Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Croatia’s Handiest Local Ferry? Trogir, Split Slatine

Croatia Online Bura Line

Just a few years ago, a savvy independent operator brought in perhaps one of the most sought after local ferry services. Yes, the state owned ferry company, Jadrolinija, does a great job servicing the islands and international routes. However poor old holiday makers on Slatine, Čiovo island, could look at Split, a stone’s throw away across the water, but to get there they had to drive miles in the opposite direction, cross over the busy Trogir bridges and then drive back the direction they came from on the mainland.

The Bura Line now takes them direct across the water and lands them right in the centre of Split, on the Riva by the British Embassy. It also extended its route to connect to Trogir so there’s no need to have a car anymore to get to the two most popular towns in the area.

It’s a seasonal service only, very much geared to tourist demand and you can find the latest timetable here Bura Line Timetable

The Facebook page is a fairly new thing and it’s in Croatian only but Google Translate will do most of the hard work for you. That being said, it made us chuckle to see “radnim danom” (week days or, literally, working days) being translated as the “The Oprah Winfrey Show”! Similarly don’t be horrified by the prices with “£” signs in front of them – that’s the price in kunas and there are around 9 kunas to a pound.


Today’s photo shows one of the ferries leaving Slatine on its way to Split. The high rise buildings in the background are in the suburbs of Split.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bird Watching In Croatia

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Back in 2009, we were lucky enough to go out bird watching in Croatia with Robbie from Val Tours. It was a fascinating day – not just learning about the birds but going to some really undiscovered places.

The excuse was that we were writing a feature for Time Out Croatia about it – their first one on the subject. However even if you’re not yet hooked on the hobby it’s a fascinating way of seeing Croatia’s natural beauty.

Birding is not as developed in Croatia as elsewhere and the wide variety of habitats – from Mediterranean to Continental – means there’s a wide variety of birds. So if it’s your thing then Croatia could be the place to add a few more birds to your list.

Val Tours, based in Biograd near Zadar,  were one of the first tourist organisations to take Birding in Croatia seriously. They now have a very impressive website dedicated to birding and have expanded on the type and number of tours they offer. So if you’d like to find out more, go to Croatia Birding.

To read our 2009 postings on the subject, link to:

Croatia Online - For Undiscovered Croatia Follow The Birds

Croatia Online -Time Out On Birds


Today’s photo is one of our all time favourites and kindly supplied to us by Val Tours for the Time Out feature – two Pygmy Cormorants having a chat!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Croatia’s Floods

Croatia Online - Drava River Osijek

Whilst there are no winners in the Balkan flood crisis, Croatia has fared “less worse” than neighbours Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The Digital Journal report on this link shows a map of the area worst affected though the crisis is still unfolding. Much has been made of the way that these previously warring nations are now helping each other and, in the normal pattern of things, the poor state of the maintenance of rivers and dams is now coming into the spotlight. However the scale of the tragedy seems yet to be fully apparent and our thoughts are with all those affected.

Visitors to the Croatian Coast should be reassured that the main flooded area is a long way away and they are very unlikely to be affected directly. The mood may be a little more sombre than usual but the continuing fidelity of tourists will have a very positive effect on the nation’s morale and its finances. Those with any concerns may be interested in this Trip Advisor Thread with comments on specific areas. Note that the main affected area is around the Sava river which forms the natural border between the north of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the south of Slavonia, a region in inland Croatia, not to be confused with Slovenia, which is a country to the north west of coastal Croatia.


Today’s photo is of the Drava river is Osijek, north of the main flooded area but in the same region.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

An Insight Into Tourism In Croatia

Croatia Online - Mountain Climbing in Omis

A couple of years ago, we were lucky enough to get a one to one tour of the culturally colourful and dramatically scenic Dalmatian town of Omiš, from one of its more eminent residents - Joško Stella, Director of the Central Dalmatia Croatia Tourist board. We already knew that Omiš had an awful lot going for it but after that day we could have written a whole book about it!

So it was interesting to read Joško’s recent and very frank take on where Croatian tourism is heading, particularly in Dalmatia. In a wide ranging interview for Digital Journal last month, Joško gives his informed views on anything and everything, from music festivals to cruise liner visits, with a special mention for the new Roman Roads Project.

You can read the full interview here - Digital Journal - Tourism In Croatia

And if you’d like to uncover a few  of  the secrets of  Omiš, including the history of its pirates, then check out this earlier posting on sister site Croatia Cruising Companion


Today’s photo is of some mountain climbers in Omiš. Once you’ve done that why not try some white water rafting on the river Cetina nearby?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Happy 150,000th Hit To Us!!


