October 28, 2018 – The incredible inland Dalmatia tourism success story continues, as Dalmatinska Zagora is named as the best destination for rural tourism at Days of Croatian Tourism 2018.
I am often asked where my favourite destination is, a question I find impossible to answer. There are so many great places to visit and live in this country, as well as such a variety of experiences that no one place would be a clear winner. Hvar, of course, will always be my first love, but other islands such as Korcula are fighting hard for my affections, while life in Varazdin Country with access to fabulous Zagreb has been a revelation. But there is one region in Croatia for which I have a real soft spot.
It was with immense pride and almost a tear in my eye that I watched the fantastic inland Dalmatia team pick up a much-deserved award as the best destination for rural tourism at the 2018 Days of Croatian Tourism awards. It has been a real pleasure to watch tourism in inland Dalmatia blossom since my first visit there at the invitation of the Sinj Tourist Board, back in February 2013.
I loved the energy of the young tourist board directors in this gorgeous region just behind the mountains near Split. One thing led to another and before long, I found myself doing a presentation (see above) to the tourist board directors of inland Dalmatia about a partnership for a new website called Total Inland Dalmatia. It would have been nice of Google not to choose that particular moment to show a Google Ad for Thai brides, but you can’t have everything. There was support from the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board and even – ah, those were the days – a small grant from the Ministry of Tourism. Everyone agreed there was a need to better promote the richness of Klis, Sinj, Trilj, Dugopolje, Imotski, Vrgorac and Vrlika as one.
And while Total Inland Dalmatia played a small part in the rise of inland Dalmatia as a destination, the local stakeholders have played a major role in developing the destination as one brand, and with an increasingly enticing tourism offer. And the progress is extraordinary.
Inland Dalmatia Destinations – the Rise of Imotski
Few destinations in all Croatia have experienced growth like Imotski in the last five years. Certain infrastructure projects such as the opening of a tunnel to the Makarska Riviera have helped immensely, but so too has the innovative tourism promotion, such as Austrians slacklining over the Red Lake. The increase in tourism overnights and the accompanying number of new villas with swimming pools has transformed Imotski into a very attractive destination – a chance to enjoy traditional Dalmatian hospitality and accommodation while being a short drive from the beach.
Inland Dalmatia Destinations – the Rise of Sinj
The driving force for inland Dalmatia in the last few years has been the historic town of Sinj, most famous for its Alka knights’ tournament, which has taken place each year to commemorate the victory against the Ottomans in 1715. 2015 saw the historic 300th Alka, and the Sinj Tourist Board took the Alka story as far away as New York, while the outstanding new Alka museum is the latest attraction in this fascinating historic town just 30 minutes by car from Split.
Inland Dalmatia Destinations – the Emergence of Vrlika
I am a little embarrassed to admit I had never heard of Vrlika before I started getting involved with the region, but it did not take me long to realise what I had been missing. Check out the latest promotional video from Vrlika above, to see why you too should be heading to Vrlika next summer. For now you can stay – although the numbers are small, the first tourist accommodation rentals have become available in Vrlika in the last two years,a process of patience and encouragement from the Vrlika Tourist Board.
Inland Dalmatia Destinations – the Roman Heritage of Dugopolje
Some imaginative diversification from Dugopolje, known by many as the motorway exit for Split, but also home to some great Roman heritage. Dugopolje was the first destination in Central Dalmatia to take part in the Roman roads initiative by Central Tourist Board Director, Josko Stella (pictured above).
Inland Dalmatia Destinations – From Roman Heritage to Trilj Blues
One of the things I quickly learned about inland Dalmatia is that the unexpected is always around the corner. A great addition to the Trilj calendar these past two years – the Thrill Blues Festival.
Inland Dalmatia Destinations – Klis and the Game of Thrones Factor
If you are trying to develop a tourist destination, it always helps with the promotion is Game of Thrones decides to film there. And while the hit HBO series put Klis Fortress on the map, local authorities have done much in recent years to turn it into a fantastic tourist attraction. And one you can get to easily by bus. Here’s how.
Inland Dalmatia Destinations – Vrgorac and a Unique Wine Festival
Thought you had experienced every type of wine festival possible? How about one which celebrates a distinctly Dalmatian beverage – red wine and goat milk, or bikla. You can top up your glass straight from the goat at the annual biklijada in Vrgorac.
An amazing region with great energy. And where else would TCN choose for a teambuilding session? Here is what you can get up to on a day out in the region they call Dalmatinska Zagora. .
Congratulations to all the inland Dalmatia team both on the award and the progress you have made. I, for one, am looking forward to the next chapter.
Want to learn a little more about inland Dalmatia? Here are 25 things to know about Dalmatinska Zagora.