Winter in Croatia - Plitvice Lakes in Winter

Top 5 Things to Do in Croatia in Winter

Winter is a dreary time of year, isn’t it? (The winter that’s after all the Christmas and New Year excitement, that is.) There’s seemingly not much to do, the weather is quite awful – if it’s not freezing outside it’s blowing a gale – and no one seems to be up for any fun. And there’s surely nothing fun to do in Croatia in winter, given it’s such a glorious summer destination?! Wrong! Spin that bad winter attitude right around and take a look at what I think are some of the most fun things to do in Croatia in winter.

Croatia in Winter – Enjoying the view and winter activities on Sljeme, Zagreb

Zagreb would be my top choice as a winter destination in Croatia anyway, as there’s so much to enjoy in this fantastic city – sights, restaurants, shopping, events, kids activities…the list goes on! But for a special wintery treat, head up to Sljeme above Zagreb to enjoy excellent views of the city and the surrounding area and lots of fun winter activities. I’d highly recommend that you take the cable car up to the top of Mount Sljeme as it’s a super fun experience and one of the nicest (and quickest) ways of zipping up the mountain.

So what winter activities are up here? The main one – skiing! Yes, that’s right, it is indeed possible to ski in Croatia, and Sljeme is probably the best place in Croatia to go skiing. Whilst you wouldn’t come here for a week-long skiing holiday, you can certainly enjoy a few runs on a weekend or an afternoon. (Or even at night as night-time skiing is possible on some days.)

Winter in Croatia - Skiing Sljeme
Sljeme Skiing

In fact, the ski season on Sljeme officially opens tomorrow, 23rd January 2024 (normally running until mid-March) so now’s the perfect time to try a bit of ski fun here. Organisers do use an artificial snowmaking system if the real stuff is a bit patchy.

If skiing isn’t your thing, you can still come up to Sljeme to enjoy a bit of sledging and playing around in the snow, before retiring to a local restaurant or cafe for some filling stew and a hot drink.

If skiing really is your thing, then you might be quite excited about the Snowpark Sljeme to show off your tricks.

Of course, don’t forget that Sljeme is the peak of Mount Medvednica, part of which is home to Medvednica Nature Park. You could shun the skiing/sledging entirely and explore this beautiful forested wonderland instead.


Winter in Croatia – Enjoy the tranquillity of the Plitvice Lakes

If you’ve been to the Plitvice Lakes National Park during the peak summer months, you’ll have had the good fortune to share the experience of the stunning lakes and waterfalls with about a million other people at the same time. (I joke, of course, but boy does it get crowded at that time of year.)

Winter in Croatia - Plitvice Lakes in Winter
The Plitvice Lakes in winter…complete with frozen waterfalls!

The Plitvice Lakes are a pure joy any time of year as the nature of the park undergoes its seasonal changes. In wintertime, the park is a lot less green (the trees and shrubs, that is) but may be a lot more white if there’s been recent snowfall which gives the whole place a really magical feel. Some of the water in the lakes – possibly even the waterfalls – may also freeze if the temperatures have been low enough and consistently so.

Plitvice in winter also means that you’ll be joined by far fewer fellow visitors – nowhere near the crowds of summer. I would still suggest getting to the Park as early as possible in the day (the shorter days of course mean shorter opening hours – only until 3pm until the end of March) and do also note that the upper lakes are closed at this time of year too. But you’ll be delighted by the fact that the entry price is only a quarter of what it is in summer! (€10 in winter compared to €40 during peak summer.)


Winter in Croatia – Celebrations in February

February is carnival month all across the world, and many locations in Croatia also celebrate with carnival processions. The largest carnival in Croatia is the Rijeka Carnival which, in peak years, attracts as many as 100,000 spectators and has a number of connected events. The carnival party in fact in fact already started this past weekend with the first event – the Rijeka Carnival Queen Pageant (where a Carnival Queen is selected!) and the Handover of the Key to the City.

