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New catamaran route in Croatia for 2017!

Some exciting news about another new catamaran route in Croatia for 2017 – one that we’re sure will benefit many visitors to the country.

This new catamaran route will hop between the mainland and some of Croatia’s most popular islands, connecting Split, Bol on the island of Brac, Makarska, KorculaMljet and Dubrovnik.

The service is being run by Kapetan Luka, who already also run a popular route connecting Split with Milna on Brac, Hvar Town on Hvar, Korcula, Mljet and Dubrovnik.

This new service will commence sailing on Monday 12th June 2017, running daily until Sunday 17th September 2017. The timetable of the new service is as below:

New catamaran connections and day trips

This new route brings up some exciting new sea connections. In particular, Makarska is now connected by sea to the prime spots of Bol, Korcula, Mljet and Dubrovnik. And to Split as well, of course, although as it’s only an hour or so down the road, it’s already easily reachable from Croatia’s second city! (Makarska does already have a car ferry to Sumartin on the eastern side of the island of Brac.)

This catamaran also sets up some opportunities for day trips not previously possible by public ferry. A day trip from Split to Bol is now possible; you’ll certainly get a full day in Bol, and be able to experience the delights of Zlatni Rat, one of Croatia’s most famous beaches. And from Makarska, you can also consider a day trip to Korcula or Mljet. (Dubrovnik is a little too far, and you’d only get four hours there!).

Online ticket booking

Tickets can be booked on Kapetan Luka’s booking website. We’d certainly recommend pre-booking tickets in advance, as we’re sure this route will be popular.

As a catamaran, this is obviously a foot passenger only boat. No cars can sail on this route!

Prices of the various sectors of this route can be see here.

Other catamaran and ferry routes

Of course, there already are plenty of other routes running off the Croatian coast. Two other popular services – both of which have also started running in recent years – connect Split and Dubrovnik and stop at Brac (Milna or Bol), Hvar, Korcula and Mljet along the way.

For more details about these routes, and for other sailings, see our Ferries in Croatia section.

Happy catamaran travelling!

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Makarska

Reader’s Review: Dalmatia in September 2015 – Part 1 – Dubrovnik & Makarska

Earlier this year, we were contacted by a friendly gentleman, Neil, who needed a little assistance in planning his trip to Croatia. After a few emails back and forth, he had set out a plan for visiting Croatia with his partner – specifically the towns and islands of Dalmatia in September. He was kind enough to keep in contact with us during his trip and has even more kindly written a wonderfully informative trip report, complete with some stunning photos, to share on the Visit Croatia website.

As well as writing extensively on the sights and experiences of these locations in Croatia, there’s also plenty of other useful tips that Neil shares – including using AirBnB for accommodation, and how to handle having particular dietary requirements when visiting Croatia.

Read on below for the first part of his report, featuring Dubrovnik and Makarska. Part two – covering the island of Hvar and Split – will be posted very soon!

Thank you ever so much for sharing your experience of Croatia with us, Neil!

Dalmatia in September 2015

by Neil Killeen

We decided to go to Croatia at rather short notice; it was part of our trip, in the end, of 10 days in the UK, 10 days in Croatia and 4 days in Rome. Fortunately, I discovered the Visit Croatia website and even better (for me) wrote to Anna for some advice. This was along the lines of “I’m too lazy to work anything out for myself, please tell me what we should do in our 10 days” !  Anna was so incredibly generous with her time and ideas; I was truly amazed and appreciative.  Later I discovered she runs many web sites and wondered how on earth she found the time and energy to bother with me.

We ended up having 3 nights in Dubrovnik, 3 in Makarska, 2 in Hvar town and 3 in Split.  If we hadn’t booked so late, we might have spent the time on a cruise around the islands (easy set and forget), but by the time we started to look, the prices were quite expensive. If you book early, they can be pretty cheap and probably a nice way to see the Dalmatian coast.

We decided to use AirBnB for all of our accommodation.  We like to Couch Surf as a great way to meet the locals and learn about a country. However, CS is not very big in Croatia – there were very few couches to be seen !  AirBnB worked out very well for us. We rented self-contained apartments (so we could cook for ourselves because of dietary restrictions).  We typically paid Aus$70/night, which was pretty cheap.  All the hosts were lovely and helpful. All the apartments were just as advertised (you have to do your research of course and select carefully). The main variable is beds and pillows. It’s hard to know what you will get, as hosts will generally tell you their bed is very comfy. I happen to have an unhappy neck, and so bed (and more importantly pillow) quality is important. I even contemplated dragging my special pillow around the planet! I did have a bit of pillow trauma, but usually we were able to improvise something with towels and other cushions that might be in the apartment.

