Istria

Visiting Croatia in September

Although the summer holiday crowds have gone home, many travellers come to Croatia to visit this month. That’s no surprise – there’s a lot to be said for visiting the country in late summer/early Autumn. But what’s it like visiting Croatia in September?

Rovinj

Rovinj

Getting to Croatia in September

Travellers shouldn’t have any problems in reaching Croatia in September – most airlines that operate flights from the UK and the rest of Europe continue their summer schedules well into September, if not into October too. (Some even to early November!) Take a look at our Flights to Croatia from the UK & Ireland to see the full operating dates of all routes from these two countries to Croatia.

Getting around Croatia in September

Likewise, most transport options – with buses and ferries being those that travellers will most likely use when visiting Croatia – still continue with high season or special ‘summer’ schedules in this month too. For example, Jadrolinija – the largest ferry operator in Croatia – continues its high season schedule until the end of September. Kapetan Luka – operator of the very popular catamaran service that travels from Split to Brac, Hvar, Korcula, Mljet and Dubrovnik (and return too, of course!) still continues to operate this service daily in September. (Note: it changes to being a three-times a week service in October.)

Some seasonal bus routes may have stopped operating at the end of August, although most of these of are of the kind that take (domestic) holidaymakers from inland Croatia to the coast. Check out our Bus Travel in Croatia section for help in planning bus routes.

Visiting Croatia in September - Plitvice Lakes

Accommodation in Croatia in September

Not to sound like a broken record…but since absolute peak season is now over, accommodation should be slightly cheaper in Croatia in September. But seeing as it’s still a busy month, it’s not the time for bargains! Check out our Accommodation in Croatia section if you need some help with planning and booking where to stay.

Weather in September in Croatia

This is a big one – what’s the weather like during the ninth month of the year? Well, traditionally, summer temperatures and conditions normally do stretch out well into September if not beyond. This is one reason that many choose September as the month to visit Croatia – especially as the summer holidaymakers have gone. Sea temperatures will also be warm, given waters have been heating up for a number of months!

Southern and Central Europe was undergoing something of a heatwave in early September, with temperatures reaching into the 30s Celsius. However, mid-20s C is a more normal temperature for this time of year – and it looks like this sort of weather has returned to Croatia and will stay.

The Croatian Meteorological Service website is a great website to check out weather forecasts (although I’m sure you already have your own favourite weather website or app!) – but do be sure to take a look at their current sea temperatures page.

What’s on in Croatia in September

Plenty!

Korcula is the location of the 4th Korkyra Baroque Festival, 5th to 12th September.

The 20th Split Film Festival – an international festival of new film – will be taking place in Croatia’s second city from the 12th to 19th September.

The 9th Gioistra Festival will take place in Porec, 9th to 11th September 2015. Over the three days of the event, around 250 participants celebrate costumes, culture and events from the 18th century.

If you’re in Istria towards the end of the month, look out for the Parenzana Bike Race (25th – 27th September), a World Cycling Federation event. Or if you’re feeling active, join in on the recreational ‘race’ on the Sunday!

The Food Film Festival will be held in Zagreb from 11th to 20th September, combining two wonderful items – food and film! Films with a gastronomic focus will be shown. Also in Zagreb is the 48th International Puppet Festival (14th – 19th September) and music and food event RujanFest (literally, ‘SeptemberFest’) from 11th to 20th of the month.

Nightlife and festivals in September in Croatia

Outlook Festival, held in Fort Punta Christo near Pula from the 2nd to 6th September concludes the festival season for Croatia for the year…so if you planned to attend one of these gatherings, you’ve kind of missed the boat!

Most of the island clubs (such as in Novalja) also normally close for the season at the end of August. But if clubbing’s your kind of thing, we’d advise sticking to one of the larger cities or towns in the country – such as Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik.

Enjoy your September visit to Croatia!

Croatia Travel Checklist

Croatia Travel Checklist – are you ready?

Are you travelling to Croatia this summer? Here’s our guide to some things you might like to consider before you go!

Croatia Travel Checklist

Do I need a visa for Croatia?

Citizens of EU countries, the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand DON’T need a visa to visit Croatia. There are also many other countries whose citizens don’t need a visa for Croatia – we won’t list them all here, so please do check against the information on Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

It is also possible to visit Croatia using a double- or multiple-entry Schengen visa – which is useful if you’re doing a fair amount of travelling around Europe this summer. Again, please check the information on the above website.

What if I do need a visa?!

If you need a visa for Croatia, please contact the Croatian Embassy in the country you’re based in – or the Embassy as advised in this list: Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices of Croatia.

