Croatia Airlines Airbus 319

Zagreb Airport looks forward to 2011; could a direct route to New York be on the cards?

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 carrierCroatia 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.!

Source: Vjesnik

Travel question: Caravanning in Croatia

As we receive numerous travel questions about Croatia via email week in, week out, I thought I’d start a new series on this blog sharing some of these questions – and my replies, of course! Hopefully sharing travel queries and responses will help others who may be searching for similar information on a variety of subjects to do with travelling to Croatia. If anyone would like to add anything to my replies, please do use the comments section on this blog. Don’t forget – if you do have any travel queries about Croatia, I would be more than happy to answer them! Simply email me on

I should be grateful for information on caravan sites, road conditions and general cost of living. We are considering a three week trip along the coast or to places of special interest inland  which are  readily accessible with a touring caravan in tow. We are planning a visit in May 2011.
B.D., UK

Thanks for getting in touch. As we’re a privately-run website, we don’t actually produce any printed material – in which case, I would suggest you get in touch with the Croatian National Tourist Office in London ( and I am sure they will be able to send you an information pack, in particular on caravanning/driving.

However, there are some websites that might also help. The Croatian Camping Union ( has a useful website that lists all campsites in Croatia, ones that would be suitable for caravans as well as just ordinary sites. (Sorry – I know what a caravan actually is, but not 100% sure if they work on the same principle as motorhomes in terms of space needed, pitches and so on – so I hope this Camping Union website is still useful!)

Roads in Croatia are of good quality. There are some motorways in the country (e.g. Zagreb to Rijeka and on to parts of Istria; Zagreb to Sibenik/Zadar/Split) although other roads are also in good condition. As you’ll be travelling in May, you’ll avoid the peak of summer (July/August) when the roads can get quite crowded as tourists from neighbouring countries, as well as domestic tourists, stock up their cars and head to the coast! You may find the Croatian Motorways and Croatian Auto Club websites useful. Via Michelin is also a great website for route planning.

Croatia is cheaper than the UK in terms of eating out, going to cafes, bars and so on, but you will probably make the biggest savings if you stock up at local supermarkets or – better still – get some produce at local markets!

Activity Holidays in Croatia

Activity holidays in Croatia have been steadily increasing in popularity in recent years, and with very good reason. Put simply, this includes any sort of activity as part of your holiday, be it participating in some kind of sport (such as tennis or skiing); walking or hiking; speeding down the coastline on two wheels (on a pushbike, not a motorcycle, however!) or perhaps taking to the water for sailing or kayaking.

Activity Holidays in Croatia

You might think that this doesn’t sound like your kind of holiday at all – why would you want to go on holiday and “do things”; holidays should be all about relaxation, right? Well, these types of holidays are in fact a great way of seeing the country from a slightly different angle, as well as being a great way to try new experiences (or take up old hobbies) in a wonderful setting. Some companies offer “package” activity holidays – great for those who like to have their holiday organised for them, but far different from the normal type of package holiday!

One such company that offers a very wide range of packages to anyone looking to experience activity holidays in Croatia is Active Holidays. They can arrange holidays on luxury yachts (otherwise known as gulets) or organise aforementioned package holidays, tailored to your interests.

Luxury yachts (gulets)

Active Holidays offer eight of the best luxury yachts for rent in Croatia, with the highest quality cabin design and level of comfort. Each yacht is equipped with a top notch crew who not only sail you from island to glorious island, but also serve up delicious food each day. All boats have a capacity for between 10 to 14 people, meaning they are perfect for a large family or group of friends. Prices range from €10,000 to €25,000 (the price for the 5* deluxe Nostra Vita) for a week which, if divided amongst the group, really isn’t that much for such a luxury holiday!

Active Holidays Croatia Gulet

Active Holidays Croatia Gulet
Activity Holidays in Croatia – Packages

If you’re after something a little more adventurous, the company also offer packages for activity holidays in Croatia for 7- or 10-days in length. These are separated into easy, medium and active difficulties (so you’ll be sure to find a package that meets your level of intended activity or knowledge) and includes activities such as boating, rafting, hiking, trekking, windsurfing and rock climbing. All packages also include time for sightseeing and other excursions plus some rest days, so you won’t be “on the go” all the time!

Activity Holidays in Croatia

These packages include halfboard, 3* accommodation (private or hotel), with over 300 different accommodation options to choose from. Prices are €820 for a week in private accommodation or €990 in a hotel, or €990 for 10 days in private accommodation or €1,160 in a hotel.

Best of all, all of these packages are entirely flexible. If there’s an activity you’d rather not do, or if there’s an excursion to one town than another you’d prefer to take just let the company know – and it will happen!

See all details about these packages and holidays on the website: Active Holidays.

Split Tattoo Art Studio

Fancy a tattoo AND a trip to Split? This could be right up your street!

