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Maslina Resort Colnago Boat

Maslina Resort’s new luxury boat to transfer passengers from Split Airport direct to Hvar

The recently opened Maslina Resort on the island of Hvar has announced an excellent new addition to its facilities that will surely delight all guests – a new luxury boat that will transport guests directly from Split Airport to the boutique property in only one hour.

Maslina Resort Colnago Boat
Colnago Boat
Colnago Boat
Maslina Resort Colnago Boat

The new luxury boat, a customised Colnago 45 TS, has been built by the Hvar-based Colnago family who have a long-standing tradition in designing and building luxury boats. The bespoke boat, specially commissioned by the Maslina Resort, measures 11.95 metres and can seat up to 12 guests and 2 crew members. This beautiful vessel is a modern take on the vintage luxury Colnago 45 TS, which perfectly aligns with the design aesthetics of resort; its design has been crafted with the utmost attention to the comfort of guests in mind.

With this new luxury boat being able to ferry guests direct from Split Airport on the mainland to the Maslina Resort on Hvar, there will no longer be a need for holidaymakers to transfer from the airport to the port and then wait for a catamaran or ferry to Hvar – a transfer time which can easily take two hours or more. The Colnago 45 TS will now enable guests to travel directly to the resort within an hour, seamlessly and in style! Maslina Resort staff will also be able to take care of the check-in process on board the boat, meaning that guests that enjoy the facilities of the resort as soon as they step ashore.

The 50-room hotel – which is also home to five villas – is set on an area of two hectares of lush pine forests, surrounded by olive groves and terraced vineyards, all overlooking the beautiful Adriatic Sea. The chic, five-star Relais & Chateaux property focuses on wellbeing, family, culture and authenticity for its guests.

Maslina Resort Terrace
The Terrace at Maslina Resort
Maslina Resort Room
A room at the Maslina Resort

Zoran Pejovic, the Development Director of the Maslina Resort, comments:

“Wellness is the core element of Maslina Resort. We want our guests to have a seamless and stress-free transfer so that they arrive at the hotel relaxed. Maslina Resort is a luxurious oasis and delivers a bespoke service to all our guests. This enhanced travel experience enforces our philosophy to be the best, and the addition of our custom-made boat reflects this. The transfer will also offer guests the opportunity to form deeper connections to the destination and environment as they take in the stunning vistas, blue skies and azure waters of the Adriatic Sea.”

Zoran Pejovic, Development Director of the Maslina Resort

For more details about the hotel and to book a stay there, please see the Maslina Resort website. Prices start from €240 per night for a Garden Suite, based on two adults sharing, excluding breakfast.

Location near Stari Grad
The boutique property’s location
Hvar Trail Holiday

From Zwift to Hvar! A Hvar Trail Holiday Bikepacking Adventure

Here’s an experience of a bikepacking holiday on the island of Hvar by Simona from Italy, who enjoyed this Hvar trail holiday just last month! Bikepacking is a combination of mountain biking and camping. Read on for Simona’s experience of both of these elements on Hvar, and also the island of Brac. Thank you for sharing this trip experience with us, Simona!

March 2020. The world stopped. We are all locked in the house, astonished and fearful that the quarantine could last forever. We try to keep mind and boy busy as we can. We are looking for a motivation to keep spinning the reels even if we would like to throw them out the window!

Hvar Trail Holiday

I met Luca this way. We crossed our paths at the Winter Fat Trail in Asiago in early February and exchanged friendships on Facebook. When the quarantine started I found it on the bike trainer, spinning like crazy! He had the mission to ride for 14 consecutive hours with the virtual help of “friends and family” on Zoom. I thought: this is crazy! But I wrote to him and we met for a ride. And then, again and again, until it became a daily milestone, first on Zoom, then on Zwift. Luca became my mental coach and taught me a lot of things on riding, training, breathing, nutrition… He’s been training me really hard! We got a lot of “long rides” and running the pedals we started talking and dreaming on the return on the road ….. maybe even for several consecutive days….. maybe in bikepacking.

Luca is a true bikepacking expert. He’s been traveling that way for years. I’m a newbie. I quite never slept in a tent. But I was amazed from it. I only had one handlebar bag that I got at the WFT and I started from there. First, I got a bag for the frame. Then a saddle bag… the tent… the sleeping bag… an inflatable mat… everything! We kept making plans. I tell him I can’t stand his pace, but he didn’t give up. He made me spit blood, but he took me to the end. It would be a good test even to him, who usually travels alone.

Our first idea was to do the “Sicily Divide” and we begun to study the tracks. We decided to start in June, as soon as the regional borders reopen. But things get complicated. With the first reopening Luca has to leave to Croatia. He’s got a lot of things to fix, he’s going to do it in a week. Time starts running and it becomes two weeks and then three. … The Sicily seems everyday more distant. Then, one day, he calls me: “Mate, why don’t you join me in Croatia? I’m setting up a crazy trail! Rough! All uphill! Come and try it and give me your feedback!”. It took 5 minutes, to me, to realize the impact on my programs. But just 5 minutes! In fact, I had a great idea: it was years that Alberto, my husband, was proposing to me to take a trip to Croatia but I have never felt so enthusiastic on this. This could be the right time. I could start some days before and then he could join me with the kids to spend some more days around. All seems perfect!

