Friday, 17 June 2022

SDP Leader: Government is Not Fighting Inflation Systematically

ZAGREB, 17 June 2022 - Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Peđa Grbin warned on Friday that inflation in Croatia had reached a record high of 11% and that the government was not using measures at its disposal to fight inflation systematically.

"Inflation affects all people, but not equally. It affects people with the lowest incomes the most. That's why the bulk of our measures is aimed at the poorest people," Grbin said while presenting his party's package of anti-inflation measures at a press conference in the northern Adriatic city of Pula.

The SDP is proposing a change to the pension indexation method, ensuring funds for a new energy allowance for the most vulnerable groups, notably workers and pensioners with a monthly income of less than HRK 4,000 (€533), modifications to the method of calculating oil prices, and an aid package for businesses suffering the consequences of the Ukraine war.

Grbin expressed hope that Finance Minister Zdravko Marić, who attends EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council meetings, would take that opportunity and put two initiatives on the table - one relating to the amount of excise tax on fuel and the other concerning the calculation of VAT on excise tax on fuel.

"Give that a huge increase in fuel prices has been announced for next week, obviously we need to take action already today," Grbin said.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Marić: This Year Could Surpass the Record 2019 Tourist Season

ZAGREB, 17 June 2022 - The value of fiscalised receipts in tourism in the first five and a half months of 2022 is significantly higher than in the same period in 2019 and Croatia could have a record tourist season this year, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said on Friday.

"The value of fiscalised receipts in the tourism industry in the first five and a half months of this year is 22% higher than in the record tourist year 2019," Marić said in Luxembourg, where he attended a meeting of EU finance ministers.

He, however, suggested caution with predictions, considering that the peak season is yet to come, because the first months of the year may not be the best indicators. These results are very good though as data on booking is also showing.

"Despite all the challenges, the war in Ukraine, inflationary pressures, I think we have every right to expect a good tourist season. We hope there will be no negative shocks, and this year might surpass 2019," said Marić. 

He added that the government is considering how to further help the tourism sector, especially in the key challenge of labour shortages.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Ecofin Approves Recommendation on Croatia's Readiness for Euro Introduction

ZAGREB, 17 June 2022 - EU finance ministers on Friday approved a recommendation on Croatia's readiness to join the euro area, another procedural step towards a final decision on 12 July.

The finance ministers, who met in Luxembourg, also confirmed a letter that the Ecofin chair, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, will forward to European Council President Charles Michel ahead of a discussion at an EU summit, when member states' leaders are expected to support the recommendation.

"This is a great day for Croatia, the last step towards a formal decision on accession to the euro area on 1 January 2023," Croatian Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said after the meeting.

Ecofin chairman Bruno Le Maire also said this was great news.

This is great news, recognition for the significant efforts Croatia has made, Le Maire said.

He added that he is especially attached to Croatia because he started his diplomatic career there about 30 years ago.

I am happy that Croatia will be joining the euro area. I believe that this proves that the European Union is continuing to strengthen and integrate and that in today's turbulent circumstances, this is the best news we can have, Le Maire said.

Answering reporters' questions, Marić said that the current inflation has nothing to do with joining the euro area.

He said that in all the countries that introduced the euro there was rounding off of prices in the first year, especially in service industries, hairdressing salons and cafes. As these are everyday things, it creates the impression of rising prices, but calculations show that inflation was between 0.2 and 0.4 percent in all the countries that introduced the euro, "which is not much, but also not negligible."

"Despite everything, we have to do everything to prevent euro introduction from being used to put additional pressure on inflation," Marić said.

He stressed the need to ensure respect for the principles of consumer protection, provide all relevant information and secure transparency.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Turkish President to Visit Zagreb Soon, Says Cavusoglu

ZAGREB, 17 June 2022 - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in Zagreb on Friday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would visit Croatia soon, adding that he hoped for a positive outcome of talks on the election law reform between Croat and Bosniak political officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Cavusoglu and Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman arrived in Zagreb together aboard the Turkish minister's plane from Ohrid, North Macedonia, where they had attended the Prespa Forum.

Speaking at a news conference at the Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry, whose post-earthquake reconstruction would be taken over by a Turkish company, Cavusoglu said he and Grlić Radman used their joint journey for talks. 

