Thursday, 25 August 2022

Foreign Police Officers in Croatia Get to Work on Brac Island

August the 25th, 2022 - Foreign police officers often appear in Croatia as part of a wider project of which the Republic of Croatia is a part. Brac island has recently been richer for several foreign officers who made themselves available to visitors.

As Morski writes, foreign police officers from Poland, Slovakia, France, Germany and Italy have been on Brac island in Central Dalmatia as part of the "Safe Tourist Destination" project recently.

As part of the "Safe Tourist Destination" project, the group of foreign police from the aforementioned group of countries accompanied by a police officer from the Chief's Office and police officers from the Brac Police Station visited Brac island yesterday. Their host was the head of the Brac Police Station, Zarko Smajic, who was their guide.

The group of foreign police officers toured the town of Supetar, where they also met with the mayor of the town of Supetar, Ivana Markovic, who welcomed them warmly to this very popular island. In the municipality of Postira, they met with the mayor, Sinisa Marovic. Leaders of local communities have long since supported this unique project of the Ministry of the Interior (MUP), which enables foreign police officers to stay and work in the Republic of Croatia during the main summer tourist season.

During their stay on Brac island, the foreign police officers talked with foreign tourists about various different topics.

During their engagements with others in public places, the police made themselves readily available to foreign tourists, all with the aim of providing information and advice to make their stay in Croatia even more pleasant.

The Republic of Croatia is a safe tourist destination and is recognised as such all over the world, and this was once again emphasised by foreign tourists in their conversation with foreign police officers on Brac island.

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

Saturday, 30 July 2022

Number of Great New films on this Year’s Brač Film Festival

July 30, 2022 - Idyllic summer cinema opens doors on 10th of August for the 8th edition of Brač Film Festival.

From 10th to 13th of August, summer cinema in Supetar on the island of Brač will be again hosting this remarkable film event. Through 4 days audiences will be able to see diverse film program made by first and second time filmmakers.

Real treats for all film buffs

Main programme is held in summer cinema every evening at 9:30PM where one short student film will be screened before a feature film. Screening of short films is designated for promotion of film students from the region. This year BFF will be featuring films “Gunz and Helmets”, “Crisis”, “Džonika” and “Sound Mixer”.

For the first evening, Brač Film Festival will screen the film Savages (dir. Dario Lonjak). This action-comedy brings story of three fans of the Croatian football team who mistakenly find themselves inside a terrorist camp!

The second evening will feature film As Far as I Can Walk (dir. Stefan Arsenijević) that had premiere on a prestige Karlovy Vary Film Festival where it received numerous awards

Third evening brings the highly anticipated film “Staffroom” (dir. Sonja Tarokić). Film is claimed from by the Croatian Associations of film critics as “definitely one of the best Croatian films in the recent history”. The film was awared on Pula with 5 Golden Arenas, including the Golden Arena for Best Film.

On the closing day of the Festival BFF will screen the sport drama Golden Boy (dir. Ognjen Janković). The film tells the story about 20-year old perspective football player who finds it hard to deal with all the expectations of the professional football league.

Films for kids, too!

From the very beginnings Brač Film Festival chearishes importance of the screenings for kids as their first encounter with the seventh art! Screenings of children film will be held on the summer stage behind the church every evening at 9pm. Films are suitable for kids aged 6+. Popular domestic film “How I learned how to fly” will kids be able to see before anyone, as right after the festival film goes into distribution. The film brings story of 12 year old Sofia, whose summer on Hvar turns into a real adventure. Kids programme will also feature films awarded on international film festivals, such as “Comedy Queen” and “Nelly Rapp: Monster agent” and animated films “Even mice belong to Heaven” and “Egg”.

This year’s Festival bring diverse programme. Due to high demand it’s important to get tickets in advance. Whole programme is available at the website: https://bracfilmfestival.hr/en/

To learn more about the island, check out the Total Croatia Brac in a Page guide.

Monday, 18 July 2022

Brac Island: Unmissable Coastal and Inland Destinations

July 18, 2022 - Brac island already has a solid reputation and may not need more advertising, but for those curious who want to see the island beyond Zlatni rat (Golden horn), here are some must-see destinations.

Brac island is the highest and third largest among the more than 1,000 Croatian islands, and it is thanks to this vast territory that it has numerous and varied destinations to visit. While it is true that Brac island has become popular in recent years thanks to the highly recognizable Zlatni Rat in Bol, it would be unfair to reduce such an island to just one beach. It could be said without hesitation that Brac island has something for everyone, from olive oil to adventure sports. The island has spectacular hiking trails, interesting towns both on its coast and inland, and even a museum dedicated exclusively to olive oil.

Due to its proximity to the Croatian mainland, specifically to the City of Split, Brac island is easily reachable by ferries and catamarans, as well as with small boats that offer daily tours. The main ports of the island are Supetar (from Split), Milna (from Split), Bol (from Split and Dubrovnik), and Sumartin (from Makarska). If you plan to visit Brac island via any of these ports, consider checking out these destinations.

Supetar

If you find yourself vacationing in Split, especially in the south of the city, it is difficult not to recognize Supetar from a distance. It is undoubtedly the best reachable destination from the Dalmatian city due to the high frequency of ferries that take you to Supetar from the port of Split. However, this does not stop it from being a town that deserves all your attention. Supetar has many cultural events, and numerous beaches to choose from. It also serves as a starting point for various themed trails on the island, including Via Brattia, which you can learn more about here.

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Photo: Mario Romulić

Sutivan

Just 13 minutes by car from Supetar, Sutivan lies on the northwest coast of the island of Brač. It is a small picturesque destination with a Mediterranean vibe and beautiful pebble beaches stretching west. Numerous cultural landmarks, various events, and sports activities make it a good place for a pleasant vacation. Despite having its fair share of beaches, another great way to spend your time in Sutivan is learning about its diverse religious heritage, by visiting St. Rocco's Church or St. John's Church. Likewise, Sutivan is a friendly town for bicycles, in addition to having trails both by land and also for diving.