If you want to obtain a Schengen visa, you would obviously have to do this at the Embassy of a Schengen area country. Normally this would be the country in which you are spending the majority of your time when on your holiday.

What about money – what’s the currency in Croatia?

The currency is the Kuna. Plural in Croatian is Kune, but it’s fine to says Kunas. On signs, the currency is abbreviated to Kn; in foreign exchange places (outside of Croatia) it will be listed as HRK.

The currency in Croatia is not the Euro. Euros are not accepted. Croatia will not be joining the Euro anytime soon.

(Slight disclaimer: Some private accommodation places might accept payment in Euros…but really, work on the basis of the currency being the Kuna!)

See more on our Money in Croatia section.

Should I obtain Kunas before I go?

We know that travellers have many preferences when it comes to foreign currency. Our preference is to travel with debit (cash) cards and withdraw money from ATMs/cash machines as we travel. These are readily available in Croatia (even at airports) and exchange rates are normally very good. Of course, your home bank will charge fees – but these can often be quite low. (Check before you travel!)

Otherwise, there are many places to exchange money – bureau de change and banks – practically everywhere. Simply take along your home currency (Pounds, Euros, Dollars) to Croatia if you’re planning on changing money in the country. Avoid changing money in hotels as exchange rates are normally pretty bad.

You can also obtain Kunas before you go to Croatia if you like – for example, in the UK many high street banks, Travelex.co.uk, the Post Office and M&S Money all sell Kunas these days. However, the exchange rate that you get will be a bit better in Croatia than in your home country.

How much money should I take to Croatia?

For those that do prefer taking cash on holiday, this is the $64,000 question! (Although, please don’t actually take $64,000 along with you.) It’s difficult to answer because – what are your typical spending habits? Do you like to splurge for every meal and on drinks? Or will you mainly be having low-key meals? Will you be signing up for daily organised excursions? Or relying on local buses and ferries to get you to other places?

Below is an idea of some prices in Croatia during peak season. Do note that some locations (e.g. Dubrovnik and Hvar) can be pretty pricey during summer! These are all approximate prices, only to be used as a guide – please do note

  • Relatively simple meal for two (pizza/pasta) with a drink each (beer/soft drink): 150 Kunas
  • Push-the-boat meal for two with a nice bottle of wine: 500 Kunas (or more!)
  • Local beer: 15-20 Kunas
  • Glass of wine: 15-20 Kunas
  • Soft drink: 15 Kunas
  • Bottle of water (at a restaurant/cafe): 10-12 Kunas
  • Coffee: 10-15 Kunas
  • Ice cream: 9/10 Kunas
  • Buses journey – Split to Dubrovnik: 125 Kunas (Obviously, bus prices vary depending on the journey! See Bus Ticket Prices in Croatia)
  • Catamarans – Split to Hvar: 55-70 Kunas (As above!)
  • National park entrance fees e.g. Krka National Park: 110 Kunas (summer price)
  • Excursion e.g. Split to Plitvice Lakes: 500 – 600 Kunas

You can save money by buying your own food/snacks at markets and supermarkets – which are pretty cheap – ideal for a picnic-style lunch; drugstores/pharmacies usually stock a small range of snacks as well.

What cards are accepted in Croatia?

Visa and Mastercard are readily accepted in Croatia. However, you may find that some places – such as smaller, family-run restaurants – don’t accept cards at all, so do always have some cash to hand!

What electrical travel adapters do I need?

Croatia uses the standard European 2-pin electric plug. It’s best to bring one (or a few!) along with you – don’t rely on buying them in Croatia! (Technically, they’re available, but you don’t want to spend all day hunting around for one.) Or, better still, take one and a 4-way plug adapter – so you can charge a few things at once!

Travel Insurance/EHIC

As with travelling anywhere, you really should arrange travel insurance before your visit to Croatia. Shop around for the best deal.

As Croatia is now in the EU, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is recommended for EU citizens as this will help you get state medical healthcare for free/reduced rates. An EHIC card is free – apply for one (or renew one) online.

Phones/Internet

If you’re travelling from the EU, many mobile phone providers now offer rather cheap data and phone plans if you plan on using your phone abroad. For example, UK-operator o2 let you use your phone in other EU countries for £1.99 a day which includes unlimited data (upper restrictions apply); you can making/receive calls for 50p then no more for the first hour, and send texts for just 5p. Contact your own network to find out how much it’ll cost you to use your phone – it may be cheaper than you think. (But it’s always best to double-check!)

Wifi is readily available in Croatia these days – almost all accommodation places offer it (normally for free), as do many cafes/restaurants. You may also find free hotspots in some towns and cities.

