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.


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."


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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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, 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.


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.


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.


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.

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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.


Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Bakar, Unassuming Croatian Town Full of Impressive Achievements

Bakar, a small town in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County isn't on everyone's ''must visit'' list. Far from sharing the exposure of much more popular, larger Croatian destinations like Dubrovnik or Split, or even Zagreb, Bakar has an industrial past and was late to the tourism game, therefore it usually isn't on the radars of keen foreign visitors, even if they're already visiting other areas in the increasingly popular Kvarner region.

Despite its issues when it comes to succeeding as a tourist destination, the pretty town of Bakar has more stories to tell than one might first expect.

As Morski/Silvia Jacic writes on the 24th of June, 2019, at the turn of the nineteenth century, Bakar was embedded in industry, it was the largest Croatian town in terms of the the number of its permanent inhabitants, and the revival of its former glory, the majority of which is either unknown or lost with the passage of time, has been re-awakened in the tourist sense. This beautiful little town in Kvarner is combining its past and its present for visitors.

Bakar's traditional summer event which is held from the 29th of June to the 27th of July, 2019, will be marking some of the most celebrated moments of this town's long and surprisingly rich history that will, in conjunction with fun for all generations, be a good occasion to come and visit beautiful Bakar.

The sounds of Baroque music will resound through the streets of the town on the 29th of June at the opening of this summer's event, where you will be able to take a stroll back in time through the history with Maria Theresa, who, a whole 240 years ago, granted Bakar the status of a free royal town.

This year's walk through history will be in the spirit of the period of time dominated by the fascinating ruler Maria Theresa, and encompass the deep traces she left in this coastal town's local history. You'll be able to find out much more in Marjeta Trkman Kravar's detailed tour. You will also be able to visit the Baroque castle, which will also take you back in time with its various events.

The maritime battle is an unmissable event in Bakar's history, the manifestation dedicated to which will celebrate the last, unsuccessful attack by the Venetians, who carried out similar attacks in various parts of modern day Croatia, and for which nearly 15,000 people visit the town each year in the middle of July.

Pay it a visit yourself on the 13th of July on the anniversary of this significant battle, which will disturb the peace of the night with a veritable ''welcome'' to Venetian sailboats with cannons, troops of the Croatian Army from various periods of history and from all over Croatia will also be present.

The successful defense of Bakar will be celebrated with a spectacular firework display that will bring Bakar back to its old, glorious splendor. Children can also count on great entertainment because they will have a special program organised for them called The Little Maritime Battle under the sponsorship of INA with a lot of content and the possibility to visit a Croatian Navy ship.

This event is a great opportunity to taste the many delicacies made by Bakar's local producers, and traditional dishes prepared by the hands of local caterers will be waiting for you at every corner.

The aforementioned maritime battle is one of the most important events in Bakar's long history, but a visit to this Kvarner town during the warm summer months will bring you to another, extremely important "maritime story" which reveals even more about Bakar's rich maritime past.

In its much more famous days, Bakar was a seafaring town which relied heavily on that industry, therefore the most important moment for the development of maritime affairs in the town was certainly the founding and the opening of the Bakar Maritime School, which began operating back in 1849, 66 years before the founding of the same, much more famous school in London!

The Maritime School in Bakar is the oldest vocational school in the whole of the Republic of Croatia, and it's fascinating to know that it had the first Maritime School merchant navy vessel not only in the Adriatic sea, but also in the entire Mediterranean.

The Bakar Tourist Board started work back in 2009, fifteen years after the closing of Koksara, a symbol of Bakar's more industrial past, long before tourism was ever a focus for this coastal area.

Although burdened with the traces the town's industrial past had left on it, as well as its total isolation in comparison to the much more developed Kvarner, in the sense of tourism, the Bakar Tourist Board has been persistent for ten years in an effort to achieve what many considered to be impossible - to turn Bakar into a desirable excursion destination despite obstacles.

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