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 quickly positioned ourselves as a corona-free country. These days there are several new cases per day, 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 here!
Since the whole situation with the virus is still fresh, we still have certain recommendations from 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.
So, if you are travelling 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.
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
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.
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.
The price is around 500-700 euros per boat with a capacity of 12 persons – much cheaper than Blue Cave, since it is close to Split.
If you ask me which is my favourite island, I would tell you Vis.
Vis has its own style, there you can experience freedom and ease of living, wild nature and extraordinary history. It has a charm and beauty and gives you an opportunity to experience an authentic way of the island life.
That’s why I put this private tour on the list, although Vis is mostly a stopover to the Blue Cave. But in my opinion, you need to explore Vis in its entirety.
Have you seen the movie “Mamma mia: Here we go again”? That movie was filmed far from Greece – right on the island of Vis. Several unique, amazing locations across the Vis Island have served as the perfect set for the plot of the sequel. All these locations are well worth seeing and are easily recognizable even to those who haven’t memorized every single scene from the movie.
Visiting Blue Cave is not a part of this tour, but since private tours are tailored to your wishes, you can tell your skipper you want to include it in your day and he will make your wish come true.
The price goes between 800 and 1 400 euros per boat.
Not only islands are worth visiting here in Croatia, but also the beautiful historical cities. Many places are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, such as Trogir that I have already mentioned when I was talking about the sea tours.
Also, in Croatia you can find 8 National Parks and 12 Nature Parks and it would be a pity not to visit at least one of these beautiful places.
NATIONAL PARK KRKA
If you want to do a land tour, the first option should be one of the National Parks!
I believe you have already heard of Plitvice lakes and Krka waterfalls. And if I need to choose one between these two – I would choose Krka National Park.
I guess you are wondering why, because you heard Plitvice is a more beautiful one. I am not sure if I can decide which park is more beautiful, they really are equally pretty, but the truth is NP Plitvice is much bigger and more popular than NP Krka.
Then why Krka?
Since we are talking about tours from Split, I will say Krka is a better option. It is only an hour away, unlike the Plitvice lakes which takes 3 hours to reach. And remember that later you need to return to your accommodation in or near Split. That means you will spend 6 hours driving.
Krka is much closer so you can spend more time in nature – the National Park covers an area of just over 142 square km and includes two thirds of the river itself. The top attractions of the Park are its magnificent waterfalls, including the famous Skradinski Buk falls which are one of Croatia’s most famous sights. Best of all, it is possible to swim in front of it! But this year is your last chance because from 2021 swimming won’t be allowed anymore. You can also find an education walking trail there, made of wooden planks that takes about 2 hours.
On your way back you can visit Šibenik which is one of the only five cities in the world with two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There must be a reason for it so it would be a pity not to take a walk there.
There are many places around the National Park that you can visit on your private tour that you cannot experience if you are going with a group, because it is not a part of the scheduled itinerary.
Another example is the etno agro park Stella Croatica where you can experience the heritage of Dalmatia through tastes, smells and colors of nature. This is a family owned company with their authentic products you will surely like. Top-quality olive oil, desserts made of figs, walnuts and citrus fruits, healthy honey snack, a variety of tasty and cute cookies, jams and spreads are part of their unique offer.
The price for NP Krka private tour goes between 2 400 and 2 800 HRK for 1-7 persons plus the entrance fee. If you want to do a walking tour inside, it is an extra cost.
The ticket price from June to September is 150 HRK for adults, 60 HRK for students and children 7-17 years and children up to 6 years are free of charge. If you are planning to come in October the price will be 75 HRK for adults, 30 HRK for students and children and children up to 6 years of age have free entrance.
Are you a fan of the Game of Thrones show?
If you are and if you haven’t visited King’s landing in Dubrovnik already, this summer you have a chance to take a picture on the Throne without too many people around.
Doesn’t matter if you are not a fan – Dubrovnik is still worth a visit and will always have a special place in your heart after you leave. So that city is something you do not want to miss if you are coming to Croatia.
3 hours driving from Split, that’s true, but you don’t have a similar option to visit like you have for national parks so you need to get over it and jump in the van! But the good thing is that on the way you have another important and nice thing to see on the way – Ston.
This little town is best known for its walls which are the longest defensive structure walls in Europe and second one in the world – they are sometimes referred to as the European Walls of China. Besides its walls, Ston is also famous for the oldest saltwork in Europe that is still operating!
I would suggest you not to miss a meal in the very known restaurant Kapetanova kuća (Captain’s house) where you can enjoy sea specialties that long ago were enjoyed by the dukes, commanders and nobles of Ston long ago, and are now now prepared by one of the best Croatian chefs – Lidija Kralj.
On your way to Dubrovnik you can split the long ride, take a break there and enjoy all the benefits that Ston offers.
When you come to Dubrovnik, the main thing to do there is enjoy!
The price for Dubrovnik private tour goes between 3 400 and 3 800 HRK for 1-7 persons.
Have you ever tried Bosnian coffee? Or their traditional, sweet pastry called baklava?
If not, you should visit Mostar – a small town with an enchanting old town centre. It is popular for its bridge that separates the Christian and Muslim sides of the town which makes it really special.
