Tuesday, 15 September 2020

A Day Trip to Biokovo, A Beautiful Nature Escape Above Makarska

September 16, 2020 - Besides the newly opened Skywalk, Biokovo Nature Park offers several reasons worth visiting. This second-highest mountain in Croatia is a paradise for all lovers of nature, sports, or simply the beautiful views that extend from its heights. If you are looking for a destination for a city break, consider a day trip to Biokovo! 

Biokovo is a mountain range that separates the Adriatic from Zagora, and if you are lucky, you can see Italian Monte Gargano in nice weather. Inhabited even before the appearance of the letter, Biokovo was named after the snow whiteness, as evidenced by the fact that it is closed to visitors from mid-November until early April.

A narrow and steep mountain road leads to the top of Biokovo at 1762 m, Saint Jure, which is certainly a great challenge, not only for driving a car but also for cyclists and alpinists.

Nature

I think there is not much to talk about the natural diversity of Biokovo. It is enough to know that it is inhabited by seven different species of amphibians and about 20 species of reptiles. In addition to numerous endemic delights, the park is also home to the spotted Ratsnake, one of the most beautiful European snakes.

Given that due to the inaccessible terrain and often unfavorable climatic conditions, the fauna is still insufficiently explored, most will encounter only horses and donkeys, which you can see while grazing grass along the road. 

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Saint Jure

If you were on Biokovo and you didn’t go to the top, it is like you weren’t even there. On the south side, there is a beautiful view of the Makarska and Dalmatian islands and on the north side of Imotski and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Apart from breathtaking views, there is also a picturesque church of St. Jure, built-in 1968, not far from the old church demolished due to the construction of the transmitter. However, this is not the only church on the mountain. Except for the most famous one, there are 87 other churches and chapels.

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Cycling and hiking

For fans of recreational sports, such as cycling and hiking, going to Biokovo can be an active vacation, a combination of recreation and enjoyment. The oldest hiking trail to climb to the top of Sveti Jure, on the south side, leads from the village of Makar, passing the mountain lodge Vošac and the mountain lodge under Saint Jure. The trail meanders continuously, shortening the serpentines, and the higher it climbs, the narrower the trail and the shorter the serpentines. 

If you are adventurous, this could be a real challenge for you!

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Domestic food

In the nature park, at 900 meters above sea level, in the heart of Biokovo is located a house of rural tourism, the Doors of Biokovo. You can try excellent food prepared the Dalmatian way, such as homemade prosciutto and cheese, grilled specialties, homemade 'peka,' and the like. You can also try homemade herb-brandy, known as 'travarica,' made from 48 herbs, widely known worldwide. For those who are not lovers of alcohol, there are a variety of teas.

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Skywalk

After opening in early July, Skywalk attracts many visitors, both domestic and foreign. You can hear exclamations of enthusiasm in various world languages, but few don't dare to take a walk. As part of the lookout, a geological column was built - a three-dimensional view of the cross-section of the rocks that formed the area of ​​Biokovo from its inception until today with a geological table of time and a description of the age and type of rocks.

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 If by now you didn’t know how to spend a September Sunday, here's an idea. 

All photos © Sara Alduk

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Sunday, 8 October 2017

Day Trip From Split: Island Šolta (Video)

8th October 2017, Sunday, time to sit back and relax; let this beautiful video transport you to the island Šolta and get ready to book another trip.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

How to Move an Islet by Rope - Mrdulja Tugging

For my short time working at the Croatian Embassy in Bratislava, I heard so many jokes from the Embassy staff about Brač people and Hvar people. It was something new for me then, but apparently Brač people are considered to be very careful with their money in those jokes. I did not put too much attention to any of those, as it did not reflected my personal experience when on Hvar.

But then, I heard about the Mrdulja tugging and it made me thinking.

