Monday, 14 February 2022

Stunning Croatian Film Locations Beyond Game of Thrones

14 February 2022 - With its breathtaking architecture and a variety of natural wonders, ranging from the turquoise waters of the coast to lush natural parks, it is no surprise that Croatia is one of the most popular film settings in the global entertainment scene. A look at Croatian film locations around the country. 

Naturally, we simply cannot discuss filming sites in Croatia without bringing up Game of Thrones. For almost a decade, the series captivated international audiences with its depiction of dragons, kingdom politics, and white walkers, with later seasons drawing almost 32.8 million viewers per episode worldwide.

Yet beyond Cersei Lannister’s walk of atonement down the Jesuit Stairs or the Tyrells counseling Sansa Stark in the Trsteno Arboretum, lie other stunning locations that you may not have known were filmed in Croatia.

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Trsteno Arboretum. Dubrovnik Tourism Board/Facebook

This Valentine’s Day, if you’re looking for inspiration for your next vacation, we highlight 7 additional international movies and television series set in Croatia to add to your list of “must-sees”.

1. The Weekend Away (2022)

Starting with the upcoming Netflix thriller set to premiere March 3rd, The Weekend Away, starring Leighton Meester of “Gossip Girl” fame.

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Diocletian's Palace, Split. Netflix/Screenshot

The trailer heavily features scenes in Split’s Diocletian's Palace, showcasing the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace was built with local limestone and marble from nearby island Brač for Roman emperor Diocletian in the fourth century AD.

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Downtown, Split. Netflix/Screenshot

Several scenes were also filmed in downtown Split and along Firule beach.

The film is adapted from the best-selling novel of the same name by Sarah Alderson. It follows Beth and Kate, best friends who plan a weekend getaway to Croatia. In a twist of fate, Kate ends up dead while Beth becomes the prime suspect. Whilst Beth fights to prove her innocence, painful secrets are uncovered along the way.

2. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021)

As a sequel to The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017), bodyguard Michael Bryce and hitman Darius Kincaid team up again for another life-threatening mission in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.

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Backdrop, city of Rovinj. Lionsgate/Screenshot

The charming town of Rovinj, on the Istrian Coast of Croatia, doubled for various Italian settings along the Amalfi Coast.

There was also an impressively planned stunt scene staged where a van, pursued by an SUV, drives down steps in the port city of Rijeka.

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Steps of Rijeka. Lionsgate/Screenshot.

According to imdb.com, stunt coordinator Greg Powell explained that they “were often under a lot of restrictions because of the narrow streets and shiny cobbled surfaces, which are slippery as hell, especially when damp”. He added that “we'd have scenes that called for us to be speeding around corners, but we literally couldn't”

3. Bliss (2021)

Protagonist Greg, while down on his luck, meets a mysterious woman, Isabel. Is she real or just a fantasy? As he struggles to make a distinction, we are left to question whether he is caught in a complex computer simulation, or merely experiencing a drug-induced hallucination.

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Galerija Meštrović, Split. Amazon studios/Screenshot.

To portray this fantasy world, several locations were filmed in Split and on the island of Lopud, Croatia

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Marjan stairs, Split. Amazon Studios/Screenshot.

4. Succession (2018 - present)

This 7-time Emmy award-winning HBO series centers on the Roys, a highly dysfunctional family that owns global entertainment conglomerate Waystar RoyCo. The declining health of the family's patriarch, Logan Roy, ignites an endless fight for power and control.

In the Season 2 finale, scenes portrayed the Roys on vacation along the Croatian coast aboard a luxury yacht.

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The Roys on vacation. HBO Max/Screenshot

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Season 2 finale. HBO Max/Screenshot

Filming took place in July 2019 and lasted 12 days as the crew traveled around Cavtat, a picturesque region south of Dubrovnik, and the islands of Korčula, Mljet, and Šipan.

Shooting also took place at locations around Zagreb and Rijeka.

5. Mamma Mia: Here we go again (2018)

Returning to where it all began, Donna looks back on her fun and adventure-filled young life as we rediscover the moments where she meets Sophie’s three possible dads.

