Official Blog of Central Dalmatia Tourist Board


Friday, December 27, 2013

The Shortest Day is Over: Countdown to Dalmatia Beach Heaven 2014

Secret island beach, by Dalmatia Explorer
With all this gorgeous weather, it is hard to imagine that we are really in the midst of winter, but with December 21 behind us, the days are now getting longer. And longer days can only mean one thing - the summer season is approaching.

We are very grateful for all your fan photos throughout the year. Here are a few beach shots submitted by our fans to remind you of what awaits when you visit Central Dalmatia in 2014. Beach heaven!

Pakomina -byMakarska Riviera Beaches

Mimice - Deni Ulic

Brela - Makarska Riviera Beaches

Cvitacka by Makarska Riviera Beaches

Zarace, Hvar - Nenad Medak

Hvar in Fodor's List of 25 Places Not to Miss in 2014

Last year it was the New York Time featuring Hvar in its list of top 46 places to visit.

This year, the press release is also from New York. This time it is Fodor's Travel, one of the leading named in tourism, and the message is the same - Hvar!

"Need inspiration for your travels in 2014? The Fodor’s Travel 2014 Go List—announced today—highlights 25 can’t-miss places that should be on everyone’s travel radar for the coming year. Curated by a team of Fodor’s Travel experts, the list incorporates everything from emerging destinations and new hot spots to noteworthy events and great values around the world.

"Hvar, Croatia: Forget the French Riviera; this sunny island on Croatia's Dalmatian coast is the new hot spot for beach lovers and yachting revelers. Located along the route of Croatia's trendy Yacht Week--a 7-day tour of coastal locales in a fleet packed with young travelers from around the world—Hvar has cemented its status as a partier's paradise."

Dalmacija Wine Expo 2014, in Split and Makarska

2013 has been a good year for the wines of Dalmatia, with grape varieties such as plavac mali, posip and bogdanusa becoming more recognisable on the world stage, and exports from California to China.

An increasingly important platform to present the wines of the region is Dalmacija Wine Expo, now in its fourth year, and hosted every year until now in Makarska.

Next year's event will be expanded and take place in both Split and Makarska, with the main event at the Radisson Blu in Split on April 24 and 25.

While the main event will be moving from its home of four years, Makarska, it will also be holding a two-day event in Makarska - Wine and Fun Days - on May 1-2. 

Traditional Dalmatian Food at Christmas: Bakalar

With much of Dalmatia now focused on the festive holidays, it is time to think of food, and Christmas means one thing for most households in the region - bakalar. Given the region's richness of fresh seafood, it is perhaps a little curious that the main fish dish for the Christmas season is based on dried cod... from Norway.

It's hard to say why people around the Mediterranean, including Dalmatia, accepted codfish so eagerly, knowing that it usually comes as a dried fish, looking more as a wooden board than a seafood delicacy. And why anyone who is used to all the fresh treats coming from the warm southern sea would love to eat something so ugly and smelly when cooked? The answer might be hidden in some great journeys of the past.

Old chronicles report that cod was brought to the Mediterranean by Venetian nobleman and merchant Pietro Querini in the first half of 15th century. As described in The Northern Light Route, a project conducted on University of Tromsø, Norway, Querini set sail in early summer 1431 set from Cretan Iraklion to Bruges, in Flanders, with three ships loaded with wine and spices. Caught in a terrible storm, vessels with 68 men sank and the crew had to move to their lifeboats. Many drowned or died of starvation and fatigue while the boats drifted across the North Sea. The same source claims that just after the new year 1432 survivors stranded on an island near Røst, in Lofoten. They were found by local fishermen, and after three months of recovery sailed on small cargo boats loaded with stockfish to Trondheim. The result? Signor Querini became the first exporter of Nordic stockfish, especially cod dried on sun and wind, to southern Europe.

Still, the connection between cod and Christmas was yet to be established. It happened in 1561, when The Council of Trent sharply condemned greed, vanity, blasphemy and any kind of body pleasures. Fasting was reevaluated as a mean to purity, loyalty and gratitude to God. On the other hand, rich Europeans just didn't want to get rid of their culinary habits, enriched with food from newly discovered lands. Chefs of the time got a new assignment: how to cook by strict religious norms, and still enjoy. About six thousand scholars participating in Council tasted top dishes of "adjusted" cuisine, and the almost unanimous verdict discovered something Scandinavians already knew for centuries; cod is the perfect fasting meal. Hundreds of recipes were published in cookbooks of the time, and the biggest popularity was gained on the Mediterranean, an area so filled with fresh, tasty fish.

