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Rijeka to Zadar Catamaran - G&V Line Iadera Melita

Rijeka to Zadar catamaran from G&V Line Iadera

A very useful coastal service that’s new for 2019 is the Rijeka to Zadar catamaran from G&V Line Iadera.

This line started sailing on 15th June this year, and will continue to run for the summer season until 15th September, operating daily. G&V Line Iadera’s boat ‘Melita’ operates on this route, which has a capacity for 180 passengers.

Rijeka to Zadar Catamaran - G&V Line Iadera Melita
The “Melita” ship, sailing on this line

The full line sails Rijeka – Krk Town (Krk) – Lopar (Rab) – Novalja (Pag) – Zadar; it not only connects the large northern port city of Rijeka to Dalmatia, but it also calls in at some of the more popular island towns in the Kvarner region.

The catamaran also calls in at the party town of Novalja on the island of Pag. That makes it a useful connection for anyone travelling to Croatia to one of the many festivals held there. You can choose to fly to Rijeka or Zadar and then travel down (or up) by boat instead of bus.

The full timetable can be seen below:

Rijeka to Zadar Catamaran Timetable

The line is maintained by G&V Line. The timetable may be subject to change.

Tickets for the Rijeka to Zadar Catamaran

It costs 190 Kunas to sail from Rijeka to Zadar; 130 Kunas for Rijeka to Novalja; 100 Kunas for Rijeka to Lopar; and 80 Kunas for Rijeka to Krk Town. (Obviously, all prices are the same for the opposite direction too.) Children under 12 years of age pay 50% of these prices.

Full price details can be seen below:

Rijeka to Zadar Catamaran Prices

Tickets can be bought online at www.gv-zadar.com or locally at sales points in all the ports the boat calls at. (For more details, check online.)

Hand luggage may be taken aboard, as well as one suitcase up to 20kg, to be stored in the luggage compartment.

G&V Line Iadera

The Zadar-based company operate several other routes in Croatia besides the Rijeka to Zadar catamaran. They also run a service from Zadar to Sali and Zaglav on Dugi Otok, and from Zadar to the small islands of Rava and Iz.

They operate foot-passenger only catamaran services, although this does of course mean a faster service than ferries. Bicycles may be taken on board some of their boats – please contact the company ahead of travel if you’d like to take a bike on board.

Timetables, prices and more details about all their routes can be found at www.gv-zadar.com.

Falkensteiner Punta Skala Triathlon

Falkensteiner Punta Skala Triathlon, 11th May 2019

With more and more visitors to Croatia interested in including a bit of activity in their holidays – and more sports events being held – here’s an exciting event taking place near Zadar in May that many of the athletes amongst you may be interested in.

The sixth Falkensteiner Punta Skala Triathlon will take place on 11th May 2019 in a stunning seaside location, with many benefits for the athletes taking part. Whether you’re someone that’s keen on triathlon tourism – as a solo entrant or perhaps even travelling a family – or are looking to take part in a triathlon abroad for the first time, this one is for you. The race is sure to draw in a large number of Croatian and foreign triathletes.

Falkensteiner Punta Skala Triathlon

The best thing about this triathlon, however, is that it is based around a beautiful holiday resort. That means that athletes – who will benefit from lower accommodation prices than in full season – can sleep right next to the start line. Your room and breakfast is but a five-minute walk away from the race start. You won’t have to worry about driving to the race location, struggling to find parking or forgetting essential bits of kit – because you only have a short walk from where you are staying. And that’s not to mention that all of this is right next to the gorgeous, crystal clear sea.

The Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort

The Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort offers up outstanding design, first-class facilities and Mediterranean flair combined with excellent service and a fantastic location. All athletes will be able to enjoy an exclusive wellness holiday at this luxury resort which not only features two first class hotels but also fine restaurants, comfortable apartments, modern sports facilities and crystal clear waters – not forgetting the wonderful Mediterranean climate.

The Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort
Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort_aerial

And you’re only a short distance away from the amazing town of Zadar. With Roman ruins, medieval churches, cosmopolitan cafes, trendy restaurants and interesting museums, Zadar is a must-see and certainly a great place to visit either pre- or post-race. Zadar also has two wonderful modern sights – the Sun Salutation and the Sea Organ, both of which need to be experienced first hand in order to get their full magic. And lets’s not forget Zadar’s epic sunsets! It’s not for nothing that Alfred Hitchcock proclaimed Zadar’s sunsets as being the most beautiful in the world!

Falkensteiner Punta Skala Triathlon

Falkensteiner Punta Skala Triathlon kicks off triathlon season in Croatia 

As mentioned, this Zadar half triathlon is to be held on Saturday 11 May 2019, which is during the early part of the holiday season. Around this time of year, air temperatures average around 23° C whilst the average sea temperature of 18° C is high enough for swimming with wetsuits.

Triathlon Swimming

The race will start with 1.9 km of swimming in front of the Falkensteiner Family Hotel Diadora. Swimming is then followed by the bike course of 90k (9 + 4×18 + 9), towards the small Dalmatian fishing village of Petrčane, and then towards Nin, the oldest Croatian royal city and winner of the European destination of excellence, European Best Romantic Destination in 2016.

Triathlon Cycling

The bike route then continues through the picturesque villages of the colourful Zadar hinterland and then back to the Punta Skala Resort. The bike portion takes place on a gently rolling terrain without significant hills, but being a seaside race wind can be a factor. The cycling course is 2m above sea level at its lowest point, and 52m above sea level at its highest; there is a total climb of 430m and descent through 90km. All roads on the course are in excellent condition and traffic will be regulated during the first part of the route (9km), while the section (4 x 18km) will be closed for traffic.

Zadar Half Triathlon

Last, but not least, comes the run of 21k through the enchanting Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort. The run covers 4 laps with a course that is new for 2019 race – it is exactly 5.27km long with 14m altitude difference per lap.

Check out this teaser video to get a feel for the event:

Georg Unterkircher, General Manager of the Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort said:

“As great supporters of the Falkensteiner Punta Skala Triathlon, we are excited to welcome athletes from all over the Europe on the respective race weekend. Our goal is to ensure that participants enjoy the best possible experience in advance of their race, from our carefully devised menus and ease of access to the start line on the morning of the race. With an exciting atmosphere and scenic course, it makes a memorable all-round experience for visiting athletes with their families.”

Race Director Zlatko Parac, Croatian triathlete himself said:

“Based on the experiences of the previous years and the athletes’ opinions, there will also be improvements on the organisational side, to establish this event both nationally and internationally. Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort is a popular venue for athletes with its fantastic location surrounded by the turquoise blue Adriatic sea, and as hosts they are keen to get involved in triathlon event and join in the spirit of Falkensteiner Triathlon weekend. We already know that there will be a lot of competitors from Croatia joining the competition for the first time and we believe our triathlon will fulfil their expectations. At the same time, we organise this race with the needs of the most demanding professionals in mind and we would prepare an abundance of prizes and other rewards!”

The triathlon will feature the ‘biggest independent prize purses in the Croatian Triathlon Calendar’, with general sponsor prizes in the form of accommodation vouchers for the Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort. A total value of €4500 will be allocated to the top five finishers in the male and female categories.

The race has grown steadily but is limited to 400 competitors (single and relay competitors combined). This makes it far from overcrowded, retaining the charm of a small well-organised race that takes place in a fabulous setting.

The main race will also be joined by an aquathlon (time-trial event) with the swim portion in the 25m pool of the Falkensteiner Family Hotel Diadora and a 5k run event. For anyone that needs a warm up a weekend earlier, you could take part in the official Zadar Half Triathlon Training Camp 2019 (4 – 10 May 2019) by Adriatic Coaching (Croatian Pro triathlete & coach Dejan Patrcevic). Just a few kilometers away, there is also the unique Wings for life World Run Zadar race.

