Monday, 25 April 2022

Excellent 2022 Cruiser Season in Croatia Expected from Rijeka to Dubrovnik

April 25, 2022 - The 2022 cruiser season in Croatia officially launched at the beginning of April in Dubrovnik and will end on November 21 in Split. 

The cruising season in Croatia started very early this year, or at the beginning of April, when the first MSC cruise ship of this year, MSC Fantasia, sailed into the port of Dubrovnik. This ship, which can accommodate up to 4,300 passengers, will visit Dubrovnik on Thursdays until the end of the season, scheduled for September 8, reports Novi List

In addition to Dubrovnik, MSC Cruises will visit Split, Zadar, and Rijeka and record 63 Croatian ports this season, which will end on November 21 in Split. Dubrovnik, the first and strongest Croatian port for large cruisers, expects to achieve 70 percent of 2019's traffic, which means that the city should reach about half a million passengers on large cruisers, or about 340 large ships. However, the number of cruisers and cruise passengers in the city is limited to two berths, or 4,000 passengers at a time.

While southern Croatia has opened the cruising season for large cruisers, Kvarner has started a new season this year with small cruise ships. Over the weekend, the ID Riva tours Alpha and Vita set off on a seven-day cruise from Rijeka with a group of guests from Switzerland who rented the boat for three weeks at the beginning of the season and three weeks at the end of the season and go on a bike tour. This is around 70 guests. Mario Konta, head of the port of Rijeka in ID Riva tours, said that this year's season started six weeks earlier than last year and that booking is incomparably better.

"This year, if all goes well, we should have a better year than 2019. I have been working here for 20 years, and this is the first time we are leaving in mid-April. It had never moved this early, always towards the end of April. And that's a very good sign. Today we are on board the ‘Alpha,’ which was sold in 13 charters this year before the season even started. So we have a lot of old guests coming back to us, and also a lot of guests who were there during the pandemic and who came back to us precisely because they said we were one of the few who asked for hand sanitizers, disinfection, wore gloves and masks and carried out all epidemiological measures. And the guests remembered that," said Konta, adding the last tour should be done on October 22, before the proper off-season begins. 

"The ships will sail for six months, which is a huge improvement compared to the last two years, so we are delighted. Next week we already have six ships departing from Rijeka, which is also a great indicator considering that it has not happened to us that we already have six full ships at the beginning," said Konta and explained that the route goes through the Kvarner islands, visiting Krk, Rab, Pag, Zadar, Kornati, Lošinj and Cres, before returning to Rijeka.

The captain of the motor yacht 'Alpha', Marin Tomaš, pointed out that he has had a boat with ID Riva for more than half a year.

"You know how much that means to us in these circumstances. This ship, 'Alpha,' is sailing for its third season, so the first was during the 2020 pandemic, and that year was unknown to everyone. ID Riva was on the front line of cooperation with the Croatian Institute of Public Health, the German health authorities, and others. And we found a balance, and, in addition, we all joined the Ministry's "Safe stay in Croatia" program. The complete ID Riva fleet is under this program, and we all adhere to epidemiological rules. This season we are starting to work also with epidemiological measures. For example, when leaving the kitchen, waiters must wear masks when receiving guests, during room service, and, therefore, during contact with the guest. Because, above all, we want our guests here to continue to feel safe. The entire crew has, of course, been vaccinated," said the young captain, adding that for the past two years, they have been driving at reduced capacity, on the verge of profitability. But the banks, he says, have met the needs of shipowners and approved a moratorium on loans for shipbuilding, and all that has been balanced so that those two critical years ended well.

"As for this year's bookings, it is phenomenal. We plan to sail for 26 weeks, and we are already at a good 80 percent occupancy. I must say that when the situation with Ukraine arose, there was a great fear of how it would develop and what would happen to the season; however, fortunately, it turned out very quickly that the situation with booking, despite everything, is excellent," said Tomas. Yesterday, another small luxury cruiser, 'Vita' with guests from Germany, set sail from the port of Rijeka.

His captain Silvestar Vukovic, doyen of the ID Riva cruise, also pointed out his satisfaction with this year's announcements and the fact that after two pandemic years, he is starting two months earlier.

"This is the success of our ID Riva agency and its entire team led by Selimir Ognjenović. The past two years have been challenging, but thanks to the Government's help, which provided the minimum wage to our employees, and thanks to the banks that approved the moratorium on loans, we managed to survive those two difficult years," said Vukovic.

He added that this year the old guests are coming back. Still, new ones are coming who have the opportunity to enjoy this unique vacation, beautiful towns, and small coastal and island places, but also the kindness of the hosts and very important gastronomy. This long-time sailor who has been with ID Riva since the very beginning of the cruise pointed out the excellent cooperation through all those years with the Port of Rijeka Authority, whose employees, he pointed out, he can always count on.

