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Zagreb 80s Museum Reception

Zagreb 80s Museum – Visit Croatia Review

If you’re anything like Visit Croatia, you have both a strong connection to the city of Zagreb…and are absolutely in love with the decade that is the 1980s. In which case, what could be a better museum for you to visit practically anywhere in the world than the Zagreb 80s Museum!

(No? Just me then?)

Well, even if neither of the above apply to you, read on…for this is certainly one of the most fun museums to visit in Zagreb!

Zagreb 80s Museum Sign

Visiting the Zagreb 80s Museum

If truth be told, this was definitely on my list of things to see in Croatia’s capital…but I actually stumbled across it during a walk in the Upper Town one November afternoon, having finally escaped the confines of the warm indoors after a lengthy and heavy rainstorm. Admiring the statue of St George as I have done a number of times before, I turned around…to be greeted by a bright and cheery sign with everything (well, not exactly everything) that is dear to me.

Climbing up the steps to what is basically a first floor apartment, you enter the museum’s small lobby area in what would ordinarily be a hallway. But this is a hallway with a difference, for it features half a yellow Fico car (a Zastava 750) practically emerging out of one wall. And you can climb inside for photos!

Zagreb 80s Museum Fico Car
The Fico car in the lobby…climb inside!
80s Ski Gear
80s ski gear

There are several distinct rooms – apart from the hallway/museum lobby, there’s an open plan living room/kitchen with sofas, entertainment and lifestyle items (telephone, record player, TV) and even one of those giant wardrobe/sideboard items that seemed to be very popular in…well…everyone’s home in Yugoslavia in the 1980s. Beyond that there’s another hallway-slash-office-slash-tribute-to-Zagi (remember him??!); a bedroom and then a kind of games room with the ubiquitous 80s games consoles.

Zagreb 80s Museum Reception
Does this look like a living room that you remember??
80s Wardrobe
Open it up to discover the fun inside…including 80s clothes to dress up in!
80s Telephone
Yup, the standard ‘telephone corner’ with the standard 80s telephone
80s Dining Room

But what’s there to do?

The premise of this museum is that it is fully interactive and offers you an immersive experience of what living in Yugoslavia in the 1980s was like. That means nothing is off limits – you can touch everything in the museum, sit in the chairs, open up the drawers, play around with things like the games consoles. You can even dress up in 80s gear as one of the wardrobes is filled with 80s clothes!

There’s plenty of fun to be had touching and feeling the exhibits, opening up cupboards to see what’s inside. Try sitting in the living room and pretending this is your apartment, albeit one 35 years ago.

One area that brought me the most amusement was the small corner dedicated to Zagi, the blue squirrel that was the mascot of the 1987 Univerzijada (the University Olympics) which were held in Zagreb. If you were slightly obsessed by him back in that decade, well, this will be a real treat for you.

Yugoslavian money
Yugoslavian Dinars
Yugoslavian food items
Food packaging from 1980s Yugoslavia
Zagi
A corner dedicated to my beloved Zagi

Zagreb 80s Museum – Verdict

We (of course!) absolutely loved this museum and really enjoyed our visit – so it’s no surprise that we’d really recommend this place.

However, we would say that the Zagreb 80s Museum is probably for those that are either really in to the 1980s (or don’t mind it for a few hours!) and/or have some kind of nostalgia about Yugoslavia or another Eastern European country during that decade. (Whether you lived through that time, had family there or visited in some way.)

But it is actually even good for kids! Given that it’s a fully interactive museum, they’ll also have fun looking at the ‘funny’ exhibits and there’s plenty of kid-friendly things that will catch their interest. (Even if this sets the scene of a time ages before they were born.) And they’ll just love sitting in the yellow car and pretending to drive.

The Zagreb 80s Museum is also located just a short distance from many other sights in the Upper Town, so can easily be combined with a tour of this part of the city – it’s a nice way to change up the scene from walking around looking at many of the outdoor sights.

There are also some rather fun (and some…ahem…quite naughty) trinkets to take home from the little shop. I went home with a Tesla (a Yugoslavian brand) lightbulb!

Zagreb 80s Museum - 80s games consoles
The games console corner

More info

Tickets for the museum cost 40 Kunas for adults, 30 Kunas for concessions (students and 65+) and 25 Kunas for kids aged 3 to 13.

