Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Iberia Dubrovnik and Zagreb Flights Resume, LOT Croatia Summer Flight Schedule Announced

March 2, 2022 - The latest news on flights to Croatia as the LOT Croatia summer flight schedule is announced from Warsaw, and Iberia Dubrovnik and Zagreb flights resume from Madrid at the end of the month. 

Polish national airline LOT Polish Airlines is announcing over 20 weekly flights between Warsaw and Croatian airports in the upcoming summer flight schedule, reports Croatian Aviation

LOT Polish Airlines has confirmed flights from Warsaw to Zagreb, Split, Zadar, and Dubrovnik in the upcoming summer flight schedule. Although LOT also operated regularly to Rijeka last summer, tickets are currently not on sale, but it is expected that LOT will fly to Rijeka Airport this summer as well.

11 flights a week to Zagreb:

from April 30 - 5 flights a week (afternoon),

from May 2 - 5 flights a week (in the morning).

from July 5, the number of afternoon rotations increases from 5 to 6, a total of 11 flights per week.

6 flights a week to Dubrovnik:

from March 27 - flights will be introduced on Saturdays and Sundays,

from March 30 - flights will be introduced on Wednesdays and Fridays,

from April 18 - flights will be introduced on Mondays,

from May 5, flights are introduced on Thursdays, a total of 6 flights per week.

3 flights a week to Split:

from June 1 - flights will be introduced on Mondays and Wednesdays,

from June 5 - a flight is introduced on Sundays, a total of 3 flights a week.

1 flight per week to Zadar:

from April 30 - a flight is introduced on Saturdays.

In the coming weeks, sales are expected to open between Warsaw and Rijeka, which was in traffic once a week last year. LOT will use aircraft from the Embraer fleet on the routes to Croatia, as well as those from the Boeing family, just like in previous years. 

Furthermore, Croatian Aviation reports that at the end of this month, the national carrier of Spain, Iberia Airlines, will resume traffic on regular routes to Croatian airports.

Namely, Iberia will reintroduce regular flights to Dubrovnik and Zagreb, while Madrid and Split will be connected again only from June.

Iberia will operate between Zagreb and Madrid again from March 27, twice a week, on Saturdays and Sundays. From May 1, a flight will be introduced on Thursdays, and only from August 1, daily flights on this line will be announced.

Compared to last year, this is a much earlier resumption of traffic on this line. In the 2021 summer flight schedule, Iberia made its first flight between Zagreb and Madrid only on June 4.

Two flights a week have been announced between Dubrovnik and Madrid, and the first flight is also announced for March 27. A few more flights have been announced in April, especially around Easter, mostly three to four flights a week, and from April 29 the airline will operate between the two cities on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Dubrovnik is traditionally the most important destination of Iberia in Croatia, so daily flights from Madrid will be available from June 1. Two flights a day should be operating from August 1.

The Madrid-Split line has been announced from June 1, three times a week, on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. From July 2, a flight is added on Saturdays, and from August 1, daily flights are announced.

The route to Zadar has been withdrawn from sale for this summer season as well, and aircraft from the A320 family have been announced on routes to Croatia. In the peak summer season, Iberia announces up to 28 weekly flights, offering more than 10,000 seats between Madrid, Dubrovnik, Split, and Zagreb.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Destinations That Benefited Most from Film Tourism: How Does Croatia Rank?

March 1st, 2022 - Croatia continues to rank high on lists of notable filming locations, mostly owing to its Game of Thrones fame

Interest in Croatia as a filming location has only been increasing as of late: the country hosted over 20 international productions in the first half of 2021 alone. Several hits filmed in Croatia such as The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard and Bliss were released last year, and the Netflix thriller The Weekend Away, largely filmed in Split, is set to premiere this week.

It’s no secret that Croatia has benefited considerably from film-induced tourism, mostly owing to its Game of Thrones fame. As reported by Morski.hr, Croatia ranks third on the list of eight destinations that generated substantial income from tourism, compiled by Unforgettable Croatia.

London tops the list, as the eight Harry Potter films drove so much tourist traffic, it generated a mind-boggling income of $5,3 billion in total. New Zealand follows with $1,3 billion generated by film tourism, brought in by the cult classics The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Croatia ranks third thanks to Dubrovnik and its Game of Thrones fame - no surprises there. Fans of the massively popular TV series were flocking to Dubrovnik in droves soon after the walled city made its debut on screen as King’s Landing, resulting in a total of $203 million generated from Game of Thrones-induced tourism between 2013 and 2018.

Here’s how Croatia ranks compared to other destinations that benefited the most from film tourism (in USD):

1. London, England / Harry Potter – 5,3 billion
2. Waikato, New Zealand / The Hobbit & LOTR – 1,6 billion
3. Dubrovnik, Croatia / Game of Thrones – 203 million
4. Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA / Breaking Bad – 70 million
5. Stirling, Scotland / Braveheart – 47 million
6. Forks, Washington, USA / Twilight – 46,2 million
7. Kho Phi Phi Leh, Thailand / The Beach – 13 million
8. Skellig Michael, Ireland / Star Wars – 4,5 million

 

Check out our list of filming locations in Croatia beyond Game of Thrones

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Year of Megayachts in Dubrovnik: More than Ever Expected in 2022

February 27, 2022 - It will be the year of megayachts in Dubrovnik, as more 100-150 meter yachts are expected this summer than ever before. 