The two ministers exchanged expressions of gratitude for the help Croatia provided Turkey during the 2021 wildfires and the help Turkey gave Croatia after the disastrous earthquakes in 2020.

Grlić Radman said that there were no outstanding issues between the two countries and Cavusoglu said their relations were based on "great friendship."

The Turkish official announced that Turkish President Erdogan would visit Zagreb soon, but he did not reveal any details.

A large part of the two ministers' talks was about the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Cavusoglu will travel later today after he meets with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, but the news conference heard only general messages.

Ankara's official position has been clear and unchanged for a long time, we fully support the stability, peace and economic integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said the Turkish minister, who met in Istanbul recently with the Serb member of the BiH Presidency, Milorad Dodik, after which he met with Serbia's President Aleksandar Vučić in Belgrade, and with Croatian President Zoran Milanović in Ohrid.

We always keep our distance as regards all political sides in BiH. We treat everyone equally, we are not biased, said Cavusoglu, who is to meet in BiH with the international community's High Representative, Christian Schmidt, and BiH Presidency members Šefik Džaferović and Željko Komšić. He is also expected to visit the grave of former BiH President Alija Izetbegović.

The Turkish minister announced the strengthening of dialogue that is part of a mechanism of trilateral consultations between Zagreb, Sarajevo and Ankara, also to be discussed in BiH.

We see that that there have been talks between Bosniaks and Croats in BiH lately, we will definitely support them and we hope for a positive outcome, he stressed.

Addressing the news conference, Grlić Radman spoke about the "historic role of the two charismatic presidents" - Suleyman Demirel of Turkey and Franjo Tuđman of Croatia - for regional stability.

Grlić Radman thanked his Turkish counterpart for support to Croatia's accession to the OECD and Cavusoglu thanked Croatia for its support to Turkey's EU membership bid.

Cavusoglu said that trade between the two countries, which has seen a significant increase, could amount to one billion US dollars this year, and as much as US$ 5 billion over a five-year period.

Turkish companies are in charge of numerous projects in Croatia, in construction, energy and tourism and the two countries are also discussing cooperation in the military industry, Cavusoglu said.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Finance Minister Says Euro Area has Benefits from Croatia's Entry

ZAGREB, 17 June 2022 - Not only Croatia but also the euro area will have benefits form our country's entry into that zone, Croatian Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said on Friday in Luxembourg where he arrived to attend a meeting of the EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin).

Economy and finance ministers are expected to complete several steps in the procedure to allow Croatia to join the euro area: they will discuss Croatia's convergence report and they will adopt the recommendation by the euro area member states to the Council on the adoption of the euro by Croatia on 1 January 2023.," according to the information on the Ecofin's web site.

They will also endorse a letter from the Council Presidency to the European Council on the issue of euro area enlargement.

The letter will be discussed by the European Union's summit meeting, set for 23 and 24 June.

The draft letter notes that it is important that, after entering the euro area, Croatia should continue to meet the obligations undertaken two years ago when entering the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II).

Croatia is invited to implement further structural reforms and investments under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and pursue a sound fiscal policy.

Minister Marić said today that the implementation of the reforms must go on, and it is important both for the economy and the whole society.

We believe that not only Croatia but also the euro are itself will have benefits from admitting Croatia, as its enlargement reinforces its international role, and deeper integrations are beneficial to the European Monetary Union and to the European Union, said Marić.

On Thursday, the Eurogroup endorsed the positive convergence assessment of Croatia, agreeing that Croatia has fulfilled all convergence criteria required to join the euro area, proposing that Croatia should introduce the euro on 1 January 2023.

This is the first step in a process by which the EU Council adopts legal acts that will enable Croatia to become a member of the euro area and to benefit from using the euro.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Croatia Reports 68 New Coronavirus Cases, 2 Deaths

ZAGREB, 17 June 2022 - Croatia has registered 68 new coronavirus cases and two COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the national coronavirus response team reported on Friday.

The number of active cases in the country currently stands at 2,061. Among them are 150 people who are being treated in hospital, including seven who are placed on ventilators, while 1,038 persons are self-isolating.