MB 'Morena' and MB 'Kalipsa' sailed from Opatija over the weekend. There were over 60 Austrian guests on these cruises in total. 

"Today is an important day for the Katarina Line agency. Although these are not our first departures this season, since we already had American guests who set out on a cruise from Split, three ships will set sail from the port of Opatija today. More precisely, two today, and another tomorrow morning. This is not what we had in 2019, but it is still a good start in 2022 and an indicator that, as it looks now, our business will be much better than last year. However, it should be said that all this together is still with a lot of ‘holes’ and uncertainties.

Reservations exist, but they can be canceled at any time, and we must not be deceived, but work intensively to offer as much as possible around the world and in the domestic market. For domestic tourists to also be able to enjoy cruises, I announce that we will have special offers for them," said the owner and director of the Opatija agency Katarina Line Katica Hauptfeld.

Cruises in various categories, from traditional to premium and deluxe quality ships along the Croatian coast, are their specialty. Of their three boats, two will be stationed in the port of Opatija.

"We have been to Croatia many times, we are a small agency from Villach and our guests love the combination of sports and relaxation on board. We always do it out of season and spring is ideal for that, because the islands are still fresh now, nature is waking up, everything is quiet, there is very little traffic, no crowds, which is very good for cyclists.

With the Katarina Line agency, we create exciting routes for our guests because they love cycling and cruising. The boats give us flexibility in terms of weather conditions, our departure today is from Opatija, and after a seven-day cruise, we will return to Opatija. Our guests are all from Austria, except for one Frenchman, there are 24 of them on the cruise, and they did not come to swim in the sea, but for active rest, relaxation, health, and enjoy excellent food. We sail to Krk, Rab, Pag, and Mali Lošinj and Cres, and then return to Opatija," explained Elke Neuhuber, owner of the agency from Villach, who sailed on the MB 'Morena'.

As Katica Hauptfeld pointed out, there are six more sailing on Katarina Line in Kvarner in addition to the already mentioned ships. 

This is the year of great cruisers to Rijeka, given that the pandemic essentially reduced their arrivals to zero. Nineteen ships are expected to arrive, slightly less than the record in 2019 when there were 24. Eight shipping companies have announced their arrival in Rijeka, and according to the current plan, the first ship to arrive in Rijeka is Marella Explorer 2 from Marella Cruises. Its first arrival was announced on May 7. The ship comes to the port of Rijeka for the first time, and it will be the first of its eight arrivals this season. In addition to Marella Cruises, ships of Celebrity Cruises, Oceania Cruises, TUI Cruises, MSC Cruises, Crystal Cruises, AIDA Cruises, and Noble Caledonia will arrive in Rijeka in 2022. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Monday, 25 April 2022

HNL Round 32 Recap: Osijek and Hajduk Fail to Catch Dinamo

April 25, 2022 - The 32nd round of the Croatian First League was held from April 22 to 24, 2022. Rijeka surprised Osijek on Saturday, while Hajduk collected only one point against Belupo, leaving Dinamo comfortably at the top of the table. Here is our HNL round 32 recap. 

Hr. Dragovoljac v. Sibenik (3:1)

Dragovoljac and Sibenik opened the 32nd round on Friday, April 22, 2022, in Zagreb,

Majstorovic scored Dragovoljac's first goal for 1:0 in the 40th minute before Karrica increased the lead to 2:0 two minutes later. Majstorovic scored a penalty to make it 3:0 for Dragovoljac 10 minutes into the second half, while a penalty was also awarded to Sibenik five minutes later. The match ended 3:1. 


Dragovoljac is currently in the last place with 18 points, while Sibenik is in 8th with 29. 

Istra 1961 v. Lokomotiva (2:2)

Istra and Lokomotiva met on Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Pula. 

Beljo scored for 1:0 Istra in the 16th minute before Maric equalized 10 minutes later for 1:1 at the half. Caseres put Istra back in the lead in the 68th minute for 2:1, though a final whistle goal by Lokomotiva ended the match in a 2:2 draw. 


Istra is currently in 9th place with 27 points, while Lokomotiva is in 5th with 44. 

Rijeka v. Osijek (3:1)

Rijeka and Osijek met on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at Rujevica Stadium. 

Muric scored a penalty for Rijeka in the 19th minute before Drmic made it 2:0 with 10 minutes to go in the first half. Rijeka's third goal was scored in the 43rd minute but annulled by VAR. Drmic made it 3:0 just 3 minutes into the second half. Mance scored one for Osijek in the 65th minute, though they could not do more than that. Another Rijeka goal was called back thanks to VAR in the 76th minute. 