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One of Sophie’s possible dads, played by Colin Firth, arriving in the port of Vis. Universal Pictures/Screenshot

Although the movie was supposed to be set in Greece (fictional island of Kalokairi), filming almost exclusively took place in several locations on the exquisite Croatian island of Vis including Vis harbor, St. Jeronim (St. Jerome) Church, Stiniva, Srebrna, and Barjoška bays.

Fun fact from imdb.com, actors Hugh Skinner, Jeremy Irvine, and Josh Dylan, who played Harry, Sam, and Bill's younger counterparts, lived together in a Croatian villa while filming for 6 weeks. Josh Dylan also arrived in the country 2 weeks earlier to learn how to sail.

6. Robin Hood (2018)

Actors Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx take on the roles of Robin Hood and Little John in a movie remake of the classic tale that combines historical accuracy, contemporary and futuristic elements to achieve its unique take.

Filming began in February 2017 and lasted over 4 months between different primary locations in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and Raincy, France.

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Enhanced aerial shot of Dubrovnik. Lionsgate/Screenshot

Incident alert! While filming in Dubrovnik, Jamie Foxx was harassed by two drunk locals while having dinner at a restaurant. The men were immediately thrown out by the manager, and police subsequently pursued misdemeanor charges. They were later fined and jailed. Despite this negative isolated incident, Jamie Foxx went on to say that the beauty of the country continued to “blow his mind” and is a “dream come true”.

7. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

This might be a hard one for fans to spot, but several scenes of Dubrovnik, Croatia make a cameo in the landscape of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

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Stradun, downtown Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik tourism board/Facebook

Without the special effects and digital rendering, you might be able to recognize downtown Dubrovnik as the fictional city of Canto Bight. Portrayed as an interstellar entertainment and nightlife hotspot, the design of Canto Bight was inspired by the city of Monaco.

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Star Wars The Last Jedi, Canto Bight chase scene. Disney/Screenshot

The explosive chase scene where Finn and Rose escape from Canto Bight prison while riding a Fathier, was also filmed on the main street of Dubrovnik.

For everything you need to know about filming in Croatia, in your language, be sure to check Total Croatia's page.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 13 February 2022

Commercial Accommodation Facilities See Large Increases in December and All of 2021

ZAGREB, 13 Feb 2022 - A total of 70.2 million bed nights were generated in commercial accommodation facilities in Croatia in 2021, 72% more than in 2020, with 63 million or 78% generated by foreign tourists, leading to a 297.6% increase in bed nights generated by foreign visitors in December.

In addition to the huge increase in bed nights compared to 2020, 12.8 million or 82.5% more tourists stayed in commercial accommodation facilities in 2021, and of that,10.6 million were foreigners, a 92% increase year-on-year, show data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS).

In 2021, 2.1 million domestic tourists stayed in commercial accommodation facilities, or 46.6% more than in 2020, generating 7.3 million bed nights, up 36% from 2020.

December very good in terms of tourism results

In December 2021 alone, 117,400 domestic tourists stayed in commercial accommodation facilities, a 151% increase year-on-year, generating 227,200 bed nights or 123.2% more bed nights year-on-year.

An even greater increase on the year was generated by foreign tourists in December - there were 118,600 arrivals, an increase of as much as 656%, and 326,700 bed nights, an increase of 297.6%. Most bed nights were generated by Slovenians, Austrians, Germans, Russians and Italians.

Zagreb was among the most popular destinations visited in December, accounting for almost 29% of the total bed nights in that month, followed by Opatija and Split.

Hotels generated the most bed nights in December (54.3%), which was 4.7 times more than in December 2020, followed by rented rooms, apartments and holiday homes.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

"Blue Line" Tourist Map for Wheelchair-bound Created

ZAGREB, 9 Feb 2022 - The Blue Line help service has, with the support of the Zagreb Tourist Board, created a map for wheelchair-bound individuals visiting downtown Zagreb and other tourist attractions in the city.

The map will be provided free of charge at the Tourist Board's information centres. "There is an online version available and hopefully an app will be created soon too", the Blue Line NGO said.

The project was achieved through cooperation between the Blue Line, Zagreb Education-Rehabilitation Faculty and the CeDePe association with the support of the Zagreb Tourist Board.