Since 25 February 2020, when the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the country, 1,141,115 people have been registered as having contracted the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, of whom 16,024 have died and 1,123,030 have recovered, including 337 in the last 24 hours.

To date, 4,912,741 people have tested for the novel virus, including 674 in the last 24 hours. 5,256,273 vaccine doses have been administered and 59.54 per cent of the total population, i.e. 70.81 per cent of adults, have been vaccinated.

Friday, 17 June 2022

6th ACAP Conference Kicks Off in New York

June 17, 2022 - The 6th ACAP (Association of Croatian American Professionals) Conference, a three-day event, kicks off today, June 17, at one of the city's most iconic venues - the New York Athletic Club.

The sixth annual ACAP conference (https://www.croampro.com/page/nyc2022) will bring together professionals from all facets of the American, Croatian and international professional community — communication and social media specialists, scientists, artists, healthcare professionals, athletes, engineers, journalists, attorneys, business executives, accountants, and students — for networking, education and socializing. With presentations by two unicorns, one shark, and one 40-time Emmy Award-winning producer, as well as fireside chats and panels with some of the most prominent Croatian business leaders and innovators, this historic event is the largest gathering of the Croatian professional community in the USA.

ACAP_2022_Keynote_Speaker_-_Robert_Herjavec.jpeg

The conference hosts 30 events over three days with the first day featuring a keynote and 17 different panels, fireside chats, workshops, and networking events (https://www.croampro.com/page/confagenda). Today’s keynote speaker is Robert Herjavec, a globally recognized motivational, business, and cyber security leader.

ACAP_Conference_program_June_17_2022.jpeg

Strategic address will be delivered by Nikolina Brnjac, Minister of Tourism and Sports of Croatia. Panel ““Educating the Next Generation of Tech Entrepreneurs” will present Croatian companies that are leading the way in K-12 space as well as college level curriculum. Our panelists from CircuitMess, TinkerLabs and STEMI will discuss about Croatia's carving out the presence in leading educational applications in Europe, and soon, in the USA. Three other discussion panels are: “US Health Tech Companies Tapping into Croatian Talent”, “Building a Sustainable Tourism Ecosystem”, and “The Evolution of Environmental Social Governance in Croatia”.

Participants in Networking4All sessions will have an opportunity to meet experienced Croatian entrepreneurs and start-up companies looking to expand to the American market, American professionals looking to enter the Croatian market, Croatian professionals and company representatives looking to meet investors, students and job seekers looking to meet Croatian and American entrepreneurs and potential employers, and other Croatian professionals from the USA that are looking to expand their network and make positive changes in Croatia and Croatian professional community in the USA.

B2B workshops include Taxation workshop, Education & foundation workshop, Medical Tourism committee workshop, and Croatia and web3 workshop. A topic that has occupied many Croats in the USA is a long-awaited Croatia-U.S. Double Taxation Treaty. Taxation workshop topics will cover both individual and company tax-related topics. For individuals, the two main topics covered are Croatia-U.S. Double Taxation Treaty and tax issues for Croatian citizens living in the USA. For companies, topics of corporate taxation in the USA and Croatia will be covered. Furthermore, the workshop will also look at the EU funding opportunities and other Croatia tax hot topics.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Beyond the Dubrovnik Walls: 4. The Island of Sipan

June 17, 2022 - Continuing the new TCN series, Beyond the Dubrovnik Walls, yet another magnificent reason to explore beyond the historic old town UNESCO World Heritage Site - the island of Sipan. 

So you think Croatia's islands are more or less the same?

49348331_10214201742985141_5363091483165458432_n.jpg

It can be hard for a tourist looking at the map trying to differentiate between all the different islands, to see which one might be the most suitable. But delve a little deeper, and you can find some rather extraordinary things - the oldest public theatre in Europe (Hvar), the oldest cricket club in mainland Europe (Vis), the birthplace of Marco Polo and the first abolition of slavery in 1214 (Korcula), and the birthplace of naturist tourism in Croatia after an abdicating British king went skinny-dipping (Rab). 

53112134_2406602749349964_8160731397644877824_n.jpg

And an island which is in the Guinness Book of Records for the highest density of olive trees per square metre in the world, more than one million trees. That is a lot of natural gourmet goodness, and perhaps one of the clues for one of my favourite images of luxury Croatian tourism - the super yacht meets the simple and delicious way of life.