More fun and games take place from 1pm Saturday, 27th January 2024, with Carnival Children’s Parade. Around 6,000 young participants will parade in their colourful costumes.

There are many associated carnival events over the next few weeks (a fun run and the Carnival Snowboard Session as examples) but the main Rijeka Carnival occasion is the parade that takes place on 11th February 2024. It’s an excellent time to be in Rijeka!

Or, as an alternative event in February, head to Dubrovnik in early February when the city celebrates its patron saint, Saint Blaise (Sveti Vlaho in Croatian). The patron saint’s day is on 2nd February which is also marked as the day of the City of Dubrovnik. Celebrations, however, stretch out from late January and beyond. Again, it’s a great time of year to visit this city too to really get a feel for a long-established festivity that is marked by local residents.

Winter in Croatia – Get your cultural fix

Croatia has a few annual events that take place all over the country on the same date and January enjoys one such event. This week, in fact! Night of the Museums (Noc muzeja) is taking place this Friday, 26th January 2024 with participating museums all over the country offering free entry from 6pm (usually until 1am). Museums also offer special talks and other events on this same night.

Winter in Croatia – Head to the coast

Sure, it’s winter, but why not head to the coast anyway? You won’t be able to do any sea swimming or sunbathing is very unlikely, but nothing beats being by the coast whatever season it is.

Winter in Croatia - Split
Split in on a sunny winter’s day

Split would be a top choice, seeing as it’s Croatia’s second-largest city and has plenty to keep you occupied even in the colder months. What could be better than taking a stroll down the Riva and enjoying the sea air.

Some of Croatia’s cities offer special deals for visitors in winter, and Split does too. The Split Card can be obtained for free from the tourist office if you stay for two nights in any kind of accommodation in the city. You can then use it to gain free entry to some of the museums here (the Ethnographic Museum, the Natural History Museum), plus discounted entry to other museums and attractions. You can also use the card to obtain discounts at certain shops and restaurants.

Getting to Croatia in winter

Currently, the only direct flights from the UK and Ireland to Croatia are those to Zagreb which are operated by British Airways, Croatia Airlines and Ryanair with all three offering flights to Zagreb. From there, you can use Croatia Airlines‘ internal flights to other destinations in the country – see our Flights in Croatia page for more details.


Plitvice Lakes Travel Vlog

Plitvice Lakes Travel Vlog by Kimberly Dianne Altura

A little while ago, we were contacted by a lovely lady called Kimberly who wanted to share her Plitvice Lakes travel vlog with us…and with you! We loved watching the vlog as it’s so upbeat, has lots of great tips for visiting Plitvice (as a day trip from Zagreb) and there’s some gorgeous scenes of the national park.

Check out the vlog here:

We also thought we’d ask Kimberly a few more questions about her travel experiences to see what else she thought of Plitvice and Croatia:

I noticed you were visiting the Park in August…peak season and big crowds! Unfortunately, you did have to endure quite a big queue to get into the park. What was that like? 

Every time I will visit a new place, I always research the best time/month/season to go there, and August it is! So, I already have an idea that there will be a lot of people but I was shocked to see a massive count who are willing to wait under the scorching sun for almost 2 hours just to get in the park. This adds up MORE excitement actually, seeing something that you can only see in the internet or tv. We couldn’t just wait to get in!!!

Did you visit other places in Croatia (or in that region on Europe)? What were your highlights? (in Croatia, or overall on your trip?)

This is my first time in Croatia 💞 and actually I keep bidding for this flight. Praise the Lord I got it after 1.5 years. We are a cabin crew of an international airline, this explain our limited amount of time in the park and 24 hour stay in total in Croatia. We just landed on that same day in Zagreb and just change from our uniform to our OOTDs and straight to the 2 hour trip to Plitvice. I’m just so blessed to enjoy Gods creation.

