Travel advice: Holiday resorts in Croatia with beaches suitable for young children

Hallo, I have an unusual request – please recommend beaches for a small baby (2 years).

I would like to  sandy beaches  or small pebbles beaches from gently sloping to the sea that is shallow. I would also like to have restaurants, bars, shops, swimming pools. Two years ago I was in Zaton Holiday Resort and I’m looking something like this in Istria, Kvarner or Dalmatia – north or central.

I am grateful for the help. A.G.

The first thing to say is that Croatia is not that well known for its sandy beaches. By far the majority of beaches are of the pebble variety. However, I understand that for some people (especially those with young children!), sandy beaches are important.

Of course, if you don’t mind pebble beaches than you will have a lot more choice – as I said, the vast majority of beaches in Croatia are pebble-y. I would say that many would also be gently sloping with quite a bit of shallow water – it would be quite rare to have anything that would be quite deep quite suddenly.

Based on the place you mentioned you stayed in before (Zaton Holiday Resort), you might want to take a look at CampingIN Park Umag in Istria, which is very suitable for families with its various facilities (including pool) and features both Mobile Homes and Premium Homes.

Alternatively, you could also consider Camping Park Soline (again, with mobile homes) that is in Biograd na moru, North Dalmatia. It is close to both a pebble and a sandy beach.

The Solaris Camping Beach Resort near Sibenik, also in North Dalmatia is again very family-friendly, although perhaps the pebble beach area is quite small – but the resort does say the beach area is child friendly.

If you’d prefer to be a bit further south – between Split and Makarska – then you could consider Kamp Galeb. This is located in Omis, which is about 25-30km south (along the coast) of Split. The Omis Riviera is one of the places in Croatia that does have sandy beaches.

Kamp Galeb itself is located alongside a sandy beach, and its mobile homes are situated directly on the beach.

In fact, the camp itself says that the beach is very suitable for families with small children.

Again, the camp has a range of facilities – a few shops (bakery, also supermarket close by), a restaurant, a playground for children and an aqua park.

All of the above resorts have been included on the Croatian Camping Union’s best camping resorts list.

Dubrovnik Photos - Old Town Harbour at Sunset

Croatia’s tourist statistics for the first half of 2012

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%).

Croatia's tourist statistics - Dubrovnik

Stunning Dubrovnik

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.

Source: Croatian National Tourist Board

Travel question: How to travel from Tisno to Split

I need information about hiring a car in Tisno, one way, and dropping off in Split? My boyfriend and I need to get to Split one way or another and i’ve heard the bus is a nightmare and takes 5 hours? Is this true? Please let me know if you have any ideas as to how we can do this. Many thanks. K.D.

I’m afraid it would be very unlikely that you would be able to rent a car in Tisno and drop it off in Split – Tisno is too small a place to have proper car rental companies, and any local agencies that would possibly provide car hire would only provide it for you to explore the local area (and bring the car back to them!), in the same way you could hire a bike or scooter for a few hours.

The scheduled bus from Tisno to Split should take around the two hour mark, not five. I’m not necessarily sure why the bus would be considered a nightmare – possible reasons might be that, as it’s the height of summer, traffic may be slow along the coastal road with lots of other holidaymakers who’ve come down to Croatia by car clogging things up. However, if you were to rent a car, you wouldn’t be able to escape this!

Even if the roads were slow, I would say that your bus shouldn’t be that delayed…possibly by one extra hour (so, a three hour journey in total). Obviously, things depend on the day of the week (weekends would be busier), time of day etc.

Other reasons might be that the bus might be very full, so there’s not enough seats and you have to stand. In some cases, the bus might be even so full that they wouldn’t let you on, and you might have to wait for the next one.

However, saying all this, there are a number of buses per day on this route. You can look up timetables at the Split Bus Terminal website. Select Tisno R as the starting point (not Tisno M).

When you’re actually in Tisno, I would confirm locally to make sure you know where the bus stop is. You could also enquire about purchasing your tickets, say, a day or two in advance, but as it’s a small place you might not be able to.

If you get stuck (for whatever reason – I don’t think you will, but good to keep these things in mind) I would consider taking a taxi (or local bus, if you can find the information when there) to another local town and get a bus from there. For example, Pirovac is close to Tisno (6 miles/15 mins) and there are more buses from there to Split.

Another alternative would be to take a local bus from Tisno to Sibenik (about half an hour away), which is the nearest large town. Then from here, there shouldn’t be any issues getting a bus to Split. Not only are there even more buses from here to Split (about 36 a day), but some routes start in Sibenik, so you wouldn’t have any issues about not being able to get on a bus because it’s too full.

Sucata Rallies’ Charity Rally to Split returns for 2012!

Sucata Split

News reaches us of a fantastically fun charity rally event that will take place through Europe this year, winding up in Croatia!

Sucata Rallies organise a number of “old banger” charity rally events that take place across Europe each year (others include runs through Europe down to Portugal and Budapest), with their fabulous Sucata Split event returning for 2012.

This year, the event will take place from 31st May to 4th June (a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK!), starting in Bruges in Belgium and ending – of course! – in the wonderful Croatian city of Split on the Dalmatian coast. Inbetween, participants will travel through seven countries; as well as the starting and end points in Belgium and Croatia, the route takes in France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria and Slovenia with the Alps also getting a visit.

Teams must participate in old bangers that cannot cost more than £350, and are highly encouraged to dress up both themselves and their vehicle in fancy dress as much as possible! Each team is required to pay a very reasonable £25 per person (with a limit of £100 per vehicle) to register, and is then set a target of raising £250 per person that goes to the charity Gemin-i, who are involved in organising the event.