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Image: Sutivan Tourist Board

Splitska

East of Supetar is Splitska, just a 9-minute drive away. Splitska is a settlement developed in the 16th century, after the foundation in the 13th century was destroyed by pirates from Omiš.  Historically, the stone of Brač was transported from the port of Splitska, which was used to build Diocletian's Palace in Split. Splitska is a small and quiet place, ideal for families and travelers looking for a peaceful vacation. 

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Photo: Mario Romulić

Postira

Postira, located 7 minutes east of Splitska, is a town founded in the 16th century and today has a great tourist offer that successfully unites its agricultural and fishing traditions. In addition to having a wide variety of beaches and accommodations, Postira definitely stands out for its countless activities to do, since Postira is home to the World Olive Picking Championship. Yes, you heard it right. During the fall, in the olive picking season, teams made up of people from all over the world gather in Postira to compete against each other to see who picks the most olives. You can learn more here.

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Image: Postira Tourist Board

Pučišća

This list is of destinations that you cannot miss, but there are some destinations that you simply cannot miss. For me, one of those destinations is Pučišća, on the northeast coast of Brač. Pučšića is the largest settlement on the island of Brač, and is known not only for its picturesque buildings but also for the stonemasonry tradition of its famous school, the best examples of which are erected throughout the town, visible also in its beautiful harbor. Pučšića is an excellent destination to spend relaxing days, where you can enjoy beautiful beaches, spectacular local food and top quality olive oil.

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Photo: Mario Romulić

Povlja

This picturesque village exudes peace and quiet and is ideal for a vacation away from the hustle and bustle of the larger tourist destinations on the island. Povlja is surrounded by numerous bays, ideal for enjoying the abundant sun and crystal clear sea. Don't forget to visit one of the most spacious sacred buildings of its kind in Croatia, an early Christian basilica with a baptistery from the 6th century. Two legends are associated with Povlja. It is believed that St. Jelena, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, was originally from Brač and was taken to Constantinople via Povalje. Another legend says that St. Ivan, who is the patron saint of the place, walked on the sea and drove away the plague with his sermons.

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Photo: Mario Romulić

Pražnica

Who says that the only destinations worth visiting on Brač are on its coast? Being the highest island in Croatia is no surprise that its inland hides incredible villages with a lot of history. One of them is Pražnica, a small medieval town, 7 km south of Pučišća. Surrounded by numerous pastures, livestock farming has developed in the village, and rural tourism is also developing nowadays. Many visitors enjoy traditional Brač delicacies here, such as the famous Brač cheese, lamb on a spit, homemade olive oil, and high-quality Brač wines.

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Photo: kruno/Flickr

Nerežišća

Fifteen minutes west of Pražnica, also inland on the island of Brač, the village of Nerežišća is located. As a district, Nerežišća comprises much of the interior of the island of Brač, as well as part of the southern coast of the island. Nerežišća is one of the smaller settlements on Brač, with a population of less than 1,000, but was once the capital of the island, built inland rather than on the coast as protection from pirates who sailed long ago. Nerežišća is an ideal destination to feel closely the rural life on the island, without being far from the paradisiacal beaches. An unmissable landmark is a chapel with a bonsai, located in the center of town.

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Photo: Argo Navis/Wikimedia Commons

Sumartin

Located on the easternmost point of the island of Brač, Sumartin is an increasingly popular tourist destination. It is also the youngest settlement on the island, which was founded by settlers from the mainland in the 17th century fleeing the Turkish invaders. Aside from its popular and beautiful beaches, you'll find numerous coves and hidden beaches that can only be reached by boat. Fans of active tourism will surely enjoy exploring the hiking and biking trails that lead through ancient olive groves and vineyards, offering unique Mediterranean scenes. Sumartin is a popular destination not only for those already on the island of Brač, but also for those in the Makarska Riviera, as both towns are directly connected by a ferry line.

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Image: Selca Tourist Board

Milna

Milna, located on the western tip of the island of Brač, is perhaps one of the most popular destinations, not only due to its connection by catamaran from the port of Split but also because it is a beautifully hidden bay with numerous coves and beaches, protected of storms in the region. With an identity strongly marked by its fishing and sailing traditions, Milna is today a popular destination for tourists during the summer season. If you are looking for spectacular events, you will not want to miss the Mrduja Tug of War, an event that takes place every last Saturday of July, where the inhabitants and guests of the islands of Brač and Šolta compete to define who owns the islet of Mrduja. Learn more here.

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Photo: Mario Romulić

Bol

Bol, what else can be said about this destination that is not already known? Well, believe it or not, a lot. Known worldwide for its spectacular and beautiful beach, Zlatni Rat, Bol has an endless offer of experiences for all types of visitors. Being the oldest settlement on the coast of the island of Brač, the heritage that can be found in the village is a matter of wonder for those history buffs. Likewise, its beaches are praised by windsurfers and kitesurfers alike. Bol is located on the southern coast of the island and is reachable not only from Split and Dubrovnik but also for those looking to do a bit of island hopping, with the possibility of traveling from Hvar as well.

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Photo: Mario Romulić

Murvica

Also on the south coast of the island of Brač, 6 kilometers west of Bol, our last unmissable destination is located: Murvica. Although it contrasts with other destinations mentioned in this list, due to its small size (Murvica has a population of just over 20 inhabitants), it is absolutely worth being included in your itinerary, since you will not only find beautiful beaches, but also the Dragon's Cave, whose incredible stone carvings have never been properly explained. Zoran, a very enthusiastic local guide, provides an outstanding experience.

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Photo: Mario Romulić

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

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Six Brač Airport Routes to Operate this Summer from Zagreb, Italy, Austria, Slovakia

May 11, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as six Brač Airport routes from Zagreb, Italy, Austria, and Slovakia have been announced this summer!

In April this year, Brač Airport accepted and dispatched 137 passengers, most of whom flew on the domestic line to Zagreb, which had just begun operating. And now, six flights to Brač Airport have been announced for this year's summer flight schedule, reports Croatian Aviation

Namely, this year, Brač Airport will again be directly connected to Zagreb by the regular PSO line of the Croatian national airline, Croatia Airlines. This line already operates every Tuesday and Saturday, and Croatia Airlines will conduct a number of charter flights from this Croatian airport to Austria and Slovakia, just like last summer.