Rijeka is currently in 4th place with 58 points, while Osijek is in 2nd with 64. 

Slaven Belupo v. Hajduk (0:0)

Belupo and Hajduk met on Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Koprivnica. 

It was Hajduk's chance to jump ahead of Osijek, knowing they lost to Rijeka the day before. Still, without Livaja, Kalinic, Sahiti, and Vukovic, who suffered cards and injuries from the Dinamo match earlier in the week, they could not do much at all. The game ended 0:0. 


Belupo is currently in 7th place with 31 points, while Hajduk is in 3rd with 63. 

Gorica v. Dinamo (0:1)

Gorica and Dinamo closed out the 32nd round on Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Velika Gorica. 

Dinamo was featuring a new coach - former Croatia national team leader Ante Čačić - and knew a win would have them comfortably sitting at the top of the table. However, it took Dinamo 86 minutes before they could score, with Ademi securing their 1:0 victory. 


Gorica is currently in 6th place with 40 points, while Dinamo is in 1st with 69. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 23 April 2022

SuperSport Croatian Football Cup Final Ticket Sales Announced

April 23, 2022 - HNK Rijeka and HNK Hajduk will meet in the final of this season's SuperSport Croatian Football Cup on May 26 at Poljud Stadium. 

The SuperSport Croatian Football Cup final will be played on May 26 at Poljud Stadium, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets for the match between Rijeka and Hajduk will be available at the following prices through the finalist clubs, reports HNS

Tribune North: 90 kuna
Tribune South: 90 kuna
Tribune East: 120 kuna
Tribune West: 150 kuna

Tickets for fans of the finalist clubs (20% of the stadium capacity for fans of each club) will be available directly through the clubs, while ticket sales to the public (50% of the stadium capacity) will be organized by the technical host at Poljud Stadium, HNK Hajduk.

Ticket sales for sectors intended for Hajduk fans
From Monday, April 25, the club's subscribers will have the right of first refusal for the sectors reserved for HNK Hajduk fans.

Hajduk subscribers can buy tickets online, at the Membership Department at Poljud (weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm and on Saturday, April 30, from 8 am to 2 pm), at the Hajduk Fan Shop at Joker (every day from 9 am to 9 pm) and at Ticketshop (Tisak media) points of sale until April 30 at 11:59 pm.

More details are on the official Hajduk website.

Ticket sales for sectors intended for Rijeka fans

Sectors A, B, C, and D will be available for Rijeka fans at the following prices:

Sector A: 90 kuna
Sector B: 120 kuna
Sector C and D: 150 kuna

Ticket sales start on Wednesday, April 27, and the HNK Rijeka box office will be open from Wednesday to May 2 from 4 pm to 9 pm and on Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm. From May 2, the opening hours of the box office will be Monday through Friday from 4 to 9 pm.

To buy tickets, you need to present a personal document with a photo and there will be no online ticket sales for the sectors intended for Rijeka fans.

More details can be found on the official Rijeka website

Ticket sales for the public sector
Ticket sales will begin on May 2 at 8 pm. Tickets will be available on the website, at the Membership Department at Poljud (every working day from 8 am to 8 pm), at the Hajduk Fan shop at Joker (every day from 9 am to 9 pm), and at Ticketshop sales points Tisak media

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 18 April 2022

HNL Round 31 Recap: Rijeka Out of Title Fight, Osijek 2 Points Behind Dinamo

April 18, 2022 - The 31st round of the Croatian First League was held during Easter weekend - April 15 and 16, 2022. This round saw routine wins for Dinamo, Osijek, and Hajduk, while Rijeka is now out of the title fight after losing to Lokomotiva. Here is our HNL round 31 recap.

Dinamo v. Istra 1961 (3:0)

Dinamo and Istra opened the 31st round on Friday, April 15, 2022, at Maksimir Stadium in front of 2607 fans. 

Orsic scored Dinamo's first goal in the 8th minute for 1:0. Orsic scored again off of an Ademi assist in the 2nd minute of stoppage time, making it 2:0 going into halftime. Emreli secured Dinamo's victory just 5 minutes into the second half with a goal for 3:0. 


Dinamo is currently in 1st place with 66 points and a game in hand, while Istra is in 9th with 26. 

Hajduk v. Gorica (1:0)

Hajduk and Gorica played the second match on Friday, April 15, 2022, at Poljud in front of 11,482 fans. 

Hajduk's only goal of the match came in the 13th minute. Vukovic's shot deflected off Jovicic for a Gorica own goal and 1:0 Hajduk. The rest of the match went without goals. 