I book the boat for June 12th. I’m on the line, I already see myself in Croatia; but things got suddenly complicated. First, Al doesn’t have holidays from office, I have to go alone on the 12th and get back by the 20th. Then, even worst: there are no return ferries before the 28th… I can’t believe it. It’s a conspiracy! I’ve tried everything: train, bus, plane, car….. but there’s no way to organize the trip back until the end of June! I have to keep the dates . First departure available june 27 from Ancona.” I moved the date! I’m coming on the 27th!” But Luca doesn’t make a crease: “OK! Come whenever you want! I’m here!” He tells me with his Vicentino accent.

Finally the 27th comes. I’ve prepared everything. I’m really excited about this experience. I feel like I’m 20 years old and I’m in my first experience. “Mom, please, don’t get hurt!” Andrea, my youngest kid, yells at me as I load my bike on the train from Pescara to Ancona, where I will take the boat. Some strange thoughts run into my mind, but the doors close. The train’s running, the adventure begun.

Hvar Trail Holiday
Hvar Trail Holiday

I arrive at Hvar on 28 morning at 10.30am. After 2 hours of ferry from Split. Luca is at the port! Already on the bike. He’s kind to say: “Take some rest, we’ll leave early in the morning, the heat these days is hellish”. Let’s take a walk for Stari-Grad, explaining some details of trail. The mileage, the difference in altitude, the roads. He asks me how I put myself with the technique downhill because the funds are often cut off as well as steep. My face should appear perplexed, so he reassures me immediately: “Tomorrow I evaluate you! Maybe I could fire you! 🤣“. I don’t sleep at night. I’m soo nervous. I dreamed of this journey so long. I studied some, but not too much. I peeked at the photos that Luca posted as he traced the island, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise. And I did well. The trail starts uphill, of course! One of those nice climbs, 10 km with gentle hairpin bends and fairly consistent slope not more than 10%. It goes up. You always go up. Luca warned me. There are no plains. Only climbs alternated with descents. Sweet climbs; Rough climbs; hanged climbs that does not rise, because in addition to being steep, they have a bumpy and slippery bottom. Sunny climbs. Infinitely long climbs. Deceptive climbs that let you think that you arrived at the top, while instead, behind the curve, there is another hidden climb. Climbs that when you get to the top you don’t believe it. Climbs that take your breath away, but when you arrive, reserve unimaginable surprises.

Hvar Trail Holiday
Hvar Trail Holiday

Hvar is weird. It has few roads, almost never coastal. To access the coves scattered along the entire perimeter of the island you have to face drops at sheer descents, quite not paved and almost never traveled. People don’t get there by land, but by sea. And they’re wild. There are no bars and organized beaches. Sometimes there are houses, accessible only by sea precisely. And then there’s the sea. A sea of blinding blue. Crystalline.You feel like you can touch the bottom. The hue changes with the light. What doesn’t change is the water temperature: FREEZY!

As you walk the ride you realize that if you want t to enjoy these incredible views you have to resign yourself to this continuous swing. So, let’s go, up and down. Luca drew the trail with care. He spent days with his partner Massimo turning and getting lost in a maze of streets unknown even to the islanders. And it has created a strenuous path but such that you fall in love with the island not only from a landscape point of view, but also for the food and the wine. He carefully selected the Konoba where to stop to eat and places to sleep and the welcome is always warm. And you can eat divinely. Octopus and lamb are a must-eat, but also the cured meats and cheeses, mostly of sheep and goat milk, are to be tasted. The people I met along the way reminded me the Abruzzo mountaineers that I usually cross when I ride “at home”: they are a bit gruff and maybe not expansive, but at the first smile they adopt you and easily open their soul to the foreigner.

Hvar Trail Holiday
Hvar Bikepacking
Hvar bikepacking

We spent the first three days this way, traveling about 280 km in Hvar. Sometimes we make slightly changes to the program, like when we should have slept in a camping, but finally we got overcome by tiredness and opted for a wild bikepacking, on a beach sunbed… We were already thinking to moving to Brac, but we decided along the way. There are still few tourists and boats do not travel at full capacity, so the only way to move is to know the people who make the connecting routes. And so we set out to discover Brac.

Brac bikepacking
Brac bikepacking

If Hvar is rough, Brac is even tougher. Apparently more developed than her sister, it’s actually wilder. Nothing can be found outside the towns. Roads are km and km uphill, under the sun, with no possibility of find water. Water in these places is a precious resource and there are no fountains. You have to consume it consciously and stock up enough for your needs. At first we planned to spend two days in Brac together, but then plans changed. Luca had to anticipate the return to Hvar while I decided to stop in Brac and spend some time alone. I had never experienced a night in tent alone. I was worried only thinking at that, but I decided to give a try and the satisfaction of living this experience alone was unimaginable. Loneliness exasperates thoughts, feelings and senses. It lays bare with ourselves. It forces us to face our fears and overcome them. And it makes us stronger. At the end of the lap, ready to return to Hvar I felt satisfied and happy ….. and in my twenties! Now we go home. It was an incredible experience. The ride is breathtakingly beautiful and can be covered in a more or less extreme way, depending on your needs! It’s an essential experience. I haven’t come back yet but I’m already thinking about how and when to come back again.

