Damir Bakarić

European Destinations

of Excellence

European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN)

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. 

Winners of the EDEN competition

Finalists of the EDEN 2016/2017

Five destinations offering an emotional experience

Courageous, creative, modern and innovative models of cultural heritage management are the latest trend. Tourists want new experiences and new knowledge. This was recognised by the Croatian destinations which have entered the final round of the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) project for 2016/2017 for the theme “cultural tourism”. In line with the objective and theme of this year's EDEN project, these non-traditional tourist destinations offer intangible cultural heritage to visitors and the project's agenda is to develop the destination and increase year-round tourism. All five Croatian destinations, the winner and four finalists, have joined the European network of destinations which promote sustainable forms of tourism.

The title of the European Destination of Excellence went to Vukovar-Vučedol-Ilok, a destination where historically many peoples and cultures have left their mark in the area of the Slavonian plain, Fruška gora, and where life revolved around the mighty Danube.

The national winner, Vukovar – Vučedol – Ilok and the finalists – the City of Đakovo and the Gorjani Municipality, Rural Konavle, Smiljan-Gospić, Zagorje – A Fairytale in the Palm of Your Hand, are all exquisite in their diversity and they represent in the best possible way the rich heritage of Croatia, its attractive culture and traditions, natural heritage, excellent cuisine and wines, limitless possibilities of having an active vacation... They have everything that the modern guest wants - emotions and experience!

Finalists of the EDEN 2014/2015

Finalists of the EDEN 2012/2013

Finalists of the EDEN 2010/2011

Finalists of the EDEN 2009/2010

Finalists of the EDEN 2008/2009

Finalists of the EDEN 2007/2008

Finalists of the EDEN 2006/2007