This year's first cruiser sailed into the port of Gruž on Thursday. Namely, it was the MS Bolette with Dubrovnik captain Jozo Glavić, carrying about 600 passengers.

This is not the first time Bolette visited Dubrovnik. This cruiser was already on tours that included Dubrovnik, only then its name was Amsterdam, and Holland America owned it. Now, it is owned by the shipping company Fred. Olsen Cruise Line. Captain Jozo Glavić made history when he passed through the Corinth Canal with the largest ship ever, the Braemar cruiser owned by the same company.

Announcements for this year's cruising season were commented on by the director of the Dubrovnik Port, Željko Raguž, and the director of Dubrovnik Port Authority, Blaž Pezo.

"The arrival of the Bolette is the first harbinger of a great season ahead in terms of cruises. We are also looking forward to Viking Sky, Viking Star, Athena, and Arethusa, which will arrive in mid-March, after which sailing will be more frequent, according to the announcements," said Blaž Pezo for Dubrovački Dnevnik.

Raguž pointed out that this is the best year ever for megayacht arrivals, but the same cannot be said for cruisers.

"More megayachts than ever are expected this year, even more than in 2019. We are talking about yachts over 100-150 meters, the announcements are excellent, and we expect to break all previous records," said Raguž.

As for cruisers, he claims, it cannot be compared to 2019 but can with all previous years.

"We are working following the decisions of 'Respect the City', so we will not accumulate that number in the future to be much higher than it will be this year, so we can say that we are almost at full capacity," said Raguž.

Pezo pointed out that last year was a 'solid cruise season' in which we were visited by 139 ships and 110,130 passengers.

"Given that there were none in 2020, we are satisfied with the result in 2021, or 30 percent of 2019, which is a good base for this season in which we plan to expect 70 percent of 2019," said Pezo.

He added that they are optimistic about the 2022 season.

"According to current announcements, in 2022, we expect 343 cruise ship arrivals and about 530 thousand passengers, which is fully in line with plans for sustainable tourism development in the destination. Therefore, the maximum number of passengers on cruises in Dubrovnik throughout 2022 is 4,000 passengers at a time, or an average of two ships at berth," Pezo explained.

Last year, city tours for cruise tourists looked quite different than in the pre-pandemic years. Last year, guests toured the city with strict measures; they could not enter restaurants, souvenir shops, or boutiques. There were pre-arranged spaces where the group could be, organized transportation, and passengers could not contact tourism staff without prior arrangement.

"On cruise ships, all passengers, as well as crew members, are vaccinated. Regarding the testing and application of epidemiological measures, the procedures are standardized in this segment of tourism," Pezo explained.

However, this year should return to the 'old normal' and the extinction of the 'bubble model' of cruising tourism.

"It seems that this is no longer the case as it was with the 'bubble model' and everything should be as it was before the pandemic," Raguž is optimistic.

However, he adds a dose of caution to the good news.

"There may be one decision in May, and then another in July, so it is still questionable. We hope that all these ships will come according to plan. Before the pandemic years, ships would come because there were huge penalties if they were a no-show, and now that’s no longer the case in a pandemic. It is enough to check out seven days in advance so that they are not punished in any way, so we need to take everything with some reserve. But, if last year we had five times fewer ships, and all the announced ones came, then I don't think we will come to that as the situation is much better in Croatia and the world than last year," concludes Raguž.

The Dubrovnik Port Authority is actively participating in the City of Dubrovnik project 'Respect the City', which seeks to ensure the sustainability of Dubrovnik tourism. As part of the project activities, the Ordinance on the conditions and criteria for the acceptance and allocation of berths for cruise ships in sustainable destination development was created.

"I especially emphasize that in 2022, an increase in traffic in the pre-season and post-season and a decrease in traffic in the peak months of the main tourist season, July and August, is expected. In this way, the cruise season has been extended from mid-March to the end of November and extends the tourist season, which I consider extremely important for the destination as a whole," said Pezo.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 26 February 2022

Croatian Traditional Jewellery: Coral, Silver and Gold in Dalmatia

February 26th, 2022 - Following our feature dedicated to traditional jewellery of Istria, a look at the intricate filigree pieces traditionally worn in Dalmatia

In the first part of this series, we wrote about medieval jewellery discovered in Istria that has only recently seen a revival in the form of artisan replicas.

The traditional jewellery of Dalmatia, however, has historically been an integral part of folk costumes all over the region, and has been worn and treasured by generations of women up to the present day.

Let's take a look at some of the most prominent designs found in Dalmatia: 

 

Pag beaded necklace and earrings / Paški peružini i ročini

First, a quick disclaimer: depending on who you ask, Pag island is a part of Kvarner, Dalmatia, neither, or both. We'll leave the people of Pag to define their cultural identity as they see fit, and will include the island in this particular feature based on the shared traits of traditional jewellery of Pag and that found in the rest of Dalmatia.

The traditional costume of Pag island largely owes its distinctive appearance to the triangular headdress worn by women, made of starched white linen and lined with intricate lace.

