Friday, 10 July 2020

Flights to Croatia: Lufthansa Boosts Zagreb, Sundair to Brac

July 10, 2020 - The latest news from around Croatia’s airports for flights to Croatia with updates from Zagreb and Brac. 

Croatian Aviation reports that German national airline Lufthansa launched traffic on the Munich-Zagreb route in early July, only three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but will soon increase the number of weekly flights on this route.

Lufthansa will increase the number of weekly flights between Zagreb and Munich from July 27. Namely, from the mentioned date, Lufthansa will operate 5 times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays) on this line.

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Croatia Airlines operates on the same route every day, departing from Zagreb in the afternoon, and from July 21, they have a second daily flight on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

From July 27, Croatia Airlines should have two departures per day on this route every day of the week (a total of 14 flights per week), which, together with Lufthansa, provides 19 flights per week on this route.

This is still a smaller number of flights and seats offered compared to the period before the coronavirus crisis, given that Lufthansa also operated twice a day in the summer flight schedule on this route. Still, the company is likely to increase frequencies in August on this line further.

Lufthansa does not currently plan to launch the Frankfurt-Zagreb route, but in cooperation with Croatia Airlines, it offers connections to its network through a code-share agreement, as well as direct flights to this German city.

Furthermore, Croatian Aviation reports that German charter company Sundair announced the introduction of regular charter lines between Frankfurt and Brac from mid-July this year.

The Frankfurt-Brac line will run twice a week, every Monday and Friday, starting on July 17. Charter flights should be maintained on this route until the end of the summer flight schedule, on October 23 this year.

A319 aircraft have been announced on the route, which has between 150 and 156 seats in the fleet of this carrier.

We previously announced that Croatia Airlines would also introduce the A319 aircraft on this route, and thus perform charter flights to Linz and Graz.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Impressive Two Million Euro Boutique Camp Opened on Brac Island

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has seen many a business venture and investment grind to an unexpected halt, especially in the tourism sector which has been the hardest hit economic activity in Croatia. However, the virus and its spread hasn't stopped everything, and Brac will get something new this summer regardless of the current climate.

As Jozo Vrdoljak/Novac/Privredni writes on the 2nd of July, 2020, Boutique Camping Bunja was recently opened in Babin Laz Bay near Supetar on the beautiful island of Brac in Central Dalmatia. Supetar will thus, adapting to the current trends of solitary holidays, have a small four-star boutique camp in its arsenal this season.

The camp has fourteen modern mobile homes and 32 spacious pitches for campers and tents, of which the largest, most luxurious ones, cover from 70 to 130 square metres. In addition to the beach bar, massages on the beach, and a heated freshwater pool, Brac's new facility offers a children's playground, bike and kayak rental and more.

Along with its lush Mediterranean greenery, the camp's walls are built in the traditional Dalmatian drywall style to remain in keeping with the rest of the island.

The investment in the camp on Brac is worth a massive two million euros in total

"Camping is the perfect answer to the growing need of people to return to nature, which is currently the best and safest way to relax, so we have no doubt that Boutique Camping Bunja will get its guests, lovers of our island, even during these challenging times. There is a large selection of high quality private and hotel accommodation, which can be enjoyed by families with children, but also couples who will choose adult only hotels, and there are also attractive rural villas around the place,'' said Ivan Cvitanic, the director of the Tourist Board of Supetar.

Supetar currently has two camps - Bunja and the Waterman Beach Village with a total of 124 campsites and 57 mobile homes, which can accommodate 462 guests. Camping has been experiencing a real tourist boom in recent years, both globally and locally, and is an ideal form of holiday for all those who seek solitude and true coexistence with nature.

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Sunday, 21 June 2020

Authentic, Unique Croatia: Blaca Hermitage Eco-Museum on Brac (VIDEO)

June 20, 2020 - Croatian tourism's strength is in its fantastic authentic experiences, and there is nowhere quite like Blaca Monastery on Brac, especially after this outstanding renovation. Take the video tour.