If you would like to take part in a similar adventure on the island of Hvar, check out the Hvar Trail & Holiday 2020. They are hosting a Hvar Trail & Holiday from 5th to 9th September 2020.

Accommodation in Bol

Catamaran direct from Split Airport to Bol

Following on from the launch of a new catamaran service from Split Airport to central Split, this summer has also seen another new service – a catamaran direct from Split Airport to Bol on the island of Brac, and to Stari Grad on Hvar.

Split Airport to Bol catamaran
Bol on the island of Brac

This service, run by SplitExpress, actually started operating on 1st June this year. However, for those of you yet to travel to Croatia this summer, we’re sure this is still welcome news, even now!

This catamaran service will prove very, very useful for anyone wishing to travel direct from Split Airport to the island of Brac and Hvar.

Timetable

There are four sailings a day from Split Airport to Bol at 10am (arrives 11.25am), 1pm (arr. 2.05pm), 4.20pm (arr. 5.25pm) and and at 8.50pm (arr. 10.15pm). The first and last sailing also stop at Split along the way (arrival time in Split is 15 minutes after departure from the port near Split Airport).

Additionally, the 1pm sailing from Split Airport travels on to Stari Grad on the island of Hvar, reaching it 2.50pm.

See the full timetable below:

Split Airport to Bol - SplitExpress catamaran outbound
Split Airport to Bol - SplitExpress catamaran inbound

Note: where two times are listed in one box, the first time means the arrival time and the second the departure time. For example, the 10am service arrives at Split at 10.15am, then departs at 10.30am to travel on to Bol, arriving there are 11.25am.

The timetable can also be found here.

Ticket prices

All tickets for the SplitExpress catamaran can be booked as one of three types – Lowfare, Lowfareplus or Flexplus. Lowfare is the cheapest option (understandably) and cannot be refunded or changed. Lowfareplus tickets cannot be refunded, although the departure can be changed (subject to availability). Finally, Flexplus tickets – as you may have guessed – are both refundable or can also be changed to another journey.

From Split Airport to Bol or Stari Grad, it costs 199 Kn (lowfare), 229 Kn (lowfareplus) or 299 Kn (flexplus).

Travelling from Split Airport to Split, costs 50 Kn (lowfare), 129 Kn (lowfareplus), or 199 Kn (flexplus).

From Split to Bol, it costs 99 Kn (lowfare), 129 Kn (lowfareplus), or 199 Kn (flexplus).

For Bol to Stari Grad, it costs 79 Kn (lowfare), 109 Kn (lowfareplus), 169 Kn (flexplus).

Prices are the same for adults and for children aged 2 and over. Children under 2 years of age travel free.

Tickets can be booked online.

Enjoy travelling from Split Airport this summer!

UberBOAT now available in Croatia for transfers & day tours

You’ve probably used Uber in your home city or when travelling abroad – and in fact it’s also available in several Croatian towns and cities. But what do you do when you want a private transfer on the Adriatic Sea?

Easy – Uber + boat = UberBOAT!

uberBOAT sailing

UberBOAT is a service that’s available in Split, Dubrovnik and the island of Hvar, and can be utilised with the existing Uber app. With UberBOAT you can transfer to a destination and back, for a half-day or full-day trip that you can plan out yourself. That means that you can easily visit some of the local islands that you may otherwise find tricky to reach – especially useful if you only have a short amount of time for exploring.

Private Tours with UberBOAT

For example, from Split you could visit all the delights of the islands of Hvar, Solta, Vis, Bisevo (and the famous Blue Cave), and Brac, including the popular town of Bol with its famous Zlatni Rat beach.

From Dubrovnik you may be thinking of visiting the tranquil Elafiti islands, the lush island of Mljet, Korcula or perhaps even off-the-beaten track Lastovo.

The captain of an UberBoat stays with the passengers for as long as they want. That means there’s plenty of time to visit the islands, do a bit of sightseeing, the sampling of local cuisine and even a bit of time to buy some island souvenirs.

uberBOAT captain

UberBoat fares depend on boat size, mileage and duration of the trip. An eight-passenger speedboat starts at 330 Kunas, with each additional kilometre costing 29 Kunas and each minute costing 2.60 Kunas. A larger boat costs from 660 Kunas and 36 Kunas per kilometer and 3.30 Kunas per minute.

uberBOAT dropoff

Private transfers with UberBOAT

UberBOAT also offer a simple and fast transfer to a destination and back. For example, a transfer from Split to Hvar costs 2,600 Kunas for an eight-person speedboat, or 3,300 Kunas for a 12-person speedboat (UberBoat XL). Split to Bol costs 2,100 Kunas (2,800 for UberBoat XL), Dubrovnik to Mljet is 3,820 Kunas (4,600 Kunas for UberBoat XL), whilst Dubrovnik to Korcula is 5,000 Kunas (6,000 Kunas for UberBoat XL).