The Pag lace is a showstopper, but if you take a closer look, you’ll see that the ladies are also adorned in jewellery when clad in traditional garb. It’s been worn on Pag since the 16th century, and considering that there were no master goldsmiths living on the island at the time, the jewellery was imported from Venice.

nosnja01.jpgPag folk costume / Image by Hotel Biser

There are two distinct types of jewellery worn as part of the Pag folk costume. Delicate beads made in the filigree technique are called peružin; string a number of them together and you get a gorgeous necklace. Decorative hair pins featuring a single peružin were used to help keep the headdress in place, as seen on the above photo. It should be mentioned that the traditional peružini were once made to weigh exactly 123 grams each!

pagperuzini.jpgA modern replica of Pag peružini / Image by Zlatarnica Jozef Gjoni

The other distinctive piece found on Pag are the ročini, dangly bell-shaped earrings typically made of silver or gold.

MG_0731.jpgA modern replica of Pag ročini / Image by Zlatarnica Jozef Gjoni

 

Šibenik button / Šibenski botun 

Arguably the most popular piece on this list, the intricate Šibenik button used to be a decorative part of men’s folk costumes. These days, it’s one of the most recognisable symbols of Šibenik that doubles as an authentic souvenir. And while the motif is still seen in men’s accessories - tie clips, cufflinks - it’s not exclusive to gents anymore and is featured in women’s jewellery as well.

Similar to the Pag peružin, the Šibenik button is a hollow filigree bead composed of two half-spheres bonded together. Traditionally, the button used to be made of silver, but nowadays you’ll also find modern replicas made of gold, rose gold and aluminum. It's also called puce and toka, and was known to come in different sizes and designs depending on intended use.

381px-Sibenska_puceta.jpgVarious versions of Šibenik buttons

Even though there are metal buttons discovered in Dalmatia that date back to ancient times, the famous decorative bead only became widely adopted as a part of traditional garb around the 17th century.

As mentioned, they were only worn by men back then and were an indicator of social status and rank. The buttons were essentially comparable to military medals, as they were awarded to heroes and commanding officers from the region by Venetian generals based in Zadar.

Over time, the Šibenik button became so popular that a large number of artisans, from northern Dalmatia all the way to Albania in the south, specialised in the filigree technique so that they could create the intricate orbs.

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Šibenik button earrings / Image by Zlatarnice Rodić Facebook

 

Zlarin coral / Zlarinski koralji

For a little intermezzo on our filigree-laden tour, we’re heading to Zlarin island right off the coast of Šibenik, historically known for quite a specific thing: coral. 

People of Zlarin have dealt in coral harvesting and processing since the 14th century; while harvesting isn’t that common anymore, Zlarin is still home to a handful of skilled artisans creating unique coral jewellery.

0001395327l0y84gha.jpgRed coral necklace / Šibenik Tourist Board

Red coral, also called precious coral, thrives in clean waters and grows at the depth of 30 to 200 metres. In its natural state, it’s covered in a crust that needs to be filed down for its intense red colour to show; the skeleton is then cut into smaller pieces, each of which gets filed, shaped and polished. Polishing is the most crucial stage, a process that can last up to a few days and results in a high shine. The colour has a range of 10-15 hues, varying from a light to a deep red.

The art of coral harvesting was a skill passed from father to son. Coral was historically harvested by trawling, using a tool called inženj, a wooden cross weighed down with a heavy stone and fitted with fishing nets. Coral would get entangled in the nets as they dragged across the seabed and break off when the nets were pulled out of the sea.

Fishermen from Zlarin participated in harvesting expeditions all over the Adriatic - sometimes straying even further, as far as Greece - and sold the catch on Sicily.

koralji.jpgRed coral / Zlarin Tourist Board

After the fall of the Venetian Republic that controlled the coral trade in the Adriatic, the people of Zlarin were granted the exclusive right to coral fishery. Like elsewhere in the Mediterranean, coral was overharvested due to its value until it was nearly eradicated, and so the practice gradually became less common by the mid-20th century.

Nowadays, the island is home to two coral shops run by jewellery makers that keep the tradition alive. Zlarin is also about to get a Croatian Coral Centre, a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to the island’s history of coral harvesting that's set to open sometime soon.

 

Konavle earrings / Konavoske verižice & fjočice

We’re heading further south, to the Konavle area near Dubrovnik, the home of the elegant Konavle earrings.

The verižice hoop earrings from Konavle have a small pendant, typically a pearl or a coral bead. In the olden days, there was a social order to wearing jewellery in Konavle: young girls wore smaller earrings, and the older the women got, the bigger earrings they could wear. Young men were known to present their brides with the lovely hoops as a gift before their wedding day.

1502580_1407617126153131_1245329697_o.jpgModern replica of Konavle earrings / Image by Zlatarnice Rodic Facebook

Traditional jewellery was handled with care and kept in decorative wooden boxes or in special compartments in chests. The best pieces were only worn in rare special occasions, as jewellery was considered a family heirloom and was passed down from generation to generation.

Another type of earrings popular in Konavle are the so-called fjočice. Worn by brides on the day of their wedding and in the first year of marriage, the dangly earrings had several pendants made in gold filigree.

The Croatian Post paid homage to the lovely fjočice with their own postage stamp, created by designer Alenka Lalić from Zagreb:

Marka_Konavoska-nausnica.png

Interestingly, the Konavle earrings weren’t actually made in the Konavle area, but were instead manufactured by goldsmiths in Dubrovnik. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the goldsmith workshops predominantly focused on traditional jewellery, driven by the increasing demand from Konavle and the wider Dubrovnik area.

