Obonjan Island in Croatia Becomes a Party and Wellness Destination

By , 20 Mar 2016, 22:18 PM Lifestyle

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Croatian island of Obonjan to open with eight-week season of creative and holistic pursuits

According to the press release received on March 19, 2016, after 10 years lying uninhabited, the idyllic island of Obonjan, just off the Dalmatian coast from the ancient town of Sibenik, will re-open this summer. Once known as ‘the island of youth’, the island has been reimagined offering a new, alternative take on independent travel with a summer long fusion of art and culture, music and entertainment, food and wellbeing within a carefully curated creative programme that will grow and expand with each year.

The 1-kilometre-wide pine and olive tree-covered island comes as a partnership between leading festival promoters Sound Channel, Croatian travel experts Gratiosus, national tour operators CMT, and newly formed Otok Ltd. Aligned in ethos, leading figures from the original creative team that developed Cornwall’s Eden Project are feeding into a multi-faceted circular development strategy to conserve and manage resources, which will, in turn, benefit the local economy.

A multitude of venues on the island will host a broad range of cultural experiences that allows guests to explore their interests, dipping in as much or as little as they please. Building on Croatia’s steady rise to becoming one of Europe’s hottest destinations for music lovers, Obonjan will offer a taste of the festival experience, in more intimate and laidback surroundings drawing on Sound Channel’s many years of running leading Croatian festivals such as Unknown. A rolling music programme will see international bands, DJs and musicians, including  Dilated Peoples, DJ Shadow, Gaussian Curve, Gigi Masin, Manpower, Matthew Herbert, Polica, Roy Ayers, Saul Williams, Talaboman, The Invisible, Young Marco...all perform from Obonjan’s vast stone amphitheatre. Elsewhere, the island will also boast its own resident 25-piece orchestra, who will play everything from Bach to Bowie for big shows; splitting into smaller ensembles for impromptu gigs and serenades around the island.

A curated Arts programme will present home-grown Croatian talent alongside visual artists from further afield, one highlight of which includes British mosaic and 3D artist Celia Gregory presenting an underwater sculpture park. By night, the island’s open-air cinema will span the globe; with cult favourites featured alongside global art-house films and critically acclaimed documentaries.

The island’s custom built Geo-dome will host a daily programme of talks and workshops from world-renowned speakers who will provide instruction and inspiration on subjects such as astronomy, architecture, photography, music, philosophy and marine biology. Highlight talks already confirmed include Living Architecture (Rachel Armstrong), Creativity & Consciousness (Nick Jankel) and The Science of Sex, Drugs and Music (Zoe Cormier).

To take in everything the region has to offer, Obonjan’s dedicated concierge service will offer regular day trips off the island via the port, such as to the beautiful Krka cascades, the dense nearby archipelago of Kornati or, for the gastronomically-inclined, to destination restaurants such as Pelegrini in Šibenik.

Obonjan will offer Eco-chic accommodation for up to 800 guests per week, set amongst the trees, overlooking the Adriatic Sea with a range to suit a variety of budgets. All eco-friendly, durable, and cosy, options run from custom-designed and fully furnished Canvas Tents through to safari-style Forest Lodges, all decked out with beautiful furniture, quality linens, ambient lighting, and custom-designed beds. (see notes to Eds for pricing).

A host of health and fitness activities should ensure islanders leave revived as much as entertained, whether that’s taking a kayak or stand-up paddleboard out to sea, joining a morning yoga session or simply kicking back in a hot tub or sauna.  A dedicated Wellbeing Centre, overseen by Lily Lawson-O’Neil of London’s The Well Garden, will offer an array of massage, meditation and holistic therapies run by expert practitioners from around the world.

World-class cuisine will be offered in beautiful surroundings across five different outlets. Executive Chef Sam Letteri has designed an extensive gastronomic offering for the island following the principle of delivering locally sourced sustainable produce with menus that will change daily and feature an abundance of fresh seafood and organic vegetables, herbs and spices. 

