Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Croatian Divers Cleaned the Seabed of Plastic, Rubber and Glass in Bakar

November 2, 2021 - As part of the Eco Patrol 2021 - Kvarner, an ecological action of cleaning the seabed in Bakar was held yesterday. This action is of great importance for the town because Croatian divers from different parts of the country took part in the action, and they cleaned the area from Nova Riva to Luka.

As reported by the Bakar Tourist Board, the ecological underwater cleaning campaign was organized by the Diving Promotion Agency in cooperation with the Luben Bakar Maritime Sports Association, the HRVI Nemo-Adriatic Diving Club, and the Marco Polo Diving Center under the auspices of the City of Bakar, the Bakar Tourist Board and the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund. support and support of INA dd in order to preserve the beauty and purity of the Adriatic Sea.

"The city of Bakar is very pleased to support various eco-actions and provides support to numerous associations in our city that are very active in cleaning actions, both promenades and underwater, and we regularly participate in the Green Cleaning campaign. Following this, the City of Bakar is investing significant funds in the preparation of various projects, including the long-awaited project of sewerage and collectors, which will soon be implemented and will certainly contribute to improving the quality of the sea in Bakar's bay. It should be emphasized that with the new sea promenade, newly renovated Banj Park, historical tuner, future beach, museum, and numerous projects underway, Bakar is slowly but surely turning its page into an ecologically aware city with facilities that will attract many visitors (...) That is why today's action has a special significance for our city,'' said Tomislav Klarić, Mayor of the City of Bakar.

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Photo: Bakar Tourist Board

The action was carried out by Croatian divers from different parts of the country in order to remove waste from the sea and reduce the negative impact of waste on marine habitats and raise awareness of the importance of maintaining the cleanliness of the sea and submarine, as well as point the global problem of submarine pollution.

"The Tourist Board of the City of Bakar is making great efforts to valorize the rich cultural, historical and natural heritage of the City of Bakar, so we are always happy to support all types of environmental actions. SPD Luben continuously carries out actions of cleaning the seabed, which is visible in the reduction of waste that is extracted from the sea every year. Unfortunately, many individuals still recklessly throw waste into the sea, without thinking about ecology and what they leave as a legacy for generations to come. I would like to thank all the Croatian divers who participated in today's ecological underwater cleaning campaign and we hope for future successful cooperation with the Diving Promotion in order to contribute to the preservation of our beautiful Bakar Bay. We are glad that many sponsors recognized the value of this initiative and supported the holding of this action, including INA d.d. with whom we have many years of successful cooperation on numerous projects,'' said Sonja Jelušić Marić, director of the Tourist Board of the City of Bakar.

Croatian divers from SPD Luben Bakar, RK HRVI Nemo-Adriatic, DVD Trnje, DC Marco Polo, RK AdriatiCro Jastrebarsko, and DVD Bakar joined the action of cleaning the seabed in Bakar, extracting various waste from the sea, mostly plastic, then tires and glass.

"This is a commendable action of cleaning the seabed, in which we have pulled out from the sea all those things and objects that do not belong there; rubber, glass, plastic. After gathering in front of the SPD Luben, Bakar, we headed to a selected location on the stretch between the new Riva and Luka, where divers in a two-hour action pulled out various waste. We are very happy to participate in all underwater cleaning actions in order to preserve the beauties of our underwater world," said Franjo Vicić, head of the diving section of SPD Luben.

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

Monday, 28 June 2021

Is Climate Change Bringing Strange Fish to Northern Adriatic Sea?

June the 28th, 2021 - Climate change is a threat to us all and the vast majority of people are now more than aware of that, minding their carbon footprint and trying to recycle and reuse as much as they possibly can. The Northern Adriatic sea, however, keeps turning up some unexpected finned visitors.

As Morski writes, there are many different types of fish in the Croatian Adriatic sea that are very, very rarely caught, or are not present all over the Adriatic, and so they confuse fishermen with their colours, weight or appearance. Such was the case with the catch of Andrej Andrija Vajdic, whose catch, when placed on social media, resulted in many attempts at determining just what this fish was. Most of those guesses were unfortunately completely wrong.

''After just a few minutes, I got a bite on the line and the fish started pulling down very hard. After a short fight with it, I took it out, and saw a fish I wasn't sure about. I learned that the locals call it an arrow, and it does have that sort of face...''

Here is what Andrej said about his unusual catch in the Northern Adriatic sea:

''As I live in inland Croatia, I'm not often given the opportunity to go sea fishing. I mostly fish only when on holiday, which was the case this year as well. A colleague from work was on holiday in southern Dalmatia at the same time, which was a great opportunity for a little competition - who would catch better fish.

As I was on holiday in Praputnjak, I went fishing in Bakar every day. During the first few days the catch was reduced to standard fish, but on the last day it shifted a bit. At the end of that day, I decided to just go for a short evening and try fishing until the next opportunity came,'' says Andrej.

''I re-set the rod and on the same principle caught three more of the same weird sort of fish. I also learned that the ''arrow'' is usually harder to catch because of its fast movement, which is why this holiday will remain in my special memory. Of course, my colleague undoubtedly lost in our small competition,'' Andrej said.

