Latest press coverage on Croatia round-up: early May edition!

As we get closer and closer to summer, there has recently been a whole flurry of press articles and coverage on Croatia and – let’s face it – that’s no surprise. So here I take a look at some of the latest press coverage on Croatia from early May. (And not a mention of Eurovision in sight!)

Enjoying the new train from Italy to Croatia

Just yesterday, the Sunday Times Travel section wrote about the reintroduction of a train service that runs from near Trieste in Italy via Slovenia to Rijeka in Croatia. (Something that was first brought to our attention a number of months ago by our contributor John – see his latest post on The Sound of Rijeka.)

Press coverage on Croatia, May 2024 - The Sunday Times
Press coverage on Croatia, May 2024 - The Sunday Times

Accompanied by some rather lovely shots as you can see (of Croatia…of course!), the main premise of the article is that for just a few Euros, you can use this new train route to explore a number of the little but charming towns in Italy and Slovenia along the way. The writer does just that; he states that the whole two-hour journey costs the equivalent of £7, but he chooses to purchase a new train ticket (costing just a few Euros each time) for each leg of the journey.

After enjoying Trieste itself, his first stop is the Slovenian town of Ilirska Bistrica where he enjoys exploring on an e-bike on some of the 60 miles of forest cycle tracks. Food is the order of the day here two, with sauerkraut, Slovenian sheep cheese and multiple varieties of honey all sampled.

Next, it’s on to Croatia and the fabulous Opatija. The article’s author, Tristan, gets his bearings by walking the seaside promenade route, the lungomare, enjoying the scents and scenery. “This is Croatia’s answer to Capri or Cannes”, he declares.

After a night in Opatija it’s on to Rijeka the next on the same train – this last leg is just a 10-minute journey. Rijeka is certainly talked up here, and the author enjoys a number of sights (such as the Sugar Palace) as well as the fish market.

Rijeka’s seafront railway station looks like a Habsburg wedding cake, built to impose. I arrive to witness a marathon, an outdoor jazz festival and a superyacht leaving port. Trieste’s twin brother is buzzing.

Tristan Rutherford, The Sunday Times, 12th May 2024

You can read the article online: One train, three countries and a £7 ticket: Europe’s newest rail trip.

Tipping culture – in Europe and in Croatia

Elsewhere in the same paper, there’s an interesting article on “How to tip in Europe”. I bet I’m not the only one who gets a little anxious about tipping on holiday; I don’t want to seem rude, but also don’t want to throw down too many notes and coins that make me seem like a crazy person. (Or someone with more money than sense.)

The overall conclusion for Croatia is that tipping is “casual” and 10% is certainly welcome in restaurants but not always expected. In smaller venues such as cafes, tipping is merely rounding up to the nearest Euro.

Press coverage on Croatia, May 2024 - The Sunday Times on Tipping in Croatia
How to tip in Croatia, according to the Sunday Times

The joys of Istria

An absolute gem of a piece this month is one from National Geographic on Istria. I haven’t yet been able to check if it appears in print in the magazine, but if it does I’m sure it looks fantastic.

The article really takes a deep dive into some of the traditional and cultural aspects of Istria, the most northerly of the Croatian coastline. Focusing first on the region’s main city, Pula, and its spectacular 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre The Arena, the piece also features the Brijuni Islands, Vodnjan and beautiful Rovinj.

There’s an extensive look at Istrian folk music with the author Daniel witnessing a performance in Pula by singers, musicians and dancers all dressed in traditional costume. In Vodnjan, too, he’s able to see another folk performance of songs performed in Istroveneto, an Istrian language influenced by the Venetian dialect.

I had listened to some Istrian folk music on YouTube before my trip. Woodwind instruments wrapped around dual voices, improvising in the microtonal way Dario had described. To ears like mine, used to a rigid system of tones and semitones, the constant use of microtones can sound dissonant or harsh. That much was evident from the video’s comment section, where one rather ungenerous observer had suggested the music sounded like “someone stepping on a cat”. 

Daniel Stables, National Geographic, 2nd May 2024

Read it online: On Croatia’s Istrian peninsula, age-old traditions are securing locals’ futures.

Bargains on the Croatian Islands

The Daily Telegraph this weekend had an interesting piece on “The 50 greatest bargains in travel”. Who doesn’t love a bargain, am I right? But how does Croatia fit into this?

Well, Croatia is featured under the “Discount destinations” heading – or, more specifically, the Croatian islands are. And even more specifically, the more southern islands of Mljet and Korcula. The Daily Telegraph advises that if you’re the kind of traveller who likes to book their own holiday, you’ll “…find it hard to beat the value offered by the Croatian islands“.

The Daily Telegraph, May 2024
One of the “greatest bargains in travel”

I couldn’t find this article online, but get some inspiration with our How to do Croatia on a budget post!

If this isn’t enough press coverage on Croatia…

…there really has been plenty more in the papers and online over the past few weeks!

If you don’t yet know anything about holidaying in Croatia, you should first read the Visit Croatia website and then secondly take a look at Elle magazine’s Ultimate Croatia Travel Guide.

Follow that up with The Time’s guide to 13 of the best places to visit in Croatia which features many of the most well-known places in the country and some not so well known too.

And if “not-well-known” is totally your kind of thing, The Independent recently featured a piece on 6 lesser-known Croatia destinations you may not have considered.

All of the above makes up plenty of reading on Croatia for you so go on – off you go to get started!

Press coverage on Croatia

Latest press coverage on Croatia round-up: early December edition!

Are you booking your holidays for 2024 yet? Clearly, some of the travel press think you are as there’s been a fair amount of coverage on Croatia recently which I’m sure is inspiring you to start looking for flights and holidays! Take a look below at the November and early December press coverage on Croatia.

Winter Magic in Croatia

First up is a wonderful piece in yesterday’s Sunday Times Travel section which actually isn’t about travelling to Croatia next year. Well, not in the summer, at least!

The article by Mary Novakovich takes a very welcome look at wintertime in Croatia, and all the wonderful experiences you can have. Sure, you can’t go to the beach in winter but you can enjoy numerous Christmas markets and celebrations all over the country, and enjoy the towns in central and northern Croatia when the inevitable snowfall turns them into real winter wonderland.

press coverage on Croatia - December 2023

Mary also makes the good point that winter is a brilliant time to visit some of Croatia’s famous national parks such as Plitvice and Krka. Not only are the entrance fees a fraction of what they are in summer, there are very few fellow visitors. If you’ve been to these parks in summer you’ll know that they can be crowded beyond belief. But in winter you can enjoy their tranquil serenity. And if it has snowed and the waters and waterfalls are frozen, the parks really do offer up some magical scenes.

Even after New Year, there’s fun to be had. The Rijeka Carnival celebrations begin in mid-January (the first main event – the Rijeka Carnival Queen Pageant and the Handover of the Key to the City is on 19th January 2024) and extend for almost a month up until the main event, the Carnival Parade, on 11th February 2024.

You can read the article online here: I’ve been to Croatia dozens of times. Here’s why I love it in winter

Split instead of Dubrovnik, and Ljubljana to Zagreb

Saturday’s Daily Telegraph Travel section included a couple of pieces on Croatia…and a lovely photo of glorious Split.

In a piece on how some large cruise ship companies are having to make alternative port arrangments due to local restrictions, the newspaper offers up some alternatives to the popular cruise ship destinations of Venice, Dubrovnik, Santorini, Barcelona and Amsterdam.

For Dubrovnik they suggest the alternative of Split, of course, but also mention that lovely Sibenik is another viable option.

Next up, in a piece entitled “Why two cities are better than one”, the newspaper examines possibilities for a twin city break – essentially a multi-night break in which you enjoy two closely positioned European cities instead of just one, travelling between the two places by train.

