Friday, 16 July 2021

Two Bike Storytelling Trails in Bol Make Brač Tourist Town Unique in the World!

July 16, 2021 - Two bike storytelling trails in Bol on Brač can be heard in three languages and are adapted for blind and partially sighted people!

The demand for the facilities offered by active tourism is growing day by day, and the supply is getting richer. In addition, domestic and foreign guests are increasingly turning to nature, so new hiking and biking trails in Croatian destinations are becoming more numerous.

Although the sun and the sea are still high on the list of demands of many tourists, some of them are looking for something more. As a result, some tourist boards have recognized the "new normal" demands and started preparations before this season, reports HRTurizam.

Thus, three months ago, the Bol Tourist Board on Brač, aware that active tourism is one of the prerequisites for extending the season, presented three new hiking and two new bike trails based on local legends. But as we find out, the story of enriching the offer did not stop there.

“Four years ago, we marked the trails, last year we made maps and told stories for the first time, and now we have put those stories and maps on the info boards. Anyone who can't read the stories can listen to them after reading the QR code on their smartphone. As far as we can see, the info boards are already attracting a lot of attention, and people are stopping, reading, and scanning," said Markito Marinković, director of the Bol Tourist Board.

Thus, the world novelty in Bol cycling was realized in an express period of only a few weeks, which has passed since the design, licensing, production, payment, and installation of signage, info boards, and accompanying software on two Bol cycling trails about 60 kilometers long that have at least one world novelty.

Two Bol cycling trails: 767 - Smell the intoxicating scents of Brač, and 768 - Brač villas from myths and legends, are the world's first Bike Storytelling trails and have their own stories that can be heard in three languages, Croatian, English, and German, using accompanying software, at the locations of large info boards located on the trails. Thus, Bol's storytelling trails are adapted for blind and partially sighted people, at least in the storytelling part.

“Cycling trails with Storytelling are a world novelty, and another novelty is the automatic launch of these stories on a mobile phone in three languages when the QR code is scanned. This morning we agreed with the Split-Dalmatia County Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired to place markers and descriptions in Braille on these codes on the info board, so blind and partially sighted people will be able at least to hear the story of these trails in their language. Furthermore, this morning we were contacted by colleagues from two Austrian tourist regions who are interested in this world novelty in cycling tourism," said Denis Špadina, President of the Cycling Association of Split-Dalmatia County, who added that the trail is not suitable for blind and partially sighted people, but they can feel the beauty on tandem bikes. 

Bicycle paths and new info boards are just one part of the rich tourist offer of Bol, which concerning 2020, records excellent results. According to Marinković, about 73% of tourist traffic has been realized compared to 2019.

Currently, the most numerous are Slovenian tourists, followed by Germans and Croats, who make up 11% of tourists in Bol. This is a large percentage considering that so far domestic tourists in the tourist traffic of Bol made up between four and five percent.

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

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

2021 Zoo Station Bol PWA World Cup Comes to an End, Croatian Competitors 2nd and 3rd!

July 7, 2021 - Polish windsurfer Maciek Rutkowski and Dutch windsurfer Sara Wennekes are the winners of the 2021 Zoo Station Bol PWA World Cup, due to which the world's best windsurfers have occupied Bol on Brač for the past week, thus further attracting and entertaining many tourists and sports enthusiasts.

During six days of competition, 39 men and eleven women competed in a total of 15 separate regattas.

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Roni Marinkovic

Croatian competitor Enrico Marotti was also excellent, finishing second in the overall standings ahead of Matteo Iachin from Italy, and Palma Čargo, who finished second in the foil competition and third in the fin competition. Tuesday-Lou Judd from France was faster than Palma in the fin competition. Luka Mratović was 18th, Matko Jovanović 29th, Ian Anić 32nd, Ivica Podrug 36th, and Mistral Matulja 38th. In the women's competition, Katarina Pelivan was eighth, Lara Bulić ninth, and Urška Kavčič Desnica tenth in the fin competition.

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Clive Bevan

"I was happy to do my best, I rode great, and the equipment was fast and well-chosen. I am very pleased with the results. Congratulations to all the competitors on a great fight, they were all fantastic, and I like this success even more," said Enrico Marotti, from Volosko, a multiple Croatian champion, amateur world champion in 2018 and probably Croatia's best slalom surfer of all time.