Full details on Zagreb 80s Museum can be found on the official website.

Zagreb for Kids - Zagreb Zoo Sign

Zagreb Zoo – Visit Croatia Review

Zagreb Zoo is located in the very pleasant and tranquil Maksimir Park, in the east of the city of Zagreb. The Park and Zoo are just a short tram ride away from the main part of the city, and so very easy to reach no matter where you’re staying.

Combining a day out in this pretty park with a few hours in the Zoo is a great way to spend an afternoon in Zagreb, particularly if you have kids in tow! The Zoo is also astonishingly cheap compared to zoos in other European cities and is well run and maintained, with an interesting selection of animals.

Zagreb Zoo Sign

Covering an area of 17 acres, the zoo completed the first stage of a modernisation program in 2016. Zagreb Zoo is a member of the European and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and a participant in the European Endangered Species Programme.

Getting to Zagreb Zoo

Trams 11 or 12 operate from the main square, Trg ban Jelacic, to the road just outside Maksimir Park. Trams 4 and 7 from elsewhere in the city and also stop near the park.

Entry

Tickets for the Zoo cost just 30 Kunas for adults, and 10 Kunas for children.

The Zoo is open 365 days of the year so, weather permitting, you can enjoy it any time of year! Do note that the Zoo has different opening hours at different times of the year – obviously, longer in spring/summer and shorter autumn/winter. For example, the zoo closes at 4pm November to January inclusive, whilst it stays open until 8pm May to August. The ticket office closes about a hour before the zoo does, so make sure you make it in time to buy a ticket.

Large scale map at Zagreb Zoo
A map of the grounds, soon after entry. We are visitor number 79 that day!

What to See and Do in Zagreb Zoo

You can explore and visit the animals in the Zoo taking a largely circular route past the many exhibits. Soon after you enter you’ll walk over a bridge to get to the main part of the zoo, passing by flamingos, storks and a funny collection of capybaras.

Zagreb Zoo - lynx
Can you spot the lynx? (in the middle of the picture, to the left)

On to the main part and there’s an insectarium and lemur island and an often snoozing but beautiful lynx. The Australian section – and its wallabies – follows before you make your way over to the European brown bear enclosure.

Zebras and tapirs follow, then pygmy hippos and some very interesting exhibits in the Twilight Zone (nocturnal animals) and Tropical House buildings, including assorted reptiles and crocodiles!

Zagreb Zoo - Zebras
Zebras in a nice open enclosure
Crocodiles in Zagreb Zoo
Crocodiles in the Tropical House

The Monkey Pavillion and its chimpanzees brings you to the zoo’s restaurant, right next to the playful sea lions. Swing by the wolves before heading into the petting zoo where you can indeed stroke some of the animals such as goats.

Next you’ll see bison and camels and a large enclosed aviary before coming to probably the premier exhibit – the gorgeous lions. Nearby is also a very cute and playful red panda that is definitely worth watching for a bit!

Zagreb Zoo - Lions
The lion enclosure
Lion and lioness in Zagreb Zoo

Playgrounds

As you wind your way around, you’ll also encounter a decent number of children’s play areas which – depending on the age of your child – may delight them more than the animals!

Talks and Animals Feedings

Some days of the weeks see talks and public animal feedings take place for a number of animals in the zoo. You can see the timetable of this here, or check when entering the zoo.

Historical sights in Zagreb Zoo

The Zoo first opened in 1925 so there are a number of older structures dotted about – including a small tower (which you can climb up) just after the main entrance.

Eating in Zagreb Zoo

There is a restaurant on site called “Kod morskog lava” (which means “By the sea lion”…for the restaurant is indeed next to the sea lion enclosure. The restaurant serves traditional continental Croatian fare – think soups, Schnitzel-type meats with accompanying veg side dishes and tasty desserts.

There is also a very reasonably priced kids menu; for about 30-40 Kunas there are different ‘packages’ which contain a main, a side (usually chips) and a drink. (The more expensive ones also include a dessert.)

There are also numerous snack carts dotted around Zagreb Zoo from which you can grab a snack (ice cream, no doubt, for the kids!) or a drink.