It is a tradition for so many years now, between Brač island and Šolta island. The islet Mrdulja lies between these two islands and both islands claim the islet is theirs. As they are not able to make any kind of reasonable agreement about the ownership of the islet, they play tug-of-war every year on the last weekend of July to pull the islet bit closer to one or the other side.

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It became a beautiful tradition for the locals to meet people from the other island once a year. After the tug-of-war, the winning island is hosting a celebration with wine and live music back in the harbour. How convenient, that islands alternate in winning, so both islands get to host the party and be the winner for that particular year.
 
If you would like to experience the Tugging of Mrdulja, as each year more and more people do, you can take advantage of the Sugaman Special Edition of their Blue Lagoon trip on July 25, 2015.  Visiting the Blue Lagoon with an unique experience on the way back. And it is an afternoon trip, so you can even sleep in!!
 
This is the itinerary of the tour:
 
14:30 Departure from Split Riva
15:10 Enjoying the Blue Lagoon
16:20 Departure for Mrdula Island
17:00 Start of the Tugging
18:30 Departure for Split
19:00 Arrival to Split

For more information, please visit the Sugaman tours website, where you can easily book this or any other tours.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Discover Inland Dalmatia: Free Walking Tour of Sinj Every Thursday

Another nice initiative from the Sinj Tourist Board - free walking tours of the town every Thursday evening at 18:00.

Far from being just another town in Croatia, Sinj has one of the most fascinating histories of all, with the sights to match, and in just a few weeks national and international media attention will be focused on the small Dalmatian town, as it hosts the 300th Alka Knight Tournament.

But while the Alka may be Sinj's most famous association, there is plenty else of interest in the town, one of my favourite places in Dalmatia. There are hourly buses to Sinj from Split bus station, and the last bus back is at 21:00.

All info is on the flyer below, including a contact number for further information. I encourage you to go, as it will give you a different flavour to your Split holiday.

Follow the Sinj Tourist Board on Facebook.  

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Kastela, the Undiscovered Tourism Jewel of Croatia?

I have just finished a contract for a private accommodation business who rent apartments in Croatia. My main task was to write short and informative destination guides for more than 40 destinations in Croatia, the majority of them on the Dalmatian coast and islands. Take it from me - once you have written one...

It struck me that there were so many destinations on the coast that had little to offer apart from the sun, the sea and the beach - not a bad combination.

It was a thought that was in my head as I accepted an invitation to the 12th Kastela Wine Evenings event, including a press trip to explore the emerging original Zinfandel wine route (Crljenak Kastelanski was found to be the origin in 2001). It was quite a day, as you can read in our Google News report.  

My perceptions of Kastela changed forever that day. Previously, I had thought of it as an industrial necessity on the way to the airport, although I did know from writing for the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board that it had seven stunning coastal villages - check them out in detail here

My first shock upon visiting was to find out that there has been no major industry in Kastela for more than five years. And as I sat and thought, listening to our guide at the same time, I sat in wonder at the treasures that Kastela did possess. Consider the following:

  • Birthplace of the Zinfandel variety, a face proven in 2001, and surely a gold mine with wine tourism taking off in Croatia.
  • A Game of Thrones filming set. Hello?!? Tourism ker-ching!
  • A Romeo and Juliet story to shame Verona - enjoy the Chasing the Donkey version here
  • Located between two UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Diocletian's Palace and the old town of Trogir.
  • An amazing Biblical garden.
  • An amazing botanical garden.
  • One of the most fascinating olive trees in Croatia.
  • 18km of coastline, including 3km of beaches.
  • Great adventure tourism possibities, with Mount Kozjak looking on.
  • The Adriatic sea lapping its waves in front of seven stunning stone coastal settlements.
  • It has a marina.
  • A lengthy promenade, which if fully connected, would be the longest on the Croatian coast.
  • One of Croatia's weirdest gastro festivals - the Kastela Broadbean Festival (and yes, broadbean ice-cream IS on the menu).
  • The second busiest airport in Croatia, just ten minutes away.
  • Europe's first scheduled seaplane service in modern history, just ten minutes away.