UberBOAT app

All Uber captains have valid licenses and are exceedingly familiar with the Croatian coastline, so any trip is very safe as well as lots of fun!

To get a feel for the service, check out this video on travelling in style:

More on UberBOAT

For more details, check out www.uber.com/hr/en/u/uberboat/. But if you need a boat, simply open up the Uber app and get tapping to ‘hail’ a boat!

Milna, Brac

Travel question: Island day trips from Split and Dubrovnik in May

I am spending three nights Split and three nights in Dubrovnik in late May. I was wondering if you had any suggestions about possible ferry day trips to go on while in either of these two cities?

A.

Island day trips from Split in May

From Split, either Hvar Town or Milna on Brac (but not both on the same day!) would be most suitable locations for ferry day trips. This catamaran (which runs daily in late May) sails to both places, departing from Split quite early in the day and then making the return journey in the evening. This means you would get a full day on either Brac or Hvar.

Island day trips from Split - Milna on Brac

Milna on the island of Brac

Jadrolinija do also have sailings to Hvar Town. However, in late May they don’t yet have any in the morning (with a return in the afternoon/evening) meaning you can’t use their sailings for a day trip to Hvar at this time of year. They do, however, have a slow car ferry to Stari Grad on Hvar but at two hours sailing each way, that’s quite a lot of travel time! 

Vis is also not suitable as an island day trip by public ferry from Split.

For something closer and more ‘off the beaten track’, how about the island of Solta? Definitely possible as a day trip from Split (with Jadrolinija, sailing time 1 hour) you can find out more details about the island on the tourist office website. A tranquil place away from the crowds, it would certainly earn you brownie points as a place that not many people visit or have heard of! Travel expert Simon Calder wrote an article in the Independent on visting this island: Slavic secret Solta is steeped in history and rich in beauty.

Island day trips from Dubrovnik in May

From Dubrovnik, you can visit one (or possibly two, if you time it right!) of the Elafiti islands of Sipan, Lopud and Kolocep with Jadrolinija.

Unfortunately, there are no sailings in late May that make a day trip to the islands of Korcula or Mljet possible.

Of course, visiting the small island of Lokrum *is* possible! There are frequent sailings from Dubrovnik’s Old Town – see the timetable on the official Lokrum website.

Happy day-tripping!

Spinning Paradise Ultimate Frisbee Tournament in Croatia – sign up now!

If you’re looking for something a little different from your holiday to Croatia this summer how about…an ultimate frisbee tournament?! A game without referees, age or gender restrictions, the Spinning Paradise tournament will take place on the Croatian islands of Rab and Hvar this summer. And the tournament organisers are inviting you to take part!

Spinning Paradise Ultimate Frisbee

Credit: Damir Kvajo

Now in its fifth year, Spinning Paradise Hvar (played on grass) will take place from 30th July to 6th August 2016 whilst the newer Spinning Paradise Rab – in only its second year – will take place on the famous sandy Paradise Beach in Lopar from 26th to 28th August 2016.

Spinning Paradise Ultimate Frisbee

Credit: Damir Kvajo

Spinning Paradise Ultimate Frisbee

Credit: Damir Kvajo

But why should you take part this Ultimate Frisbee tournament? Open to all levels – whether you’ve plenty of experience or are a complete novice, Spinning Paradise isn’t just about the game. What makes it unique is the atmosphere and the importance of social events too! That’s what Croatian national team member and tournament organizer Vinko Anzulovic says, who is Hvar-born. He also proudly points out that Hvar is often mentioned as one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and with one game in the morning and one in the evening, there’s also plenty of ‘downtime’ for participants to explore the gorgeous island. This year, Spinning Paradise Hvar will also offer slackline workshops, Playstation tournaments and excursions; there’s plenty to do besides play ultimate frisbee!

Teams will be drawn from a hat which means this is a great opportunity to make friends from all around the world. And in case any of you complete beginners are nervous about taking part, there will even be the Coca-Cola training camp (offered for the third year) that’s run by highly experienced British coach Sion ‘Brummie’ Scone.

Spinning Paradise Ultimate Frisbee

Credit: Damir Kvajo

Spinning Paradise Rab will take place on the sandy beach of Lopar on the island, often described in the media as one of the best sandy beaches in the country. (Remember, sandy beaches are few and far between in Croatia!) This tournament will also see workshops and other activities take place alongside the main sporting event.

Ultimate frisbee is a sport that was first established in the U.S. in the 1960s, and is growing in popularity in Croatia as well. There are currently seven Ultimate Frisbee clubs in Croatia, in Zagreb, Rijeka and Zadar. If played on grass there’s seven players on each of the two teams; played on sand it’s five. Teams represent a complete mix of ages and have both men and women competing. Each game ends with a group hug which is part of Ultimate Frisbee’s core ‘Spirit of the Game’ principle and one of the foundations of the sport.

Spinning Paradise Ultimate Frisbee

Credit: Damir Kvajo

It’s the fastest growing sport in the U.S. and one that’s recognised by the International Olympic Committee; Croatia has recently participated in both the European and World Championships.