The project leader at Blue Line, Miran Vučenović, underscored that the map will put Zagreb on the list of accessible European destinations.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Museums Log More Visitors in 2021, but Much Fewer Than Before Pandemic

ZAGREB, 9 Feb 2022 - In 2021, the second pandemic year, Croatian museums logged 2,549,841 visitors, up 74% on 2020 but only 48% of the visits recorded before the pandemic, a survey by the Museum Documentation Centre shows.

The survey was conducted last month and covered 141 of Croatia's 164 public and private museums.

While many European museums were closed last year due to COVID, this was not the case in Croatia where the number of visitors was also a result of revived tourism last summer.

Almost 25% of the visitors registered last year visited the three usually most popular museums.

The Archaeological Museum of Istria in Pula saw 313,180 visitors, up 91% from 2020, but only 54% of the number logged before the pandemic.

The Split City Museum attracted 135,891 visitors, up 228% from 2020, but only 34% of the number before the pandemic.

Dubrovnik Museums had 111,411 visitors in 2021, up 166% from the year before, but only 37% of pre-pandemic figures.

Last year, as in 2019, foreign tourists accounted for almost 25% of museum visitors. Still, this only accounts for 42% of the visits generated before the pandemic.

Zagreb museums log sharpest fall in visitors due to earthquake, pandemic

The sharpest fall in visits was registered by Zagreb's museums, which have been closed since the March 2020 earthquake and are awaiting years-long reconstruction. The pandemic, too, reduced the number of visitors due to these various events.

Mimara, the Croatian Natural History Museum, the Strossmayer Gallery, and the Croatian School Museum had no visitors at all in 2021. The Croatian History Museum and the Archaeological Museum had between 1,000 and 1,500 visitors on other premises. The Museum of Arts and Crafts logged 15,182 visitors or 19% of the pre-pandemic number. The Klovićevi Dvori Gallery, typically the most visited venue, had 58,056 visitors, only 16% of figures compared to 2019.

The Vučedol Culture Museum in Vukovar registered 8,081 visitors, whereas in the years before the pandemic their numbers went up to 90,000.

The only category which saw a rise in 2021 in relation to 2019 were those who visited museums with a family ticket, with 120,726 registered in 2019, 57,749 in 2020 and 136,212 in 2021.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 28 January 2022

How Safe Is Croatia For a Solo Female Traveller?

January 28, 2022 - As COVID restrictions get lifted and things are slowly getting back to normal, the excitement of travel is returning for many. But how safe is Croatia for a solo female traveller?

Of course, this still means travel plans will involve precautions such as testing. And for women, in particular, there is always the factor of safety to consider - especially for women who travel alone, or in a small group with other women. Given the statistics of women’s safety being taken advantage of on holidays abroad, this is enough reason for many women to be hesitant or fully set back off the idea of travelling. But they shouldn’t have to miss out on travel, especially not after these challenging past couple of years, from which we could all use an exciting holiday abroad as a celebration of near-normalcy. 

However, for any solo female traveller planning to visit Croatia, you’ll be happy to know it is the perfect destination regarding both safety and attractions. Aside from its beautiful landscapes, rich history, and economic value for travel, Croatia consistently features high on global rankings for being one of the safest countries in the world. Last year, it was ranked the 2nd country in Europe for people feeling safe walking the streets at night alone. And having lived in Croatia for most of my life, I can say from personal experience that I’ve never felt as safe on a night out anywhere else as I have there. Especially as a young woman currently based in London, UK. With the rising issue of misogynistic crimes, particularly on the streets and on the nightlife scene happening here, there are definitely times when I miss how carefree I got to be in Zagreb or Hvar. And Croatia is home to beautiful scenery, historic and cultural monuments, including the set of Game of Thrones, and nightlife including music festivals such as Ultra and INMusic. The 2022 summer season should see many flying over to Croatia to experience these places and events, and it is important that everyone should not only enjoy themselves but not at the cost of their health or personal safety. 