Guidebooks on Croatia

Why do you need a guidebook when you have Visit Croatia?!

We’re just kidding, of course, for we also love travelling abroad with a trusty travel guide! (Although Visit Croatia is now fully mobile-optimised!)

Check out our Books on Croatia section to see what’s available.

Accommodation in Croatia

We’ll assume many of you have already sorted out your accommodation for Croatia. If not, head to our Accommodation section!

If you’re planning on leaving until you get to Croatia – wanting to go the ‘private accommodation’ route – that’s fine too. However, because summer is peak season, availability is low – though you should still be able to find a bed for the night somewhere. If you’re not that bothered about accommodation amenities or how basic a place is (although everywhere should be clean and safe – don’t worry about that kind of thing), that’s fine. If you have specific requirements/wants, or wouldn’t be best pleased to stay somewhere basic and with a 80s-style bathroom, then think about booking ahead!

If you ever get stuck looking for accommodation, head to the local tourist office. They should be able to help you find somewhere.

Should I learn some Croatian before I go?

Pretty much everyone that works in the tourist industry – hotel staff, waiters, tourist office works – speaks English, with the younger generation speaking it excellently. (Older waiters, for example, probably speak better German, but they’ll still understand you!)

It wouldn’t hurt to learn a few basic phrases – see our Croatian for Travellers guide and below – but don’t worry too much about learning Croatian!

Basic phrases in Croatian

  • Good morning – Dobro jutro (doh-broh you-trow)
  • Good day – Dobar dan (doh-bar dan)
  • Good evening – Dobra vecer (doh-bra veh-cher)
  • Hi! – Bok! (bok!) Note: quite informal – use one of the above, normally!
  • Goodbye – Dovidenja (doh-vee-jen-ya)
  • Yes – Da
  • No – Ne
  • Thanks – Hvala (Hva-lah)
  • Please – Molim (Mo-leem)
Dubrovnik's Stradun

Google Streetview launches in Croatia!

Google Streetview for Croatia was launched today – and let me tell you, that’s very exciting news! It seems like they’ve really covered a great deal of the country (I’ve just been pootling around in a small Croatian village near the Hungarian border!) although this report suggests they’ve filmed around 50% of the country.

Dubrovnik, Stradun
Dubrovnik’s Stradun – not Streetview, Visit Croatia view!

What’s most exciting is when you get to see or “walk through” some of Croatia’s most famous views…such as the harbour in Hvar Town; overlooking Dubrovnik and the island of Lokrum, or in the Old Town of Dubrovnik itself (by the harbour); the Arena in Pula, Zagreb‘s main square, or the Riva – the main promenade overlooking the sea – in Split. Or look at Zadar‘s Greeting to the Sun installation and get slightly scared by that massive cruise ship next to it.

The Streetview images are stunning, and it’s well worth taking a look at these or other places you know and love in Croatia. Perhaps it’s the wonderfully sunny weather that many of the images seem to have been filmed in, or maybe it’s just that Croatia really is that beautiful (I mean, I and many others know it, but it’s nice to be proved right!) – I think Streetview shows Croatia in a wonderful way.

Of course, just as when Streetview was launched in other parts of the world, many want to see the humorous things the Google cameras have come across during filming – the illusions, the practical jokes, the people caught doing things they shouldn’t. I wonder what Google Streetview will show for Croatia in that respect?!

A couple of things I’ve noticed – quite a few people on Dubrovnik’s Stradun took photos of the Google cameras as they were walking past, including this guy. (Which gives the odd sensation that he’s taking a photo of you, whilst you’re sitting in front of your computer.) Like Stradun, Split’s Riva is fully pedestrianised, which means that the camera was carried on someone’s shoulders instead of being mounted on a car. And that person wore a bright red baseball cap, which makes an appearance (in a spooky, floating way) in quite a few of the images!

Accommodation on Rab

Days of Croatian Tourism comes to a close – and the award winners are announced!

The three-day Days of Croatian Tourism (Dani hrvatskog turizma) conference, the traditional annual gathering of tourism professionals from both Croatia and abroad, came to close on the evening of Friday 21st October. Held in Sibenik this year, the event was organised by the Ministry of Tourism, the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and Croatian Radio Television (HRT) and was intended to act as a forum for discussion of this year’s tourism results and to also look ahead to next year’s plans.

The culmination of the event saw a number of awards given out for the best tourist resorts and destinations in Croatia, both on the coast and in the interior, as well as awards given out in specific categories (such as best tourist information centre, souvenir, and site of interest) and to employees in the industry. (Some of these awards – in particular destinations that placed second and third in the Plavi and Zeleni Cvijet categories mentioned below – were in fact announced in a separate ceremony on Thursday night.)