In addition to the announced SkyAlps flights to Bolzano and Milan (Bergamo), which will operate from mid-May and early July, Brač will also have regular Croatia Airlines charter flights to Linz and Graz!

The charter line to Graz will start soon, on May 14, while the line to Linz will start on May 21. In addition, Croatia Airlines will again operate on the charter line between Bratislava and Brač from the beginning of July this year.

As for the announced regular and charter flights, there will be traffic on Brač on Saturday from the beginning of July, and six landings and six take-offs to the mentioned destinations have been announced. 

In the first four months of this year, Brač received and dispatched a total of 195 passengers, and the numbers will grow significantly in May.

"This year, Croatia Airlines will operate flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays. There is an announcement of a flight from Bratislava, then Bolzano Bergamo and Vienna and Graz, which Croatia Airlines operates mainly for guests of the hotel "Bretanide." We hope that the season ahead of us, despite the events in Ukraine, will still be good. Our projections are between 80 and 90 percent of the 2019 tourism results. We’ll see how the season goes. It is difficult to predict in advance what the situation will be like. However, the preparations are going well, and we expect good tourist results," Brač Tourist Board director Markito Marinković said last month.

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

Friday, 6 May 2022

Second SkyAlps Brač Line Announced this Summer from Milan

May 6, 2022 - The latest flight news to Croatia as the second SkyAlps Brač line has been announced, this time connecting Milan and Brač Airport. 

Italian airline SkyAlps has announced its second route to Brač Airport in this year's summer flight schedule, reports Croatian Aviation

Namely, on May 21 this year, SkyAlps will introduce a regular seasonal line between Brač and Bolzano, an Italian city in the Trentino region. From the end of May, this line will operate once a week, every Saturday, serviced by DashQ400 aircraft with a capacity of 78 passengers.

However, this Italian airline also sold tickets on the second route to Brač, which was expected given that the flight schedule for Bolzano left enough space for another rotation of the aircraft to or from Brač.

Thus, from July 9 this year, SkyAlps will introduce a regular seasonal line between Milan and Brač (Bergamo Airport), which will be in operation until mid-September. The Italian airline will offer a total of 4,680 seats from or to Brač, and tickets for both routes can be purchased on the airline's official website.

Brač Airport opened the 2022 season last month with Croatia Airlines. 

Croatia Airlines will connect the Croatian capital and Brač airport twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Departure from Zagreb's Franjo Tuđman Airport will be at 13:45, while the plane from Brač airport will depart at 15:05. 

"This year, Croatia Airlines will operate flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays. There is an announcement of a flight from Bratislava, then Bolzano Bergamo and Vienna and Graz, which Croatia Airlines operates mainly for guests of the hotel "Bretanide." We hope that the season ahead of us, despite the events in Ukraine, will still be good. Our projections are between 80 and 90 percent of the 2019 tourism results. We’ll see how the season goes. It is difficult to predict in advance what the situation will be like. However, the preparations are going well, and we expect good tourist results," Tourist Board director Markito Marinković said last month.

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

Monday, 18 April 2022

2022 Brač Airport Season Opens, Excellent Results Expected this Year

April 18, 2022 - The 2022 Brač Airport season officially opened last weekend as the first Croatia Airlines flight from Zagreb landed on the island. 

Shortly after 14:30 on Saturday, the first passenger plane of Croatia Airlines landed at Brač Airport. Nineteen passengers were on the domestic flight, which opened this year's season. Two passengers left the Brač runway on the same plane for Zagreb, reports Brač Danas.

Croatia Airlines will connect the Croatian capital and Brač airport twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Departure from Zagreb's Franjo Tuđman Airport will be at 13:45, while the plane from Brač airport will depart at 15:05. The first passengers at the airport were welcomed by the director of the Bol Tourist Board, Markito Marinković.

"This year, Croatia Airlines will operate flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays. There is an announcement of a flight from Bratislava, then Bolzano Bergamo and Vienna and Graz, which Croatia Airlines operates mainly for guests of the hotel "Bretanide." We hope that the season ahead of us, despite the events in Ukraine, will still be good. Our projections are between 80 and 90 percent of the 2019 tourism results. We’ll see how the season goes. It is difficult to predict in advance what the situation will be like. However, the preparations are going well, and we expect good tourist results," director Marinković said, adding that the number of visits to websites and social networks has increased in the last two weeks.

During last year's tourist season, given the complex, almost impossible air transport due to the unfortunate coronavirus pandemic, the emphasis in many tourist destinations, including Bol, was placed on car guests, i.e., tourists from countries closer to Croatia. Marinković confirmed that car guests would prevail this year as well.

"Emphasis will be placed on guests from Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland. And here, we will monitor the situation and see how it will develop. Interestingly, Great Britain and France are waking up, so the results from those countries will certainly be much better compared to the past two years."

The director of the Bol Tourist Board said that Vitar Hotel opened in Bol and that Bretanide Hotel will open its doors to guests next weekend. Bluesun hotels are undergoing a thorough renovation, so they are expected to open in early June.

"If we managed to be at 70 percent last year, then this year we can be at 80 to 90 percent of tourist traffic," Marinković concluded. 

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 28 February 2022

From Bol to Makarska: 16th WTA Makarska Open Hosted by Valamar Announced!

February 28, 2022 - After 15 successful years in Bol, the popular WTA tournament will move to Makarska for the first-ever Makarska Open hosted by Valamar!

After 15 successful years in Bol, the time has come for a new destination, say the organizers of the WTA tournament. Its 16th edition will be held from May 30 to June 5 in Makarska! 

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The magnificent sea view, great atmosphere, and excellent organization are again the strongest assets of the famous sporting event, which features the best-ranked female tennis players from Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovakia, Montenegro, Italy, China, Luxembourg, Serbia, Slovenia, and Croatia - and all the winners regularly return! 