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Clive Bevan

Twenty-one-year-old Palma Čargo from Split, who is also preparing for the Olympic Games in Paris 2024, had a similar opinion: “It was wonderful for me to achieve such a good result at home. I felt great the whole regatta, and it was seen in the results. Congratulations to the winner and all the competitors who, I must admit, were not easy to overtake," she said.

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Clive Bevan

This year, PWA Bol took place for the first time on Zlatni rat, and for the first time, it scored points for the championship with the highest number of points, which enabled us to see the best windsurfers in Croatia.

"I am extremely pleased with the regatta and the time it served us; the conditions were fantastic. I am most pleased that Bol has shown itself in its full light as one of the world's most attractive destinations for windsurfing, and it seems to me that Zlatni rat had never looked more beautiful than when it showed its sporting side. I thank the municipality of Bol, the tourist community, and companies for their trust, and I look forward to the arrival of the world's windsurfing elite in Croatia in the coming years," said Toni Bulić, regatta organizer, longtime sports lover, and owner of Zoo station Bol boards in Croatia.

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Clive Bevan

Bol on Brač proved to be a real windsurfing mecca with a strong mistral and generally excellent conditions for the World Cup, which was greatly contributed by the beauty of Zlatni rat. As a result, the world's best windsurfers leave Croatia with great impressions and fond memories that will further promote our tourist and sports offer. Furthermore, competitors in the IQ foil Olympic class come to Zlatni rat in September to compete.

Photos: Roni Marinkovic and Clive Bevan @clivebevanphoto
Recordings: TRIO stories

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

World's Best Windsurfers on Brač for 2021 Zoo Station Bol PWA World Cup!

July 6, 2021 - The Windsurfing World Cup in the slalom discipline is currently underway on Brač - meet the 2021 Zoo Station Bol PWA World Cup!

The strong northwest wind has contributed to the attractiveness of the World Windsurfing Cup on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Until Wednesday, spectators and tourists have the opportunity to watch the competition of the world's best slalom windsurfers who run through the regatta from Zlatni rat to Bol at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

During a total of six days of competition, 39 men and eleven women will compete in a total of 15 separate regattas. Although this is not the first regatta in Bol, it is the first time to score points for the championship with the highest number of points, and therefore the first time that we are watching the cream of world windsurfing in Croatia.

After the first three days in the men's competition, the fastest was Maciek Rutkowski, a distinctive Polish surfer and winner of last year's Bol PWA regatta, ahead of 2019 world champion Basile Jacquin and Dutchman Jordy Vonk. Enrico Marotti, the best Croatian slalom surfer, is currently fourth.

In the women's competition, the fastest is the Dutch Sara Wennekes ahead of the Dutch Fabienne Hoogendam and the French Tuesday Lou-Judd, while Palma Čargo from Split was the fourth and best placed Croatian competitor.

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Clive Bevan

All competitors are delighted with the conditions in Bol and the strong, stable wind ideal for competition. And while the winners won't be known until Wednesday, July 7, the competitors shared their impressions of the competition so far.

"Excellent conditions in Bol; I hope it will stay like this for the following days," said Jordy Vonk, a Dutchman, otherwise a driver for windsurfing equipment manufacturer Duotone.

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Clive Bevan

“It was difficult to choose the right equipment, but this winter, I worked very hard to reach top speed with less equipment, and I knew it would pay off. I knew that a lot would depend on the start, and I was careful to be good, and I succeeded. I hope it will continue to be so, but it is definitely not easy. It is a long week, and there will be more eliminations," said Rutkowski.

"The equipment was fast; I'm looking forward to the competition in the coming days," said Enrico Marotti, from Volosko, a multiple Croatian champion, amateur world champion in 2018, and probably the best slalom surfer of all time. Palma Chargo had a similar opinion: "I had great decisions about the equipment; it was just right for me, I am satisfied," she said.

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Clive Bevan

Last year's Bol PWA regatta was the only one held in 2020 due to the pandemic. Therefore, PWA (Professional Windsurfing Association) decided that this year's regatta in Bol, organized by Zoo Station Bol, will be scored on an equal footing with other well-known competitions, such as the one in Israel in June, and in Sylt in Germany and South Korea. This decision is also why we are currently watching the elite of windsurfing in Bol, which we have not yet had the opportunity to host in our region, and our competitors stand out.

