There’s been quite a bit of press recently about an exclusive new guided tour that’s being offered in Dubrovnik – one that is sure to thrill fans of a certain hit TV series and popular set of novels. US-based tours company Viator are offering a new ‘Game of Thrones’ Walking Tour of Dubrovnik that takes in many of the locations used during the filming of the show, including the sights that double up as King’s Landing and Blackwater Bay. There’s obviously plenty of Dubrovnik’s main sights to see as well – taking advantage of viewpoints from where you can look over and imagine yourself in King’s Landing, such as from Dubrovnik’s wonderful Old Town walls or Lovrijenac Fortress. So whilst you enjoy taking in and imagining everything as it looks like in the TV series, you’re also experiencing the wonderfully historic sights of Dubrovnik, one of the most beautiful and most popular places to visit in Croatia. The tour also teaches participants a little more about the Targaryens, Baratheons, Starks and other noble families featured in Game of Thrones. And maybe, just maybe, it’s a way to comfort yourself after a recent unexpected and violent plot in the TV show!
This walking tour is clearly a must for any Game of Thrones fans that are visiting beautiful Dubrovnik, but we can imagine that it would be plenty of fun for those that aren’t even that well acquainted with the show. Join the tour and make your friends jealous at having seen the “real” locations from Game of Thrones!
Viator’s tour takes three hours and departs at 10.15am. It includes entrance fees (for the town walls and Lovrijenac Fortress) as well as the facilities of a local guide. Hotel pick-up and drop-off isn’t included, but since it’s so easy to get around Dubrovnik’s Old Town and Dubrovnik itself, that’s hardly needed!
As mentioned, this tour is exclusive to Viator so can’t be found anywhere else! It takes place daily and costs £47.33/$72.66/€55.00 for adults or £23.67/$36.33/€27.50 for children aged 4 to 11. Children under 4 go free.
To find out more details about the tour or to book a place, please see Viator Exclusive: ‘Game of Thrones’ Walking Tour of Dubrovnik.
Check out the following press reports on the Game of Thrones tours:
- ‘Game of Thrones’ tours launched in Croatia and Northern Ireland (CNN, 30th May 2013)
- Game of Thrones tours launched (Daily Telegraph, 21st May 2013)
- More shocking than the Red Wedding, Game of Thrones walking tours launch (NBCNews.com, 6th June 2013)
A few months ago, we were very happy to receive a lovely follow-up email from a traveller to Croatia (who we assisted in their travel plans via email), which told of their happy experiences whilst enjoying a summer holiday in the country.
Very recently, we were happy to receive another such email from a traveller (that we also assisted, pre-trip, via email) from Latin America who visited a number of towns and cities in Croatia. His comments are well worth reading as he provides a number of very useful tips on the places he visited, whilst it’s also interesting to note his experiences as he visited Croatia in December – and as Croatia is often considered a summer-only destination, it’s great to see an enjoyable visit during this particular month.
So, here’s what our happy traveller had to say:
Thanks very much, dear traveller, for taking the time to email us after your trip and for your kind comments as well! We’re very happy to hear you enjoyed visiting Croatia, and thanks for providing us (and other travellers) with some great tips!
Yesterday saw the unveiling of tourism statistics that show visitor numbers to Croatia – both foreign and domestic – for the first six months of the year. These figures reveal overall visitor numbers, as well as showing statistics for the individual counties in Croatia, and the numbers of tourists arriving from different countries.
So, to tackle the overall statistics first, it was revealed that Croatia received 3,418,306 tourists between January and June this year, which is up 6% on the same period last year. Of this, the vast majority were foreign tourists – 2,922,632 (up 8%) – whilst 495,674 were Croatian (a drop of 4%).
Visitors stayed for 14,456,034 nights in the country (up 5%), which once again were mostly made by foreign tourists (12,898,639 nights – up 7%) rather than domestic (1,557,395 – another fall, this time of 6%).
