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How to Plan a Perfect Road Trip in Croatia

Meet the Frankopans

If you have ever heard of Croatia, you are probably already aware of the fact that this country has spectacular natural beauties all over its surface, and beyond. But Croatia is not just beauty. It is also a truly rich and special history, even if we take in consideration its relatively young age as an independent republic. And some of such cool historical facts are actually closely intricated to certain families. Or, more precisely, dynasties. The noble family of the Frankopans is one of those who managed to leave the strongest impact on Croatia, from the development of arts to the common direction in which the kingdom headed. Therefore, they certainly deserve a dedicated article. Let me introduce you to the great Frankopans!

How they Began

Way back in 1118, the Doge of Venice gave permission to the first known Frankopan family lineage member to rule the island of Krk. His name was Dujam I and we can consider him as the founder of the Frankopans. As the lord of Krk, he was in good relations both with the Venetian lords as well as with the Church, and he made several improvements to the area. A bit later, his successor and his army assisted the Hungarian king in winning important battles and defending its land. Such good relations with the king led eventually to the Frankopans getting more territory under their power, and they started becoming more powerful with each year. Soon enough, the family became a symbol of the virtues of power, wealth, glory and fame all along Croatian and Hungarian history. Together with the Zrinski family, who were also super-powerful, they soon started ruling quite a large territory. This expanded from Krk to the basically entire region of Gorski Kotar, which is pretty vast and includes both land and sea. Towards the end of the 15th century, however, after the death of Nikola Frankopan who had even 9 sons, the family basically spread to the entire Croatian territory. This led to a great development of the area which could have been noticed in all sorts of sectors. The Frankopans were greatly known builders, investors and politicians, but not only. They also loved all sorts of arts, from poetry to prose, and they were highly devoted to maintaining the Glagolitic alphabet alive. All in all, modern Croatia owes a lot to the Frankopan family, and some of their cultural heritage is alive and safely preserved even today.

What they Left Behind

As already mentioned, the Frankopans were not just greatly brave soldiers and rulers. They loved Croatia and they enjoyed in evolving it from generation to generation. Their heritage is, thankfully, rich, and there are so many venues and monuments which we love visiting during modern times. From imponent hilltop castles to magnificently powerful monasteries, this family has left a bit of everything to younger generations. Some of them have not been managed to stay conserved properly, so they are nowadays considered as decorative ruins, but others have been successfully transformed into museums and greatly attractive touristic venues. Others, such as libraries and schools, are fully functioning during modern times and are not planning to stop. One could conclude that the Frankopan family has had it all, but they also loved sharing. Indeed, they greatly contributed into bringing Croatia to what it is today, and who knows how the country would look if there was no such family around. Thank you, Frankopans!

The Routes of The Frankopans

If you are eager of finding out more about this powerful family, you can actually re-live their life for a day or two. As with most super-rich and influential dynasties, the life of the Frankopans was surrounded by a sense of mystery all around. From toddlers who were forced to marry for power to sex scandals and incredibly tragic love stories, this family has seen it all. And combining such intriguing stories with stunning cultural buildings and mesmerizing Croatian natural beauties may quickly turn into an unforgettable experience. Today, you are actually able of living such experience. Thanks to the huge cultural project of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, which was able to be realized thanks to the help of the HERA Project, dozens of artifacts inherited from the Frankopan family can be visited in their full glory. The routes of the Frankopans consists of an interesting blend of natural attractions, medieval castles and local gastronomic offers, allowing a bit of entertainment for all sorts of adventurers. What else is there to ask? The route is basically divided into three main areas of the county, so you may either start from Gorski Kotar or from Vinodol. Alternatively, you may decide to begin your route from the very birth place of the family: the island of Krk. Whatever your starting point may be, I am totally sure that you will want more and more. On top of that, you may find up to seven modern interpretational centers along the route. These are quite amazing, as here you cannot just admire the great culture which the family has left to the Croatians, but you can literally find out some super-cool facts about their history and their relationships. A whole bunch of millions of Euros were invested in the project, so it certainly is worth all the hype. These centers are accompanied with amazing choices of restaurants serving authentic dishes which Croatians love, as well as several natural parks which are worth of a whole-day visit.

Booking your Ticket Already?

If you are now intrigued into finding just a bit more about this extraordinary noble family, you certainly will not be sorry for visiting the county. And the best part is that you do not have to wait for summertime to do that. Adventurers who love biking, hiking, or simply taking an educational yet holiday-like walk through the rich Croatian history and mesmerizing natural beauties will certainly have a pleasant stay here. And who knows, perhaps you even get to meet one of the family descendants!


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