Croatia and Slovenia Tips
Croatia and Slovenia are emerging as Europe's hottest new destinations - and we're joining in the fun. This summer we're writing a new guidebook on those destinations (to be published in the spring of 2007). We want your help. If you've been to Croatia or Slovenia, what were your favorite destinations, accommodations, restaurants, or tips? If you haven't been there yet, but want to go, what would you like to see covered in the book?
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
The best tour guide ever!
At the beginning of October we did a 9-day tour in Croatia. I got retired this year and in the past years I had already visited most of the European countries. I just regret that it took me so long to travel to Croatia. With my friends, a group of 6 ladies total, on this trip I visited Split, Dubrovnik, Trogir and Dalmatian islands. We traveled with a minivan and used services of a driver-guide Matt from Split (email@example.com). Croatia truly is a lovely country, with the most beautiful coastline and islands that we had ever seen. But what we enjoyed the most was actually the service we received from Matt. He was the best guide I have encountered in any of my travels! We were very impressed with his knowledge, his love of Croatia and also with his driving skills. Matt was fun, attentive, enthusiastic and positive. His kindness and friendliness to all of us made it seem as if we had always been friends and not just met on this fabulous trip. On the last day Matt prepared nice presents for us: lavender, island Brac stone souvenirs and the home made olive oil that his family is producing, and told us: I expect winter in Berlin will be cold so here is something that will remind you on our warm part of the Mediterranean". We were so touched. And we will certainly not forget Croatia cold days have really come to Berlin now, and we do plan to come back to that beautiful, warm and stress-free place called Croatia.
Berlin, USA 11/01/2013
Tour Split/Trogir and Montenegro
We recently toured Split/Trogir and Montenegro using Matt. This was our first time using a tour guide so we did not know what to expect. I emailed Matt several times prior to our trip and he patiently answered every one of my emails! Matt set us up with 2 wonderful tour guides. Both guides were passionate, unhurried and extremely knowledgable of the history and architecture of their towns. They took us to all the out of the way places and let us set our own pace (I did some shopping and we took a boat to a little island). Vjeran and Ilija were great to talk to, we ended up feeling we spent the day with great friends who showed us around their towns! We would highly recommend using Matt!
Denver, Co USA 10/30/2013
This has been our first time in Croatia and we have simply fallen in love with that country. Its coast and National parks are breathtaking, its towns and villages are so charming and so rich in history, people are very friendly and fluent both in English and German (two foreing languages we speak) and food is tasty and so cheap (well at least for our Norwegian standards)...
We started from Zagreb, the capital city. We found it quite interesting, the city is very similar to Budapest, but unlike Budapest, not overrun by tourists. We loved the medieval flavor or its Upper Town and enjoyed meal at at the Gallo restaurant and gelato at Millenium gelateria. The second stop was Plitvice waterfalls park that is a must-see place for all the nature lovers completely unspoilt nature, hundreeds of waterfalls, dozens of lakes in one word breathtaking!! The next stops were charming cities of Sibenik, Trogir and Split 3 UNESCO gems. We forst stayed in Split for 4 nights and did day trips to islands Brac and Hvar. We just loved Split the city grew up from the Roman palace built in the 4th century Palace is bustling with life it is full of bars, restaurants, little shopps and wonderful piazzas with medieval palaces and museums and the best of all, people still live inside the 4th century palace walls!! We also loved having our drinks, surrounded by the locals, at the Split waterfront bars. We enjoyed our meals at the restaurants Nostromo, Apetit and Le Monde. We definitely recommend visiting Brac and Hvar islands while recommendations for Hvar one can find in any tourist brochure - Brac has been neglected, however, it was one of the highlights of our trip especially visit to the stone cutters town Puciska and its stone cutting school, where we saw students working the same way the Romans used to work 2 millennia ago! From Split we continued to Dubrovnik which was amazing but overrun by cruise ship visitors. We also stopped at Ston place not to be missed if you love sea food excellent fresh mussels and oysters!! On the way back to Split (we are departing from the Split airport) we made a detour to town Mostar Bosnia definitely worth visiting - just 30 min from the Christian coastline od Croatia, that is an amazing Ottoman town, with mosques, oriental houses, bazaars and a wonderful UNESCO bridge on the river Neretva.
We arranged the whole tour through Matt and the Private Guides Team that we found recommended by many other travelers on this site. They did a wonderful job for us, they tailored the itinerary and managed to fit into a just 10-day tour every single sight that we asked for.
We used services of 3 wonderful driver-guides: Matt, Peter and Francis, and a few more locals guides. One of the reasons we enjoyed our trip so much was the level of organization and service (with a smile). All of those guides acted as outstanding ambassadors for their country. They were all very knowledgable about the country and the world. There wasn't a question anyone in our group had that he could not answer and provide in-depth background information.
Tomorrow we fly back home. This was our first time in Croatia, but it will definitely not be the last! We truly recommend visiting Croatia and using services of these guides!
Sigurd and Hedda Edvardsen
Oslo, Norway 10/27/2013
Highlights of Croatia
The group travel club we belong to posted their top things to do in Croatia.
1. Diocletian's Palace & Split:This ancient Roman emperor's home evolved over the years from a palace to a town, where daily life still carries on within the walls now known as Split.