All counties included in these statistics have seen visitor numbers go up – with the exception of Sibenik-Knin county, which has seen a drop by 1% in visitor numbers. Top honours go to Dubrovnik-Neretva county (unsurprisingly, home to Dubrovnik!) which saw 13% more visitors in the first six months of the year, as did Lika-Senj county (where the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park is located, as well as Velebit National Park). The former county also saw 15% more overnight stays during the same period, whilst the latter achieved 10% more.
The top visited county was the ever-popular Istria, which saw 975,391 people visiting from January to June, an increase of 5% over the same months last year. Other counties to enjoy good visitor growth include Split-Dalmatia (8% growth; 503,713 visitors); Zadar county (7% growth; 295,707 visitors) and Zagreb (5% growth; 298,850). Indeed, Zagreb enjoyed an increase of 11% in the number of nights stayed by tourists, clearly showing that those visiting Croatia’s capital are staying for longer.
Taking a look at the different foreign nationalities visiting Croatia in the first half of this year, the largest increase was posted by visitors from Japan of which there were 38% more (staying for 37% nights) when comparing this time period to the same one last year. British visitors also posted a very healthy increase (25% more, staying for 26% more nights), as did Belgian visitors (26% more, staying for 16% more nights), Dutch visitors (22% more, staying for 24% more nights) and Swedish visitors (21% more, staying for 21% more nights).
Just for the month of June, Croatia received 1,618,472 visitors in total (1% more than June 2011), who stayed for 8,330,928 nights (which is being recorded as the “same” as last year!). Dubrovnik-Neretva county again posted the best increase of 11% more visitors (164,426 in total), who stayed for 13% more nights (756,345). Rather interestingly, Istria actually posted a drop in both visitors numbers (down by 5%) and overnight stays (also down by 5%) for June 2012 over June 2011.
Rather pleasingly (given where we are based!), it was British visitors that posted by far the biggest increase for June 2012 over the same month last year – 36% more Brits visited, staying for 34% more nights.
I want to know that if I come from Budapest to Zagreb by flight and want to catch a train to Dubrovnik the same day is it possible? My flight reaches at around 12 noon and there is a train at 2pm , how far is the airport from the station? Thanks. A.M.
I’m afraid that you’ve been wrongly informed – there are no trains from Zagreb to Dubrovnik as Dubrovnik has no train station. The closest to Dubrovnik that you could travel to is a town called Ploce, but this is still 2 hours north of Dubrovnik. If you did take a train here from Zagreb, you could change here for a bus to continue your journey; however, a train to here from Zagreb is still a long journey, 13 hours.
You could travel from Zagreb to Dubrovnik by bus. Firstly, take an airport bus (from outside the terminal building) to the main bus station in Zagreb. The journey time is approximately half an hour. Then, from here there are a number of buses per day to Dubrovnik (see timetables at www.akz.hr). Journey is long, however! (About 11-12 hours.)
If you need to reach Dubrovnik quickly, then flying is obviously the best method. There are several flights per day (in summer) with Croatia Airlines. Tickets aren’t always even that expensive, but it depends how far in advance you book.
British Airways are currently running their “Goodbye Winter” sale and, although perhaps we in the UK haven’t (luckily) had the harshest of winters this year, it’s always nice to have something to look forward to for next year – right?
Amongst their deals to many of their destinations, I’ve noticed that they’ve also listed mini-breaks to Dubrovnik for some really rather excellent prices. As the airline fly year-round to this wonderful Croatian city (even in winter they fly four times a week – Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays) a mini-break is more than do-able. They’re advertising a deal that includes a return flight plus three nights in a three-star hotel (on a half board basis) from only £169 per person, which is based on two sharing.
I keyed in a few dates, and personally couldn’t find that price (although I’m not saying it doesn’t exist!); however, the best deal I could find was still a pretty amazing £193.50.
If you fancy ramping up the glamour, I’ve also come across the same flight + three nights package – but in a five-star hotel! – for only £247.
Their flights to Dubrovnik didn’t seem to be part of their sale, although they are offering one-way flights to the city during January, February and March from only £61.
In general, Croatia has had a particularly mild winter so far, especially so in Dalmatia, which is expected to continue into the New Year. Without all of the summer crowds, early 2012 could be a great time to visit!
