Thursday, 29 December 2022

Croatia Tops Nomad List 2023 Survey as 'Most-Liked Country'

December 29, 2022 - Croatia continues to develop its digital nomad credentials with another strong showing on the Nomad List 2023 survey.

It is 3.5 years since I started writing about the digital nomad opportunity, and it has been a fascinating ride, full of adventure, characters, and positivity, as well as proof that Croatian bureaucracy can work at lightning speed at times. The introduction of the Croatian digital nomad permit on January 1 last year was the quickest change in legislation I can recall in my 20 years in this country.  

So where does Croatia stand some 3.5 years later? Back then, few in Croatia had heard of the term 'digital nomad' - now every grandmother with a room to rent talks about the potential of 'digitalni nomadi.'

The annual Nomad LIst survey is as good a snapshot of this notoriously difficult-to-track genre as any available. And Croatia has once again come out rather well. On top of the world, in fact, topping Japan and Taiwan to be the number one most-liked country for nomads in the Nomad List 2023 survey. 

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According to NomadList, the 'average nomad' is 33, male, progressive, not religious, single, white, heterosexual, with a Bachelor's degree, working as a software developer from a home office. He earns $US 85,000 a year, loves coffee, eats meat, works out by hiking, is vaccinated, produces 75% less CO2, stays for 8 months, and loves Tokyo the most as a city. 

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But right behind Tokyo, in second place, is the Croatian capital, Zagreb, which has made huge strides as a nomad destination in the last two years. 

Regarding the methodology, Nomad List explains as follows:

This page is built LIVE with data pulled straight from the database every day, so it's always up-to-date. Conclusions you can derive from this are always limited and merely indicative but possibly interesting. Nomad List is a paid membership community, which means there's a selection bias as people who do not or cannot pay are not in the dataset. On the other hand, free digital nomad communities, like on Facebook, require no commitment to join, therefore it's not clear if these people are merely aspirational or active nomads or not. On Nomad List we can confirm they are active based on their travel logs

There are also mentions for Dubovnik, Zadar, Hvar, as well as Split, which is the fourth most attractive destination for male nomads. 

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One of the constant things I hear about Croatia from the nomads I meet is just how safe it is, with female nomads in particular commenting on how safe they feel as a single female traveller. And that feeling of safety for women seems to be borne out in Croatia being in the top 5 destinations where a higher proportion of female nomads go. 

Croatia's nomad journey is still in its infancy, and there are many more established nomad bases, but it is encouraging to see Croatia enter the top 25 for the first time. And while 1% of the market may not sound a lot, Indonesia in 10th only has 2%, and Spain just 5% at number 2 on the list. 

Lots of positives to be taken away from the survey, and you can see all the results in full here

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Subscribe to the Paul Bradbury Croatia & Balkan Expert YouTube channel.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

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Saturday, 31 December 2022

244 Medals Won: A Look Back on Croatia's Sporting Success in 2022

December 31, 2022 - This year wasn't just about the World Cup. A look back on Croatia's sporting success in 2022, with 244 medals won at major competitions. 

Croatian male and female athletes proved this year that they are the true ambassadors of the country. In the last year, Croatian athletes of all ages won 244 medals, of which 85 were gold, at major international competitions. A look at some of the successes that marked the 2022 sports year, as reported by HRT.

And it's easy to begin, as we just celebrated the peak of the 2022 sports year.

Croatia confirmed its status as a football superpower and won the bronze medal at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which was the nation's third medal in six World Cups. Croatia beat Morocco in the third-place playoff on December 17 and was welcomed back to Croatia on December 18 with another spectacular hero's welcome. 

But that's not the only team medal celebrated this year. In September, the Croatia water polo team clinched the European gold medal at Spaladium Arena in Split. Croatia celebrated in the final against Hungary, and Ivica Tucak's players triumphantly completed their journey to the European gold.

The 2022 sports year was again marked by Sandra Perković, who wrote new pages in discus throwing history and won European gold for the sixth consecutive time. Her winning streak that began in 2010 in Barcelona was crowned in Munich. Filip Mihaljević also became the European champion in the shot put. Finally, Matea Parlov Koštro completed the most successful European competition for Croatian athletics in the Bavarian capital with a sensational silver in the marathon.