2. Plitvice Lakes National Park: Between Zagreb and Zadar lies the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Tourists flock here to see the sixteen sparkling lakes and wonderful waterfalls set in the beautiful woodlands, making it Croatia's most popular national park.
3. Islands Galore: Croatia is world famous for its islands; over one thousand dot thebest croatian islands coastline. During the 19th century many lighthouses were constructed to help steer boats away from the ragged coasts. Since lighthouse keepers are no longer necessary, many of these beautiful structures are now used as holiday apartments & bed and breakfast inns.
Carmel, IN USA 10/25/2013
Dubrovnik: Pero, Davorka, Antun
My wife and I just returned from Croatia (09/2013). We had a positive experience in Dubrovnik with Pero and Davorka, and their son, Antun. They responded promptly to all our emails and wanted to be sure we had a good time. We rented an apartment (martecchini) from them in Dubrovnik. Antun picked us up at the airport and Pero met us at the door! Antun is a wonderful driver. He drove us to Kotor, Montenegro, and picked us up a few days later. He is funny, knowledgeable, and speaks good English. The rides back and forth were half the fun. He can be booked through his parent's email, firstname.lastname@example.org. The Dubrovnik apartment we stayed in (martecchini), rented through Pero and Davorka, was memorable as well. A little noisy, but right in the heart of the action. We would stay there again.
Pleasanton, CA USA 10/12/2013
Excellent Tour Guide!
My husband and I used the services of Croatian tour guide Matt Dancevic for our trip to Croatia and Slovenia in August, 2013. In Croatia, we visited: Dubrovnik, Split, Trofir, Brac Island, Plitvice Park. In Slovenia, we visited: Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge, Predjama Castle, Postonja Cave, Stanjel, and Piran. Matt's services were absolutely great, and he is a great, friendly, very knowledgeable and very well-traveled guide. He connected us with locals in their home, he arranged transportation for us both before and after he was our guide, and he arranged an independent apartment for our stay in Split. He also suggested local not touristic places for dinner and lunch.
We began touring with Matt in Split. In addition to Matt Dancevic, we utilized the services of tour guide Igor at the Plitvice Park, and Slovenian tour guide Matt Slibar throughout our stay in Slovenia, both of whom were arranged by Matt Dancevic, and both of whom were great.
Here's the best example of how responsible and efficient Matt is: I carelessly left my cell phone in a rented car used by Igor to take us to Plitvice Park in Croatia. My husband called Matt, asking for assistance. Matt retrieved the phone, and sent it to us at our next stop by DHL overnight. What a relief! By the way, we had never before used the services of a travel guide (we prided ourselves on being independent travelers). But, this was an absolutely great experience. We didn't have to worry about anything because everything was taken care of by Matt and his guides!
Matt can be reached at email@example.com
Anthem, Arizona, USA
Anthem, AZ USA 10/05/2013
I would return to Croatia for future travels. It was beautiful. Instead of renting a car though, I would hire a driver. The rental car involved a scam that was investigated after my return home. It was resolved and an $800.00 fee was waived with the help of our travel agent. The airport car rental worked in collaboration with the B&B owners. Unable to use the B&B parking space and we were redirected to a public lot and car was damaged there.(long scratches on side of car) It turns out the car was ended up not being rented by Hertz at all but by a private party inside the airport. Still would recommend travel to this area to anyone !
Seattle, Wa USA 10/05/2013
Trip to Croatia
Having spent seven nights on a bike/boat trip, a traveling senior solo, I can enthusiastically acclaim both Island Hopping as a tour company and later with my private guide, Matt with firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com. Matt provided insight both for what I enjoyed seeing but knowledge in history. I wish I could do it all over again next month. Country was beautiful and safe for a senior solo grannie.
Arlington, Texas USA 09/14/2013
Six days in Croatia with excursion to Medugorje
We had plans for 3 days in Split and 3 days in Dubrovnik. We also wanted a day in Medugorje. Public transportation between these areas was rather inconvenient so we looked for other options. Thanks to some suggestions on the Traveler's Helpline, we hired Ermin Elezovic, who is mentioned in Rick's guidebook. He picked us up at our hotel in Split and took us to Medugorje and then dropped us off at the flat we booked in Dubrovnik. He had superb organization for our visit and coached us on where to go and what to see. We were able to attend Mass in the church, hike up Apparition Hill, view the town, collect holy water from the area, and shop for souvenirs. This was a fantastic day and an experience of a lifetime for us! Also, the drive along the coast from Medugorje to Dubrovnik includes some of the most beautiful scenery that you will ever see!
Anaheim, CA USA 08/15/2013
Excellent Montenegro tour
Just want to commend you on an excellent Montenegro tour given by Dimitri, a guide from Matt's company (firstname.lastname@example.org). Demitri was sincere, helpful, and went out of his way to satisfy my interests in former Yugoslavia and communist history. We loved Montenegro as the hidden gem of our trip - and we still talk about the tour as our highlight of our trip!