Sign up now to take part in Spinning Paradise

To compete in the tournament in Croatia, head over to spinning-paradise.com for an application form. You’ll also find plenty more on the tournament there too, as well as on the Facebook page. Don’t wait too long to sign up as there’s not many spaces left!

Tournament organizers Vinko Anzulovic and Sanela Vucelic are aiming to introduce this fun and fascinating sport to a wider audience. They’re also trying to spread the important ‘Spirit of the Game’ principle – something that’s often missing from many other sports these days.

Sign up now for this amazingly fun way to spend your summer in Croatia!

Ferries in Croatia - Jadrolinija catamaran

New Jadrolinija catamaran line from Dubrovnik to Korcula, Hvar and Bol!

Croatia’s main ferry company Jadrolinija will be running a brand new catamaran line for summer 2016! The new Jadrolinija catamaran line will connect Dubrovnik with Korcula, Hvar Town and Bol – meaning that some of the Croatia’s most popular destinations and islands are connected.

Ferries in Croatia - Jadrolinija catamaran

A Jadrolinija catamaran departing Hvar Town

Operating daily from 1st July to 11th September, the catamaran will sail from Dubrovnik in the morning and make the return journey in the late afternoon/evening. That means that you could potentially make day trips to Hvar and Bol from Dubrovnik using this catamaran service. (And to Korcula of course as well – although this was already possible.)

What will also interest many travellers is that this catamaran can also be used to make day trips from Hvar to Bol on Brac! (Although, as you can see from the timetable, not the other way around.) There’s currently only a catamaran service – also run by Jadrolinija – connecting Jelsa on Hvar with Bol.

The full timetable:

Dubrovnik - Korcula - Hvar - Bol

Full details of this service and prices can be found on the Jadrolinija website. We’d definitely recommend pre-booking this Jadrolinija catamaran if you intend to travel on it – booking can be done Jadrolinija’s homepage – as we’re sure this will be an exceedingly popular service.

Kapetan Luka have run another catamaran service for a few years which has also proved to be exceedingly popular. Their service also runs daily (in high summer), and several times a week in May and October, connecting Split, Milna (Brac), Hvar Town, Korcula, Pomena (Mljet) and Dubrovnik. This line however goes from Split in the early morning (reaching Dubrovnik at midday), and from Dubrovnik in the late afternoon (reaching Split at 8.20pm). The full timetable, prices and ticket booking can be found on the Kapetan Luka website.

For more on travelling around Croatia by sea, check out our Ferries in Croatia and Ferry and Catamaran Prices sections.

Bon voyage!

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split

Reader’s Review: Dalmatia in September 2015 – Part 2 – Hvar & Split

Following on from part one of Neil Killeen’s excellent report of Dalmatia in September here’s the second part of his travelogue. Here, Neil recounts his experiences of visiting and staying on/in the island of Hvar and Split, exploring the sights of both destinations.

Dalmatia in September 2015 – Part 2

by Neil Killeen

Our next stop was Hvar town. We decided to take one of the day trip boats to Jelsa (their first stop) on Hvar island and then catch a bus. The alternative was bus to Split and ferry to Hvar. This was a bit quicker and nicer we thought. So you pay about 100 kuna I think it was for the transfer to Jelsa. That was our first Adriatic boat trip.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Figure – On the way to Jelsa

On the way to Jelsa

At Jelsa harbour it was not at all obvious where the bus station was and we didn’t have a lot of time to find it. Google was not helping (and by the way my “covermore.com” global sim card worked well in all of Croatia – it came with my travel insurance). However, a very helpful man selling stuff in an outdoor stand gave us directions and we found it OK. It’s about a 10 min walk from the harbour. The bus trip was really pretty around the western coast of Hvar. Some guy in a Mercedes was not happy with the bus driver and chased about for a while (we didn’t feel any collision so we really don’t know what that was about).

At Hvar town our host and sister kindly collected us from the bus station. Nothing is very far away, but when you first arrive, finding places in the often multilply-named windy and hilly Croatian streets can be a bit tricky. We had a nice sea view from our accommodation.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Hvar

View from Hvar apartment

It turned out we were just a few minutes walk to the nicest beach in Hvar, and from there around to the harbour. The demographic in Hvar is a bit younger and upmarket. As you head north from Dubrovnik to Split I think there is a general evolution to a more lively environment. We happened across an Orson Wells exhibition there. It turned out his last companion, the actress Oja Kodar, is Croatian. Her met her in Hvar in 1967 working on a film he never finished called “The Deep”. She lives now near Split.

There is an old fort above the town which is well worth walking up to (it’s a nice walk). Its origins are late BC with much building and rebuilding over the next 2000 years as Hvar’s strategic importance waxed and waned. In the fort is a really interesting display of pots and other relics from a ship wreck dated to 2nd century BC. How cool is that!

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Figure – Prison Cell in the Fort, Hvar

Prison Cell in the Fort

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Hvar

Pots from 2nd century BC ship wreck

We couldn’t go to the green caves and other marine destinations, as it was a bit too windy. I think the operators were all a bit relieved to have a day or two off! Most nights there was music in the main town square. We enjoyed a band and singer who performed energetically and well for a couple of hours. We even had a little dance (Salsa) in the square to some of the music to enormous acclaim from some of the other listeners (but see Split!).

