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 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.

Sources: Vjesnik, Novi List

New air route for 2012 – Newcastle to Dubrovnik!

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!

Photos of Zadar - Greeting to the Sun

Tourist numbers in Croatia up again in September

Sightseeing in Zadar - Greeting to the Sun

At night, the famous Greeting to the Sun becomes an instant disco!

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.

Dubrovnik-Neretva county

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.

Sources: Vecernji, Dubrovacki Vjesnik, Slobodna Dalmacija

Three Men Go To Venice…via Croatia

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.

Read more

Photos of Dubrovnik - Cable Car

Dubrovnik’s cable car a hit just one year on

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.

Dubrovnik cable car
View from Mount Srd – at the top of the Dubrovnik Cable Car

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!

Sources: Slobodna Dalmacija, Valamar Hotels & Resorts

Photos of Dubrovnik - Old Town

Dubrovnik ready for Spring

A report in Slobodna Dalmacija last week noted that 19 hotels are open so far in the Dubrovnik region, already welcoming tourists for the spring months. This follows some healthy recent statistics from the Dubrovnik tourist office, which revealed that over the first weekend in March, 2,000 holidaymakers enjoyed the delights of the town. (Most were from Bosnia & Hercegovina, Croatia, Albania & Bulgaria.)

Photos of Dubrovnik - Old Town
Another view of Dubrovnik’s Old Town – and the island of Lokrum from the top of Mount Srd

The Dubrovnik Carnival Fest, which took place over five weekends from 4th February through to the 6th March, drew in good numbers of visitors (and groups taking part in the carnival, of course) meaning that for the month of February, Dubrovnik recorded 17,041 overnight stays in total, up 25% on the same month last year. The most numerous tourists during February 2011 were Croatian, then British, Bosnian, Japanese and Turkish. This increase in the number of nights stayed is particularly promising as February is considered one of the worst times of year for attracting tourists.

The Director of Dubrovnik Airport, Roko Tolic, says that air traffic at the airport has increased this January and February over last year although the overall increase for the year is only expected to be around the 3% mark, due to capacity limitations in accommodation on the Dubrovnik Riviera.

Only two airlines operate at Dubrovnik Airport in the off-season – British Airways and Croatia Airlines – whilst the end of this month, March, sees airlines reverting to their summer timetable, meaning a jump in the number of flights. There will also be new routes this summer connecting Dubrovnik with Venice, Athens, Belgrade, Lisbon and Moscow.

See more on Dubrovnik and Getting to Dubrovnik.

Source: Slobodna Dalmacija

Dubrovnik Carnival Fest

Dubrovnik Carnival Fest comes to a close

The final weekend of the first ever Dubrovnik Carnival Fest is already upon us, and there are a number of events taking place today, tomorrow and Sunday that will delight visitors and residents of Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik Carnival Fest

Tonight, 4th March, will see carnival participants from five countries (Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Slovenia and Croatia) take part in a carnival parade down Stradun at 8.30pm, followed by at party at the Carnival Park at 9pm (and open until 2am!) with live music.

Saturday, 5th March sees another parade take place on Stradun at 11am, with the above five carnival groups from Croatia and abroad once again taking part, presenting their original costumes and carnival performances in front of the Church of St Blaise.

Saturday evening sees the music final take place at Culture Club Revelin, with 16 songs battling it out to be crowned champion of the Dubrovnik Carnival Fest. There will also be performances from the Metropolitan Circus from Tirana, Albania, plus music from the Strumica (Macedonia) orchestra and choir, performing traditional Macedonian songs. A party until the early hours of the morning will then delight revellers, with Croatian pop band Magazin singing some of their hits.

Dubrovnik Carnival Fest

Sunday will be the final day of the Carnival Fest, with a parade once again taking place on Stradun from 11am, culminating in a final performance in front of the Church of St Blaise, with the winning songs from the previous night’s award ceremony performed.

Montenegro is just like Croatia…except it’s not!

I had to laugh at a very glaring error in a Sunday Mirror travel article on Montenegro – published this past Sunday – that leapt out at me as soon as I read it. On Montenegro, the Mirror states that:

The main draw is the picturesque coastline, made of 72 miles of beaches and dotted with ancient towns… and more than a thousand islands.

More than a thousand islands? Wow, that sounds just like Croatia! In fact, that is Croatia, not Montenegro. And whilst Montenegro does of course have a picturesque coastline, indeed with 72 miles of beaches, one thing it does not have is many islands! Certainly nowhere near Croatia’s (estimated) 1,246 islands…

We would of course encourage people to consider exploring Croatia’s neighbouring country Montenegro (how about a day trip from Dubrovnik – or maybe on a holiday with time in both countries?) but would suggest ignoring the dubious Mirror article (what does Morgan Freeman landing at Dubrovnik Airport have to do with Montenegro?) and reading some better researched text!

Article: Travel: Montenegro, jewel of the Adriatic, has it all (The Mirror, 23rd January 2011)

British Airways sale – return flights to Dubrovnik from £98!

As you may have seen and read, British Airways are currently running a sale with a variety of good offers to destinations all over the world – although of particular interest to us here at Visit Croatia are the deals they have on their flights and holidays to Dubrovnik!

They are offering flights to this wonderful Dalmatian destination in January, February and March from only £49 one-way or £98 return. That’s a great price, especially when you consider that all taxes are included plus, of course, a whole host of services not found on certain other (i.e. low-cost) airlines! (Think generous free baggage allowances, in-flight meals and so on.)

They are also offering deals on holidays in Dubrovnik, with a return flight plus a 2-night stay in a three star hotel costing from only £139, or £169 for the same holiday in a four star hotel. Alternatively, a return flight plus 7 days car hire costs from £229.

As mentioned, all the above deals are only available for holidays or flights booked during January to March (exact dates are 6th January to 31st March), although there are still good deals available on flights for the following months too.

I’ve found return flights to Dubrovnik during July and August being offered from £145 (once again, including taxes) which is a great deal for the height of summer. If you’re interesting in flying to Dubrovnik in June, there’s flights from a slightly more expensive £158 return, which again is not a bad price at all.

British Airways has a helpful cheapest fares to Dubrovnik in economy grid which is an easy way of seeing how much flights cost during the different months.

The sale ends 25th January 2011, so you do have some time left to book – though the best deals are sure to go soon, so act quickly!


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 Travelex.co.uk, 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 Travelex.co.uk’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  Travelex.co.uk 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.”

Travelex.co.uk 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 Travelex.co.uk 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), Travelex.co.uk will refund the difference between the price paid by the customer and the more competitive price.”