Visit Croatia thinks this is a brilliant idea, not least because Visit Croatia recently enjoyed a twin-city break of her own, flying into Ljubljana and out of Zagreb – taking the train from one to the other – and enjoying both to the max.

Guess what two cities the Daily Telegraph recommends? Ljubljana and Zagreb! (Did they read my mind?)

They say:

Okay, so it’s slightly over the two-hour limit [the train takes 2 hours 8 minutes] but we think you’ll agree it’s worth it for this capital combo. Plus, both these former Yugoslavian cities are easy to walk around, so the journey between them is all the time you’ll be spending on public transport.

Jane Knight, The Daily Telegraph, 2nd December 2024

Take a look at our Day Trip to Ljubljana from Zagreb to read up on how we enjoyed our time.

Croatia: The best island hop ever

Actually published a few weeks ago, the UK national morning freebie newspaper Metro featured a highly colourful piece on what they called “The best island hop ever”. The article recounts a small cruise holiday in Croatia, hopping down the coast from Split to Dubrovnik and taking in islands such as Hvar, Vis, Korcula and Mljet but also experiencing mainland towns and sights such as Trogir, Krka National Park, Slano and Ston.

Overall the author, Rachel Moss, loved exploring the country by cruise ship…highly recommending it! (Although she was a little disappointed with the older ages of her shipmates.)

“Travelling by small cruise gives you unrivalled access to Croatia’s hidden gems, allowing you to escape the crowds of the country’s most famous hotspots and access little-known ports with unique personalities.”

Rachel Moss, Metro, 16th November 2024

Rachel goes on to add: “the mix of culture and coast makes Croatia one of the favourite countries I’ve ever visited.” That’s quite some praise!

Read the article here: We’ve found the best way to explore Europe’s number one holiday destination for 2024

Some wonderful accolades for Croatia

I’ve mentioned some recent awards for Croatia several times elsewhere, but they’re too good not to repeat so I thought I would add a mention to them here too.

Wanderlust travel magazine revealed that Croatia was declared the Most Desirable Country in Europe in their Readers’ Travel Awards. It is very exciting to see Croatia recognised so highly by travellers.

Esteemed travel publication Lonely Planet also sings the praises of Croatia: in their Best in Travel 2024 Countries category, the only European country to feature was Croatia.

September press coverage on Croatia round-up

In the first of a (perhaps) semi-regular series, I thought I’d round up some of the recent rather special UK press coverage on Croatia. There have been some great articles appearing in various newspapers and magazines this month!

A road trip from Split to Dubrovnik

One of the best articles this month is featured in the latest edition (October 2023 issue) of the UK version of National Geographic Traveller magazine. In an article titled “A Land of Stories” in the magazine, the author Adrian Phillips undertakes a road trip from Split to Dubrovnik, making use of the new(ish) Peljesac Bridge.

Press coverage on Croatia - National Geographic Traveller

Adrian is particularly impressed by some of the eccentricities of Split – Froggyland, Gregory of Nin’s big toe, “Diocletian” making his way through the streets of his palace – before heading down to the former pirate HQ that is Omis. This part of Croatia is adventure central and that’s indeed what Adrian does – enjoying both zip-lining over the Cetina River and rafting before backtracking to Podstrana to try horseriding. A stop-off to explore Biokovo Skywalk is also on the cards, where Adrian nervously watches children jump up and down on the glass to see if it cracks!

Of course, it’s the Peljesac Peninsula where Adrian spends a fair amount of his time. He sets sail on the waters near Mali Ston to experience oyster and mussel farming, particularly enjoying freshly harvested mussels. The next day he meets with the team behind Edivo Winery, who seal and store Plavac Mali wine in amphorae underwater for two years. (Yes, really!)

You can read the article online here: A Croatian coastal odyssey: why road-tripping from Split to Dubrovnik is easier than ever although it’s really worth picking up a copy of the magazine for some glorious images of the Dalmatian coastline.

Family fun and adventure in Croatia

Another one of my favourite articles from the past few months is one written by Ben Machell in The Times. Ben and his family (him, his wife and his two kids) normally holiday in an all-inclusive resort (not in Croatia) and spend their time lazing by the pool. Wanting something different this year, he gambled on a two-week adventure itinerary in Croatia, starting off in Zadar and ending in Dubrovnik.

Ben and his family seem utterly delighted by Croatia and everything the country offers. As well as exploring the cities of Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik and the sights these cities have, his family try kayaking on the Zrmanja River (near Zadar), boating in the Kornati National Park, whitewater rafting on the Cetina River (as above!) – where the kids also embark on some cliff jumping – relaxing on Korcula and making use of everything the Sun Gardens Dubrovnik resort has to offer. This includes sea kayaking, where Ben and his son gained access to a hidden sea cave by swimming underwater two metres of solid rock.

One of the star quotes of the article:

…my first full dose of Croatia’s ridiculous natural beauty, , which — I would come to understand — could often seem almost hyper-real in colour and texture: bright-blue water, emerald-green forests, rugged, silver-grey mountains and gorges that sparkled in the sun.

Ben Machell, The Times

And overall? “We loved Croatia and we loved our adventures there.” A wonderful conclusion!

You can read the article online here: The adventure holiday that cured my family’s all-inclusive habit.

Wellness on Losinj

You magazine – The Mail on Sunday’s supplement – recently published a travel issue which featured an article titled “Welcome to wellness island” about the island of Losinj. Written by Rachel Johnson (yes, sister of you-know-who), I was initially amused to read that she had “never even heard of” Rijeka, to where she flew in Croatia to reach the island.

Press coverage on Croatia - You magazine

But once on the island, Rachel thoroughly enjoys partaking in something called a “Sea-Tox” at the Hotel Bellevue. Undertaking a full body analysis to better target a treatment programme for her, on the following days Rachel embarks on treatments such as massages and cryotherapy and activities such as hiking around Losinj.

The Sea-Tox is also supposed to include a limited diet, normally restricting carbs and sugar; rather amusingly, Rachel not only doesn’t partake in this aspect of the programme but also indulges in meals at the Michelin-starred restaurant in the neighbouring Hotel Alhambra.

After four days, I felt bursting with health, vitality and energy. I slept deeply, with the windows wide open, swam every day and never felt hungry.

Rachel Johnson, You magazine

Sounds idyllic and let’s face it – many of us would also indulge in meals at a Michelin-starred restaurant if we could!

For more press coverage on Croatia, take a look at our Articles on Croatia section.

Sunday Times Style Magazine

What happened to the love for Croatia, Sunday Times Style Magazine?

Avid readers of the UK’s Sunday Times Style Magazine may feel like not a week (or rather, weekend) goes by without some kind of mention of Croatia amongst the pages. Whether it’s something to do with summer (that includes a bit on festivals in Croatia), hedonistic lifestyles (festivals in Croatia) or something on what the cool young  kids are doing these days (festivals in Croatia), the country almost always gets a mention. (Festivals in Croatia. Oops. An extra one snuck in there.)

This weekend, events took a sudden turn for the…not so good. A piece about foodie clubs (it’s what the cool young kids are doing these days – yeah, I dunno either), featured an inset box that listed a food-based “You Know You’re  A Grown-Up When You…”:

Croatia Sunday Times

Heyyyy Sunday Times Style Magazine, what gives?!? What’s with the snarky tone? Let’s face it – you can barely move these days for newspaper and TV coverage proclaiming the wonders of Croatian food, from truffles to oysters to wine to stews to the super-strength fruit and herbal liquers to pastries and cakes, with there even being love for the pizzas and ice cream you find in the country. (Don’t laugh til you’ve tried either – preferably both! Though not at the same time.)