"First of all, I would like to thank Bol, its residents, and all partners on Brač for the exceptional cooperation over the past six years of leading this tournament. They were great hosts; we breathed as one and lived for this event. But the time has come for new energy and a new place. The city of Makarska, with a long sports tradition, and Valamar Riviera as a leading tourist group are the right partners for the growth and future of our event. I am convinced that this year we will bring the best of women's tennis and create a real sports spectacle in the pre-season," said Felix Lukas, director of the WTA tournament, which this year has a new name - WTA Makarska Open hosted by Valamar.

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WTA leader Steve Simon says Croatia has always supported women’s tennis and the WTA tournament.

"Croatia is a country with exceptional success and history in organizing top tournaments dating back to 1991. We are looking forward to the Makarska Open continuing our WTA story on the beautiful Croatian coast," says Simon.

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Global promotion of Makarska

"We are on a good path to turn Makarska into one of the better destinations in Europe. From the first day, our goal is to bring globally recognizable events such as the WTA tournament to our city below Biokovo. I am extremely proud that we managed to bring such a prestigious tournament to Makarska and the cooperation of the City, WTA, and Valamar, which proved to be an outstanding partner to the local community. The WTA tournament in Makarska is the first and significant step in realizing our vision of Makarska as a desirable tourist and sports destination. I am sure that the tournament will help us get on the map of destinations that offer tourists new experiences and interesting content," says Zoran Paunović, the mayor of Makarska.

Makarska locals are looking forward to promoting their city, the arrival of top tennis players, and exciting matches, and they hope that they will be great hosts like Bol.

Split-Dalmatia County could not hide their satisfaction that this tournament is still being organized in the region. 

"This is a significant international sports event that promotes our county, the whole of Dalmatia and Croatia. Thanks to its extremely positive atmosphere, this tournament is recognized, and I am convinced that it will be the same in Makarska, another beautiful Dalmatian destination. From the beginning, Split-Dalmatia County has supported the WTA tournament, which sends a picture of optimism to the world, and we all need that in these challenging times," said Blaženko Boban, County Prefect of Split-Dalmatia County.

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Valamar is investing in the renovation of the Tennis Center.

"The development of the destinations in which we operate is part of Valamar's strategy of socially responsible business. Therefore, we are looking forward to this new partnership and that we will be the general sponsors of the WTA Makarska Open tennis tournament, which we will be proud to host for at least three years, for which we have signed a contract so far. By sponsoring this tournament, which includes an investment in the renovation of the Makarska Tennis Center, which will be the venue of the tournament, but also the reconstruction of the Dalmacija Places Hotel, which will be officially opened during the tournament, we prove how much Valamar Group believes in Makarska as a destination and its tourism development," said Alen Benković, Senior Vice President for Development, Property Maintenance and Technical Services at Valamar Riviera and President of the Management Board of Imperial Riviera.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

A Croatian First: Šolta-Brač Underwater Tunnel Planned, Valued at EUR 50 million

January 19, 2022 - It has taken seven years for the Šolta-Brač underwater tunnel project to get a more concrete status in the Split-Dalmatia County Spatial Plan. 

The status change took place in the third amendment, adopted in December last year. As a result, the essential provision on considering the possibility of underwater connections between the two central Dalmatian islands was replaced by classifying the project in the network of state roads to be built, Slobodna Dalmacija writes.

According to the plan, on the Šolta side, the entrance to the tunnel would be in the Livka area, and on the Brač side at the Milna point. Connecting roads would, of course, lead to the entrance. It will be the first underwater tunnel in Croatia and cost around 50 million euros.

"The initiative for change came from us," emphasizes Nikola Cecić Karuzić, Mayor of Šolta, stating the reasons for which they were guided.

"The interest of Šolta is that by connecting with a large island, it would get the shortest access to the Brač Airport and thus connect with the whole world. In summer, we would have ferry lines all day, now during the season, we have six, and in winter, four, while Brač has at least twice as many.

There are also several high schools on Brač, so our children, who are still studying there primarily for occupations in the hospitality industry, could travel to classes every day by organized transport. But, of course, this would also affect the development of agriculture.

On Šolta, the inhabitants are mainly engaged in sheep farming as a hobby, and at the moment, there are 23,000 sheep on the neighboring shoal. They keep them for agriculture, they fence the olive groves, and the sheep sprout thorns," the leader of Šolta tirelessly enumerates and explains:

"It would also have a positive impact on tourism. If there are up to 100,000 tourists on Brač in the summer, imagine what percentage would come to us, the flow of people and goods, how many activities could take place. These are all advantages of connecting with an island that is more developed than us."

Cecić Karuzić also notes that talks on this project have already been held in the competent ministries and announced the imminent start of obtaining documentation.

The financial side would be solved almost entirely with European Union funds, counting on a share from the treasury in Brussels of 85 or even 90 percent.

"We are interested in helping in preparing documentation and even financially as much as we can," says the Mayor of Šolta.

Šolta and Milna are, therefore, in agreement, but although the initiative to build the infrastructure facility is local, connecting the two islands is a state road, which means that the project will be under the jurisdiction of Hrvatske Ceste.

Until then, according to Zoran Botić, an expert advisor at the County Institute for Spatial Planning, inclusion in the Spatial Plan means that a corridor has been reserved so that the tunnel can be built. In any case, construction will be complex, demanding, and not cheap.

The Šolta-Brač underwater tunnel would be about 900 meters long, with 750 meters undersea since the entrances to the tunnel start on land.

"The width would be up to 18 meters with separate pedestrian and service corridors, and the internal height for vehicles at least five meters. It would be built of prefabricated pipes of individual lengths of 50 to 100 meters that would be laid in a planum made at the bottom. Part of it would be buried because the depth of the sea above the tunnel should be from 12 to 15 meters so that even the largest ships can sail unhindered."

The limitation of the longitudinal slope of tunnels should also be mentioned, for which the existing regulations should be corrected, i.e., harmonized with the world regulations for underwater tunnels. The higher longitudinal slope of the tunnel was once strictly limited due to the exhaust gases of vehicles, and today in this area, significant progress has been made in the construction of modern cars.

Indeed, tunnel ventilation remains a significant and unavoidable expense. The construction material must be high-strength concrete, waterproof, and resistant to the influence of salt. Croatian builders already have experience in the construction of large bridges and maritime structures.