Plitvice Lakes Travel Vlog

Photo by Kimberly Dianne Altura

What were your general thoughts on Plitvice?

Plitvice is breathtaking! Can’t wait to visit again during other seasons to enjoy the change of colours of the leaves during fall and the magnificent ice wonderland during winter.

Do you have a one ‘top tip’ for anyone visiting Plitvice? (Although you have plenty of tips in your video!)

Bring a lot of extra battery for your phones and cameras!!! 😂 Every corner have a striking photo zone but of course don’t forget to enjoy everything with your own eyes.

Plitvice Lakes Travel Vlog

Kimberly in the Plitvice Lakes National Park

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your YouTube channel! How long have you been running it for? Do you feature mainly travel videos or all sorts?

The idea of vlogging came out when one day I felt super lonely that I’m away from my country since I’m working abroad. I’m already doing vlogs for 7months and enjoying it. I mainly publish travel vlogs since I visit a lot of different places, meet a lot of people everyday, and learn a lot of culture. I’m also hoping that I can help other people in their journey exploring foreign countries through watching my vlogs. 😊

Plitvice Lakes Travel Vlog

Photo by Kimberly Dianne Altura

Do you have any exciting travel plans for the future? (That you will blog?)

Since I’m in an aviation industry, every destination and everyday is an exciting day! Its always a surprise since we can only know what’s in store for us 7 days before every month will start. I cant wait what 2019 has to offer!

Thank you SO much, Kimberly, for sharing your lovely travel vlog and tips on visiting Plitvice with Visit Croatia! Wishing you very happy travels for 2019!

Reader’s Trip Report: Croatia – The Thousand Island Wonderland

We were recently contacted by one of our readers, Anju from New Delhi, who visited Croatia in May 2017 with her family and who wanted to share her experiences of the country. Anju covered a good amount of ground in Croatia, visiting Zagreb, the Plitvice Lakes National Park, Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik.

Check out her fantastically detailed trip report – which she has excellently titled ‘Croatia – The Thousand Island Wonderland’ – below!

Why choose Croatia?

A narrow strip of land tucked away in one corner of the European mainland and a cluster of small islands littered along the Adriatic Sea is hardly likely to catch your attention on the World map but a trip to the beautiful country is sure to make you reminisce your trip with fondness forever. If you love the Sun and beach combo, then a trip to Croatia can be the vacation of your dreams. There are thousands of islands all over, each one more enchanting than the other.

We went to Croatia all the way from New Delhi, India, changing flights from Frankfurt on a Croatian Airlines Boeing to Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia.

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Dinaric Alps

Your vacation starts the moment you board this plane. One can get a beautiful birds eye view of the Dinaric Alps with their snow laden peaks.

Arriving in Zagreb

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Zagreb AirportThe moment the plane lands in Zagreb, one can’t help but notice that the airport barely looks like an airport from any other mainstream metropolis. I mean not in terms of infrastructure but the human activity around reiterating the fact that this is a sparsely populated country with a total population of 4.2 million.

Zagreb reminds me of Berlin, it’s a city that has to be experienced and not just seen. So, if you have time on hand, spend a couple of days in this vibrant city. The entire city is well connected with trams. The Upper Town can easily be accessed by a funicular with the journey lasting barely 5 mins. The Upper Town houses St. Marks Church, a Gothic-style structure which stands out with its impressive colourful coat of Arms of Croatia on its rooftop.

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - ZagrebOne can do a conducted walking tour to get a better understanding of the history of this place. Coming down from the upper town, one can see a variety of cafes and eateries lining on both sides of the street, the name of which I find hard to remember. It is a pedestrian-friendly area with no dearth of places to sit and munch and watch the crowds go by.

While at the marketplace, an interesting observation I make is that most prominent American/European brands for food chains, clothes, shoes and bags are conspicuous by their absence. Croatia is a small country totally self-reliant on indigenous industry. So, we stop looking for known places to eat and decide to grub on the local cuisine which is heavenly in terms of taste and cheaper in terms of price!