Cupertino, CA USA 08/04/2013
Amazing Authentic Croatian Restaurant in Dubrovnik
If you find yourself in Dubrovnik, I would HIGHLY recommend this restaurant - It is called Konoba Paloma Croatica, located by the art gallery Muratti in Old Town Dubrovnik, on 'Miha Pracata'. This little restaurant just opened in early 2013. Owned by two sisters, it has lots of character and delicious, authentic Croatian food for a reasonable price. The owners are lovely, and have lots of stories to share about growing up in Dubrovnik and living there during the war. If you want an authentic Croatian dining experience, they will suggest traditional dishes, all of which they make from scratch in their own kitchen. Feels like you are visiting a long-time Croatian family and being served their favourite dishes. Skip all the pasta and pizza places all over Dubrovnik that are packed with tourists and come here - it's a much more traditional experience. The food is incredible and Sonya and Maria (the owners) are absolutely lovely!
Toronto, ON Canada 07/20/2013
Remarkable exhibit in Split
If you are in Split this summer, there is a remarkable exhibit of stuffed frogs. Yes, it sounds kitschy and bizarre but we (and we go to all kinds of museums) were delighted with it. The little dioramas of frogs are the work of an obsessive man determined to show rural life in Croatia, through frogs. We found it more compelling than the Museum of Naive Art in Zagreb, for he had a remarkable sense of gesture and storytelling. This is real outsider art. The location is central, Kralja Tomislava 5 (in the old Cinema Tesla). It is only on for the summer, and is rarely shown. It is sparsely attended, so if Simon is working, ask him to explain things to you. Check out www.froggyland.net
Vancouver, BC Canada 05/27/2013
Wonderful guides and hotels in Croatia
As a part of our European trip our family visited Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro. We found information about Matt and his services on this web site and contacted him in February. He proposed a 10-day itinerary, that included also Mostar in Bosnia and a day trip to Montenegro from Dubrovnik. Even before we confirmed to him we would book his tour he provided us with plenty of information about Croatia, and sent us great recommendations for hotels. Tour itself was fabulous our days just flew. After the guided tour ended, we decided to stay a few more days relaxing in a resort.
Matt was our guide in Split, Trogyr and islands Hvar and Brac. He was just incredible, so personal, knowledgeable, he seemed to know every single person on the islands and Split!! By the end of the first day we already felt like friends. All the other guides he arranged for us were excellent too other Matt in Pula, Sandra in Montenegro, Mike in Mostar... This was an incredible trip and we really recommend Matt's services - he can be reached on: email@example.com.
We also want to recommend hotels Le Meridian in Split, Hilton in Dubrovnik, Adriana in Hvar, and Lone in Rovinji.
Wow! Croatia! Such an amazing place!!
Mexico City, Mexico 05/27/2013
Ronvinj, Croatia - Exchanging money and driving the coast road to Split
I am just nearing the end of an extended stay (in private accommodation) in Rovinj, Croatia and all the great things written about Rovinj are indeed true! Just a few things that might be of help to those who may be visiting soon: (1) At this writing, the only bank in town that takes Amex travellers checks without a fee (if at all) and at the same rate as cash is Privredna Banka Zagreb just down from the bus station on the waterfront right next to the cafe on the right as you approach the harbor. Best rate of exchange for both also. (2) Great food at Sidro's on the harbor owned by the Paoletti family and they also rent out reasonable, very nice private apartments and have free bicycles for your use (just a few minutes up the hill from the old town and will pick you up at the bus station if necessary). (3) I was originally planning on taking the bus from Rovinj to Split upon my departure, but by searching online, I found that it is actually cheaper to rent a car for 3 days! Here's how it works:If you rent a car for one or two days to drive to another location for dropoff, there is a hefty one-way dropoff fee; however, through VIP.com, I found that if I rent a car from Oryx on the waterfront in Rovinj for 3 days or more and drop it off in Split, there is NO dropoff fee. Be sure to check rates and fees for different seasons, too, though. My total charge is $47.44 for the 3 days. And, if you drive along the coast and don't have to pay some of the toll fees on the motorway, you can easily afford to stay in a soba along the way and it's still cheaper than the bus and with a lot more freedom and the ability to arrive earlier in Split.
Ventura, USA 04/06/2013
Zagreb Tour Guides
We use private/ personal tour guides in many European cities, usually on the first day, to give us an orientation to the city. In at least two cities we have used the guides recommended and used by Rick and members on this site and in accompanying publications. However, this time we went to Zagreb and a new guide service, Neogotika, after email exchanges with a few agencies to see the best fit. Our tour guide, Ms. Snjezana Tadic, was totally professional, quite knowledgeable, flexible to our requests, and rates as one of the top two tour guides we have used in the last 12 years. In addition she was quite flexible with our schedule; changing the commencement of the three hour walking tour at the last minute to accommodate our snow delayed flight. She met us at the hotel (Regent Esplanade), proceeded to tour the center of the city and its wonderful parts, went to the squares, churches, and markets, and finally did a swing through the old town. We ended descending the incline, having a snack with her, and she escorted us back to the hotel answering any questions we had and also providing recommendations when requested. Her price was fair, her attitude superb, and she made Zagreb a pleasure. We had expected a drab city, but I would rate Zagreb on the scale with Prague or Budapest (one must admire the old Austrian Empire). We highly recommend Neogotika, and especially Snjezana. The agency can be contacted at: 00385 98 807 775
Fort Washington, MD USA 03/24/2013
Fantastic driver guide in Rovinj, Pula, Split and Hvar
After reading the outstanding reviews of driver guide Matt from Split / firstname.lastname@example.org / we hired him for four private, chauffeured tours: UNESCO town Porec and Rovinj, National Park Krka Waterfalls with UNESCO town Sibenik, UNESCO towns Split and Trogir and UNESCO island Hvar. Setting up the tours was really easy - Matt was very responsive, very helpful in answering our questions and also provided a list of reference information to help in our understanding of his part of the world. He was one the best tour guides we 've had in our many years of travel: personable, VERY knowledgeable, professional. He has a strong love for his country, and he conveyed it in a way that enabled us to share the feeling. He made our trip to Croatia absolutely wonderful! We are going to Dubrovnik and Montenegro tomorrow and Matt helped us plan that journey, too.