If you travel to Croatia, you’ll generally be in safe conditions, whether you choose to go to the Dalmatian coast or the capital Zagreb. I would advise any tourist to be wary of pickpockets or scammers, as these tend to be a common issue during tourist season. Otherwise, if you’re travelling on the coast, you can enjoy long hikes, trips to the beach, or a late-night roaming the streets without fear. In old towns like Split and Dubrovnik, however, be careful not to get lost in narrow streets and alleyways, which are not always well-lit. But in a country known for its low violent crime rates, you shouldn’t be too paranoid about having to walk a few dark streets.

A thing to know about Croatian culture is the value placed on helping others, especially in a vulnerable position (for instance, if the person has had a lot to drink). It’s a small country, so you get more of a sense of community you wouldn’t get in countries such as the UK or the US. And Croatian people are known for being friendly and hospitable and welcoming towards any tourist.

Uber drivers are reliable and not as likely to take advantage of passengers as in other countries, and public transport is safe. If visiting Zagreb, you’ll mainly be using the buses and trams to navigate the town, which are well-connected and not too expensive. Make the most of visiting the main square or upper town, one of the parks such as Jarun or Bundek, or the eclectic range of clubs and bars in Zagreb.

Especially the latter - Croatians enjoy a drink. Obviously, it should go without saying to drink responsibly. It’s always important to stay in control especially when in a foreign country. And of course, be careful not to fall victim to spiking. But in general, Zagreb nightlife isn’t met with many unsafe conditions. And, if your nights out tend to go into the early hours of the morning, the streets are usually quiet at that time, so you should have little to no worry about running into any danger. Speaking from many personal experiences, I have never experienced a night out in Zagreb in which neither my friends nor I felt truly threatened. We have always looked out for our safety, as a group of young people should when out and about, but were still able to enjoy ourselves and return home safe the next morning, whether it was by public transport, Uber, or walking home.   

It’s totally fine to worry about safety wherever you travel, especially following a pandemic. As fun as it is to travel, it’s always important to have your wits about you and to be prepared for any situation. And speaking on behalf of women: shouldn’t we be entitled to enjoy ourselves on an exciting journey without having our personal safety at risk? Especially in Croatia, a must-visit destination with plenty to offer.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Two Hours Apart, Or Is It? How COVID Put Distance Between London and Croatia

January 25, 2022 - During the Croatian Homeland War, there was a very poignant documentary in the UK about Croatia, titled Two Hours From London, addressing the humanitarian and cultural atrocities happening only two hours flying time from London. Without delving into the topic of human tragedy, I'm using this example to highlight that the authors of the documentary wanted to convey a message that London and Croatia were indeed so close. That happened nearly 30 years ago. 

Today, it seems to me that London and Croatia are further away than those two aforementioned hours. I am a British-born Croatian who grew up in Croatia and is now settled back in the UK. As a student, I envisioned flying back and forth between Zagreb and London a lot. Until COVID changed that. Travelling these days between the two destinations requires multiple steps in preparation pre-and post-flight. And that's only if we're lucky that our flight doesn't get cancelled or rescheduled. A passenger between the two destinations must continuously be checking complex rules written on respective governments' web pages in order to be fit-to-fly.

Moreover, travel expenses go beyond the ticket price. To enter Croatia, one is allowed to enter so long as they possess one of the following: proof of vaccination (no older than 365 days), a negative COVID antigen or PCR test result (no older than 48 or 72 hours respectively), or a doctor's certificate of recovery from COVID. Of course, all passengers have to fill in an Enter Croatia form. 

All international arrivals to the UK must adhere to a different set of rules, which also continuously change. Let's just make a point that the rules among England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are different. As of recently, fully vaccinated travellers to England do not need to take a COVID-19 test prior to arrival. One can choose to take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test upon arrival to England. Things get a little trickier if the lateral flow test shows positive: one will then need to self-isolate and book a PCR test. Either one of the tests must be booked before the arrival to England. Mind-boggling, doesn't it?

To conclude: there is no longer quick city-hopping between London and Zagreb. Travel requires research, planning, and commitment these days. It is only for the most determined travellers who can afford the newly required travel “luxuries” - my student budget doesn’t exactly allow for those! 

I am now trying to reassure myself with the fact that if I don’t travel I am actually being a responsible citizen on many levels: I do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic internationally nor do I participate in increasing a carbon footprint! However, I do long for the times when travel is easier again so I can go to Croatia to give my grandparents a quick hug and to jump over to Zagreb or Hvar to visit my friends. 

