Official Blog of Central Dalmatia Tourist Board


Monday, September 23, 2013

Trilj: The Heart of Adventure Tourism in Central Dalmatia

Drag yourself away from the beach for just a day and discover a whole new world just a short distance from the coast.

The region of inland Dalamtia is known as Zagora, or 'behind the hill', and while there might not be too much of the pristine Adriatic on offer, there are plenty of other activities which are attracting an increasing number of tourists each year to Central Dalmatia, and for whom a beach holiday is the last thing on their minds.

For Zagora is adventure tourism country, just thirty minutes from Split and the Dalmatian coast. Here Dalmatia offers a different kind of Paradise - kayaking, rafting, climbing, cycling, horse riding, canyoning, hiking. If it adrenaline sports you are looking for, look no further. Check out the video below for a gentle armchair introduction.

One of the advantages of being based in towns such as Sinj and Trilj, for example, is that one has the accessibility of the coast, combined with the rich diversity of nature and activities away from the crowds. Prices are cheaper, the tourists routes less congested, and there is fabulous nature at every turn. 

A prime example of adventure tourism in action is that of Hotel Sveti Mihovil in Trilj, which is actually the oldest private hotel in modern-day Croatia. Opened as a restaurant in 1965, the hotel now offers the perfect base to discover the region, as well as tailor-made packages which are proving increasingly popular with the mostly British adventure tourism market, who are coming for seven-day packages in groups of 5 to 25. From adult to family packages, there is something for everyone. Here is a sample 7-day package which brings out the very best of the region, and offers an action-packed week in inland Dalmatia.

After a short Transfer from Split to Trilj you will be checking into the Hotel. This 3 star rated hotel fits all rooms with Air-conditioning, Satellite TV, Mini bar, a private bathroom and direct phone line. This is the time to unpack, have few drinks and become acquainted with our Holiday Guides and the other hotel guest.

Today we are taking a short transfer to the small village of Han. This is where we begin the Canoe Safari. Each Canoe can hold from 6 to 10 people and our guides will be taking your group down the beautiful Cetina River. This slow ride is and great opportunity to see the amazing landscapes of Croatia. This trip makes good practice for rafting later on in the adventure. The rest of the day is free and it’s recommended that you explore the local area around the hotel.

The best way to tour the sublime Croatian landscape is by bicycle. Today we will be exploring the local villages and the winding mountain paths on mountain bikes. The track winds around the hills and follows the river until passing through the Historic villages and landmarks. This is a wonderful opportunity to sample the local produce and drinks from a family run farm we stop at for lunch.

After breakfast we are taking transfers to the village of Cikotina Lada. You will be Kayaking through the clear waters and navigating the rocky crags. These beautiful canyons are an undiscovered delight. The vegetation remains unspoilt across the river and some of the cliff faces scale over 100 meters. This tour is full of unforgettable scenery that you will treasure for ever.

Today we travel further down the Cetina. This stretch of river is where you will find the regions fasted water rapids. Take the plunge with 8 others and smash through the furious rapids as the river meets the sea. This experience is truly unique and an unforgettable experience.

The rafting is flowed by a trip to the sea side. Sun bath, swim and play volleyball. There is always cocktails and ice cream available. There are some fantastic shops and area in the area.

Time to relax and enjoy the Croatian weather, you could go shopping in town, get a bite to eat or just chill out by the pool. Remember to talk with your Croatia active holiday guides, their extensive local knowledge can provide you with an unlimited amount of things to do any day of the week. A short walk from your hotel, and you can go swimming in the river, wander into the countryside, discover Roman ruins or find a local pub! We can arrange further excursions during your Croatia Activity holiday stay. Top picks are: horse riding, day trip to Trogir or Split (both are registered under UNESCO). Many options!

Today we inviote you to the greates adventure, to discover the Cetina canyon. This huge 200 metre canyon is home to many beautiful waterfalls, lakes and hot pools. This region of the country is going to take you breath away. Climbing thought the canyon is always a challenge but the views from Gubavica Falls are simply stunning and well worth the trek.  The remainder of the afternoon is free before a special farewell dinner at the hotel.