"I am extremely pleased that the world's best surfers have come to us, and it is nice to see them fighting for the title in Bol," said Toni Bulić, regatta organizer, longtime windsurfer, and owner of Bol Zoo station - the cult "station" for sailing on boards in Croatia.

Photos: Clive Bevan @clivebevanphoto

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

2021 WTA Croatia Bol Open Watched by More than 2.7 Million Viewers Worldwide!

June 29, 2021 - The 2021 WTA Croatia Bol Open was a huge success, which is confirmed by the impressive numbers this year alone. Over 2.7 million viewers watched the women's tennis tournament around the world! 

More than 2.7 million viewers in a hundred countries, a commercial value of more than $8.2 million, a total of 84 broadcasting hours - this is what the WTA Croatia Bol Open looks like in terms of numbers.

The semifinal and final on June 11 and 12, thanks to the HTV broadcast, were taken over by 14 stations, including Fox Sports Asia, Eurosport India, London Live, TV Asahi, Dubai Sport. Thus, once again, the positive image of Bol on Brac toured the world from the Caribbean to Indonesia, India, Singapore, Japan, to Africa, the Middle East, and Great Britain.

It is known that tennis players adore this tournament, not only because of the organization but also because of the ambiance. Playing tennis on the island by the sea, near one of the biggest attractions, Zlatni rat beach, is a special experience. In addition, the Bol tournament traditionally opens the summer tourist season, and this year two important events were held with the theme of combining sports and culture - the opening of the "Jadran Lazić: 50 years of photography" exhibition at the Bol Cultural Center and the opening of the museum-gallery space in the Dominican monastery. 

The success of the 15th WTA Croatia Bol Open, led by organizer Feliks Lukas, is even greater given the circumstances in which it was organized - without spectators, with the strictest adherence to epidemiological measures and daily PCR testing at the hotel.

An incredible Croatian event at work, we can't wait to see what the next WTA Croatia Bol tournament will bring! 

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Bol Through the Lens of a Croatian Digital Nomad Permit Holder

June 7, 2021 - Digital nomads give back to communities in various ways. A new series on TCN, following the lens of Steve Tsentserensky, one of the early recipients of the Croatian digital nomad permit. Where better to start than photogenic Bol on Brac?

One of the discussion in Croatia these days surrounds digital nomads. What EXACTLY does Croatia get from digital nomads, especially if they do not have to pay income tax locally with the 12-month permit?

It is a classic Croatian tourism short-term mindset, which has become sadly familiar over the decade I have been writing about the subject. 

For me, there are three key wins for Croatia - and they all cost nothing.

1. Permit holders may not pay tax, but they are spending on rent, food, drink, entertainment once they leave their virtual office. Think of them as long-stay tourists if you will. I never heard of anyone here complaining about tourists spending here.

2. The mindset. This, to me, is one of the most exciting aspects of the digital nomad era. People with fresh ideas, different experiences, stimulating lifestyles. If they are moving to Croatia because it is so great, perhaps Croatia has something to offer, rather than the sad path of emigration. 

3. The fabulous free promo from digital nomads, clearly in love with this beautiful country. They decided to come, love what they find, and want to tell the world how amazing Croatia is - through blogs, Instagram posts and various other forms of social media. Kind of like the national tourist board's job if you like. Only better. 

This series will focus on the last point, the fantastic free promotion of Croatia by these longer term visitors. TCN is delighted to announce a working partnership with one of the early recipients of the digital nomad permit. Steve Tsentserensky from Ohio. Steve first came to my attention with this fabulous video of Zagreb.

We are big fans of Steve's work, and we met recently over a beer or three in Zagreb. Steve will be travelling around the country over the next 12 months (actually, we thing a little longer) documenting Croatia through his lens. We thought it would make a nice feature on the site, as well as showing how just one nomad with the permit is spreading the word about this beautiful country, so that others may see and come. 

And so begins our new series - Croatia through the lens of a Croatian digital nomad permit holder, starting in magnficent Bol. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So I will shut up now. 

You can follow Steve on Instagram.

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Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Brač Trips: 3 True Stories About Hospitality, Safety, and Entertainment on the Island

15 June 2021 - One TCN intern visited Brač three times and learned first-hand about hospitality, safety, and entertainment on the island. Even though these stories are unlikely reproducible, it shows a special atmosphere of the island where you can be a most unprepared and careless tourist and leave your fun up to islanders. A look at three Brač trips!