The fish that Andrej caught is a blue arrow (Trachinotus ovatus, Linnaeus, 1758), a fish from the same family, Carangidae, to which somr of the most famous faces among sea fish belong. It is most numerous in the Southern Adriatic, but due to global warming it is more numerous in the Northern Adriatic sea. Otherwise the blue arrow may grow to a maximum of 70 inches in length.

The first time this species of fish was found was at Zlatni rat on the island of Brac, far from Northern Adriatic sea waters.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Friday, 18 June 2021

A Summer of Meaningful Tourism in Bakar

June 18, 2021 - A look at meaningful tourism in Bakar this summer. 

The past period has been very challenging for all those associated with tourism, from service providers to travelers themselves. However, according to the well-known proverb that every evil is for something good, the more resourceful ones have successfully used the unpleasant "new normal" situation to create new content and stories. Rumors about one of the (unexpected) winners of the corona crisis prompted us to visit Bakar, a small town on the Kvarner coast.

No giving up

We wanted to experience this newly discovered destination and learn firsthand how the symbol of heavy industry turned into a destination that is being talked about. Even after a short coffee-chat on the romantic Bakar „riva", one can conclude - the locals have not given up. They joke that their ancestors repulsed the Ottoman and Venetian sieges, and defied storms as sailors; thus, they couldn't give up either. They put their heads together (keeping a covid-safe distance, they note) and decided to retaliate against an invisible but ubiquitous enemy with a similar weapon which they have plenty of - intangible but omnipresent history of their town.

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The project called „Baštinska škrinjica" (The Heritage Chest) has turned the local population into digital promotors of the Bakar area. Grandmas were influencing, grandpas couldn't stop sharing, and suddenly, entire local history and natural wonders found their place on social media! What is this lake „now you see me, now you don't"? Didn't know that one of the largest churches in Croatia was there! The National Park Risnjak peak also! Look, just an „ordinary" Bakar bakery sells „Bakarska torta," a traditional cake made by the 150 years old recipe! Have to try it, have to see it!

A good start to the summer

As the reputation of excellence spreads rapidly, this year Bakar picked up two "Simply the Best" awards, and last week its values ​​were recognized in "practice" as well. Before many posh Adriatic destinations, a group of French tourists docked in the ancient Bakar port. One of them, Mr. Pierre Klin, shared his impressions: "This is our first time in Bakar. The program is fantastic! Sailing through the bay, the beautiful old town, the story of the tuna fishery, the hospitality of the hosts. The taste of tuna and sparkling wine with beautiful melancholic music make this trip truly unforgettable."

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If this made you eager to visit Bakar, don't worry, an opportunity to do it is just around a corner. At the end of June, another „Margaretino leto" (Margaret's Summer) begins. Inspired by the life of the blind waterboy Ivan Čop, who lived in Bakar during the second half of the 19th century, this year's traditional Bakar summer festivity brings us some interesting educational tours and workshops. For instance, visitors will experience „sightseeing" tours while blindfolded. That way, they will discover another dimension of Bakar and get to know the everyday life of the blind as well. As for Bakar, content like this will hopefully position it as one of the Croatian pioneers of contemporary „meaningful tourism." Don't miss it!

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Follow the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Bakar Tourist Board ''Heritage Chest'' Project Wins Simply the Best Award

May 30, 2021 - Despite the adversities encountered as a result of the pandemic, the Bakar tourist board has been awarded for its ''Heritage Chest'' project. The goal of the Heritage Chest is to animate the local population in order to collect and preserve valuable heritage material.

As reported by turistickeprice.hr, the tourist board project, designed during the pandemic, called the Heritage Chest, won the national annual award Simply the Best for 2020. This award for creativity, innovation, development, and improvement of the tourist offer of the destination is traditionally given by UHPA (the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies) and the tourist magazine Way to Croatia.

Bakar is an ancient port and one of the oldest cities on the Adriatic. The Mediterranean Sea is the deepest inland right here in the Bakar Bay, which reaches a depth of up to 44 m!

In his arms, Copper proudly ascended the hill like a stone amphitheater. It has been present on the stage of history for 5,000 years, and its core was registered as a cultural monument in 1968. Every step through its streets and surroundings reveals a new, exciting story and unexpected contrasts.

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Credit: Bakar Tourist Board Official Facebook Page (Photo by Miljenko Šegulja)

The wider area of ​​the City of Bakar covers as much as 125.60 m2 and unites numerous natural diversity. Bakar and eight surrounding places (Hreljin, Krasica, Kukuljanovo, Plosna, Ponikve, Praputnjak, Škrljevo, and Zlobin), dry stone vineyards of Bakarska prezidi with a praputnjar part called Takala, a karst lake that arises and disappears in Ponikve, Hreljinska Gradina at 321 m above sea level by the sea, the top of the mountain Rišnjak and many other reasons for coming to the Bakar region.

At the time of the pandemic and in very demanding working conditions, in which the tourism sector, in particular, was put to the test, the Tourist Board of the City of Bakar showed its creativity and decorated itself with a valuable award with its innovative project. Two Simply the best awards were won:

  • Tourist agency "VIA MEA" won the award in the category ‘‘Travel agency - Cooperation with the local community to improve the tourist offer of the city of Bakar and to develop a new tourist product - heritage gastronomic event Tuna fest’’
  • Heritage Chest won the award in the category ‘‘New project in tourism for excellence, creativity, and improvement of the tourist offer of the destination’'.