Regarding food, my partner, Ri (“Ree”), is fructose (including wheat) and dairy intolerant.  Two of the main fructose bearers are onion and garlic, which can be problematic when eating out.   So although we did eat in a lot, when we did eat out, we were expecting pain (either stomach or waiters) in finding food she could eat.  It turned out to be quite the opposite.  The attitude everywhere was ‘Of course we can do that’, and they could.  Perhaps food is less pre-prepared than in Australia to help this along.  Even better was that we found the BEST EVER dairy-free ice-cream in Dubrovnik (at the harbour).  We hardly believed the server when she said it was milk free (as it tasted just like normal and was so thick). But no stomach trauma occurred so it was true.  We went back for more.

We flew from London to Dubrovnik.  Because this trip was in September, flights were not so frequent.  We didn’t want to get on a dawn flight, and I think the only afternoon flight (that we were prepared to take) was only 1 or 2 times a week (that was EasyJet).  Some of the budget airlines also stop flying these routes around this time (e.g. EasyJet stopped flying Split to Rome mid September before we departed).    Although we arrived in the evening, we took the frequent Airport bus (much cheaper than a taxi) into the old town to one of the main gates. From there we took a cab to our destination.  Our host was working but he lined up his daughter to meet us. She took us for a little walk to orient us, which was sweet of her.

Like most people, we focused on the old town. We did buy a 3-day Dubrovnik card (museums and some bus tickets).  However, really, many of the places supplied by the card are not exactly world class, so I don’t think it’s really worth it. On the other hand, you could say that it does give you an interesting and useful cultural perspective and one should not get too snobby. There are of course plenty of great cultural buildings and experiences; it’s just that not many are on the card.

Dalmatia in September 2015 - Dubrovnik

Panorama of the Dubrovnik harbour

I was interested in the (very complex) history of the Home Land wars of the 90s and both in Dubrovnik and at the top of the hill (in the old fort now museum which was a defensive stronghold in the siege of Dubrovnik) there is lots of very worth while material.   I reckon it’s worth taking the cable car up to the fort rather than a tour in a 4-wheel drive (they have a long list of reasons why they are better of course).  Really, we like to do things at our own pace, not have deadlines to meet (20 min here, 30 min there).   Because it was September it wasn’t too busy which was great – neither did we suffer the arrival of a cruise ship and several thousand people clogging the place. The weather was lovely; I reckon September is good to be in Croatia.

We went to an Art Gallery with a large exhibition of one emerging artist. Now my partner is an Artist, and we are very familiar with the process of writing the words for those cards that sit next to the art work so that you, the observer, can appreciate the incredible intellectual effort that is behind the art work. In colourful Australian vernacular, we call this “Art Wank” (I am quite good at writing it). We encountered the best example ever of this in this gallery which you can see for yourself in the picture.

Visiting Dalmatia in September - Gallery

“Art Wank” in the gallery

I particularly liked the “personal invisible musical scales” (being a musician). We did also find a very small, almost invisible gallery with a photographic exhibition. The pictures were all of a single family, and the photographer was one member of that family. They were a quirky lot and the exhibition explored how that particular (all grown up) family came together and created their own fun. There was no art wank at all, so we got the guy looking after it to explain it to us !

There is a very cool café just outside the old town walls which looks out over the sea. Great to have a local beer there for a while – you have to be alert to get a seat closest to the sea. There were some young men jumping into the sea from the rocks. They were swanning about in their boardies attempting to look cool/tough/attractive as they attempted a free beer by flirting with the waitresses. No free beer ensued, but the waitresses were nice to them. Throughout our trip, people were invariably friendly, positive and helpful, even though it was the end of the season and probably they were totally over the tourists. We didn’t do any boaty things in Dubrovnik – we left them for later in the trip.

Visiting Dalmatia in September - Cafe

The Waterside Old Town Café

From Dubrovnik we took a bus (there are lots of buses in Croatia and I usually used an App on my iPhone to book tickets – that worked well) to Makarska, sometimes dubbed the “Riviera of Croatia”. The bus trip provides some beautiful coastal scenery and our host kindly picked us up at the bus station (he even deferred his shift at the fire station by 45 min so he could collect us).

Visiting Dalmatia in September - On the way to Makarska

On the way to Makarska

Visiting Dalmatia in September - Makarska Harbour

Makarska Harbour with mountains in the background

Our apartment was about 10 steps to the harbour – which is pretty darn handy.

Like much of the Dalmatian coast, Makarska is jammed in between the mountains and the sea. But here, the mountains are extra beautiful exuding this steely grey strength. I really just had to stare at them a lot to soak in the beauty. We sampled our first pebbly beach here and found it pretty comfortable, even without a mattress (the experienced travellers could be detected easily by their pebble-beach preparations).

Visiting Croatian in September - Makarska mountains

Makarska mountains

Visiting Croatian in September - Adriatic

The beautiful Adriatic

We also found a nice park right next to the beach with lovely grass out of the wind to lie on, gaze at the mountains and read books – I did a lot of that here. Strangely, nobody else took advantage of it in this way! There were no “Keep of the grass” signs, so I don’t know why nobody else did; perhaps a little over-obsessed with becoming a lobster at the beach.

