Official Blog of Central Dalmatia Tourist Board


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Great Discoveries Inland from Split: Trilj

The rich diversity of Dalmatian tourism is perhaps best exemplified by the radius of an hour's travel from Split. Looking for islands? Brac and Solta are an hour by boat. Perhaps some coastal action? Choose from gems such as Trogir and Omis. Or for something truly different and very much off the beaten path, head inland and discover the Dalmatian hinterland, one of the most fascinating and undiscovered regions in Europe.

The small town of Trilj is a pleasant 50-minute drive from Split and a world away from the bustle of the city. It is one of Dalmatia's most interesting and lesser known destinations, a place of Roman heritage, adventure sports, impressive fortresses, agro-tourism and great food.

Given its location to the Cetina river, which has played an important role in the town's history, it is perhaps not surprising that the Romans based themselves there to oversee the movements up and down the nearby river. The archaeological site of Tirulij and the Roman legion camp dating back to the 1st centuryand covers a 12 ha. area, part of which is covered by the village of Gardun.

Like everywhere else in the region, Trilj has endured a turbulent history, and attack and occupation were the norm in Dalmatia throughout the ages. One of the benefits for the modern tourist is the string of impressive fortresses dotted around the region, and the eleven fortresses on the Cetina each have their own individual splendour and legends. If you only have time for a couple, Nutjak and Cacvina are both accessible from Trilj

More interesting for the adventure tourist is the rich choice of activity available. Pit your skills against the mighty Cetina with white water rafting, kayaking or a canoe safari, or try some land-based pursuits such as horse-riding, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, trekking or fishing.

The Trilj Region Museum is an important focal point for the archaeological and ethnographic heritage of the immediate vicinity, and it is engaged in the research, purchase, documenting, preservation and presentation of its finds to the public. The museum includes an interesting lapidary arts museum.

Trilj's most famous souvenir is an intriguing one, a walnut necklace. Traditionally, a necklace of walnuts was presented to a girl by her suitor. By accepting and wearing it, the young lady officially accepted the love of the donor.

Trilj's gastronomic delights reflect its location and rich agricultural and eco-ethno potential. That Cetina once again plays a role, with river trout either roasted or fried, often after being covered by corn flour. Other specialities include Koštradina (smoked and dried lamb) and Pulestar (young rooster cooked under a Dutch oven).

For more information, visit the Trilj Tourist Board online.

Four Festivals Not to Miss In Split

Split has a vibrant cultural scene, with plenty of festivals going on throughout the year, from the colourful carnival in the build up to Lent to the biggest New Year's dance party in Europe with the Silvester Salsa Festival. There is plenty going on throughout the year, and the Split Tourist Board can assist you with the latest events on offer during your visit to the Dalmatian capital. Here are four festivals worth visiting:

Split Summer Festival

This popular festival brings the city alive from mid-July to mid-August, and has been doing so for over 50 years. The city’s charming squares and historical venues are converted into open-air stages with opera, drama, and ballet performances setting the scene for many memorable nights under the stars. 

xSTatic Festival

This hip-hop culture and extreme sports festival runs for a few days in May and adding to the urban vibe, the event is held in funky rundown venues around town. Besides experiencing graffiti art in the making, DJ sessions, and competitions in street basketball, freestyle football, skating, BMX, breakdancing, kiteboarding and after-parties make for an entertaining few days.

Mediterranean Film Festival

This festival in early summer focuses on Mediterranean flicks that are not shown in regular film distribution. Screenings will be held at cult cinemas Zlatna Vrata located within the palace walls and open-air cinema Kino Bačvice by the beach. Aside from hosting this popcorn extravaganza, the festival is spiced up with exhibitions and after parties.

In 2013, the Mediterranean Film Festival is held from June 8-15

Days of Diocletian

For ten days every August, take a journey back 1700 years to the time of Emperor Diocletian’s rule. His former palace gets filled with strollers dressed in togas and aromas of Mediterranean specialties linger in the narrow lanes. Enjoy the highlighted reappearance of the almighty Diocletian himself in full period garb as he addresses his people on the Peristil Square before being ferried away to his sleeping quarters.

For more information on these and tourism in the city, visit the Split Tourist Board online

The 2013 Croatia Boat Show in Split

Split has a proud maritime tradition, and its port has seen plenty of boating traffic during its long and distinguished history.

In recent years, the harbour has played host to what has become an increasingly important international boat show, and this year's Croatia Boat Show will take place from April 17 - 21 in Split harbour.

It is a chance for all sectors of the boating industry to come together, and there are plenty of smart yachts for the visiting public to enjoy during the event. The fair necessitates some temporary uprooting of regular ferry and catamaran berths, and regular travellers to the islands may find themselves arriving at a different part of the harbour.