Dan Blackledge, Co-Founder at Obonjan, commented: "Obonjan is a beautiful island and the perfect canvas for us to create something very different that combines all the things we love: from live music and DJs to great food and relaxation, to inspiring talks and workshops. We want to create an open environment that gives guests the opportunity to do as little or as much as they want, and ultimately leave feeling enriched”

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Croatia Traffic Info

  • Due to smoke and reduced visibility on the A1 motorway between Gospić and Sveti Rok junctions the driving speed has to be reduced to 80 km/h. During the day difficulties can be expected in roadwork areas. On the A6 Rijeka-Zagreb motorway one lane is free only in Vršek and Lučice tunnels (on the section Ravna Gora-Delnice) in direction Rijeka tonight (23 March) 10pm-6am. In Učka tunnel in Istria one lane is free only every night 10pm-6am till 24/25 March. Tonight (23 March) 8pm-5am traffic is suspended on the A2 Zagreb-Macelj motorway between Trakošćan and Krapina junctions in both directions, detour: DC1 state road. Drivers are invited to keep distance and to adjust the speed to road conditions. The headlights have to be on during the day as well. One lane is free only/traffic is flowing in reduced lanes on the following motorways:-A1 Zagreb-Split-Ploče at Božići viaduct in both directions, in Sveti Rok tunnel in both directions till 24 March (driving speed limit of 80 km/h); -A2 Zagreb-Macelj between Zaprešić and Zabok junctions 20th-18th km in both directions; -A3 Bregana-Lipovac between Kutina and Novska junctions 118th-121st km in both directions; -A4 Zagreb-Goričan at Kraljevečki Novaki junction 93rd-94th km in both directions, in Hrastovec tunnel in both directions; -A6 Rijeka-Zagreb at Svilno viaduct 78th-80th km between Orehovica and Čavle junctions in each direction till 1 June, on the section Vrata junction-Vrata tunnel in direction Rijeka till 24 March; -Rijeka detour road in the exit lane of Rujevica junction in direction Rupa; -A8 in Istria on the section Lupoglav-Učka tunnel. Roadworks on the A4 Zagreb-Goričan motorway (Zagreb detour road): - till 9 June traffic is suspended in the entrance lane of Kraljevečki Novaki from direction Sesvete and Dugo Selo towards Ivanja Reka junction, there is a local detour; - till 26 April traffic is suspended in the exit lane of Popovec junction from direction Goričan towards Popovec, detour for direction Vrbovec-Popovec: Sveta Helena junction (A4)-Sveta Helena-DC3 Goričica-Belovar-Žerjavinec-Soblinec-Popovec junction, for direction Goričan (A4)-Sveta Helena: Komin junction (A4)-DC3-Sveti Ivan Zelina-Donja Zelina-Žerjavinec-Soblinec-Popovec. Lepenica rest area (at 57th km) on the A6 Rijeka-Zagreb motorway is closed till 15 June, the previous rest area and petrol station is the one Ravna Gora (at 30th km), the next one Cernik-Čavle (17,8 km away from Lepenica). Due to roadworks traffic is suspended: -on the DC1 state road in Lučko and Stupnik (Zagreb); -on the DC8 Adriatic road at Posedarje till 10 April; -on the DC6 state road, section Glina-Dvor border crossing, detour: Glina (DC37)-Petrinja-Hrvatska Kostajnica-Dvor; -on the DC25 Lički Osik-Karlobag state road (at 40th km) 8am-3pm till 24 March. Traffic is regulated by traffic signals/one road lane is free only:-on the DC1 state road at Tušilović and Mostanje; -on the DC1 Sinj-Klis Grlo state road at Dicmo; -on the DC8 Adriatic road at Poličnik, on the section Kaštel Stari-Kaštel Gomilica, at Podstrana, on the section Zaton Doli-Bistrina, at Srebreno; -on the DC66 Pula-Most Raša state road; -on the DC75 Poreč detour road, section Vrvari-Bijela; -on the DC62 Veliki Prolog-Metković state road at Most Metković. 15 November 2016-15 April 2017 winter equipment is mandatory on the winter sections of the state roads in Croatia (it includes four winter tyres or four summer tyres with chains ready for use).
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  • Outbound freight traffic is dense at Bajakovo. Due to roadworks at Županja and Slavonski Brod border crossings delays can be expected. At Harmica border crossing traffic is allowed for vehicles up to 7,5 tonnes only.
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  • Ferries operate according to timetable.
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