Sometime during the 1800s codfish settled in Dalmatia, as an Italian import. Narrow streets of Dalmatian cities were swept by the not so pleasant odour during the holiday season. Just everyone was cooking cod. After the World War Two, when communist came to power in former Yugoslavia, including Croatia, cod even turned into an ideology "weapon". Visiting churches in a socialist country was often considered inappropriate, so preparing cod and other traditional Christmas specialties became even some kind of resistance. Only the dilemma mentioned in the beginning - which of two the most popular recipes to prepare for Christmas eve dinner - remained the same, all the way to our times. Every family has its own variation, some will even make adventurous move to some other way of preparing, but here are basic recipes for basic codfish meal. Learn how to do it on time, it's an important ingredient of being accepted in the local community. How and where to buy codfish? You won't miss it, it usually comes on the shelves at the same time as Christmas decorations. If you are not an undiscovered cooking genius, don't worry. Any restaurant will prepare it, and almost all most communities have publicly cooked cod meals on December 24.

Start 2014 on a High: Parachuting School in Sinj

Why not start 2014 in style, high about the skies of Central Dalmatia, surely one of the most beautiful views on Earth. 

Central Dalmatia has beaches and islands galore, but the wealth of adventure tourism opportunities in the Dalmatian hinterland are often overlooked by visiting tourists. 

How about a learning to parachute for example? The town of Sinj, just half an hour north of Split, has an excellent sports' airfield, and the local aeroclub is organising a parachuting school next month.

The application deadline is January 11, 2014, and on the same day the presentation of the course will take place. Classes will be organised over weekends, with three-hour lectures. After that all students will take a test, and then will have to pass a medical exam. The first dives for those who qualify will happen in April 2014.

Eligible candidates are those who are older than 18, able to attend the classes, pay for the medical exam and participate in practical training costs. All additional information are available on mobile phone number 095 907 8507 or via their website

Direct Flights from Split to Dubronik in 2014

While the increase in international flights to Split and other Dalmatian coastal airports has been fairly well documented, Croatia Airlines has just announced a rather interesting domestic flight, starting in April 2014.

The weekly flight every Friday will offer passengers the chance to move between no less than five Croatian cities, from an early morning departure from Osijek to Zagreb, Rijeka, Split and Dubrovnik, before returning to Rijeka from Dubovnik. The return leg from Rijeka to Zagreb and Osijek will take place on Sunday.

While the Split to Dubrovnik direct connection is only in one direction at the moment, it marks the start of what will hopefully be an option for tourists travelling along the popular route. The proposed timetable, courtesy of Aerocroatia, is below.

Adrenaline Inland Dalmatia, Ideal for Volvo Stunt Advertising

As the new Volvo truck commercial featuring Jean Claude Van Damme goes viral (more than 60 million views already - probably more than this article will get...), it is a reminder of Volvo truck commercials of the past, including the spectacular highlining performance from Faith Dickey on the motorway near Vrgorac last year. Inland Dalmatia at its most daring...
The motorway had not yet been opened, so Faith did not have to worry about other traffic, but traffic was the least of her worries in this quite incredible video.
Things have changed since she made the attempt, however, and the Vrgorac section of the motorway opened earlier this week, linking the port of Ploce with inland Dalmatia. Hold on to your seats and watch Faith in action. Needless to say, you should not try this at home. Or on a motorway.

New Section of Motorway To the Coast at Ploce Opens

Great news for tourists coming to Central Dalmatia from the south for the 2014 season - the latest stretch of the Zagreb - Dubrovnik motorway is now open. 

The coastal port of Ploce and border town of Metkovic are now connected to the network after the mountainous and complicated section near Vrgorac was finally completed. This will now relieve peak season traffic congestion along the coastal road, and considerably speed up transit times between Dubrovnik and Split.

Further construction of the motorway to Dubrovnik is on hold, however, until a solution for the Neum Corridor (the 23km stretch of Bosnian territory which intersects Croatia) is found. 

The Christmas Fair on the Split Riva

(all photos by Jakov Prkic)

The stunning December weather has been the icing on the cake for what has been a very successful 2013 for Split tourism. Some hardy souls are jumping around in the Adriatic playing picigin, but the saner part of the population has plenty to enjoy outdoors without getting too cold.

One great addition to the recent Split events calendar has been the introduction of the Christmas fair on Riva, which has really brought the waterfront to life. The various small blue and white cottages, offering drinks, food and souvenirs, have been doing a brisk trade since they opened a few weeks ago.