Hajduk is currently in 3rd place with 59 points and a game in hand, while Gorica is in 6th with 40. 

Sibenik v. Slaven Belupo (2:1)

Sibenik and Slaven Belupo met on Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Sibenik.

Vidovic scored Sibenik's first goal in the 14th minute for 1:0. Delic increased Sibenik's lead to 2:0 in the 37th minute. Krstanovic missed a penalty for Belupo in the 53rd minute, though Crnac was about to get a goal for Belupo in the 66th for the final 2:1. 


Sibenik is currently in 8th place with 29 points, while Belupo is in 7th with 30. 

Osijek v. Hr. Dragovoljac (2:1)

Osijek and Dragovoljac met on Saturday, April 16, 2022, at City Garden Stadium. 

Zaper scored Osijek's first goal in the 3rd minute before Galesic equalized for 1:1 in the 32nd. Topcagic secured Osijek's victory with a goal in the 2nd minute of stoppage time for 2:1 at the half. Neither team was able to score in the second half. 


Osijek is currently in 2nd place with 64 points, while Dragovoljac is in last place with 15. 

Lokomotiva v. Rijeka (2:1)

Lokomotiva and Rijeka closed out the 31st round on Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Zagreb. 

Lokomotiva scored their first goal in the 18th minute though VAR ultimately ruled it offside to keep the match 0:0. Stojkovic scored in the 38th minute for 1:0 Lokomotiva at the half. Kacavenda increased Lokomotiva's lead in the 46th minute, while Drmic got one goal for Rijeka in the 2nd minute of stoppage time for the final 2:1. 


Lokomotiva is currently in 5th place with 43 points, while Rijeka is in 4th with 55. 

***Hajduk and Dinamo will play the crucial 9th round makeup match on Wednesday, April 20 at Poljud. Hajduk must win in order to stay in the title fight.

You can see the HNL table HERE.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

Rijeka Shares Experience With European Capital of Culture Project With Bad Ischl

ZAGREB, 12 April 2022 - Rijeka is a good example of how the European Capitals of Culture project contributes to the development of cities in the European Union, Austrian member of the European Parliament Hannes Heide said during a visit to the northern Croatian Adriatic city on Tuesday.

Heide is the former mayor of Bad Ischl, which will assume the title of European Capital of Culture in 2024. He met with Rijeka mayor Marko Filipović to discuss the European Capitals of Culture project.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Heide said that they had exchanged experience with the organisation of such a project. A positive contribution from the European Capital of Culture project can be felt in Rijeka, he noted.

As mayor of Bad Ischl from 2007 to 2020, Heide had promoted the development of the city and the Salzkammergut region through culture. "We applied for the European Capital of Culture title, but we did not believe that such a small city of 40,000 and a region with a population of 100,000 could become a European Capital of Culture," he said.

Filipović said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic the European Capital of Culture project remained the biggest culture project in Croatia and that it had brought many visitors to Rijeka. Performing arts were hit hardest by the crisis, but two-thirds of the planned programmes were implemented, he noted.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

easyJet Croatia Summer Flight Schedule: Changes to Split, Dubrovnik, Pula

April 12, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as the easyJet Croatia summer flight schedule reveals changes to the Croatian coast. 

British low-cost airline easyJet has made several operational changes in its summer flight schedule this year in the last few days, including many changes on routes to Croatia, reports Croatian Aviation

Namely, easyJet changes the capacity and the weekly number of flights on many routes, including those to Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Split, and Dubrovnik, i.e., all Croatian airports to which this well-known airline operates exclusively in the summer flight schedule.

Changes to Split
The line between Bristol and Split, previously announced 5 times a week in the summer flight schedule, will operate daily from the end of June,

The line between London (Gatwick) and Split in the peak summer season was to operate 18 times a week, and the number of rotations has increased to 22 flights a week. There has also been an additional capacity increase. Some flights will fly the larger A321 aircraft instead of A320.

The line between London (Luton) and Split increases from 9 to 11 weekly flights,

The line between Lyon and Split will operate five times a week instead of four, with flights added on Sundays.

Changes in Zadar, Rijeka, and Pula
The line between Berlin and Zadar has been reduced from four to two flights a week throughout the season,

The line between London (Gatwick) and Pula will run daily from the end of June instead of 6 times a week, 

Capacity is reduced on the Glasgow - Pula line. The smaller capacity A319 will run once a week instead of the A320, 

A319 aircraft have also been announced on the new route between Berlin and Rijeka as of July 30. Larger A320 aircraft have been planned for both flights.

