Friday, August 24, 2007

Croatia Online - Snakes in Croatia

No, this is not an attack on the political system, just a quick posting to let readers know about an interesting website covering the lesser known facts about Croatia's snake population. We've some friends on Čiovo Island, with a lovely garden, who occasionally find their dogs barking at the odd reptile and this site will help them, and those like them, identify the extent of the threat, if any.

The link is and you'll find a complete index and details on every species and sub species that can be found in Croatia. The snake in the picture (copyright Mladen Zadravec) is one of the most venemous in Europe - the Nose - horned viper. It pays to stay well clear of this one but most of the snakes that you'll come across are harmless. The site writer, Mladen Zadravec is obviously a snake lover and makes the very important point that all Croatian snakes are protected by law and it is not permitted to disturb or remove them from their habitat. Remember that they're normally more afraid of you than the other way round and will move away if they can. Many of Croatia's snakes are endangered and there is a page on the site explaining why and what might be done.

Visitors shouldn't worry too much - Croatia is more rural than England, so if you're a townie the chances of spotting one here are higher than at home, especially away from the coast. However you're unlikely to come across one, and if you do, as Mladen says, "just leave it to go about it's business in peace". In the unlikely event that someone gets bitten by one of the few vemomous snakes around, try and identify the snake (or take a photo) and go straight to the hospital. Mladen tells us that the Nose - horned Viper seldom bites, and if it does, it's rarely fatal. Given that it's also a rare snake, the chances of an encounter are extremely remote.

We've had some correspondence with Mladen since we first put up this posting and he makes some very important points:

a) human beings are more of a threat to the snake population than the other way round. Snakes will defend themselves but will not attack unless provoked.

b) there's no such thing as a poisonous snake, only a venomous one

c) although we suggest that the Nose - horned Viper is rare, Mladen tells us there are places where you may see whole groups of them

d) Mladen is not too happy abour our use of the word "threat" and "stay well clear" as he believes this sort of language gives snakes an unfair and bad press. We take his point but, whilst some of us overcome what may be an unsubstantiated fear, perhaps the best action is to become more educated on the subject and avoid upsetting a snake by taking the line of least resistance

This is a great specialist website and we wish Mladen all the best in his efforts to assist people to become more educated about Croatia's snake population and what needs to be done to protect it and let it live in harmony with its human neighbours.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Croatia Online - Tourism News

After a week or so of storms and heavy rain, the heat wave has returned and the summer tourists are still here in numbers. This however is the last “big” weekend of the season and the skies have been full of hopefully happy visitors returning home. The newspapers are full of tourism news with a whole host of records being broken. Let’s hope those involved in the tourist industry have enough energy and motivation left to keep on working through September, and even October, so they can find out that there are plenty of tourists still keen to enjoy Croatia and hoping to find some restaurants and bars open.

Thanks to a number of readers for their comments and feedback which are always very gratefully received. And a reminder that if you’d like a direct response, please give your email address and ask for it not to be published. All comments are subject to moderation before publication and we won’t publish if you ask us not to. One reader has asked if we could do a posting on what to bring with you, and what to leave behind, when moving to Croatia, and we’ve scheduled this for September. In the meantime you’ll find plenty of related advice in the following postings:

Croatia Online - Expat Life

Croatia Online - Eating Out In Croatia

Croatia Online - Shopping In Croatia

Croatia Online - The Living Is Easy?

Just a snippet of not so positive news on the tourism front. We’ve mentioned Croatian roads a number of times. Things are improving fast with the new motorway and better signage but they’re still enough to cause a shudder to more cautious drivers. The Association for Safe International Road Travel includes Croatian coastal roads amongst the top 23 most dangerous roads in the world for being “narrow, curvy and congested” with many “lacking shoulders or guardrails”. However before you cancel your car hire booking, note that the A44 in England is also listed – “more than 25% of crashes on the stretch linking Leominster and Worcester are head-on” – alongside roads in more obvious destinations such as Bolivia, China, Nepal and Ecuador.

See our posting Croatia Online - Driving in Croatia for a more personal view.

And finally, for those of you that think Croatia’s new motorway is Europe’s new answer to the once unrestricted speeds of Germany’s Autobahns, think again. You may see many cars whizzing past you at unimaginable speed (why are they almost all invariably black BMW’s or Mercedes?) but we have seen a few being chased down by unmarked police cars. Officially the speed limit is 130 kilometres per hour and it seems that, soon, drivers may have to pay more attention to it.

Today’s photo is courtesy of Hrvatska Autoceste d.o.o, the company responsible for the amazing engineering and logistical achievements of Croatia’s first motorway.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Croatia Online - Dalmatian Islands In World Top Ten

It's official! We've said it for years but now US magazine Travel and Leisure has ranked the Dalmatian Islands at number seven in the World's Top Ten Island Destinations. It didn't feature at all last year and we suspect that it's current ranking, and the no show last year, has more to do with not being completely "on the radar" than it does about the true merits of Dalmatia as an oustanding world class destination. So expect to see it in the top five next year.
For the full story, follow this link: Travel And Leisure - World's Best Islands

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Croatia Online - 20,000 Hits Celebration


Thanks to Mirko Beović for today's amazing photo. See below for more details.


In Croatia Online's short life, it's great to be able to celebrate 20,000 hits, well before its second anniversary. We marked our first birthday, and our first 10,000 hits, in January 2007 so, if that’s a reflection on the interest in Croatia then it’s nearly 50% up compared with the previous year!
It’s the height of the tourist season, we are up to our eyes in a number of other projects, and it’s been a little too hot to encourage deep reflection, but here are some highlights of what’s been happening since we made our first 10,000 hits at the beginning of this year:

A Dog's Life in Croatia
Rosie, our dog, had her first ever haircut to try and help her through the heatwave.

Roving Reporters Explore Klis Fortress, Near Split
Our friends help to maintain the diverse content of Croatia Online.

Krka Waterfalls - A Favourite Destination With Inland Secrets
It may be a little bit “overworked” in the height of the tourist season, but if you can brave the crowds, or better still visit in September, you won’t be disappointed.

Destination Highlights
A short cut to some of the postings on a few of our favourite destinations.

Reflections On Doing Business in Croatia
This posting also has direct links to some of our key business reports and includes one of our favourite photos.

Learning the Language With a Culinary Twist
Yes, Croatian is hard for us English speakers, but maybe an immersion course is the best way to tackle it and enjoy the best of Istria and Croatian cuisine at the same time.

Croatia Online - 1st Birthday and 10,000 Hits
And just for a bit of nostalgia, click on the direct link above to see how we celebrated our first 10,000 hits.


There’s been much more – Vis Island revisited, drinks on board HMS Cornwall prior to her much reported visit to Iraq, the Split Boat Show, a Mandolin concert, the delights of Dugi Rat, inland Croatia, Croatia for families, Time Out, travel news, etc, etc.

There’s a lot more to come and, now that one of our major projects has been nearly put to bed (news imminent), we should have plenty of time to unearth Croatia, online, in even greater depth.

It’s been hard to choose a photo for today’s news but a Croatian friend pointed us in the direction of a truly spectacular photo which relates to our immediately preceding posting. Only a true “local” could know where to stop along the mountain road to see this view and the statue safely (which we did last Friday). Only a passionate professional photographer could have captured this scene. Even better there’s an intensely rich history around the statue, the Pirates of Omiš, and the marauding Turks that were apparently foiled, single handedly, by the charms, wiles and patriotism of the lady honoured by the sculptor. The photo is the copyright of Mirko Beović and you can see more of his stunning images on