And yet...

Tourism in Kastela is not doing very well at all...

Here are the numbers from 2014, comparing with a similar sized town, Omis, which also has the same hotel situation, but no airport, marina, Zinfandel story...

Omis 105,058 arrivals, 663,578 overnights

Kastela 42,406 arrivals, 235,582 overnights

I interviewed the Kastela Tourist Board Director Nada Marsic, at the event. A very nice lady, and I will add our interview to this article once I figure out the technology. Nada has been director of the tourist board since 2008, and her main problem - like so many tourist boards - is the lack of decent hotels. As in, for example, Omis, which has 250% more tourists than Kastela.  

Nada told me that the biggest groups of tourists come from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. I met the reason why Poles are coming at lunch - a delightful Polish lady who found love in Kastela 30 years ago and has been here ever since. We were joined at lunch by a delegation from her home town in Poland, a partner town to Kastela since she connected them, and a major reason I am sure why so many Poles come to Kastela. One Kastela man's love for a Polish woman all those years ago has done wonders for its tourism. 

I stayed at the Baletna Skola hotel. Here was my 05:30 view before I took the flight to Munich.  

The olive tree IS lovely. 

And the wines were great. The local winemakers are busy replanting Crljenak Kastelanski which had almost died out before the Zinfandel connection was discovered. 

The winemakers have their own flair. I certainly was not expecting to see THIS in a Kastela winery, but Tonci Kovac is typical of the energy and possibilities offered by a region most people drive straight through.  

And there was nothing wrong with the beach. 

It was early March, so not a lot of swimming, but for a safe family destination, Kastela looks rather nice indeed. 

And coming back to the wine, the Bedalov winery offers tastings on the waterfront or in the comfort of their vineyard, some 400m above sea. A rather marvellous spot.

I asked the director about a promotional video for Kastela, and she told me there was an official one on Vimeo, which I have been unable to find, but I rather liked this private one on Youtube instead. Check it out, and take a closer look at Kastela next time you are passing through. 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Day Trips from Split: Video Tours of Hvar, Brac, Vis

Split is the perfect base from which to discover Dalmatia. If you fancy a little island hopping, the treasures of Hvar, Vis, Brac and Solta await. Take a video tour of some of the highlights of the islands below:

Vis

 

 Hvar Town

 

Stari Grad on Hvar

 

Bol on Brac


Supetar on Brac

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Five Great Reasons to Visit Sinj from Split

(Photo by Sinj Tourist Board)

An American couple recently posted on the Expats in Split Facebook page asking for recommendations for a day trip from Split, including a visit to a restaurant for a good meal. Having just returned from a fabulous day out with the Sinj Tourist Board, I recommended they check out the historic town about 30 minutes north of Split by car, stopping in for lunch at Ispod Ure in the centre. There were other great suggestions for days out, and I thought nothing more of it. A couple of days later, I received the following email:

Dear Paul

I hope you are well today! I actually went with your recommendation to drop into Sinj today. We rented our a car for our apartment move, so we wanted to take advantage of the wheels and check out something great outside Split. Sinj was just as charming as you said, and we loved Ispod Ure. Had the whole place to ourselves. The meat was FABULOUS, as was the stuffed cabbage. Thank you again for the recommendation. 

The fact is, Sinj IS fabulous, and almost totally undiscovered. Here are five great reasons why you should check out Sinj on your next visit to Split.

1. Alka

Sinj's most famous event is the annual knights' tournament, the Alka, which takes place every August. It is a legacy of the commemoration of the famous victory over the vastly superior Ottomoan forces in 1715, and is one of the more colourful and individual cultural events in Europe. Check out the video above for a short overview of the event itself. 