Course finish

Benefits for triathletes

The Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort is able to offer participants top-of-the-line accommodation at extremely affordable rates (special rates on accommodation for competitors with BB service). Middle distance competitors who have booked accommodation at the Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort are entitled to the following discounts on the registration fee: 50% discount on entry fee for individuals and the same amount in € for relays, when staying a minimum of one night in Hotel & Spa Iadera 5*, Family Hotel Diadora 4* and Premium Apartments Senia.

Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort

More information

Full information about the triathlon can be found on the official website zadarhalf.com.

More information on the Falkensteiner Punta Skala Resort can be found at www.falkensteiner.com/en/hotels-residences/croatia or www.punta-skala.com.

Falkensteiner Punta Skala Triathlon / Zadar Half Triathlon
11th May 2019
Punta Skala Resort, Croatia
zadarhalf.com

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

Say hello to the Edinburgh Scouts completing the Explorer Belt Challenge in Croatia!

We were recently contacted by Craig from the Edinburgh Scouts, who is part of a group currently undertaking the Explorer Belt Challenge in Croatia.

The Explorer Belt is a Scouts challenge that involves travelling through a country for ten days while also completing different tasks along the way to get the know the country better. Craig and his group chose Croatia for their adventure, which means they’ve been walking from Zadar to Split. (Wow!)

Scouts Explorer Belt Challenge in Croatia

So far, the challenges they’ve completed in Croatia have been to do with learning more about Croatian culture and the country’s landscape. They’ve walked a mind-boggling 190km so far, including visiting the Biranj and Birnjac hills in Kastela, and Krka National Park. They’ve also had to carry all their kit – weighing 20kg – on their backs and are only allowed to spend 80 Kunas each a day.

Scouts Explorer Belt Challenge in Croatia

Craig’s group have also been eating and learning about local produce so have spent some time at a local vineyard, as well as at an olive oil producer. Other challenges they’ve undertaken have included a beach clean (no doubt a great help to Croatia!), as well as meeting with local fireman to discuss their jobs, and learn more about the problems they face with forest fires. They’ve also conversed with as many Croats as possible to help with their research on how tourism has affected the coastal area of Croatia.

You can see photos of some of their adventures in this post.

Scouts Explorer Belt Challenge in Croatia

We’re sending a big hello to Craig and his group companion Alice, and wish them all the very best on their challenge!

A weekend break in Croatia - Pula

Pula – Zadar catamaran re-introduced for 2017

Details of the popular Pula – Zadar catamaran route – which ceased to operate a few years ago – have finally been announced for summer 2017, just a few weeks ahead of the route actually starting!

Now run by Croatia’s main ferry operator Jadrolinija, this catamaran will start running on 3rd June 2017, and will in fact be run as a year-round service. (With a greater frequency of sailings during the peak summer months, and far less – in fact, just once a week – in off season.)

The full route also takes in the islands of Unije, Susak, Mali Losinj, Ilovik and Silba en route.

Pula - Zadar catamaran

In June and September, the catamaran will sail twice-weekly, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The catamaran will depart Pula at 7am, and arrive in Zadar at 1.15pm. For the return journey, the catamaran departs Zadar at 4pm, reaching Pula at 10.15pm.

During the peak months of July and August, the catamaran will operate five times a week (every day except Tuesdays and Thursdays). Again, the catamaran will depart Pula at 7am, reaching Zadar at 1.15pm, or 1.05pm on the days it does not make a stop on Ilovik. For the return journey, the catamaran sets sail from Zadar at 5pm (4pm on Fridays), arriving in Pula at 11.05pm/11.15pm (10.05pm on Fridays).

In off-season (early October onwards), the catamaran will only operate on Fridays.

The full timetable – including the times at which the catamaran calls at the islands – can be found on Jadrolinija’s website.

Tickets for the Pula – Zadar catamaran

Tickets can be booked online on Jadrolinija‘s website. A one-way ticket from Pula to Zadar (or reverse) costs 200 Kunas in high season (June to September inclusive). In low season, a one-way ticket costs 160 Kunas.

Prices for any of the other legs of the journey e.g. Pula – Mali Losinj, Zadar – Ilovik and so on, can be found on the above website.