In the last 24 hours Croatia Online has received its 150,000th hit. Very many thanks to all of you who have kept on reading since our early beginnings, and also to newer readers. It’s time for us to go and celebrate but readers might be interested to read Croatia Online's 100,000th Hit Posting which has links to some of our favourite postings, including the very first one back in January 2006. Our nautical blog, Croatia Cruising Companion, at 35,000 hits, has a way to go to catch up but it did start a few years later and seems to have found its niche!


Today’s photo shows a very good friend of ours teaching Barnie, the dog, to drive  near Šibenik. The Croatian’s love a classic car as much as we do and everywhere we went they honked their horn and waved which makes it a good memory to celebrate all things Croatian! Smile

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Holiday Transfers To Croatia Islands About To Be Revolutionised?

Kastela Fire Planes 019

One of the logistical problems for visitors to Croatia’s islands has been timing their flight connections with ferries to their end destination. Sometimes it means an overnight stop on the mainland which can be expensive and tricky to find in the high season - most accommodation providers are looking for a minimum of three night stays and charge accordingly.

It looks as if that problem is finally about to be solved by European Coastal Airlines (ECA) who seem to have put many of the steps in place necessary to start their promised seaplane service in summer 2014.

ECA assure us that the seaplane transfers will operate all year round and be affordable for visitors and locals alike: “the ticket price for Split to Korčula will initially be below 300 kuna (40 EUR)” which does not sound bad compared to the gain in time.

Follow progress on ECA’s website news and just bear in mind that sometimes big things take a little longer to happen than is ideal!


ECA will obviously have a modern fleet of seaplanes and we don’t have a photo of those yet. So today’s photo is of a different kind of seaplane – the fire planes used to damp down the occasional forest fire, neatly framed by the two windsurfers!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Continuing Economic Recession Unlikely To Dampen Croatian Spirits!

Croatia Online - Rab

Bloomberg reported last week that Croatia is the only eastern member of the EU to report a continuing recession in the spring quarter of 2014. Only Cyprus and Croatia, amongst all EU countries, are predicted to have negative growth in 2014. You can read the full post on the following link Bloomberg - Croatia Still In Recession.

Whilst clearly it’s not the best of news and Croatians are still suffering from a gloomy economy, we don’t expect the locals to be too downhearted. Croatia depends heavily on tourism and there’s not much of it about in the first quarter of the year. And Croatia has suffered far worse in its past and still bounced back with  determination and success. Croatians are a resourceful bunch and though, on paper, not a rich nation, self sufficiency never died out in Croatia so their Kunas go a lot further than ours might.

From a tourists’ point of view Croatia’s (and the Euro’s!) misfortune is our gain. The sterling exchange rate is over 9 kunas to the pound though this tends to decrease a little as the high season approaches.

All in all it’s probably as good a time as any to visit this Adriatic hotspot and do your share to help the economy!


Today’s photo is of sunset over Rab town. Rab island, Kvarner, is a very popular destination and has some great sandy beaches. The silhouette of the town and its four elegant bell towers are often said, by sailors approaching at night, to resemble a grand four-masted ship. 

Friday, May 09, 2014

Croatia Cruising Companion and Trogir

Trogir's Kamerlengo Castle

Readers please note today’s posting on sister blog Croatia Cruising Companion with details on a new marina in Trogir to come.

Trogir has a special place in our hearts as not only is it one of the most popular Croatian cruising destinations but it was also our first home in Croatia. This lovely UNESCO protected medieval walled town, with its cobbled streets, intriguing squares, bustling Riva (seaside promenade), stunning cathedral and elegant castle has a life all year round and just about everything you could wish for – a wide choice of hotels (old and new), a vast variety of cafés, bars, restaurants, tourist offers and shops, a vibrant summer festival, a fish market, a fruit and vegetable market and, of course, a rich history told by the many ancient buildings. What’s more it’s just a 15 minute drive from Split airport, half an hour by car to Split itself and only an hour and a half’s drive away from Zadar Airport. Inter city coaches to Dubrovnik or Zadar, for example, pick up and drop off in Trogir and there are ferries from Trogir to the nearby islands of Veli and Mali Drvenik as well as between Trogir, Slatine on Čiovo island and Split though the latter only run in the season.

For the best swimming you’ll need to walk or drive across the bridge to Čiovo island or take the seasonal ferry to Slatine.

Today’s photo shows Trogir’s Kamerlengo Castle and, beyond that, in the distance, the location of the new marina.