Modern insulating materials in the form of various concrete admixtures and insulating coatings also enable significant savings," Botić said. 

In assessing the value of the investment, he started by noting that the construction of an underwater tunnel is twice as expensive as that on land or by building a bridge:

"Based on the cost of building such projects in the world, this would cost between 40 and 50 million euros."

As for the deadlines for implementation, Botić says no less than two years for obtaining the documentation:

"This deadline is realistic, especially for projects that have not been done so far, but also given the demanding environmental impact study, while the construction itself will take two and a half to three years."

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Summer in Croatia Through the Lens of Croatian Photographer Timotej Gošev

November 20, 2021 - ''I want people to look at my photographs, and simply desire to be right there in the place their eyes are seeing'', says Timotej Gošev, better known as Timotej on Instagram, inviting thousands of people every day to experience the Adriatic summer through his photographs. Total Croatia News managed to interview the photographer with Varaždin roots.

In what ways can photography positively impact the promotion of tourism in Croatia? The question may sound simple to answer, but nowadays photography can be manipulated in such a way that the first impression of a tourist upon arriving at his destination is one of disappointment. It happens in many parts of the world. The use of visual content, to be used responsibly and strategically, can be essential to make Croatia known around the world.

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Krivica Cove and beach, Lošinj (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Now I live in Croatia, but for 24 years of my life, my only reference was what I saw on the internet and on social networks. Now that I have spent two summers here, I can attest that Croatia has the advantage of meeting the expectations of those who came with a preconceived image in their heads. Those turquoise and transparent waters that you see in photos and videos, they are like that! But the Adriatic coast of Croatia is very extensive, and to it, we must add its more than 700 islands. Imagine the number of remote and wonderful places along almost 6000 kilometers of coastline that must exist to fulfill your fantasy of an Adriatic summer. Well, a Croatian photographer is dedicated to exploring, capturing, and sharing the magic of these places with his thousands of followers.

If you have looked for photos of Croatia to corroborate what everyone is surely saying about it, chances are that you have come across Timotej's photos. Also, if you have seen one of his photos, it is most likely that you have already bought your air ticket to spend the following summer in the Adriatic.

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Lopud Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Croatia will always stand out for its history, and its stories. But being someone who has lived most of his life on another continent, I am aware of the visual impact that Croatia has on other countries in the world. Especially in these times, many friends shared with me photos or videos that they found on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, or Twitter, and they could not believe that such a place existed, and especially in Europe. When it comes to paradise islands and turquoise waters, many think of Hawaii, the Caribbean, or the islands of Melanesia. But Croatia has already positioned itself as an alternative Eden, and one that combines dream destinations and a calendar packed with cultural activities.

I find it impressive that a photo is able to motivate someone to book airfare and accommodation. I think this reinforces the idea that the world is there to be explored, and that Croatia is one of those must-see destinations in it. But for this to work as it has been working in recent years, it is necessary that all the tourism promotion forces in the country aim towards the same objective. There is the National Tourism Board, the local Tourism Boards, and why not, talented Croatian citizens who use their platforms and content to highlight their country in a showcase.

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Kamenjak, Istria (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

One such person is precisely the famous Croatian photographer Timotej Gošev, who's approaching his mid-thirties, and currently living in Berkshire, England. He's the owner of the @timotej Instagram account which has become one of the largest social media accounts in the world by sharing travel photography and recommendations from only around Croatia. With almost 100 thousand followers on Instagram, his pictures often go viral and are reposted and shared by some of the biggest media groups such as Forbes, Conde Nast, as well as the biggest re-sharing travel accounts on Instagram such as Earthpix, Travel & Leisure, Wonderful Places & Beautiful Destinations. If you haven't seen his photography yet, be sure to check his Instagram first. He also has an impressive guide to his top 30 favorite beaches in Croatia, you can check it here.

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Dubrovnik (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Timotej shares with Total Croatia News about his special connection to his country, his photography, tourism in Croatia, his future projects, and much more.

The vast majority of your followers and all of those who have come across your photographs on social media already know you for the quality of your work and your captivating images. But few know about your personal side and your history with Croatia. How does this connection with Croatia begin? Were you born and raised in Croatia?

It’s true. A lot of people see my photographs on Instagram, and just by looking at them can say this looks like one of Timotej’s photographs. However, very few people know me personally. Remember, I am a photographer sharing photos from around Croatia, through social media, to the world. I am not another influencer showcasing my life and hoping to influence you to be like me. My goal is to inspire people through my photography to visit and fall in love with Croatia.

It’s also very amusing to me, how so many people are surprised that I’m from Croatia. Even Croatians often assume I’m from somewhere else. I was introduced to Nina Badrić for example, and she knew of my photography but thought I was a Slovenian photographer. I think it’s purely because my name, Timotej (pronounced ‘Timo-tey’ in English), is not so common in Croatia. Think about it, most boys in Croatia are named after the first four books of the New Testament Bible. Ivan (John), Marko (Mark), Luka (Luke), Matej (Matthew). My mum wanted to be a little bit more original with her Biblical name choice, so she looked further down the list until she came to Timotej (Timothy). Simple and straightforward explanation.

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Croatian figs (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

My parents came to study in England after finishing their high school and army service in Varazdin, so I was born in the UK. But a few years later we moved back, so my younger brother was born in Varaždin. After a few years, my parents realized they could make a better life for our family back in England. So, once again, we moved back. Thankfully Croatia is just a drive and short flight away from England, so I was lucky enough to visit very often growing up. I can speak, read, and write Croatian too. I believe an Instagram account like mine, can only really belong to a Croatian, in love with his country.

Nowadays, when one associates the words ''travel photography'' and ''Croatia'', one of the first things that come to mind for a lot of people is ''Timotej''. How did you get started in photography and how has the learning process been so far? Is there another type of photography that you like equally?

I’ve been into photography for as long as I can remember. Cameras and lenses, all the gear, simply fascinates me. So does the quest to snap a perfect picture. As a child, I always wanted to press the camera’s shutter button and shoot everything. This wasn’t possible, as it was still the time of film cameras, and film roll was precious, so parents couldn’t let me waste it taking fifty pictures of nothing. So you can imagine my joy when digital cameras came into existence with memory cards.

