Dalmatia is one of the four historical regions of Croatia, alongside Croatia proper, Slavonia, and Istria. Dalmatia is a narrow belt of the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, stretching from island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The hinterland ranges in width from fifty kilometres in the north, to just a few kilometres in the south; it is mostly covered by the rugged Dinaric Mountains. 79 islands run parallel to the coast, the largest being Brač, Pag and Hvar. The largest city is Split, followed by Zadar, Dubrovnik, and Šibenik. Most of the area is covered by Dinaric Alps mountain ranges running from north-west to south-east. On the coasts the climate is Mediterranean, while further inland it is moderate Mediterranean. In the mountains, winters are frosty and snowy, while summers are hot and dry. To the south winters are milder. Over the centuries many forests have been cut down and replaced with bush and brush. There is evergreen vegetation on the coast. The soils are generally poor, except on the plains where areas with natural grass, fertile soils and warm summers provide an opportunity for tillage. Elsewhere, land cultivation is mostly unsuccessful because of the mountains, hot summers and poor soils, although olives and grapes flourish. Energy resources are scarce. Electricity is mainly produced by hydropower stations. There is a considerable amount of bauxite.The largest Dalmatian mountains are Dinara, Mosor, Svilaja, Biokovo, Moseć, Veliki Kozjak and Mali Kozjak. The regional geographical unit of historical Dalmatia - the coastal region between Istria and the Gulf of Kotor - includes the Orjen mountain with the highest peak in Montenegro, 1894 m. In present-day Dalmatia, the highest peak is Dinara, which is not a coastal mountain, while the highest coastal Dinaric mountains are on Biokovo - Sv. Jure, 1762 m and Velebit - Vaganski vrh, 1757 m, although the Vaganski vrh itself is located in Lika-Senj County.The largest Dalmatian islands are Brač, Korčula, Dugi Otok, Mljet, Vis, Hvar, Pag and Pašman. The major rivers are Zrmanja, Krka, Cetina and Neretva. The Adriatic Sea's high water qualityalong with the immense number of coves, islands and channels, makes Dalmatia an attractive place for nautical races, nautical tourism, and tourism in general. Dalmatia also includes several national parks that are tourist attractions: Paklenica karst river, Kornati archipelago, Krka river rapids and Mljet island. The basic characteristics of Dalmatian cuisine are fresh ingredients, simple preparation with little intense spice and lots of mostly fresh herbs and wild plants.Dalmatia is, in fact, rich with Mediterranean herbs, such as sage, bay leaves, rosemary, basil, thyme … which give dishes from this region a special aroma and taste. The traditional Dalmatian cuisine coincides with modern nutritional trends which prefer lightweight thermal processing of food and plenty of fresh fish, olive oil and vegetables.You will often find shellfish and seafood which is prepared like fish, either grilled or cooked in a brodetto or a shellfish stew. Shellfish can also be mixed with noodles or rice.