 

Dubrovnik necklace / Dubrovačke peružine & kolarin

As Dubrovnik used to be a major goldsmithry centre from the medieval times to the mid-20th century, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the Pearl of the Adriatic has its own type of traditional jewellery.

You’ll surely recognise the peružin motif by now, the hollow filigree beads which in Dubrovnik were traditionally made of gold. Strung together, the beads make a lavish necklace called kolarin

Legenda-broj-2-DUM-EM-5281.jpg

The kolarin were most commonly composed of 12, 14, 16 or 18 peružin beads, either simply strung on a silk ribbon, or connected with small golden links, pearls or coral beads. They were known to feature a heart-shaped pendant or a golden cross, altogether making a show-stopping piece typically worn on special occasions. 

Nowadays, you'll most commonly find earrings or pendants featuring the Dubrovnik peružin bead.

Friday, 25 February 2022

Flyr Oslo-Dubrovnik Summer Flights Announced, Capacity Increased on Condor Rijeka Flights

February 25, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as Flyr Oslo-Dubrovnik flights will run this summer, and Condor increases capacity on its Dusseldorf-Rijeka line.

Flyr, a new Norwegian airline based in Oslo, has announced a new line between Oslo and Dubrovnik this summer, reports Croatian Aviation.

Namely, Flyr will introduce its third flight to Croatia and the first to Dubrovnik Airport this summer. The new Oslo-Dubrovnik line will start operating on June 13 and end on August 12 this year. Two flights a week have been announced, every Monday and Wednesday, while the number of weekly rotations will increase to three from July 1, with the introduction of regular flights every Friday.

On 25 return flights in the mentioned period, Flyr offers a total of 9,450 seats between Oslo and Dubrovnik. The new route will be operated by B737-800 aircraft with a capacity of up to 189 seats in the cabin. 

Recall, this airline has already announced two lines to Zadar Airport.

Furthermore, Croatian Aviation reports that Condor Airlines is introducing two routes to Rijeka this summer, from Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. In the meantime, there has been a change of aircraft to offer a significantly larger number of seats from Dusseldorf! 

Instead of the previously planned A320 aircraft, which has a capacity of 180 seats, B757-300 aircraft with a capacity of 275 seats will fly to Rijeka every Wednesday, from the end of May to the end of September. This is a significant increase on the line that will soon start operating. On the second weekly flight between the two cities (every Saturday), A321 aircraft with a capacity of 220 seats will operate.

From May 21 to September 28, Condor Airlines offers 21,560 seats on the line between Dusseldorf and Rijeka.

In addition to the Condor, German Eurowings will also operate on this line from May to October. In the peak summer season, three weekly flights are expected on which A319 and A320 aircraft will operate. In addition, Eurowings offers 16,500 seats between Dusseldorf and Rijeka in the upcoming summer flight schedule.

In total, these two carriers will offer 38,060 seats between Dusseldorf and Rijeka, and direct flights are available from May to October.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Norwegian Airlines Croatia Summer Flights Announced to Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik and Pula!

February 24, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as the Norwegian Airlines Croatia summer flights have been announced to Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik and Pula this year. 

After SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Norwegian Airlines has announced its summer program, reports Croatian Aviation.

Namely, Norwegian has announced 17 regular international flights to four Croatian airports in the upcoming summer flight schedule - to Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik and Pula!

This well-known airline has confirmed its summer flight schedule, which will significantly increase the number of rotations and routes to Croatia compared to last year. In addition, the largest number of lines,  or 7, has been announced to Split Airport.

7 lines to Split
Bergen - Split, three times a week, from June 18 to August 13,

Copenhagen - Split, from two to seven times a week, May 3 to October 29,

Helsinki - Split, two to five times a week, from March 30 to October 29,

Oslo - Split, one to seven times a week, from April 23 to October 29,

Stavanger - Split, twice a week, from June 18 to August 13,

Stockholm - Split, two to five times a week, from May 4 to October 29,

Trondheim - Split, twice a week, from June 18 to August 13.

6 lines to Dubrovnik
Bergen - Dubrovnik, once a week, from May 18 to August 13,

Copenhagen - Dubrovnik, up to twice a week, from April 2 to October 29,

Helsinki - Dubrovnik, twice a week, from May 3 to October 29,

Oslo - Dubrovnik, two to seven times a week, from June 4 to October 29,

Stavanger - Dubrovnik, twice a week, from June 18 to August 13,

Stockholm - Dubrovnik, up to four times a week, from May 7 to October 15.

3 lines to Pula
Helsinki - Pula, once a week, from June 4 to August 6,

Oslo - Pula, twice a week, from June 1st to October 1st,

Stockholm - Pula, once a week, from June 10 to August 12.

1 line to Zagreb
Copenhagen - Zagreb, twice a week, from June 25 to August 13.

Norwegian will operate up to 55 times a week on 17 announced routes to Croatian airports, thus offering almost 21,000 seats in the peak summer season weekly. The schedule could still be reduced according to passenger demand and the pandemic.