The Croatia Davis Cup national team was successful again and reached the semi-finals, where Australia stopped them. The unstoppable tennis duo Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavić won five ATP titles this year and even reached the Wimbledon final.

According to a beautiful tradition, the success of Croatia's famous brothers in rowing and sailing continued this year as well. Martin and Valent Sinković won a new European gold in pairs in Munich, while Šime and Mihovil Fantela reached the sailing world bronze in the 49er class. Filip Jurišić also won bronze at the World Championships in the Ilca 7 class.

Anamaria Govorčinović won the canoe world silver and bronze, while Vanesa Tot took home two bronze medals in Europe. 

There were also successes in martial arts, especially at the World Championships in Tashkent. In the category up to 70 kilograms, two female Croatian representatives reached the final - Barbara Matić defended the world champion title against Lara Cvjetko, which was an incredible moment in Croatian history! 

Several medals were won in taekwondo, too, and Lena Stojković and Marjan Split have reason to be satisfied with their world and European gold.

There were even new successes in Croatian karate, as Anđela Kvesić won gold at the European Championship in Turkey.

Croatian boxing had medal winners at European championships in all age categories. The bronze medals for Luka Plantić and Sara Beram at the European Championship are the highlights. 

At the beginning of this year, Croatia was represented at the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing by 11 Olympians, with a whopping 6 in alpine skiing. It was another successful year for Croatia's para-athletes, too, where four representatives participated in the Winter Paralympic Games - alpine climbers Damir Mizdrak and Lucija Smetiško, snowboarder Bruno Bošnjak, and Nordic skier Josip Zima.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 24 December 2022

Welcome Schengen, Euro, Fun at Split's New Luxury Address for New Year

December 24, 2022 - Croatia's entry to the Euro and the Schengen Zone is just around the corner, as an exciting 2023 beckons. Why not celebrate with a gala dinner at Split's new luxurious address at Hotel Ambasador?

It has been quite a year once again, and as we all switch off for the Christmas festivities, it is easy to forget that major change in Croatia is just a week away. For on January 1, 2023, Croatia will officially switch to the euro and join the Schengen Zone the same day, two major achievements for this tiny country which has only been independent for 31 years. 

So there will be lots to celebrate this New Year, as Croatia prepares also to cash in on a bumper tourism season. And where better to welcome in the New Year than with a gala dinner at one of the new arrivals of the luxury Croatian tourism scene in 2022 - the outstanding waterfront 5-star Hotel Ambasador in Split?

I can honestly say that I have never stayed in a hotel with a better view anywhere - the view from the pillow incorporates Diocletian's Palace and the entire harbour, a view whose colours and magic change throughout the day and night. It is truly hypnotic. 

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But a hotel cannot live on fine views alone, and Hotel Ambasador has made a fine start since opening this Autumn. And if you are looking for a stylish place to see in the New Year, look no further. Read more about that and the excellent dinner in Where Luxury Collides: Wanda Radetti Meets Hotel Ambasador in Split

Arguably Split's finest address will be hosting a gala dinner to welcome in 2023, with a New Year's bruch to kick start the next twelve months. Chef Ivica Katic has put together a superb menu for New Year's Eve, where guests can enjoy a superb meal with great entertainment, while taking one of their last opportunities to pay in kuna... 

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The menu for the dinner - and I can personally vouch for the deer - it is fantastic. 

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And a vegetarian option. 

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Especially with a brunch like this to start 2023 in style. 

For more information and to reserve your place, visit the Hotel Ambasador website

 

Friday, 23 December 2022

Croatian Singer Massimo Savic Has Passed Away Aged 60

December 23, 2022 - The famous Croatian singer Massimo Savic has died.

As Jutarnji writes, his daughter and wife reported on their father's and husband's sudden death on Facebook.

"Our dad, husband, pride, and love, Massimo Savic, left us after a short but heroic struggle.

Although he left this world, he will live forever in our souls; smiling, warm, strong, full of love, and woven of art.

We'll be your girls forever.

Eni and Mirna'"

The sad news was also confirmed by the record company Aquarius Records. Massimo died in the Vinogradska hospital, where he was treated for lung cancer.

Massimo Savic was born in Pula on June 6, 1962. He attended and graduated from high school in Zagreb, where his musical career began.