If you’re planning to travel to other parts of Croatia as well, then roadways are your best bet. The journey is comfortable, buses are cheap and ply on time and icing on the cake is the scenic views that you start to get throughout the countryside especially as you approach the sea.

That’s exactly we intend to do. Our next destination is Plitvice. After a comfortable bus journey of around 2 hours, we reach Plitvice.

Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site spread over 295 sq kms. In the vicinity of the park are many beautiful small villages with accommodation facility for tourists. We stayed in a spacious apartment in Mukinje.

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Mukinje Apartment

Slight uphill to our beautiful apartment….

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Mukinje

The quaint village of Mukinje!

The weather man had predicted heavy rain the following day, so we decide to set off for the parks the same day. Around 12 noon, we set out for the lakes. The park has many trails that will take you to different parts of the park, so pick one trail and stick to it. The best way to start your journey is from the upper lakes. After some inquiry from the Information office, we opt for Trail H and head straight for the train. After getting off at the next train station, we look around for Trail H and set forth. The trail is 8.9 kms long and is moderately tough. There are other trails also each one laid out on a different route and with varying degrees of difficult terrain.

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Plitvice Lake paths

First look of the winding wooden paths….lots more to come!

We are greeted with small waterfalls emerging from everywhere, from behind the bushes and rocks. A sturdy wooden path takes us over a wide lake which is home to a large variety of fish. The path winds further into the park and over a very fast gushing waterfall. We keep on walking on the designated trail and keep soaking in the beauty of this wonder of nature. Every possible variety of waterfall is visible here, small, medium, large, noisy and silent ones, high and low, flowing into the lake and from the lake.

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Plitvice Lakes waterfall

A waterfall at every nook and corner!

The walking trail leads us to the ferry point. The ferry takes us to the other side of the park in continuation of the journey. Ferry and train tickets are included in the entrance ticket to the park. The ferry drops us off at the lower lakes. The scenery is still bewitching but the waterfalls look different. Towards the end of the trail is the signage for the ‘Big waterfall’.

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Plitvice Lake Big Waterfall

The bewitching ‘Big Waterfall’

If you have the energy to walk an extra couple of kilometres then don’t miss this one, if you do miss it then the only consolation is that the huge cascading waters of the fall are visible in all their glory from the main trail too. So, our trek to the park ends with a welcome ride back to the main station. This long arduous day in the park doesn’t tire one out, so wonder nature is therapeutic!

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Plitvice Lake waterfalls

Waterfalls galore!

We bought a 2-day ticket to the park, so we decide to venture out into the park again. I notice for the first time that the waterfalls are visible from the main road leading to the park. This time we take a different trail. It starts from the main entrance leading up to the water front. Equally beautiful with a different view of the waterfalls.

Plitvice National Park is picture perfect, its magnificent beauty comparable perhaps to the Garden of Eden itself.

On to the coast and Zadar

We pack our bags for the third destination in our itinerary. Zadar. Early morning next day we take the bus from Plitvice to Zadar. The journey is only 1 hour 30 minutes and the scenery en route is breathtakingly beautiful.

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Plitvice to Zadar bus

From Plitvice to Zadar by bus

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - ZadarZadar is a seaside town with most of all tourist activities happening along the sea coast with the most popular among them being the Sea organ. We approach the sea coast from the old town square. Lined with loads of eateries and small shops, the paved narrow streets have something to catch your attention at every step. Trinkets, souvenirs, clothes et al on both sides beckon tourists. These narrow streets lead to an open courtyard with a tower, some historical monuments and a picturesque view of the sea. There are cathedrals and churches aplenty if you have an eye and ear for history.