Kod morskog lava restaurant
The sea lion enclosure (they’re in there, somewhere!) next to Kod morskog lava restaurant

Shopping

There is a cute little gift shop located not too far from the entrance that has a nice range of animal-themed gifts – soft toys, books, jewellery and other assorted knick knacks. Any kids in your group will probably find it hard to resist the soft toys…

Our verdict

Zagreb Zoo is definitely a wonderful way to spend a few hours in this city, whether you’re an animal lover or if you’re visiting with kids. The Zoo isn’t particularly big, but that’s perhaps best as some larger zoos can be quite exhausting to visit or are a full day experience. There are are also very modern facilities and amenities (toilets!) that add to the whole experience.

All the exhibits in the zoo are very interesting, and most of the animals seem well kept indeed – it certainly looks like a considerable amount of money has been invested in the zoo, and the recent modernisation programme has really helped.

I did think the sea lions’ enclosure was a little on the small side, however, and unfortunately it looked like the chimpanzees had learnt to sit, arms outstretched, begging for food from passers-by – I did hope that the ‘no feeding’ signs could be enforced a bit better.

But, all in all, I’d definitely recommend visiting Zagreb Zoo!

More information

Full details on visiting the zoo can be found on the official website.

Zagreb by scooter - Bikini Scooters

A new way to discover Zagreb – by scooter!

Croatia’s lovely capital city Zagreb has lots going for it – plenty of sights (both old and modern), galleries, museums, shopping, bars and cafes, restaurants, events and much more. It’s an excellent choice for a weekend city break, or as a starting (or end) point for a longer holiday in Croatia. The city also has plenty of ways of exploring it, but now here comes something new – the opportunity to explore Zagreb by scooter!

Launched in May 2019, Bikini Scooters is an agency that offers both interactive guided tours of the capital on electric scooters and well as e-scooter rental. A noise-free and eco-friendly way of seeing Zagreb – that also covers a lot of ground with hardly any exertion…and is of course lots of fun!

Zagreb by scooter - Bikini Scooters
Visitors to Zagreb enjoying a Bikini Scooters tour

Since they started offering their tours, plenty of people have enjoyed seeing Zagreb by scooter with Bikini Scooters – families with children, exchange students, travellers, couples on holiday, professionals in town on business, seniors wanting a new kind of sightseeing experience and many more!

Guided Tours – Zagreb by Scooter

Bikini Scooters offer 90 minute guided tours of Zagreb by scooter, which are available in English or Spanish. Their tours cover most of Zagreb’s main sights, including Kaptol and the Cathedral, Ban Jelacic Square, the Green Horseshoe of Zagreb/Lenuci’s Horseshoe (the parks of downtown Zagreb), the Croatian National Theatre, and the Upper Town. All tours are conducted by a licensed guide.

Zagreb by scooter - Bikini Scooters
Visiting Zagreb’s Cathedral by scooter!

Three tours show off Zagreb’s sights – the Start Your Day Tour; the Afternoon Tour; or the Zagreb by Night Tour. The Zagreb by Night Tour is an excellent choice in summer when the cooler evenings offer some relief from the hot days. Not only this, but the Zagreb by Night Tour has the added bonus of a complimentary drink in Tkalciceva Street. Here your guide will also be able to point out the best nightspots, bars and restaurants!

Bikini Tours also offer private tours which can be customised to visitors’ tastes and interests.

Riding E-Scooters in Zagreb

For anyone nervous about riding an e-scooter, don’t be! The scooters are easy and fun to ride, don’t require any previous experience and can be mastered in just minutes.

Children aged 12 years and older can ride a scooter by themselves. Younger children can ride on a scooter with an adult.

All scooter riders are provided with helmets.

Scooters are permitted to be ridden on pavements and in pedestrian areas in Zagreb.

Zagreb by scooter - Bikini Scooters
A Zagreb by Night Tour in front of the Music Academy

About Bikini Scooters

Bikini Scooters was formed by a team of like-minded professionals from diverse backgrounds. They all like to show off Zagreb to visitors in an enthusiastic and exciting way!

The company are also planning lots more exciting tours of Zagreb, including covering the New Zagreb (Novi Zagreb) area, sports themed tours, and showing off green areas such as Maksimir Park, and around places such as Lake Bundek and Lake Jarun. Watch their website for news!

More info

You can find all details about the tours Bikini Scooters run on their website. Do also check them out on Facebook and Instagram as well!