It’s time departure, we will transfer you to the airport and bid you farewell. If you are not ready to leave yet we can extend your stay, just talk to our team. There is still plenty more places to go and activities in the region and we can make the necessary arrangements to allow you’re adventure to continue.

To learn more about adventure tourism in Trilj, visit the Trilj Tourist Board website or the Hotel Sveti Mihovil, which is located on the banks of the majestic Cetina river. 

Award-Winning Director Ashley Colburn Filming in Sinj

The Sinj Tourist Board was delighted to welcome award-winning director Ashley Colburn to the town for a day's filming on Friday September 20.

Ashley, who received critical acclaim for her Wow Croatia documentary, has decided to return to Croatia to film a new show about seven locations, including Sinj.

The tourist board posted her itinerary on its Facebook page:


Fascinated with beauties of Croatia, Ashley Colburn (Emmy-awarded for her documentary «Wow Croatia») decided to make a seven-episode documentary series about various regions of Croatia.
Itinerary Sinj (Friday 20th September)
- Lady of the Sinj Curch
- Old city, talking about Alka
- Fortress Kamičak, and filming
- Cetina adventure
- Kosinac Spring
- Lunch at Konoba Potkova, filming
- Activities Alka
- Sleeping in Pansion Fantasia

Ashley certainly got her hands dirty during the filming, spending time in the kitchen preparing some of Sinj's infamous culinary delicacies, as well as getting to grips with the region's heritage and adventure tourism.

It was a fun-filled day, and one that clearly left an impression on Ashley, who later tweeted:

Today I was honored to discover #Sinj ! We had a great day learning about Alka, hiking, visiting churches and we even stuffed some cabbage! I'll be back!

Central Dalmatia: A Horse Riding Paradise

Central Dalmatia's strong adventure tourism offer includes several opportunities to discover the region's pure and diverse nature on horseback. The region's equestrian credentials are perhaps best known internationally for the Sinjska Alka, a knights' tournament which takes place every August in memory of the defeat of the Ottomans at the Siege of Sinj in 1715.

The equestrian tradition from that historical event has left its mark in the region, and Sinj and neighbouring Trilj have an exceptional tourism potential for visitors, both in terms of events at the Sinj Hippodrome, and more particularly in equestrian holidays.

There are no less than six riding clubs in the Sinj/Trilj area, just half an hour north of Split. Catering to all ages and skill levels, from beginners up, the various locations offer a combination of riding school, daily riding, horse trekking, half-day riding, show jumping and dressage.

With the majestic of the hinterland mountains and the mighty Cetina river, equestrian holidays provide a unique viewpoint to enjoy the unspoiled nature of the Dalmatian hinterland, while the facilities at the riding schools, including children's play areas, make it an excellent day or weekend destination for families looking for a gentle introduction to riding.

For more information, check out the Sinj Tourist Board website and the Trilj Tourist Board.

The Magical 600 Year-Old Mills of Grab

While the most popular part of the Dalmatian tourism map is undoubtedly the coast, the biggest surprises and delightful discoveries for the intrepid explorer are to be found inland.

Taking advantage of a business appointment, we decided on a family day trip with horse-riding to the historic towns of Sinj and Trilj, which lie a little north of Split the other side of the motorway.

It was a day of nature, horses, Roman treasures and excellent food, but the undoubted highlight lay down a small road off the beaten track - the mills of Grab.

With the mighty Cetina river never far away in Zagora, the exposure to fast flowing water and clean and pure nature is never far away, and there were plenty of picturesque river scenes with abundant animal life to be enjoyed.

Stone buildings and arched bridges which had seen better days perhaps, but whose semi-inhabitable status and air of gentle decay emitted a particular beauty in the natural surroundings.

At the end of one especially charming path, a small hive of activity, and on popping our heads into the building with the noise disturbing the quiet afternoon idyll, a rather peculiar site - a fully operating mill with ancient wooden equipment.

One of the famous Grab mills, located on the beautiful river of the same name.

