if not quite undiscovered, then certainly less overrun.
Istria's West Coast
The west coast of Istria is the tourist showcase. At the tip of the peninsula is Pula, the coast’s largest city. The Brijuni Islands, Tito's former playground, are an easy day trip from here. Rovinj is the most enchanting town and Poreč the easiest – and cheaper – holiday choice, with lodging and entertainment options aplenty.
The long stripe of the Costa Blanca (White Coast) is one of Europe’s most heavily visited areas. If you’re after a secluded midsummer strand, stay away – or head inland to enjoy traditional villages and towns. Then again, if you’re looking for a lively social scene, good beaches and a suntan… It isn’t all concrete and package deals.
Southern Jutland gets its inspiration from a few sources – from the North Sea, naturally, but also a little from the south. This is the only part of Denmark connected to mainland Europe (by a 68km-long border), and in some places you can feel the historic ties with Germany.
Two-thirds of Alto Adige speak German as their first language although in Bolzano, the capital of the province, you'll find the opposite. The region is characterised by the peaks, valleys and ski-runs of Cortina d'Ampezzo, Merano, Val Badia, Val Gardena, Val Pusteria & the Sesto Dolomites.