One of my favourite stories about Croatia concerns the grand piano at the spectacular and very remote Blaca Hermitage monastery on the island of Brac. 

Even today, you can only reach this unique complex by foot, a 30-minute hike being the shortest approach. And so it was all the more surprising to discover that the complex has - among many other unusual things - a grand piano. The piano was apparently ordered by the head priest at the time for his nephew to play.

Carrying the piano from the bay the boat docked at to Blaca Hermitage was a gruelling task. It took 12 men 8 hours to carry the piano to its final resting place, and they apparently consumed 56 litres of wine between them on the way. The piano somehow arrived in perfect condition and sits there today. 

A little like the mysterious Dragons Cave not far away, Blaca is a fascinating attraction off the beaten track, about which not that much is known. 

Until now. 

Until this video.  

If I could give an example of how to present a fabulous cultural treasure to the world in English, I doubt I could do better than translator and narrator VivianGrisigono M.A. and the team from the Brac Cultural Centre. Not only does it present the rich history of Blaca superbly, but it also goes into great detail on the successful restoration documents. A very worthwhile watch. 

This is the story of the Blaca Hermitage, a unique historic cultural complex dating from the 16th century. Our presentation includes glimpses of the monastery's past, some of the restoration works which have been carried out, and the plans for integrated protection of this exceptionally precious cultural landscape. The primary concept for the museum is the preservation of all the heritage assets of the Blaca Hermitage, in a clean, unpolluted environment, creating a true eco-system for the future.

Production: NOVENA d.o.o. Zagreb Scenario: Jasna Damjanović, Brač Cultural Centre English translation and narration: Vivian Grisogono, MA(Oxon) Material used in the video is drawn from the archives of the Brač Cultural Centre, and photographs by Kristijan Brkić, Tom Dubravec, Jasna Damjanović, Vanja Kovačić, Aleksander Kukec, Tomislav Marić, Predrag Mandić, Franjo Mlinac and Mario Romulić. The video has been produced with support from the Split-Dalmatian County.

To learn more about the island of Brac, here are 25 things to know

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Smart Supetar: New E-Services Platform Facilitates Everyday Life of Citizens

June 17, 2020 - Thanks to the implementation of the Supetar Development Strategy and the Operational Plan for the Development of the Smart City 2019-2023, to increase transparency, modernize the system, and simplify and accelerate communication between citizens and the city administration, the City of Supetar established a new e-Services platform.

Dalmacija Danas reports that this is a big step towards digitizing the process within the city administration and simplifying communication with citizens without the need to come to the administration physically. Citizens will thus become acquainted with every step of solving their case online and receive all the necessary information on time.

This e-Service platform of the City of Supetar is primarily intended to provide citizens the option to submit requests online and receive a receipt of decisions in proceedings before the city administration.

However, the internal efficiency of the City of Supetar's administration has been increased by improving internal business processes and databases, digital solutions necessary for effective internal communication, and support for e-Services for citizens have been implemented, as well as training of employees, Dalmacija Danas reported.

The Supetar e-Services achieve a transaction level (level 4) in which the administration responds digitally to the authenticated requests of users. Examples of level 4 transactions in Croatia are few, and so far, only e-Citizens and some large cities such as Zagreb and Rijeka have achieved this level, but only for a small part of services.

"Precisely with the desire to be accessible to our citizens and increase transparency, taking into account all the specifics of the time we face, we wanted to be one of the first island cities to adopt a Smart City strategy and start developing and applying concepts and technologies related to smart cities in small island areas," said the City of Supetar.

The project is co-financed by the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund and the total value of the project is HRK 243,000.

The platform will be available by the end of the week, with all the detailed instructions and information.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Brač Nears End of Pandemic Scare

May 23, 2020 — A black streak of spray paint strikes through the name of Nerežišća, a village on the island of Brač, replaced by “WUHAN” in block letters. The reference to COVID-19’s launching point seemed appropriate 15 days ago when a coronavirus outbreak struck Dalmatia's largest island and home to its most famous beach

Authorities declared the outbreak over after new infections dropped to zero. The island is now easing back measures meant to stem the spread of the virus. It might be time to take the “WUHAN” graffiti down.