For more information about the Croatia Boat Show, visit the official website, or check out the video below for more details.

Day Trips from Split: 5 Things Not to Miss on the Island of Brac

Given its size, proximity and regular ferry schedule to Supetar, Brac is arguably the most accessible island for a day trip from Split, and the pleasant one-hour ferry transfer should be seen as part of the experience. It is an island of culture, tradition, beaches, beauty and adventure, with plenty to entice the visitor from the mainland. Here are five highlights, all of which can be enoyed on a day trip from Split:
1. Zlatni Rat beach, Bol
Arguably the most famous beach in all Croatia, Zlatni Rat (or Golden Horn) is one of the top attractions in Dalmatia. Situated on the edge of the tourist town of Bol on the southern shores of Brac, the shifting tides move the beach left and right, and it is popular family resort, as well as the base for activity sports such as wind surfing. There is a daily catamaran from Split to Jelsa via Bol at 16:00 (16:30 on a Friday), or the beach can be reached by ferry to Supetar and onward bus connection. 
2. Blaca Monastery
One of the most impressive complexes in Dalmatia and testament to the determination and dedication of the monks of the  16th century, Blaca monastery is well worth the hike, both for the incredible views and the sense of achievement of human endeavour. Founded in 1551 following more Ottoman attacks, Blaca was also an agricultural community, producing wine, honey and other local specialities.
In addition to the orginal construction, there is also a world-famous observatory, museum and library. 
3. Dragon's Cave

Another fascinating insight into centuries-old monastic life is located close to the village of Murvica, about 7km from Bol. Zmajeva spilja (the Dragon's Cave) takes its name from the relief of a dragon in it, and its main purpose was a a temple and home to the Glagolitic priests from the 16th century on.
The cave is some 20m long and divided into four halls, including the Chapel of our Lady in the first hall.  There are several carvings into the mountainside, including Madonn, the moon and dragons, which scientists have attempted to explain. A common theory is that they are linked to parts of Slavic mythology and Christian iconography.
A visit to Dragon's Cave is possible only with a guide.
4. Dol with Vitalac
A rare treat! Found only on Brac and one more village on Crete, vitalac takes lamb' s offal (liver, heart, lungs) skewered and wrapped. After turning on live coals, the sticks are wrapped in lamb's intestines and then turned for another hour. Vitalac is then cut and eaten while the diners wait for the whole lamb to be baked. Wine and drinks included.
The journey begins from Split harbor and continues across the hills of Brac Island to tiny Skrip village where guests get introduced to history of the island and its traditions. Next stop is picturesque and wonderfully preserved Dol village where our cooking class takes place. The cooking class of vitalac also combines the lamb cooking traditions of Brac island.

The program is offered from Split area in May, June and September.
 5. Brac stone and the Pucisca stone masonry school
Brac stone is famous throughout the world, with its most famous location being part of the White House in Washington. It is also to be found in other public buildings around the world, such as Liverpool Cathedral in the UK.
Stone masonry is a highly skilled art, and one much prized in Dalmatia, where construction from stone is an essential part of the culture. The Pucisca stone masonry school is an important centre of learning and craftsmanship of this very important art form. 
For more information on transfers and organised tours to these destinations, contact the tourist boards on Brac:

The Season is Coming: Jadrolinija Summer Ferry Schedule 2013

The first seasonal flights have landed and the first cruise ships have docked, and the important Easter holiday is almost upon us.

For the most part, however, tourists visiting Central Dalmatia will be looking to arrive in the summer months, and the Dalmatian islands will be the destination for many. As such, the Jadrolinija ferry times are an important part of the holiday planning.

The summer Jadrolinija ferry, which comes into effect from June 1 - September 30, is now available. For the most comprehensive overview, visit the official Jadrolinija website. For a more simple overview for transfers from the mainland to the islands of Brac, Hvar, Vis, Solta, Korcula, Veli and Mali Otok, click on the links below:

Ferries and catamarans from Split and Makarska to the island of Brac

Ferries and catamarans from Split to the island of Hvar

Ferries from Split to the island of Solta

Ferries and catamarans from Split to the island of Vis

Ferries and catamarans to the island of Korcula

Ferries from Split to Trogir, Mali and Veli Drvenik

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Seven Reasons to Visit Omis

There are so many fascinating destinations on the Dalmatian coast to discover, that is can be a difficult choice to find the right one. One destination with plenty to offer for a very varied holiday is the town of Omis. Here are seven great reasons why Omis is worth looking into for every kind of holiday - family, activity, history or pure relaxation.