Fort Lauderdale, FL USA 11/09/2012
We just returned from 9 days in Slovenia and Croatia and must recommend both of these countries as hidden travel gems. Get Rick's book and use for restaurant recommendations in Ljubljana (As Lounge, Gostilna na Gradu, Ljubljanski Dvor and especially Pri Skofu are good) as well as sightseeing tips. Lake Bled and Skocjan Caves are a must, as well as wandering around Ljubljana day and night. I do suggest [INVALID]natives for places to stay on booking.com or Trip Advisor, as we used both of these for places to stay that were less expensive.
Croatia: even if it is very inconvenient, you must go to Plitvice Lakes National Park (Plitvicka Jezera). This is the most amazing place ever [INVALID]d on this earth, nothing like anything you have ever seen.
Rovinj is a hidden gem; wandering through the town is amazing and the views out to sea (and from sea into town) are incredible. Rick's restaurant recommendations (Maestral for lunch, Scuba, and especially Trattoria Toni's were good) as well as his suggestions to visit Pula and Motovun (each a 1/2 day and easy to get to by car).
Those who like to travel definitely ought to add these countries to their lists.
Jupiter, FL USA 10/09/2012
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
After touring Croatia and Slovenia, we drove to Kotor, Montenegro and enjoyed two nights at the Hotel Splendido (address: Naselje Glavati bb, 85335 Prcanj, Montenegero; tel:+382-32-301-700; fax: +382-32-336-246; email@example.com; www.splendido.com.) We highly recommend this hotel. The breakfast was excellent (made to order omlettes and lots of fresh fruit, etc.). It has a pool and free parking. The hotel is across the bay from the old city and at night you look across and see the old city all lit up. It is so beautiful. We continued our drive around the bay and took the Lepetani-Kamenari Ferry shortcut and stayed another night in Dubrovnik before returning home.
Oregon City, OR USA 10/01/2012
Breathtaking Croatia and Slovenia
My wife, Mary, and I are just finishing a two-week vacation in Slovenia and Croatia. We engaged the services of a truly wonderful driver-guide, Matt (Matej in Croatian firstname.lastname@example.org). We really enjoyed spending eight days in Slovenia, Rovinj, Split, Dubrovnik, Montenegro and island Hvar with him and could have easily spent more time. Croatia is a breathtaking country and our guided tour was nothing less than spectacular. Matt's passion for his country's past and present was contagious. We are spending the last few days in Postira-Brac island - love it too! Already planning our next trip back!
Seattle, WA USA 09/16/2012
We just returned from Croatia. What a great place. Thanks to Rick Steves for the information on a terrific destination. In Rovinj, we stayed at a B&B that has only been open for a year or so. The name of it is Casa Alice and I can't say enough about the hospitality and graciousness of the owner and staff. It is also a beautiful place with a welcoming pool on a hot day. I recommend it highly. We also visited Plivice lakes and Dubrovnik, both were spectacular!
Gallatin, TN USA 09/15/2012
Croatia first visit
Split has bus to town from airport - about $5 U.S. Diocletians Palace a fantastic way to spend 1/2 or all day. Go to center of palace to connect with walking tours. Took Bura ferry line to Trogir - about an hour. Trogir I think a better place to stay the night - a great beauty of a village, although Split was fine. Bura ferry shuts down early October +/-.
Ferry Split to Hvar (Stari Grad) just 2 hours - loved it. Bus Stari Grad - meets you at ferry - to Hvar Town. Great town, walk the waterfront, visit the castle. Spent 1/2 day also in Jelsa - liked it - laid back. Ferry Hvar Town to Korcula. Korcula another fine village. Bus Korcula to Dubrovnik - about 3 hours. Dubrovnik different category - incomparable and great to see but many more people there, but manageable. Early bus to Dubrovnik airport. Room sellers - Sobes' - meet you at all ferry stops - worked great for me!
