Animafest

25th Animafest in Zagreb to screen feature and short films!

One of the most famous animation film festivals in the world – Zagreb’s Animafest – will return to the city in 2015 in June for its 25th edition. However, this year’s festival is proud to announce that for the very first time, both feature and short films will be shown. (Previously editions alternated each year between the two disciplines.)

Animafest

As one of the friendliest gatherings for all fans of animation and those that work in the industry, this year’s festival will see over 350 films presented across various genres. There will be a complete overview of the best from the international animation scene, which will feature powerful cinemas, great names, Oscar winners and world premieres, as well as pieces from up and coming new talent and student works, and retrospectives of animation masters.

There will also be plenty besides just film screenings at Animafest 2015. The fastest-growing form of media – videogames and interactive content – will be on show at the festival. There will also be multi-screen animation installations, water screen projections, interactive phone application and live audiovisual performances. Not forgetting the very many panels, lectures, workshops, exhibitions and case studies of recent animation hits.

Animafest will take place in Zagreb, Croatia from 9th to 14th June 2015. For full details of the festival, please see the official website www.animafest.hr/en.

Animafest
9th – 14th June 2015
Zagreb

Flights to Croatia

New flights to Croatia for 2015!

Happy New Year to all! The start of a new year – and a bout of the winter blues – normally always means the start of summer holiday planning. So what better time to look more closely at new flights to Croatia for 2015?

One of the most updated sections of the Visit Croatia site is our Flights to Croatia from the UK and Ireland page, which we regularly add to all the time as new routes and schedules get announced. We’ve had the page detailing 2015 flights up since around mid-summer 2014 (as flights always seem to get announced super-early!), but let’s finally put together all the information to see what’s new for 2015.

Flights to Croatia

New flights to Croatia for 2015

Although there are now many, many flights to Croatia in summer, there’s plenty of new routes that have been announced for 2015! Even London, which already has flights to every (major) airport in Croatia, gets a few new routes.

For starters, British Airways have introduced a new London Heathrow – Split route. They will be flying twice a week from 3rd May to 20th September.

Easyjet are to introduce no fewer than four new routes to Split for 2015 – from London Luton, Manchester, Newcastle and Belfast airports. These routes will all start in June, operating through until late September/early October. They also have another new route for 2015 – London Gatwick to Pula.

Jet2.com have introduced two new routes – East Midlands to Pula and Edinburgh to Split, with each being operated on Sundays. As with all their flights to Croatia, these will fly from mid-May to the end of September.

Thomsonfly  have introduced new routes to Dubrovnik from Bristol, Newcastle and Glasgow, plus a new route from Manchester to Split. All the Dubrovnik routes will fly on Thursdays, and will operate from 7th May to 22nd October. Manchester to Split will fly on Fridays from 1st May to 16th October.

The airline are also expected to start a service from Bristol to Pula, although we are currently awaiting further details of this.

Cancelled routes for 2015

Unfortunately, there are a few routes that have been scrapped for this year. Easyjet no longer fly to Zagreb, although luckily this airport is still served daily from London by both British Airways and Croatia Airlines.

Monarch no longer fly from Birmingham to Split, or from Manchester to Dubrovnik.

Flybe no longer operate their route from Birmingham to Dubrovnik, and now no longer have any flights to Croatia.

Changes in flight schedules

Easyjet‘s flights from London Gatwick to Split start at the same time of year (end of April), although daily services start a little later, in mid-May. However, their daily services to Dubrovnik from the same airport start earlier this year, also in mid-May.

They’ve upped flights to Bristol so there will be at least two flights a week throughout the season – although there’s three flights a week, as last year, during peak season (mid-June to mid-September).

Outside of August, Ryanair will fly to Pula twice a week (they flew three times in June and September 2014) and their five flights a week to Zadar will only operate in August.

Thomsonfly have upped the frequency of all existing flights to Dubrovnik (from London Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester) to twice a week.

Jet2.com have also upped the frequency of flights from Manchester to Pula to twice a week.

As you can see, there’s plenty of ways of getting to Croatia from the UK and Ireland this year. Do take a look at our Flights to Croatia from the UK and Ireland section for full details of all flights to the country, including by destination and departure airport.

