Friday, May 25, 2007

Croatia Online - Klis Fortress Near Split

Our roving reporters, Diane and Roger Brown, have been exploring again. Here's their report and photos of the historic Klis fortress, near Split. The second photo shows the view towards Split.
Looking eastwards from our terrace across Kastela Bay, perched high in the mountains that rise beyond Split and Solin we can see the imposing Fortress at Klis. We decided on a clear fine day to give this ancient site a visit. The approach from Split or Solin to Klis is well signposted and once there you will find adequate free parking. The entrance fee into the Fortress is 10 kuna per adult and 5 kuna for children, good value for money. Ask for a leaflet, which gives the history as well as a guide to the Fortress. The site is well preserved with ongoing renovations. On a clear day the views are magnificent to the mountains beyond and the coastal views stretching from Trogir to Makarska and the nearby islands. Klis village has a mini market and bars where you can take refreshments after your exploration. Well worth a visit.

If you're looking for a self contained apartment, near Trogir and Split, with all mod cons, easy access to the beach, and great hosts if you need them, check out Diane and Roger's website

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Croatia Online - Croatia Destinations, Travel Tips and News

Just in case you don’t have time to scroll down our index of postings to find what you want – see under “Links” on our home page - here’s a quick way of getting to our reports on some of the essential places to see, as well as the more undiscovered ones.

Unesco protected Trogir is hard to beat as a base for exploring central Dalmatia, and an all year round destination in its own right – plenty of good family hotels, a lively promenade (Riva), an abundance of restaurants and a vibrant music festival in the summer. It gets pretty packed in July and August and it’s a fair walk or drive to the better beaches, so for peace and quiet, choose Trogir out of season.

For our previous postings on Trogir see Croatia Online - Trogir, which has links to earlier postings on the town.

The big tourism news in the Split area is the opening of Le Meridien’s new, five star, Grand Hotel Lav (Lav means lion!). In the city centre, another five star – Hotel Atrium – is due to open in a couple of months. Hitherto it’s not been that easy to find an abundance of good accommodation in Split but the pressure is easing. Split is certainly worth a visit for a walk around the Roman Diocletian Palace and a trip to the city centre sandy beach at Bačvice. Just by Bačvice beach, the grand, but not intimidating, Hotel Park has a lovely palm tree lined terrace on which to sip your cocktails. If you’d prefer the relative peace and quiet of an island village, but still want to visit Split, try Slatine on Ciovo island which runs a regular ferry right into the heart of Split from June to September.

Previous postings include:
Croatia Online - Hotels in Split
Croatia Online - Split's New Techno Riva
Croatia Online - The Royal Navy's HMS Cornwall in Split
Croatia Online - Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior in Split
Croatia Online - New Hostel in Split
Croatia Online - The Split Boat Show (see previous postings on this page for full report on the show)
Croatia Online - Black Cat Cafe for A Great English Breakfast

We have a vested interest in making sure that Kaštela, between Trogir and Split (a group of seven villages, each with its own Castle), does not become over exposed. However we will be sharing some of its secrets with you in a week or so. In the mean time, some friends of ours did a roving report and this includes a link to their site providing details of a great apartment to let in Slatine (see visiting Split by ferry above). Go to Croatia Online - Lifestyle for the full lowdown.

Vis Island
Vis has to be one of the best islands to visit in the high season. It’s more remote than many and it’s difficult to see how it can get too spoilt, or too crowded, too quickly. Book early though as there are not many good hotels on the island.
See our recent posting Croatia Online - Vis Revisited for a recent report.

Brac Island
One of the most popular islands, less than an hour’s ferry journey from Split, Brač still has a number of less discovered villages as well as the more popular destinations such as Bol. For a taste of what’s on offer go to Croatia Online - Brac

Zadar and Šibenik
These two major cities in northern Dalmatia are now much more accessible since Ryanair announced regular flights to Zadar. Zadar is a cosmopolitan delight and fast becoming a cultural and music centre. Both cities are steeped in history and the great and varied architecture tells the story. Good city centre accommodation exists but is hard to find (see postings). If you’d prefer an unspoilt island, with some gems of family run hotels, this area is hard to beat. See the following posting for more information and links to other relevant postings on the area.
Croatia Online - Zadar and Šibenik