1. Pirates!

Omis has a rich pirate history, and the region was under constant attack from the Ottomans. The Cetina gorge was a favourite hiding point, and the legends of the Omis Pirates are very much alive today. So much so that there is the annual Omis Pirate Night during the Omis cultural festival, where legendary battles are recreated and the whole town descends into one big party. The most famous pirate of them all, Johnny Depp, was invited to come to last year's festival. He couldn't make it then, but this year - who knows?

The most important date for your pirate diaries every year is August 18, when the 13th century pirate battles are reconstructed in the town harbour - a true spectacle and fun for all the family.

2. Dinosaurs!

There is plenty of ancient heritage to discover in Dalamtia, but for a sense of the oldest heritage of all - and for fun for all the family - head over to Dino Park, the first theme park on the Adriatic, with dinosaur attractions aplenty.

3. Rafting

Omis is gateway to the mighty Cetina river, and the Cetina means... rafting! One of the most popular adrenaline days out in Dalmatia.

4. Fotresses

If adrenaline is not your thing, there is plenty more to discover up the Cetina, starting from Omis. The river's mountainsides are full of fortresses which pay testament to the brutal history and legends of the region. To learn more about the legends and fortresses of the Cetina, click here.

5. Beaches

The Dalmatian coastline is one big beach opportunity, and the 35 kilometres of the Omis Riviera is no exception. Get away from the crowds and discover quaint old fishing villages and your own private spot. From accessible family beaches to something more secluded, there is plenty to choose from, and if activity sports are your thing, activities such as windsurfing are available.

6. Omis Dalmatian Klapa Festival

If you are a fan of traditional Dalmatian music, head for Omis for the famous Dalmatian Klapa Festival which has been taking place since 1967. It has become the central point of Dalmatia's rich klapa heritage, and the festival is growing in importance and reputation every year. 

To visit Dalmatia without experiencing the soul of the region through the excellent performances of the various klapa groups would be to miss out of one of its essential ingredients.

7. Free climbing and trekking

As if the activities on the Adriatic and challenges of the Cetina river were not enough for the the active tourist, Omis an excellent base for trekking and climbing, discovering the stunning mountains which surrouns the town. It is one of the premier destinations for free climbing in the region. 

For more information about the rich tourist offer of Omis, visit the official tourist board website.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Green Days: A Healthy New Option from Vrgorac

All photos from Vrgorac Tourist Board

One of the biggest changes moving from Manchester to life in Dalmatia is my relationship with vegetables. I still recall the woman from Cambridge in a shop on Hvar in November who was complaining that there were no tomatoes for sale. When it was explained that it was not the season for tomatoes, she appeared confused, as tomatoes are for sale 12 months a year in her shop back home...

The quality of the fresh fruit and vegetables in Dalmatia is exceptional, and I have come to accept the seasonal availability of produce. Not only to accept, but also to look forward to the coming season  - asparagus in a month, for example. There is no comparison between the quality and taste of fruit and vegetables produced in Dalmatia and the bland offerings in British supermarkets.

The other difference between Manchester and Dalmatia apart from availability is buying habits. Many families grow their own food and will sell to others, while there are certain places where one should always stop and buy things if one is in the region.

One such place for me at least is Vrgorac, which is a stunningly beautiful little town in the middle of the most perfect landscape, which few people have heard of, and fewer have visited. It appears almost from nowhere on the drive from Mostar back to Split, as the road winds round in acres of pristine forest in the hills. It is totally unspoilt nature, with historic Vrgorac in the middle.

In summer, the first signs of life in the hills are individuals dotted around the winding roads - strawberry sellers. If I come home without Vrgorac strawberries, I am in trouble...

Strawberries are only part of the story, as Vrgorac has a great reputation as a quality producer of fruit and vegetables, all grown in a healthy and a natural environment. It was no surprise, therefore, to see the Vrgorac Tourist Board launching an excellent culinary initiative at GAST 2013 in Split this week, called Zeleni Dani, or 'Green Days', a great idea to celebrate the local produce in season in late Spring and Autumn.

Working with the restaurants and other local partners, the Vrgorac Tourist Board will be holding several events in the shoulder months of March, April, September and October with a culinary theme. In addition to its gastronomic scene, Vrgorac has plenty to offer. It has historic fortresses and a lovely old town (see video below), and is the birthplace of famous Croatian poet Tin Ujevic (read more about him here).

It is also a great base for activity sports, and its hiking credentials are assured as it is the birthplace of mountaineer, film maker and photographer Stipe Bozic, who was the second European to climb Everest twice.

For more information about options for that healthier holiday, contact the Vrgorac Tourist Board.