Black bura

There is a saying that there are three strong bura wind storms in March (or 7 light ones…) and if we are to judge by this first one, on March 5th 2015, we will hardly make it… Last year we had almost no bura days and everyone was blaming global warming. This year, we are getting slammed as I write. The forecast was for strongest bura in decades – up to 240 Km/h (cc 150 Mph, 130 knots). To give you an idea how bad that is:
To be classified as a hurricane, a tropical cyclone must have maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph (33 m/s; 64 kn; 119 km/h) (Category 1). The highest classification in the scale, Category 5, is reserved for storms with winds exceeding 156 mph (70 m/s; 136 kn; 251 km/h).
Here is a great article on bura and how it is formed: http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/wind/The-Bora.htm It is also called bora in English but we, in Croatia, always use the term bura.

Approaching Ražanac harbor

Approaching Ražanac harbor

As the forecast was serious, I decided to go to one of the most picturesque places one can shoot great photos of the storm. The village of Ražanac, at the very coast of Velebit channel, is the place. And it always gets a proper slamming as the wind is formed up in the clouds over Velebit’s peks – just few miles across the channel.
This is what Ražanac beach and small harbor look in the summer:

Ražanac in the summer

Summer in Ražanac

And this is what it looked like yesterday…

Bura in Ražanac

Bura in Ražanac

The drive to Ražanac was scenic as always. Once I entered the village, not only the strong winds were slamming the car in the narrow streets, but there was sea water everywhere: in the air, on the streets, on the houses… The little harbor looked as if the hell broke loose…

Several locals were guarding their boats in fear that the chains and ropes will give in to the massive waves.

The news channel on the radio was telling that all the bridges were closed down for winds and that there were several turned over cars and trucks and people getting injured. Since I was close to Pag bridge, I decided to go there and just take few photos. If possible.

On the way there, the Ljubljana peninsula and it’s ruins of ancient Ljubljana town looked very impressive…

Peninsula ljubljana

Peninsula Ljubljana

Sea spray all over...

Sea spray all over…

The gusts were getting stronger and stronger and I was feeling my 2 ton car shaking like a toy… The idea of getting to Pag bridge did not look that cool any more…

Broken branches all over

Broken branches all over

Less than a mile away from the bridge, it became very clear that it is much better (and safer) to simply turn back. The big branches on the road made that decision definite. It was not worth getting in trouble for a photo of Pag bridge and I pulled in the first car wash to get all the salt off my car…
A windstorm to remember!

Winter walks – Vir Island

Vir Island is not known for its nature and history. It is usually regarded as the place of the ugliest development on the Adriatic coast but I would say there are many more places that can compete for that title these days… Narrow streets, ugly buildings of all colors and shapes make Vir just a terrible example how NOT to build.
And once, it was a lovely island north of Zadar. Then came the idea of building a nuclear power plant on an island by the Yugoslav authorities back in 1980s. Someone came up with a counter-idea that the locals should sell their land cheap so many people build their summer homes on the island and make a pressure on the authorities not to build the nuclear power plant on the island.
If you ask me, nuclear power plant would look much, much better than the island looks right now and would be probably much better for people’s health than the waste their guests produce in the season…

Kastelina fortress in Vir

Kastelina fortress in Vir

And the crowds and the mess are the reasons why I usually visit Vir only in the winter time. We always first visit the ruins of Kastelina fortress that was recently restored and preserved. It is an impressive fortress built in 1620s by the Venetian governor of Dalmatia who was always ruling from Zadar. This the coats of arms of those governors’ families: Molina and Pisanio. Below theirs is the coat of arms of the famous Zadar noble family of Grisogono.

Coats of arms

Coats of arms

Kastelina is a bit strange in design. It is basically just a walled structure with two towers on a small rocky point. Not sure what the original purpose was as it looks just like a possible shelter from land only attack…

“Inside” the fortress

Venetian lion on north tower

Venetian lion on north tower

Next to Kastelina fortress is one very interesting beach. It is not a regular rocky or sandy beach. It is geologically very different from any of the beaches we saw before in this region. It is a mix of clay and sand stone creating some surreal shapes but the beach itself is made of colorful pebbles while there is sand in the sea.

Kozjak Beach

Kozjak Beach

At Kozjak beach

At Kozjak beach

More strange shapes

More strange shapes

Colorful pebbles

Colorful pebbles

Abstract textures

Abstract textures

Then we moved away from the town and went to see the beaches on the north side of the island: Biskupljača and Duboka Draga. While the island is pretty much ruined with aggressive construction, there is definitely a charming side to it and I see how it was probably a very beautiful destination before 1980s. Now, the devastation continues as we saw the asphalt road destroying the coast on the northern sides right to the sea. For no particular reason. It could have stayed a simple dirt road and the beaches could have stayed untouched.