The Heritage Chest project arose from the need to continue working despite the consequences of the epidemic and in a creative way, with the support of the local community, to overcome the problems due to reduced budgets in conditions of difficult tourist functioning. The goal of the Heritage Chest is to animate the local population in order to collect and preserve valuable heritage material.

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Credit: Bakar Tourist Board Official Facebook Page (Reproduction by Miljenko Šegulja)

Numerous residents and lovers of the Bakar area responded to the invitation of the tourist board by sending it photos, old postcards, author's songs, stories, and interesting records about various historical figures. The casket contains Praputnjarski records and numerous interesting stories, such as the one about the blind copper aquifer Ivan Čop, who lived in Bakar at the end of the 19th century.

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Credit: Bakar Tourist Board Official Facebook Page

The story of the women of the Roberti family from Bakar, who for more than 150 years, from generation to generation, passed on and carefully kept the recipe for the Bakar cake, also found its place in the chest. The Tourist Board of the City of Bakar in cooperation with the bakery "Vrbnik'' managed to revive this recipe and include in its offer Bakar cake: a dessert of sumptuous taste, which further enriched the gastronomic offer of the City of Bakar.

For more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

HRK 17.5 Million Set Aside From State Budget To Upgrade Ports in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County

ZAGREB, 11 March, 2021 - Several contracts, worth 17.5 million kuna, for reconstruction of seaports and waterfronts in the broader Rijeka area were signed on Thursday by Sea and Transport Minister Oleg Butković and local authorities.

The contracts envisaging the upgrade of ports on the islands of Krk, Rab and Lošinj as well as the coastal cities of Bakar, Mošćenička Draga, Novi Vinodolski, Crikvenica and Kraljevica are part of the Croatian Coast Renaissance project in which two billion kuna has been invested to date, and the lion's share of this amount has been ensured from EU funds.

Minister Butković said today that investments in seaport infrastructure would continue.

(€1 = HRK 7.582776)

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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Drniš prsut
is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

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Thursday, 18 November 2021

PHOTOS: The 21 Most Incredible Croatia Castles To See Year-Round

November 18, 2021 – Serving as Christian Europe's defensive front line for centuries, incredible Croatia castles can be found throughout the country. Whether on a summertime day trip, set next to the spectacular backdrop of autumn's colours or postcard-pretty covered in winter's snow, here are 21 of the best to visit year-round

Croatia Castles Mailáth and Prandau in Donji Miholjac

DM-DvoraMailathcZdenko_Brkanić.jpg© Zdenko Brkanić

Mailáth Castle is located in Donji Miholjac in Osijek-Baranja County. The town famously lies just next to the Hungarian border in the traditional region of Slavonia. It's well worth making the trip to see this wonderful building, not least because it sits right next door to an earlier manor. After being gifted lands for fighting the Ottomans, in 1818 the Prandau family built its first castle/manor in Miholjac in the Baroque style. But, in 1901 its grandeur was supplanted by Mailáth castle.

croatia_slavonija_donji_miholjac_004NTB.jpgDonji Miholjac in Slavonija gives you two adjoined Croatia castles, Mailáth (right) and Castle Prandau (left)  © Croatian National Tourist Board

Built over four floors, its decorative chimneys, spacious terraces with neoclassical balustrades and wrought iron fences identify its debt to the Tudor style. The building has some 50 rooms across roughly 3500 square meters. Its interior was decorated with hunting trophies from Count Mailáth's travels in Asia and Africa, set above oak paneling which lines every room. In recent times, the building was used to house city authorities. But, considerable effort has been made to restore the building and open it up to visitors. Its grand hall now hosts events such as classical music performances, as do the immediate grounds in warmer months. These grounds extend out into a 16-hectare public park which was curated by the family and bequeathed to the town inhabitants. This is now one of the few Croatia castles to have a nationally certified horticultural monument attached. It has been classed as such since 1961.

Maruševec Castle in Varaždin County

2880px-Dvorac_Marusevec3MaGa.jpeg© MaGa

During its lifetime, the extraordinary Maruševec castle in Varaždin County has passed through a confusingly long series of different owners, many of whom have left a significant mark on the building. The original structure dates back to 1547. Since then, it was privately owned up until 1945 when it was seized from the Pongratz family by Yugoslavian communist authorities. It was the Pongratz family who established splendid gardens that surround the building.

slika-dvoracOpćina_Maruševec.jpg© Općine Maruševec

In the first years after independence, the building was used by a section of the Protestant church in Croatia. However, over recent decades, Croatia's government has begun the process of trying to return many such Croatia castles to their rightful owners. Maruševec Castle now lies back in the hands of the Pongratz family and the grounds are once again superb.

Prandau Normann in Valpovo

dvorac-air1greenroom.jpeg© Greenroom Festival Valpovo

The pictures don't do it justice. Prandau Normann in Valpovo is one of the Croatia castles that has to be visited to get a true sense of its size. If you do, you'll maybe also come away having learned of its significance and history. One of the oldest and largest castles in Slavonia, it sits within a small area of greenery upon which the surrounding settlement closely encroaches. Some trees at the edges of these thin grounds partially obstruct the view. Stretching out from the southern ends of this green island is a glorious public park of 25 hectares.

