The past months have been difficult for everyone, no matter where you are from or what job you do.
In Croatia, we have been doing great with the whole situation, so we positioned ourselves as a corona-free country. Adria Tour tennis event, organized by Novak Đoković and, among other cities, held in Zadar, brought us some new cases these days, but the epidemiological situation is still good, and that should not affect your arrival – everything is still safe, and you will have a great time here! Every day we have more and more tourist arrivals so we can finally say the summer season is slowly beginning.
Since the whole situation with the virus is still fresh, we still have certain recommendations from the Croatian Institute of Public Health, that would be good to follow for our own safety, although the threat seems to be passing. One of these recommendations is to keep a social distance with people you do not know. During the Adria tournament, players were seen hugging and huddling together for photos, and that lack of social distancing created a mess there.
So, if you are traveling and want to explore different places and do some daily tours and activities, the best and the safest option to make your wishes a reality in this challenging time is to go on private tours.
Pack your things and relax in Croatia
How does it work?
Private tours also have an itinerary, but it is only suggested, flexible and you can modify it according to your preferences so the tour will actually be tailored according to your wishes. If you like one place more than another, you can stay there longer, you can eat wherever you want or see museums or landmarks of your choice. Nothing is prefixed as in regular group tours.
The good thing is that you won’t be mixing with others, there will only be you and the people you picked to go on a tour with.
The private tours are giving you a freedom of choice and flexibility of timing, allowing you to personalize your vacation.
How is the price determined?
Because of already mentioned privacy and flexibility, the private tours are usually more expensive than the group tours. But I think people have a misconception about private tours and often classify them as something too expensive and unaffordable. And that’s wrong!
“Private” does not necessarily mean “luxury” or “VIP”. Of course, it can be if you want to. But often private tours involve just more comfort, more flexibility and more personal approach. And I want you to know you don’t have to be wealthy to make it possible for yourself.
The most important item for pricing is the distance. If you are going to the Blue Cave, you have an hour and a half from Split with a speedboat and you will surely pay more than if you are going to Blue Lagoon which is only half an hour away, with the same boat.
What is also good to know is that private sea tours are paid per boat, not per person. That means if you are a group of people, when you share the costs, maybe it could be more cost-effective than the group tour! Since I have tried all the excursions, I can tell you which ones are the best in my opinion and try to tell you all the necessary information. I will use three categories: boat, land and adventure tours. I think the top 3 tours in each category are pretty enough and everyone could find something there for themselves.
I will start with boat tours, because I believe that the biggest reason for your coming to Croatia is our beautiful sea. And you will be delighted with more than 50 shades of blue.
Best places to experience the crystal clear water are the islands. We have 1 244 islands, did you know that fact? Actually, that number includes cliffs and reefs as well, but there are 78 islands worth a visit and 524 islets. Nice, don’t you think?
Good thing for you is that the most beautiful ones are in this area, close to Split so you can explore them in a short time. Below you can read 3 private boat tours of my choice. I also need to mention that you can find different prices for the same locations – some have better boats, some worse, some offer snacks, some don’t, some include fuel, some don’t. Before booking, always check what is included in the price. It may happen that a tour that seems more favorable at first glance, in the end will be more expensive with all the extras.
Blue Cave & 5 islands
When we are talking about sea tours, this one is really a must-do! Especially if you only have one day to explore the islands – with this tour you will do the most.
Every tour operator starts the Blue Cave on the island of Biševo, so it will be your first stop whichever option you take. Of course, it is your private tour so you can choose to visit another place first, but trust me – it won’t be a good decision because you need to be at the Blue Cave in the morning, at a certain time of the day when the sunlight hits the sea surface through a crack in the rock and the mesmerizing blue light fills the space all around the cave.
You don’t want to miss that because it is really a unique natural phenomenon!
Also, you need to know that inside the cave you will spend just a couple of minutes, since it is really small, but it is worth visiting, even only for spending a few minutes inside.
Another thing that makes the Blue Cave the ideal first stop is the number of people who will be there later – all wanting to enter the cave. During the high season people wait for 3 hours so it is better to come as early as possible to avoid the crowd.