Near Mostar, there are the sparkling waterfalls of Kravice which are among the most fascinating naturalistic features of the Herzegovina region.
Or you can choose to visit Međugorje which has become well known in Bosnia-Hercegovina and the world, because of the six young people who claim to have seen visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. From 1981, this is a place of prayer and reconciliation.
The same as for Dubrovnik, the price for Mostar private tour goes between 3 400 and 3 800 HRK for 1-7 persons.
Because of the amazingly rich nature, Croatia can also offer you numerous outdoor activities all over the country – on land and on the coast. From river adventures and zip-lining to hiking, biking or driving a quad – an outdoor activity is what you should definitely consider in these challenging times, as it is the best and the safest option for the current situation.
If you want to recharge your batteries and forget about the stress after these tough months, you need to do some of the adventure tours. With these tours you will feel a dose of an adrenaline rush while you are spending time in amazing nature.
Of all the adventure tours, this one is my favourite!
It is a combination of various sports activities on the river which is really fun. You can expect walking, hiking up and down, swimming and jumping in the 2,8 km long canyon of the Cetina River.
The nature and river canyon itself are amazing – all the way you look at what’s next waiting for you to delight you. The cliffs rise up to 180 meters high, the bottom is covered by amazing rock formations and the highest waterfall is 50 meters high. You will walk as well through the 100 meters natural long tunnel in the rock.
This is really a unique adventure where you will clear your mind completely.
In the beginning, I put the word “extreme” in parentheses because basic and extreme canyoning are, actually, the same tours. The only difference is in abseiling. In the extreme version, you have rope lowering of two abseils: the first is 53 meters, positioned next to one of the biggest waterfalls in Croatia – Velika Gubavica, and the second abseil is 18 meters high.
So if you want to do a tour with some of your friends or family that do not want to do a thing with a rope – don’t worry, you can go together, but when you come to that part, the squad that took the basic version just walk around the cliff and wait for you under it.
You don’t need to have any previous experience, but you need to know you will be inside the river canyon for around 3-4 hours, and it won’t be easy if you are out of shape. You don’t need to be a sports person to do the tour, but just bear in mind that you will probably get tired a bit.
After the transfer and a short briefing by a guide who will be with you all the way, you’ll hop into neoprene suits and put on a helmet and a life jacket and off you go – to an adventure of a lifetime!
If there is 1 to 4 people, the price for basic canyoning would be around 2 400 HRK or around 4 100 HRK if there is between 5 and 7 people. Extreme version is approximately 500 HRK more expensive if there are 4 of you (or less) and around 1 000 HRK if there are 5-7 people.
If you don’t find yourself doing various sport activities inside the river canyon, maybe you will be more interested in (extreme) rafting.
Both rafting and extreme rafting tours take place on the Cetina river, but on different parts of it.
If you are searching for a more adrenaline-filled tour I would suggest you extreme rafting. It takes place on the faster part with more and higher rapids so the tour is more fun. At the end of the tour, it is possible to jump from the cliffs after which you have a short, 15 min hike up from the canyon. At the top, there will be well-deserved refreshments waiting for you.
If you are searching for a more relaxed tour, better choose the basic option. That part of the river is calmer so it goes slower, you have more paddling and fewer rapids, but it is still fun and exciting! I went to the extreme version first and then to the basic one so I thought I would be bored, because normal people generally do the opposite, but not me. And guess what? It was great, not boring at all!
This adrenaline-filled tour will leave you with unforgettable memories. You will enjoy the amazing scenery as you move through the river canyon, sliding through the crystal-clear waters of river Cetina and with experienced guides there to help you throughout the whole tour.
If there is 1 to 4 people, the price for basic rafting would be around 1 900 HRK or around 3 200 HRK if there is between 5 and 7 people. Extreme version is approximately 2 900 HRK if there are 4 of you (or less) and around 5 800 HRK if there are 5-7 people.
This is also an adventure located in the same area, above the canyon of the Cetina river so you can see its beauty from a bird’s perspective.
It consists of 8 steel cables across which participants descend down the canyon. The first one is the longest and the highest so if you are afraid of heights you will probably hesitate a bit. But you need to know everything is super safe and checked a million times so don’t hesitate because nothing can change the feeling of you literally flying 150 m above ground level. At that moment you really believe you can touch the sky.
When you pass the first cable, the worst is over. Or the best.
The other wires are not as long as the first one (700 m) and they are at a lower altitude. So, the descent will be less stressful, but certainly exciting. I especially liked going down the last two wires, although they are low, because you are crossing the river so the views are really magnificent.
There is also one wire where you can go in tandem which is really fun!
The price for the private zip lining with a transfer included is approximately 700 HRK.
With all these beautiful places and possibilities that we have in our country, I can saywe are really lucky ones! And you can be a lucky one, too – you just need to treat yourself and to book one of the listed items and you will create memories for a lifetime.
I wrote you a list of top 9 private tours, but if you want to combine them or you have something else on your mind, feel free to contact us – tell us your wishes and your travelling style and in return you will get your tailor-made private arrangement.
You can thank me later 🙂