Note: The BA sale ends on 24th January 2012.
Folllowing yesterday’s post in which we talked about the number of British visitors to Croatia this year, newspaper reports today further discuss Croatia’s popularity amongst Brit travellers, as news, statistics and quotes emerge from the World Travel Market event currently taking place in London.
What’s interesting to pick up from today’s press reports is that beyond Dubrovnik (and Dalmatia), other regions of Croatia are apparently far less popular with British visitors. Meri Matesic, head of the Croatian National Tourist Office in London was quoted by newspaper Novi List revealing the regional breakdown of British visitors to Croatia. She stated that around 60% travel to Dalmatia’s delights (aside from Dubrovnik there’s of course Split; the Makarska Riviera; and islands such as Hvar, Brac and Korcula to name just a few), with around 20% holidaying in Istria and the remaining 20% going to destinations around Zadar or on the Kvarner Riviera.
The newspaper Vjesnik reports that Darko Ivic of the Istrian hotel group Plava Laguna (now known as Laguna Porec – do keep up, Vjesnik!) saying that British visitors account for only 3% of the nights stayed at their hotels. Mr Ivic states, “The British are not going to Istria, we lost them during the war. We are no longer able to get them [as visitors], the younger generation of Brits do not know about us.”
However, it seems Dubrovnik’s popularity amongst Brits may simply go from strength to strength. Currently making great efforts to position itself as a year-round destination, the city is being promoted with a campaign in which it is advertised as “A City For All Seasons”. (See this photo of a recent advert in a London newspaper, and this photo of an advert we saw on the side of a London bus!) Vjesnik reports that 13 hotels are to remain open in Dubrovnik during winter, and of course regular, direct flights from the UK (there are four flights per week from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik with British Airways) mean the city is easy to reach, even just for short break.
The final point of interest to pick up from today’s reports is that Ms Matesic states that Ryanair brought 12,000 passengers to Rijeka Airport with its twice-weekly flights from London Stansted this year, which she says is a good result. Given that direct flights to Rijeka Airport from the UK were reintroduced this year, it’s a promising figure.
British low-cost airline Jet2.com announced a few days ago that they are to add a second brand new air route to Croatia for 2012! Following the news that they are to commence flying from Manchester to Pula next year, the airline is also to establish a route flying from Newcastle to Dubrovnik – the very first route to Croatia from this northeastern English city. (Welcome to Croatia, oh people of Newcastle!)
The Newcastle-Dubrovnik route will operate once a week, on Saturdays, from 4th June to 7th October 2012. This brings the total number of the Jet2.com routes to Croatia to seven – they operate flights from Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast to Dubrovnik, and also from Manchester to both Pula and Split. All their flights operate once a week, bar the Manchester to Dubrovnik route which flies twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays.
Newcastle to Dubrovnik flights are available from £41.99 one-way including taxes, and holidays from Newcastle to Dubrovnik are available from £399 with Jet2holidays.
The great news for people travelling from the UK is that there are now numerous flights to the country from a variety of airlines, many of which have already announced their schedules for summer 2012. Take a look at our Getting There By Air 2012 page for full details!
More monthly tourism figures were announced in Croatia and this time round the reported figures are especially interesting as they cover the month of September – traditionally, a “transition” month for tourism as the summer crowds have packed up and gone home and activity in towns and resorts starts to wind down somewhat. Having said that, we’ve long recommended September as one of the best times of year to visit – for the reason that the busy season is over but the good weather remains!
Overall, Croatia welcomed 1.27 million tourists in September, up 15.3% on the same month last year. The month saw tourists stay for 7.26 million nights in total, also up by 11.5%.
Figures for the whole of the year so far have also been released – Croatia received 10.4 million tourists, who stayed for 62.7 million nights; these figures are up 7.6% and 6.7% respectively on the same period in 2010. Of the approximately 750,000 more visitors that Croatia has had so far this year, 500,000 have visited in pre- or post-season, a healthy sign that more tourists are visiting the country outside the traditional holiday months.
