Croatia: the big European destination this summer 12 years ago

Croatia: the big European destination this summer

We may be in the midst of a recession, but someone forgot to tell the Croatians who are enjoying a bumper summer.

The lure of sun combined with reasonable prices, culture in the form of Roman remains, the chance to enjoy a Mediterranean diet and crystal clear seas has proved irresistible to people looking to get away this summer.


And for Irish sunseekers, it offers reliable weather for the same price (or less) than the price of a trip to Spain and, like Spain, Croatia is only a couple of hours away.

While some European resorts are struggling, the statistics show that Croatia, and the Dalmation coast in particular, are still pulling in the crowds. Dubrovnik Airport, for example, carried more passengers on 1 August than it did across the entire month of February.

That's still not up there numbers-wise when compared with the likes of the big Spanish airports such as Alicante, Malaga and Palma, but who really wants to go where you and everyone else have already been?

When compared to last year's record-breaking figures for the summer season, the amount of visitors arriving by plane are already up by 15% and by ship the numbers are up 9% (the long coast and many islands make it a popular stop-off point for cruise liners and for people looking to island hop).



In recent years Roman Abramovich has moored his giant yacht a little way out from the sophisticated, lavander-covered island of Hvar. On the waterfront of the island itself, the cool cafés, bars and hotels have played host to the likes of Kevin Spacey and Gerard Depardieu.

A couple of years ago Paris Hilton was spotted sipping a cocktail in front of Hvar's most popular bar Carpe Deum, but hey, you can't have everything.

Morgan Freeman was spotted earlier this year further down the coast in the UNESCO heritage city of Dubrovnik. And let's not forget that the promenade in front of the Roman-era Diocletian's Palace is regarded as prime hunting ground for model agents hoping to spot future catwalk goddesses.


Ryanair fly from Dublin to the coastal city of Zadar, while Aer Lingus have scheduled flights to Dubrovnik. Croatiatours operate regular charter flights and packages from Dublin and Cork, and Concorde Travel operate regular charter flights and package deals that depart from Dublin, Cork and Knock.

If you are thinking of going, you might want to hurry up, as the number of flights dries up significantly through the winter months.

Nick Bradshaw