Discover Europe's hidden treasures - was the motto used by the European Commission back in 2006 for the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) project. From this moment on, the network of the most beautiful destinations for sustainable tourism has been expanding year after year. Every time, with a new theme, new destinations are discovered, which are real tourist oases of special types of tourism that are a breath of fresh air in the saturated European tourist market.
Even though Croatia was not a member of the European Union when the project started, it was granted permission to participate, and after accession to the EU it also received grants. Every year the Croatian Tourist Board, with its local tourist board system and in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism, conducts competitions and selects a winner and four finalists. The winner, the destination picked as EDEN, is then promoted on the official websites of the European Commission and the Croatian Tourist Board, and together with the finalists it is presented on the European level as an example of good practice. In line with EDEN's objectives, non-traditional and less developed destinations are chosen which base their offer on sustainable, year-round tourism.
Rural tourism, Tourism and local intangible heritage, Tourism and protected areas, Aquatic tourism, Tourism and regeneration of physical sites, Accessible tourism, Tourism and local gastronomy, Cultural tourism - these are the themes for which Croatia has so far picked eight European destinations of excellence and 32 finalists.