“We have won all the significant battles against the coronavirus, but caution still remains,” said the Brač’s chief epidemiologist, Dr. Nađan Šerić, who was on the front line all the time. “A lot of knowledge, effort, and love was invested in breaking COVID-19 and all those who participated in the actions deserve thanks.”   

The island off the coast of Split became a hotspot with 22 new infections emerging on May 8. The announcement fueled an exodus from the island, with even wild boars heading for the exits. Authorities tested 564 residents, with 41 testing positive in the first two rounds and none afterward. The steady stream of negative tests makes local authorities comfortable reopening the island.

The potential for an outbreak emerged when several workers at the Sardina factory were infected with COVID-19, raising questions about the 160 employees inside the plant. Fortunately, the infection didn’t spread within the company.

Brač residents can now roam without seeking permissions or passes. The orders to stay in place expired, with no need for renewal, said the head of Brač’s Crisis Staff Nikola Martinić.

Ferry service connecting the island to Makarska resumed as well. Schools will reopen on May 27.

In two days, the National Civil Protection Directorate’s ban on restaurant and retail businesses will also lift, ending the island’s perilous two-week stint as Croatia’s coronavirus hotbed.

“It wasn't easy. There were difficult and uncertain moments, but our Brač togetherness and determination once again won,” the mayor of Supetar and a member of the Crisis Staff Ivana Marković said.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Brač Residents Battle COVID-19 Outbreak — At Least Those Who Stayed

May 9, 2020 — The island home of olive picking championships, swimming boars, and Boris Johnson on a bicycle has a new guest: the coronavirus. The unwelcome intruder on the island of Brač sent locals scrambling for safer shores just before authorities limited movement.

Brač, off the coast of Split, became a COVID-19 hotspot overnight when 22 new infections emerged on Friday, up from zero. More may be on the way, with 54 reported contacts found and close to 100 tests conducted.

The Civil Protection Directorate decided on Saturday Brač would spend another two weeks adhering to strict measures, including “stay at home” rules and limited travel, which are being lifted across the rest of Croatia.

The spike in infections reportedly sent islanders headed for the mainland Friday and Saturday, as rumors of a quarantine spread. A video shot by N1 reporter Hari Kočić shows the ferry bound for Split packed, with several cars left in the lurch.

“Escape from Brač after it was announced that the island could end up in quarantine?” he wrote. “Not everyone was able to get on the ferry. The locals say they are furious because they have adhered to all measures and will now be locked up again!”

Ivana Marković, Mayor of Supetar on the island of Brač, asked the authorities to send professionals from Zagreb to replace the local Civil Protection Directorate. The mayor is herself in self-isolation after finding herself two degrees of separation from patient zero.

Brač was already battling to keep what’s left of the tourism season alive while also easing life for locals. The island is home to some of Croatia’s more picturesque vistas, including the Zlatni Rat beach. 

It’s also been at the epicenter of the debate over smart development, with some municipalities nixing the creation of new tourism apartments.

Marković called for a freeze on ferry ticket prices, keeping the lower winter rates.

The island’s emergence as a new coronavirus epicenter shows the precarious balance Croatia’s Civil Protection Directorate seeks as it loosens restrictions.

“Let this example be a lesson to us,” Health Minister Vili Beroš said on Friday. “There is no relaxation. We must continue to be careful and keep our physical distance, adhere to hygienic measures.”

Brač’s “patient zero” was a local returning from hospital for non-coronavirus issues and reportedly required care at home, hence the high number of contacts.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Supetar Mayor Wants to Keep Winter Ferry Fares for Threatened Summer Season

April 27, 2020 - As the 2020 tourism season is in question, the Mayor of Supetar is looking to keep ferry prices fair for locals and potential tourists traveling between Split and Brac this year. 