Thus, with this summer flight schedule, flights from Stavanger, Helsinki, Bergen and Trondheim have been relaunched, while the airline also returns to Pula Airport. The Copenhagen-Zagreb line will run only twice a week, though Croatia Airlines also operates on this route throughout the year.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Will Russia-Ukraine Crisis Hurt 2022 Tourist Season? Dubrovnik Tourism Experts Weigh In

February 24, 2022 - Dubrovnik tourism experts weigh in on the developing Russia-Ukraine crisis and answer if we should worry about it hurting what is meant to be a stellar 2022 tourist season. 

Slobodna Dalmacija asked Dubrovnik tourism experts if the tense situation between Russia and Ukraine could shake up the upcoming Croatian tourist season, from which we all expect a lot.

"My first impression is that it can and will, but I hope that it will not to a large extent," says Đuro Market, a tourism expert with many years of experience.

"In addition to COVID-19, which is here now and will be here for a long time, we have this situation with Ukraine and Russia. The question is how things will turn out. Certainly, this crisis will shake the wider area, not just Europe. In general, it will affect the results of tourist countries, and since we are still where we are, maybe a little more on us," says Market, who remembers other events that threw Dubrovnik tourism off track.

"When was the standstill? In 1995, the war in Croatia ended, and tourism began immediately. But NATO's bombing in the region in 1999, from March to June, is a stalemate. This significantly slowed down the sudden rise of tourism in Croatia after the war, and in 2000 everything started again.

When the Cypriots went to a part of the country that is still Turkish today, there was turmoil in tourism at the time. Tourism was also affected by diseases, such as smallpox. So it was a health situation, like today's corona, with the smallpox being controlled quite quickly," Market added.

Asked whether Americans and Russians will still travel as tourists despite tensions over Ukraine, he said:

"If there is an escalation, we are all in trouble. And as for travel, they will both travel. If it stops at this, life and tourism will go. But, in any case, the greater torment and pain is the pandemic. 

The other day I spoke to an agent who works in Germany and told me that guests booking the Adriatic, the Croatian coast, ask first about the vaccination rate, indicating what could affect this season's tourist achievements, which will be certainly better than last year. However, they will not be close to 2019."

Successful tourism entrepreneur Goran Hrnić believes that "this situation is quite problematic and critical for us, given that both Ukraine and Russia were our significant markets."

"Maybe not so much in Dubrovnik as in other parts of Croatia, but it also has an impact on the American market because Americans will find it difficult to decide to travel across the ocean to Europe if this is already the case. So if that conflict escalates, I’m not exactly optimistic. The whole of Europe is too close; people will not travel if that is the case. I still believe it won’t happen, but if it does, then I’m not very optimistic. It would certainly affect the season," Hrnić says. 

Can something be done to mitigate the possible consequences?

"I don't have a formula. To do additional promotion and throw money at it, and the result depends on the political situation, not on us? Tourism will be bad in Greece, Spain, and Croatia. One should pray to God that reason prevails," Hrnić answered.

Tourism expert Filip Marinko Žaja, the mayor's tourism adviser, says that the situation with Ukraine is "a bit more serious," and it is difficult to predict whether it will affect our tourist expectations.

"If they don't start fighting each other, it's good; it doesn't matter, it's far away. However, tourism is strange and sensitive. A long time ago, in the 1970s, something happened to the mussels down in Venice - they were poisoned. At that time, tourists didn't even come here because we also had Ston and mussels. God forbid there is war because in that case it will be felt in our country as well," says Žaja and continues:

"Istria and Kvarner will not be hurt, again they have the advantage because they have car guests. It takes them a four-hour drive from Munich to Poreč, and it takes at least 10, 11 hours to reach us."

Last year's tourist season was marked by the launch of direct lines between Dubrovnik and the United States, flying over the ocean eight times a week. In addition, we were connected to Moscow by Aeroflot, which opened a massive market for Russia. Can we expect Russians and Americans this season as well?

"If there is a conflict, it will be difficult for Russians and Americans to travel as tourists. They need to come by plane and cross the ocean. It's back to the same thing - if! And that "if" is trouble," says Žaja.

What kind of season can we expect if the Russia-Ukraine crisis remains calm?

"I hope it will be better; there is no fear of corona. They aren't shouting "put on a mask" in the store. So maybe only Spain, Portugal, and Greece will take a little bit of traffic, which they didn't have last year."

Nino Dubretić from Direct Booker, another experienced connoisseur of tourist opportunities, especially in private accommodation, believes that the tension in Ukraine has no impact on our tourism at this time.

"If the situation changes for the worse, it would be safe. It depends on what kind of escalation there is; if NATO is against Russia, then we all have a problem because practically the whole world is interfering. It is not seen in the numbers, but God forbid it escalates, as it would undoubtedly be noticed. But again, the question is in what number? I don't see that guests would give up traveling if there were some problems up there unless it was World War III," says Dubretić and adds that the pandemic is still our greatest danger.

He mentions that we are objectively entering a better season for everyone, the congress industry is alive, cruisers are returning, and announcements from the airport are optimistic.

"When we look at private accommodation, the numbers show that in the worst case, we will work 80 percent of 2019. I wouldn’t be surprised if we reach or overtake 2019. A lot depends on how you enter the season and how active the pre-season is. If it fails, there could be a lack of those 10, 15 percent of 2019 figures, but June, July through October should be repeated or even jump 2019," Dubretić is optimistic, concluding that "tourism will happen in April, especially bearing in mind the 'last minute' booings, which have been vital in the pandemic era. 