Getting to Zadar - Ferry

Istria and Dalmatia are connected by sea!

This catamaran is certainly one that has been missing for many travellers in recent years, judging by the feedback we’ve had. We are sure many will welcome its return.

There are hardly any (actually, none!) ferry or catamaran routes from Istria to other parts of Croatia. That means this catamaran will be very handy for those in this part of the country.

In fact, there are currently hardly any sailings from the north Croatian coast to areas further south/Dalmatia. This Pula – Zadar catamaran is therefore a great way of connecting the north and south parts of the Croatian coastline.

Alternatives to the Pula – Zadar catamaran

One route that does exist connecting the north and south (ish!) parts of the coastline is the Rijeka – Rab – Novalja (on the island of Pag) catamaran. Also run by Jadrolinija, this sails daily year-round. Full timetable can be found on the Jadrolinija website.

There are frequent bus connections from Novalja/Pag to Zadar, so you can still reach this town by utilising this route.

There are also daily, year-round flights connecting Pula and Zadar. Operated by Croatia Airlines, this is the most suitable option if you need to travel quickly – flight time is only 40 minutes! (Although you obviously do need to factor in getting to and from each airport.)

Other useful travel information

The following sections may also be helpful to you:

Boutique Hostel Forum Review

Review: Boutique Hostel Forum, Zadar

Boutique Hostel Forum in Zadar is one of the hostels that’s joining a relatively new trend in Croatia and elsewhere – of the upmarket kind. For often times much less that even a half decent hotel, you get a fun and funky place to stay that’s usually rather new, has great facilities and is well located. What’s not to like?

Review Boutique Hostel Forum

Gorgeous view from a dorm room!

The Boutique Hostel Forum is all of these things. Located right on Kalelarga/Siroka ulica, you can’t miss it. Well, actually, you can as we did – stumbling off the bus from the airport, we wandered up and down Siroka ulica a few times before we finally found a door for the hostel. And then felt a bit stupid because it was quite obvious. (The hostel’s opposite the bellower of the Cathedral, in case you find yourself equally challenged.)

Two things strike you when you first enter – ORANGE and BLUE. It’s all very orange and blue. But it’s also very friendly – the young staff check you in quickly and give you a few pointers for the premises, including a little welcome leaflet that contains hostel information, plus a map of Zadar and a few local recommendations.

Private rooms are available but the shared, mixed dorm rooms are certainly comfortable enough – albeit compact – and offer a good deal of privacy.There’s two ‘bunk beds’ either side of the room, so if you and a friend are travelling you can easily have half a room without needing to mingle much with your dorm mates. Having said that, one side of the room is home to a small toilet and the shower room is on the other – so you do need traverse over to the other side occasionally. (I suppose you can always use the ‘public’ toilets in the hallways if you want.)

Review Boutique Hostel Forum

Left: dorm hallway Right: Floor hallway…. See – orange and blue!

A couple of chairs feature in each corner of the room, plus hooks for hanging up your coats and what-not, and each guest gets a large (really a good size) drawer unit to store their ultra-private but expensive and essential travel kit- iPads, cameras, Christian Louboutin heels. (Just joking on that last one, of course.) This inventive drawer opens with your room card key, which makes it pretty secure and easy to manage.

Each bed is more like a little cubby hole than merely a bunk bed. Inside your bed unit you’ve got a light, a mirror (for checking yourself out as soon as you wake up, I suppose), a LAN socket (?) and – oh yes! – two charge points. For every traveller’s most important needs are a) wifi and b) electrical sockets! There’s also plenty of other sockets dotted around the room too, in case you’ve decided to bring every electrical item with you on holiday. These cubby hole-type beds have their own blinds, which you can shut for complete privacy. The bed and bedding is more than comfortable, although the actual duvet is perhaps a little too thick for a typical Croatian summer. (Especially as – given the tight bed space – things get a little stuffy!)