On the new route between London (Gatwick) and Rijeka, A319 and A320 aircraft have been announced instead of the previously planned A320 aircraft.

Three changes to Dubrovnik
The line between Berlin and Dubrovnik will run three flights a week instead of four, 

The line between Bristol and Dubrovnik will run four flights a week instead of three, 

The line between London (Gatwick) and Dubrovnik will run 19 times a week instead of 12. 

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

Monday, 11 April 2022

HNL Round 30 Recap: Dinamo Comes Back against Rijeka to Remain at Top

April 11, 2022 - The 30th round of the Croatian First League was held from April 8 to 10, 2022. This round saw Hajduk and Osijek narrowly win against Šibenik and Slaven Belupo, while Dinamo came back to beat Rijeka in the 86th minute. Here is our HNL round 30 recap. 

Gorica v. Istra 1961 (1:1)

Gorica and Istra opened the 30th round on Friday, April 8, 2022, in front of 1,086 fans in Velika Gorica.

While the first half went without goals, Drena Belo put Istra in the lead for 0:1 in the 55th minute. Less than 10 minutes later, Mitrovic equalized for 1:1, which was the final score. 


Gorica is currently in 6th place with 40 points, while Istra is in 8th with 26. 

Hr. Dragovoljac v. Lokomotiva (1:1)

Dragovoljac and Lokomotiva met on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in front of 50 fans in Zagreb. 

Peric put Dragovoljac in the lead in the 24th minute for 1:0 at the half. However, Maric didn't equalize for Lokomotiva until the 82nd minute for the final 1:1.


Dragovoljac is currently in the last place with 15 points, while Lokomotiva is in 5th with 40. 

Hajduk v. Sibenik (2:1)

Hajduk and Sibenik met on Saturday, April 9, 2022, in front of 8,645 fans at Poljud Stadium in Split. 

Krovinovic put Hajduk in the lead in the 31st minute for 1:0 at the half. Curic equalized for Sibenik in the 54th minute for 1:1. A Krovinovic corner sent into the penalty area in the 87th minute found the back of Elez's head for the final 2:1 for Hajduk. 


Hajduk is currently in 3rd place with 56 points and a game in hand, while Sibenik is in 9th with 26. 

Slaven Belupo v. Osijek (0:1)

Belupo and Osijek met on Sunday, April 10, 2022, in front of 669 fans in Koprivnica. 

The match's only goal came in the 33rd minute when Caktas scored for 0:1.


Belupo is currently in 7th place with 30 points, while Osijek is in 2nd with 61. 

Rijeka v. Dinamo (1:2)

Rijeka and Dinamo closed out the 30th round with the highly anticipated derby on Sunday, April 10, 2022, at Rujevica Stadium.

Cerin gave Rijeka the early lead in the 6th minute for 1:0 at the half. Emreli and Ademi scored within 7 minutes of one another in the 79th and 86th minutes to put Dinamo ahead at 1:2. Rijeka's Kresic was shown a red card in the 4th minute of stoppage time. 


Rijeka is currently in 4th place with 55 points, while Dinamo is in first place with 63 and a game in hand. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 4 April 2022

HNL Round 29 Recap: Osijek and Hajduk Draw at City Garden, Dinamo Remains in 1st

April 4, 2022 - The 29th round of the Croatian First League was played from April 2 to 4, 2022. This round featured the highly anticipated derby between Osijek and Hajduk, while Dinamo and Rijeka recorded routine wins against Istra and Dragovoljac. Here is our HNL round 29 recap. 

Šibenik v. Gorica (0:1)

Šibenik and Gorica opened the 29th round on Friday, April 2, 2022, in Šibenik in front of 487 fans. 

The only goal of the match came at the end of the first half when Stojanovksi scored for 0:1. 


Šibenik is currently in 8th place with 26 points, while Gorica is in 6th with 39. 

Istra 1961 v. Rijeka (0:2)

Istra and Rijeka met on Saturday, April 3, 2022, in Pula in front of 2,170 fans. 

Vuckic scored Rijeka's first goal in the 29th minute for 0:1 at halftime. Vuckic scored his second goal of the match in the 87th minute for the final 0:2. 


Istra is currently in 9th place with 25 points, while Rijeka is in 3rd with 55. 

Dinamo v. Dragovoljac (2:0)

Dinamo and Dragovoljac met at Maksimir Stadium on Sunday, April 3, 2022, in front of 2,029 fans. 

While the first half went without goals, Andrić scored Dinamo's first in the 46th minute. A Smolčić own goal made it 2:0, which was the final score. 


Dinamo sits in 1st place with 60 points and a game in hand, while Dragovoljac is in last place with 14 points. 