Dvorac_Prandau-Normann_dvorac_iz_zrakaRoko_Poljak.jpg© Roko Poljak

Formerly part of the hunting grounds of the castle inhabitants, these grounds were designed as a grandiose garden in the English style. Subsequently, it has been declared a national monument of natural and horticultural architecture. The sections of the castle itself form a three-walled complex with an inner courtyard. The original triangular-shaped fortress and the shorter, round tower date back to the beginning of the 15th century at which time it was surrounded by defensive moats. During the first half of the 18th century, the Prandau family rebuilt one side of the medieval structure with the Baroque palace which now lies at the front. Its tower is 37 metres high. Badly damaged in a fire on New Year's Eve in 1801, its stylings were somewhat altered when reconstructed. A true giant, it has over 60 rooms and, together with the inner courtyard, has an impressive ground space of 4031 m2. The Museum of the Valpovo Region was established here in 1956. Its continuous running was halted by both war and reconstruction work. But, it is now open again. Although the building is of significant national importance, it is to the immense credit of its forward-thinking governance that the building and grounds have in recent years been utilised for public events, including very contemporary youth culture happenings such as the Reunited Festival (here) and Greenroom Festival

Ozalj Castle

ozalj-stari-grad-za-web-ivo-biocina_0NTBFULLON.jpg© Ivo Biočina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Around 60 kilometres from Zagreb, in Karlovac County, Ozalj is one of the most picturesque Croatia castles. It has simply everything you would want from a visit to a castle – an impressive approach, towers, defensive walls, surrounding waters, incredible views, a museum and a fascinating amalgam of different buildings. Sat spectacularly on a cliff above the Kupa river and the surrounding settlement of Ozalj, this castle was once the entire town.

RedZugang_Schloss_Ozalj1BernBartsch.jpeg© Bern Bartsch

First mentioned as a free royal city as far back as 1244, the walled medieval stronghold gradually become a castle structure, with significant additions taking place up until the 18th century. It is a building of great national significance. Ozalj is the site of the Zrinski–Frankopan conspiracy which, although unsuccessful, is regarded an important marker in Croatia's struggle for autonomy. Between them, the Croatian families of Zrinski and Frankopan owned the castle from 1398 until 1671. Thereafter, both family lines were severed when the Zrinski–Frankopan conspirators were executed by the ruling Habsburgs. There were further ramifications. An additional 2000 nobles of the region were also arrested and the Protestant church was suppressed, Habsburg troops attacked commoners in both Croatia and Hungary and the position of Ban of Croatia, formerly held by Nikola Zrinski, would be left completely vacant for the next 60 years. The conspirators were executed on April 30 which, in remembrance, became the city day of Ozalj.

Trakošćan Castle in Varaždin County

TURISTIČKA_ZAJEDNICA_OPCINA_BEDNJA.jpg© Turistička zajednica Trakošćan - Općina Bednja

One of the most-recognisable Croatia castles, from its surroundings Trakošćan looks like something out of a fairytale. Its position - on a hill near Krapina, Varaždin County, not far from the Slovenia border - was obviously decided upon for defensive reasons. But, today, this positioning serves only to bolster the romantic vista. Trakošćan dates back to the 13th century, although local legend says that it stands on the site of an even earlier fortress. Nobody really knows who commissioned it nor who originally lived here.

TrakoscanCroatiaTZ.jpg© Croatian National Tourist Board

In 1556 the castle came under state control. But, just 18 years later, it was gifted to the Drašković family. In the second half of the 18th century, the castle was abandoned. The Drašković family resumed interest in the building in the middle of the 19th century. They renovated the house and constructed the gardens. Today, the surrounding gardens are a significant highlight of any visit to Trakošćan. The family lived here until 1944. But, the Drašković's were forced to emigrate to Austria and the state assumed ownership. It is now owned by the Republic of Croatia and has been renovated considerably. Inside there is a permanent museum.

Trsat Castle in Rijeka

Domagoj_BlaževićTrsatKvarner.jpg© Domagoj Blažević / Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner)

The city of Rijeka rises sharply from sea level into the nearby foothills. This abrupt ascent is the cause of Rijeka's above-average rainfall. But, there are some positives. Residential tower blocks have been built in these foothills and the cityscape vista is superb from their balconies. But, the best view of the city of Rijeka is from Trsat.

TRSAT_gradina-trsat01-pogled-domagoj-blazevic-19.07-724x500.jpg© Domagoj Blažević / Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner)

Rječina valley separates Trsat castle from the competing high-rise blocks. Looking down at the city from the castle, the river itself is immediately below you. It scores a path through an industrial landscape, then the old city. Eventually, it spills out into Kvarner Bay. Sitting 150 metres above the city, it's thought that Trsat castle lies on top of an earlier Illyrian or Roman fortress. Today, the castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rijeka. Inside there's a cafe bar. Throughout the year, the inner courtyard hosts cultural events like theatre and music concerts. Needless to say, the castle is a wonderful backdrop to these public events, as it is during Christmas when it becomes a highlight of Rijeka and Kvarner's Advent celebrations.

Stara Sušica Castle

DomagojBlaeviStaraKvarner.jpeg© Domagoj Blažević / Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner)

One of the most bewildering Croatia castles, the fantastical architecture of Stara Sušica is explained by a series of restorations and additions that have taken place over many generations. It's far from being the biggest of Croatia castles, but it's certainly one of the most intriguing.