Denver, CO USA 09/15/2012
Croatia - Split & Dubrovnik
My husband and I just returned from an amazing trip to Croatia, thanks in large part to all the tips from Rick Steves! We primarily visited Split and Dubrovnik, flying into Dubrovnik (from London) and then flying out of Split, which was a great decision since the drive between the two cities is about 4-5 hours and we wouldn't have wanted to do it twice. Dubrovnik was my favorite and absolutely amazing - we were there during the August holiday which means there are a ton of tourists due to the Italian August holiday and the daily cruise ships. However, we loved that it was Dubrovnik's "Libertas" festival (it runs through July and August) and it made for wonderful evenings strolling the streets and enjoying the festivities. I booked our trip completely using Rick Steves' Croatia/Slovenia and Dubrovnik guide books (I lived in Europe years ago so was completely comfortable doing this) and saved us a ton of $$! We stayed in only sobe - I booked our Dubrovnik sobe (and also transfer from the airport) through www.dubrovnikapartmentsource.com. We stayed in the Bijele apartments (Anica) run by Boris and Sandra - it was perfect!! The location was perfectly central off the Stradun (Old Town) which made coming and going SO convenient. The sobe (they have 2) are completely renovated and gorgeous! Boris and Sandra were so accomodating with all the amenities like wi-fi, "bag holding" and even beach towels!
The first day we did a local Dubrovnik/Old Town tour with Petar Vlasic (email@example.com) and Tom and it was fantastic! They are young and energetic and so informative about the history of Croatia/Dubrovnik. My husband's family is of Croatian descent and Petar shared so many traditions and background that surprisingly my husband's family still do in America. I have been on countless European tours and this was one of the best by far! The restaurants were amazing in Old Town, you really can't go wrong. The enormous restaurant by the pier (you'll see everyone with black caldrons) had the best mussels I've ever eaten. The beaches are different than the US but can still be a great experience. We went to the EastWest Beach club just a few blocks outside of Plocce gate. A tip we learned by trial and error - take or buy your own beach towels before going- when you enter the "beach club" where the man is selling towels/chairs, walk all the way to the right past the chairs- this area is free (and where the locals go) - it's small, but the pebbles are not so bad and access to the beautiful water is easy. One last tidbit about Dubrovnik - EVERYONE speaks amazing English and usually 2 to 3 other languages!
We took the boat to Lokrum Island one day - our guide Tom helped us to figure out which tourist stand is selling these tickets - it's a very small non-descript stand right next to the boat. Had we known about Lokrum sooner, we would have gone twice - it is a small but great island (and a SUPER way to escape all the cruise ship tourists during the heat of midday in Old Town). The rocks are huge - just choose one to sun on for the day, and enjoy some of the most beautiful water you've ever seen - my husband snorkled for hours. The far side of the island is also beautiful and less crowded if you're looking for a more quiet area.
Following Rick's recommendation, we booked a transfer from Dubrovnik to Split with Pepo Klaic (firstname.lastname@example.org) and it was delightful and informative. Pepo fought in the recent war/aggression and spoke candidly about his experiences. We only spent 2 days in Split, staying at the Base Sobe that is included in Rick's guide book under the Split section. Tina and her father Ivan run the sobe and are so kind - Tina drove us to the airport on our last day. The sobe is a little tricky to find - you need to find the entrance into Diocletian's Palace (from the Riva side) that will take you down "under" the palace through the souvenir vendors (you'll see a maroon awning marking the passage). Walk straight through the vendors, up the stairs on the other side where you will emerge into the square with Diocletian's Cathedral on your right. Make the first left into an unmarked "alley" - most likely it will have scaffolding and construction beams above (Tina told us this has been going on for over 30 years). Walk all the way to the end (a short walk) where you'll see Jupiter's Temple straight ahead - the sobe will be on your right in front of the Temple - the bottom of the sobe is souvenir shop. We really enjoyed the entertainment in the evening in Split - walking the Riva and then enjoying the live music in the square right by our sobe where Luxor hotel is. We did go to the beach one day - a short walk past the docks where the ferries are parked - it was busy but there were plenty of beach chairs and the water was warm and relaxing. I think just 2 nights in Split was plenty, although I would recommend leaving at least 1 additional day for Hvar/Korcula - we hope to get there on our next trip to Croatia!
CO USA 09/11/2012
For anyone planning to spend time in Istria, I would encourage you to look into events put on by Istria in Spirit (http://www.istrainspirit.hr/en). This group has worked to bring Istrian traditions and culture to travellers. We took part in the Spacio event in Rovinj held in July. This evening consisted of a ride in a batana boat while serenaded by the bitinada singers around the old town, an old time tavern (we were brought to an opening in the wall and helped up a small ladder from the sea) into a traditional tavern. Here the tables were set with candles, liters of wine and water and our appetizers awaited. There were approximately 24 people in the group. All food was traditional Isiran seafood and side dishes, mostly seafood. The cook and his helper were just out on a deck preparing the food, as it was done in the long ago past. There was no ordering to your taste simply what felt like a non stop array of outstanding dishes. All the while the bitinada group entertained. There was also a lot of fun and laughter as the scene was set for some(well acted) hot blooded arguing and carrying on. We sang, laughed, ate and thoroughly enjoyed the event which lasted for about 3 hours in total, for a cost of 200kuna per person. We felt as if we were at a old time family wedding. Istria in Spirit does other themed events specific to the region they are showcasing and judging by the quality of the Spacio event I would not hesitate to take in any of the others. This is a cultural event so while most Croatians speak English most of the evening proceeded in Croatian but don't let this deter you. It was the high light of our 3 week vacation.
Calgary, Albert Canada 08/13/2012
Excellent private guides in Split, Hvar, Dubrovnik, and Trogir - Matej's tours!