Osijek v. Hajduk (0:0)

Osijek and Hajduk met for the highly anticipated derby of the 29th round on Sunday, April 3, 2022, at City Garden Stadium in front of 7,181 fans. 

It was an exciting first half which included a penalty awarded then taken back for Hajduk, a red card called and taken back for Osijek, a missed penalty for Osijek by former Hajduk player Mijo Caktaš, and a 5-minute wait for referee Jović to sort out his technical equipment. The second half, however, was much less exciting, and neither side was able to find the back of the net. 


Osijek is currently in 2nd place with 58 points, while Hajduk is in 4th with 53 points and a game in hand. 

Lokomotiva v. Slaven Belupo (3:1)

Lokomotiva and Slaven Belupo closed out the 29th round on Monday, April 4, 2022, in Zagreb.

Crnac scored in the 1st minute of stoppage time for the Belupo lead at halftime. Dabro equalized in the 48th minute before the same player put Lokomotiva in the lead in the 76th minute for 2:1. Ibrahim scored for 3:1 in the 91st minute for the final result. 


Lokomotiva is currently in 5th place with 29 points, while Belupo is in 7th with 30. 

You can see the full HNL table HERE

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Affordable, Useful, Stunning Daily Croatian Internal Flights, And It is Not Croatia Airlines

March 27, 2022 - Looking to travel around Croatia quickly, at an affordable price, and with spectacular views? Meet the Croatian internal flights they don't tell you about. 

The Croatian motorways are excellent. Expensive, but excellent. 

And with so many projects on the TCN plate at the moment, from Dubrovnik to Osijek, travelling between destinations can be not only expensive, but time-consuming. 

Earlier this month, I had a long trip starting in Zagreb, which took in Split, Dubrovnik, Tivat, Tirana, Dubrovnik, Osijek, and back to Zagreb. As my car was in the garage, and with fuel prices rising due to the Ukraine conflict, I decided to use public transport for the journey, which was fine in theory, but how was I going to get from Dubrovnik to Osijek? Even if I had my car, Google told me that I had a tortuous 8-hour drive through the poor roads and eager traffic police of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

"Why don't you fly?" a friend asked. "No, not with Croatia Airlines, but check out the amazing service of Trade Air."

Trade Air. A Croatian airline based in Osijek, but which does much of its business outside of Croatia. I was aware from blogging over the years that they had some curious routes all over Croatia, but I had never considered them before. I decided to take a look. 


The routes, part of a Public Service Obligation (PSO) tender, seemed to have been prepared especially for me. Apart from the handy connections (the Dubrovnik to Osijek flight was a little circuitous, but it was less than 3.5 hours door to door), I had never come across anyone who had actually flown these routes before, apart from one aviation geek friend who told me that the Zagreb to Osijek route is legendary among the aviation community as being fairly pointless, with little take up - an expensive subsidy. 

Wait, there is a flight from Zagreb to Osijek, which is only 2.5 hours away by car, 3 hours by bus? Not only a flight, but a flight twice a day three times a week. And with a ticket price of just 30 euro one way, rather a cheap deal indeed. As I had one overnight stay in Osijek, I booked the 06:30 flight the next day - I would be in central Zagreb for 08:00 and ready for a new business day. 

But first, I had to get to Osijek from Dubrovnik. As part of its PSO mandate, Trade Air covers different routes through the working week, connecting Dubrovnik, Split, Pula, Rijeka, Osijek and Zagreb with its 19-seater plane. As luck would have it, on my day of travel, the Dubrovnik flight to Osijek was making quick stops at Split and Rijeka Airports (on the island of Krk). When I compared the price of the ticket (450 kuna) to the cost of fuel, tolls, time, and frustration had I gone by road, it looked a bargain indeed. And that was without the views.

So how was it?


I was curious to see how many people would be on the flight. 10 passengers from Dubrovnik to Split, plus flight attendant - more than half-full in mid-March.  


In many ways, the flight took me back to the era of the Croatian seaplanes of 2014-6 - a small plane hugging the idyllic Croatian coastline, flying low, and affording the very best bird's eye views out there. Having enjoyed Mljet (see lead photo), passing over Croatia's most iconic beach at Zlatni Rat in Bol on the island of Brac, while waving to my mother-in-law in Jelsa across the water on Hvar. 


We left Dubrovnik on time at 13:20, and after 30 gorgeous sun-kissed minutes of island gazing, a gentle approach to Split Airport in the March sun. 


A stop for 30 minutes to refuel and pick up extra passengers - 14 on the short flight north to Rijeka. 

And, rather than looking at more perfect islands, I took my seat on the other side of the plane for this leg, and was rewarded with the fabulous combination of sun, sea, snow.  