0-02-0a-5d9da6751569809d845be06231c83c7b4d33b89310988772313d13abc6a786e7_bc2b0f74ddf0ba6a.jpg

Given its proximity to Dubrovnik and the first islands near the Montenegrin border, the Elaphiti islands - and Sipan in particular - have proved to be very popular sailing destinations, particularly among the super-rich, who enjoy a more anonymous visit generally away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi. And they are rewarded by some of the best fish on the Adriatic, which Sipan is known for, as well as a number of excellent restaurants focusing on the finest local ingredients. And when you start with the finest fresh fish and abundant quality olive oil, combined with the freshest local produce, it is not hard to see why Sipan's restaurants have become a hit for the luxury tourism market. 

830529_4901600332528_1075593639_o.jpg

Not that having lots of money guarantees you a place at dinner. One of my favourite stories during my visit concerned a very well-regarded restaurant in Sipanska Luka, whose simple quality Dalmatian fare is much sought after. The owner is very particular and insists on reservations only. No reservation, no place at the table, even if there is room. The story goes that on one unusually slow evening, a particularly wealthy gave entered the restaurant and tried to sit at one of several empty tables, only to be told that if he did not have a reservation, then he could not sit for dinner.

68670680_2704766962866873_8194345804568199168_n.jpg

"But you are almost empty. Why would you turn away paying customers when you have empty tables, just because we don't have a reservation?"

"When I have reservations, I know exactly how much food I need to prepare, and I do not need any extra stress." Ah, Dalmatia... 

Of course you don't need to be a multi-millionaire to visit the island of Sipan, far from it, and the regular daily ferries to Sudurad, via the other Elaphiti islands of Lopud and Kolocep, will get you there in just over an hour from Dubrovnik if direct, and 10-15 minutes longer if they stop at the other islands. 

sipan-renaissance-palace_1.jpg

The furthest of the Elaphiti from Dubrovnik, Sipan is also the largest and the grandest, and some of the architecture is simply astonishing. In all, there are some 39 churches on the island, which cater to the present population of about 450, but the most impressive building for me was located right at the heart of the Sudurad bay -  a Renaissance palace dating back to 1563. 

The palace is equally impressive on the inside, with many original features on display - and still functioning, as well as a very well-maintained Mediterranean garden. The property sold a couple of years ago and is not in private ownership, but a private tour is possible to arrange. To get a flavour of what awaits you, Dalmatian Island Heritage: The Stunning Sipan Renaissance Palace in Sudjuradj.

sipan-renaissance-palace_14.jpg

The impressive Renaissance palace is by no means an exception, and the grand stone buildings dotted around are testament to the island's history as a summer retreat for the aristocracy in summers gone by. with its fertile land, water source, and peaceful setting, Sipan was an ideal escape for the rich and famous. Just as for the aristocracy in the 16th century, so too for the celebrities and superyachts today. 

sipan-renaissance-palace_10.jpg

And yet, despite Sipan being attractive to the rich, it also has the chilled Dalmatian vibe of another gorgeous island, with pretty waterfront settlements offering the relaxed cafe lifestyle.  

After visiting the two car-free islands of Kolocep and Lopud, it was something of a surprise to find cars on Sipan, as well as a decent paved road. The drive through the heart of the island between the two main settlements of Sudurad and Sipanksa Luka was magical - vineyards, and olive groves, those Guinness Book of Records olive groves. The land looked SO fertile and reminded me very much of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Stari Grad Plain on Hvar, where little has changed with the agricultural process since the arrival of the Ancient Greeks almost 2,500 years ago.  

hotel-bozica-sipan-2.jpg

Sipanska Luka (which literally translates as Sipan Harbour) also has its own ferry once a day in season (although not with Jadrolinija) and is a much deeper bay than at Sudurad. It is popular for the sailing community for those excellent restaurants and relaxed way of life, and it also has more than its fair share of historic buildings. 