He presented himself to the public for the first time in 1983 as the leader of the synth-pop group Dorian Gray when he released the first album 'Sjaj u tami'. Their second album, "For Your Eyes," was released two years later.

After the group's breakup, Massimo began a successful independent career in the nineties and released four albums in collaboration with Zrinko Tutic.

After a five-year hiatus, he released a new album with the simple title Massimo, followed by the acclaimed albums Vještina and Vještina 2, which returned Massimo to the very top of Croatian mainstream pop-rock music and confirmed that he was one of the best singers in the area.

In the middle of 2011, Massimo released a huge hit, 'Iz jednog pogleda,' whose lyrics and music were written by Predrag Martinjak. This was their first collaboration, which continued until the very end.

In his career, he won nine Porin discography awards and released 17 solo albums.

Massimo tried his hand several times as a jury member in singing shows. The first time was in 2015 when he was a jury member in RTL's X Factor. Two years later, on RTL as well, but this time in Zvijezde. In 2019, Massimo became one of the mentors on the Croatian version of the world-famous project The Voice.

Massimo was also nominated eight times for the Golden Studio media award and won the award twice - for song of the year and best singer.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Friday, 23 December 2022

Check Where and When to do Last-Minute Holiday Shopping in Croatia

December 23, 2022 - With Christmas only two days away, many are yet to do their holiday shopping, and many shops will have different working hours than usual. Read on to find out where to do your last-minute shopping in Croatia.

Poslovni lists the holiday hours of a few different shops. Konzum's stores will be running on a special schedule this year. They will not be open on Christmas Day, December 25, and St. Stephen's Day, December 26, while on Christmas Eve, December 24, and New Year's Day, December 31, they will work with reduced hours.

VELPRO stores will work according to a special schedule for the coming holidays, and customers can check the details on the VELPRO website.

The Kaufland shopping chain will also work different hours during the coming holidays; on Christmas Eve, 24 December, all Kaufland stores will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. On New Year's Day, 31 December, all Kaufland stores will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Christmas and St. Stephen's Day, so on 25 and 26 December 2022, as well as on 1 January 2023, Kaufland stores will remain closed. On 6 January 2023, store opening hours will be shortened and differ from location to location, which you can check at https://www.kaufland.hr/usluge/poslovnica.html by entering the branch you are interested in.

Lidl, on the other hand, has reduced hours on Christmas Eve until 2:00 p.m., and on Sunday and Monday, the stores are closed.

Check the working hours of SPAR and INTERSPAR here and for Plodine on their official websites.

Shopping centres

You can check Arena Centar working hours and details here.

Most shops in the Avenue Mall in Zagreb will be closed for the holidays except for some catering facilities. You can check the details here.

Check the opening hours of City Center One West during the Christmas and New Year holidays here.

Tower Centar Rijeka is open until 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and you can check the details here.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Friday, 23 December 2022

Looking for a Job in Croatia? This Week's Top 10 from Posao.hr (December 23, 2022)

December 23, 2022 - Looking for a job in Croatia? A new weekly feature on TCN, in partnership with leading job site agency, Posao.hr, who present a selection of weekly job listings.

How hard is it to find a job in Croatia, and what is on offer?

We spoke to Ines Bokan, director of leading jobs site Posao.hr, who kindly took the time for this excellent interview overview.  

Ines has kindly agreed to work with us on a new weekly feature on TCN - a weekly selection of 10 job listings, as chosen by Posao.hr.  Details and links to the job opportunities below in the latest edition of this feature.

Eumetsat is hiring a Contracts Administrator and ERP Procurement Specialist (m/f) for work in Darmstadt, Germany. The company is offering an excellent salary of up to 5500€ net per month, flexible working time, full medical coverage, and much more. Apply via this link by Jan 19th.

Falkensteiner Hotelmanagement d.o.o. is looking or a Event Marketing Manager (m/f) in Zadar, Croatia. The company is offering a competitive salary, all-inclusive onboarding, an employee discount, and much more. Apply by Jan 20th by clicking here.

Future HR is hiring a Sales and Marketing Manager (m/f) in Zagreb, Croatia. If you are familiar with the Tourism industry, have at least 4 years of experience in the relevant areas and proven experience managing social media accounts and websites, this is a great opportunity for you! Apply here until Dec 29th.