We hope you enjoy your flight to Croatia in 2015!

Rovinj

Croatia tourism statistics for January to July 2013 are in!

Statistics for the number of visitors travelling to Croatia in the first seven months of 2013 were released today – and despite some doom and gloom and uncertainty for this year’s summer season, they do indeed still show an increase on last year’s figures.

Rovinj

In total 6.6 million tourists – which includes both foreign and domestic – holidayed in Croatia from January to July 2013, which is an increase of 3% on the same period last year. These visitors stayed for a total of 36.5 million nights, which is an increase of 2.5%. Of these numbers, almost six million were foreign visitors to the country (up 4%), who stayed for 33 million nights (up 3.3%).

The month of July alone also saw increases in visitor numbers. 1.1% more tourists visited the Croatian coast and Zagreb (the two main tourist centres in the country!) than in July 2012, 3 million visitors in total. These visitors stayed for a total of 21.3 million nights, which is also an increase of 1.1% on the same month last year. Of these numbers, 2.8m were foreign visitors (an increase of 1.7%) who stayed a total of 19.3 million nights (up 2.5%).

The majority of the Adriatic counties all posted increases in visitor numbers and nights stayed for the month of July, although there were also some falls. Istria, in particular, received 3.2% fewer visitors who stayed for 2.2% less nights. Zadar county was the only one in Dalmatia to record a fall in visitor numbers and nights stayed – of 1.6% and 3.5% respectively – whilst the other Dalmatian counties recorded relatively healthy increases. Split-Dalmatia county saw 6% more tourists who stayed for 5% more nights, whilst Dubrovnik-Neretva county – home, of course, to the wonderful and ever popular Dubrovnik – received 4.4% more visitors and 3.6% more nights. (For the purpose of completeness, we can mention that Sibenik-Knin county got 3.8% more visitors who stayed for 4.7% more nights.)

It was away from the coast, in Zagreb, that the largest increases in visitor numbers and nights stayed was recorded. 14.6% more visitors came to Zagreb in July 2013 than in the same month last year, staying for 18.6% more nights.

Source: Jutarnji

Rijeka

Travel question: From Zagreb Airport to Rijeka

Good day, we are planning a trip to Croatia & we need to travel from Zagreb to Rijeka to take our cruise. We do not know how to reserve our bus or train & if we need to go to downtown Zagreb or if we could take the bus or the train from the airport. Thanks.

Clock Tower in Rijeka

You are, in fact, in luck. In almost all cases, you’d have to travel to downtown Zagreb to make your way by bus or train to other places in Croatia.

However, it just so happens that there’s a direct bus from Zagreb Airport to Rijeka. This bus departs Zagreb Airport every day at 3.30pm – you can find out a few more details on the Pleso Prijevoz website. You cannot reserve tickets for this bus in advance, and you merely buy them from the driver.

If this bus time isn’t suitable for you, then you would have to travel to downtown Zagreb in order to reach Rijeka. There are transfer buses by the same company (timetable here) and this takes you to the main bus station in Zagreb. Again, buy your tickets for this bus from the driver.

It is better (roughly same price, but definitely faster!) to travel by bus from Zagreb to Rijeka. You can look up timetables on the Zagreb Bus Terminal website. – it won’t yet let you look up times for October, but just look up a date that’s the same day of the week that you wish to travel on. (And then perhaps look it up again nearer the time of your travel.) Almost all – if not all – of these buses operate year-round; journey time is about 2.5-3 hours, depending on which bus you take.

It’s not really possible to buy tickets in advance for bus journeys in Croatia, other than in person by the bus station or sometimes by phone. However, *some* bus companies are starting to offer online booking – Autotrans , one of the main companies in Croatia and who are based in Rijeka – have just started this. They operate a number of the Zagreb – Rijeka services. However, you won’t yet be able to buy tickets for October – again, check back closer to the time of your travels.

In all honesty, especially as you’re travelling out of season, it will be fine for you to simply turn up at Zagreb Bus Terminal and buy tickets for your bus journey to Rijeka there and then!

Zagreb Cathedral

Reader’s email: Experiences on visiting Croatia in December!