Stara_Susica_0004Domagoj_BlaževićKvarner.jpg© Domagoj Blažević / Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner)

By prior arrangement, you can actually stay in this castle. It has previously hosted groups such as those who engage in fantasy role-playing games. The mysterious-looking building must be the perfect backdrop to such wild imagination! This architectural gem of a castle is located 60 kilometres to the east of the city of Rijeka. It sits in the shadows of tall coniferous trees, just outside of the town of Stara Sušica, near Ravna Gora.

Veliki Tabor Castle in Zagorje

veliki-tabor-optimizirano-za-web-ivo-biocina_1600x900_0Croatia.jpeg© Ivo Biočina / Croatian National Tourist Board

The sizeable Veliki Tabor is another of the Croatia castles that sits atop a hill for defensive purposes. It dominates a beautiful rural landscape of agricultural land, gently rising hills and vineyards near Desinić in Zagorje, less than an hour's drive from Zagreb.

veliki-tabor-web-ivo-biocina-1CROATIArfghbnjm.jpg© Ivo Biočina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Dating from the middle of 15th century, most of the castle was built by the Ráttkay family from Hungary, in whose ownership it remained until 1793. The castle is said to be haunted. Legend says a local woman was murdered upon false accusations of witchcraft and entombed within the actual castle walls. Although, the ulterior motive for the killing is said to have been the castle's owner didn't want his son to marry the woman. Her voice is said to still inhabit the building. Today owned by the state, Veliki Tabor now holds a permanent museum and is a popular tourist attraction. Events significant to local culture take place here, like food festivals. The castle also hosts some nationally recognised happenings, such as the famous Veliki Tabor short film festival.

Lužnica Castle near Zaprešić, Zagreb County

Luznica2ZCTY.png© Zagreb County Tourist Board

Set back from the main road and obscured by ancient trees, the immediate approach to Lužnica is incredibly impressive. The castle is surrounded by neatly trimmed lawns and you can reach it from several different directions. The pathways leading to the building are bordered by low-lying hedges. At the end of these paths sits the baroque castle. It shares its name with the nearby settlement of Lužnica, just a few kilometres to the west of Zaprešić in Zagreb County.

LuznicZaagrebCounty.jpg© Zagreb County Tourist Board

Lužnica castle was built in 1791 as a residence for a noble family. But, since 1925 the building has been owned by the Convent of St. Vincent de Paul. After acquiring the building, nuns used the castle as a residential and care home for elderly members of the sisterhood. From 1935 the building was used for the care of poor children, and then, afterwards, for educational classes organised by the nuns. In 2005, a purpose-built modern property was constructed nearby and this assumed the residential care of retired nuns. This facilitated much better public access to the castle. The nuns still hold spiritual and educational programs inside the castle and it also hosts secular conferences and seminars.

Krašić

KrasicZgC.jpg© Zagreb County Tourist Board

So well suited to its contemporary purpose as a church does Krašić look that it's difficult to imagine that it was ever anything other. But, this complex of buildings originally dates back much further than the hundred or so years it has served as a place of worship.

krasic08RegionalDevelopment_agencyZagrebCounty.jpg© Regional Development Agency Zagreb County

It was first built in the Gothic style of the late 14th century and later reconstructed in the Baroque style. It only assumed its current religious role after reconstructions that took place between 1911 and 1913. Nowadays, villagers know it as the Parish church of the Holy Trinity. It serves the population of Krašić, near Jastrebarsko, about 50 km southwest of Zagreb. Enthusiastic hunters of Croatia castles who are visiting Zagreb and Zagreb County will also not want to miss the nearby Pribić. It is located just three kilometes east of Krašić. There you'll find an incredible triumvirate of spectacular neighbouring buildings - two castles and one Greek Catholic church.

Pejačević Castle in Našice

Dvorac_Pejačević._NašiceSamir_Budimčić.jpg© Samir Budimčić

Though they are most commonly associated with Slavonia, the Pejačević family extends back to at least the 14th century, during which time some of them settled in north-west Bulgaria. Alongside Bosnians and Germans attracted to that region by mining, these immigrants brought Catholicism to the area around Chiprovtsi. Subsequently, there was a famous uprising there against the Ottomans. The Pejačević family are thought to have been among the instigators of the failed rebellion. They fled to lands recently liberated from the Ottomans and eventually acquired significant titles and estates in Slavonia. For centuries they were very influential in the region's political, social, economic and cultural life.

Zavičajni_muzej_Našice_Našice_local_history_museum.jpg© Našice local history museum (Zavičajni muzej Našice)

Pejačević Castle in Našice today is the home of Našice local history museum / Zavičajni muzej Našice (here). The castle is actually one of two castles the family built in this town. They have two more castles elsewhere in traditional Slavonia - in Virovitica and Retfala, Osijek. If you want to read more about the Pejačević family and their castles in Našice, then look here.

Stari Grad Varaždin

VarazdinZup.jpg© Turistička Zajednica Varaždinske Županije

The city of Varaždin once served as the capital of Croatia and, as its focal point, Stari Grad fortress is therefore of significant national importance. In acknowledgment, an image of the fortress used to appear on the back of the old 5 kuna bank notes. Although, presumably due to some printer's error, the image appeared in reverse to how it sits in real life.

varazdin-ivo-biocina-NTZ.jpg© Ivo Biočina / Croatian National Tourist Board

The building is mentioned as far back as the 12th century. But, it was reconstructed as a Renaissance fortification in the 16th century. At the end of that century, it came into the hands of the Hungarian-Croatian family Erdödy. Today, Stari Grad holds a permanent museum. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions in a city that's not short of great reasons to visit.

Bosiljevo Castle

Dvorac_Bosiljevo_-_panoramioKrittinskiy.jpg© Krittinskiy

Something of a bratić (cousin) to Ozalj Castle, Bosiljevo is in Karlovac County and was also owned by the Frankopan family. It is a sprawling set of structures, impressively situated on a hillside within forest land. The nature of the building and its remote location perhaps contribute to the fact that it is abandoned and unrestored. However, it is still one of the Croatia castles worth visiting year-round, not least because the surrounding trees grant a spectacular backdrop that changes throughout the year's seasons.

bosiljevoopcinacas.jpg© Općina Bosiljevo

Although access is limited, you can get up close to the fascinating buildings, the intricately decorated defensive walls and its towers. The earliest sections date back to at least 1344. Following its seizure by the Austrians in 1671, Bosiljevo passed through the hands of a series of private owners. They included Irish-born Laval Nugent von Westmeath, who started his career as a loyal soldier to Austria but finished his life in Bosiljevo as something closer to a Croatian patriot. The property was seized by Communist authorities after the Second World War. Its decline began when it was thereafter ill-purposed as a retirement home, restaurant and cheap motel. It was finally abandoned in the 1980s.

Čakovec Castle

stari_gradcakovectz.jpg© Čakovec City Tourist Board

Situated within a sizeable park, in the town centre of Čakovec, Međimurje, Čakovec Castle is a beast of a structure. Like some of the previous Croatia castles, it is actually several buildings. Access to the park is great from all sides. These grounds are a green space much-enjoyed by Čakovec residents and visitors. So too are the spectacular buildings which lie at their centre. The original 13th-century fortress was built by Count Dmitri Čak, hence the town's name. Its walls form the basis of the complex's front section, behind which the 16th Century Zrinski Castle sits detached.

MuseumMedimurjeCak.jpg© Museum of Međimurje, Čakovec

The Zrinski castle houses Croatia's biggest museum, the Međimurje County Museum. The courtyard hosts cultural happenings like music concerts, theatre and food events. Although this independent structure is known as the Zrinski Castle, the Zrinski family were not responsible for the building's construction. However, this is one of the most significant Croatia castles because it was their family seat during a time in which several family members served as Ban of Croatia.

Feštetić Castle, Pribislavec

dvorac_festetic_01visit_medimurje.jpg© Visit Međimurje

One of the most singular-looking of all Croatia castles, not least because of its unforgettable neogothic tower, Feštetić Castle in Međimurje actually pre-dates the Feštetić family who lends it their name. The original building dates back to at least the beginning of the 18th Century.

Feštetićvisitnorthcroatia.jpgGosh! The occasional darkened skies above Međimurje seem to suit the neogothic Feštetić Castle almost as much as do the clear blue! © Visit North Croatia

Throughout its life, the structure that lay here was ravaged by war, fire and natural disasters and therefore rebuilt several times. We can attribute its striking neogothic stylings to the Feštetić family, whose work on the castle began in 1870. The building has been in continuous use ever since, serving at times as a retirement home and a school. It is therefore in great condition and sits on grounds that are also enjoyable when you visit.

Nova Kraljevica Castle

Domagoj_BlaževićKraljevicaKvarner.jpg© Domagoj Blažević / Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner)

Located atop the start of a peninsula at the entrance to the Bay of Bakar, less than 20 kilometres east of Rijeka, Petar Zrinski started to build Nova Kraljevica in 1651. The castle has large towers at the corners of each of its four walls.

dvorac-nova-kraljevica07-atrij-domagoj-blazevic-11.07-1200x800.jpgThe ornate inner courtyard of Kraljevica Castle © Domagoj Blažević / Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner)

They surround an inner courtyard decorated with archways on two floors. Petar's wife, Katarina Frankopan, is said to have paid close attention to its interior design. The couple spent much time here. It is one of the few Croatia castles to sit directly on the Croatian mainland's shore. The castle's main salon was decorated with gilded leather wallpaper, had marble fireplaces, floors paved with a marble mosaic and doors made of black and white marble. This spectacular and well-preserved castle also once held one of Croatia's very first museums. It is not only great to visit on foot, but also a spectacular sight when approached from the Adriatic by boat.

Miljana Castle, near Kumrovec

DisscoSC_0248-visitZagorje.jpg© Visit Zagorje

Though not currently open to spontaneous visits like many of the Croatia castles on this list, you can go to the Baroque castle of Miljana near Kumrovec, Zagorje. You just have to arrange to do so in advance. That's because this picturesque building is undergoing a gradual restoration.

Miljana_Castle_near_KumroveKrapina_Zagorje_County_Tourism_Board.jpg© Zagreb County Tourist Board

Miljana is impossibly pretty, as are its grounds. Three wings surround a central courtyard. A striking black plaster covers the walls, periodically interspersed with white plaster ornamentation. Its construction began in the late 16th century under the Rattkay family. Although, it was expanded and adapted several times before its last substantial remodeling in the 18th century. Its first floor has eight salons, seven of which hold frescos on the walls. These are the basis of much of the current restoration work. It promises to be an unmissable treat once the painstaking work is complete.

Kutjevo Castle

dvorac-kutjevoTZK.jpeg© Tourism Board of Kutjevo

Built on the site of a much earlier monastery, Kutjevo castle still has the ancient wine cellar that belonged to its predecessor. This cellar dates back to the year 1232. The rest of the original monastery buildings were destroyed by the Ottomans. After they left, the land was gifted to Zagreb canon Ivan Josip Babić in 1689. He invited Jesuits to make a home for themselves here. They cleared the land and built the castle between 1704 and 1735.

Kutjevo-ParkCROATIA.jpg© Croatian National Tourist Board

One side of the castle is a church. The other three wings are less overtly religious in appearance. They surround an inner courtyard and, beyond them stretches a large park area. The park has a circular motif in its centre. Around it, pathways wind through the grounds passing the large trees which live here. Perhaps the most striking feature of the building is its polygonal tower on which sits a bulb-shaped roof. The building is privately owned and its interior is not open to spontaneous visits from the public.

Eltz Castle, Vukovar

Vukovar_Dvorac_Eltz_SKStjepkoKrehula.jpeg© Stjepko Krehula

One of the most famous, spectacular and oldest castles in Germany is called Eltz Castle. This one, located in the easterly Croatian city of Vukovar, is clearly something other. However, the two are connected by the same Eltz family, the descendants of which still inhabit the German castle, just as their ancestors did in the 12th Century. The family owned huge tracts of land around this section of the Danube. By far, this was their most significant territory outside Germany. Eltz Castle in Vukovar was their main residence until 1945 when the family was expelled by the Yugoslav communist regime.

GradskiMuzejVuko.jpg© Gradski muzej Vukovar

The front facade is a sea of ornate baroque windows, painstakingly (but speedily) reconstructed following the building's near-complete destruction by bombing during the 1990s. Since 1968, the castle has housed the Vukovar City Museum (here), one of the most significant in Pannonia. It charts the history of all the peoples who have inhabited this area of the Danube and contains valuable exhibits returned to it from Zagreb, Novi Sad and Belgrade.

Lukavec Castle, Turopolje

LukavecTZZC1.jpg© Zagreb County Tourist Board

Lukavec is built on the site of a wooden fort that was first mentioned in 1256. Could some of the wooden bridge that gives access to this castle be made of remnants of its ancestor? Maybe not, but it's nice to imagine the lineage being so palpable. This replacement structure dates from 1752 and is marked by outer walls covered in gold-coloured plaster. This colour contrasts beautifully against white borders, the red-tiled roof and the darkened top of the main tower.

The_Old_Town_of_Lukavec_6Zeljko.filipin.jpeg© Zeljko Filipin

In the building's courtyard sits an old cannon. This remnant reminds of a military past that is otherwise unapparent in the unblemished building. Lukavec is an integral part of the local community's cultural and social life and hosts many events.

Kerestinec Castle

kerestinec2-10svetaned.jpg© Grad Sveta Nedelja

The Renaissance-Baroque building in Kerestinec, Sveta Nedelja, is one of the Croatia castles that has seen much better days. Its construction was commissioned in 1565 by Petar Erdödy, then Ban of Croatia. So, originally it would have been built to high standards and specifications. The castle was remodelled several times over the centuries and is today notable for circular towers that sit at two corners of its four wings.

dvorac_helikoptersvetanedelja.jpg© Grad Sveta Nedelja

In recent memory, the castle's central courtyard has hosted events such as a dance music festival. This may be far from its original purpose, but such events continue to breathe life into a spectacular building that perhaps otherwise would be completely abandoned.

All of the photos of castles in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner) were taken by Domagoj Blažević for the Route Of The Frankopans website (here), which allows visitors to trace a path through all of the former Frankopan properties in the county and is recommended reading for castle hunters

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Bakar Tourist Board Wins Prestigious Golden Interstas 2020 Award

As Morski writes on the 17th of October, 2020, the Bakar Tourist Board has won the prestigious international GOLDEN INTERSTAS 2020 tourist award, thus securing its place in the international club of meritorious tourism.

Encouraged by many years of effort and activities of the Bakar Tourist Board, and at the initiative of Mr. Sime Strikoman, the International Commission of Tourist Journalists proposed the candidacy of the Bakar Tourist Board for the prestigious international tourism award. The Bakar Tourist Board was clearly responsible for some highly creative professional achievements and excellence in the presentation of the richness of its tourism, traditional values ​​and culture of Bakar despite all this year's problems with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

''We're extremely proud of winning the GOLDEN INTERSTAS 2020 award for excellence in tourism. This award is a great recognition to our entire team and a crown for all the effort and enthusiasm invested in everything we do, which ultimately led to winning this award. On this occasion, I'd like to thank all my associates who participated in the construction of our tourist story and who, with their dedication and professionalism, contributed to winning this valuable award, which is just a confirmation that when working with your heart, results can't be missed,'' said the director the Bakar Tourist Board, Sonja Jelusic Maric.