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Monday, 21 February 2022

Zagreb to Dubrovnik: the Ultimate 10-day Road Trip Itinerary

21 February 2022 - It’s never the wrong time to start planning the perfect getaway to the paradise that is Croatia. We decided to give you a hand in planning the perfect 10-day road trip from Zagreb to Dubrovnik (plus some bonus island time!) that showcases the best the country has to offer.

The best way to discover Croatia is by car, giving you the freedom to go off the beaten path and chart your own adventure around the country, all the way from Zagreb to Dubrovnik.

Before we jump into it, do be aware that most car rentals in Croatia are manual transmissions! Automatic cars are available for rent, though mostly by larger rental companies like Sixt, and are more expensive.

If you’re not a confident driver, no need to worry, there are plenty of private bus companies that run daily trips to most cities and tourist attractions during the high season (June - September). In larger cities such as Zagreb and Split, bus schedules are also available online. Transfers between major ports and the islands are also regularly serviced by ferries and catamarans.

Day 1: Zagreb

Welcome to Zagreb, the capital and largest city of Croatia! Nicknamed the city of museums, Zagreb is home to over a dozen award-winning museums such as the Archeological Museum, with over 450,000 artifacts and monuments.

Upper_Town_Zagreb_-_Visit_Zagreb_Facebook_small.jpg

The gorgeous buildings of Upper Town in Zagreb. Visit Zagreb/Facebook.

Cultural landmarks of the city include Ban Jelačić Square which has existed since the 17th century, the Zagreb Cathedral, or the magnificent Croatian National Theater whose unveiling ceremony was attended by Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I. So, make sure you squeeze in some time for a walking tour to absorb the sights of Zagreb’s Old Town.

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Evenings on Tkalčićeva Street, Zagreb. Visit Zagreb/Facebook.

Hungry? Head to Dolac market, Zagreb's main open-air farmers market to pick up some fresh, seasonal produce and souvenirs. You can also choose to end your day with a tasty meal and local wine from any of the excellent restaurants, bars, and cafes along Tkalčićeva Street.

Day 2: Rovinj

After a bustling day in Zagreb, the enchanting city of Rovinj is a splendid change of pace. Perfectly situated on the Istrian peninsula, the city boasts a rich heritage, from being settled by Venetian tribes, to becoming part of the Byzantine and Frankish Empires, all reflected in the diversity of the city’s architecture, art, and culture.

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This stunning setting has been a popular film setting for movies such as "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard". Rovinj Tourist Board/Facebook.

Stroll along the beautiful cobbled streets and narrow alleys of Rovinj Old Town and make your way towards St. Euphemia Cathedral. Along the way, you should pass by Grisia Street, lined with souvenir stalls and galleries with the most unique pieces to add to your collection.
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The charming, picturesque streets of Rovinj's Old Town. Rovinj Tourist Board/Facebook.

If you have time to spare, take a day trip to Sveta Katarina, a small picturesque island that’s a mere 10-minute water taxi ride from the pier. Spend the afternoon taking a dip in the aquamarine waters of the bay, or hike on one of the numerous trails dotted around the island, or both!

Alternatively, sit back and relax on some of the most beautiful beaches in Istria such as Amarin, Borik, or Valdaliso Beach.

Day 3: Pula

Before leaving the Istrian Coast, make Pula the next stop on your road trip. Serving as the capital of Istria, Pula was the main military port for the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy at the height of its military glory. Today, remnants of these times are reflected in the city’s breathtaking landscape.

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The Pula Arena frequently hosts concerts and festivals throughout the year. Pula Plus/Facebook.

The famous Pula Arena, one of the most well preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world, is a must-see! Another not to be missed landmark is the Temple of Augustus, a monument dedicated to the first Roman emperor in honor of his rule.

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The unique shape of Fort Puna Christo. Pula Plus/Facebook.

Also check out the impressive Fort Punta Christo, which includes an underground section to explore and a well-stocked rooftop bar for refreshments after. You can also enjoy magnificent 360-degree views of Pula from the Venetian Fortress (Kaštel) which also houses the Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria.

Day 4: Plitvice National Park

Although Croatia boasts some of the best coastlines in the world, Plitvice Lakes National Park consistently appears in the top must-see places to visit in Croatia, and for good reason! This UNESCO World Heritage Site holds the title as the oldest and largest national park in Croatia, famous for its gorgeous turquoise lakes. Well worth the detour inland.

plitvice_lakes_national_park_facebook_small.jpgThe main walkway of Plitvice Lakes National Park. Plitvice Lakes National Park/Facebook.

Be aware that the park can get very crowded during the season! To avoid this, just be prepared to visit early (7-8am), or better still, stop by during off-peak seasons where the park transforms into the perfect winter wonderland.

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Plitvice Lakes National Park/Facebook.

Day 5: Zadar

After a day in the lush forests, take a scenic drive back to the Dalmatian coast and spend a day in the charming city of Zadar, the oldest continuously inhabited Croatian city. Today, cozy cafes and art galleries are seamlessly woven into remains from the times of Julius Caesar and Emperor Augustus.

Enjoy a relaxing stroll through Old Town and admire the historical architecture including the Church of St. Donatus, the Landward Gate, the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, and the Roman Forum.