1. Supetar and Sumartin: before the tourist season

A story to tell about Brac is olives, olives, olives... Along the 40 km from Supetar, the ferry port, and administrative center, to the most eastern town of Sumartin. From time to time, olive trees are changed by other species, but mostly a road view looks really monochrome. The good news is that olive is an evergreen plant, therefore you can come on Brac out of the tourist season.

The bad news is monoculture. That is probably due to historical tradition. People say that during the Venetian rule on Brac no young man was allowed to marry until he had planted a hundred olive trees. Maybe, it also relates to a lack of knowledge about other plants. Some few people in Split can recognize Phillyrea (mock privet) trees, although it is also from the Oleaceae family, a close relative of the olive. A few know how an olive flower looks like while everyone cares only about olive oil. An olive flower is small and appears early. You can see it if you come to Brac from the end of April till the beginning of June.

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A possible reason for the prevalence of olives there is also unpretentiousness. Why plant grapes to constantly tinker with them when you can plant olive trees and don't bother either yourself or your descendants within the next 400 years? In sum, islanders have more time to care about their guests when they care less about the garden! They do care as I've learned from my own experience coming well before the start of the season. There were barely any tourists and no young people on the streets.

There are kindergartens and schools on Brac, but to continue studying, you have to go to the mainland. Unless you've decided to become a stonemason. There is a known school of stonemasons in Pucisca. Besides olives, Brac stone is another export brand of the island. Diocletian's Palace in Split, the most beautiful churches in Croatia, the parliament buildings of Austria and Hungary, and the White House in Washington DC are made of this stone. Returning down to earth it seemed to me that sculpture is quite a popular hobby among the locals, therefore you easily notice interesting sculpting along the roads in villages like Selca and Povlja.

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There are no faculties or universities on Brac. Students who left to study on the mainland unlikely to come during the winter season as well young tourists seeking a beach party paradise on Brac Bol in summer. Thus, I was going to spend my weekend walking and sightseeing alone. I took a bus from Supetar to Sumartin and went other distances between the villages by foot, 24 km in a day. However, I was most impressed by the social kind of entertainment - a village party in Sumartin on Saturday evening. I had done 24 km and wanted to drop dead on my bed for a few hours, but the hostel owner's daughter (of my age) who met me had another plan.  

We have a party up the street. You can come with me. I invite you! - No, thank you. I've walked 24 km. I'm bloody tired, I want to have a rest. Sure, I understand. You need to have a rest...But actually, you know, we are young, we don't need much rest, so, you can go to a party with me! - OK! [I didn't have the energy to argue]

The party was devoted to the end of construction of the ground floor of a house that one young guy from the village built. Village friends had slaughtered and roasted a lamb, they brought homemade wine and olive oil. I felt in the first few minutes my visit was not in vain. 

Organised 'village tours' are not popular among youth, it usually lacks true authenticity that you can meet as an independent tourist. It was the very case for me. I met fishermen, builders who speak only Croatian, students from Split (they speak English). Naturally, they played Balkan turbo-folk music. They were not good at dancing, so when guys didn't know what to do during a 'groovy' song, they grabbed heavy objects (a poker, a barrel, etc.) and began to lift them. Meanwhile, girls did sit-ups crazy fast! 

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I was going to give a dance workshop and climbed up on the table, but two girls jumped in there after me and started a conversation. They literally attacked me with questions, therefore we stood on the table for an hour just chatting. Perhaps, we would never have such a chance at a nightclub party! A chance to meet at the village party a fan of the Russian tv-series 'Kitchen' ('Kuhinja') was even less, but Eni from Brac was flattering a lot to my Russian background. 

The most epic moment happened to me when a son of the owners of the house where we had a party - the biggest house in Sumartin, only the church is higher, - was showing me everything he owned: a house, a gazebo, a grill terrace, a bar, a garden, swimming pools, garages, etc. Let's say, a sightseeing tour accompanied by nice complaints. "When I go somewhere with friends, I pay for everybody... When I show my parents anything I like, they buy it immediately for me... It's so hard to be independent if your parents are rich..." Top complaints, huh? I really had top entertainment that night! Finally, it happens amid a contrast: while some people on Brac apply for EU funds for rural areas development, others suffer from a family abundance. It's a pity and simultaneously a good topic for reflection when you travel before the tourist season.

