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Thursday, July 9, 2009
The Republic of Croatia is a hop across the Adriatic Sea from Italy and it has some of the most stunning towns in the Mediterranean. Catriona Rowntree was happy to put her hand up to check some of them out.


Catriona found that it's best to stay within the old town which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are just two hotels there and they're quite expensive so her advice is to search the Internet and find private accommodation. You could stay in a building that's 500 years old, mix with the locals and experience life as it once was and is now.

Dubrovnik's city walls were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. A walk around them is a highlight.

Lots of Australians visit Dubrovnik — some to see if all they've heard is true, others to trace their heritage.

Catriona met up with Australian soccer star Mark Viduka, whose background is Croatian. His roots are in Zadeck, about six hours from Dubrovnik. He has a home there and it's a welcome place for family holidays and a break from his busy football commitments.

George Bernard Shaw was so enchanted by Dubrovnik he said, "Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik and see Dubrovnik", as well as describing it as "The Pearl of the Adriatic".


Head 250km north of Dubrovnik to Split on the Dalmatian coast, which is Croatia's biggest coastal town. It was put on the map in the fourth century by the Roman emperor Diocletian, when he chose to build a retirement palace in the marine port.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, until 50 years ago the palace was used as the city garbage dump. Fortunately, it was cleared out and a perfectly preserved structure was revealed. It is now a proud exhibition space.

Split offers a wealth of museums and Roman ruins under a dramatic mountain backdrop opening onto a vast expanse of sea.

The old and beautiful town is an excellent base for water sports and there are plenty of ferries to get you around.


An hour's boat trip from Split is Hvar, one of the area's most popular destinations. It enjoys more sunshine than anywhere else in Croatia and The Riva, its main strip, is where people go to see and be seen.

Rent a scooter and head inland through vast fields of fragrant lavender, ancient olive groves and rows of grapevines and you can sample local food and wine at one of the many inns. Catriona found the inns have loads of atmosphere and they offer homemade wine, delicious food and you may quite possibly be serenaded. Inn dining is less expensive than going to restaurants.

Catriona met up with Branko Kokal, an Australian who has been visiting Hvar for more than 20 years. His advice is to find private accommodation on the island. It's much cheaper and you will spend special times with locals.


Dubrovnik, Split and Hvar in Croatia.

For further information

Discover Croatia Holidays
38-42 Bay Street
Rockdale 2216
Ph: 1300 660 189 or 02 9567 1183

Visas: Australian citizens do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. They must have a passport valid for the period of the stay.

Electricity: 230V at 50 HZ and two-pin plugs.

Time zone: GMT +1.

Currency: The kuna.

Telephone code: +385.

It is recommended travellers to Croatia see their doctor at least six weeks before departure, as there are specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information, speak to your doctor or visit

User comments
I have been to Croatia myself and like any place around the world you will meet lovely people and some shady people, i also felt safe there myself (though it is worrying what happeneand to Britt), I have relatives that live there also, however being a female i personally prefer to not go most places alone especially at night so if you do go travelling just remember there is safety in numbers and there is less that can happen to you remembering that, i'm not a drinker myself so it helps to keep your wits about you whereever you are travelling or not (not that i'm saying anything bad about anyone who drinks), but just in general for women it is better to have your wits about you wherever you go out in general and stay around people you trust and know if you can, don't wonder off with stangers or anyone you have just met, it's easy to feel safe in Croatia and let yourself lose though since the people for the most part are very nice though i would be cautious.
I agree with Sharon wife and I thought the same thing when we saw this shown on Getaway.........very bad timing indeed.....this country should not be advertised whatsoever........our government didn’t want to intervene in the Britt Lapthorn case encase they caused bad relations with Croatia.....well this was someone’s Daughter who was murdered by police officers and still nothing has been done........and now Getaway still promotes it.....still sucking up like the Australian Government. Disgraceful.
I am absolutely disgusted with the comment Sharon made. I am an Australian myself & I can tell you people like the poor Miss Lapthorn go missing in Australia every day, you don't hear much about it in the Australian media as this has become the norm. Sharon is making all Australians sound racist. Croatia is a very safe place indeed. I felt MUCH safer when I was in Croatia than at home.Check out the crimes rates in Australia & compare them to Croatia & you will amazed what I am talking about. Regards
I'm absolutely disgusted that you can think something so shallow! Terrible things happen all over the world, not just there. I doubt you would object to Getaway advertising Portugal, where Maddie McCann tragically went missing. Croatia is a beautiful country, and as a 22 year old woman who has visited Dubrovnik twice I tell you that it's as safe as Australia. Britt Lapthorne got into the wrong crowd, poor girl, but that can happen everywhere.
Sharon you need to get a life!! Croatia is a very popular place to go for the 20-35 age group..! So its valid that Getaway would have a show on it. Terrible things happen all around the world and you can't not have information about a place because of a tragedy or natural disaster that happened in a place!YOung people should have the information so when they are travelling they know where to go in a place. YOu are obviously not a traveller yourself you wouldn't go anywhere if you took all of these factors into account! Very good show getaway absolutely loved it.
DISCOVER CROATIA HOLIDAYS Level 2 Suite 206 683 George St SYDNEY NSW 2000 Tel 1300 660 189 or 02 9212 1507 Fax 02 9212 0656
Absolutley disgusted that you would do a story on Dubrovnik, knowing the nightmare the parents of Britt Lapthorn have and are still going through dealing with the corrupt police of this town. I dont know the family personally but like most Australians am very aware of this story and like the rest of my family watching getaway tonight am amazed that you would do a story on a town that is still investigating the local police.. I cannot imagine what the Lapthorns would be feeling if they happened to be watching tonight..How could you be so thoughtless, just imagine if this happened to your daughter, would you still do a story there, promoting it? How heartless..Im sure there were many other places that were just as beautiful, you have you wonder about the compassion that all those involved with the story lack..Unforgivable, it must feel like a knife in the heart to Britts family to see your own country promoting a place that clearly covered up their beautiful daughters murder..

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