Lesser known - and certainly lesser attended - are the preparations for the main Alka event, and the very helpful Sinj Tourist Board (more about them in a moment) provided the following information about the 2013 Alka:

For this year the dates are:

Bara  02.08.2013. at 17.00
Čoja  03.08.2013. at 17.00
Alka  04.08.2013. at 16.30

They are practicing from the middle of the July at the Alka course every day, except Saturday and Sunday. 

(Photo by Branko Čović)

Seats during practice in July are not so busy.
Regarding people who attend Bara & Čoja, mainly local people, so there is plenty of opportunity to experience the tradition apart from the main event, where it is very difficult to find tickets.
Entrance for Bara and Čoja are free of charge, to catch a seat it is necessary to come 30 minutes before the start.

2. Heritage

I have written a couple of articles in the last couple of days about Sinj - one for the official blog for the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board and one for Google News. This town is very rich in heritage, from its fortresses and 1715 legacy, to its Franciscan monastery and the infamous Madonna, to its claim to be the region which is the birthplace of football in Europe. With the right information, there is so much to discover in Sinj.

3. The food

(Photo by Secret Dalmatia)

On my visit to Sinj, we went for lunch at Ispod Ure, where we were treated to a fabulous selection of local specialities, including some outstanding local prsut, Sinj's signature arambasic (stuffed cabbage with three types of chopped meat) and some of the best meat and potatoes I have had in Dalmatia. As if the food were not enough,the setting - in the back room of Ispod Ure restaurant - is absolutely stunning. Dripping in Dalmatian tradition and Alka culture, it is worth coming to Sinj for a glass of wine here alone. 

4. Activies, activities and... yes, you guessed it, activities.

Photo by Sinj Tourist Board

Imagine a town with almost no tourists, just a short drive from the city of Split, with its own historic culture, fabulous architecture and endless activities. Feeling adventurous? Why not take advantage of the Sinj airfield for a little paragliding? A horse lover? From the famous hippodrome to the organised riding holidays, there is plenty of choice. Ready to take on the mighty Cetina river? Canoe safaris and white water rafting are just some of your options. An Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis, hiking and climbing - Sinj has a staggering amount of outdoor potential, as is the perfect base for an active family holiday. 

5. The Sinj Tourist Board - they are fantastic

How do I know all this? This is perhaps one of the best reasons to visit Sinj at all. It has one of the most progressive, dynamic and forward-thining tourist boards I have seen in Croatia. Great website, active Facebook page, superb guide booklet to the town, helpful signs recently erected around town. Start your Sinj tour in their office to get the best out of your trip.

To reach Sinj, take the road to the motorway and simply keep going. There are regular buses, and you can find times here (you are strongly advised to check with the bus website in the article to check the latest times). Or visit the helpful Sinj Tourist Board for any questions. 

 

Friday, 27 March 2015

Wonders of Plitvice

Dicover Europe's most beautiful national park!

Plitvice, with its luminous lakes and spectacular waterfalls, is one of the most popular destinations in this part of Europe! The waters flowing over the limestone and chalk have, over thousands of years, deposited travertine barriers, creating natural dams which in turn have created a series of 16 beautiful lakes, caves and waterfalls. These geological processes continue today. The forests in the park are home to bears, wolves and many rare bird species. The entire area around the lakes is so lush and wildly pristine that UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1979.

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The lake system is divided into the upper lakes and the lower lakes. The lakes receive most of their water from rivers called Black River and White River. After it rushes past the Sastavci waterfall on the lower lakes, water continues to flow to the Korana River and the Plitvice brook, dropping from an elevation of 76m.

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The Lake areas are lovely and cool during summer, icy and calm in winter, yellow and ochre in autumn, green and fresh in spring. Most of the region gets cowered with snow from November until the end of March and, in December and January, all of the lakes freeze over creating a magical winter landscape.

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The lakes and the park are conveniently located near the main road that connects Zagreb with the Adriatic Coast which enables us to offer Plitvice tours from all regions of Croatia except the islands and Dubrovnik.