Dalmacija Danas reports:

"Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the still questionable 2020 tourist season, on Friday, I sent a letter to the Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure and the Coastal Shipping Agency to delay the adoption of the seasonal price list for coastal shipping and to keep winter ferry fares throughout the 2020 business year, intending to create a more favorable framework for the arrival of tourists to the Croatian islands after the eventual cessation of the virus," Supetar Mayor Ivana Markovic said Sunday morning. 

Tourism, along with agriculture, fisheries, and crafts, is the most important economic branch on the Croatian islands, and every contribution we make to facilitating the arrival of tourists to the island is of crucial importance to us at this time, she noted.

"I believe that the islands, as beautiful and geographically isolated units, have always been an essential asset of Croatian tourism and that it will be even more this year if the epidemiological situation soon improves.

We ask the competent Ministry and the Agency to consider what has been requested seriously and to take all the necessary actions that could put this proposal into effect by May 29, 2020, when the winter tariffs for ferry fares expire.

The ticket price for a single individual to Brac by car ferry now costs 28,00 kn plus 124,00 kn if you're traveling with a vehicle (152,00 kn for one way), and after May 29, the summer prices should begin. This would mean that one ticket would cost 33,00 kn plus 154,00 kn to travel with a vehicle, i.e., 187,00 kn for one direction," says Marković.

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

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Move Over Dolphins: Wild Boar Swim from Brac to Makarska (VIDEO)

April 26, 2020 - While dolphin sightings are quite common in the Adriatic, something less common for two Makarska fishermen - wild boar. 

The only sound I hear these days in Jelsa on Hvar is birdsong. It is wonderful. 

And with human activity largely restricted to the confinement of their own homes, some rather unusual sights are happening around the world in the animal kingdom. Goats walking down the high street in Wales, a deer in a city centre in (I think it was) Australia, and a whale spotted off the island of Solta

And while it is a common site for a couple of dolphins to be swimming playfully in the pristine waters of the Adriatic, two Makarska fishermen, Mario Radojkovic and Slobodan Batinic from Makarska, were treated to another type of animal swimming show, reports Morski.hr - wild boar. 

The two boar swam strongly, presumably from the island of Brac, before arriving safely to the mainland and disappearing into the forest in the bay of Promanja. 

Jurica Gaspar from Morski.hr wrote a very interesting article (and with a lot more photos), in which he explained that wild boar can swim for up to 12 hours and 15 nautical miles, and it is not uncommon for them to do so in search of new habitats. There is also precedent for them swimming to the islands, most notably when they did in large numbers to the island of Krk during the Homeland War, as they were escaping the ravages of war in Lika. 

Wild boar are a relatively common sight on Hvar where I lived for 13 years, both on the menus of Hvar restaurants and on the roads and fields. As they are omnivorous, they can - and do - cause damage to agricultural plots of land. In my case, my only run-in with a wild boar which did not involve a restaurant was several years ago on a late-night drive home from the Sucuraj ferry to Jelsa, when my car was hit by one of three boars running across the road, causing considerable damage, both to the car and presumably the wild boar. 

For more from the TCN Lifestyle section, click here.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Sutivan and Split to be Connected by Catamaran in Peak Season

March 5, 2020 - Welcoming news out of Sutivan on Brac island today as a catamaran line will connect the island town and Split in just 20 minutes this season.

Many have forgotten, and most do not know, that Sutivan was once directly connected to Split by a boat line whose number and type have changed over the years. But after the construction of the new ferry port in Supetar, Sutivan, as well as other coastal towns of Brac, has no direct connection with Split, with the exception of MB Mali Jure, which for several years tried to maintain a connection but ultimately gave up. 

Thus, Dalmacija Danas reports that with the joint efforts of the Municipality of Sutivan, the Municipality of Milna and the company "Krilo Shipping Company", at its 54th session, the Coastal Shipping Agency, gave its consent for a daily commute between Milna - Sutivan - Split and vice versa every day from July 3, 2020, to August 30, 2020.

Passengers who board the catamaran in Sutivan will arrive in Split in 20 minutes, as will passengers from Split to Sutivan. It goes without saying that this will facilitate the lives of islanders or anyone looking to arrive and depart from Sutivan. Until now, passengers traveling without a car are connected via the slower and more expensive ferry service via Supetar.