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Brseč, Primorsko-Goranska (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

As far as learning goes, when you figure out how to work a camera/lens, the shooting settings, and how light affects the scene being shot, everything comes down to one’s eye for a good picture. Personally, for me, the learning these days mostly centers around training my eyes even more. If you take 50 shots, 1 can easily turn out perfect. But the goal is to be able to take 1 shot and make it perfect first time. Sometimes this means learning to be patient. Waiting. It can also mean making a bigger effort to find a unique vantage point. Doing research to find out what has already been shot where you are shooting.

I love beachscape photography as you all know, and architectural too. I also love to shoot macro shots. I really want to do more wildlife and food photography in the future.

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Restaurant Mandrač, Lopud Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

What inspires you to be a travel photographer and how has that changed in recent years?

I’m in love with the Croatian coast and the Adriatic Sea. Its beauty simply inspires me to capture it with my cameras. I am lucky and blessed to be able to call such a place, my country. I want to see and explore as many spots along the coast, and visit as many islands as my lifetime allows me too. Each place is its own world. People today are so obsessed with seeing as many countries as possible, but few have had the pleasure of truly knowing, exploring, and enjoying theirs. I love going back to a place I’ve already visited, to see how it’s changing, developing, and evolving. I am constantly inspired by the big and little changes happening everywhere. The way I see it is, that there is a lifetime of exploration for me and capturing moments with my camera. There is no getting bored.

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How do you manage to balance your time between the UK and Croatia? Has Brexit affected in any way the way you travel between the two countries?

I like to be in Croatia during the summer, so I can enjoy the sea and beaches. It’s where I experience the most joy. Since I got my driving license, I have been planning my life in a way so I could spend the maximum possible time in Croatia every summer. To my surprise, neither Brexit nor Covid19 has affected my travels to Croatia. I have dual nationality. Croatian and British passports and therefore was legally allowed to travel to go to either home. With negative PCR test results, I drove England to Croatia three times during the pandemic. When you have a registered photography business in the UK, going to Croatia to shoot photos is a legitimate and valid reason to travel for work too.

How would you describe the personal style behind your photography? And how about your visual style?

I want people to look at my photographs, and simply desire to be right there in the place their eyes are seeing. To imagine themselves living the moment being shown. My photos need to mentally seduce and show the essence of an Adriatic summer experience in Croatia. People think my visual style is really unique, but it’s a classic beachscape visual style used in travel magazines and by some of the world’s most known beachscape photographers for decades.

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Sveta Nedjelja beach, Hvar (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

It is a beautiful summer day in Croatia, how does Timotej spend it from start to finish?

I like to wake up early. No need for coffee. I really believe in seizing the daytime. I want to be the first on the beach. Put my towel in the best spot, and go for a morning swim to truly wake up. Love soaking in the early morning sun too. Around 9 am, it’s time for a light breakfast, and then back to the beach where I’ll stay until lunchtime being as active as possible. I prefer to stay in apartments, so for lunch, it’s usually time to cook something, rather than eat out. After lunch, it’s back to the sea/beach until sunset. The afternoon is usually about exploration. Then shower, dress up a bit and go to town for dinner and some ice cream. I always end up chilling on apartment terraces late into the night, always in good company getting into deep conversations.

It has happened to me on several occasions that I have decided to put my camera aside so as not to miss the experience. How do you manage to consistently create content and live in the moment at the same time? Do you have any advice for other travel photographers?

It’s actually very simple for me. When I go to a place in Croatia, I am not going there to take a picture. I am going there to enjoy the experience and moment of being in a place which brings me total joy. I live the moments fully with my camera at home, or in my backpack. After I enjoyed the place, explored it, I come back with/take out a camera. Also, I don’t live from making social media content and I don’t have any pressure to create content. My advice to travel photographers is that when you decide to shoot a place, make a decision to spend at least 1 week there. Don’t follow the content creator crowd, and a lot of Croatian photographers, are doing this, in that they go to a spot for a few hours with the purpose of taking a photo and then off to the next location.

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Brela, Dalmatia (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

A photographer was telling me how they photographed every nice spot on Korcula Island in 1 day. Don’t make this same mistake. The world’s most famous beachscape photographers, when shooting a particular area, commit to spending a whole summer season there, chasing the billion-dollar shot, as we say. I can’t commit to a whole summer in one spot yet either, but everyone can do 3-7 days. 1 to enjoy without smartphones and cameras at least.

It could be said that you lean more towards photography of landscapes and places, but would you like to also venture into a type of travel photography where you can also highlight the Croatian people, their traditions, and their customs?

My focus is the Ljeto (Summer) in Croatia. The goal is to photograph and show the summertime experience. Naturally, there is a lot of landscape shots. But if you have been following me for a while you also see the entire summer experience. If I go into town at night and see a cultural dance, or traditional outfits, if I like what I see, I will photograph it. But right now, the priority is to show beaches and nature, accommodation, and things one can experience when visiting Croatia in the summer. I am showing what my audience wants to see.

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Town of Rab (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

However, if Drago Sopta retires, I would gladly like to venture off and take over as the photographer of the Croatian National Football team and take pictures of the guys playing football. I believe in myself as a photographer, and my ability to shoot in a variety of styles.

It is said that there is an excessive amount of drone images to visually promote Croatia and that they do not accurately reflect the possible experience of a tourist (for example Izvor Cetina or the Croatian islands from above). But you manage to combine both images with a drone as well as those from a personal point of view. How can both promote tourism in Croatia?

Look, Zlatni Rat Beach shot with a drone, from above, looks like one of the most beautiful spots in this world. It’s unreal. Then you come there, stand on the beach, and you can’t really see it from the vantage point the drone did. So you now have two options. The first is to get upset, choose to be negative, and leave disappointed, as many do. Or you can think about it, and say to yourself, I’m standing on this magical beach full of shape-shifting pebbles, surrounded by perfect water, and enjoy the beach all day. Every destination spot in the world that looks good from above is excessively photographed with drones. Those saying it doesn’t accurately reflect the tourist experience are a very small minority, and they are there for the wrong reason in my opinion. I believe you need both to give the true picture to someone. Let them know what it looks like from above and below. Balance is key. I like to show how it looks from ground level and from the sky.