From morning coffee to early evening entertainment, music later on or a very late night drink, the fair has been an excellent addition to the December atmosphere in Split. And to think that people are flying to snow-covered Egypt in search of late season sun and fun... 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Central Dalmatia Tourist Board Releases New Promotional Video

The Central Dalmatia Tourist Board is delighted to release its latest promotional video, showing off the incredible beauty and diversity of this fantastic region.

The question is simple: What is Central Dalmatia? The answer? Well to get to that, sit back and relax and take a tour of what awaits you in 2014...

A Christmas Fair to Bring Festive Cheer on Split Riva

With the Christmas festive season soon upon us, the Split Tourist Board has announced that last year's very successful Christmas Fair will be repeated once more this year.

The popular Riva promenade in front of Diocletian's Palace will assume a festive look from November 30, as some 30 white cottages will be erected and remain there until January 10 next year, filled with food, drink music and souvenirs.

The fair will be opened by Split mayor Ivo Baldasar on November 30.

Split Cruise Tourism Breaks 200,000 Passengers for 2013

The 2013 tourist season in Central Dalmatia has been an unqualified success, with significant increases in flights, visiting tourists and overnight stays, and all the signs are that 2014 is going to be another great year.

One area where there has been a major increase is in cruise tourism, which has played its part in helping to prolong the season in Split.

The final large cruise ship off the season, the 1,000 passenger Splendour of the Seas, arrived in Split on November 17, and its passengers were among the more than 200,000 cruise passengers who visited the Dalmatian capital in 2013. This number is well below the million visitors to Dubrovnik, which shows the growth potential of cruise tourism, a growth in Split which will be further facilitated by work in the harbour of Split, which will allow for docking of ships up to 300 metres in length.

Picigin, the First Beach Sport to Become Cultural Heritage

Cental Dalmatia may be popular because of its excellent beaches, but it also has an astonishing amount of cultural heritage to be explored. But until now, beach and cultural heritage have not mixed.

Meet picigin, the world's first beach sport to achieve cultural heritage status. The Ministry of Culture has included picigin on its list of protected cultural goods, as a non-material heritage.

Tourists visiting Split will have seen the strange spectacle of fully grown adults throwing themselves full stretch in the shallow waters of Bacvice in desperate attempts to keep a small ball in the air. The game picigin started at Bacvice almost 100 years ago, and now has its own world championships, held each year in Split.

To get a flavour of the sport, check out the video below, and don't be afraid to ask to join in a game next time you are at Bacvice. 

Historic Trogir in 2014: Medieval Battle World Championship Comes to Trogir

Visitors to Trogir in June next year will have the opportunity to see the UNESCO town's heritage relived in all its glory, as the historic town welcomes the Historical Medieval "Battle of the Nations" World Championship from June 12-15. Trogir will be reverting to the past, as international teams of Medieval fighters descend on the Dalmatian coast to do battle to become world champions for the fifth year of the event. More info on the event from the official Facebook page below.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP on Historical Medieval Battle “Battle of the Nations”

The concept of “Battle of the Nations” differs from everything that existed earlier – there is nothing remotely the same in the world. On the championship you can see mass full-contact battles between national teams of fighters. They create a new history, a history of the new victories and heroic deeds!

Every year the quantity of teams taking part in the championship "Battle of the Nations" grows. These men practice medieval full-contact fights and gather every year in the medieval castles of the X-XVIII cent. Hundreds of medieval historical reenactment clubs are involved, and the teams challenge each other in fierce battles, pulling themselves into the times of armour, courage and heroes.

First two years the championship was held in Khotyn fortress (Chernivtsi region, Ukraine). In 2012, the "Battle of the Nations" was held in Warsaw (Poland) and brought together 12 national teams. In 2013, IVth WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP "Battle of the Nations" will be held on May 9-12 in a city Aigues Mortes, which is in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France. This year, the championship will be attended by 22 national teams!

The memories of the olds live at Aigues Mortes fortress again – real martial encampments, customs and everyday life of the Middle Ages, authentic medieval arms and armour made by modern craftsmen, historical costumes and other medieval attributes. Real victories and defeats, no staged battles, no scripts and no theatre sketches! You can see only full contact – sparks of steel, crackle of shields and glittering swords – and the adrenaline will rush!

The atmosphere of the struggle, spirit of the Middle Ages and action on the battleground will leave no one indifferent. There will be various cultural and sport activities, original master classes of medieval arms and armor manufacturing, medieval martial arts, courses in medieval dancing, archery, competitions and concerts, as well as fire-shows and theatrical performances. The festival activities are intended to recall a lively interest in medieval martial art and to revive interest and excitement in a unique and new kind of sport.