News reaches us of a company that are offering a short break to Split and the surrounding area – with a slight twist. The company in question are offering travel (whether you’re travelling from outside or inside Croatia) and accommodation entirely free, plus discounts to some local restaurants, for a stay of 2/3 or 5 days. There is, of course, a catch – though not everyone might view it that way! To benefit from this offer, you must pay to have a tattoo done at one of Croatia’s best tattoo studios. So for those who are tattoo aficionados, or anyone who’s always thought about having a design inked onto their skin, it’s really not much of a catch at all!

ST Tattoo Art Studio
ST Tattoo Art Studio

For around €1,000 for a tattoo, you can enjoy a 2-3 day stay in Split with your travel arrangements, transfers and accommodation paid for. For more than €1,000 for a tattoo, you can benefit from the same package but for a 5-day stay. Additional items, such as sightseeing tours, can be arranged upon request.

The St Tattoo Art Studio employs the best tattoo artists from all over Croatia, so you can be certain that your tattoo will be of the highest quality. Full details of the studio, and its offer, can be found at ST Tattoo Art Studio.


A week in Croatia cheaper than a week in Cornwall!

Here’s some news that will definitely interest those who are just about to book a half term holiday or an autumn break and are debating on whether to go overseas or remain in the UK.

Recent research by, the world’s largest foreign exchange specialist, has revealed that holidaying abroad is actually cheaper than staying at home – in particular, a family of four could save over £150 if they spent a week in Croatia instead of a week in Cornwall!

Part of the reason for this is that the Pound currently holds a strong value against the Croatian Kuna (£1 = 7.78 Croatian HRK, as of 15th October 2010), having risen in value throughout the year. In fact, holidaymakers to the Adriatic country will receive 7.38% more for their money now than this time last year.

Comparative holiday costs of course also play a part in’s research. They have found that a week’s self-catering accommodation for four in Redruth, Cornwall is £125 more expensive than the same type of accommodation in Dubrovnik. Meanwhile, an average meal for four is 70% more expensive in Redruth than in Dubrovnik, whilst two beers in a bar is 50% more expensive.


Dubrovnik – who can resist its charms?

Even travelling to the two destinations in question has costs that are considerably closer than one might think. The cost of return flights for four people to Dubrovnik comes in at £260, whilst return train tickets to Redruth are a none-too-cheap £200.10 – and that includes a special deal that allows children to travel for 5p.

Julian Neal of says: “Croatia has continued to be great value for money throughout 2010 and with the Pound currently up 7.38% against the Croatian Kuna compared to this time last year, a bargain is in store for families this half term break. With temperatures currently set fair at 22 degrees and with flight times of less than two hours, it’s a dead cert hot spot for imminent October school holidays.” also offers a free online Travel Rate Tracker to allow travellers to watch exchange rates to make their money go even further. The Tracker monitors selected currencies and can then send an email notification either once the currency has reached a certain threshold or as a reminder – say a week before a trip abroad.

Neal added: “Families looking to get the best value on their currency should make sure to order what they need online at and take advantage of the Travelex Price Promise – if a customer finds a better price offered by another foreign currency retailer (whether or not online), will refund the difference between the price paid by the customer and the more competitive price.”

Croatia in a music video!

I can only assume that Croatia has well and truly made it as a “hot” destination…seeing as a British boyband recently filmed the music video for their latest single in the country!

The video of Heart Vacancy, the latest song by The Wanted (no, I’ve barely heard of them either) was filmed in a “mystery” location in Croatia last month. I say “mystery” as I can’t actually find any details of the precise location of where it was filmed, but it certainly looks to be somewhere in Istria. I think the location serves its purpose very well as a backdrop to lots of dramatic slow-motion walking (it is a ballad) and an amusing plotline featuring an open air cinema.

See for yourself below:

There’s also a making-of video here: I appreciate that this blog isn’t supposed to be Smash Hits or anything (gosh, does that even exist?) but it’s amusing in its own right as the band members experience a small part of Croatia – including popping to a supermarket (which seemed to have some very shy staff) for some local ice creams and meeting some local fans. And yes, one of them (Siva) is right – his name does mean “grey” in Croatian.

Exhibition: Art & Heritage of the Town of Split – 19th October 2010

Tomorrow, 19th October 2010, the Gallery at the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in London will host a private view of the exhibition Art and Heritage of the town of Split, featuring paintings by Split artist Vjekoslav Stipica, with accompanying lectures.

The private view will commence at 6pm, with introductory speeches given at 6.45pm. At 7pm, Dr Josko Belamaric will present his lecture Tribute to Robert Adam, followed at 7.30pm by Mr Vedran Matosic’s lecture, Split – The big event.

The event is being hosted by The British Croatian Society, and The Croatian British Society from Split.