A few months ago, we were very happy to receive a lovely follow-up email from a traveller to Croatia (who we assisted in their travel plans via email), which told of their happy experiences whilst enjoying a summer holiday in the country.

Very recently, we were happy to receive another such email from a traveller (that we also assisted, pre-trip, via email) from Latin America who visited a number of towns and cities in Croatia. His comments are well worth reading as he provides a number of very useful tips on the places he visited, whilst it’s also interesting to note his experiences as he visited Croatia in December – and as Croatia is often considered a summer-only destination, it’s great to see an enjoyable visit during this particular month.

Zagreb Cathedral, Croatia

Zagreb’s Cathedral

So, here’s what our happy traveller had to say:

I’m back from my trip to Croatia and it was great in every sense including the weather. We were able to visit Zagreb and stayed at the Dream Hotel  near the airport on our first and last nights. The hotel is quite new and the furniture is custom made for the limited area of the rooms. The service was more than expected with buffet breakfast (I expected toast and coffee!) including fruit, juices and with eggs made to one’s request. The personnel was very helpful and even prepared breakfast at 5 a.m. before driving us to the airport for free as advertised!
We later visited Vukovar where some of my wife’s relatives live. A new museum of a prehistoric culture is being built. It will be inaugurated in 2013, so there’s an additional tourist attraction besides the war-related things. We visited it and it’s located next to the Danube River with an unobtrusive design on the hill.
From Zagreb we flew to Dubrovnik. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen, and I have seen quite a few in Europe and America (the continent). We stayed at the Excelsior because of the location on the beach and within walking distance to the Old Town. I followed your advice and drove the airport bus to Pile Gate and then took a taxi saving some kunas. This was offset by the taxi #91 back to the airport gave us some extra turns as what was supposed to cost 30-35K ended up being 45K with little traffic… The hotel is a 5* and the buffet breakfast has an extensive variety as expected. We paid for a room with seaview which was worth it. As you indicated, we didn’t need a tour guide and just wondered around with a map. Since this is the low season, it was great not to have too many tourists around. The food we had at a Konoba to the right of St. Blaise Church was excellent even if the waitress was not too happy doing her job. Walking on the walls was one of the highlights as it gives a different perspective of the town. Even though we stayed only 1 day, we were able to wonder around all of the Old Town and took many pictures. 🙂
From Dubrovnik we flew to Split (via Zagreb). We stayed at the Palace Judita per your recommendation and were fascinated with the hotel and it’s service. It was worth the looong walk with luggage from the bus station. After Dubrovnik, Split doesn’t seem as impressive or beautiful, but was worth visiting. It would be better to visit Split first. Too many graffiti on the walls give a bad impression. It’s rather difficult to determine where the Palace starts and ends and the shops outside the walls are not a nice sight although they do offer bargains. A map was more than enough and no tour is needed even on a 1 day rush visit. At the hotel, Marija, the manager, recommended Konoba Varos, and we were delighted with the good service and seafood which was fresh, tasty and well accompanied with a local wine. This is a restaurant we will remember for a long time!
Back in Zagreb, we visited the old part of the city. It’s too bad that new buildings are built along old ones because the city has very nice neo classical and gothic architecture in some places. The area near the cathedral is well kept and the cathedral is worth visiting even considering we had seen some impressive ones in Spain, particularly Toledo’s.
Lastly, the Croatian language lessons on your web page were most helpful. Although my pronunciation was not too accurate, the words helped to communicate (although many people speak English). I enjoyed trying to use the different words and phrases and most people were helpful. [Note: See Croatian for Travellers]
Thanks so much for your help in making this trip such a nice one and without ugly surprises! We’d like to return to Croatia although it’s expensive to fly from Guatemala.

Thanks very much, dear traveller, for taking the time to email us after your trip and for your kind comments as well! We’re very happy to hear you enjoyed visiting Croatia, and thanks for providing us (and other travellers) with some great tips!