2. Sutivan and Milna: waiting for a miracle

My second trip to the island of Brac occurred in April. At this time islanders start slowly preparing for the season. A lot of places are still closed, but the atmosphere becomes more welcoming and bracing. Largely, I would say it's a good direction on Brac regardless of the season.

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A little derogation about the 'Su' towns. Su is Latin 'Sv', two letters have a similarity in writing and pronouncing. Sv is short for 'Sveti' (Saint in Croatian). In this way, Supetar is Sveti Petar, Saint Peter's town, Sutivan is Sveti Ivan, Saint Ivan's town, etc. I've already seen Supetar, ferry port, thus I just did a loop for my friend come from Split for the first time. Riva, St. Peter's church, Jobanova Street where you can easily think that Croatia is the most beautiful country in the world - that is Supetar. At the west exit from the city, we found a firehouse. I'm interested in fire departments on islands because they are voluntary, not municipal. Their volunteer showed us an old fire truck donated by Great Britain. When he learned I'm from Russia, he said that his neighbors here are Russian too. A wife lived for 5 years during the Chechen war in the 1990s. A husband is a healthy Russian man, he can drink a liter and a half of vodka. Great job!

We travelled from Supetar to Sutivan on foot. Further movements around the island were planned by bus. Waiting for the bus to Milna I put things from my bag at the bus stop. "Get up! Let's go! Don't forget your phone!" my friend commanded. I answered "No way! I would rather forget my own hand."

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Actually, I paid attention in Milna and noticed a lot of yacht tours on Dalmatian islands do stop on Brac in Milna bay. I liked Milna as soon as the bus began to approach it on the serpentine road. 

On the waterfront (literally 'first line' by the sea) there is an abandoned multi-storey house. I don't know what happened there, but the holes in the ceiling/ floor look terrible. A blockage on the stairs between the first and second floor doesn't let to climb up higher. Anyway, I would not recommend entering a house for safety's sake. In a corridor on the first floor, we found a nice retro 'archive'. A poster inviting for the Final concert of the 3-rd Concert-Opera Seminar in Milna on August 21, 1981, hangs in my room in Split. 

Waiting for a bus back to Supetar we were chatting with my friend at the bus stop. The topic was an exes' birthday: to congratulate or not. I implore you: Do not discuss such topics at the bus stops! When the bus came, I was lost in thought and... I forgot my smartphone at the bus stop. I realized it in a couple of minutes on the bus. But the bus, apparently, goes faster than it seems. I asked a driver to stop. I'd prefer to ask him to turn back to Milna, but we were on the serpentine road. We went 52 min down the serpentine on foot.

Somehow I was sure my phone was still there at the bus stop. It wasn't there! We asked in a nearby cafe - no one knew. We tried another cafe - it was closed. We asked men working at the marina opposite the bus stop - they were really enthusiastic to help me. They actually proved my hypothesis that everyone knows everyone on the island and it's very safe on the island. Men remembered their friend was walking with the children near the bus stop. Through 2-3 contacts we found his number. Unfortunately, he didn't answer the phone. Almost desperate I wandered back to the bus stop looking around.

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A group of people came towards me. "I have nothing to lose," I thought and came to ask them about the phone. And then a woman coming in the front took my phone out from her purse! It was pure luck, because her company was moving to the parking place behind the bus stop to leave Milna. Then we tried our luck again, because we got off the last bus to Supetar. We've overcome the serpentine road before we succeded to flag cars down. One senior man gave us a ride to a crossroad, Supetar was out of his way. Then two young men drove us straight to the ferry to Split. One wondered whether my friend and I are daughters of those Russians who own a mansion somewhere nearby. "No, wait, it was the mansion of a Hungarian oligarch, not Russian," another guy said. Anyway, we were not, so they switched a topic.

3. Bol: ideal summer beach weekend chill trip

I was deliberately postponing a visit to Bol and Zlatni Rat on Brac to the beginning of summer. Out of the season, you always risk being disappointed there, especially when you've already learned something about the prominent horn-shaped beaches (Zlatni Rat in Croatian means 'Golden Cape', or 'Golden Horn'). Golden Horn needs sun to be gold. 

