Official Blog of Central Dalmatia Tourist Board


Friday, July 26, 2013

Half of Top Beaches in Croatia in Central Dalmatia, Says Rough Guides

More good news and international acclaim for the beaches of Central Dalmatia, as leading travel guide gurus Rough Guides recently came up with their top ten list for Croatia.

And for lovers of the beaches of Central Dalmatia, it will come as little surprise that no less than five of the ten are in Central Dalmatia. Which ones, and what did Rough Guides have to say about our beaches? Read on....


For many of its inhabitants Split is not so much a city as a religion, centred around a collection of semi-mystic locations. Among the holiest of holies is undoubtedly Bačvice beach, a shallow bay of sand and shingle that has played an important role in the early childhood and teenage years of virtually anyone who has ever called the city home. Immensely popular as a family beach, it’s also a buzzing social hub, with a café-packed pleasure pavilion rising immediately to the east. Bačvice is also famous for being the spiritual home of picigin, a uniquely Dalmatian sport that involves a lot of acrobatic leaping around as players try to prevent a small ball from hitting the water.


Four kilometres east of Postira on Brač, Lovrečina Bay is one of several beaches on the island that genuinely deliver what you read about in the brochures, with a sandy shore bordering translucent waters, and a ruined medieval church among olive groves just behind the strand. The fact that there is limited parking and no clear bus stop nearby helps to the beach from becoming overrun. Apropos rent out apartments in Postira, while Villa Adriatica up the coast in Supetar is one of the island’s cosier hotels.


The Renaissance port of Hvar enjoys a worldwide reputation when it comes to chic bars and racy nightlife. If a good beach is what you’re after, however, it’s best to get out of town. There are several good choices in the coves and bays to the east, of which the most attractive is Uvala Dubovica, a broad pebbly affair beside a historic manor house. The bay’s shallow nature makes it good family paddling territory, although it gets popular with yachts and motorboats in season. Otherwise, difficulty of access tends to filter out the guests – the parking strip on the main road above the bay is only big enough to accommodate about fifty vehicles. Rent a bike or scooter from Luka Rent in Hvar and beach-hop your way along the coast.


While many of Hvar’s beaches involve perching on a rock before stepping gingerly out onto a stony seabed, the silkily sandy Grebišće is absolutely perfect for smooth paddling around. Located 4km east of Jelsa just off the Sućuraj road, the beach is reached by walking through the Grebišće campsite. The beach itself is very narrow and contains very little shade, but the bay is both very shallow and sandy underfoot – which is why it’s such a popular venue for splashing around. Drinks and basic snacks are available at the campsite café or the Čorni Petar beach bar, nestling beneath trees on the headland to the east.


A silvery tongue of shingle extending into a turquoise sea, Zlatni Rat (“Golden Cape”) is very much the poster boy of Dalmatian beaches, pictured in countless brochures and guidebooks. The pebbly peninsula remains a compelling destination despite the crowds; indeed its clear shallow seas and gripping maritime views make it a difficult place to leave. It’s within walking distance of Bol, where More Travel or Adria will sort you out with accommodation.

To see the full list, click here.

Dalmatian Beaches on Huffington Post Dream Travel List

If you had travelled the world and seen the most amazing places, and then were offered the chance to experience the very best, where would you choose? Such was the dilemma facing the influential Huffington Post newspaper in America, whose travel sections is celebrating its third birthday.

Lovers of the Dalmatian coast will not be surprised that one of the 17 places was of course Dalmatian beaches... Here is what the HuffPost had to say:

"Today HuffPost Travel is three whole years old! It’s been three lovely years of breathtaking photographs, stress-relieving vacation advice, the ups and downs of airlines and, of course, nude beaches.

So to celebrate this special day, we're going on a virtual journey to some of our favorite places. Is one of them a nude beach? You’ll have to read to find out..." Read more... 