It was also revealed that Croatia earned €1.7 billion from tourism in the second quarter of 2011, up 14% on last year. Moreover, 13.6% more people were employed in the tourism industry in the country in the first seven months of the year than last year.
Figures were also revealed for individual towns and resorts as well. The county of Dubrovnik-Neretva – home of course to Dubrovnik and Croatia’s southernmost county – recorded 145,316 tourist arrivals during September (9% up on last September), with 695,200 nights stayed (up 11%). For the whole of the year until the end of September, the county received 977,512 arrivals (6% up on 2010) who stayed for 4,810,259 nights (5% up) in total.
German, British and French tourists recored the greatest number of nights stayed, followed by domestic tourists.
Of the total nights stayed in the county, 2,703,739 were in hotels (an increase of 7%), whilst campsites registered 334,150 nights, roughly the same as last year. Registered private accommodation accounted for 1,491,294 nights, a decrease of 1%.
Zadar also had a successful September – the town saw 33,773 tourist arrivals during the month (up 6% on September 2010), which was made up of 29,558 foreign tourists (up 5%) and 4,215 domestic (up 17%). Tourists stayed for 112,558 nights in the area, which is a rise of 9% on the nights stayed in September last year.
The most numerous guests were German visitors (5,202) then Austrians (3,284) and visitors from these two countries – unsurprisingly – were also top of the list for nights stayed.
For the whole year, Zadar’s data (incomplete as it has yet to include figures from nautical tourism) shows that the town welcomed around 270,000 guests who stayed for 1.1 million nights. Zadar’s hotels have also done well this year, with 17% more guests who stayed for 29% more nights.
Croatia was nicely featured in a BBC2 broadcast of the first episode of a new series last night, the latest in the Three Men In A Boat set of documentary shows. Featuring comedians Dara O Briain, Rory McGrath and Griff Rhys Jones, previous programmes have seen them take part in various japes – on boats – in Britain and Ireland. This particular series sees the trio start their journey in Montenegro, making their way up the Adriatic – via various Croatian towns and islands – with the aim of reaching Venice to take part in a gondola race there. (I suppose they could have just gone straight to Venice for water escapades there, but that probably wouldn’t fill two 1-hour episodes. Having said that, Griff Rhys Jones revealed that the original title of the show was supposed to be Three Go To The Balkans, but that was apparently deemed unappealing sounding.)
The Croatian section of last night’s episode (with more of Croatia featured next week) showed them in Dubrovnik, Korčula and Vis. Having sailed into Dubrovnik in rather stormy weather, on a boat that was part of a holiday flotilla, they awake to glorious sunshine and there’s a comedy-sketch-like scene where Rory McGrath returns with breakfast for all of them – including some kind of pig’s ear – only for the other two to have decamped to a local cafe.
The Dubrovnik Cable Car attraction in the beautiful Croatian town has already become a very popular tourist attraction, in less than a year of opening – as reported by today’s Slobodna Dalmacija.
This is according to Tripadvisor, where travellers have ranked the cable car as the third best attraction in the town – out of 60 listed for Dubrovnik on the site. This puts the attraction behind the Old Town walls (called the Ancient City Walls on Tripadvisor – not entirely sure I agree with that name!), in first place, and the whole Old Town itself, in second.
Photo by Threat to Democracy
Although this incarnation of the cable car opened in July last year following a €5 million renovation, the cable car was already a popular attraction back in the day. The first version was opened to tourists in 1969, ferrying up to 2 and a half million visitors per year until it was destroyed during the war in Croatia in 1991.
The cable car takes passengers on a 778 metre journey from Dubrovnik to Mount Srd – which is 405 metres high – where they can enjoy a fantastic view of the Old Town below, out to sea and of the nearby islands. There is a restaurant at the top for those wishing to kick back and relax whilst enjoying the view. The Museum of the Croatian War of Independence is also located there.
Open year-round, the cable car departs every half hour – though departures can increase in frequency (even every ten minutes) at busy times. Each cabin can hold 30 passengers.
Travellers on Tripadvisor rightfully comment on the wonderful views, and the quick journey time (around 4 minutes) to the top when praising the attraction. Let’s hope the reviews keep rolling in!