The island of Sipan has been gaining local acclaim as a very serious dining destination, especially when it comes to fresh fish and olive oil. It helps that chartered boats and Three Island Cruises (Elaphiti Island Tour from Dubrovnik) stop for lunch on Sipan. Places like Kod Marka or Tauris have long lists of satisfied customers singing them praises. A recent addition, Bowa, is nothing less than spectacular. It is a restaurant in a secluded bay. It is accessible mainly by boat and it features seating on the wooden pontoons over the water. The owner is an avid big game fisherman and the resulting food is fresh, delicious and above all – local. 

island-of-sipan-hotel-bozic.JPG

Hotels on Sipan are Hotel Bozica in Sudurad and Hotel Sipan in Sipanska Luka. Hotel Bozica is a 4-star property, highly rated and situated in a beautiful location in the bay of Sudurad (Read more from my visit in Hotel Bozica on Sipan: An Elaphite Delight in Sudjuradj). Consequently, it overlooks the bay and surrounding islands. It is built in a typical Mediterranean style fitting in nicely with the local houses. At the same time, Hotel Sipan is in the middle of Sipanska Luka bay and is a great choice for those wishing to be centrally located with easy access to great restaurants, bars and beaches. Private accommodation is also available but not in plentiful supply, so you are advised to book early. 

hotel-bozica-sipan_15.jpg

Sipan is also a great walking, hiking or trekking destination. The island houses 39 old churches as well as 42 medieval residences of varying degrees of upkeep. Apart from examples of old architecture, hiking across Sipan means walking through olive orchards and shrubs of Mediterranean aromatic herbs, a wonderful aromatic experience. The highest peak of Sipan is Velji Vrh at 243 metres above sea level. Hiking up to it is not too strenuous, but you should bring water and sunscreen along. From there you will have a great view over the island and the surrounding archipelago.

hotel-bozica-sipan_14.jpg

Dubrovnik beyond the walls, a new way to look at the Pearl of the Adriatic. And with so many different options available, tailor your Dubrovnik experience to your specific needs. 

To learn more about the Beyond the Dubrovnik Walls series, follow the dedicated section

 

 

Friday, 17 June 2022

easyJet Croatia Flight Cancellations from London in July

June 17, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as easyJet Croatia flight cancellations in July have been announced from London. 

British low-cost airline easyJet will reduce the number of weekly rotations between London and three Croatian airports in July. There are cancellations on the mentioned lines in June, and they will continue in the peak summer season, Croatian Aviation.

Namely, easyJet is reducing the number of weekly rotations on lines between London (Gatwick), Pula, Rijeka, and Split. There were cancellations of certain departures on these lines in June as well, and the same will continue in July. The airline has currently canceled flights until the first half of July, on time, thus avoiding compensating passengers in accordance with regulation 261.

The line between Pula and London was planned daily in July, for a total of 31 return flights, but the airline canceled all flights on Tuesdays and additional flights on Fridays on July 1, 8, and 15. 2,400 fewer seats are now available on the line next month.

The line between Rijeka and London was originally announced twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but several easyJet flights have already been canceled in June. Instead of a total of 9 planned rotations in July, seven have now been announced, namely, flights were canceled on Tuesdays, July 5 and 12.

On the line between Split and London (Gatwick Airport), easyJet originally announced two to four daily flights for July. There were cancellations on some departures, also in the first half of July, so the total monthly number of operations on this line in July is currently reduced from the planned 99 to 95.

Given that easyJet will operate at least twice a day on the mentioned route every day in July, passengers will be offered the option to make their trip on a replacement flight, which is not the case on the line between London and Rijeka, given the relatively small number of weekly operations. Croatian airports are no exception. EasyJet has reduced operations on more than 50 flights from Gatwick Airport in London for next month, citing a shortage of staff at London Airport and the company that handles aircraft at the airport.

Yesterday, easyJet reduced its flight schedule from Berlin in July, but there are no canceled flights on the routes to Croatia so far.

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Beyond the Dubrovnik Walls: 3. The Island of Lokrum

June 16, 2022 - Continuing the new TCN series exploring beyond the Dubrovnik walls, an escape from the crowds to one of the top treasures of the Adriatic - the island of Lokrum. 