So, how much will the catamaran line set you back? A one-way ticket will cost only 30,00 kn, for islanders 14,00 kn while for pensioners the ticket is completely free of charge.

This is huge news for the Municipality of Sutivan and news that we think will be welcome by most of us along the Dalmatian Coast. The first season will determine whether this line has the potential to extend the period of its operations in the future, the Municipality of Sutivan said. 

For now, we can all look forward to the return of this catamaran line, connecting Milna - Sutivan - Split from July 3, 2020, to August 30, 2020.

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

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Brac Olive Picking World Championship Wins Most Creative Event of the Year

January 23, 2020 - The Olive Picking World Championship, which takes place in Postira on Brac in the autumn, has been named the most creative event at the Creative Tourism Network awards in Madrid.

RTL.hr writes that the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) is presenting its tourism offer again this year at the FITUR fair in Madrid from January 22 to 26. On the first day of the fair, Croatian Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli and HTZ Director Kristjan Stanicic visited the Croatian booth. They also met with Spanish partners, tour operators and agencies such as Jet2com, Beautiful Destination and others.

“After Utrecht, Stuttgart, Helsinki, Vienna and Berlin, this month's total Croatian tourist offer is presented at the most important Spanish tourism fair in Madrid. Speaking of Croatia, Spaniards' favorite destinations are Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split, Zadar, Hvar and the Plitvice Lakes. This year, we plan to improve the network of the Croatian National Tourist Board representative office by launching all the necessary procedures for opening an office in Madrid because of the extremely important Spanish market for us and the fact that the leading international tourist institutions are based here. Spaniards often travel and discover new destinations, and this is exactly the opportunity we need to take advantage of in 2020,” director Stanicic said, adding that last year, 315,000 arrivals and more than 708,000 overnights were generated from Spain, which represents a 10 percent increase compared to 2018.

The Creative Tourism Network awards ceremony was also held as part of the FITUR fair, and the award for the creative event of the year was given to the Olive Picking World Championship in the municipality of Postira on Brac, which took place in October last year. 

The Creative Tourism Network is an international non-profit organization specializing in the development of creative tourism. Among 160 entries and events, their expert jury decided that this Postira event was the most creative of its kind in the world because it innovatively preserves the centuries-old tradition and brings it closer to locals and tourists alike. The event was launched to promote the traditional Croatian custom of picking olives, but also to learn about the traditions of other Mediterranean countries. Twelve teams participated in the competition.

"Spain, together with France, is the leading country for the UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Program, which will work with governments, destinations and tourism companies to reduce the environmental impact of tourism, which is also an important premise for Croatia to pursue as a tourism policy in the future. We used our stay in Madrid, the capital of one of the most visited countries in the world and the seat of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), to exchange experiences in managing sustainable development policies, which are also the backbone of Croatia's EU Council Presidency in the field of tourism. The experiences and best practices we exchanged during our meetings with leading tourism authorities and officials will greatly benefit from the development of a new National Tourism Development Strategy based on quality and responsible and sustainable business, using modern technologies as creative solutions for the future,” Minister Cappelli said.

In addition to the Croatian National Tourist Board as its main exhibitor, ten co-exhibitors are represented at the FITUR fair, including the tourist boards of the City of Zagreb and Dubrovnik-Neretva County and Abacus Tours, Illyria - Camp Soline, Atlas, Olivari, Nave Travel, Uniline, Valamar and HUP Zagreb.

Research shows that the main motives for Spaniards' trips abroad are leisure, relaxation and recreation (54 percent), followed by visits to friends and family (26 percent) and business trips (14 percent). When traveling abroad, Spaniards usually go by plane, and Spain's direct air connection with Croatia improves from year to year, especially in the summer flight schedule. Currently, three airlines are operating in the winter timetable: Croatia Airlines, Iberia and Vueling Airlines on the route Barcelona - Zagreb, Madrid - Zagreb and Barcelona - Dubrovnik.

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

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