The mill is the oldest working mill in Dalmatia, some 600 years old, and production methods have not changed in the centuries since production started, as undoubtedly the stunning peaceful scenery had not - a spectacular find.

Production was ongoing, and buyers constantly coming - here is one of the storage rooms - delightfully quaint.

With the abundance of animals, the mill proved popular with the little ones.

And while the mill might have been the find of the day, its secrets were only just being unravelled, as owner Iko Samardzic came over to introduce himself, his art and sculpture... and his powers for predicting the future.

"This little angel will be a doctor," he pronounced authoritatively of our eldest. "And this little princess a professor."

And then a door of the complex was opened, and a selection of Iko's sculptures revealed, sculptures he claimed to have been showing to CNN and the BBC recently.

But it was back into the mill for the little ones to learn more of the milling process (and the chance to get a little dirty no doubt).

A true hidden gem off the main tourist route, but as part of a family day trip from Split, an unforgettable addition.

And just a few hundred metres from that particular mill, another fun attraction for the little ones, a fish farm in what had also once been a mill, complete with a special variety of local crabs. Fishing doesn't get easier than this.

A fabulous day out for the kids, one of many attractions for all the family within an hour of Split. To reach Grab, take the Mostar road from Sinj, turning left at the bridge as you enter the town of Trilj. 

Roman Treasures to be Discovered: Gardun/Tilurium near Trilj

The town of Trilj, just north of Split and on the Sinj to Mostar road, does not seem to have too much going for it at first glance. It is located all on one through road, and I must have driven through it 100 times in my life with the only thought being if I would have to slow down for a traffic policeman.

It seems I have been missing something...

First up was a visit to the oldest working mill in Dalmatia, where little has changed in the 600 years of operation (learn more here).

"And over this hill are the remains of a Roman military camp," said Ante Latinac, former head of the Trilj Tourist Board, and my guide for the day. From the town, which is dominated by the Cetina river running through it, the hill did not look as though it was guarding anything special, but there were secrets dating back 2000 years behind it.

According to Latinac, the wife of former Croatian Prime Minister Sanader has been instrumental in uncovering the secrets of Tilurium, which is located at Gardun, just outside Trilj. Aerial photographs showed an unusual formation in the grass and, as the existence of a Roman camp was known, excavation began.

The former sleeping quarters are extremely well preserved. In the words of the information sign:

Military Sleeping Quarters (centuriae)

They are located in the south-eastern part of the camp, where the terrain gently slopes towards the south. Due to the levelling of the ground, the preserved substructures were filled with stone. Wooden beams were built into the walls, and their imprints have been preserved in the mortar. The beams visible on the facade were linked by vertical beams passing through the wall. The southern and eastern walls of the building were supported by buttresses, and afer the completion of the exploration, they have been conserved and partially reconstructed. The room enclosed by these two walls in the south-eastern part has also been conserved. The excavations have indicated that to the north, in parallel with the explored complex, there are other buildings consisting of the same structural elements, and this notion was used during the reconstruction of this complex. On the basis of this ground plan, we can rightfully assume that these were military sleeping quarters (centuriae), and in three cases such assumption has been confirmed by archaeological excavations. Originally, six centuriae made up a unit by one legion cohort, which numbered 500 troops.

Trilj has long been an important post in the defences of the region, with its strategically important location on the way to Bosnia - here is the town from above, not far from Tilurium.

Excavation work has stopped, presumably due to funding issues, but Tilirium is an important part of the Roman road heritage of Dalmatia, a tourism heritage which the regional tourist board is looking to promote more heavily.

The site is open and entrance is free, with access through the courtyard of a very friendly local family, whose house is in rather a curious position - perched several metres above the sleeping quarters - and presumably directly on top of some other Roman treasures.

What was once military sleeping quarters is today an adventure playground for the local canine population.

Meanwhile, on top of the as-yet-unexcavated Roman remains, it is feeding time for the pigs.

And the chickens...