Same pattern is now applied to the beach of Biskupljača where the local authorities are trying to make a parking space.

Biskupljača beach

Biskupljača beach

All these beaches are open to Velebit mountain so bura wind is not light here. The beaches are sandy  and great places for families with small children no matter if you are getting there by car or by a boat.

Duboka draga

Duboka draga

In general, Vir – always different but still always a pleasure. For winter walks and hikes, that is :)

Croatia tours

Flights to Croatia

Flights to Croatia are one of the most sought after terms when researching how to reach Croatia. As more and more carriers are flying directly to Croatia, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get proper information and to find the easiest way to (and out of) Croatia. From the main airports to several smaller, and from the nearby international hubs, we have tried to compile the most relevant and up to date information to make your arrival as easy as possible no matter if you are flying from within Europe or from overseas destinations.

General information on airports and suggested routes:
Flying to Croatia one can use the following airports: Zagreb Airport, Split Airport, Dubrovnik Airport, Zadar Airport, Pula Airport, Rijeka Airport (island of Krk), Brac Airport and Osijek Airport. There are also several small airports like Lošinj airport, Hvar airport or Sinj airport but these are for small, sport airplanes only. Most travelers prefer to use Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik or Pula airports to fly to Croatia, as most of the airline companies and charter operators fly to these airports.

On several occasions, depending on the final itinerary, our clients would fly to Venice or Ljubljana airports. Venice airport is approx. a 3 hour drive away from Istria so if you are starting your journey (or booking a villa in Istria), this is a great choice.

Ljubljana is another nearby airport to fly to being only about 2,5 hours away from Zagreb. We had several groups starting their journeys in the Balkans from Ljubljana and then either continuing to Zagreb or going to Istria.

Zagreb airport

Zagreb airport

 

Flights within Croatia

Numerous times guests can get the best flights from one destination to any of the major hubs like Zagreb, Split or Dubrovnik and then look for in–country flights to get to their desired destination. For local flights, it is best to use www.croatiaairlines.com as they are the national carrier with best rates and best service. Obviously, in traveling season, there are more flights connecting local airports but Croatia Airlines maintains the services year round.

Another cool way to travel within Croatia (and mostly coastal destinations) is by local hydroplane service European Coastal Airlines. This service is still in development but the entire coast should be connected in 2015, making it fairly easy to get to some of the most remote islands. All of the information and direct booking is available on their web site: http://www.ec-air.eu/en/

ECA airplane in action

ECA airplane in action

Flights to Croatia from North and South America

Since most of our clients are from the US and Canada, we often get questions on how to reach Croatia. Without direct flights from North and South America, Croatia is not that easy to reach. There has been quite a bit of talk regarding direct flights from Toronto and even New York but nothing has been realized yet. North and South American clients still have to fly to any of the major European hubs to reach Croatia.

With Venice having excellent connections, we often – depending on clients’ preferences and days available to travel in Croatia – suggest flying there to make traveling as easy as possible. Once there, we can organize several days in Venice or our chauffeur can wait for them at the airport for direct transfer to i.e. Rovinj. On several occasions we had clients requesting direct transfer from Venice to Zadar or Split. The drive is then between 6 and 8 hours long and, of course, several stops can be made although the drive is entirely on our modern and very fast highway. Some clients prefer to book roundtrip flights to and from Venice and thanks to Croatia Airlines starting Dubrovnik to Venice service, there are direct flights between Dubrovnik and Venice. Please check www.croatiaairlines.com for available flights, times and schedules.

Form Latin America, it is the best to travel to Spain (Madrid or Barcelona) and then get connecting flights to Split or Dubrovnik with Vueling or other European operators.

Other airports we suggest to fly to are London, Frankfurt or Munich and Rome. There are numerous direct flight to Croatia from these airports between April and November.
For flying back, many clients depart Dubrovnik to any of the major, previously mentioned hubs or fly local flight Dubrovnik – Zagreb and then out of Croatia.