Accommodation on Rab

Rab Town

The biggest winner on the night, awarded the “Tourist Flower – Quality for Croatia” prize presented by Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, was the town of Rab. Other coastal destinations that were winners of the “Plavi Cvijet” (“Blue Flower”) awards were Opatija (in the category of over 10,000 inhabitants); Krk (3,000 – 10,000 inhabitants), Nin, which is near Zadar (1,000 – 3,000 inhabitants); and Mlini, near Dubrovnik (less than 1,000).

Interior destinations received the “Zeleni Cvijet” (“Green Flower”) award, and these went to Velika Gorica, just south of Zagreb; Djakovo, near Osijek; Nasice, also near Osijek; and Groznjan, in the Istrian interior. (These four towns are winners of the same categories according to number of residents as mentioned above.)

For the first time this year, three awards were given out to recognise cultural achievements in tourism in Croatia. The town of Zadar was winner of the Destination of Culture category; the Nikola Tesla Memorial Centre in Smiljan was winner of the best cultural institution; and the Rab Fair on the island of Rab, a medieval summer fair, was winner of best cultural event.

Sources: HRT, Croatian National Tourist Board; HRT; Zadarski List

Zlatni Rat

Croatia’s beaches ranked 2nd in Europe for cleanliness

According to the European Environment Agency just publishing bathing water quality report, Croatia has the second cleanest beaches in Europe – with beaches in all EU member state, plus Croatia, Montenegro and Switzerland, tested.

As reported by HRT yesterday, of the 913 bathing water sites tested in Croatia in 2010 – 887 of them on the coast – 97.3% were found to meet the strict EU water guidelines. This placed Croatia second on the list behind Cyprus, where 100% of sites met the strictest criteria, and ahead of countries such as Greece, Portugal, Spain, France and Italy. In less stringent tests, a slightly higher 98.7% of water bathing sites met the minimum EU guidelines.

Zlatni Rat
One of the most famous beaches in Croatia – Zlatni Rat on the island of Brac

These figures in fact decreased ever so slightly from the previous year. In 2009, 99.6% of sites met the EU’s minimum guidelines, whilst 97.9% passed the stricter tests. In 2009, however, the total number of bathing sites in the country was 8 less – 905. No sites were required to be closed after undergoing testing last year, which was also the case in 2009.

You can read more about the EEA’s Bathing Water Report – including individual reports on all the countries – on their website: Bathing water quality remains high around the EU where there’s also a rather nifty interactive map. You can also look up the results of particular beaches across Europe on their Data Viewer page – although in the case of Croatia, you’ll find almost all ranked excellent!

Sources: HRT, EEA

Croatian hotels’ views on online marketing and sales

A recent survey by Croatian website Posloni Turizam, which concentrates on the promotion of business tourism in Croatia, revealed the extent to which Croatian hotels use the Internet as a means of marketing and to attract sales.

The survey, conducted amongst 95 hotels, showed that all have websites (I certainly would not be able to believe that any hotel wouldn’t in this day and age!), whilst 93% offer means for booking accommodation online – shame on those who don’t! Even fewer,  79.3% of these hotels, offer a way of accepting payment online. However, 93.1% of these hotels do offer their accommodation through some kind of travel portal or booking site, such as Booking.com or Expedia.

Whilst it may be thought that online booking would be a very popular method of attracting sales, respondents in the survey revealed somewhat otherwise. Only 17.3% of these hotels said that online booking accounted for half of their total bookings. 15.5% said they achieved 25-50% of total bookings online, while by far most – 56.9% – said this method accounted for up to only 25% of their total bookings.

However, about half (in fact 49.8%) of those that took part in the survey suggested that in five years’ time, they expect the Internet to account for half of total bookings taken. For that reason, these hotels intend to invest more in Internet marketing in the future, although at present 44.8% of these hotels stated that less than a quarter of their marketing budget went on advertising online. At the present time, those that do engage in online marketing say that they advertise on search engines (which 65% of respondents claimed they do); banner advertising (58%); targeted online advertising on foreign sites (55%); and advertising on Facebook (51%).

Source: Vecernji

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. 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.

Readers’ Favourite Destination in Croatia

In case you’ve missed it, check out what our readers voted as their favourite destination in Croatia, and see what other towns, islands and resorts make the top 10 list.

Let us know your thoughts! Do you agree? Would you liked to have seen another place take top spot? Leave your comments here or email webmaster@visit-croatia.co.uk.

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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlD3VcAyQw0. 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.