We had the most amazing time in Croatia and Matej's tour (email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org) was a huge part of it. We had a large family group of 10 people to cater for, so we had varying requirements. Matej was very happy to work with us to obtain the perfect initerary. It wasn't the easiest one I'm sure, but the end result for us was fantastic. Every part of our tour was easy. Every part of the tour just flowed. I can't speak highly enough of Matej. So should you be looking at touring Croatia, can I just say, email Matej, he made our life so easy. We wish all the very best to Matej and if he comes to Australia he must visit us.
Wynnum, Brisbane, Australia 07/29/2012
Fantastic Restaurant in VHR, Istria
We just returned from one week's stay in Rovinj and just have to tell the world about a great restaurant in a hill town near Rovinj. Restaurant VHR (pronounced Ver) is in the town of VHR in the Istrian penninsula. About a 40 minute drive from Rovinj. We ate there twice - first time we had pasta with truffles, best I've had, and I've been to Italy seven times and have eaten many truffle dishes. We made reservations the second time because we had their slow cooked meal which required advance booking. We ordered the goat and potato dish cooked in a clay pot for hours. It was squisito. There were other slow cooked meats that were available. It's a beautiful building with a great outdoor patio. Two generations of family live in the building. They make their own wine, prosecco and grappa. Also, their own prosciutto, olive oil and hunt their own truffles. Mom does the cooking in the kitchen. The son was very gracious. It was a slow day and he took us into the room where they made the vino and hung the prosciutto. We tasted wine out of the barrel, tasted honey grappa and mistletoe grappa and prosecco. We asked how long he and his family lived in Vhr and he answered "forever".
Northville, Mi USA 07/16/2012
Great Tour Guide in Rovinj
My 80-year-old mother and I recently stopped in Rovinj, Croatia for a day during a cruise. We ended up spending the day in Pula and the countryside around Rovinj with Aneli Radovan, a wonderful tour guide who shared her love of Istria, her considerable knowledge, and her own experiences and insights with us. We would HIGHLY recommend her, not only because she is energetic, flexible, and passionate about the area but also because she is a strong and intelligent woman, something we found most unusual as we looked for tour guides. Her contact information is email@example.com. We understand she is available for tours like the one we did for a couple hours or for multiple days.
Oakland, CA USA 07/12/2012
My husband and I returned from a 2 week visit to Croatia at the end of June, 2012. There are several things that we encountered that may help traverlers, especially this summer. 1. kunas are the preferred currency and many restaurants are not "set up" for credit cards so cash is handy. Our rate of exchange was 5.8 kunas to the dollar. Sobes always are paid in cash and well worth it! 2.Prices quoted in Rick's latest guidebook (2010) are about 50% higher now and many churches now charge a modest admission. 3. The ferry from Dubrovnik to Hvar takes a little over 8 hours not the 6.5 hours that is stated in the guide book. It runs 2 days a week only: for June that meant Sunday and Thursday. it is a mad rush unpon arriving in Stari Grad to get on the bus to Hvar Town. 4. Rick's recommendations for sobes was excellent and we enjoyed Lidija's in Dubrovnik (which has a washing machine) and Ivana's in Hvar. Both women were excellent at helping us and being available for any concerns or problems. Petar Vlasic was an excellent tour guide for a day';s touraround Dubrovnik. We chose the Korcula option. 5. Taking the ferry (Bura Line) from Split to Trogir was very pleasant and only 1 hour. It was practically door to door, just had to walk over a bridge, and the return times are posted so you know exactly when the ferry leaves. 6. Croatia is beautiful, safe, inexpensive and the people are friendly and many speak English. 7. Zagreb is a walkable city with green spaces and Croatia Airways is an excellent service. It is like a little Vienna, as Rick says. The Best Western Hotel Astoria was a great choice for price, service and convenience. Zagreb airport has a park across from the drop off site so afteryou check in you can relax there withe birds and fountains until boarding.
Columbus, OH USA 07/10/2012
Split tour guide--Matej Tomasevic
In October 2011, my family took a cruise to the Adriatic. I wanted to have Split as a port to visit, as my wife's paternal grandfather emigrated to America from a small town around Split in 1911. She was in Croatia in the 1990's with her parents and got to see where her maternal grandparents came from, meet relatives she never met, etc. but they could not get to Split due to the war in lower Croatia. So when I booked a cruise, I wanted Split on the itinerary. I never told my wife I was trying to get a tour guide for the visit to Split in the hopes the tour guide may be able to take us to the town he was from. All I had to go on was a copy of her grandfather's baptismal certificate in Croatian. I searched for a tour guide online and settled on Matej Tomasevic. I scanned and emailed Matej the certificate. All I had hoped from Matej was just to find the town. When we arrived at the port and I let my wife know we were going with a guide and driver and hoping to find Grandpa's town. We found Matej did WAY MORE. He visited the church on the baptismal certificate, talked the people there, and thru them found some of my wife's family members. Matej spoke perfect English and he brought with him two of my wife's relatives (who also spoke perfect English) to meet us. We drove to the church Grandpa was baptized in and found that his parents were married there. We then were driven to the house were my wife's Grandpa was born in, were treated to a lunch with homemade wine and grappa, and given a grand tour of the area. My wife cried like a baby with joy all day. She only wished her father was still alive to see where his father came from.