Heathrow airport

Heathrow airport

Flights to Croatia from Asia and Australia

In the past years, we are seeing more and more Asian and Australian guests. Their way to Croatia is not an easy one as, like getting to any destination in Europe, they have a very long flight and their traveling times are often over 20 hours long. Things have improved lately with Qatar Airways introducing direct flights to and from Doha up to 4 times a week. Another big one is FlyDubai operating three flights a week between Dubai and Zagreb, starting from 16 December 2014. Flying with Turkish Airlines is also a great way to reach Croatia as they have daily flights connecting Zagreb and Istanbul so one can even do a great combination of Turkey and Croatia for their holiday.
Dubrovnik and Beirut will be connected twice a week from July to September, with 22 flights in all, courtesy of charter airline, Wings of Lebanon. There will however be some earlier flights in late April or early May. This should be checked online.
Direct flights from China to Zadar should start in Spring of 2015

Flydubai

Flydubai

Flights from European airports to Croatia

Being part of the Star Alliance brought numerous privileges to Croatia Airlines and connects Croatia to almost all major airports in Europe. Also, many other Croatian airports now have direct flights between most important airports.
UK is now connected via British Airways, Ryanair, Easy Jet.
The excellent connection to Germany all year round consists of flights from Zagreb and Split to Frankfurt and Munich, as well as from Zagreb to Berlin, Düsseldorf and Hamburg via Munich and Frankfurt. This offers many possibilities to passengers.
Timetable is adapted so as to enable morning and afternoon flights from Zagreb to connect with most of the flights departing from the Frankfurt or Munich Airport to destinations all over the world.
More details can be found on Croatia Airlines’ web site: www.croatiaairlines.com and below are some of the airlines connecting Croatia and Europe.

Croatia Airlines airplane

Croatia Airlines airplane

 

MAJOR AIRLINE COMPANIES IN STAR ALLIANCE

Austrian Airlines
Croatia Airlines in co-operation with Austrian Airlines connects Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik with Vienna, Prague and Scandinavian destinations.
Austrian

Brussels Airlines
Croatia Airlines in co-operation with Brussels Airlines directly connects Zagreb with Brussels.
Brussels Airlines

TAP Portugal
Croatia Airlines in co-operation with TAP Portugal connects Zagreb with Lisbon and Bologna via various European destinations.
TAP Portugal

Swiss International Air Lines
Croatia Airlines in co-operation with Swiss International Air Lines connects Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik with Zürich and Genève.
SWISS

Lufthansa
Lufthansa connects Frankfurt with Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik all year round, and will additional seasonal flights during summer months to Pula and Rijeka.
www.lufthansa.com

Alitalia
Croatia Airlines in co-operation with Alitalia directly connects Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik with Rome.
www.alitalia.com

Lufthansa

Lufthansa

 

FLIGHTS TO ZAGREB – ZAG
Međunarodna zračna luka Zagreb d.d.
Ulica Rudolfa Fizira 1
Grad Velika Gorica
10150 Zagreb
http://www.zagreb-airport.hr

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, and a major hub in Croatia.
Airlines operating on scheduled routes in passenger traffic at Zagreb International Airport in winter season flight schedule 2014 / 2015 are as follows:
AF   Air France  flies to: Paris (CDG)
BA British Airways flies to: London (LHR)
LH   Lufthansa  flies to: Frankfurt (FRA), München (MUC)
OS  Austrian Airlines flies to: Vienna (VIE)
TP Air  Portugal  flies to: Lisbon (LIS), Bologna (BLQ)
4U  Germanwings  flies to: Koeln (CGN), Stutgartt (STR), Berlin (TXL)
LY  EL AL Israel Airlines  flies to: Tel Aviv (TLV)
QR Qatar Airways flies to: Budapest (BUD), Doha (DOH)
SU  Aeroflot flies to: Moscow (SVO)
TK  Turkish Airlines  flies to: Istanbul (IST)
OU  Croatia Airlines  flies to: London (LHR), München (MUC), Frankfurt (FRA), Paris (CDG), Bruseless (BRU), Amsterdam (AMS), Copenhagen (CPH), Vienna (VIE),Roma (FCO), Zurich (ZRH), Skopje (SKP), Sarajevo (SJJ), Priština (PRN), Split (SPU), Dubrovnik (DBV), Pula (PUY), Zadar (ZAD)
KM Royal Dutch Airlines flies to: Amsterdam (AMS)
C3 Trade Air flies to: Osijek (OSI)
FZ Flydubai flies to: Dubai (DXB)
K2 Eurolot flies to: Warszawa (WAW)
JU AirSERBIA flies to: Beograd (BEG)

Zagreb Airport time table for summer season 2015 can be found on their web site once published:
http://www.zagreb-airport.hr/Connect-and-fly-157.aspx

Zagreb Airport

Zagreb Airport

FLIGHTS TO SPLIT – SPU
Zračna luka Split
Cesta dr. Franje Tuđmana 1270,
21217  Kaštel  Štafilić, Croatia
Tel. + 385 (0)21 203 555
http://www.split-airport.hr

Split is the second largest city in Croatia and, besides Zagreb, the best connected with other European destinations.
Just as is the case with Dubrovnik, each year there are more companies that fly to Split during the summer months than during the winter period. To get more information, we suggest you visit Split Airport’s web site and time table to find best suitable Airline company which would connect you to Split or click here.