Sucata Rallies

Gemin-i is an educational charity that helps children around the world share ideas and work together for a brighter future, with the aim of encouraging them to take action, thereby promoting positive change around the world. They bring together over 40,000 children in 2,700 schools across 120 countries to educate them about some of the world’s biggest issues such as malaria, HIV and AIDS, human rights and conflict resolution. The charity does this through online resources and by helping children share their ideas via internet forums and debates.

In particular, money that will be raised by those taking part in the Sucata Split rally will support the HIV360 project. With someone becoming infected with HIV every 12 seconds, the HIV360 project raises awareness, connects people around the world and supports them to take action on HIV and AIDS. The project will reach tens of thousands of children across the world, and every £250 raised will help schools raise the understanding by their students of HIV as well as increasing their chances of avoiding infection. More on the charity can be found on their website

If you’re interesting in taking part in what’s no doubt going to be a fantastically fun event, read up more about it on the Sucata Rallies website and register yourself and your team – what are you waiting for?!


More on British visitors to Croatia – and the popularity of Dubrovnik

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.

British visitors to Croatia - Dubrovnik
It’s all about Dubrovnik…sort of

The newspaper Vjesnik reports that Darko Ivic of the Istrian hotel group Plava Laguna (now known as Plava Laguna – 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.

Sources: Vjesnik, Novi List

Arts & Crafts Fun Festival on Hvar this summer

If you’re visiting Hvar this May and June – or wish to improve on your creative talents in a beautiful setting – you may well be interested to hear about a fantastic arts and crafts festival that is taking place in Hvar Town. Running from 28th May through to the 18th June, the inaugural Arts and Crafts Fun Festival will be running a number of workshops that will enable participants to pick up a new skill or learn a new craft – all on the wonderful setting that is the island of Hvar. Truly, a fantastic way of doing something creative – or doing something a little different during your holiday in Croatia!

Hvar – so beautiful!

The Festival will be holding workshops that will each last six days with two three-hour sessions per day, with each day building on the previous day’s study. Workshops include papier-mache, silk and wool creative felting, silver craft and calligraphy, with each being run by experts in these fields, from both Croatia and abroad. All classes will be run in English, so you don’t have to worry about any tricky language barriers! All workshops will be held in the Hotel Podstine, where you can also stay (taking advantage of a special discount associated with the festival).

Workshops are limited to 20 participants, so you can be sure that you will be getting the most from a workshop and its instructor. Each workshop costs 300 Euros, although there is a 15% discount for anyone eager enough to sign up to two or more. A 100 Euro deposit is required to sign up to a workshop.

The Festival isn’t all about working hard and learning, however – and that’s where the “Fun” element of its name comes into play! There will be many additional activities and events scheduled, including sailing and cycling excursions, exhibitions and parties, with welcome events being held each Saturday as an introduction to the Festival and its new participants.

Applications for the Festival can be made on the official website – – where additional information can also be found.

Arts and Crafts Fun Festival
28th May – 18th June 2011
Hvar Town, island of Hvar, Croatia


New promotion from Zadar Tourist Board

Zadar Tourist Board yesterday unveiled a new promotional direction, revealing a new tourist film entitled “Discover Zadar”, as well as a new website that is soon to be launched.

The film, “Discover Zadar”, was shot during the summer and autumn months of 2010, intends to show the historic town in a modern and dynamic way with all its beauty and attractiveness – and more than just a summer seaside resort.


The new website is to be unveiled on 27th December 2010 and I, for one, eagerly anticipate it! I have often found Zadar Tourist Board’s existing website amongst the most friendly and easy to use tourist board websites – not to mention most imformative, with regular updates – for any Croatian town or destination. I hope they continue in this vein!

At the launch, the tourist board also discussed the results of a survey amongst low-cost airline passengers (as many of Zadar’s holidaymakers arrive on low-cost airlines), and their thoughts for Zadar. Tourists praised Zadar for its “climate, natural beauty, clean beaches and food”.

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that last year Zadar received 122% more visitors from Britain, and a whopping 365% more from Ireland – figures helped, no doubt, by low cost airlines.

Sources: Slobodna Dalmacija, Zadar Tourist Board

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.

Photos of Dubrovnik

Croatia Travelogue 2009

After their shenanigans at the 2009 Exit Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia, Visit Croatia and three friends decided to take a short holiday in Croatia. Here’s the Croatia travelogue from that trip!

Due to the constraints of work and other usual commitments, we could only spend six days for our trip to Croatia. I know from my experiences of fielding numerous email questions along the lines of “We only have a week in Croatia; what should we see/where should we go/how many places should we visit?” that I always advise, “Try not to do/see to much – you’ll enjoy yourself more!”

Photos of Dubrovnik
The Rector’s Palace (on the right), with the Church of St Blaise seen in the distance

Looks like I didn’t really take my own advice! Part of the reason for this was that my three travel companions had never been Croatia before (in fact, most had never been to anywhere in Eastern Europe before this trip), so we were eager to see as much as we could manage. And we’re not really the kind of people who want to laze on a beach for seven days straight. AND on top of that…who can resist the charms of Dubrovnik…right?

So our chosen route was Zagreb to Trogir to Dubrovnik. Here are our experiences in those three places!

  • Zagreb
    Two nights in the capital of Croatia sees us enjoying this bustling city with a walk around the main sights in the Lower and Upper Towns, and frequent stops at the many cafes!
  • Trogir
    Finally on the Croatian coast, we enjoy the beautiful city of Trogir (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and sample the local seafood.
  • Dubrovnik
    We enjoy this truly stunning city and the sights of the Old Town. Just a shame we’re only here for two nights!

If you’d like to see some photos taken during our trip, please see: