Monday, July 13, 2009

Flights To Croatia – Latest News

Croatia Online - Plane

Peak season flight prices are a good indication of how tourism in standing up to global challenges so we thought now was  a good time for Croatia Online to discover the latest news on flights to Croatia. If nothing else, this posting has provided an ideal opportunity to provide comprehensive links to Croatia’s main airports and airlines in one concise posting, and we hope it will provide an easy source of reference to those looking for the most convenient cheap flights to Croatia.

First of all lets identify the main Croatian Airports and schedules by looking at the arrivals for today and the next few days:

Zagreb Airport is Croatia’s hub. If you can’t find a flight to the coastal town or city you want to get to then you’re pretty sure to get a connection, the same day, from Croatia’s inland capital Zagreb. International arrivals today, July 13th, at Zagreb include flights from Paris, Frankfurt, Brussels, Vienna, Prague, Bilbao, Budapest, Munich, Stuttgart, Skopje, Moscow, Rome, Istanbul, Sarajevo, Cologne, and London Heathrow. Most of them are Croatia Airways Flights but other airlines include Lufthansa, Malev and Air France though quite a few flights are “jointly operated” between Croatia Airlines and the local national carrier.

Dubrovnik Airport is the coastal airport that British Airways focuses on, having dabbled with Split for a while. Other international carriers include Iberia and Austrian Airways, and there are plenty of other operators flying in from around the world in an arrivals list almost as long as Zagreb’s. Competing with BA for UK traffic from Gatwick Airport is EasyJet, and Aer Lingus (EIN) has a flight in from Dublin.

Split Airport is arguably the most central of all Croatia’s airports but its cosy size provides limited room for expansion and that may be why its arrival list is shorter than the two above. Summer flights also tend to peak on Saturdays and Wednesdays to coincide with yacht charters and holiday deals, so maybe Monday is not an ideal day to pick. EasyJet and Croatia Airlines are the main operators of interest to UK travellers – see below.

Zadar Airport, further north and even “cosier” than Split, is coping admirably with the area’s increasing popularity. It’s Ryanair’s favourite Croatian Airport with regular flights from London Stansted, Edinburgh, Dublin and elsewhere.

Other Croatian Airports on the coast, with international flights,  include Pula (Thomson from Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham , and Ryanair from Stansted) and Rijeka (mostly servicing Germany but with an occasional Croatia Airlines flight from London), both in Istria. Brac and  Mali Losinj airport are both on islands and are really only suitable for smaller charter planes. For those that prefer the attractions of inland continental Croatia (best to visit off season, ie outside July and August),  Osijek is now on the map with Ryanair.

As an interesting comparative exercise we thought we’d have a look at prices and availability for flights from London to coastal Croatia for the following dates – out 27th July, back Sunday 9th August (peak season). The dates were picked at random and the only stipulations were to fly out from one of the London airports to one of Croatia’s coastal airports.  Where the option was available, we said we could be flexible within 3 days or so. Note that currently £1 sterling (GBP) is worth about 8.54 kunas (HRK) and €1 (EUR) about 7.3 kunas, according to the currency conversion site  Oanda. Here are some examples.

Croatia Airlines, Croatia’s national airline, fly to most of the major Croatian coastal airports from a number of international destinations direct, but also connects many more international destinations via Zagreb, flying passengers on with domestic flights to the coast. The search comes up with a grid of prices depending on the exact day of travel. If you are truly flexible on dates, you could get a flight for around 1,600 HRK, or if not, up to around 4,000 HRK. The range for Split was a little more expensive, as was Zadar which had a more limited choice of fights.

British Airways only fly to Dubrovnik (and inland Zagreb) and offer a price of £255 for these dates – a return a day earlier or later gives a price of £323.

Ryanair still have plenty of cheap flights to Croatia, mainly to the northern Dalmatian destination of Zadar.  A return flight on the above two dates will cost around £180 including the extras for checking in a case etc but if you are flexible you may well be able to fly more cheaply. Frustratingly, with low cost flights you often end up pay more in taxes and extras than you do on the flights themselves.

Easyjet's return fare for these dates is nearly £300 but their user friendly website shows alternative cheap fares in the peak summer months that could get you a fortnight for considerably less.

And Thomsons are advertising a number of cheap flights to Pula in Istria.


Above are the main carriers though there are scores of other charter companies and indirect options if you want to shop around. What the above research suggests is that its cheaper to fly to Croatia this summer, at relatively short notice, than it has been for a while. Let’s hope that the hotels are also equally competitive; certainly the sailing charter companies seem to be keen to compete for business – see sister site Croatia Cruising Companion (direct link below) for more information.


And finally, here are a few earlier postings that may be of interest, or if you have more time just browse the site for plenty of insider tips on Croatia, destination reports, news, useful information and events:

Croatia Online - Cost Of Living

Croatia Online - Croatia In August

Croatia Cruising Companion - Sailing Holidays In Croatia

Croatia Online - Croatia's Island Gems

Croatia Cruising Companion – Recommended Reading!


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