Here you can find list of all airline companies that fly to Split as well as links to their web sites:

Terminal entrance at Split Airport

Terminal entrance at Split Airport

 

FLIGHTS TO DUBROVNIK   – DBV
Zračna luka Dubrovnik
20213 Čilipi, Croatia,
Tel. +385 20 773 100
http://www.airport-dubrovnik.hr

During peak months (April to October), the easiest way to connect Dubrovnik with European cities from where you can fly overseas is through Germany (Frankfurt and Munich), Austria (Vienna) and UK (London Gatwick). Dubrovnik is connected with over 50 destinations in Europe and the Middle East.

Here are some airlines:
Croatia Airlines – Dubrovnik – Frankfurt (FRA) flies on a daily basis from April to October (morning flights) operated by Croatia Airlines and Lufthansa
www.croatiaairlines.com and www.lufthansa.com

British Airways: Dubrovnik – London Gatwick (LGW) from April to October http://www.britishairways.com

Easy Jet: Dubrovnik – LGW – from April to October
http://www.easyjet.com

Austrian Airlines: Dubrovnik – Vienna (VIE) – flights from April to October on daily basis www.austrian.com

Vueling Airlines: April to September Dubrovnik – Barcelona, as well as Rome FCO – Dubrovnik in June, July and August.
www.vueling.com

Norwegian Air flights from Oslo to Dubrovnik twice a week in low season and with additional flights in peak season months. As well as flights from Stockholm several times a week.
www.norwegian.com

Aeroflot Russian Airlines from Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) to Dubrovnik on daily basis from June until beginning of October
http://www.aeroflot.com

More details on airline companies that fly to Dubrovnik can be found on the this link:

In winter period (November through March) there are a few airline companies that connect Dubrovnik with other European cities. One of those is British Airways that fly to Dubrovnik on Mondays and Fridays. Croatia Airlines flies to Rome FCO all year round, and in winter period flights are being operated twice a week; on Thursdays and Sundays.
The situation drastically changes in April as the peak season starts when many companies start connecting Dubrovnik with many European destinations.

Dubrovnik Airport

Dubrovnik Airport

FLIGHTS TO ZADAR – ZAD
Zračna luka Zadar
Zemunik Donji
Tel. +385 23 205 800
http://www.zadar-airport.hr

Zadar Airport, just like Rijeka, Pula and Osijek is considered a local airport which in the winter period is mostly connected only with Zagreb. It is a major airport for Zadar region including the islands of Pag and the region north of Šibenik.
However, in the summer months it is well connected with major European cities.
More details on destinations and which airline companies fly to Zadar can be found on this link: http://www.zadar-airport.hr/en/destinations

Zadar is also the local base for major low cost carrier Ryanair: www.ryanair.com

Zadar Airport

Zadar Airport

FLIGHTS TO OSIJEK – OSI
Zračna Luka Osijek
Klisa  31000,
Tel. +385 62 339 339
http://www.osijek-airport.hr
In summer months, Osijek Airport is connected with London (twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays), and starting from April 2015 new flights to Frankfurt, Munich and Vienna are being announced. During winter period (October to April) the only connection to Osijek Airport is via Zagreb, 3 times a week.
All information on flights can be found on the following link.

Osijek Airport

Osijek Airport

FLIGHTS TO RIJEKA – RJK
Zračna luka Rijeka
Hamec 1
51513, Omišalj
Tel. + 385 51 842 040
http://www.rijeka-airport.hr
Rijeka Airport is connected with more than 17 European cities and it is the only airport in Kvarner area. It is quite close to both Zagreb and Pula airports but also to Trieste and Venice so it is not a major airport. On the link below you can find all destinations and airline companies that are connected with Rijeka Airport: http://www.rijeka-airport.hr/destination_eng.asp

Omišalj - Rijeka Airport

Omišalj – Rijeka Airport

FLIGHTS TO PULA – PUY
Zračna luka Pula
Ližnjan, Valtursko polje 210
p.p. 89, 52100 PULA
Tel. + 385 60 308 308
http://www.airport-pula.hr/
If you are flying to Istria region, the easiest way to get there is via Pula Airport. More information can be found on Pula’s Airport seasonal flight schedule.

Pula Airport main building

Pula Airport main building

All this information is for orientation purposes only so please contact your travel agent or double check the flights before making inquires and bookings! If you are traveling with us, please contact us if you have any additional questions or comments or if you need assistance with flights and routes.