Tag Archives: Croatia

Hvar, Croatian Island Cruising with Katarina Lines.

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Meet our crew of Markan MV. They looked after us over the few days we were sailing around some of the most beautiful islands in the Adriatic. The wonderful thing about small ship cruising is that we had the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with the people who matter the most whilst onboard – the crew. For safety, service and of course divine food and beverages. Beware! They know how to party as well…


First stop from Split with Katarina Line’s Markan MV is the sun-drenched island of Hvar, Croatia. It’s the longest island in the Adriatic and one of the sunniest which makes it a favourite for locals and international travellers throughout the year.

Whether you’ve been to Hvar once, twice or several times, it has a plausible view one cannot become tired of, especially if you intend staying on to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere rather than a day trip over from the mainland.

Local guides are instrumental in delivering first-hand knowledge of their beloved island. A tour around allows us an insight into the day-to-day livelihood of past and present inhabitants, as well as some historical sights and activities for all ages.

And yes, there’s lots to see and do here and we have our running shoes on to either take in as much of the island in the allowable time frame, or simply enjoy a cuppa and admire what the cafe set come here for – a sedentary break from the ho-hum daily grind.

A quickie prayer? Many diverse cultural groups visit the local religious establishments in Hvar for some reflective time out, which is not only for the die hards, but tourists arrive in droves to marvel the many historical edifices which are dotted around the island.

The most impressive building in Hvar is definitely the Cathedral of St. Stephen (in the distance), standing on the eastern side of the town square, at the far end of the Pjaca, where two parts of the town meet.  Here at the plaza where visitors and locals congregate for their daily intake of a coffee extraction or cuisine with an abundance of fish-inspired dishes, freshly caught on the day for consumption by the ever-hungry visitors.


Hvar is best known for being a party island and don’t be a dummy when it comes to being a fashionista in Hvar. Make sure you are comfortable and wear garments geared up for sun-soaked activities along with a good sun screen. Australians know what it’s like to be burnt to a crisp after being out in the sun – even for a very short time, so slip, slop, slap as we say, with a zinc-like safe guard and drink lots of water, not just grog when out having a fun time.


See that fantastic castle on the hill? A trek up there will satisfy your kilojoule/calorie intake for the day.

It’s actually the Spanish Fortress, or its local name Španjola and was built in the early 16th century. It holds a rich historical collection and is built on a 2,000-year-old remains of an Illyrian fortress. Still, the most memorable part of the walk around its walls is the view expanding over the city of Hvar and Pakleni islands.


The hill overlooking the town of Hvar is a magnificent viewpoint. From this point, you can look down on the town itself, watch the comings and goings in the harbour and pretend it’s your dosage of meditation for the day.

Photo courtesy of Erik Drien, Norway.


Start walking and take your time as it’s a long hike up past the beautiful park and further on up the hill.

Oh Erik, you’re coming back? Have a rest mate – water, coffee or a beer? Oh ok, beer of course! You’re Norwegian right?

Photo courtesy of Erik Drien, Norway.


And when you do catch your breath, have a seat and relax in the quaint surrounds of Hvar, you won’t be disappointed with the local hospitality either. Plants are always friendly too.


Every budding sleuth, crime novelist, detective and TV police drama writer – pay homage.

Ivan Vučetić, born July 20, 1858, is one of the lesser-known native sons of a country that produced the likes of Nikola Tesla. Yet he is the father of modern dactyloscopy — the analysis and classification of fingerprints. Vučetić’s legacy is honored in Croatia primarily with a bust in Hvar’s eponymous city, his birthplace.

So off we go onto the next stop which will be Korcula Island. Think a nana nap is in order.

Love surprises and fresh fish arrived in a parcel which looked very much like a dumpling. But, this delicious and tasty portion of melt-in-your-mouth marvel is to be savoured and washed down with an excellent Croatian wine.

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Cruising the Croatia Coast from Split. Part One

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When you fly into Split in Croatia and you see the coastline from above, you instantly know the bucket-list cruise you’ve been wanting to do is about to become a reality. Resnik Airport being the international airport serves the city of Split 19 km away on the west side of Kaštela Bay.

Travelling by bus from the airport to the city centre costs about 40 Kunas (approximately A$8.50 one way per adult). It’s easy enough as the buses wait outside to the left after exiting the airport doors. Taxis are about 250 Kuna and private transfers are also available for about 35-45 Euro. Ensure you ask for the right bus in the direction you’re wanting to travel. The airport bus, (if that’s your choice) will take you directly to the main bus station in Split – which is next to the train station and right there at the port. Perfect if the first thing you intend to do is catch a ferry or bus to somewhere else.

It’s a small facility and the growing number of visitors each year has the authorities on notice to consider establishing a larger and more modern airport.