The highlight of this outing is the Sea Organ. Huge metallic pipes have been installed under the sea along the sea shore. As water strikes against these wind pipes, a sound of mouth organ emanates out of nowhere. One can sit here for hours on end and listen to this melodious syncing motion of water. ‘Greeting to the Sun’ next to the sea organ right on the sea front is equally intriguing.

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Zadar Greeting to the SunThis is the most popular hub for tourists at Zadar and rightly so. As dusk approaches, the waves become higher and the sound from the sea organ increases. The day closes with a spectacular sun set.

If you have time just hang around a bit late till the crowds dissipate. You will be able to hear the sea organ more clearly. An overnight stay is enough in Zadar unless you want to come back to the Sea organ next day too. We’re tempted to do the same but we have our bookings in place for our next halt in Split.

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Zadar sunset

Awe inspiring sunset!

Down the coast to Split

The most talked about attraction in Split is the 4th century Diocletian Palace. The massive structure of the bishop Gregory of Nin right at the entrance to the palace sets the tone for your outing. It’s huge and very impressive. Touching the toe of Nin is believed to bring good luck, so tourists visiting the palace line up in front of the statue to rub its toe.

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Gregory of Nin in Split

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Gregory of Nin's toe in Split

The palace is in ruins yet impressive. There are loads of eateries and shops in every nook and corner, the palace has also been converted into a hotel in some parts. Its lively and buzzing with activity. Inside is also the Cathedral of St Domnius housing the crypt and the Temple of Jupiter. My word of advice, just peep into the temple, don’t buy the ticket, the temple is small, only as far as the eye can see from outside. The Diocletian Palace can easily be a full day outing with the last leg of the day at the sea front. We had dinner at Café Fife just along the sea shore, the taste of their fish delicacy is still making me salivate. Total value for money!

We are fast approaching the end of our journey with our last destination being Dubrovnik. We’ve allocated four days to this city called the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’. The scenic route on the entire stretch from Split to Dubrovnik can actually make one envious of the people who reside here. Adriatic Sea has been almost ‘customized’ to suit their requirements, there are play areas for children, lounge chairs for elderly, all kinds of boats, personal swimming areas. Every nook and corner of the sea is being put to good use but the water is really clean.

Ending the trip in Dubrovnik

The moment we set foot in Dubrovnik, the touristy air of the place hits us. The air is moist and warm, there are people swarming everywhere and the town is buzzing with activity. We move into a beautiful apartment just facing the sea. Anything less than that would be a shame. The city is enlisted in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites and is every bit so.

The old city is a walled city overlooking the sea surrounded by a thick wall and an old harbour. A walk on this wall is a Must-do attraction. It has refreshing views of the sea. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, then you will be able to identify some familiar sites along the wall too.

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Dubrovnik view

View from the top of the city wall

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Dubrovnik Lovrijenac Fortress

Can you make out where does this feature in Game of Thrones?

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Dubrovnik off StradunOne can easily spend at least 2 days just wandering and idling around in the old city soaking in the history or just doing some monument gazing. ‘Stradun’ or the main street can be fun both during the day and at night. It’s always crowded with tourists and connects the entire old city with lanes and by-lanes. Scores of shops and restaurants are lined up all along that serve local Croatian fish delicacies apart from conventional cuisines. Absolutely not-to-miss!

Dubrovnik has a lot of islands all around that are a favourite spot for snorkelers and water enthusiasts. We took a one day cruise to Elaphiti Islands. This island-hopping cruise offers beautiful views of the sea and a lot of opportunity for water sport since the sea is so calm. A word of advice for my fellow Indian tourists though, take this cruise only if you really want to splash around in the water otherwise your day trip can be dull because the scenery is pretty much the same.

The highlight of the cruise is the sea gull feeding done by the crew as they hold our little leftover grubs of food for the sea gulls to devour. Out of nowhere the sea gulls flock to grab-a-bite. There is suddenly so much activity with all cameras going into a frenzy to catch that moment. Amazing!