My recommendation is to start the tour around 7:00 in the morning and you will be relaxed.
Sometimes it may happen the cave is closed because of the wind. In that case you will continue normally with your tour and get a refund for the entrance ticket which is around 10-12€ (if it is included in the paid price).
You have approximately an hour and a half of ride from Split to the island of Biševo and Blue Cave. The only option for that destination is going with a speedboat so you need to be aware it will not be a chill ride. Even on the calmest days the sea will still be rough on the way because it is exposed to the wind. I need to tell you if you have back problems or travelling with a baby, I would not recommend a ride with this type of boat.
As I mentioned, from Split you go directly to the cave, without stopping and it takes around an hour and a half with a speedboat. This is the furthest point of the tour and the longest ride of the day. On your way back, you are hopping from one island to another, because they are all on the way to Split.
That also means the price for going to the Blue Cave only will be the same as the price for visiting Blue Cave and 5 other islands. Because the distance determines the price, remember? All the other islands that you visit on this tour are just along the way so the boat will consume the same amount of fuel if you stop on some island on the way back or if you go directly to Split without any stopping.
I hope you got it! Let’s get back now to the tour itself.
After visiting Blue Cave your next stop will be the island of Vis where you will visit Stiniva bay – an amazing hidden gem of the Vis Island, easily accessible by boat and perfect for a swimming and snorkeling break during the tour. The beach itself is hidden behind tall cliffs and it is a perfect destination waiting for you to explore it. It was declared as the most beautiful beach in Europe in 2016.
Photo credit to: Croatia.hr
While on Vis, I suggest you to tell your skipper you want to visit the small Komiža town that retains the flavor of Mediterranean fishing village. You will like it for sure!
Later, the peaceful turquoise lagoon of the Budikovac Island is the perfect location to relax, swim and snorkel while admiring the natural surroundings of the island and exploring local sea life. Enjoy the amazing scenery and refreshing sea.
When you leave that part, next places to visit are the Pakleni islands and the famous island of Hvar. You can relax there in a beach bar surrounded by dense pine tree forest, experience the original traditional Mediterranean cuisine and explore the historic core with all the amazing stone houses, elegant buildings, traffic-free streets.
Photo credit to: visit-hvar.com
Before your return to Split, you can have a swim stop at some bay on the island of Brač or if you are too tired you can go directly to your accommodation – whatever you prefer, just need to tell your skipper all your wishes and he will fulfill them.
The price for that tour depends on the type of the speedboat and on the things that are included in the price, but let’s say it goes from 900 to 1500 euros per boat. The capacity is usually 12 people so if you are a family or a group of friends and when you split the expenses, it could actually be cheaper than a regular group tour where you need to mix with other people and don’t have any flexibility.
Blue Lagoon & Trogir
If you want to visit some beautiful places, relax under the sun and swim at the beach with more than 50 shades of blue, but you only have half a day, or you want to do some other activities during the day – choose this tour!
Duration of the tour is 5 hours so you can choose to go in the morning or in the afternoon.
The first stop is the town of Trogir – city museum, recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It has unique examples of Romanesque-Gothic architecture in central Europe, historical buildings, churches, palaces, narrow stone streets and famous Kamerlengo fortress.
After the sightseeing of this unique city, you can enjoy and refresh in one of the most attractive and famous places – Blue Lagoon on island Drvenik. This beach is the perfect destination for swimming, snorkeling and relaxing in the sun with a crystal-clear sea and sandy bottom. It is the perfect destination for everyone in search of a small piece of paradise.
On your way back to Split you can visit the island of Šolta, small and lovely, still undiscovered by a lot of tourists. You will have free time for swimming, relaxing and exploring this authentic island which remained calm and quiet.
The best places to visit on the island of Šolta are Maslinica or Stomorska.
Maslinica is a small, typical Dalmatian town which in 2012 Maslinica received a national award for the best tourist destination in the Adriatic with less than a thousand inhabitants and in 2017 Maslinica received national award as the best Authentic Coastal Destination.
Stomorska is a small fisherman’s village that has only 250 residents. There you can enjoy picturesque waterfront, old stone houses and stunning beaches where anyone can find their perfect place in the sun.