In a nutshell, Matej went WAY BEYOND any expectations I had when I contacted him. I can recommend him to you without any reservation.
Matej (Matthew in Croatian) can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to discuss Matej (or any other ports on our cruise from Venice to Rome) any further with my I can be reached at email@example.com
Mark Sebastian DMD
Federal Way, WA USA 06/19/2012
Hotel Lavica, Samobar Croatia
The Hotel Lavica, recommended in Samobar, Croatia, is also a nightclub. They have a temporary structure set up next to the hotel which by day looks like any ordinary cafe seating, but which blares loud music until 5:00 am, followed by shouting and drunken partying. Samobar was a big disappointment. Instead of the quaint little community Rick describes, it's an old, dirty tourist trap with shops that are mostly closed and proprietors who will find any wy to cheat you out of a buck. Don't waste your time coming here.
2 weeks in Slovenia and Croatia
Loved our trip, but let me start with what we didn't love: Knezevic Guest House in Plitvice. We stayed in five other places during our trip (more later on that) and didn't have problems, but Knezevic overcharged us and refused to budge, even though we had copies of the email in which they quoted the daily rate and confirmed our reservation.
Other notes on accommodations: I would enthusiastically recommend Hotel Berc and owner Luka in Lake Bled. One of the best places I've stayed - EVER.
Hotel Center in Ljubljana is very convenient and the staff is very friendly, but definitely bring earplugs if you are a light sleeper. Even "courtyard" (facing an abandoned construction lot) rooms are very noisy, as there are several bars on the other side of that space.
Bella Vista in Motovun. Pleasant accommodations. Make sure you ask for a room with a terrace. (Note: If going in the shoulder season, as we did, when the weather might not be ideal, I would recommend staying in Rovinj or Pula. Fog prevented us from seeing the bella vista on most days and I think there are more rainy day activities in the coastal towns.
Plitvice - already mentioned
Split - Sobe Base has phenomenal rooms right next to Jupiter's Temple. I would highly recommend this place. Tina and Ivan are great.
Dubrovnik - Contrary to what Rick says, I much prefer the area around the Ploce Gate instead of the Pile Gate. Even in May, the tourists/buses around Pile were everywhere. The Ploce Gate neighborhood (directly up the hill soon after the gate - not down the road with the resort hotels) is very residential, has great views, and seems to be miles away from the masses of tourists/cruise ships. We stayed with Ivan Kalas. He has 4 or 5 apartments for rent and the terrace is fantastic. He treated us to homemade grappa and his wife made the most divine cookies. His numbers are +385 20 432 625/+385 98 377 954
Food: Okarina Etno in Lake Bled is fantastic - fresh, local food and lots of veggie options. I would also agree with Rick's comments and most previous posts about Nishta in Dubrovnik - good food and very friendly service. The Black Cat in Split is now called Toc Bistro and it is also excellent - both the food and the service. The patio is particularly delightful. Pri Mari in Piran and Mondo Konoba in Motovun were also quite good and had excellent service. Everywhere else we tried was mediocre at best.
-Rick was right - I wish we had spent more time in Slovenia!
-Piran is very underrated, as is Split. We could definitely have spent more time in both.
-in the 3rd edition of Rick's book, it states that Plitvice tickets are only sold until 2 pm in the spring and 3 pm in the summer. In mid-May they were being sold until 4:30 p.m. Also not mentioned in the book is the fact that 2 day tickets are available at cheaper prices than 2 single tickets.
-Unless you are taking day trips based in Dubrovnik, 2 days is plenty of time - you will get tired of the hoards of tourists.
-Driving is a bit trickier than we expected. Even with a GPS and Michelin maps, we got lost a couple of times. That said, driving did still save us time. Just be aware that there are many construction detours in Croatia and roads there are not clearly marked in most cases.
Dayton, Ohio USA 06/11/2012
Tours in Split and Dalmatian coast
I just finished my incredible 5 day tour (Split, islands Brach and Hwar, Dubrovnik and Plitvice UNESCO Waterfalls) with Split guide Matt today (firstname.lastname@example.org) and it was the best experience I have had during my 4 week tour of Europe. Matt's love of Croatia has made this trip unforgettable. I love to learn about the local culture, history and nature when I travel and Matt did a supreme job helping learn about all of these. I cannot believe how little I knew about Croatia Matt has opened my eyes to a new, amazing part of the world! Thanks!!!
Bellaire, TX USA 06/10/2012
My mom and I hired Petar Vlasic for a day's drive to Korcula when we stayed in Dubrovnik. He's a wonderful driver with a sleek BMW, an entertaining and knowledgeable guide, and a genuinely nice guy. He knew all the best places to stop for photo ops and he took us to a fantastic restaurant in Mali Ston. We had never hired a driver before and it's the best travel-related decision we ever made! He is nothing but enthusiastic about Croatia and loves to extol its virtues. He knows the Dalmatian coast like the back of his hand and will take you to all the nooks and crannies that a giant tour bus could never access.
Grand Rapids, MI USA 05/30/2012
Just an FYI if you are planning on visiting Bosnia in the near future. The Bosnian border police are currently on a "white strike", meaning they are working at a slower pace. Make sure you give yourself a little extra time if you plan on crossing the border from Croatia/Serbia into Bosnia, particularly on holidays or times of high traffic.