Visiting Dalmatia in September - Makarska Park

Makarska Park

The tourist demographic in Makarska was very middle-aged couple (like us!). However, we were struck by the huge amount of obesity that we saw (in the tourists), especially, but not only the men. Australia has an obesity problem, and I thought I could stand to lose a Kg or 2, but I felt like a wraith there. We noticed also the huge amount of food people packed away when they went to dinner. We might share a meal and be sated – we observed one guy (not so large – yet) eat more for dinner than I could have managed all day. We wandered around the back streets of Makarska and found some nice fresh food (cheaper and nicer than the supermarkets). The supermarkets did however cater for gluten free bread and the like.

We also had our first real taste of Croatian music making here. We happened to be in Makarska for their Fish Festival (could have been a weekly event for all we knew!). So in the evening down at the harbour there was lots of traditional music making. It seems all Croatian men know all the songs as they all sing along with great gusto (and some with rather fine voices). The degree of gusto seemed to be correlated with the rapidity with which wine glasses were recharged…. The melodies for many of the traditional folk songs are simple, so I gusto-ed along as well, spouting pseudo-Croatian as needed.

There is a famous beach, Zlatni Rat, on the island of Brac. You can take a ferry from Makarska to Sumartin, then a bus to this beach. The only problem is you can’t get back again. In September the time tables change to something unhelpful. Basically, the bus back to Sumartin arrives after the ferry departs back to Makarska. Take an earlier bus you say. Well if you do that, then you arrive back at Sumartin before you have even arrived there in the first place (it’s all a bit Dr. Who). This was the point in time where we discovered that some of the tourist information folks were a bit tired and weary of a long season. Mainly, when you go into their office, they grudgingly get off Facebook to talk to you. Then mono-syllabic answers can be dragged from them with great effort. This particular person in Makarska knew that the timetables change, that they are dodgy, but didn’t really want to tell us. It was only because I had googled before and found inconsistencies that she grudgingly called the bus line on Brac (“you can call them, or I suppose I can if you really want”) to confirm the above transport conundrum. So, needless to say, Zlatni Rat, with its 5 degree (I think) side-to-side temperature differential remained a delight for the future.

Stay tuned for part two – with Neil travelling to Hvar and Split – very soon!

Echo Festival (22nd-24th June in Makarska) releases its line-up!

We know that we whet the appetites of many of you party animals out there with our previous post on the brand-new-for-2012 Echo Festival that’s taking place in Makarska on the weekend of 22nd to 24th June – and we’re sure that many of you have already got your ticket orders in.

But here’s more good news – Echo Festival have announced their line-up! Names on the bill include Koreless (Live), Pariah, Midland – who are all appearing on the Simply Stage – and Inxec, Droog and Cozzy D., who will be on the DJ & Sound Stage as well as many, many more – plus further names that are to be announced in due course.

Echo Festival Flyer Line Up

There will also be showcases and daily beach parties from the likes of Krankbrother, Creche, Moody Disco, Simply Vinyl and more.

Oh, and – as if this wasn’t enough good news – there are still tickets available for £35 for the weekend (which is truly mind-bogglingly good value) for only a short time more, so do make sure you and your friends snap them up soon.

For full line-up details (as announced so far) and other information on the festival and to purchase tickets, please go to www.echofestival.com.

A new festival for 2012 – Echo Festival, Makarska 22nd-24th June

Echo Festival

Fantastic news for all those revellers looking to party it up on the Croatian coast this summer – a brand new festival has joined the very extensive list of festivals taking place in the country this year. The Echo Festival is the latest addition to the Croatian festival line-up, taking place in the beautiful town of Makarska on the weekend of 22nd to 24th June 2012.

This intimate and friendly festival is perfect for those who love their dance and electronic music and want to enjoy it on Croatia’s wonderful coastline. As anyone who has been to Makarska can attest, the Festival will have a fantastic location (as well as being easy to reach from the nearest airport in Split) in one of the most beautiful spots on the Adriatic coastline, with plenty to enjoy in the town and nearby . The actual Festival site itself is a short walk from the centre of Makarska, on a bay with a private pebble beach that will boast two sound systems – the main beachside stage (so you can actually dance it up on the beach or even in the sea!) and in the licensed bar which has a fully shaded dancefloor.

The music programme will run from 12pm to 5am (that’s 17 solid hours!) with a mix of funk, disco, soul and reggae plus the best of UK bass, garage and deep house well into the night. Acts that have already been confirmed on the line-up include Cozzy D, Alexis Raphael, Lee Brinx and Max Chapman, with many more to be announced.

Echo FestivalBetter still, Echo Festival are offering a truly superb early-bird ticket offer – only £35 for the three day-event! Be sure to take advantage of this great deal and snap up your tickets very soon.

To book tickets, and for more details on the Festival, take a look at echofestival.com or www.facebook.com/echocroatia.