BHS Corrugated strojevi d.o.o. is looking for a Multinational apprenticeship – an Industrial mechanic (m/w/d) for mechanical engineering and plant construction in Varaždin, Croatia. All the details and requirements can be viewed via this link, and applications can be submitted until Dec 31st.

Next Step career network is hiring a Night Audit (m/f) in Vienna, Austria. The net monthly salary is 1.800€, with 14 full salaries a year and 40-hour weeks. All the details are available here, and applications are open until Jan 20th.

Adecco Hrvatska d.o.o. is hiring a Customer Support Team Leader (m/f) for their client. If you are proficient in English and German, as well as MS Office, this is a great chance for you! Click here for more details about the listing and submit your application by Dec 29th!

CCPOTER Sp. z.o.o. is looking for a Sales Advisor with Croatian (m/f) for remote work. Other than 100% work-from-home benefits, they are also offering a competitive basic salary with attractive sales bonuses, flexible working hours, and more! Apply here by Jan 24th.

ImpacTrip is searching for an International Volunteer Programs Coordinator (m/f) in Split, Croatia. The company is offering a competitive salary, paid training in Portugal, and a chance to grow professionally. If you are interested, apply here by Dec 27th.

Manpower & Colliers are searching for a Consultant in Occupier Services Department (m/f) in Zagreb, Croatia. They are offering a mid-level position with opportunity for growth, full-time employment, a great workplace environment, and much more. View all the benefits by clicking here and apply until Jan 2nd.

Workforce Ljudski Potencijali d.o.o. is hiring a Business Analyst (m/f) in Hum na Sutli, Croatia or Vojnić, Croatia. If you have a Master’s in economics or mathematics, strong organizational and writing skills and advances English communication skills, this is a great opportunity for you. Apply here until Jan 5th!

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For more career options and job listings, visit posao.hr.

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These weekly job listings will appear in the weekly TCN newsletter - you can subscribe here.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

Friday, 23 December 2022

[VIDEO] Anti-Pyrotechnics Campaign Starring Cro Football Coach Zlatko Dalic

December 23, 2022 - The Zagreb police presented their traditional Peace and Good action on Thursday, the 22nd of December. This year, they again warned that the consequences of using pyrotechnics can be serious and lasting, especially for children. For that purpose, they also published a video on their YouTube channel starring the Croatian football team coach Zlatko Dalic.

Like in most places, pyrotechnics are quite popular in Croatia during the festive period. Their use, however, often leads to injuries. "Most often, these are injuries to the fingers, hand, arm, and eye, and unfortunately, in some cases, they result in permanent disability," said Zlatko Sekačić from the Zagreb Regional Anti-Explosion Unit, as reported by Index.

The warning was accompanied by a video published on the MUP YouTube channel, in which they warned about the dangers of pyrotechnics. The star of the video is Zlatko Dalic, the coach of the Croatian national football team.

The head of the Prevention Department of the Zagreb Police Department, Velimir Tišma, emphasised that pyrotechnic devices can cause fires, and their use can be exceptionally dangerous in closed spaces and places where a large number of people gather.

"Don't give children something that could hurt them."

"Firecrackers are not toys, so we advise parents to be responsible and not to give children something that could hurt them, not to underestimate children's interest in pyrotechnics, and to refrain from using pyrotechnics," Tišma said.

The Zagreb police point out that from December 15 to January 1, in accordance with the Act on Explosive Substances and the Production and Trade in Weapons, the purchase of some pyrotechnic devices is permitted, while their use is allowed from December 27 to January 1, 2023.

The police also note that permitted pyrotechnic devices are only to be purchased from sellers authorised by the Ministry of Interior.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Thursday, 22 December 2022

Zagreb Very Merry Wraps Up Digital Nomad Life for 2022

December 22, 2022 - As Zagreb continues to attract more and more digital nomads, the Zagreb Digital Nomad Very Merry event celebrates and closes another successful year.

It is easy to forget that 2.5 years ago, few people in Croatia had heard of the term 'digital nomad', let alone understood how the future of work was about to change. Now everywhere Croatian baka with a room to rent is familiar with the concept of 'digitalni nomadi', a new source of potential tourism information. 

The nomads who were coming to Croatia were generally heading to the coast, to destinations such as Split, Hvar and Zadar, but there was one destination inland which not only saw the opportunity, but also put in motion a strategy to put it on the global digital nomad map - Zagreb. 