Come and Experience the Alka Preparations, a Dalmatia Heritage Jewel

Of all the fabulous events of 2013 in Dalmatia, the one I am most looking forward to is the Sinj Alka in a couple of months. I was delighted to receive an invitation for one of the region's most individual traditions, and I will be covering the event for Google News and the Central Dalmatian Tourist Board.
Tickets for the main event are almost impossible to find, but the good news is that there are two events before the main Alka called The Bara and The Coja, where participants perform without the traditional dress, and entrance to both days is free. Details below. Preparations for the Alka are ongoing, and dress rehearsals take place daily from 18:00 - 20:00 from Monday to Friday until the Alka on August 4. For more information about the Alka, read on below, or check out the Sinj Tourist Board website.

THE ALKA OF SINJ (Knights’ tournament) was the best cultural event in the framework of the ״Doživi Hrvatsku – Experience Croatia 2012״ project.
The Alka of Sinj was inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (UNESCO).

In honour of its heavenly patroness the Madonna of Sinj, who, according to the tradition, forced the Turks into flight in 1715, as an eternal vow of devotion and respect, the people of Sinj instituted the Alka – the knightly tournament of Sinj, and thus each year on the first Sunday in August the glorious victory is revived. The tournament of Alka originated at the time when there were many similar knightly tournaments in Europe. All of them have now fallen into oblivion, except the Alka Tournament of Sinj, which is at the dawn of its three hundredth anniversary and under the protection of UNESCO as world’s intangible heritage.

The ceremony of Alka lasts for three days.
Bara - 2 August 2013 at 5.30 p.m.
Čoja - 3 August 2013 at 5.30 p.m.
Alka - 4 August 2013 at 4.30 p.m.
Come and have a look at Alka preparations!
Dress rehearsals (Prove), 12 Jul. - 1 Aug. 2013, Mon - Fri 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Entrance to dress rehearsals, the Bara and the Čoja, is free.
Tickets available at: The Alka Knightly Tournament Society
Address: Šetalište A. Stepinca 2/I
Telephone: +385 (0) 21 821 542

Driving in Dalmatia and Looking for the Latest Traffic Info?

Planning your drive around Dalmatia and want to know if there are any traffic issues, but not sure where to look?
The national automobile association HAK has a rather useful service which is regularly updated, giving the latest news on roadworks, border delays and major traffic jams. In English!
To visit the site, click here

Official Sinj Tourist Guide Available Online

The Tourist Board of Sinj has released its official tourist guide online!

The 38-page publication covers the town's history, sights, gastronomy, activities and accommodation, as well as various practical information and contact details. You can view it online here, or pick up a hard copy from the tourist board in Sinj.

Why the Central Dalmatia Has a Bright Future for Adventure Tourism

(With thanks to Ilija Veselica for the photos)

Tourism on the Dalmatian coast is booming. An enviable combination of sun-kissed beaches, pristine water, astonishing heritage, island-hopping options, varied water sports and outstanding gastronomy, coupled with EU entry and a massive increase in incoming seasonal flights mean the tourism future for the Dalmatian coast all but guaranteed. 

Less than 30 minutes from the coast, however, the tourism looks very different, is much less developed and yet has arguably more long-term potential than its seaside neighbour, as it has the potential to utilise inland Dalmatia’s rich heritage and natural resources to build a sustainable year-round tourism industry.

Located within a short drive of coastal destinations such as Split, Sibenik and Omis, the inland area of Zagora has a diverse and undiscovered range of tourist attractions, which have the potential not only to complement the neighbouring beach and sun tourism, but to develop the region into a longer season destination.

The main settlements of Zagora are mostly old and historic towns, with plenty of heritage and tradition. Trilj, Sinj, Vrgorac, Vrlika, Dugopolje and Imotski. It is a region of rich cultural heritage, with the annual festivals and traditions attracting national media interest, including the Sinj Alka every August, which was last year named as best cultural event in Croatia by Experience Croatia 2012.

