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.
Croatia. A country for everyone – big spenders, the budget-conscious, adventure seekers, sun-worshippers, families, party-animals, culture-vultures…the list is endless. But it has now also been discovered that it’s a very suitable holiday destination for those whom the term “celebrity” is coined very, very loosely.
Channel 4′s Celebrity Coach Trip (don’t lie, we know you watch it too!) features a bunch of “celebrities” making their way across Europe on a coach holiday, taking part in a series of tasks in each destination they visit whilst also generally messing around/getting on each others’ nerves/trying to remind people of their glory days and why they were famous in the first place.
In the most recent series, the gang were lucky enough to enjoy four days (well, four episodes worth of filming) in Croatia, taking in the capital city Zagreb, the Plitvice Lakes National Park environs, the lovely town of Zadar and bustling Split. From judo to a cookery lesson in Samobor, a survival course to glass blowing and klapa singing, the group had a busy time and Croatia served as a very pretty backdrop (bar some rainy conditions in Zadar) – with some very friendly and well presented teachers and guides – throughout the shows.
You can watch the episodes via Channel 4 On Demand – here’s the site’s Coach Trip page (viewable in the UK and Ireland only) or on YouTube.
In answer to the question I can hear on the tip of your lips – no, I don’t know what Croatia did to deserve Nikki from Big Brother.
This morning’s Vjesnik has a report on the progress of Zagreb Airport during 2010, and its plans for the coming year. Airport director Tonci Peovic states that by the year end, 10,000 more passengers will have passed through the airport than 2009, which adds up to a total of 2.07 million passengers for the entire year. However, this increase was about 40,000 less than expected, mainly due to a number of airlines cancelling their flights during the ash cloud crisis in Europe in April this year.
Mr Peovic expects that passenger numbers will rise by 5% during 2011, and is proud of the fact that the airport has agreed routes with three new airlines – Spanair, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Easyjet, the latter of which has or will start three new routes. (Easyjet commenced flights to Paris Charles de Gaulle in November, and will start services to London Gatwick and Dortmund in February 2011.) National carrier Croatia Airlines has also added new routes from Zagreb, to Hanover and Athens, during 2010.
Perhaps the bit of news of most interest to our North American readers is that Mr Peovic says negotiations for establishing a direct route between Zagreb and New York (perhaps solely during the summer months) has nearly reached a conclusion. This would surely make reaching Croatian destinations far easier for those travelling from the U.S.!
Croatian TV reported a few days that Zagreb has been achieving a healthy increase in visitor numbers for this year. This July, there were 17% more tourists and a 29% increase in the number of nights stayed, compared to the same month in 2009. (Does this much larger number for the increase in overnight stays mean that more of Zagreb’s visitors are staying for longer? I think so.) Of the number of visitors, 88% were foreign – which accounted for 60,000 people.
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the highest number of foreign visitors during July came from Spain, of which there was a 16% increase in July this year to last. Other nationalities that were in abundance in Zagreb during July were Germans, French, Americans, Polish, British, Japanese, Italians, Dutch and Russians – with the latter rising in number by quite a staggering 130% from the same period last year.
The increase in visitor numbers can be said to be in part attributed to a number of interesting events and exhibitions taking place in the capital last month, both traditional and modern – including a concert by Leonard Cohen. Good visitor numbers for the rest of the year are also hoped with more big concerts lined up (Guns ‘n’ Roses, Lady Gaga and Prince are all lined up to play the Zagreb Arena) as well as business conferences and similar.
Low-cost airlines’ new routes to Zagreb are also helping to bring in more travellers. Easyjet have announced two new routes to Zagreb – from Paris, starting November 2009 and from London Gatwick in February 2010 – which will surely make it even easier for people to visit Croatia’s capital.