Besides sunny weather needed, a trip to Bol is easily organised leisure that few things could spoil. Ferry boat trips Split-Supetar and bus trips Supetar-Bol matches perfect, thus you don't lose time waiting. Also, it's pleasure to continue with a green promenade from Bol village to Zlatni Rat beach after a mountainy road to Bol. I would, perhaps, aware that there are a lot of people in the season. However, it has some advantages. For instance, my friends and I came on Sunday and saw a wedding on the square in front of the parish church (Zupna crkva Gospe od Karmela) in Bol.

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Returning from the beach we noticed that the return trips to Split are also perfectly matched. Therefore, you have all the possibilities: 1) to have dinner in Bol and go back to Supetar/Split by last trips; 2) to take the second to last bus to Supetar, have dinner there and go to Split by last ferry trip; 3) to go back to Supetar/Split by second to last trips and have dinner in Split. We choose first and enjoyed island hospitality in one of the restaurants in Bol. "Why is the place called Jadranka?" a question came to my mind. "My name is Jadranka," an owner answered to me. She was the only child, and (grand) parents called it after her. With her husband, they cook all dishes and keep this place already for decades. One more sign of true hospitality is that they remembered our friends who visited it two months ago.

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

Friday, 4 June 2021

Everything is Ready for the WTA Croatia Bol Open on Brač!

June 4, 2021 - Everything is ready for the WTA Croatia Bol Open on Brač, from June 7 to 12!

Next week, Bol becomes the center of women's sports again. After a one-year break, the WTA Croatia Bol Open returns to the tennis courts of Bluesun Hotels & Resorts. Along with the main tournament winners Sara Sorribes Tormo and Nadija Podoroska, five Croatian tennis players are coming to Brač thanks to the organizers' invitation, which is a record in the history of Croatian tennis, revealed today's press conference at Split's Artičok restaurant.

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Vladimir Dugandžić, Cropix / Lollipop PR

"Along with Tereza Mrdeža and Tena Lukas, this year Ana Konjuh, Jana Fett and Bernarda Pera, from Zadar with a US passport, are also coming. Thanks to HRT's satellite broadcast, as many as 16 foreign televisions will broadcast the semifinals and finals from Bol to a hundred countries. This year's tournament was organized in impossible conditions. It was difficult to find sponsors when there was no audience, so I am immensely grateful to everyone who supported us," said Feliks Lukas, director of the WTA Croatia Bol Open.

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Vladimir Dugandžić, Cropix / Lollipop PR

He added that 20 tennis players are already arriving on Brač today; the bus is waiting for them at Split Airport. They are being tested immediately in cooperation with one of the most famous epidemiologists, Dr. Marija Parčina. The results are ready by the time they arrive in Bol. Due to the top organization and strict adherence to all epidemiological measures, the WTA has recognized the Bol tournament as a Covid-free destination. This is the first WTA tournament without a bubble zone for tennis players.

The organizers were supported by the Croatia national team players Tereza Mrdeža and Tena Lukas, who achieved the best results in their careers in Bol. Teresa is in top form and is extremely happy that this year, thanks to the invitation, she will skip the qualifications, and Tena is emotionally attached to the tournament in which her entire family participates.

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Vladimir Dugandžić, Cropix / Lollipop PR

"Bol and tennis are loved; they live together," said Markito Marinkovic, director of the Bol Tourist Board of Bol. He said that the tennis center is in a perfect environment, a few minutes from Zlatni rat, one of the most beautiful beaches, and announced a combination of sports and art in the week of the Bol tournament. Well-known photographer Jadran Lazić opens an exhibition of his works and presents his monograph on Thursday, and the Museum of the Dominican Monastery opens on Friday.

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Vladimir Dugandžić, Cropix / Lollipop PR

"The tournament is the start of the season in our hotels, and I would like to thank all our employees who do their best in these challenging times to have successful results. We have great announcements, and we are recording record bookings, even better than in 2019," concluded Hrvoje Veselko, President of the Management Board of Bluesun Hotels & Resorts.

Joško Stella, Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board director, said that this part of Dalmatia has all the prerequisites for the development of sports tourism, and the WTA in Bol is an example of a great tournament organization and a great opportunity to promote Dalmatia and Croatia.

