History of Pula

Travel question: Travelling from Ljubljana to Pula

Hi there, not sure if you’re able to help us at all but my friend and I are coming to Croatia this August for a festival in Pula. We are landing from London in Ljubljana, Slovenia at 19:00 on 27/08/13 and need to get to Pula to our apartment. We want to know if there is a relatively cheap/safe way of us travelling this distance at this time. The apartment owners are aware that we need a late check in but we want to arrive there at a reasonable time. Any information you have would be greatly appreciated. O. H-S

Ljubljana to Pula
The Arena in Pula

Unfortunately, I have to say that you will find it difficult to travel from Ljubljana to Pula at that time of the day (well, evening). There is a direct daily bus from Ljubljana to Pula at that time of year, but it runs at 9.30am. (See the timetable on the FILS website – scroll down for the seasonal, summer line.) I believe a one-way ticket should be about 200 Kunas, or the equivalent in Euros.

The alternatives I would suggest also don’t really work at that time of the day. I would have suggested getting a train from Ljubljana to Rijeka, but the two a day are at 6.35am and 3.10pm. (From Rijeka to Pula there are several buses per day.)

Another possibility would be to take a train to Zagreb (if you did this, it would be best to take a taxi from Ljubljana Airport to Kranj, which is about 15 minutes away, rather than travel to downtown Ljubljana, about 30-45 mins away), and then a bus to Pula.. There are several trains per day from Kranj (or Ljubljana) to Zagreb but again, these all run before your 7pm arrival time.

(If you wanted to look up train timetables, the Die Bahn website is the best place to do this.)

These above options are all relatively cheap and safe (travelling in Croatia/Slovenia is very safe, just use your common sense with personal possessions, of course!) but, obviously, the most important issue is that they don’t get you to Pula the same day! Aside from renting a car (which isn’t an especially cheap option, and not everyone wants to drive) I’m afraid the best thing I would suggest would be to stay in Ljubljana one night and then get the bus direct to Pula the next morning. I’m assuming you’re attending Outlook so the bus will still get you there in time for the opening concert on the 28th. (Not sure if you’ll be able to amend your booking in Pula by a day.)

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

Croatian Summer Salsa Festival in Rovinj this June!

Great news for the dancers out there – the 8th Croatian Summer Salsa Festival will be in Rovinj this June! Held from 19th to 24th June, the festival is being billed as a “unique sea, sun and salsa” event where participants of all abilities can learn to dance or show off all their dancing skills, as well as relaxing and enjoying a great time in a beautiful setting.

Croatian Summer Salsa Festival, Rovinj

This year’s Festival will feature many exciting components, including open air dance and music points throughout the town of Rovinj; over 90 hours of workshop dance classes; a live music concert on 21st June; some of the best salsa DJs in the world; three different dance floors (each with their own different salsa style); indoor and outdoor parties; a special post-festival boat party; passes for both the girls and guys (for classes and parties); and much more! With over 2,000 dancers and dance-fans gathering in Rovinj, it’s sure to be a very fun Festival!

Croatian Summer Salsa Festival, Rovinj

For those looking for something a little different, the Summer Sensual Days – a sensual dance festival – will also be held in the same town from 15th to 17th June 2012. (For the very keen dancers amongst you, why not combine the two events for eleven fun-filled days?)

Croatian Summer Salsa Festival, Rovinj

For more details and to find out how to attend the Croatian Summer Salsa Festival, check out the full details on the official website at www.crosalsafestival.com.

Croatian Summer Salsa Festival
19th – 24th June 2012
Rovinj

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.