An exceptionally beautiful and tranquil place, and a fusion of modern rural Dalmatian rural living and thousands of years of history. So the next time you are driving through Trilj, wait awhile and find out what secrets are within its close vicinity. To learn more about Tilurium, click here

Promoting Tourism Through Heritage on Vis: The Case of Fort George

Dalmatia has a rich and varied cultural heritage, reflecting - among others - the Greek, Roman and Venetian eras, whose architectural legacy is there for all to see and enjoy.

The island of Vis also has a very strong British tradition dating back to the 18th Century, and it is on this island where one can find the oldest cricket club in mainland Europe, for example.

And there are fortresses, built by the British and still defining monuments on the island all these years later. A sad reality of the troubled economic times is that there is less money available for maintenance, and several buildings are therefore falling into disrepair.

One fortress which looks as though it has a bright future, however, is Fort George on Vis, which last weekend celebrated its 200th anniversary, and distinguished guests included British Ambassador David Slinn and British Vice Admiral John McAnaly.

The fortress, which is now being operated by European Travel Ventures under a 25-year concession, has opened as an arts facility, complete with restaurant, outdoor stage and arts venue, while undergoing extensive renovation. To learn more about the new-look Fort George, click here.   

Makarska Set to Break 1 Million Overnight Stays

The beaches of the Makarska Riviera have always been a major attraction to holidaymakers in Dalmatia, and with very good reason! A wide variety of stunning beaches overlooking the pristine Adriatic make it an ideal spot for a relaxing holiday.

The tourist numbers this year are going to break post-war records, with the millionth overnight stay for 2013 expected in October, according to a report in Dalmacijanews. The numbers are up 11% for the first 8 months of the year compared to the corresponding period in 2012, while August alone was up 12%.

Tonci Lalic, head of the Makarska Tourist Board told the news portal that the major tourism growth this year has come from Poland, up 36%, while Bosnian guests were second - up 6% despite an EU border now separating the two countries. Other notable increases were Germans, Norwegians, Swedes, Italians and Croatians.

Fox News Features Split as Charming and Affordable City

There is no denying that the international profile of Split and the Dalmatian coast in general has been raised in the last year, and there are now many more column inches about - and visitors to - the city. The latest piece to appear in the international press is from Fox News, whose article 6 Charming and Affordable European Cities You Haven't Visited Yet includes the Dalmatian capital. Here is what they had to say:
History comes alive on the Mediterranean
You don't have to remember the name Diocletian to have a blast in Split, a city of more than 250,000, but you can thank him for pioneering the notion of Split as a lesser-known Mediterranean getaway. A Roman emperor who abdicated his position in the face of rival claims, Diocletian built an amazing palace here, completed in A.D. 305, and to this day the city has one of Europe's finest collections of Roman ruins.
Why Split is second to none. From Diocletian's day to the present, Split has done an exceptional job of preserving its past, making it a first-rate destination for immersing yourself in living history--even in the face of the civil war that rocked Croatia in the 1990s. This UNESCO World Heritage Site invites you to balance your beach-going and nightlife with visits to its Roman ruins, medieval forts, Romanesque churches dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries, plus Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque palaces and other noteworthy buildings; a historic district, archeological museum, and of course the ruins of Diocletian's palace round out the historical offerings.
Must-see sights. When you yearn to return to the land of the living, drop yourself on Bacvice beach, a crescent-shaped stretch of sand that rivals any of the tonier--and pricier--Mediterranean beaches. We won't tell if all you want to do is stretch out on a blanket and soak up some rays. But when the sun goes down, dip a toe into Split's lively bar scene, with popular "crawls" around the neighborhood of the Roman palace ruins. In the morning, get classy again with a trip to the Metrovic Gallery, spotlighting the work of Croatia's best-known sculpture, Ivan Mestrovic.
Where to eat. Buffet Fife serves big portions of grilled local meats and fish (Trumbiceva Obala 11, 385/21-345-223).
Where to stay. Hotel Globo is a 10-minute walk to Split's historic district (Lovretska Ulica 18,
Get there. Split is 140 miles northwest of Dubrovnik, Croatia, a three-hour drive.
To read the whole article, click here.