Zagora rich in natural beauty, whose attractions include the Red and Blue Lake in Imotski, the mighty Cetina River,which Lonely Planet named among Europe’s Top 40 Amazing Experiences in June 2013. The leading travel guru said of the Cetina:

'The Cetina is the longest river in Dalmatia, the sea-kissed jewel in Croatia’s crown. Stretching 105 km from the eponymous village, it flows through the Dinara mountains and the fields around Sinj, before gathering speed and pouring into a power plant around Omiš. It is an extraordinarily scenic journey as the limpid blue river is bordered by high rocky walls, thick with vegetation, and the best way to enjoy it is on a rafting trip, braving the rapids on a three-to four-hour trip.'

Its indigenous gastronomic offerings often take visitors by surprise, both by the individual and unique dishes to each region, as well as the guaranteed freshness of (very often) organic products, while the wines of Dalmatia are starting to attract serious international attention.

It is the area of adventure tourism, however, where the biggest potential lies, and the potential to develop Zagora as a major adventure sport destination, including a centre for winter training for sporting associations from less temperate northern climes, has already started to be realised.

The Vrlika Lake2Lake Green Tourism rowing project on Lake Peruca is a cross-border EU-funded initiative, with financial support from the Zagreb Rowing Federation. It aims to develop adventure tourism in the area with Olympic-class rowing facilities, while offering year-round rowing facilities for associations from colder climes in Europe and beyond.

Rowing is but one adventure sport in the region. It is home to some of the best paragliding in the country at Hrvace near Sinj, whose starting point is an altitude of 820 metres, while skydiving is becoming increasingly popular, especially the Alka Skydivers Cup in early August, which coincides with the main Alka festivities, where divers from all over the world attempt to land in a signature Alka ring using various parachutes.

The Cetina is home to various activity sports such as white water rafting and canoe safaris, and the region has the ability to develop its water activities into more organised competitive challenges for visiting sporting teams. The recent 3rd Cetina Adventure Race, a 100 km combination of bike, kayak and running, is an example of what can be organised successfully. A strategy of encouraging international sporting associations to take part in such events, while combining the visit with a holiday on the coast for its participants, could quickly bring a range of competitive sporting events for enthusiasts, which would help establish the area as an adventure destination with beach and heritage in close proximity.

The Cetina is also a popular destination for fly fishing enthusiasts, and its cold depths make it an attractive proposition for a wealth of fish species, including brown trout and grayling, and the Cetina Sports Fishing Club has over 450 members, and is responsible for fish stocking and preserving the cleanliness and beauty of the river. .

While the Sinj Alka Tournament may be the most high profile event featuring horses, equestrian sport is well established in Zagora, and several local and international hurdle and gallop tournaments are held annually, and there are a number of private stud farms of great reputation in the Greater Sinj area.

Zagora is a cycling and trekking paradise, activities which are set to increase in popularity with the completion of cycling paths in February 2014 with another EU-funded project, MEDPATHS, whose primary objective is the protection and revitalisation of local heritage (cultural and natural) alongside the Adriatic coast. One of the results of the project is the detection/creation of management model in local zones based upon natural and cultural heritage.

As demonstrated by the Lake2Lake project mentioned above, cross-border cooperation with neighbours Bosnia and Herzegovina, and another EU project, The Our Lady of Sinj Route is already underway, aiming to develop small scale infrastructure along Our Lady of Sinj Route in order to enhance the attractiveness of the cross border region as a tourism destination.
All this screams one word - potential. In isolation, Zagora’s natural beauty and abundant resources for adventure tourism sound exciting enough, but there are several other factors which indicate that these initial EU-funded projects could be the beginning of a bigger story which will see the region transformed into a major adventure tourism destination.

The first is the timing. This month saw Croatia enter the EU as its 28th member. There is funding available for numerous projects for the newest family member. With committed professionals on the ground with a record of successful application for funding, a coordinated strategy of developing adventure tourism in Zagora should bring more funding and benefits to the region.
The second is location. EU entry and the sharp increase of flights to the neighbouring airport in Split (more than 80 destinations for the 2013 season via 43 airlines) means that accessibility to Zagora is not an issue.