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NOTE:
Tour from Zagreb includes a visit to the very picturesque Rastoke. Rastoke is located on Slunjcica River, right before it flows into the river Korana. In Rastoke, Slunjcica creates a series of small lakes and picturesque waterfalls. Discover the rare symbiosis of beautiful nature and well preserved 17th century mills. Enjoy the fresh caught trout, delicious lamb from Lika region, veal or venison in a local tavern.

INCLUSIONS
Collection from your hotel, villa or private apartment in Zagreb, Zadar, Šibenik, Split or Istria by our English speaking professional guide/driver, entrance tickets to National Park, walking tour with guide , electric boat ride.

Quick facts
Available year round
8 - 9 AM - departure from your hotel or other meeting place (depending on your departure point)
Walking tour is about 3 - 4 hours long (can be adjusted). Plitvice can be enjoyed on your own.
Bring camera, sports shoes, sun screen...

Booking: For more information and booking, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Treasures of Krka River

Enjoy Krka River waterfalls with historic Skradin and Sibenik

Krka National Park is one of the most fascinating regions of Croatia and one of the most popular places to visit in Dalmatia! The amazing river Krka carved a spectacular canyon of waterfalls on its 70-kilometers long journey from the foothills of Dinara mountain to the amazing estuary under the walls of historic Šibenik.

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With your guide, enjoy a fascinating tour of authentically restored small stone houses, workshops, exhibits and watermills depicting how water was used to make village life possible and sustainable centuries ago. Afterwards, your professional guide will take you on a nature walk through the park to enjoy the rich diversity of flora and fauna across the network of forest paths and over wooden bridges. The walk around the waterfalls is incredible! You will walk the wooden bridges over the waterfalls and cascades to enjoy this beautiful site where river Krka flows to its end.
You continue to Skradin by boat. Ancient Scardona is still one of the most charming places in Dalmatia! This little town is one of the best preserved Dalmatian towns and is a marvellous find in all respects: from the traditional folk klapa singing that touches your heart to the roaring waterfalls of the Skradinski Buk!

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After immersing in spectacular nature and small town charms, depart to the lovely UNESCO heritage town of Šibenik to visit its Old town. Šibenik is the oldest native Croatian city on the Adriatic coast and home to what many consider the most beautiful cathedral in Croatia – the Cathedral of St. James, built over an entire century by several successive architects and featuring some of the most remarkable architectural sculpture in Croatia. Enjoy this beautiful town standing in the bay where river Krka, your departing point, meets the sea!

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INCLUSIONS
Collection from your hotel, villa or private apartment in Šibenik, Zadar or Split by our English speaking professional guide/driver, entrance tickets to National Park, boat ride to Skradin

Quick facts
Available year round (half day tour)
9 AM departure from your hotel or other meeting place (can be adjusted)
Bring camera, sports shoes, sun screen, swim suit and towel if you wish to swim under the waterfalls (Summer months only)...

Booking: For more information and booking, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Medieval Split and Klis fortress

After a walking tour through the secrets of Split, we will take you to Klis, an impressive medieval fortress with a spectacular view. Three defensive walls, the Governor´s Residence, the Church of St. Vid (a mosque during the Ottoman era), bastions, turrets, the museum collection of medieval weapons and an Uskok fighter's performance (fencing, archery, javelin throwing) will entertain and educate you.

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Food lovers will enjoy the next part of the tour, when you will be able to learn how to start a fire and prepare one of the famous dishes of the Dalmatian hinterland – soparnik. Your gastronomic experience will be enhanced with delicious homemade products, such as kneaded bread, brandy and wine, a variety of fresh vegetables and domestic trout, all enjoyed in an authentic ambience.

Included: A guided tour of the Klis fortress followed by a program featuring the Klis Uskoks, a tournament of medieval sports, a cooking class for soparnik (a medieval food that has not changed from that time) followed by dinner in the authentic style of that era.

Booking: For more information and booking, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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