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Otok Vrnik (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Many content creators avoid bringing discussion topics to their feed to avoid losing followers or getting into disputes with them. But in addition to visually promoting Croatia, you also take the time to raise awareness about caring for the environment, such as animal rights and the situation about smoking in Croatia. Is it necessary for content creators to be ambivalent in that regard? What responsibilities should someone with so many followers and a lot of reach assume?

I always speak my mind. From day one on Instagram. I have my opinions, and my account is a space where I can share them as well as my photography. I don’t expect everyone to agree with them and that’s okay. Does Croatia have a smoking problem? Yes. Have tourists noticed it? Yes. Is it destroying our beaches? Yes. A lot of what I highlight are facts and truth. Common sense. It’s already been said by others, and it’s very much connected to keeping Croatia’s land beautiful and not destroying it. I don’t live from Instagram, so if I lost all my followers tomorrow, it does not affect me in any way. As for disputes, occasionally some arise, but surprisingly not a lot. I think the things which I’m highlighting are things the overwhelming majority of my followers agree with me on. We all want to keep Croatia clean and beautiful for generation after generation.

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One Table Restaurant, Hvar Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Regarding the promotion of tourism in Croatia, what aspects and efforts made by the national and local tourist boards in the last two years can you highlight?

I don’t see anything the National Tourist Board does, and as the majority of the tourist sector in Croatia, see them as irrelevant, and a waste of taxpayers’ money. The Local Tourist Boards, on the other hand, are great. I’ve had the chance to work with a lot of them now. It’s hard to keep everyone happy, but they are doing their best. I can say and see they are finally embracing social media, and valuing its importance more than ever. Making sure they have a strong social media presence, as well as using people like me, and other Croatian photographers to showcase their tourist regions to the world.

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Žitna Beach, Korčula Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

In what aspects do you think the promotion of tourism in Croatia should improve? Is there something you can criticize?

The biggest issue I noticed is the relationship between the local tourist boards, and the locals working in the tourist sector. It seems everyone is against the tourist boards and everything they do, with only a small minority pleased. I’ve been to places, and I like to talk to locals, and the moment they find out I’m involved with the local tourist board, they don’t want anything to do with me! Why? Well for starters Local Tourist boards should have nothing to do with political elections and political parties. The tourist boards should exist to serve the tourist, those offering tourist services, and they should be neutral. Also too many tourist board employees, naturally have friends working in the tourist sector and thus drive tourists to only use their services. I think you can guess what kind of issues that can create. The tourist boards should be the pride of the local tourism sector. A fair helping hand, letting the tourists know all their possibilities. Show them all the options on offer, and let them choose which to go with. I also really think it’s time for an official tourist app, where everyone in the tourist sector can list their tourist offers for free. Create it with taxpayer money. Tourists can use the app to find out and search for everything. Beach information. Boat rentals. Taxi numbers. Available accommodation. In 2021, one shouldn’t have to go to a tourist office for information anymore.

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Badija Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev) 

In what ways can photographic content contribute to effective tourism promotion in Croatia? How important is it?

People travel to different places in the world for different reasons. Everyone is looking for something specific. An image they have seen either in a photo or video usually serves as the primary mental motivation for doing so. They want to see that image with their own eyes. I have always argued that people come to Croatia first and foremost for the natural beauty of the sea and beaches. The old towns. Natural parks. I loved our old tourist slogan, the Mediterranean as it once was. So, before booking a flight or hotel, people want to know what the particular area they are potentially going to visit has on offer. I have been the first Croatian photographer to share certain places in Croatia on Instagram for the very first time, and the response was, we had no idea this place existed.

I’ll give you a personal example. I grew up spending summers around Zadar. Since I was a kid. Only recently as an adult, I discovered one of the most beautiful spots in Croatia. Vrsi, right by Zadar. I never saw this spot advertised anywhere. So I never went there. Some beaches like Zlatni Rat were advertised everywhere, so normally, I went there, and it was crazy crowded. By showing a little bit of every place, you are now giving people the choice to go to so many places.

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Stiniva Cove, Vis Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

If you could describe Croatia to your followers as an ideal travel destination, based on five unique aspects, which ones would you choose?

1. Raw natural beauty everywhere. 2. The crystal clear blue water. 3. Safety. We are an extremely safe country for tourists throughout the day and night. One of the lowest crime rates in the world I believe. 4. Quality of food and drink. 5. There’s something for everyone.

Is there anything in particular in Croatia that catches your attention and would you like to investigate further? I have seen that at some point you inquired about the history of abandoned stone houses on the Croatian coast and islands. It is really a fascinating subject.

The abandoned stone houses are a sad story. I really hope the property ownership laws change soon. They are killing Croatia. A lot of people say it’s impossible. But I believe there’s an easy fix to it if you apply common sense. Pass a law, that every property in Croatia within 2-3 years has to have one owner owning 100% of it. No more multiple owners, owning small percentages. If some owners can’t agree on a deal between themselves, it goes to auction among all the owners, and the highest bidder gets the property. Why hasn’t this happened? I hear lawyers in Zagreb make a killing on these property disputes. I also think Croatia has a serious waste management problem. Especially on the islands. I’ve heard shocking accounts from those who live on the islands about what really happens with the waste tourism generates. I think the situation is worse than many believe. And if that’s really true, we need to do something about it. I truly believe the world sees Croatia as a clean country where natural beauty can be seen in abundance which is its biggest selling point. The land is really ‘Lijepa Naša’ and it needs to stay that way.

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Otok Vrnik (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Connected with this issue are the party sailing trips such as The Yacht Week. Everywhere they go, they leave so much rubbish behind it's unreal. In the sea. I’ve seen it. Again and again. All the locals I meet in the entire tourism sector as well as those simply living in the spots The Yacht Week comes by, wants these party sailing holidays banned. It’s beyond me how this hasn’t happened yet. Whoever is giving them the green light to continue summer after summer needs to be put in the spotlight.