As well as plenty of time to reflect on the vast emptiness of this beautiful country. So much of it completely untouched.  


And if you do have island viewing FOMO on the right side of the plane, simply look left.  


One of the joys of the flight is flying low over the islands, so that you can pick out individual idyllic spots, such as this one with one small house having the bay to itself on Vela Luka on the island of Krk.  Croatia has more than a thousand islands, each unique in its own way, and there are few better ways to get an overview than this flight. 


Some island hopping, as we landed at Rijeka Airport. Time check 15:15. 


A 30-minute stopover on Krk, enough time to check out some of the interesting planes which have taken up permanent residence close to the runway. Anyone know the story of this baby? Please contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Rijeka plane.


Airborne again, this time heading east, with 9 passengers for the final leg to Osijek. Slavonia, my Slavonia. Once the breadbasket of the region. Could it be again? SO much land, so much potential. 


Having started at the newly developed Dubrovnik Airport terminal, followed by a stop in fashionablee Split. arrival at Osijek Airport was a reminder of where eastern Croatia lies in the government's list of priorities.  So much potential out east, so much magic, but so little interest or meaningful investment from Zagreb. 


Arrival time 16:55, a few minutes early. One of the few flights of the day, and the airport was largely deserted. But as for the passenger experience and price, more than 10 out of 10, thanks to Trade Air and the Croatian taxpayer. The PSO service is an excellent initiative and vital link for communities (even more so with Jadrolinija connecting islands by ferry), with one major exception, as I was about to find out the following morning.  


The Zagreb to Osijek flight. With the Slavonian capital starved of connectivity anywhere (one international route to Munich starting in May), and with the allocated funds which could be used to support other, more useful routes (Osijek to Dubrovnik perhaps, allowing for locals to explore their own country, visit relatives, and do business), the final leg of my 10-day trip made no sense whatsoever. 

Just four people on the flight. How many are normally on it, I asked the Osijek ground crew? They smiled. Sometimes 2, something 3, almost never more than 5. Twice a day, 3 times a week. Yes it is a pointless route, they smiled, shrugging their shoulders. For 7 years now, apparently. And at what cost?

A little Googling got me to this paragraph, highlighting how insane the route is in an otherwise laudable PSO initiative:

The value of the new PSO contracts has not been disclosed. Under the previous deal, Croatia Airlines received 11.4 million euros in annual compensation for the domestic services. The largest amount, 4.2 million euros per year, went towards maintaining flights between Split and Zagreb, where the airline was remunerated some 22 euros per passenger carried, although the largest compensation per traveller was on the Zagreb – Pula - Zadar service, totalling 177 euros. The value of Trade Air's PSO contracts amounted to 2.5 million euros per year. The largest share of the subsidies went towards the upkeep of the Osijek - Zagreb service (1.3 million euros per year), where the airline was compensated approximately 599 euros per passenger.

I checked with some airline sources, who told me that these numbers were not accurate for the latest PSO contracts (as the website said, the amounts for the latest PSO contact were not disclosed). But the numbers were an indicator of the situation. An unnecessary waste of money on an unnecessary route, with so many more useful and deserving routes either underutlised or not existing. 

As I arrived at Osijek Aiport at 05:45 for the flight with just 4 passengers, the cafe was open, as was the souvenir shop. How many flights are there from Osijek today, I asked. Just two, inlcuding this one. The cafe went unvisited, the souvenir shop ignored. Total ticket sales mustered just 120 euro. 

I am sure somebody, somewhere knows why we have this flight for over 7 years now. And maybe one day, someone in authority will question its use and see how to better spend the money to serve Osijek.

But in the meantime, kudos to Trade Air for operating such an efficient and punctual service. It is one I shall be using again. If you want to check out the Trade Air daily timetable and ticket prices, visit the official website

To learn more about Osijek, check out the Total Croatia Osijek in a Page.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

First Week of 2022 Croatia Summer Flight Schedule Offering 100 Lines to 6 Croatian Airports

March 24, 2022 -  The 2022 Croatia summer flight schedule kicks off on Sunday with 100 lines to six Croatian airports! 

After a long winter, the summer flight schedule comes into force on Sunday, bringing Croatian airports back to life after months-long hibernation. After several months of slow traffic, the summer flight schedule comes into force with several new and renewed lines on several seasonal international routes to Croatian airports. Croatian Aviation brings the list of routes running in the first week of the summer flight schedule, from March 27 to April 3 to Pula, Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Osijek, and Dubrovnik.

Pula Airport
From 27.03

Zagreb / Zadar (Croatia Airlines),

London (Ryanair).