Review Boutique Hostel Forum

A bunk bed

Review Boutique Hostel Forum

Breakfast is served! (Sort of)

The rooms actually overlook Kalelarga/Siroka ulica, and beyond that you can easily see The Forum and the twinkling Adriatic sea. It’s a simply gorgeous view! Don’t forget that as good a sight as you have of the outdoors, people outdoors have a good sight in…make sure you shut the blind before you, y’know, get into your PJs or whatever. (There’s actually a friendly warning by the window to this effect!)

There’s not a great deal of storage overall in the room – you have to squeeze your backpack/suitcase into the corner or hallway of the room as best as you can and there sure isn’t a good deal of space to ‘hang’ out. But you’re in the beautiful town of Zadar – who needs to hang about indoors?

There are, of course, a number of common rooms, including kitchens where you can store your own food or opt for breakfast if you want it, although a ‘breakfast in a bag’ (see below) is included in your room price. There’s an outdoor terrace out back, and a relatively large TV room – with two TVs – that reminded me a little of a children’s soft-play zone, with the bright colours and the sofa seating on different levels.

My favourite bit – waking up in the morning, pulling up the bed bunk blind and finding a breakfast bag had been delivered by my bunk. How did they do that? Who cares, there’s a sweet burek pastry inside! Pop down to the harbourfront for breakfast with a view.

Most importantly, the hostel’s wifi is strong and FAST – yay!

I’d highly recommend Boutique Hostel Forum – friendly, clean, comfortable, fun, decent value and superb location. Give it a try if you’re visiting Zadar!

Boutique Hostel Forum
Siroka ulica 20, Zadar
en.hostelforumzadar.com

Disclaimer: Visit Croatia stayed at Boutique Hostel Forum anonymously and paid for her own stay.

Love System Festival

Love System Festival a new entry to the Croatian festival season!

News reaches us that the already fantastic Croatian festival season – which features a whole host of events up and down the Croatian coast from late May to mid September – will have a new entry this year…the Love System Festival!

Love System (30th May – 2nd June 2013) will be taking place at something of a familiar location – the pretty little village of Petrcane, which is about 10km north of Zadar on the coast of North Dalmatia. However, Love System will be taking place in the never-used-before Punta Radman wood, which will see a maze of bars, stages and chill-out areas laid out in amongst the trees of the intimate site. Best of all, the main stage will be set floating on the Adriatic Sea itself, offering up a unique way of partying the night away on the Croatian coast…not to mention taking it easy in the sun in the daytime.

Much of the line-up has already been announced, with acts such as Shonky, Bicep, Mario Basanov, Finnebassen, Jay Shepheard, Ben Pearce and Midland all featuring on the bill. There is, however, many more still to be revealed – be sure to keep a close eye on the Festival’s Facebook page for all the latest announcements.

Love System Festival, Petrcane, Croatia

A festival in Croatia wouldn’t be a proper festival in Croatia without the boat parties! Love System will have their boats setting sail twice a day, with the bespoke parties hosted by some of the most esteemed labels and party brands in the UK – names such as Jaunt, Underground, Kumasi and Bad Apple.

Although it’s officially a four-day event, there’s also a pre-party the day before the Festival starts on Wednesday 29th June, as well as the chillout day on Monday 3rd June.

Tickets are being limited to just 800 in number to make it a unique event…and are being snapped up quick! Early bird tickets have already sold out, but there’s still opportunity to buy some in the second wave of ticket releases – they currently cost £79 and can be bought online.

Love System looks to be shaping up to be a true connoisseur’s festival – with the beautiful and intimate setting, branded after parties, the opportunity to stay in luxury accommodation (just minutes from the site – but camping is also possible) and variety of travel packages available, it’s sure to be a great Croatian festival experience!

We’ve got our own little guide on the Love System Festival – check it out for advice on travelling to the festival, as well as more detailed info about the event: Festivals in Croatia 2013 – Love System Festival.

Otherwise, full details on the event can be found on the official Love System Festival website.

Love System Festival
Petrcane (near Zadar), Dalmatia
30th May – 2nd June 2013

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.

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.