However, on a more serious note – “Croatia never quite took off”? Ow. BURN, as some might say. Someone was clearly having a bad day, seeing as they just got this so very wrong. I think they might need to liaise with their colleagues from the Travel pages where – again – not a weekend goes by without some kind of mention of holidays in Croatia. (Only a few weeks ago, Croatia had three entries in the Travel section’s “25 Top Holidays for 2013” in the Eastern Med, offering up advice for visiting the island of Lopud, a cycling holiday in Istria, and culture in Zagreb.

Nevermind, Sunday Times Style Magazine. Just make sure normal service is resumed soon.

I look forward to reading more about Festivals in Croatia in an upcoming issue.

Croatia in the press – 2010 in review

We at Visit Croatia actively follow all mentions of the country (on all subjects, but from a travel perspective most of all!) in the papers and see the full spectrum of different types of articles, from well-researched to poor, detailed to the hole-filled, incredibly useful to the downright patronising! We try and put together all travel articles (and even a simple mention here or there – if it’s worth it) on Croatia in our What The Others Say section. (We’ve got links to articles going right back to 1998 – take a look at how things have changed over the years!)

Having recently updated our 2011 Articles page, we took a look at the 2010 page and reminisced about some of the wonderful articles published on Croatia.

Here are our favourite pieces (these aren’t ranked in order of how much we like them, but purely on when they were published, oldest to newest!):

– First up, a nice piece on Zagreb titled On the edge of elegance from the Sydney Morning Herald. Arriving by train from Split, author Nicola Walker enjoys the very grand (though yes, it is pricey) Regent Esplanade hotel, once used by travellers from the Orient Express.

– Natalie Paris enjoys Summer Festival-hopping in the Daily Telegraph – thought not festivals of the more modern, dance kind! Instead she uncovers some more traditional and well-established ones, such as medieval games on Rab and the film festival in Motovun.

– Not really a travel article, it was still enjoyable to read how Trogir was used as a filming location – in place of 16th-century Venice – for an episode of Doctor Who, again in the Daily Telegraph: Why Doctor Who is vamping it up in Croatia. [Edit: Link no longer works, unfortunately.] Trogir also stood in for 19th-century France in another episode in the series!

– The Financial Times explored the delights of the tranquil islands near Zadar on a sailing holiday: The deserted bays of Kornati islands.

– Radio station BBC 6 Music – via the BBC News website – had a really enjoyable piece on the INmusic Festival that takes place every June in Zagreb. Last year’s event saw acts like The Flaming Lips and Massive Attack perform; the BBC spoke to them, whilst also taking a general look at the Festival: A Massive Attack of music in Croatia.

– Travel expert Simon Calder recounts a trip to the “secret” island of Solta, near Split, in the Independent: Slavic secret: Solta is steeped in history and rich in beauty. Whilst it’s perhaps not quite as overlooked as he writes, it certainly isn’t an island at the top of people’s lists so enjoyable to read about.

– A lovely piece in the Guardian by Kate Edgley about a biking holiday in Croatia is nicely dotted with some humorous touches: Blazing saddles: Croatia on two wheels

– In a similarly (well, -ish) active vein, David Atkinson in The Daily Telegraph enjoys a slightly different side of the island of Brac by embarking on a walking holiday there: Brac: Walking in the rural heart of Croatia.

– Finally – so good, we had to give them a second entry – the truffles of Istria and the restaurants they are served in are covered by Anja Mutic in the Washing Post: Falling in love with truffles on Croatia’s Istrian peninsula.

Croatia and its sights, resorts, beaches and more received numerous accolades throughout 2010, perhaps best of all being named 4th favourite European country in the Guardian’s Travel Awards, as voted for by their readers.

And finally – as they always say in newscasts! Something we’ve delighted in reading about over the year – and it has received plenty of coverage from a very wide range of sources – is the unusual Museum of Broken Hearts in Zagreb. There’s no better way to discover a bit of it than in this short report from the BBC News website: Sad stories from the Museum of Broken Relationships.