The Zagreb Tourist Board, in partnership with Saltwater Nomads and TCN, organised Zagreb Digital Nomad Week in June 2021, followed by the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Program fo the next 6 months, one of the first IRL events in Europe after the pandemic. If nomads had not heard of Croatia in general and Zagreb in particular, that changed rapidly.

 

As global digital nomad ambassador and keynote speaker, Dean Kuchel said during ZDNW in the interview above, Zagreb ticked the boxes, and the only thing missing in Zagreb's complete offer was more digital nomads. 

Nomads thrive on community, and that community has grown considerably in the 18 months since ZDNW. There are now more than 30 co-working places in the city, with several more set to open, and there are various WhatsApp and Facebook groups connecting the community with regular events. 

They say that good news travels fast, and that was certainly the case with Zagreb's emerging digital nomad story, as they city found itself named in the top 5 most-liked cities in the world on the influential Nomad List survey of 2021 and 2022, as well as in the top 5 co-working hubs.  

Last year's successful start was celebrated with the Zagreb Digital Nomad Jolly Wrap-Up, highlights of which you can see above. This was an overview of the year, hosted by Zagreb Tourist Board and Swanky Travel, bringing together key players, as well as all the six Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassadors. 

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A similar event was held this year, from December 9-11, as Zagreb Digital Nomad Very Merry brought together nomads, expats and locals to preview upcoming events for 2023, as well as strengthen the community and showcase the diversity of Zagreb and its surroundings, even in winter. With a range of different activities, it was a chance to come together to drink wine, learn about local businesses, network, and explore both the city through a trademark excellent tour by Iva Silla of Secret Zagreb, as well as exploring the wider region with a trip to Zagorje.

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Zagreb Tourist Board CEO Martina Bienenfeld said: "The festive atmosphere of Advent in Zagreb and socializing with nomads, experts from various industries and hosts, attracted numerous participants to our city. Around the world, Europe is the region with the largest number of countries that issue visas for digital nomads, so the recent survey of the community of digital nomads who gather around the Nomad List platform is especially pleasing, according to which Zagreb took second place as the most popular destination this year as well. The British platform Reassured also conducted its research, and our city took fifth place as the best city for digital nomads. Research like this confirms that Zagreb is very well perceived in the world of digital nomads as a city with optimal value for money, quality infrastructure, growing industry, hospitality of the local population and colorful events, which enables digital nomads to conduct business efficiently and easily throughout the year."

The three-day event was diverse.

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DAY 1 ( Friday 9.12.2022 )
• NOT SO SILENT NIGHT at SWANKY MONKEY GARDEN

  •  an evening hangout with drinks and x-mas cookies

DAY 2 ( Saturday 10.12.2022 )
• DECK THE HALL at LE PREMIER HOTEL

  •  press conference with coffee break followed by networking
  • CHRISTMAS CAROL by Iva Silla from SECRET ZAGREB WALKS
  • themed city walking tour

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  • WINE INSTEAD OF WHITE XMAS by ART BOTTEGA
  • Xmas-themed paint & wine art workshop with an opportunity to try out painting skills while drinking wine

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DAY 3 ( Sunday 11.12.2022 )
• WINTER WONDERLAND by SWANKY TRAVEL

  • a day tour visiting a medieval Trakošćan castle + organized traditional lunch at a wonderful countryside estate Vuglec Breg restaurant & winery

A fine way to wrap up another year of Zagreb's progressive digital nomad story. Let's see what 2023 brings. 

Learn more about being a digital nomad in Zagreb from the official tourist board site.

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Thursday, 22 December 2022

Tourism in Zagreb in 2022: A Year in Review

December 22, 2022 - Tourism in Zagreb returned with a bang in 2022 - a year in review through the eyes of a foreign resident who recently moved to the city. 

For more than the first half of my 20 years in Croatia, Zagreb was a complete unknown to me. The bus station, the train station, the walk to Ban Jelacic Square for meetings, that was about the sum of my interaction with the Croatian capital from my island base on idyllic Hvar. 

And then things changed, slowly at first, but with a steady pace, as my knowledge of Zagreb increased at about the same rate as the city got cooler. Where once the only exotic food on offer was Chinese and Indian, suddenly a plethora of diverse cuisines popped up, a symbol of the growing international flavour of the city, particularly in its status as an EU capital from July, 2013. 