See how the air sparkles with tension when armies clash on the battlefield. Feel the energy of medieval battles! Support your national team on the battlefield!

Croatia in top 3 European destinations, say Guardian readers

After a lull in visits due to regional conflict in the 1990s, it would seem that British tourist interest in Croatia is back, with the results of the Guardian and Observer Readers Travel Awards 2013 - published online on November 11, 2013 - the latest confirmation of the increased travel from the UK.
Prior to the war in former Yugoslavia, British tourists came to the Yugoslav - primarily Croatian - coast in their droves, some 440,000 of them annually, making it the second most popular destination after Spain.
War in the region, coupled with the emergence of other affordable sun destinations, such as Egypt, Turkey and Greece, made it harder for Croatia to regain its market share, but the progress the country's tourism chiefs has made in recent years has been commendable, with the latest endorsement from Guardian readers yesterday.
In the awards, Croatia was named third favourite country behind Austria and Sweden, and ahead of Turkey and Switzerland.
The vote is mirrored by a marked increase in British visitors to the Adriatic coast. As Digital Journal has previously reported, there was a 24% increase in British visitors in the first 8 months of the year, compared to the corresponding period in 2012.
More than 500,000 British visitors are expected in 2014, up from the peak numbers in the 1980s.

The Vrlika Tourist Board gets active on Facebook

A world away from the sparkling Dalmatian coast and just an hour away by car, the historic town of Vrlika is one of the lesser discovered destinations in Central Dalmatia.

Combined with the timeless beauty of its stunning nature, including the pearl of Lake Peruca, it is also one of the region's most enchanting places, a chance to escape the crowds and experience the raw natural beauty of inland Dalmatia at its finest. 

The Vrlika Tourist Board recently embraced social media and has become very active on Facebook - follow the latest events here. And if you are not familiar with the joys of Vrlika, check out the official promotional video below.

A Good Night for Split and Central Dalmatia at Days of Croatian Tourism Awards

The 2013 season has been an encouraging one for statistics, both in the number of visitors and overnight stays, as well as strong growth in established markets such as Scandinavia and the UK, and emerging markets such as South Korea and Brazil. That feel good factor was reflected in the recent 'Days of Croatian Tourism' annual awards.

Split won the category of best medium-sized destination in Croatia, with the 'medium' being a reflection on the number of beds in the destination rather its physical size. Split was also named by the Croatian National Tourist Board as the cultural destination of the year, and there was individual recognition for the ACI Marina in Split (3rd best medium-sized marina), Strobrec (best medium-size campsite), Split Radisson Blu Resort (3rd in best four-star hotels), and Hotel Vestibul (2nd best small hotel on the Adriatic coast).

Even more encouragingly, a survey by the national tourist board of some 10,000 people found that Split has passed Istria as a name that resonates with people when mentioning Croatia. One final piece of good news for the region was that rural tourism in inland Dalmatia was declared better bait than for visitors in Istria, which is generally accepted to have a better offer.

Exciting times for tourism in Central Dalmatia, and 2014 promises to be a great season ahead.

Flights, Flights, Flights - More Choice Than Ever for Central Dalmatia in 2014

While the magnificent 2013 tourist season continues on, with tourists still swimming in the glistening Adriatic with this fabulous October weather, thoughts are already turning to plans for the 2014 season in some quarters. 

And if the early flight announcements are anything to go by, it will be busy indeed...

Split was served by more than 80 destinations and 43 airlines in 2013, and the early news is that many of those destinations are now strengthening their routes for next season. 

Perhaps the most interesting regional news is the lengthening of the flying season from Belgrade to Split by both Croatia Airlines and new successor to JAT, Air Serbia. With the investment coming from the 49% share from Etihad, there are also some interesting routes to Split via Belgrade, including three cities in Australia, the Seychelles and Dubai.

The news from the important UK market is good as well, with easyJet introducing the first direct connection from Scotland, from Glasgow, while Norwegian Air must have been pleased with their first year's flying from London to Split, as they have increased the service from Gatwick.

The news from the rest of Europe is good as well, with new routes announced for next season to Split from Lyon (easyJet), Athens (Croatia Airlines) and Brussels (Thomas Cook), while other important routes have increased their frequency, including Barcelona (Vueling) and Munich (Croatia Airlines).

All good news - Central Dalmatia awaits your visit!