From 28.03

Split / Osijek (Trade Air),

London (EasyJet),

Brussels Charleroi (Ryanair).

Rijeka Airport
From 27.03

Stockholm (Ryanair),

Brussels Charleroi (Ryanair),.

London (Ryanair).

From 29.03

Split / Dubrovnik / Osijek (Trade Air).

Zadar Airport
From 27.03 

Zagreb / Pula (Croatia Airlines),

Vienna (Ryanair),

Budapest (Ryanair),

Dublin (Ryanair),

Dusseldorf Weeze (Ryanair),

Marseille (Ryanair),

Stockholm (Ryanair).

From 28.03

Berlin (Ryanair),

Brussels Charleroi (Ryanair),

Frankfurt Hahn (Ryanair)

Karlsruhe (Ryanair),

Cologne (Ryanair),

Rome (Ryanair).

From 29.03

London (Ryanair),

Memmingen (Ryanair),

Poznań (Ryanair).

From 30.03

Bremen (Ryanair),

Newcastle (Ryanair),

Paris Beauvais (Ryanair).

From 02.04

Krakow (Ryanair).

Split Airport
From 27.03

Zagreb (Croatia Airlines),

Munich (Croatia Airlines),

Frankfurt (Croatia Airlines),

Rome (Croatia Airlines),

Geneva (EasyJet),

Basel (Easyjet),

London (EasyJet),

Bristol (EasyJet),

Glasgow (EasyJet),

Amsterdam (KLM),

Vienna (Austrian),

Stuttgart (Eurowings),

Berlin (EasyJet),

Dublin (Ryanair),

Cologne (Eurowings).

From 28.03 

Naples (EasyJet),

Osijek / Pula (Trade Air),

Amsterdam (EasyJet).

From 29.03

Rijeka / Dubrovnik / Osijek (Trade Air),

Manchester (EasyJet),

Paris (EasyJet).

From 30.03

Helsinki (Norwegian),

Dusseldorf (Eurowings).

From 01.04

Munich (Lufthansa),

Rome (Vueling),

Osijek (Croatia Airlines).

From 02.04

Barcelona (Vueling),

Naples (EasyJet),

Frankfurt (Lufthansa),

Hamburg (Eurowings),

London (Croatia Airlines).

Osijek Airport
From 28.03

Zagreb (Trade Air),

Pula / Split (Trade Air).

From 29.03

Rijeka / Split / Dubrovnik (Trade Air).

From 01.04

Split (Croatia Airlines).

Dubrovnik Airport
From 27.03 

Zagreb (Croatia Airlines),

Amsterdam (EasyJet),

Amsterdam (KLM),

Barcelona (Vueling),

Bristol (EasyJet),

Brussels (Brussels Airlines),

Dublin (Ryanair),

Dusseldorf (Eurowings),

London (EasyJet),

London (British Airways),

Madrid (Iberia),

Paris (Croatia Airlines),

Paris Orly (Transavia),

Vienna (Ryanair),

Vienna (Austrian),

Warsaw (LOT).

From 28.03

Frankfurt (Croatia Airlines),

Istanbul (Turkish Airlines),

Rome (Vueling).

From 29.03 

Split / Rijeka / Osijek (Trade Air),

Dublin (AerLingus),

Edinburgh (EasyJet),

Geneva (EasyJet),

Naples (Easyjet).

From 30.03

Berlin (Easyjet),

Manchester (Easyjet),

Nantes (Transavia).

From 31.03

London (Jet2),

Manchester (Jet2).

From 01.04 

Helsinki (Finnair).

From 02.04 

Birmingham (Jet2)

Copenhagen (Norwegian),

Frankfurt (Lufthansa),

Munich (Lufthansa).

From 03.04 

Leeds (Jet2).

Brač Airport
Brač currently has no announced flights. For now, the first scheduled flight is expected on April 16 on the Croatia Airlines route from Zagreb.

Dubrovnik has the largest number of lines announced for the first week of the summer flight schedule (36), followed by Split with 31 lines, Zadar with 21, Pula with 5, and Rijeka and Osijek with 4 regular lines each.

Almost all lines to Zadar Airport from next week are on Ryanair, which also applies to Rijeka Airport.

On the other hand, Osijek remains on Trade Air domestic lines, which have been in traffic all winter. The start of international traffic is expected in May. At the beginning of the summer flight schedule, the novelty is the Croatia Airlines route to Split, which will start operating on April 1.

In the first week, Split and Dubrovnik expect several international routes from low-cost carriers and well-known legacy carriers such as Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM, and others.

Zagreb Airport was excluded from this list because it had several international flights in the winter, which was not the case in other Croatian airports. 

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

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