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(Photo S.Kastelan)

Others noticed, and when Lonely Planet named Zagreb as its best destination for 2017, it seemed that the city had truly arrived as a tourist destination, now giving Croatia an extra dimension in tourism away from the coast. I, like many others, still did not regard Zagreb as a major tourist destination, but slowly, but surely, the city began to change my - and many other - minds. 

The catalyst for many, of course, was the arrival of Advent in Zagreb on the global stage, seemingly from nowhere. Zagreb was voted Best Christmas Market in Europe, not once, not twice, but three times in a row from 2016-18. In an era where the tourism gurus talk about year-round tourism, here was a destination which brought an entirely new product onto the Croatian tourism market in one of the deadest months of the year. 

Advent may have put Zagreb on the map, but it was certainly not the only thing happening in the tourism calendar in the capital. As my visits to the city grew with work, so did the realisation that Zagreb was actually a pretty cool place to be, that despite being slowed down by the devastating earthquake and pandemic. So much so, in fact, that we decided to move to Zagreb 18 months ago to get a slice of city life after our Dalmatian island origins via Varazdin. 

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(Photo M. Mihaljevic)

And so to 2022, the first full year of me living in the city - a year that began with those COVID masks (remember them?) and a chance to see tourism in Zagreb up close and personal, 12 months a year. 

And what a year it proved to be, as we all returned to a semblance of the old normal. The COVID masks dispersed, how was the 12-month tourism in Zagreb experience?

The first thing to note about tourism in Zagreb is its seasonality. Unlike the coast, where things seem to go from summer to winter, the season to the off-season, Zagreb has the classic four seasons, and with a flagship showcase event to mark each one. 

Since 2017, the Festival of Light in March has been a magical addition to the city's tourism calendar, one of the first events heralding the new tourist season, enticing guests outside to enjoy a spring night in the city and to witness innovative art and the joy of light.

Summer in Zagreb was this year's big discovery, having traditionally spent it on the coast. The city empties of much of the population, and the whole city becomes a stage, one whose parks, streets and squares are filled with the sound of music and entertainment. The pivotal summer event is Zagreb Classic, which is cementing Zagreb as a significant cultural destination, with its array of fantastic open air concerts featuring world-class artists. 

Autumn is magical, and there seems to be a continued focus on art and culture. The main event is art's medicinal answer to acupuncture - Artupunktura, Zagreb Art Therapy. You can read more in the TCN article Artupunktura: Transforming Zagreb into Autumn Art & Culture Hub.

And finally, of course, the arrival of Winter Wonderland in the form of Advent in Zagreb. This year's Advent has had a double feel-good factor, for me at least.  Firstly, it was the first proper Advent since the pandemic, and the programme has been as rich as back in 2019, with popular features such as the ice skating rink on Tomislav Square a reminder of Advent as it once was (Pandemic Who? Advent in Zagreb Returns to 2019 Glory). But this year's Advent also coincided with the timeline of Croatia's incredible run in the World Cup in Qatar, a journey which ended on Sunday with the returning heroes being welcomed home on the main square. Mingling with the thousands of fans as they made their way through Advent highlights such as Zrinjevac was one of the highlights of the year for me. Croatia, Full of Life indeed! 

Wherever I looked during my first full year here, there was an air of quality, diversity and entertainment in the musical offer. After Zagreb had allowed me to finally see some of the icons of my youth live in previous years - Leonard Cohen, Johnny Rotten, and Morrissey, my musical odyssey was complete when I finally got to see The Cure at Zagreb Arena in October. Franz Ferdinand, Skunk Anansie, Placebo, Simple Minds, and Whitesnake all graced the concert halls of Zagreb with their own concerts, while The Killers headlined Zagreb's signature rock festival, InMusic one of several music festivals in the city this year, with Lake Jarun a popular festival destination. 

The World Cup may have been the global sporting event of the year, and it certainly lit up Zagreb, but there was plenty of other action to enjoy locally. April saw the city transformed into a motor sports Mecca, as the WRC Rally came to Croatia, an event followed by some 350,000 people. 