From Hvar we took the fast cat to Split. Our host met us at a church near the harbour and took us to the apartment. Nice and close to the main part of the city at the harbour. Split is a fabulous city, although, as a short-term tourist I think we get a rather protected slice of life. Split is especially famous for its Roman palace founded in the 4th Century. The emperor (Dicolesian I think was his name) was very unusual because he retired still living. Almost all of the Roman emperors were assassinated. I think it was the third century which saw 100 emperors come and largely go. (I learned this in a Rome museum).

Ri decided to have a sleep and I went out to explore the day trip options. One of the spruikers was a young woman, with whom, for some reason, I immediately found myself deeply engaged in a conversation about the history of Split and the Balkans in general. After 45 minutes she declared she really didn’t want to sell me day trip! She advised me that we should do one of the palace tours with a certain company, so we did. The palace is amazing. It’s large and is still lived in. It’s seen 1800 years of cultural and architectural change, and that’s all charted through its living buildings. You can see the edge of a roman road inside of the bank for example!

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split

The Bell Tower in the Palace

We experienced more traditional Croatian music here. This time it was a military band and all male-choir. To be honest it was a bit dull. The musicians were very polished (and look great in their lovely all white uniforms) but the music was very ‘samey’ (too much of anything is not a good thing) with endless Croatian folk songs. Worse, although the choir was some 15 strong, the arrangements weren’t very interesting with virtually all the men singing the same part in unison. I happen to sing in a choir, so I know I’m picky, but I really felt their talent was not being used as well it could have been. However, the locals appeared to be loving it, so we were happy to leave them to their fun.

Now the main square inside the palace under the bell tower is a fabulous place to be in the summer evenings. There is a Café that opens onto the square, and they hire musicians to perform every night. People sit around on the steps and the waiters zoom around making a fortune on drinks! Note, it is unwise to order “a beer”. What you will get is a very large vat of beer. If you want one that won’t last a week, ask for a “very small beer” please. We trotted out our little Salsa act here too – the musicians were brilliant every night; usually duos with really varied repertoire. One evening, a young couple got up to dance. The man was dressed in fairly ordinary ‘travel clothes’, but the woman was very elegantly dressed. Then they danced. Phew. It was HOT. They didn’t actually do a lot (in terms of ‘moves’) but their ‘moving’ was really sexy and beautiful to watch. We didn’t get up to dance again after that, you can be sure!

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split

More of the palace

We finally managed a day trip from Split. We went to the ‘blue lagoon’. The trip consisted of 1) going to a bay on an island and jump in and swim, 2) going to another bay on another island, where the water was slightly blue-er, jump in and swim. The boat had a couple of face masks which you could use to admire the seaweed and a few desultory fish, 3) go to a small town on another island and have a really bad lunch (we reckon it had been sitting on the bench a long while). Thanks heavens I did not select ‘fish’ as the fish was whole oily Mackerel (eeeeew), 4) wander about this tiny place (and it was REALLY hot) with absolutely nothing to see, 5) go back to Split. Actually, despite not being the most awesome experience (it wasn’t very expensive), it was a nice lazy day out on the water. We made friends with a couple of other folks over “lunch” and chatted with them for a while also.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - The ‘blue lagoon’

The ‘blue lagoon’

On our last day, I gave my partner, Ri, control. Normally I seem to be the one who ends up deciding where we go, and how we get there and all that stuff (I don’t particularly want to, it just works out this way). Anyway it was her turn I decided; I was soon not sure about this decision as we walked all the way around the peninsular to the west of the city (mostly through the Park Suma Marjan). However, It was a lovely day out. First we walked up to the lookout (near the cemetery).

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split panorama

Panorma from the Split lookout

Along the walk we encountered a beautiful tiny old church from the 13th Century. Although we couldn’t go in, there was a hole in the door through which I could take a good picture. The very basic interior of this church rather contrasted with the excessive basilicas of Rome a few days later.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split church

13th century (1219) church

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split church

13th century (1219) church

We also encountered these very cool dwellings built directly into the cliffs. The occupants must have lived incredibly austere lives. We didn’t manage to learn anything else about when these were built and occupied.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split

Rock-face dwellings in Park Suma Marjin

From here we wended our way down the hill to a beach that we had been eyeing keenly for a while. We had brought some sandwiches along with us and scarfed them down soon before finding our way to the beach. I was a bit surprised to learn that this was Ri’s very first peanut-butter and cucumber sandwich (I made them). These are a staple of mine and I was sure that in the last decade since we met one would have come her way….

Dalmatia in September 2015

Mmmm yummy

After a very nice cool swim (it was pretty hot this day) at the beach, we headed onwards along the coast back towards Split. This took us to the famed Gallery Mestrovic, the legacy of the famed Croatian artist Ivan Mestrovic. You can read the history here in Wikipedia. The gallery is wonderful and there is also a piece by Rodin, who supported Mestrovic. Here was where I had another nice encounter with a local. I always get through the galleries faster than Ri (her artists’ eye has a lot to see), so I was chatting with the gentleman checking tickets at the front door. Again I had found another person with a passionate interest in history and culture. We had a long discussion, taking in most of the Balkan political history of the 20th century!