Art and Heritage of the town of Split
Tuesday, 19th October 2010 from 6pm
Gallery of the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia
21 Conway Street, London W1N 6BN

Tourism stats for September revealed

Earlier this week, a number of Croatian newspaper covered the release of tourism statistics for Croatia for the month of September – and therefore also the stats for the first nine months of 2010 overall.

For September, Croatia received 1.1 million tourists, an increase of 3% over the same month last year. Meanwhile, these visitors stayed for a total of 6.6 million nights (6.2 million of which can be attributed to foreign visitors), an increase of 6% over 2009.

A number of regions received a healthy increase in overnight stays this September from last year, with Split-Dalmatia the most successful, achieving an increase of 20%. Zadar and Sibenik-Knin also fared quite well, with increases in 15% and 14% respectively. Dubrovnik-Neretva, perhaps unsurprisingly due to the popularity of Dubrovnik, also reached a healthy increase of 12% whilst it’s also rather pleasing to see that Zagreb – sometimes overlooked as a visitor destination in favour of the coast – achieved an increase of 13%. On the other hand, the region of Kvarner – home to resorts such as Opatija and Crikvenica, and the islands of Krk and Cres – didn’t fair anywhere near as well, with an overall decrease in overnight stays of 2% from 2009, whilst Istria and Lika-Senj, in which Plitvice Lakes are situated, reached the same levels as last September.

In terms of visitor arrivals, Split-Dalmatia received 16% more visitors this September and Zagreb 10% – whilst Sibenik-Knin (despite its healthy increase in overnight stay numbers) and Istria received 4% fewer visitors and Kvarner 3%.

Visitors from Russia were the most numerous this September – they accounted for 43% of arrivals and 41% of nights stayed – although there were also good numbers of visitors from American, Spain and Poland.

All of this means that overall for 2010, there have been 9.8 million tourists and 59 million overnight stays (53 million by foreign visitors) in Croatia, with tourism Damir Bajs saying that another 1 million tourists are expected by year end.

In terms of visitor nationalities for the year as a whole, there have been increases in tourists from “primary countries” of Slovenia (up 6%), Czech Republic (5%), Germany (3%), Austria (2%), whilst there has been quite a sharp fall in visitor numbers from Italy (down 9%) as well as a fall in visitor numbers from the Netherlands (down 4%). As with September, there has also been a big rise in visitor numbers from Russia for the whole year – up 34% – with 18% more Spaniards in 2010 and 8% more visitors from Poland.

Source: Vecernji & Vjesnik

Klapa Motovun Concert in London tonight, 15th October 2010

Organised by the British Croatian Society, Klapa Motovun will be performing a concert tonight, 15th October, at St Elthelburga’s Centre of Reconciliation and Peace in London (78 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AG; nearest underground station is Liverpool Street).

The concert starts at 7.30pm to 10pm (doors 6.45pm), and tickets cost £10. They can be purchased online at and will also be available on the door.

Klapa Motovun is an a cappella group that has taken this type of singing to a high level; klapa itself is a traditional form of singing that has grown out of folk music, and is usually in the style of unaccompanied male singers. This group come from the beautiful hilltop town of Motovun in Istria, and their visit will provide a rare opportunity for audiences in the UK to experience klapa singing.

Croatia featured…in a new ski film?!

Croatia isn’t exactly the first country you’d think of for a ski holiday – and it’s probably even further down the list of countries that extreme skiers would go to if filming an adrenaline-packed movie! (Alaska it ain’t.) It came as some surprise, therefore, to read that the country was in fact used as a location for a new ski movie called Light The Wick by respected extreme sport production company Teton Gravity Research. (I must admit that I don’t know too much about ski or extreme sport films, but these guys are apparently “big” in the business.) Nevertheless, my interest was peaked – exactly where did they go in Croatia, and what kind of “extreme skiing” were they able to do in the country?

Dragging along a few of my ski-mad friends – who would happily attend anything that’s at all related to skiing in any small way – I attended the European premiere of Light The Wick last night. In amongst some truly spectacular scenes in North America, was the brief segment filmed in Croatia – at Blejolasica, in fact. (The Bjelolasica Olympic Centre is in the Gorski Kotar region of Croatia  – about three-quarters of the way from Zagreb to Rijeka – and the centre itself is near the town of Ogulin.)

Promoted as an off-the-beaten track destination for the purposes of the film, two of the skiers arrived to experience – what they said – was the heaviest snowfall Croatia had seen for 50 years. Actual skiing footage was largely limited to some off-piste skiing through some rather pretty forests, though the crew did then go down to Dubrovnik to take in some of the coastline and local festivities. And yes, they even took a dip in the sea – which assuming this took place in winter (as it must have, if other parts of the country were suffering from heavy snow) is still quite a brave thing to do!

Here’s the trailer for the film, which shows pretty well what extreme skiing is all about:

More about the film at