If you’d like any assistance in planning a visit to Croatia (this is a free service – and we don’t try and push any kind of company or service on you!), please do email us at webmaster@visit-croatia.co.uk. We’d be more than happy to help – and would love to hear your experiences of visiting Croatia!
Dubrovnik Photos - Old Town Harbour at Sunset

Croatia’s tourist statistics for the first half of 2012

Yesterday saw the unveiling of tourism statistics that show visitor numbers to Croatia – both foreign and domestic – for the first six months of the year. These figures reveal overall visitor numbers, as well as showing statistics for the individual counties in Croatia, and the numbers of tourists arriving from different countries.

So, to tackle the overall statistics first, it was revealed that Croatia received 3,418,306 tourists between January and June this year, which is up 6% on the same period last year. Of this, the vast majority were foreign tourists – 2,922,632 (up 8%) – whilst 495,674 were Croatian(a drop of 4%).

Visitors stayed for 14,456,034 nights in the country (up 5%), which once again were mostly made by foreign tourists (12,898,639 nights – up 7%) rather than domestic (1,557,395 – another fall, this time of 6%).

Croatia's tourist statistics - Dubrovnik

Stunning Dubrovnik

All counties included in these statistics have seen visitor numbers go up – with the exception of Sibenik-Knin county, which has seen a drop by 1% in visitor numbers. Top honours go to Dubrovnik-Neretva county (unsurprisingly, home to Dubrovnik!) which saw 13% more visitors in the first six months of the year, as did Lika-Senj county (where the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park is located, as well as Velebit National Park). The former county also saw 15% more overnight stays during the same period, whilst the latter achieved 10% more.

The top visited county was the ever-popular Istria, which saw 975,391 people visiting from January to June, an increase of 5% over the same months last year. Other counties to enjoy good visitor growth include Split-Dalmatia (8% growth; 503,713 visitors); Zadar county (7% growth; 295,707 visitors) and Zagreb (5% growth; 298,850). Indeed, Zagreb enjoyed an increase of 11% in the number of nights stayed by tourists, clearly showing that those visiting Croatia’s capital are staying for longer.

Taking a look at the different foreign nationalities visiting Croatia in the first half of this year, the largest increase was posted by visitors from Japan of which there were 38% more (staying for 37% nights) when comparing this time period to the same one last year. British visitors also posted a very healthy increase (25% more, staying for 26% more nights), as did Belgian visitors (26% more, staying for 16% more nights), Dutch visitors (22% more, staying for 24% more nights) and Swedish visitors (21% more, staying for 21% more nights).

Just for the month of June, Croatia received 1,618,472 visitors in total (1% more than June 2011), who stayed for 8,330,928 nights (which is being recorded as the “same” as last year!). Dubrovnik-Neretva county again posted the best increase of 11% more visitors (164,426 in total), who stayed for 13% more nights (756,345). Rather interestingly, Istria actually posted a drop in both visitors numbers (down by 5%) and overnight stays (also down by 5%) for June 2012 over June 2011.

Rather pleasingly (given where we are based!), it was British visitors that posted by far the biggest increase for June 2012 over the same month last year – 36% more Brits visited, staying for 34% more nights.

Source: Croatian National Tourist Board

Travel question: Train from Zagreb to Dubrovnik?

I want to know that if I come from Budapest to Zagreb by flight and want to catch a train to Dubrovnik the same day is it possible? My flight reaches at around 12 noon and there is a train at 2pm , how far is the airport from the station? Thanks. A.M.

I’m afraid that you’ve been wrongly informed – there are no trains from Zagreb to Dubrovnik as Dubrovnik has no train station. The closest to Dubrovnik that you could travel to is a town called Ploce, but this is still 2 hours north of Dubrovnik. If you did take a train here from Zagreb, you could change here for a bus to continue your journey; however, a train to here from Zagreb is still a long journey, 13 hours.

You could travel from Zagreb to Dubrovnik by bus. Firstly, take an airport bus (from outside the terminal building) to the main bus station in Zagreb. The journey time is approximately half an hour. Then, from here there are a number of buses per day to Dubrovnik (see timetables at www.akz.hr). Journey is long, however! (About 11-12 hours.)

If you need to reach Dubrovnik quickly, then flying is obviously the best method. There are several flights per day (in summer) with Croatia Airlines. Tickets aren’t always even that expensive, but it depends how far in advance you book.

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.