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Ruins in the Old Town of Zadar. Zadar Region/Facebook

Along the way, catch the famous Sea Organ, and a sunset so beautiful, it even captivated Alfred Hitchcock! Just after sunset, take in the light show at the Sun Salutation, an installation created by Nikola Bašić, the same artist who designed the sea organ.

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The Landward Gate, Zadar. Zadar Region/Facebook

If you have some time in between, head to Pag Island to try some of the famous Paski Cheese or to Nin, home to Queen’s Beach, the longest sandy beach in Croatia. Other gorgeous beaches along the coast of Zadar include Kolovare and Borik.

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Award-winning sheep's cheese from Pag Island. Pag Tourist Board/Facebook.

Day 6: Split

Welcome to Split, the largest city in Dalmatia, and second-largest in all of Croatia. The city was founded as the Greek colony of Aspálathos between the 3rd and 2nd century BC.

It was later where Diocletian's Palace was built for the Roman emperor in AD 305. The palace also houses the Peristil, or the main square, another great place to enjoy some coffee and people-watch in addition to the Riva promenade.

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Enjoy a drink inside the walls of the Diocletian's Palace, Split. Visit Split/Facebook

While exploring the Old Town, stop by the Green Market, the largest farmer’s market in Split, to pick up some fresh, organic produce. Turn the corner and it is difficult to miss the 8.5-meter statue of Gregory of Nin, sculpted by world-renowned artist Ivan Meštrović. Rubbing the statue’s toe is said to bring good luck, so much so that it has been worn smooth by visitors over the years.

You can also squeeze in a light hike up Marjan Hill, also known as the “lungs of Split”. Its summit is an ideal place for a picnic, offering marvelous views of the harbor and neighboring islands.

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The crystal clear waters of Bačvice beach. Visit Split/Facebook

Fancy another beach day? Bačvice beach is a popular hangout spot in the center of Split. Relax at one of the many cafe bars and watch the locals play picigin, a traditional ball game. Rumor has it this beach is also where the sport originates from.

Day 7: Krka/Omiš/Trogir

Don't be too quick to leave Split. From here, there are several options for day tours to surrounding attractions.
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Some of the most stunning waterfalls in Croatia can be found at Krka National Park. Krka Nationa Park/Facebook

For nature lovers, Krka National Park is another national park about an hour’s drive from Split. Spend a day walking along well-maintained trails that wind along some of the most stunning waterfalls in the country. Again, make sure you get there early to avoid the crowds!

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Try white water rafting in Omiš. Tourist Board Omiš/Facebook

For those craving more action, head to the picturesque town of Omiš which offers one of the most dramatic scenes on the coast. The city is nestled in a canyon surrounded by gray, craggy mountains, contrasting the peacock blue waters where the Cetina River meets the Adriatic Sea. Omiš offers white water rafting, free climbing, ziplining, abseiling, and canyoning, amongst other activities for visitors seeking a bit of a thrill on their vacation.

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Just one of the many well-preserved remains scattered around Trogir's Old Town. Visit Trogir/Facebook

For the history buff, head to Trogir which has the best-preserved Romanesque-Gothic complex in all of Central Europe. Take a walk around the Old Town, surrounded by walls comprising a series of dwellings and palaces from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods.

Day 8: Hvar

With over 1,000 islands, it wouldn’t be a complete trip to Croatia without doing some island hopping. From Split, take the 1-hour ferry ride over to Hvar. Its beauty and vibrant nightlife have made it a regular vacation spot for the likes of celebrities such as George Clooney and Beyonce.

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Hvar is one of the longest and sunniest islands in Croatia. Hvar Tourist Board/Facebook

Start by wandering around St. Stephen’s Square, the largest square in Croatia and don’t miss the Cathedral of St. Stephen and the Hvar public theater. For the best view, climb to the top of the Španjola Fortress to get an unobstructed view overlooking Hvar Town and nearby Pakleni Islands. You can even rent a small boat (no license required) to explore these islands on your own!

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The view from the top of the Španjola Fortress is unparalleled on the island. Hvar Tourist Board/Facebook

Once you’ve taken in all these sights, enjoy another relaxing beach day at one of the many pristine beaches such as Malo Zaraće, Dubovica, or Pokonji Dol.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for another day trip, book a tour with one of the local travel agencies to the Blue Caves on Biševo and marvel at its clear, iridescent blue waters.

Day 9: Korčula

After the buzz of Hvar, take the ferry to the tranquil town of Vela Luka on the island of Korčula, the birthplace of famed explorer Marco Polo and home to some of the best Croatian wines.

From Vela Luka, take a scenic drive towards the town of Korčula, also known as “little Dubrovnik”. Along the way, stop by the numerous family-run vineyards that welcome visitors for wine and cheese tastings.

Grk is a white wine variety grown almost exclusively on Korčula, other white wines such as Pošip and Rukatac are also premier Croatian wines, often served on celebratory occasions. For fans of red wine, do grab a bottle or 2 of Plavac Mali.

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Vineyards of Korčula island. Visit Korčula/Facebook

In Korčula, walk off the afternoon’s indulgences exploring the streets of the Old Town with its architectural influences by the Venetian Renaissance, before capping off the night with a meal and more wine at any of its superb restaurants.