Quiet Getaways for July and August
See our report Croatia Online - Croatia in August: Is it for You? to decide whether you’d like to compete with the madding crowds in the more well known destinations, if you’re confined to school holidays for your break. If you prefer some peace and quiet try:

a) Inland Istria
We spent last Christmas in Lupoglav and had a great time. The prices go down in the high season, when everyone’s heading for the coast. If you’re not fussed about sunbathing on the beach, find a mountain village retreat in inland Istria and enjoy the cool air and countryside. See Croatia Online - Inland Istria for more details.

b) Bosnia and Hercegovina
In the Croat part of Bosnia are two picture postcard inland towns – Livno and Kupres – where you can get away from it all. Tourism is not too developed here so you’ll have to work hard to get the right accommodation. Alternatively drive there for a day trip from Dalmatia. Croatia Online - Livno and Kupres will wet your appetite further.

For other useful travel information and tips try the following postings:

Croatia Online - Which Destination and When
Croatia Online - How To Get There – please note that this was posted in January 2006 so there are many more flights now but this posting has links to all the main travel companies – sea, rail, air, etc.
Croatia Online - Croatian Beaches – tips on the best places, depending on your preferences.


This is a humbling posting - we've only just scratched the surface of the best of what Croatia has to offer. Look out for more destination news in the weeks to come and browse our other postings for the inside story on where to stay, what to eat, where to go, getting a haircut, going shopping, learning the language, etc.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Croatia Online - Information for Sailors

Sailing enthusiasts might like to know of a useful website, set up by the owners of a 40 foot Bavaria yacht moored in Split Marina. The yacht is owned, on a syndicated basis, by 4 families who have come right up against the problems caused by changes in legislation for foreign flagged vessels in Croatia. The site is primarily for the owners' guests but includes a wealth of travel information and also practical details on how the legislation affects their yacht and others. The authors would be interested in sharing their experiences with those of other sailors in Croatia.

Visit to read more about it.
See our earlier postings on sailing for a summary of the legislation

Todays photo is reproduced courtesy of BavAdria,, a charter company based in Marina Kaštela.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Croatia Online - Vis Revisited

We posted a full report on Vis on April 10th 2006. For details of the best restaurants, beaches and other useful information see Croatia Online Destinations - Vis.

On a return visit this weekend, we thought it would be useful to see what’s changed and give readers a feel for what it’s like in May. We were lucky with exceptionally warm sunny weather and a sea that’s warm enough for a bracing swim.

For first timers to Vis, it couldn’t be easier to get there. Just hop on a ferry to Split and in two hours you’re right in the centre of Vis town. At this time of year ferries run twice daily but you really need to spend at least a night there to give yourselves a chance to see it properly. We took the 9.30 ferry on Saturday morning and returned on the 4pm ferry on Sunday afternoon. The ferries were far from full but there was a good mix of locals and tourists. It was the same ferry both ways – Petar Hektorović, named after the famous Croatian writer and poet. Only three weeks ago this ferry was an integral part of the Croatia Boat Show, housing the press centre and many exhibitors (see previous reports). It’s a great big affair on 5 floors with a modest café on the air conditioned third floor and sun decks above. It costs 130 kunas (£12) for a car and 30 kunas (£3) per person so if you’re on a budget, leave the car behind and hire a scooter when you get to Vis. The journey takes you between Hvar and Brać and you can just see Milna, on Brać, as you pass through the gap. Boat spotters can get a glimpse of a complete range of vessels. We saw the tiniest of day boats dwarfed by a tanker, another ferry and a cruise liner, all in five minutes. The passengers must have been relieved to see a couple of yachts after the wake caused by all these giants.