Now, meet my small luxury ship – MV Markan of which I’m going to share my trip over the next couple blog posts of this unforgettable voyage from Split to Dubrovnik – via some of the most scenic areas along the Dalmatian coastline. MV Markan was built in 2018 and is so shiny and new!

Various categories of small vessels including the MV Markan are bookable with Katarina Lines which happen to be the most well-known operator in Croatia. They can also organise land tours to coincide with the cruise options available.

Looking quite swish and comfy with a small number of cabins making the journey so much more intimate with other guests – knowing them much better than say an ocean liner. MV Marken has a maximum of 19 guests onboard whereby the service on offer is second to none.

MV Markan’s maiden voyage was in 2018. Some features include:
48.5 m length
8.8 m width
Sun deck 250 m2
7 to 9 crew members
19 guest cabins
9 VIP cabins with
Private balconies
2 double/twin
8 double/twin

Wifi being available throughout the ship makes it easy to connect with others, allowing them to be envious of your every port call along the way. Depending on the areas once out to sea, it may be a little touch and go on occasion. But that’s fine with me when you are wanting to disconnect for a while and simply enjoy the facilities, food and not to mention the views!

But, before we all head off for a marvellous expedition, it’s time to explore some more of Split with a city tour and a local guide – it’s always a must-do activity. Learning and understanding the history and architecture of this picturesque small city will have you surprised with just how much history is attached to its resume.

The promenade of Split is the main focal point when it comes to visitors wanting a sea view and seeking culinary delights to enhance that experience.

This view from the main thoroughfare and foreshore, the  main facade of the Palace’s intended use as the retirement residence of Diocletian, was built at the turn of the fourth century AD. Today it forms about half the old town and there’s numerous small boutique shops offering all kinds of goodies.

Anyway, you don’t always have to sit with hundreds of other tourists along the seaside, you can sometimes find a quaint family-owned business such as Kuharica (with their own Cook Book) who make traditional cuisine such as seafood and gnocchi. Here’s Lucy (Manager) and I inside the walls of the ‘palace’ and away from the hustle and bustle of the main-stream areas.

So many of the younger people particularly now in hospitality and tourism in Croatia speak superb fluent English … and  I’m truly grateful to them for their efforts. Lovely experiences such as being able to have a coffee here and a lively chat with Lucy divulging to me, what makes Split tick along as a destination.

Among the European cathedrals this one in Split finds its seat in the oldest building – the Mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Inside the cathedral, at the end of the second millennium, the history reconciles ancient pagan Christian Medieval and modern heritage. Mausoleum of the Emperor – persecutor of Christians becomes a cathedral in the 7th century where altars with relics of St Domnius and St Anastasius, martyrs were executed in the nearby Solin take an honorary place.

The Cathedral today is primarily a place of liturgy, with a millennium long continuity, best reflected in the Sunday mass and the renewed splendor of the procession on the St Domnius’s day – the day of Split’s patron saint.
Source: Split Tourism Board.

Anyway, there’s another ‘religion’ happening in Croatia. Game of Thrones has just opened its new store in Split for all those cult followers to make haste and grab some souvenirs.

Dubrovnik was the main filming location in Croatia for the King’s Landing, a fictional city in Game of Thrones, the famous television series based on the series of fantasy novels “A Song of Ice and Fire” and distributed by HBO.

At one of the entrances to the Palace, don’t miss testing your luck of making your wishes come true by touching the big toe of the grandiose statue of the Gregory of Nin, the work of the great Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović.

The big toe of this towering monument to the Croatian national hero has been worn down from years of superstitious rubbing I’m told. Umm I assumed it was good luck.

Anyway, I’m just hanging around in the warmth of the beaut sunlight on the far side of the promenade waiting for our departure on MV Markan later on. I didn’t have anyone rubbing my toes for luck!

Next blog post, cruising from Split to Hvar, part two.

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Dubrovnik, Croatia

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Border Control and onto Dubrovnik, Croatia

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It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

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Not too much explanation needed to see the beauty of the old city.

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An elite destination and one of the most beautiful towns in the Mediterranean.

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Stunning architecture, sculptured detail and boasts spectacular churches, monasteries, museums and fountains.

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Bank
As they say, ‘all good things must come to an end’. From what I’m told Dubrovnik’s ATM cash terminals have a habit of ‘swallowing up’ people’s cards – including mine. This is where I’ve had to make a decision to continue on and have Western Union ‘give’ me some of my own money, or simply return home. Once reported to my Credit Union, the owner of the Apartments where the machine was, rang the bank and asked me was the card stolen? Of course, I steal cards and then I report them lost! Now it’s time to sit down and have a bit of a cry …

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