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Lokrum panoramic view

Panoramic view of the sea from the edge of the cliff in Lokrum Island

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Lokrum peacock

Posing for the perfect picture

Yet another beautiful island that can be explored is ‘Lokrum’. The main attraction is the free-moving peacocks and bunnies all over the island. The birds are so used to having humans around that they actually stay perched on the rocks while everyone is clicking their pictures.

Croatia - The Thousand Island Wonderland - Game of Thrones throneThe island also has a monastery and a small salt-lake aptly called ‘Dead Sea’. Both locals and tourists throng to this lake to soak in the sun and splash around in this lake that is absolutely calm hence the name. The iconic ‘Iron Throne’ from ‘Game of Thrones’ is housed here in the museum, you can take pictures with yourself on the throne.

If you walk all the way to the end of the island to a rocky cliff then you can get some mesmerising views of the sea.

Our Croatian vacation is all set to wrap up as we prepare to take a flight from Dubrovnik to Munich and back home. But this Croatia trip will be etched in my mind forever. The few things that stand out for me is the pristine beauty of this small country, the absolutely delicious local cuisine comprising of local fish variety and the warmth that people show towards tourists in general. After all it’s the people of the land that make all the difference!

Anju Chandna
New Delhi, India

Plitvice Lakes Photos - Greenery

Travel question: from Zadar to the Plitvice Lakes National Park by public transport

We want to travel by bus or train from Zadar to Plitvice Lakes. We will arrive on in Zadar by plane – which bus should we have and where is the boarding point? Can we take the train? G.A.

Firstly, the easy answer, there is no train from Zadar to the Plitvice Lakes.

Zadar to Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes National Park

To travel from Zadar Airport to Plitvice, first you need to transfer from the airport to the main bus station in Zadar. You can see a timetable for this journey on the Zadar Airport website.

From Zadar bus station, here is the timetable for buses to Plitvice Lakes (taken from the Zadar Bus Terminal website. (All routes run daily, although may be subject to change – at least, that’s the disclaimer on the bus station website!)

Dep. 8.30 Arr. 10.25
Company: Prijevoz Knezevic
Line: Zadar – Udbina – Plitvice Lakes

Dep. 9.00 Arr. 11.00
Company: Autotransport Sibenik
Line: Split – Zagreb

Dep. 12.00 Arr. 14.15
Company: Croatia Bus
Line: Split – Zagreb

Dep. 14.30 Arr. 16.45
Company: Croatia Bus
Line: Vir – Zagreb

Dep. 15.10 Arr. 17.50
Company: AP Varazdin
Line: Split – Varazdin

Dep. 6pm Arr. 19.55
Company: Prijevoz Knezevic
Line: Zadar – Udbina – Plitvice Lakes

Dep. 23.00 Arr. 01.50
Company: Imotski – Panturist
Line: Imotski – Osijek

You can also look up timetables on the websites of some of the bus companies that are listed on our Travelling Around – By Bus page.

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

New Split - Brac - Hvar - Korcula - Dubrovnik catamaran line

A bunch of nobodies visit Croatia

Croatia. A country for everyone – big spenders, the budget-conscious, adventure seekers, sun-worshippers, families, party-animals, culture-vultures…the list is endless. But it has now also been discovered that it’s a very suitable holiday destination for those whom the term “celebrity” is coined very, very loosely.

Channel 4’s Celebrity Coach Trip (don’t lie, we know you watch it too!) features a bunch of “celebrities” making their way across Europe on a coach holiday, taking part in a series of tasks in each destination they visit whilst also generally messing around/getting on each others’ nerves/trying to remind people of their glory days and why they were famous in the first place.

