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    Whether it’s getting to Croatia or getting around Croatia, travellers have a much greater choice of flights this year and the entry of low-cost carriers into Croatia’s foreign and domestic market means flights are ever cheaper.

    First the big news.

    Sky Greece to launch Toronto-Zagreb route

    For the first time since 2008, there will be a direct flight between North America and Croatia. Good news! This Greece-registered airline has just received necessary licenses and plans to fly the Toronto-Zagreb route every Monday from 22 June to 15 October using a Boeing 767-300ER. Reservations should open in a few days. More.

    Seaplane Service Expands

    European Coastal Airways put their fleet into service last year after years of delays and is now slowly expanding to cover more destinations. For now, you can fly from Split to Jelsa (on Hvar Island) in only 13 minutes and to Pula in Istria in only an hour. From Rijeka airport, it’ a short flight to Pula or to Rab. It’s an ideal way to see a lot of Croatia in a short time and there are more destinations on the way. More.

    Montenegro Airlines Flies to Zagreb

    This service will make it much easier for travellers to incorporate a Montenegrin jaunt into their Croatia travel itineraries. From Dubrovnik there are regular buses to Montenegro so rather than returning to Dubrovnik for a flight to Zagreb, now you can just fly on to Zagreb or even fly onward as Montenegro Airlines will feed into Croatia Airlines’ network. There will be three flights a week between Podgorica and Zagreb. More.

    EasyJet to Split

    This busy low-cost carrier has decided to expand services to Split this summer. Jump a flight from London, Newcastle, Belfast, Bristol, Manchester, Lyon, Rome, Milan, Berlin or Paris to Split. More.

    Trade Air Covering the Coast

    Since Jadrolinija has suspended its coastal car ferry service everyone has been asking me what the best way is to get up and down the Croatian coast (besides driving). I recommend you take a look at Trade Air for Friday flights that link Rijeka, Split and Dubrovnik. More.

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    Where to stay? Where to stay? Selecting a hotel can be one of the trickier decisions in planning a holiday. Here to help is the Croatian newsmagazine, PoslovniPuls, which has compiled a list of the top 15 Croatian hotels as rated by contributors to TripAdvisor. I’ve added my own observations and added the hotel rating according to Booking.com (where applicable) for comparison purposes. Let’s have a look.

    1. Hotel Monte Mulini (Rovinj)

    monte-muliniLocated on the Istrian coast in Rovinj, the Hotel Monte Mulini was the first five-star hotel in Istria and it continues to set the standard for luxury and fine service. An easy walk along the coast takes you to Rovinj’s town center and to wooded Zlatni Rt nature park. Booking.com visitors rated it “superb”, awarding it a 9.4 rating. Read more.

    2. Hotel Miramar (Opatija)

    miramar
    On the northeastern tip of the Istrian peninsula, Opatija is stacked with fine hotels but the Miramar is a standout. With a classic exterior and extensive spa facilities, this is a true resort experience. Read more.

    3. Royal Princess Hotel (Dubrovnik)

    royall-princessThis stunning hotel is in Dubrovnik’s Lapad peninsula, perfect for a quiet, relaxing holiday. Bus service to the Old Town is quick and convenient. Booking.com visitors rated it 9.1, commenting on the “fantastic views”. Read more.

    4. Aparthotel Tamaris (Tucepi)

    tamaris-tucepiI have to admit, I’m surprised at this one, only because I wouldn’t have considered Tucepi. But why not? This resort town is only 5km south of Makarska and boasts a narrow beach backed by looming mountains. Booking.com visitors rated the Aparthotel Tamaris a 9.4, commenting on the friendly, efficient service. Read more.

    5. Hotel Split (Podstrana)

    Split-PodstranaOnly 7km south of Split, Podstrana is known for its fine beaches. From the Hotel Split, you can practically roll out of bed and onto the beach. Booking.com rates it 9.1 with visitors commenting on the “spacious rooms”. Read more.

    6. Hilton Imperial (Dubrovnik)

    hilton-dubrovnikThe location just outside the Old Town of Dubrovnik is nothing short of ideal. The historic building dates from 1895 but the indoor swimming pool and wellness center brings it right into the 21st century. Booking.com visitors rated it 9, commenting on the convenient location. Read more.

    7. Hotel Lone (Rovinj)

    lone-rovinjI’ve stayed in the Hotel Lone and raved about it here.  For me it was the highly unique design coupled with practicality and comfort but, like the Hotel Monte Mulini (above), I also loved the quiet location near the beach. Booking.com visitors rated it 9.3. Read more.

    8. Doubletree by Hilton (Zagreb)

    doubletree-hiltonClearly the facilities and standard of service are outstanding and its location in Zagreb’s business district makes it ideal for business travellers. It is a 15-minute walk to central Zagreb where the sights are however. Booking.com guests rated it 8.7, commenting on the friendly staff and great food in the hotel restaurant. Read more.

    9. Hotel Esplanade Zagreb (Zagreb)

    esplanadeAhhh, now you’re talking. The Esplanade is one of my very favorite hotels ever with a magnificent turn-of-the-century ambiance that recalls the days of the Orient Express. It’s right next to the almost equally evocative Zagreb train station and within easy reach of anything you want to see or do in Zagreb. Booking.com visitors awarded it 9.2, commenting on the spacious rooms, luxury and location. Read more.

    10. Kepinski Hotel Adriatic Istria (Savudrija)

    kepinski-savudrijaAttention golfers! The Kepinski Hotel Adriatic has the Croatian coast’s only 18-hole golf course. Located in the little village of Savudrija on the very northwestern tip of Istria, this resort is a fine place to enjoy a massage under the Istrian sun. Booking.com visitors rated it 9.1. Read more.

    11. Best Western Hotel Astoria (Zagreb)

    astoria-zagrebIt’s class all the way in this four-star hotel from the distinguished furnishings to the wood-panelled bar. On a quiet street, not far from the train station, the hotel is well located for Zagreb sightseeing. Booking.com visitors rated it 9.1 for the “cosy atmosphere”. Read more.

    12. Hotel More (Dubrovnik)

    More-Dubrovnik

    Located on leafy Lapad peninsula, a short bus hop to Dubrovnik’s Old Town, the Hotel More is an ideal getaway for lolling on a private beach and enjoying the excellent food in the hotel restaurant. The spa, pool and wellness center help. Booking.com visitors rated it 9. Read more.

    13. Hotel Bellevue (Dubrovnik)

    Bellevue-DubrovnikPerched on top of a cliff, the Hotel Bellevue offers sweeping sea views from every room plus access to a cosy pebble beach. It’s an easy walk to the old town and there are regular buses. Booking.com visitors rated it 9, praising the location, friendly service and facilities. Read more.

    14. Lafodia Hotel and Resort (Lopud)

    lafodiaThe design is simply spectacular at this recently reconstructed hotel on tranquil Lopud Island near Dubrovnik. The entire island is closed to cars and is the site of famous Sunj beach, the best beach in the region if not all of Croatia. Booking.com visitors rated this hotel 8.9 for the design and location. Read more.

    15. Villa Dubrovnik (Dubrovnik)

    Villa-dubrovnikOn the furthest edge of Dubrovnik’s Ploce neighbourhood, the Villa Dubrovnik has it all: incredible views of Dubrovnik’s Old Town, exquisite luxury, beach access, wellness, watersports. The 20-minute walk to town is along the coast but there is hotel transport as well. The hotel is better loved by Booking.com; visitors gave it an impressive 9.4. Read more.

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