Bikini Scooters
bikiniscooters.hr/tours/

Museums in Zagreb - Image of War Museum

New in Zagreb – The Image of War Museum

Croatia’s wonderful capital city, Zagreb, is home to many fine museums. Its latest one – the Image of War Museum – opened only a couple of months ago, has already been receiving rave reviews from visitors.

Image of War Museum

Image of War Museum, Zagreb

Image of War Museum, Zagreb

The Image of War Museum

Image of War is a museum of war photography whose aim is to show the horrors of armed conflict through the eyes of professional photographers. The museum also tells the stories of the ordinary and innocent people caught up in wars.

Sadly, war is something that the country of Croatia has experienced in its relatively recent past. To this end, the museum’s first exhibition is titled “Up Close and Personal: War in Croatia”. It covers the war in the country from 1991 to 1995, featuring images by world-renowned photographers, as well as  stories and photographs taken by ordinary people and collected through an online campaign on museum’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Danilo Gregović, the museum’s founder, says:

“War is hell. In Croatia we still remember it vividly because we lived through it quite recently but the message seems to be forgotten easily. War unleashes the worst and the best in humans. The mission of our museum is to show both sides of human nature. Visitors will be able to learn about real and personal tragedies but also about hope, friendship and mercy. This is the power of photography – it tells personal stories in a universally understandable and relatable way.”

As well as promoting peace and raising awareness about the destructiveness of war, the museum will actively work towards changing the realities of those directly affected by war today. Part of the revenue from all ticket sales will be donated to the NGO Are You Syrious? which helps refugees and victims of war.

Image of War Museum, Zagreb

Image of War Museum, Zagreb

Croatia’s First Crowd Funded Museum

The museum recently raised funds through a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo titled “War belongs in a museum”, making it the first crowdfunded museum in Croatia. This message – “war belongs in a museum” – reflects the basic idea behind this anti-war museum: to make war a thing of the past by stimulating dialogue about its devastating consequences and educating on the imperative of peace for everyone.

Visiting the Image of War Museum

The Image of War Museum opened on 8th August 2018 and has already received fantastic reviews by visitors.

The museum is open daily (except Mondays) from 10am to 8pm. It is located at  Ulica Andrije Hebranga 4, close to Zrinjevac Park and a short walk south from the main Ban Jelacic Square.

Tickets cost 50 Kunas for adults, 40 Kunas for concessions (students/pensioners/veterans). It is 80 Kunas for couples, and for groups of 10 or more, it is only 30 Kunas per person.

Further information about the museum can be found on their website or their Facebook page.

Image of War Museum, Zagreb

Image of War Museum
Ulica Andrije Hebranga 4
Zagreb
www.imageofwar.hr

Pop Up Summer Garden

Enjoy summer in Zagreb at Pop Up Summer Garden – starting today!

The second edition of the beautiful Zagreb summer-long event, Pop Up Summer Garden, starts today, 7th June 2018. Located just a few minutes away from Ilica Street in the centre of Zagreb, the event fits perfectly into its wonderful surroundings, the beautiful Tuškanac woods. Pop Up Summer Garden is one of the best ways of relaxing in the heat of the city!

Pop Up Summer Garden

Following last year’s successful inaugural event, Pop Up Summer Garden brings together summer refreshment and entertainment for both locals and visitors to the city. There will be plenty of music, events, creative art and floral installations as well as a large selection of tasty food and drinks. Guests can expect performances by numerous DJs and acoustic bands of all genres; a varied programme of films; plus activities such as workshops, themed weeks, special guest appearances and other interesting events. Top-notch cocktails will be prepared by renowned barmen from one of the most popular bars in Zagreb, Swanky Monkey Garden, and Spizza restaurant will be making delicious snacks.

Pop Up Summer Garden

Pop Up Summer Garden

Films at Pop Up Summer Garden

Film lovers in particular will be given a special treat with a film festival organised by the Summer Stage Tuškanac; a perfect complement to Pop Up Summer Garden.

The film program on Summer Stage Tuškanac, organised by the Centre for Culture and Film Augusta Cesarca, starts on Saturday, June 9th with a screening of the animated film “Isle of Dogs”. This particular production comes from the world animated Zagreb film festival, Animafest.

Live music at Pop Up Summer Garden

At the opening of Pop Up Summer Garden today, 7th June, guests can dance into the night to the sounds of the best soul / r’n’b / funk musicians of the Croatian band SoulShadows SoundSystem. Dance rhythms continue with DJ Fiddly Digits & Nobs performing as Filthy Dancing Live. Friday 8th June is reserved for the Croatian band Ljetno Kino and DJ Oberan.