Before that, however, a reminder of the diversity of Zagreb's sporting credentials, as one of the few European cities with immediate proximity to skiing. The Snow Queen Trophy, an accredited Alpine World Cup skiing race, held in early January each year, and won once again by Petra Vlhova.

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(Photo J.Duval)

The opening of the Sljeme cable car this year has made skiing and the winter (and all other seasons) much more accessible to Zagreb citizens and its visitors. Other sporting events which highlighted the city's athletic tradition include the annual Zagreb Marathon and the Boris Hanžeković Memorial meeting, a Zagreb regular since 1951. 

There were food festivals, so many food festivals, with relative newcomers such as the Zagreb Burger Fest now firmly established as a regional leader, and quaint little events such as Little Picnic, allowing people to mix and chill in a relaxed atmosphere. Where there is food, wine is never far away in Croatia, and VINOcom once again led the way, with another splendid 4-day event in November.  

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(Photo credit: Sanjin Kastelan)

But, for me, this new foreign local in his first full year in the city, the thing that stuck me the most was just how much diversity and effort is put in to celebrating art,culture and heritage in Zagreb, 12 months a year. I lost count of the number of times I found myself passing a courtyard, street or square and was seduced by the sound of music. Zagreb is a wonderful city to walk in, and it seems that wherever you go, there is SOMETHING happening. The fact that they have an annual event called Courtyards, which celebrates the various courtyards of the city through art, sums it up for me. Street art, street festivals such as Project Ilica Q'Art when the city's longest street gives way to art, culture and performance is the epitome of that. 

And let's not forget film, an area in which the city excels in festivals in the shape of the Zagreb Film Festival, Zagreb Tourfilm Festival and Zagreb Dox, to name but three. 

12 months, and never a day the same. The four distinct seasons in this most walkable city offers so much more than meets the eye, something I only truly appreciated when actually living here. And, as it the city did not offer enough, the breathtaking offer Around Zagreb helps to make Zagreb a complete destination. 

It is a great city. When are you coming to visit?

 

Thursday, 22 December 2022

Croatian Railways: Three New Trains Released for Traffic

December 22, 2022 - Croatian Railways: three electric trains for urban and suburban transport produced in Končar were put into traffic today, after which a contract for the purchase and sale of battery trains and stable energy connections was signed.

As Index writes, the new trains are part of the rolling stock renewal project of Croatian Railways Passenger Transport (HŽ PP), which is implemented in accordance with the Transport Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia from 2017 to 2030, is co-financed from the Operational Program Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020, and is part of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan 2021 - 2026 (NPOO).

The trains were produced by Končar.

The total estimated value of the project is HRK 1.3 billion, and the support from the European Union is HRK 880.3 million. HŽ PP plans to modernise the rolling stock with 21 new electric trains as part of this project. Eleven trains are planned for urban and suburban transport and ten for regional transportation.

The trains were manufactured by Končar, one of which had its ceremonial first run from Zagreb's central station to Dugo Selo and back. After today's release of the first three trains for urban and suburban transport, eight more trains will be delivered to run in the Zagreb area.

The delivery of regional trains, which will run on electrified tracks in Croatia, will follow after that. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure Oleg Butković said at the release that the renovation of the railway infrastructure is a key project that will mark the next 10 to 12 years.

The plan is to introduce 70 new trains into traffic by 2025

"Such a project follows a natural course, and it is good that the procurement of 21 new trains is financed with the help of European funds, and this is only the first delivery of trains," said Butković. He added that all funds available from the EU and national and credit funds will primarily be directed to renovating the railway infrastructure and purchasing new trains.

The plan is to introduce 70 new trains into traffic by 2025, said Butković. The president of Končar electric vehicles, Josip Ninić, noted that the key subsystems of the new trains were developed and produced in the companies of the Končar group, and numerous other local companies were also involved.

As part of the "Application of green technologies in railway passenger transport" project, a contract for purchasing and selling battery trains and stable energy connections was also signed on Wednesday.

HRK 100 million has been secured from NPOO for the purchase of new battery electric motor and battery trains and six stable and energy connections that will be installed at the stations of Split, Osijek, Varaždin, Bjelovar, Virovitica, Pula, and the total value of the project is HRK 129 million.

The aim is to improve local and regional connectivity and mobility for better access to the labour market and services in functional centres and to ensure more efficient and competitive passenger transport, say HŽ PP.

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