Besides being a travel photographer, do you also consider yourself a travel journalist? Many content creators upload their photos or videos and that's it, but you like to include reflections, chronicles, and recommendations alongside your images. Is it something that you are interested in developing further in the future?

I grew up reading travel magazines like Conde Nast, and I currently collect travel-themed coffee table books full of pictures with text. There’s always a story behind what you see in a photograph and something to learn. I do consider myself an excellent writer in the English language. People have noticed this, and this past year, a few travel magazines and a national airline, asked me to write for them about Croatia, as well as showcase my photography to their readers. I hope more people will ask in the near future. It’s something I love doing.

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Čikat Bay, Lošinj Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

What does your Instagram profile look like on a summer day in Croatia? How do you usually interact with your followers or people who need help or recommendations?

During the summer the plan is to share 2-3 posts a day. The pictures being posted are usually what I photographed 1-2 days prior. Also, because we are in the summer season, many of my followers are currently in Croatia, or about to visit. This results in a crazy amount of questions. I used to answer every question without fail in previous years, but with an increasing number of followers, it’s impossible sadly. Remember I’m not getting paid to do this. It takes a lot of time. This summer I was receiving roughly 300-500 messages a day. A lot of people also don’t read the caption in my posts and then send messages, for example, asking what’s the name of the beach in the picture I just posted, without making an effort to read the caption where this has already been stated. This is very frustrating. However the questions generally are usually based on recent posts, so I try to answer a lot of them in one of the next posts or stories.

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Bol, Brač Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Besides photography, what other things do you spend your time on? Do you have any other interests or hobbies that are just as exciting?

Out of the summer season, I live in England, so when I’m not working, I really love to play sports. I play football, basketball, volleyball every week, competitively. Then there’s gym and lap swimming. I’ve always been into cooking too. So, always trying to master certain dishes and learn new ones. In the summertime, besides photography, it’s very much every activity connected to the water. I’m a big water sports lover. I love diving. I’m a very active individual. I love the company of friends too. I’m a very social extrovert that likes to laugh a lot.

What next projects do you have planned? What are the next steps in Timotej's life and career?

Oh, I have a lot of ideas. Some are already slowly turning into reality. I would love to see more art stores around the world selling my prints of beautiful beachscapes from around Croatia. At the moment it’s just a few in England. As well as being a good photographer, I also believe in my ability to capture video, so expect to see some epic short films soon. I’m also already working on my very own coffee table book taking you on a journey around Croatia’s coast and islands. I’m really excited for this. I have the photographs and text, and just need to find the right publisher to make the dream come true. Lastly, due to demand, I think I will slowly get into trip planning. So many people want me to plan their visit to Croatia. I’m honoured.

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Pritišćina beach, Vis Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Your talent as a photographer, and your Instagram account, have resulted in many collaborations over the last few years. What’s your favourite one so far? Is there one you would really love to do in the future?

It’s hard to pick a favourite. I love them all. This past summer I did a collaboration with Valamar Hotels. Had the chance to visit all their hotels across Croatia over a period of 6 weeks. It was amazing. Shooting the hotels, rooms, beaches in front of the hotels. The facilities. Loved every second. The sailing collaborations are always unforgettable too. What would I love to do? Shoot Villa Sheherezade in Dubrovnik. Or shoot a mega-yacht in Croatia. I dream big.

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Lopud Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Finally, are you planning to ever move to Croatia permanently?

If you ask me, “Timotej, would you like to live in Croatia one day?” The answer is obviously going to be a definite yes, yes I would. However, I wouldn’t want to live there throughout the whole year. I can see myself living there between April and October. I’m the type of person who dreams of having multiple homes. At least two in two different countries. But in life, you should also never say never. If the right opportunity arises, who knows, I might end up living in Croatia all year long. Living there would give me the chance to photograph Croatia during all the seasons, and not just summer.

For everything you need to know before planning your next summer vacation in Croatia and all these magical destinations shown in this article, be sure to check Timotej's Instagram account and our new guide to everything Croatia, Total Croatia, here.

If you don't have Instagram, follow him on Facebook.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

9 Countries at 2021 Olive Picking World Championship on Brac, & Digital Nomads!

October 7, 2021 - The 2021 Olive Picking World Championship kicks off this week in Postira on Brac, with the usual strong international lineup, and a new kid on the block - Team Digital Nomads.

With the main tourist season coming to a close, the thoughts of most Dalmatians turn to the fields, and their precious olive groves. 

But for one small part of the island of Brac, a unique idea back in 2017 combined tourism with the traditional olive harvest. 

Postira launched the Olive Picking World Championship four years ago, an event which has grown in stature (and international appeal) since its inception. After becoming a casualty of the pandemic last year, the 4th edition of the Olive Picking World Championship will take place this week, from October 8-10, in th fields of Postira. 

And it has become a truly international event, with olive picking techniques from as far away as New Zealand taking part in the past.  

Defending champions Montenegro have withdrawn at a late stage sadly, but there is still a high quality international flavour to this year's competition. Each team consists of four pickers, two male and two female, and there is a new kind of team this year to compete with the other 9 registered nationalities - Team Digital Nomad. 

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1. Poland
2. Hungary
3. Slovenia
4. France
5. South Africa
6. Russia
7. Slovenia
8. Israel
9. Digital nomads
10. Croatia.

The team of four ar all participants in the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence progamme earlier this year. 

The DN team has an international quality, with the quartet of former Dubrovnik nomads-in-residence hailing from Wales, Holland, USA and England, with a coach from Australia.

The coaching started earlier this week in Montenegro at the Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva, where olive-picking techniques while holding a beer will bring a fresh perspective to the 2021 Postira championships (see video below). 

A great event, one more small example of great authentic experiences outside the season. 

You can follow progress on the Postira Tourist Board Facebook page, and TCN will bring you an in-depth report on this year's olive champion. 

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Never experienced an olive harvest? After 18 years as a Dalmatian 'zet' (son-in-law), it has become part of my DNA - learn more in Natural Stress Relief: the Olive Harvest in Dalmatia.

Want to learn more about olive oil in Croatia? Check out the TC olive oil guide.

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