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Vladimir Dugandžić, Cropix / Lollipop PR

This year's 15th WTA Croatia Bol Open, the fifth organized by Feliks Lukas, is held under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and with the support of loyal partners - Split-Dalmatia County and County Tourist Board, Bol Municipality Tourist Board, Bluesun Hotels & Resorts, Adriatic insurance and for the first time Studenac, a well-known Dalmatian retail chain.

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Thursday, 13 May 2021

5th WTA Croatia Bol Open to be held June 7 to 12!

May 13, 2021 - From June 7 to 12, Bol on Brač will again host tennis players at the 5th WTA Croatia Bol Open. Tournament director Feliks Lukas announced on Thursday that, despite the difficult conditions, the tournament would be the strongest so far.

As in previous years, the Bol tournament is part of the WTA 125 series and will be played in parallel with the second week of the Roland Garros Grand Slam tournament in Paris. The WTA Croatia Bol Open prize fund is $115,000, reports T.portal.

The results of the tennis players at Roland Garros will also dictate the draw for the Bol tournament, but the current list looks impressive at the moment.

"We have 13 registered players from the Top 100, and the last one is currently 126th in the WTA rankings. This year, there will be exciting names, some Grand Slam finalists like Sara Errani, players from the Top 5 who used to shine and burn, such as Eugenie Bouchard. What is especially important to me is that all the Bol winners are coming again. Aleksandra Krunić and the best Slovenian tennis player Tamara Zidanšek, who has won the tournament twice, and Luxembourg tennis player Mandy Minella, have announced their arrival. I would especially like to emphasize the invitation for Argentine Nadia Podoroska, who beat Serena Williams in Rome on Wednesday," said Feliks Lukas at a press conference held at Hotel Dubrovnik in Zagreb, where special guests were Croatian tennis players Ana Konjuh and Jana Fett who have a guaranteed invitation to the main tournament.

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Marko Lukunic/PIXSELL

With them, Croatian tennis players Tereza Mrdeža and Tena Lukas should also take part in the tournament, and the list of applicants also includes Bernarda Pera from Zadar, who plays for the US. 

"I would like to thank Feliks for trying to organize the tournament even in these difficult times. It means a lot to all of us, especially the Croatian tennis players. We will see how Roland Garros will fare, and we may not even play. But if not, it is a good consolation to be at home. Bol, where the organization is always at the top level," said Ana Konjuh, who in her only Bol performance (2016) reached the semifinals. Due to a back injury, she had to hand over the match to the ultimate winner, Luxembourg's Mandy Minelli.

Ana's result was repeated in 2018 by Tena Lukas, who was defeated in the semifinal by Slovenian Tamara Zidanšek on her way to her first of two consecutive titles in Bol, which she will come to defend this year.

Vrbovec resident Jana Fett performed in 2019 but did not pass the first round.

"I am thrilled that Bol will be held this year. It is one of my favorite tournaments, as it is at home, and the atmosphere and organization are always great. Bol is a nice place, and I am really looking forward to playing there again. I hope that I will reach at least the final, if not me then one of us," said Fett.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year's edition of the WTA Croatia Bol Open was canceled, as were all tennis competitions scheduled to take place between mid-March and early August 2020. This year's edition will be played under strict epidemiological measures, which include testing all tennis players upon arrival and after five days and all people in the organization who will come into direct contact with them.

"At the moment, the Civil Protection Headquarters' decision that there is no audience at sports competitions is still in force. We believe that some measures will be eased by the beginning of the tournament because the tournament is outdoors and we have excellent conditions. Of course, we are ready to hold the tournament under the measures in force," said the tournament director, referring in particular to the difficult conditions in organizing this year's tournament.

"Our budget has never been smaller, the sponsors also never fewer, but our results as organizations are never stronger. We need to tip our hats off to the sponsors who remain."

In addition to tennis, the Bol tournament is also proud of the accompanying events organized as part of the tournament, and they will not be missing this year either.

"In the last edition, we shot the official video of the famous pianist Lola Astanova, which was watched by more than a million people, which was a huge promotion, and it all happened as part of the WTA tournament. This year, our theme is a combination of art and sports, so that world-famous photographers, such as Jadran Lazić and Čedo Komljenović, will come to Bol. Jadran Lazić will present a monograph of his opus exclusively in Bol. As part of the tournament program, we will have the opening of the Museum of the Dominican Convent in Bol," announced Lukas and concluded:

"Every year, Bol has made a significant contribution to the promotion of Croatian tourism, and this year it is of great importance to show the world that Croatia is a safe destination."