For those who tell me that Dubrovnik is just a 2-day destination and that there is nothing really to do outside the old town, I smile. I don't think I have ever come across a destination in Croatia which has so much more to offer than the stereotype it possesses. There are so many things to do in and around Dubrovnik that I would argue a week is not enough. Indeed, the inspiration for this new TCN series, Beyond the Dubrovnik Walls, were last year's 10 Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence, who proclaimed that they were not ready to go home after a month in the city, and that one of the key messages Dubrovnik had to develop was the rich offer for tourists 'beyond the walls.' Yes, the old town is unmissable, but so too is the magic that is all around. Including one of my favourite places in all Croatia... 

lokrum_13.jpg

The island of Lokrum. 

I knew little about the island of Lokrum before I visited, except that it was one of the most-visited attractions in Dubrovnik, a place where locals (and tourists) went to escape the summer crowds and heat. But, as I quickly learned on my first visit a couple of years ago, Lokrum is so much more than that. In addition to being the cleanest place I have ever seen in Croatia, the wealth of nature, culture, heritage and overall magnificence is quite astonishing. Do not go to Dubrovnik and miss out on a trip to Lokrum. Your visit would be all the poorer. 

0-02-0a-5d9da6751569809d845be06231c83c7b4d33b89310988772313d13abc6a786e7_bc2b0f74ddf0ba6a.jpg

Let's start with the cleanliness. Lokrum is a nature reserve which is taking itself very seriously. It is forbidden to smoke or light a fire on the island, dogs are not allowed, and it is not permitted to spend the night on the island. Indeed, only two members of the Lokrum Fire Brigade sleep on the island. The island is immaculate! And the beautifully maintained horticultural and botanical attractions serve to give Lokrum an even more squeaky clean feel. 

lokrum_3.jpg 

Just 10 minutes by boat from the old city (regular departures from the old harbour take place every 30 minutes during the day from April to November),  the island of Lokrum is truly a world away, and the journey on the restored 50-year-old wooden boats is an experience in itself, as you watch the majestic old city disappear into view behind, before approaching the island from the far side, with the city out of sight. 

Welcome to Nature!

lokrum_27.jpg

Lokrum has its own biodiversity and unique climate, a fact that has been noted since ancient times, and the rich diversity of its plant life was enriched in 1959 when two hectares of land were allocated to the Botanical Garden, where the first exotic species were planted. Walk around today, and you can find about 400 indigenous species from Australia, South America, Africa, other parts of the world and the wider region. An extraordinary collection, and combined with the island's carefully manicured hedges and gardens, this is one area where Lokrum stands out from other islands. But only one, for there is so much more to this exceptional island. 

lokrum_14.jpg

The legacy of Game of Thrones is massive in Dubrovnik, with more than a few visitors knowing the city by its screen name of Kings Landing. Not only was the island of Lokrum also used as a filming location, but the hit HBO show  The garden of the old Benedictine Monastery was used to shoot scenes depicting the fantasy city of Qarth in Season 2 of the show. In this scene Daenerys Targaryen introduces herself to a few members of local society. Later on, just before she enters the House of the Undying, she is standing on the stairs that are part of Lokrum’s Gardens of Maximilian.

lokrum_16.jpg

The most important area for Game of Thrones lovers is a tin GoT museum in the former Benedictine Monastery. There sits the Iron Throne, the most important seat in the Kingdom of Westeros. Not only that, but it is free for visitors to sit in and take pictures.

While Game of Thrones may not be real, there is plenty of actual history on the island of Lokrum, which was first mentioned in 1023, with the founding of the Benedictine monastery and abbey. And it is the Benedictines who are responsible for the so-called Curse of Loktum, which is animated in the museum in the monastery basement. 

The last Benedictines left the island in 1808, when the island was sold to new owners. On their last night, the monks placed a complex curse on the island. Since then, anyone who tried to seek Lokrum for their own has met an unexpected and untimely death.

lokrum_18.jpg

The night before the monks left, they gathered in their hoods, lit their candles, turned them upside down, and with their heads bowed, whispering prayers and murmuring songs, slowly walked around their ancient holding, mourning their loss and saying goodbye to their beautiful home.

The legend, of course, adds drama to such a goodbye.

The dark and mysterious line of monks in the end cursed the future owners of the island under the flickering light of candles. The legend, to which certain deaths and accidents that happened to local sellers and owners were associated, would have faded away if not for the tragedies which befell the family of the Austrian emperor and the Croatian king Francis Joseph I, whose family members owned Lokrum.