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Gallery Mestrovic

One of the many wonderful casts in the Gallery Mestrovic

From the gallery (and the small chapel on the other side of the road with Mestrovic wood panels) we headed on to another small beach for another dip.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split Beach

Our last beach swim in Split

Finally, we made our way back to the harbour (the fancy end). There were many amazing yachts here. The most impressive was the “Polar Star” which you can see in the figure. I later googled it, and discovered that it cost 60 million Euros to build, and costs 380,000 Euros per week to charter (crew of 17, 12 passengers)! Some things are really a long way out of reach and you really wonder how that’s within anybody’s reach (or philosophy).

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split

The Polar Star in Split

Finally, Ri decided to take a “short cut” back to our apartment. Here is the rather daunting view of that short cut. On arrival back at our apartment, our feet needed a lot of attention, so foot massages were again the order of the day.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Split

The short cut

We took the airport bus (the other end of the harbour), and flew to Rome with Vueling airlines. We had a bit of a worry when I could not find our booking online. It turned out that this was because of some confusion between the parent company Iberia and Vueling. When our booking was made, our tourist agent (FlightCentre in Australia), only supplied codes for Iberia. But these did not work on the Vueling site (nor on the Iberia site). Anyway, there is a 24 hr hotline for FlightCentre, and the consultant resolved it efficiently for us (she had to call Iberia to sort it out). I hope FlightCentre have now changed their process!

So off we went to Rome, but that must be a story for some other website – do you run a Roman website also Anna?

Visiting Croatia in September

Who would have thought it? We’re over halfway through August, which means we are most definitely hurtling towards the end of summer. (Although, personally, I definitely think summer runs until the seasons change in September. But then, I like to be an optimist about the weather.)

Some of you who are perhaps yet to take your summer hols, or are looking for a late summer trip to ease yourself back into autumn ways, may be thinking of visiting Croatia in September. You may be pleased to learn that September is considered the best month to visit amongst those in the know – the weather is still good (yes, you will – most probably – still be able to swim in the sea!), the high season crowds will have departed for home by the end of August, but everything – tourist-related – is still very much open.

Visiting Croatia in September

The island of Vis

However, you probably have a whole list of questions – what’s there to do? Where shall we go? We’re here to help you with these questions and more if you’re considering visiting Croatia in September!

The weather in Croatia in September

First things first. This is something we always get asked – is the weather in Croatia still good in September? Yes, very much so. It may come as no surprise really – as a Mediterranean country, the summer weather continues long into September. The last few years have seen very hot summers in Croatia, and this glorious weather definitely hung around in the ninth month of the year. (In fact, even into early October too!) This year there’s also been a rather hot summer in Croatia with temperatures in so many places reaching the very high 30s celsius. In fact, during July, temperatures for practically the entire country were classified as being “very warm” or “extremely warm” (poor Vis was the only place in Croatia to simply be “warm”), whilst most of the country was considered to be either “dry” or “very dry”.

All in all, we expect the weather in Croatia to be great this September! The Croatian Meteorological Society has plenty of forecasts in English – at the moment, they obviously don’t show much data for September, but take a look at their seven-day forecasts a little closer to the time.

The sea off the coast of Croatia – having had all summer to warm up – will be great, temperature-wise, in September. Yesterday, for example, temperatures reached around 23/24C for many places, with the sea a few degrees colder in the north of the coast.

Disclaimer: Yes, of course, the weather everywhere is starting to turn a little crazy. So don’t hold it against us if conditions in Croatia inexplicably turn winter-y during September. That’s definitely not supposed to happen. And it’s very, very unlikely to happen. But if anything insanely crazy, weather-wise, happens…don’t blame us! 

What’s on in Croatia in September?

Croatia has established itself as something of a prime festival destination in the last few years, with more and more dance festivals being added all the time to each year’s calendar. September is when the festival season winds down, but there’s still a couple of events taking place, both in Istria. The brand-new-for-2013 Unknown is being held in Rovinj from 10th to 14th September, with names like Jessie Ware, The Horrors, Jamie xx and SBTRKT all on the bill. Now in its second year, the electro festival Dimensions will be on in Pula from 5th to 9th September, making use of Fort Punto Christo that’s close to the town. (Dimensions is the “little sister” of Croatia festival favourite Outlook, which is on itself in Pula from 29th August to 2nd September.)

For the less dance music type events, there’s the Split Film Festival on from the 14th to the 21st September. The historical festival Gioistra – now in its seventh year – will be held in Porec from 13th to 15th September, with assorted costumes, revelry, sports, street entertainers and products on sale, all re-enacting 18th century times. The second Korkrya Baroque Festival is an international music festival on the island of Korcula, being held from 7th to 13th September. Zagreb hosts both the general entertainment festival RujanFest (literally, ‘SeptemberFest’) from the 13th to the 22nd September, as well as the 46th edition of the International Puppet Theatre Festival (9th to 14th September).