In the most recent series, the gang were lucky enough to enjoy four days (well, four episodes worth of filming) in Croatia, taking in the capital city Zagreb, the Plitvice Lakes National Park environs, the lovely town of Zadar and bustling Split. From judo to a cookery lesson in Samobor, a survival course to glass blowing and klapa singing, the group had a busy time and Croatia served as a very pretty backdrop (bar some rainy conditions in Zadar) – with some very friendly and well presented teachers and guides – throughout the shows.

Split, Croatia
Hilarity ensued in Split (no, really)

You can watch the episodes via Channel 4 On Demand – here’s the site’s Coach Trip page (viewable in the UK and Ireland only) or on YouTube.

In answer to the question I can hear on the tip of your lips – no, I don’t know what Croatia did to deserve Nikki from Big Brother.

Plitivice Lakes

Over 2 million visitors to Croatia’s national parks this year

A couple of news reports yesterday revealed that Croatia’s wonderful national parks have been very popular with visitors so far this year. A grand total of 2.12 million people have visited the country’s eight national parks during the first nine months of the year. Of this, almost 90% were foreign visitors (1.82 million being the actual figure), with the remaining 300,000 being domestic visitors.

The stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park was far and away the most popular, receiving 1.01 million visitors of the total figure. The park reached the important one-millionth visitor milestone – for the first time ever – in late September this year, which is a fantastic achievement. Last year the park had hoped to reach the magical one million mark, although ending up receiving only a few tens of thousands of visitors less. Given that this was for the whole of 2010, this year the park certainly looks like it will have very healthy growth in its visitor numbers. With its truly mesmerising mix of lakes and waterfalls, increased interest in the park this year is no real surprise – and we’ve noticed that there’s been plenty of press coverage on Plitvice too! (Such as this article from the Daily Mail.)

Plitvice Lakes

The second most popular national park was Krka, which received 652,000 visitors during January to September this year. This too is no surprise and given its location (close to the coast, with easy connections from Sibenik) and wonderful features including its many waterfalls (such as Skradinski Buk, a series of seventeen waterfalls). Visitors to Krka can also bathe in its waters (unlike in Plitvice), which makes for an enjoyable experience.

After Plitvice and Krk, Brijuni National Park, off the Istrian coast, came in third with 143,000 visitors. Paklenica National Park, a joy for hikers and climbers, was in fourth position with 107,100 visitors, whilst the national park on the island Mljet was in fifth place with 93,000 visitors. Sixth was Kornati National Park which welcomed 82,400 visitors whilst in seventh and eight were the national parks of Risnjak and Northern Velebit which received 17,000 visitors each.

Sources: Vjesnik, HRT, Vjesnik

Plitvice Lakes

Croatia’s National Parks bring in the visitors in 2010

Croatian daily newspaper Vjesnik last week reported that some of Croatia’s National Parks are attracting healthy visitor numbers this year. The two main Parks attracting the most visitors are Krka and, unsurprisingly, the amazing Plitvice Lakes, which together account for 1.4 million of the 1.7 million total number of visitors to all of the eight National Parks of Croatia. (2009 figures)

Plitvice Lakes has already passed its half a millionth visitor in 2010, and is hoping to reach the magic million mark later this year. (Last year, just under 850,000 came to Plitvice; there were 550,000 visitors to Krka). In June alone, comparing this year to last, there was a rise in visitor numbers of 6%, with 5% in July; overall, there has been a 7% increase in the first seven months of 2010.

Croatia's National Parks - Plitvice Lakes
Plitvice Lakes National Park

A spokesperson for the park, Vlatka Ruzic, says there has been a substantial increase in the number of Russian visitors this year, helped by the abolition of visas for the summer months. There’s also been a jump in Japanese visitors – who often like to take in a National Park when in this part of Europe; Vjesnik says that each year, visitor numbers to Plitvice from Japan rise by 40%.

As wonderful as these two Parks are, if you’d like to get away from the crowds why not consider one of Croatia’s other nature offerings? Official statistics for 2009 show only just over 100,000 visiting the Brijuni islands, and just under 100,000 going to Paklenica.