Thirdly, climate. The more temperate climate of Dalmatia was a significant factor in the support of the Zagreb Rowing Association for the Lake2Lake project, and there has also been international interest in using the facilities for winter training from rowing associations from colder climes. This interest will not be restricted to rowing if other activity facilities are built.

And finally, location again. Access to Zagora is covered above, but access from Zagora is another trump card in the region’s development. Within one to two hours of travel, the treasures of the Dalmatian coast await - Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic, the Dalmatian capital of Split, gateway to the magical islands of Hvar, Brac, Vis and Solta. Having some prime tourist attractions on the doorstep is attractive indeed, but the greater prize would be to coordinate developed adventure tourism into the Dalmatian tourism strategy, which would lead to longer season tourism for all.

New York Times Falls in Love with Hvar All Over Again

Having named Hvar in its 46 must-see destinations for 2013, The New York Times love affair with the island of lavender and sun continues, with another positive piece about Hvar.

A Croatian Island's Day in the Sun

Hvar, an island in the Adriatic Sea off Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, is in many ways a contradiction. As a visitor, you might wake up and hike across brambly hillsides to a medieval ghost town, and by sundown be drinking infused cocktails while dancing to techno music. It’s an island where opulent hotels continue to sprout up across the coastline, but the equivalent of $30 can still get you a room in the house of a local grandmother.

Go Brac in Time, Says The Sun, Britain's Most Popular Newspaper

Lots of column inches about Dalmatia at the moment in the world's press, and rightly so. It is gorgeous on the  coast at the moment. Britain's most popular paper, The Sun for example, has done a major feature on the island of Brac, with a trip to Hvar.

Go Brac in Time

IT’S time to welcome Croatia to the EU – and add it to your holiday destination list.
The TripAdvisor website polled 4,000 Brits and found 61 per cent would take a trip there.

So here MASON BROWNLOW explores one of its smaller islands, Brac, before everyone else does.

I “DID” the Croatia island hop five years ago when it wasn’t quite on the package tourist map.
I was anticipating a much busier country than the one I found.

But as we stepped off the ferry on to the isle of Brac, it was like going back in time. While Croatia is on many people’s travel lists, Brac is still untouched and its dramatic coast, lined with pine and olive trees, hidden coves and rolling countryside, should see it added to those lists.

It’s the largest island in central Dalmatia on Croatia’s Adriatic coast and is a melting pot of cobbled streets, stone houses, town squares, fishing villages and beautiful secluded beaches.

Read more: 

Croatia in Lonely Planet's Top Ten Destinations for 2013

Leading travel guide Lonely Planet published its Top 10 European travel destinations for 2013 on June 18, 2013, and Croatia - which is marketing itself as 'the New Tourist Star of the European Union - made the list in the latest piece of good news for the country's tourism industry, ahead of EU entry on July 1. Lonely Planet said of Croatia:

"Calling Croatia a hotspot is somewhat old news in travel circles – its popularity is firmly established among European travellers and steeply on the rise among Americans as well. But many travellers are only seeing one sunny slice of the country, lured to the nearly 2000km-long coastline meanwhile missing the diverse charms of the inland cities, national parks and countryside. Zagreb, soon to be the EU’s newest capital city."
It is not the first time that Croatia has featured in Lonely Planet's top ten, with its premier island of Hvar appearing at number 5 in the 2012 top destinations.

Discover which other destinations made the top ten list.

Five of 17 Things Not To Be Missed in Croatia in Central Dalmatia

So what are the things not to be missed in Croatia?

With so much UNESCO heritage, natural beauty, beaches, history and tradition, compiling a definitive list is quite a challenge.

Leading travel guide website Rough Guides has done just that however, recently publishing a list of 17 Things Not to Miss in Croatia, of which five were in Central Dalmatia.

The list was a strong recommendation for Hvar, with Hvar Town, Hvar Island and Stari Grad all appearing on the list, along with Diocletian's Palace and one of the region's favourite activity sports - sea kayaking. See the full Rough Guides list here.