The execution of the emperor’s brother, Archduke Maximilian, in Mexico, the assassination of his wife Elisabeth at Lake Geneva and the suicide of his son and heir Rudolph in Mayerling violently and forever impressed the legend in collective memory and enshrouded the island in dark shadows.

A happier legend took place more than 500 years earlier, when English King Richard the Lionheart's ship got into trouble in storms on the way back from The Crusades. Vowing to build a church on the land that might save him, the famous English king finally found shelter on Lokrum where he was shipwrecked, but survived. Keeping true to his promise, Richard built the promised church, although locals persuaded him to do so in the old town of Dubrovnik, rather than the island of Lokrum. It is said that the ensuing church was built on the site of today's Dubrovnik Cathedral.  There is an exhibition to the episode in the basement.

lokrum_17.jpg

One of Dubrovnik's more unusual claims to fame is that it is the birthplace of quarantine, with the first State-sanctioned quarantine stations set up on two nearby islands in the Dubrovnik Republic back in 1377. This concept was extended to the Lazareti, just outside the city walls, a beautiful stone complex which served as a 40-day quarantine area for traders, and which today is a multi-purpose event and entertainment centre, including arguably Europe's most beautiful co-working space. 

lokrum_22.jpg

Lokrum has its own Lazareti complex which is well worth a visit, if only for the incredible precision of the 16th-century stone walls, which are straight as an arrow and 100 metres by 100 metres. Inside the walls, it was intended to house a large quarantine facility, and you can still see the remnants of the toilets, fireplace and ventilation in the individual cubicles, but the complex was in fact never completed.  Some time later, the authorities realised that such a construction could be used against the republic if the island was successfully invaded. Some of the stone was therefore transferred to the city and used in the construction of Dubrovnik's iconic old town walls. 

That strategic importance was not lost on the French when they successfully invaded in 1806, and they began to erect a fort on Glavice hill, some 97 metres above sea level. The impressive fort, complete with ramparts and ditches, was then further developed by the Austrians in the 1830s. The legacy for the tourist today is a wonderful hike along Lokrum's narrow streets to the top of the fortress, where you will be rewarded with quite the magnificent views of the old town and surrounding area. I was fortunate enough to be on an official trip, and the Lokrum Fire Brigade had time to give me a rather magical tour. Get a flavour in the video below. 

Looking to swim? There are some great beach options on the island, including the best naturist beach in the world last year.

lokrum_29.jpg

For a more unusual experience, how about a drink and swim by the Dead Sea - not perhaps as famous as its Middle Eastern counterpart, but a cool place to swim and actually part of the Adriatic and once a cave. An ideal spot if you want to have a drink and relax while the kids splash around.  

lokrum-view.JPG

One of the many things I loved about Lokrum is how the island is being used to blend nature with work and education. Local schools regularly have classes and workshops here, a wonderful outdoor environment which can only inspire young minds. The recent Work. Place. Culture conference in Dubrovnik also took advantage of the stunning natural setting, with a relaxing day including workshops on wellbeing being held in the monastery gardens. 

a7298b47-4fd4-4f4d-ac91-b323124b0678_2.jpg

Even the resident peacocks decided to take part. 

5D710ADC-B82D-45A7-AED6-B3D162C176B6.jpg

There are a couple of bars and a snack bar on Lokrum, but the best place to dine (and in idyllic botanical surroundings) is Lacroma Restaurant, a short walk up from the ferry. There is an excellent local menu, and the gin combinations with local herbs are a definite trip highlight.

And then, at the end of the perfect day in nature and relaxation, time for the short and picturesque journey back to Dubrovnik for the evening entertainment. Dubrovnik Beyond the Walls is indeed a magical place.  

Tickets to enter Lokrum, including the return boat journey, are 200 kuna. 

lokrum_1.jpg

Dubrovnik beyond the walls, a new way to look at the Pearl of the Adriatic. And with so many different options available, tailor your Dubrovnik experience to your specific needs. 

To learn more about the Beyond the Dubrovnik Walls series, follow the dedicated section

Page 13 of 3600

Search