The 27th INTERSTAS / International Festival of Tourism, Tourist Film, Landscape - International Club of Meritorious for Tourism, will be held, in accordance with epidemiological measures introduced as a result of the pandemic on the 11th, 12th and 13th of November in Solin. The entire event, the presentation of the Laureates and accompanying events, is supported by FIJET, FEST, ITCO, AEFP, CiB / world and European associations in tourism, tourism journalism, film and landscape, under the auspices of the Split-Dalmatia County and of Solin, and under the high auspices of the Croatian Parliament and the President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic.

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Friday, 28 June 2019

Margareta's Summer 2019 Started in Bakar

We've recently written several articles about the re-birth of tourism in the Northern Croatian town of Bakar, and this weekend Total Croatia News got the opportunity to visit Bakar and see for ourselves what exactly is going on there, for the opening of the Margareta's Summer 2019.

I was born and raised in Croatia, and when I was a kid my family had a summer home in Crikvenica (Bakar is located some 20 or so kilometres north of Crikvenica, right near the southern Rijeka suburbs). The road we took to Crikvenica from Zagreb back then went very close to Bakar, and yet I don't remember ever stopping there. There was no reason to: it was a bay, admittedly you could understand how it used to be a nice bay, but it was completely taken over by a coke plant (no, not that kind of coke, the fuel kind). The plant, the port built to support it and other industrial complexes by Ina were built in the bay in the mid-seventies, and have completely ruined any chance for the area to have any meaningful tourist impact (or nature, for that matter; the seventies factories were nowhere near eco-friendly, and reaped havoc in the vicinity). In 1995 the plant was thankfully closed, the ugly chimney was taken down, the area of the Bakar bay started getting some color back and that's exactly when dreams of bringing tourists, and not the heavy industry to the Bay started.

20-something years later, the plans seem to have worked. When I arrived at Bakar yesterday, there was almost no sign of what was happening here in the last half-century (there's still a port). If you didn't know about the coke, there's literally nothing that would ever give you any hint that's what has occupied the bay for decades. I was there for the beginning of the Margaretino Leto 2019 (Margareta's Summer; St. Margaret is the patron-saint of Bakar), a month-long series of events organized by the Bakar Tourist Board each summer, which includes the Naval Battle reconstruction in the bay.

The Naval Battle reconstruction memorializes the event fro 1616, when the Venetiants tried to take over the town of Bakar, attacking with over 20 boats, but brave defenders of the area managed to fight them off, even though they managed to disembark from their boats! That event will be happening this year on the evening of July 13th, and we were there for the other event that aims to celebrate the history of Bakar, "The Walk through History - the Maria Theresa Times". Maria Theresa was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions, who in 1779 pronounced Bakar to be a "free royal city", giving it an important position within her kingdom. To celebrate that event, the Tourist Board organized the interpretation walking tour, during which the tourist guide Marjeta Trkman Kravar "became" Maria Theresa and brought to life how important her decision was for Bakar and the area. Baroque music, baroque carriages, local associtations recreating the atmosphere, sweets made using the period-appropriate recipe book from Vienna, chocolate shaped like the document that gave Bakar its freedom, Bakarska Vodica sparkling wine made in the region... All of those things were offered at the begining of the festivities called Margareta's Summer, inviting visitors to come to the ancient town and the old Frankopan Castle in its centre.

 

Friday, 3 May 2019

Revived Tuna Fishing Story Brings Visitors Back to Bakar

Most places on the Croatian coast would think that a day which includes almost a thousand visitors in a single day is basically a slow one. That does not apply for Bakar, a currently sleepy town between Rijeka and Crikvenica, burdened by the industrial past that has recently been waking up and trying to find their tourist niche and attract as many guests as possible in the pre and post- season.

So, for this past May 1st holiday their Tourist Board, their partners from Via Mea agency from Crikvenica and Papageno from Austria organized a visit by over 200 guests from Austria, who came to experience the "Tuna Fest" in The Bay.

The program of the Tuna Fest is filled with experiences for the guests, who have arrived at Bakar by boat from Kraljevica, which gave them the chance to experience Bakar from the most exciting point of view: from the sea. Then they're introduced to what life was like in the past here, they get to walk around in the Old Town and Frankopan's castle and then proceed to the pier, where they're offered numerous products by the local producers, such as honey, lavender and similar souvenirs. Then a demonstration of the techniques for the tuna fishing is presented – and Bakar Bay used to be the location where the most tuna fish were caught in the Adriatic before the industry took over the bay.

02Docek u bakarskoj luci (Medium).jpg

Recently, the tuna have been making their comeback to the Bakar bay, proving that the town and the bay have almost completely recovered from the damage the industry has done there in the past. In front of them, the specialities made with tuna are prepared for their lunch. This week, the group of senior Austrian tourists enjoyed the wonderful weather to improve their experience even further. More than 50 people in Bakar are participating in the organization of these events, and they're hoping that it will increase the number of visitors to their town. Currently, there are over 500 beds for rent in the town, so it can't rely solely on the results during the high tourist season, so bringing groups similar to this one from Austria and Germany, which are quite close to Bakar is an important step in the story of reviving Bakar as a tourist destination.

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