Pop Up Summer Garden

Pop Up Summer Garden

Summer in the City

Escape the concrete jungle and the heat of summer by heading to the green oasis of Pop Up Summer Garden. The event will be open until mid-September, so guests can cool down in the Tuškanac woods with cocktails, music, movies and lots of fun almost all summer long.

Pop Up Summer Garden

More on Pop Up Summer Garden

Full details of Pop Up Summer Garden, including the complete programme and event announcements, can be found on the official Facebook & Instagram accounts. Check them out, and start planning your summer in Zagreb!

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

Split Photos - View from the Belltower

Travelling from Zagreb to Split

Are you planning on travelling from Zagreb to Split (or vice versa) this summer, taking in Croatia’s two largest cities? Read our guide below for how best to travel between the two!

History of Zagreb

Travelling from Zagreb to Split by train

Unusually for Croatia train is one of the methods of transport you can use in travelling between Zagreb and Split. (We say this because many travellers expect to travel around by coast…and then discover the lack of train services along the coast!)

There are several trains per day between Zagreb and Split, and journey time is either 6 hours or 8 hours (the latter being an overnight train).

Daytime trains take around six hours, and a one-way, second-class ticket costs 208 Kunas. There’s a train that departs early in the morning, and another departing mid-afternoon.

The 8-hour train has a couchettes for sleeping – if that’s your kind of thing – and there’s also a special bicycle car…plus space to transport vehicles! The cost of this train is 190 Kunas for a regular, single-ticket journey in second class.

Look up timetables on the Croatian Railways or Die Bahn websites. Look for Zagreb Gl. Kol. or Zagreb Glavni Kol. (Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor meaning Zagreb Main Terminal, the main station in the capital.)

Note: During summer, twice a week (Tuesdays and Fridays) these trains actually start in Budapest – so if you’re travelling from Hungary, you can make it direct all the way to the Croatian coast (well, as long as it’s Split!). Journey time is 14 hours.

Travelling from Zagreb to Split by Bus

There are many buses per day between Zagreb and Split…as befitting a route connecting Croatia’s two largest cities! It’s best to look up timetables on the Zagreb Bus Terminal website.

The thing to note about bus services is that some are much faster than others – this depends on whether buses take the fast, motorway route to Split or the slower ‘road’. (The latter most likely meaning plenty of stops en route.)

You can work out journey time length on the Zagreb Bus Terminal website; it also shows how many stops (and where) will be made. This will give you an idea of which are the faster buses! Journey times vary between 5 hours and about 7 and a half hours.

The Zagreb Bus Terminal website also offers online booking of tickets, although you will need to physically pick up tickets from the Terminal before departure. (But seeing as you’re leaving from there anyway…that’s no big deal.)

Flights from Zagreb to Split

There are also daily flights, year-round, between these two cities operated by Croatia Airlines. With a flight time of only 45 minutes and with cheap tickets available if you book early enough, this is obviously a very fast way of travelling that can actually be cheaper than expected.

You do, of course, have to factor in travel between each city centre and airport but with regular transfer buses at both ends that’s easy enough. Check out our Zagreb Public Transport and Getting to and from Split Airport pages for help.

Driving from Zagreb to Split

If you’ve hired a car for your stay in Croatia, driving from Zagreb to Split is also very easy these days due to the A1 motorway. The journey time can be as quick as 4 hours, assuming no bad traffic situations. The motorway is of course tolled so do factor this in – you’ll pick up a ticket when entering the start of the motorway just outside Zagreb, and then need to pay when you exit at Dugopolje outside Split. If you’re in a standard car, this will cost 174 Kunas (2015 price) – prices of other vehicles can be seen here: A1 motorway toll prices.

Animafest

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

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

Animafest

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

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

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

Animafest
9th – 14th June 2015
Zagreb

Flights to Croatia

New flights to Croatia for 2015!

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

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

Flights to Croatia

New flights to Croatia for 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cancelled routes for 2015

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

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

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

Changes in flight schedules

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

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

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

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

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

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

We hope you enjoy your flight to Croatia in 2015!

Rovinj

Croatia tourism statistics for January to July 2013 are in!

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

Rovinj

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

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

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

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

Source: Jutarnji