Croatia/Slovenia/Bosnia = Fabulous!
Spent two weeks in Slovenia/Croatia/Bosnia last October...it was the best trip we've ever had to date. Everything about it was just perfect. We roughly followed Rick's itinerary - and it was fantastic. Everyone was so incredibly nice and warm. Bled was great, it was a nice start to our travels. Then off to Ljubljana (we wished we stayed here 2 nights, it is a fabulous walking city), then train to the coast, rented car and drove to Rovinj - stopped at Pula first to see the ruins, which were amazing. Rovinj is gorgeous - just a stunning town. Walked up the church bell tower (it's a bit scary, those creaky old stairs!) to see a beautiful view of the whole city.
Drove to Plitvice and went on a few great hikes around the lake. Then drove to Split where we dropped the rental car. Stayed in Dioclecian's Palace walls, which is pretty cool. Took the fast jet boat to Hvar and Korcula - which are just fantastic. Stayed at Theresa de Polos fabulous waterfront apartment, she picked us up at the ferry dock and told us about a great place to eat - Marco Polo restaurant - one of the top two meals of our trip! Grilled squid and housemade pasta - yum!
Short boat, then Bus ride from Korcula to Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is stunning, but the cruise ships/throngs of people put a damper on it. We hired Pepo Klaic to drive us to Mostar for the day and wow....was that ever worth it. Pepo is fantastic, funny and gave us a great tour. Mostar is wonderful, like a mini Istanbul! We stayed in Cavtat which is just south of Dubrovnik, and had the BEST time there. It was a world apart from bustling Dubro, calm, quiet, charming and just 15 min from the airport. Flew to Zagreb - what a place! Wished we stayed for a few more nights here, the hotel Jagerhorn is right in the thick of the action - near the town square which was wonderful. They have a market with local artists and goods, and even had a special Saturday celebration with local dancers and a band. The streets here are wonderful for walking and people watching...it was just a fabulous city and a FABULOUS trip. We will be back!
Salt Lake City, UT USA 05/22/2012
Using Mostar detour to get between Split and Dubrovnik
Just got back from Croatia and Slovenia. What a wonderful trip. I wanted to go from Split to Dubrovnik but the public transportation wasn't very convenient. So had Ermin Elezovic, who is mentioned in Rick's guidebook, pick us up on Split and take us to Mostar. We spent the night at the Muslibegovic House, great museum and B&B. Then Alma, Ermin's wife, gave us an excellent tour of Mostar and some other Ottoman ruins on our way to drop us off in Dubrovnik. It was so wonderful to get to talk to people who live there. Both Ermin and Alma are wonderful to be with - felt like friends I didn't know I had. I can't recommend them highly enough. Also recommend checking the cruise ships schedule online if you can. We were able to schedule our days in Split and Dubrovnik when there weren't cruise ships.
Boulder, CO USA 05/15/2012
Good hotel in Zagreb
We stayed at Hotel Jagerhorn in Zagreb. It is very convenient to most sights and only a block from the main square. It has a nice breakfast and the service was great.
Boulder, CO USA 05/15/2012
Tour in Split and Dalmatian islands
How effusive can one be about a guide? Our guide Matt from Split (email@example.com) Croatia is the best tourguide I (I am a Veteran world traveler!) have ever encountered. He was a font of knowledge about the country, the history, geography, etc. He was very fun to be with and was very customer oriented. Always helpful and upbeat. An A++
Denver, CO USA 05/12/2012
cycling in Dalmatian Islands
In case anyone on this thread is interested in cycling in Croatia, we offer guided and self-guided cycling trips from Dubrovnik to Split visiting the islands. www.great-explorations.com & www.randonneetours.com
Vancouver, BC USA 05/08/2012
Wonderful tour guides in Split, Dubrovnik and Montenegro
We have just ended our Croatian tour. We booked 3 trips through Split Private Tours & Shore Excursions by Matthew (http://www.private-guides.com/guide-in-croatia/croatia-matej-dancevic/index.php): Driver guided tour of UNESCO towns Split and Trogir, and Montenegro tour and and UNESCO town Dubrovnik tour.
We had 3 great tour guides, Matthew, Ajosa and Ilia.
Our tour guide Matthew in Split (firstname.lastname@example.org) was the best guide we 've had in 8 consecutive European trips.
We booked everything on-line and the communication was great. I would highly recommend this company.
San Diego, CA USA 04/17/2012
Croatia Slovenia update
When you update the Croatia Slovenia tour book you might want to consider adding Adrian Wiele's property on Frana Supila, Villa Adrian. We just spent a week there and had an incredible visit. Adrian is a terrific host and the view from his large terrace is breathtaking. We had an apartment on the lowest level (still with a view of Lokrum Island) and our adult children and grandchild stayed in another guest area in the main house. They had 4 bedrooms and a small kitchenette. Adrian and his family became instant friends; we loved his passion and knowledge about his country. His wife, an accomplished pianist, gifted me with a private concert. She also shared with us some of her homemade cookies, cakes and terrific pancakes. Also the cable car is functioning now and the restaurant at the top was pretty good.
Noblesville, IN USA 04/17/2012