We arrived at 12 and headed straight to our hotel, one of the only two in Vis Town, both run by the town authorities. Hotel Tamaris is open all year round; Hotel Issa, a short walk out of town, near a good beach, is open in the summer season only. You couldn’t wish for a more picture postcard view than you get from the windows of the sea facing rooms of Hotel Tamaris. Passing yachts moor over the road directly outside, and a wooded peninsula with elegant church and cemetery lie further away, on the other side of the bay. It’s not expensive either with a single room at 320 kunas (£30), and a double at 540 kunas (£50), including breakfast. At those prices you won’t be expecting 4 star anyway. The rooms are perfectly adequate, with high ceilings and a fresh lick of paint, but the interior is a little faded – touches of mould on the shower, squeaky furniture and just a little bit dark. During our visit, there were 3 boats staying overnight at the moorings outside, and you can imagine it might get a little rowdy in the summer when there might be 30. The best thing about Hotel Tamaris is the location of its terrace and the comfort and style of its good quality yellow linen tablecloths and blue chairs. From here you can enjoy a three course set menu for 55 kunas (£5), a beer or an aperitif, and just watch the world go by. The yachts come and go (some with more skill than others), the locals amble to and from church, the vicar and a nun cycle past, and your brain just tries to take in the idyllic qualities of the view. The food is satisfying rather than great but it’s the only way to spend a Sunday when the weather’s good.

Whilst there are plenty of other small settlements on Vis Island, mostly around the better beaches, the only one of any significance is Komiža, a traditional fishing village. There are two roads to it from Vis – one takes you over the top of the island on a good road about 10 kilometres long; the other is 18 kilometres of less comfortable driving around the coast. Neither Vis town nor Komiža had quite come to life for the tourist season yet and we love it like that. However, the downside is that some of the best restaurants in Komiža, and to a lesser extent Vis, are not open yet. We were disappointed to see Bako firmly shut with not much preparation for the summer yet evident. We were delighted to see a local fisherman, with a choice catch, bartering in the street with restaurateurs wanting the best of his offering. Instead of sampling Bako’s best fish, we therefore settled for a Pizza in the centre of town and headed back to Vis for a better choice of restaurants.

As our previous posting suggests (see link above), there’s an abundance of good restaurants to choose from in Vis town, particularly along the bay in Kut. We chose to stay close to home and had Beef Stroganoff in Dionis, a short walk after turning right out of the hotel. When we spent Christmas in Vis over two years ago, Dionis seemed to be the only restaurant open, apart from Hotel Tamaris’ rather soulless interior. Now it’s already got its awning up for dining on the terrace. Though it may be a little over geared to the hotel’s tourists, and a little short on menu choice, it’s in a good location and still provides reasonable value for money. On Sunday we strolled through Kut and noticed Restaurant Val looking particularly elegant and inviting.

Our verdict on Vis in May – it’s a real treat if you just want to relax and watch the world go by. Our guess is that relaxation won’t be the name of the game once the high summer invasion starts. We just hope that it stays affordable and unspoilt for as long as possible and wonder how many years it will be before Hotel Tamaris is bought by some rich developer, revamped, and priced out of the range of most of Joe public. You just can’t beat those views, the location and the olde worlde charme.


For more details on Jadrolinija ferries and timetables go via the link on our earlier posting (see above). Catamarans also run in the summer. Our previous posting also contains more details on restaurants, tourist offices etc.

Hotel Tamaris is really the only choice for a night’s stay on the island out of season. Most apartment owners aren’t open for business before June and tend not to be interested in a stay of less than three nights. There’s one big hotel in Komiža but again its only open in the summer.

Today's photo shows the view from the hotel window!

Croatia Online - Split's New Techno Riva

Today’s photo shows Split’s new Riva just two days before it was due to be finished for the big town celebration of Sveti Duje on Monday 7th May. Surprisingly enough, the deadline was met and the party was attended by some 50,000 people.

The general consensus seems to be that the landscaping is good, but that the high tech street lights and canopy frames are a little disappointing - they aren’t in tune with the old town’s tradition and spoil the look of the facades of the shops and the palace.

Apologies for the lack of news recently – it’s been a hectic couple of weeks! This weekend Croatia Online went to Vis to relax a little and we’re now refreshed and ready to get back up to date with news, views and comment. Our next posting will be on the island of Vis and then we’ll be catching up with all the other news.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Croatia Online - Time Out

Expect to see the new issue of Time Out's Visitors Guide to Croatia in your favourite newsagent any day now. It's officially out and Portal Trogir (, on Trogir Riva, are the first to stock it. 50 pages bigger than last year, and full of inside information, it's a snip at £5 a copy.
Apart from being able to organise all your holiday needs - accomodation, travel, boat trips and other excursions - Portal have just fitted out their offices on the Riva with the latest in internet facilities so you can catch up on your emails there too.