Croatian transport figures for the first part of 2011

In an interview with Croatian newspaper Vjesnik, Danijel Mileta, the State Secretary for Railway Transport in the Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, revealed some interesting statistics about the assorted types of transport used in Croatia for the first part of the year.

Of the different types of transport used, most saw an increase in passengers over the same period in 2010. Only rail transport decreased in 2011, with 32.1 million people using trains in the first half of the year; in the same period in 2010, 35.6 million travelled. By contrast, 3,149,071 people travelled by air within Croatia between January and July, up 11.77% on 2010.

Meanwhile, there was an increase in the number of people travelling on ferry and catamaran lines in the first sixth months of the year. 4,120,286 people travelled on the seas – a rise of 3.2% – and over 1 million cars where also transported during this period, also a rise of 8.6%. The main ferry company in Croatia, Jadrolinija, transported the most passengers – 3,507,321 – and vehicles – 875,208 – although these figures actually decreased on the year before by 2.9% and 4.5% respectively.

The ferry line that posted the best increase in passenger numbers was the Pula – Unije – Mali Losinj – Ilovik – Zadar route run by Linjska Nacionalna Plovidba; this particular line runs only during season, from the beginning of June to the end of October.

Mr Mileta believes that these healthy rises in sea transport numbers will continue for the rest of the year, so that overall statistics are sure to beat those of 2010, and may come close to the record figures from 2008.

Moving on to road transport statistics, 742,800,037 kilometres of travel were registered on Croatian roads between January and August this year, which is up 3% on both last year and the year before. 23,074,315 vehicles were recorded on the country’s motorways, 2.2% up on 2010.

Much of this interview with Mr Mileta focused on the expansion plans for Zagreb Airport. Bids are currently being submitted (up until the end of October) by companies for the building a new passenger terminal at the airport. The construction of a new passenger terminal should bring in new air routes with additional carriers, he says, and could see it become a hub for southeastern Europe.

Source: Vjesnik

Top Ten Destinations in Croatia - Zagreb

More tourists in Zagreb

An article from Croatian daily newspaper Jutarnji from the end of last week featured an interesting look at the numbers of tourists that Zagreb receives, and the experiences of those visiting Croatia’s capital.

Top Ten Destinations in Croatia - Zagreb
St Mark’s Church in Zagreb

It’s often been commented (by ourselves and others!) that the city is overlooked as a tourist destination in favour of the coast – perhaps understandably, given the charms and obvious delights of the towns, cities and islands on the Adriatic. However, Zagreb is certainly increasing in popularity as a place to visit. Last year, 602,186 tourists came to Zagreb, a figure which was up 4% on the year before. Of these visitors, most came from Germany (37,715), followed by America (29,769), Italy (29,201), Spain (29,002) and then Japan (23,611).

This increase in visitor numbers may well continue into 2011. During the Easter weekend, Zagreb welcomed 5,800 tourists, which is up by a a huge 48% on Easter 2010. (Although, of course, Easter fell earlier in the year in 2010.)

On average, most foreign visitors come to Zagreb for three nights and stay in a hotel or hostel. Those that stay in hotels are typically 43 years old and will spend €144 per day. Those that stay in hostels, meanwhile, have an average age of 28 and will spend €51 per day. The majority of visitors to Zagreb come for business, a short holiday, or to attend an entertainment or sporting event. (Seeing as Zagreb’s calendar of events is rather jam-packed this year – including concerts from a number of world-famous stars – that’s hardly surprising!)

Of course, visitors to Zagreb have a number of positive and negative comments to make about the city. In general, tourists find that taxis are expensive and also comment on the unnecessary parking restrictions in the centre of the city. Zagreb’s airport also comes under fire for its provincial “feel” with only one terminal building, whilst the graffiti that appears on some buildings in the city centre is understandably disliked. Some visitors also comment that they are disappointed in not being able to buy many souvenirs, whilst the short museum opening hours is also commented on.

Happily, visitors do also comment on a number of positive things about the city. They say that Zagreb’s cleanliness and safety are two major pluses, whilst also praising the city’s friendly people and atmosphere. Many also enjoy the rich history of the city.

Let’s hope that Zagreb’s visitor numbers increase further and many more come to enjoy this city!

Source: Jutarnji