time to explore with esplora

First ever direct flights to Croatia launched

First ever direct flights to Croatia launched

Last Saturday, Malta International Airport welcomed its first two flights from Croatian capital of Zagreb and Italian city Parma. The airport announced that these flights will be operated twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Saturdays throughout winter, by Lauda Europe and Malta Air respectively, both of which are part of Ryanair Holdings.

With regards to flights to Parma, Italy is indeed one of Malta airport’s most popular markets, connected by flights to 16 out of its 20 regions. The Zagreb link, on the other hand, is the first direct flight between Malta and Croatia.

What is Zagreb like?

The capital of Croatia is situated in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb is characterised by red-roofed buildings, narrow cobbled streets snaking through the old upper town and grand architecture, dating back to the times of the Habsburgs dominating the busier lower town. While the city brims with charm and activity all year, as Christmas rolls around, Zagreb’s festive attire and renowned street markets heighten its appeal as a winter destination.

If you venture outside of the city, you can enjoy a spot of adventure down one of the mountain’s five ski runs. Other interesting places easily reachable from the city and ideal for day trips include Plitvice Lakes, which turn into a winter wonderland after snowfall, the sleepy town of Rastoke and Karlovac, where one of the country’s top beers is brewed.

What about Parma?

As the name implies, the city of Parma is well-known for its Parmesan cheese, prosciutto and also, its Lambrusco wine, which makes it a top destination for artisanal food tours. The time spent sampling the city’s delicacies can be balanced with sightseeing tours of Parma’s stunning monuments, including the Romanesque Cathedral and the medieval baptistery, both of which boast frescoes, Palazzo della Pilotta and the wooden Teatro Farnese.

Visitors can explore more of the Emilia-Romagna region by travelling to Bologna and Modena, both of which are a train ride of just under an hour away from the city. The area between these two cities is often dubbed Motor Valley due to a concentration of manufacturers of luxury cars and motorbikes, the likes of Ducati and Ferrari. Travellers who are more impressed by the sounds of the opera than the purrs of fast cars will be happy to know that Modena is also the birthplace of Luciano Pavarotti, where his house has been turned into a museum.

Where will you be travelling this winter?