For those more keen on sports events, Croatia will host the Davis Cup tie against Great Britain in Umag (which means clay!) on the weekend of 13th to 15th September. And yes, Wimbledon champ Andy Murray is expected to play. Tickets can be bought on the ticket portal Eventim.hr.

Be sure to pop into the tourist office of wherever you are to ask for events taking place locally!

Where should I go in Croatia in September?

As we’ve covered so far, the weather will be great in September, so it’s hard not to pick a location on the coast. Dubrovnik should be as busy it always is, and there’s certainly a large number of cruise ships scheduled to dock during that month, bringing thousands of (day trip) passengers at a time. Split has had a great season so far, so it wouldn’t be any surprise to see this place as bustling as it has been. (Seeing as it’s Croatia’s second largest city, it is relatively lively all year round!) Some of the more popular islands, such as Brac and Hvar, and other popular locations on the coast (the Makarska Riviera) are still likely to receive a good number of visitors, even whilst the season starts to wind down.

If you’re after something a little quieter, perhaps consider the most outlying of all the larger Croatian islands – Vis. As a quieter and slightly mystical destination any time of year, we think this place would be divine in September. Other islands to check out include those in the Kvarner bay  such as Krk, Cres, Losinj or Rab, all of which are perhaps not as well known amongst non-Continental European visitors.

Istria is of course one of the most popular destinations in the whole of Croatia, with delights such as Porec, Rovinj and Pula all located here. The county has suffered a slight fall in visitor numbers this year, but will still see good numbers overall. If you’d like to visit, why not consider something like a foodie or activity-based holiday – two things the region does very well! Check out Istria Tourist Board’s guides to gastronomy and sport.

From a logistical point of view, almost all flights from the UK to Croatia still operate in September – and well into October too. The one exception to this is Ryanair’s flights from London Stansted to Rijeka Airport stopping at the end of August. See our Flights to Croatia page for details of all routes to Croatia from the UK.

Do note that in almost all cases, ferry schedules will still be running to summer timetables until the end of September. Certainly, almost all of Jadrolinija‘s local routes remain the same until the end of September, as does their twice-a-week coastal route that runs Rijeka – Split – Stari Grad (Hvar) – Korcula – Mljet – Dubrovnik and vice versa. The exception lies with some of their international sailings (to Italy) that reduce in frequency in September, and again further in October. Venezia Lines‘ sailings between Istria and Venice will only operate from Porec and Rovinj during September.

Or check out Adriagate – they offer last minute discounts on accommodation for destinations all over Croatia!

All in all, if you’re visiting Croatia next month, we hope you enjoy your stay! Why not drop us a line on email, Twitter or Facebook to let us know how it went – we’d love to hear from you!

For Festival

Countdown to this weekend’s FOR 2013 Festival on Hvar!

There’s less than a week to go to the inaugural FOR 2013 Festival on the beautiful island of Hvar – and we can hear many of you getting really rather excited at the thought of partying on such an idyllic location in less than a week’s time!

Taking place on three of the top venues in Hvar Town – Carpe Diem Beach, Veneranda and Amo Beach Bar – the Festival has a wonderfully diverse and canny line-up of some top artists. These include Tame Impala, Solange, Horse Meat Disco, James Blake, DJ sets from 2ManyDJs and James Murphy, Nicolas Jaar, Tensnake and numerous other top names. In addition to this great line-up, another plus is that only 2,000 tickets have been made available which means that FOR 2013 will truly be one of the most intimate festivals to take place this summer.

For Festival

The party gets started in the late afternoon each day at Carpe Diem Beach, with matters then switching over to club Veneranda in the evening to get the vibe really ramped up. Carpe Diem Beach – part of the famous Carpe Diem club on Hvar, which this year celebrates its 15th birthday – then takes over proceedings once more, keeping the party going until the very early – and we do mean very early – hours of the morning. But in such a paradise-like setting, and with temperatures reaching a night-time low of about 22C (yes, you did read that right) we can imagine that everyone will keen and eager right until the final beat gets played each night.

FOR 2013 announced their set times today, which you can see at forfestival2013.com/line-up.htm. Check out that page to start planning where you’ll want to be when.

To get you in the mood, take a look at this teaser FOR 2013 video, produced by Croatian creative agency PHOLA:

The team behind FOR 2013, Australian label Modular Recordings, have also been producing regular modcasts featuring some of the acts on the bill – lend your ears to the ones by Tensnake and Croatian label Burek for a little preview of what all you lucky revellers will be experiencing this weekend.

A small number of tickets are still available for FOR 2013, so if you fancy heading to Hvar, be sure to snap these up quick! Three-day passes – which allow you entry to all of FOR’s venues for the entire weekend cost £130, whilst one-day passes cost £45. There are special discounted ticket prices for passport holders of the ex-YU nations. More details on FOR’s tickets page.

We’ve also got a brief guide to FOR in our Festivals in Croatia 2013 section – FOR 2013 – which provides some useful practical info, including how to get to Hvar.

But for all the details on FOR 2013, do make sure to take a look at their website, which also covers discounted accommodation options at local hotels. Be sure to also check out all the festival news on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

FOR 2013
Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd June 2013
forfestival2013.com