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Bol on Brac Island Secures Antigen Tests in Preparation for Season

April the 13th, 2021 - The beautiful destination which draws visitors from all over the world for its globally famous beach, Bol on Brac island, has put in firm preparations for the 2021 tourist season this summer and has secured antigen tests.

As Marta Duic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Tourist Board of Bol on Brac island, in close cooperation with the local general medical practice operated by Dr. Markica Tomic, agreed to conduct antigen tests for the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, today (Tuesday, April the 13th), in order to enable its foreign guests to stay in Bol as and safely and securely as possible.

Owing to the aforementioned move, foreign visitors will very quickly have information on whether any virus doing its rounds around the island is the novel coronavirus or some other respiratory infection.

Beautiful Bol is also the first island town in Split-Dalmatia County to provide an antigen testing service, which is another indicator of the responsibility of this entire place and a sign of the serious preparations for the upcoming season being underway.

During the month of April, they plan to vaccinate most of the local tourism workers, and by the end of May, the local population is expected to be vaccinated in the amount of 50 percent.

Brac Airport currently has announced flights from Ljubljana, Dusseldorf, Zagreb, Vienna and Linz, and all of these flights and indeed those yet to be announced are adapting to the current challenging epidemiological situation, and the start of air traffic to this Central Dalmatian island is expected only during the second half of May.

The Director of the Airport, Mr. Tonci Peovic, pointed out that testing for coronavirus antigen testing will be organised at the invitation of individual tour operators or airlines. At the end of April, the first of Bols hotels have plans to finally open their doors, the proper face masks will be available to all guests, and all necessary and defined epidemiological measures and protocols will be adhered to.

PCR test can also be done in Supetar.

All information and contacts can be found at bol.hr

CROATIAN INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC HEALTH (Supetar)

Address: Mladena Vodanovića 24, Supetar

Test type: PCR

Testing time: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 07.45 - 8.15h (advanced booking is mandatory)

Price: 400,00 kn (450,00 kn in English)

Tel: +385 21 631 755

For more on this Croatian island, check out Brac in a Page, updated for 2021 here.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Croatia's Most Famous Beach, Zlatni Rat: A Heart for Petrinja?

January 2, 2021 - Nature is behaving very unpredictably at the moment in Croatia with the Petrinja earthquakes - the latest example a heart for Petrinja on Croatia's most famous and iconic beach, Zlatni Rat in Bol. 

Nothing seems normal at the moment in Croatia. 

And while there is an outpouring of prayer and support from people all over Croatia (indeed, all over the world), is Mother Nature also sending her support for the victims of the recent earthquake in Petrinja and surrounding area?

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Earlier today, we reported on the cloud in the shape of Croatia that hung in the sky above Sisak as the earthquake struck, beautifully captured by Antonija Kmetovic

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A little further south yesterday, on the island of Brac, sharp-eyed photographer Darko Čaleta noticed something rather unusual through his lens from the top of Croatia's tallest mountain, at Vidova Gora, the peak of Brac. Croatia's most famous beach, Zlatni Rat, often shifts position with more extreme weather, and yesterday was no exception, as its tip veered left. And in the movement, it left something quite beautiful and filled with sea-water. Was this indeed a heart for Petrinja? With thanks for Darko for permission to use the photo (above is zoomed in, the original is at the top of this article - you can follow Darko on Facebook).

The timing would indicate that it might be, coming on the same day as the mayor of Supetar (on the same island) pledged to build a house for the first child born in Croatia in 2021 - born just 15 seconds into the New Year, young Daris was born in a hospital in Sisak, into a family from Petrinja whose home had been destroyed and who had been sleeping in their car until the birth. 

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The Zlatni Rat heart for Petrinja is not the first unusual sighting due to the weather on Bol's iconic beach. Five years ago, water also appeared in the very same spot, and an enterprising (if slightly crazy) local decided to use the opportunity to indulge in the Dalmatian sport of picigin, which involves flying through the air wearing just Speedos, as you can see from the video below.  

For more on the Petrinja earthquake and to see how you can donate money, food, humanitarian, sanitary and material aid, follow our dedicated section.

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