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Korčula town. Visit Korčula/Facebook

Day 10: Dubrovnik

There’s no better way to end the trip than with Dubrovnik. And yes, there is no shortage of Game of Thrones tours to indulge your senses, but there is so much more to this medieval city than where Cersei Lannister did her walk of shame.

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The beautiful Saint Blaise's Church in Dubrovnik was built during the 10th century. Dubrovnik Tourist Board/Facebook

Talk a walk along the city walls and through Stradun, Dubrovnik’s main street. From here, you can also catch Onofrio’s Large Fountain that used to supply Dubrovnik with fresh water during the Middle Ages and other impressive structures including the Clock Tower, Saint Blaise's Church, Saint Ignatius Church, Cathedral of the Assumption, and the Franciscan Monastery.

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The view from beyond the walls of Dubrovnik looking upon Fort Lovrijenac. Dubrovnik Tourist Board/Facebook

Watch the sunsets and reminisce on your amazing road trip through the country at one of the cliff bars along the city walls, before capping it all off with an exquisite meal at one of the many Michelin-starred or recommended restaurants Dubrovnik has to offer.

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Nothing like a luscious meal to top off a fantastic experience road-tripping in Croatia. Dubrovnik Tourist Board/Facebook

And that’s all folks, you’ve done it! Croatia in 10 days! Bear in mind, this is merely the appetizer of what Croatia has to offer. Customize this guide to better suit your tastes and pace and remember, don’t hesitate to ask the locals in order to unlock the best secrets each location has to offer.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 19 February 2022

13 SAS Croatia Lines from Scandinavia this Summer, Most Flying to Split Airport

February 19, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as 13 SAS Croatia lines from Scandinavia have been announced to Split, Pula, and Dubrovnik this summer. 

Croatian Aviation reports that SAS Scandinavian Airlines announced the upcoming summer flight schedule in which it plans to operate on 13 international routes to Croatian airports.

Namely, SAS Scandinavian Airlines is planning 13 regular seasonal routes to three Croatian airports - Pula, Split, and Dubrovnik. The summer program to Croatia announced for this year offers far more flights than last year, especially compared to 2020.

Most lines to Split
SAS is planning the largest number of operations to Split Airport, with seven lines announced:

Copenhagen - Split, from 16.04., once a week, from the end of June to the end of August every day, two weekly flights available until the end of October,

Oslo - Split, from 14.05. once a week, from the end of June to the middle of August every day, one weekly flight available until the end of October,

Stockholm - Split, from 07.05., twice a week, from the end of June to the middle of August every day, one weekly flight available until the end of October,

Bergen - Split, from 27.06., twice a week until mid-August,

Gothenburg - Split, from 14.05., once a week, from the end of June to the middle of August every day, one weekly flight available until the end of October,

Kristiansand - Split, from 28.06., twice a week until mid-August,

Stavanger - Split, from 27.06., twice a week until mid-August.

Scandinavian Airlines is planning 34 flights a week on these seven routes to Split Airport in the peak season. 

Four lines to Pula
SAS also announced four international flights to Pula Airport:

Copenhagen - Pula, daily from 26.06. to 13.08.,

Oslo - Pula, from June 27, twice a week until mid-August, three flights a week announced in July,

Stockholm - Pula, from June 24, four flights a week until mid-August,

Gothenburg - Pula, from June 26, three times a week until mid-August.

Only two lines to Dubrovnik
This summer, SAS will operate on only two regular lines to Dubrovnik. Namely, a line from Copenhagen has been announced, which should run daily from the end of June to mid-August, and a line between Stockholm and Dubrovnik, which will run twice a week in the same period.

SAS is announcing CRJ900, E195, B737-700 / 800, A319, A320, and A321 aircraft on routes to Croatia, with a capacity of 90 to 200 seats, depending on the aircraft type.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Edelweiss Summer Flights to Croatia Announced from Zurich to Pula, Split, Dubrovnik

February 16, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as Edelweiss summer flights to Croatia have been announced from Zurich, Switzerland to Pula, Split, and Dubrovnik. 

The Swiss leisure airline Edelweiss has announced several flights to Pula, Split, and Dubrovnik in the upcoming summer flight schedule, reports Croatian Aviation.

Namely, the sister company of the well-known Swiss International Air Lines is planning three routes to Croatia in the upcoming summer flight schedule, as it has operated in previous years. Compared to last year's summer flight schedule, slightly more weekly operations from Zurich to Pula, Split, and Dubrovnik have been announced, which is great news for all Swiss tourists looking to soak in the Croatian sun this summer. 

A320 aircraft with a capacity of up to 174 seats in the passenger cabin in this carrier's fleet have been announced on all routes to Croatia. The only exception is Split, according to which Swissa A220 aircraft should also operate at the peak of the summer season.

The Zurich-Pula line should begin operating on May 28, and two flights a week have been announced, every Wednesday and Saturday, until the end of the summer flight schedule, i.e., on October 22 this year.

The Zurich-Dubrovnik line has been announced from April 15, also twice a week, every Monday and Friday, until October 24 this year.

Significantly more weekly operations have been announced between Zurich and Split, and at the same time, this line will be the first to start operating on April 8. Edelweiss will gradually increase the number of weekly operations to Split, and as early as June, 5 flights a week have been announced, on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

In addition to Edelweiss, a few other airlines fly from Croatia to Zurich, such as Croatia Airlines and the British EasyJet.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

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