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Why Croatia is Europe’s Hottest Festival Destination



One of the hottest festival destinations in Europe – meaning temperature-wise and party-wise – is Croatia. Yep, Croatia is on fire.

The central European nation has become home to a huge number of festivals over the past 10 years and, in the process, also become one of the most popular summertime stop-offs for festival lovers across Europe, especially for those in the UK. Lazily touted by some as the “new Ibiza,” Croatia has many similar qualities to the infamous white island, but is also very different.

While Ibiza is home to some of the world’s most famous and influential clubs, plus a daily influx of ravers keen to explore the world of dance music, Croatia is all about the festivals – which range greatly in size and musical style, though you’ll mainly find electronic music. Both destinations boast picturesque beaches, but Croatia has the edge when it comes to party economics; you are bound to spend way less money here.

To rewind the clock a little bit, not so long ago Croatia was part of the former Yugoslavia (which was made up of Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Kosovo and Montenegro). In the 1990s the region became an area of conflict, and the nations that made up Yugoslavia split. It’s been 21 years since Croatia emerged victorious from the war, and though its recent bloody history will never be forgotten, the region has become stable and prosperous – highlighted by the incredible growth of its festival culture. Its mixture of beaches (which rest against the waters of the Adriatic Sea, across from the east coast of Italy), lakes, natural parks, waterfalls, cosmopolitan cities and a thousand islands certainly don’t hurt its appeal to both tourists and festies alike.

The very early roots of Croatia’s festival explosion can be traced back to the 90s, when a huge rave called Future Shock took place. Adnan Mehmedovic (aka Medo), PR and Marketing Director at Papaya – a beach club located on Zrce Beach – and co-founder of Fresh Island Festival, explains, “I’d say Future Shock was the first festival-style, large event of its kind. Around 15,000 people came to the rave, it was a really big event here. But the real scene started with Zrce Beach and the Garden Festival around 2005,” he says. “Papaya Day & Night Festival and Garden both started at that time, and this was the beginning of the scene here in Croatia.”….

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