For more updates on international travel news, check out our dedicated travel section.

Sunday, 23 January 2022

Palagruža Association Continues Building Replicas of Traditional Wooden Boats

ZAGREB, 23 Jan 2022 - The Palagruža association, based in the town of Komiža on the island of Vis, preserves and promotes the maritime heritage of the local community which includes making replicas of historical boats. The association has completed the building of models "Sandula" and "Ofalkono Gajeta" and is now in search of partners to build "Leut" and "Loja" replicas.

The association is also active in collecting and preserving traditional tools and promoting local crafts, artisanal products, and cuisine.

The head of the association, Miro Cvitković, recently told Hina that in the beginning, members made replicas of more simple traditional boats such as the "Gundula". Upon completion, this was followed by building replicas of "Sandula" and "Ofalkono Gajeta-učilo" vessels.

The association takes part in many festivals and events abroad to promote Croatia's maritime heritage.

For instance, its members attended the European maritime festival in the Gulf of Morbihan, France, to promote the "Sandula" vessel. On this occasion, they also managed to establish cooperation with the French town of Rochefort-sur-Loire.

"Sandula" is a "work boat" which was used for everyday fishing activities and short voyages along the local coast.

"Loja" is a boat used in fishing for oily fish, or for communication between bigger vessels during fishing activities.

Cvitković has said that currently the association is trying to find partners for its project to build replicas of "Leut" and "Loja" vessels.

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

Sunday, 23 January 2022

This Year's Museum Night to Take Place on 28 January

ZAGREB, 23 Jan 2022 - The 17th edition of Museum Night will take place on 28 January and this year's theme is "Museums between the real and the digital".

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, events will be held online and, where possible, offline with mandatory use of COVID passes.

The organizer, the Croatian Museum Association (HMD), said that cultural institutions were forced to adapt to the new reality, with most of the events being moved to digital communication channels.

All Museum Night programmes will be available via digital channels.

In the pre-pandemic years, Museum Night saw mass visits to museums, with the number of visits in one night exceeding 300,000. Last year, nearly all events were organized online.

The HMD organized the first Museum Night in 2005, with the participation of only a handful of museums in Zagreb. Since then, it has evolved into a national event, attracting 3,635,127 visitors. It takes place on the last Friday in January, from 6pm to 1am, and admission to museums is free.

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

Thursday, 2 December 2021

IBTM Barcelona: Great Interest in Slavonia as an Incentive Destination

December 2, 2021 - The Croatian National Tourist Board is presenting the Croatian tourist offer as part of the IBTM Barcelona, which has been held until today. Exceptional interest during the event was expressed for Slavonia as an incentive destination that represents something different on the market.

After last year's online edition, the fair is being held in person again this year, so numerous meetings of domestic and foreign partners from the business travel segment have been held, reports Turističke Priče. Namely, in addition to the Croatian Tourist Board as the main exhibitor, seven co-exhibitors present their offer at the fair, including the congress offices of Zagreb, Dubrovnik, and Opatija and Valamar, Liburnia Hotels & Villas, Le meridien Lav Split, and Spektar putovanja.

According to the first feedback from the IBTM Barcelona, many partners from the Polish and Ukrainian markets are interested in creating additional offers with Croatian destinations in the business travel segment, while Turkish partners are announcing great interest in Advent programs in our country. Also, exceptional interest during the stock exchange was expressed for Slavonia as an incentive destination that represents something new, different on the market, and which is adorned with a very rich and authentic offer.

Croatian partners, who have already received concrete inquiries for 2022, are also satisfied with the performance on the event, during which the main advantages of Croatia, as business tourism destinations, could be quality infrastructure, proximity, and accessibility; historical heritage, nature, top eno-gastronomy, etc.

Let us add that this event presents more than 3,000 destinations and providers, who have the opportunity for business meetings with more than 15,000 professionals from the business travel industry. The IBTM Barcelona congress, along with the IMEX Frankfurt, are the most important events of its type in Europe and the world.

If you want to learn more about Osijek, Vukovar, Vinkovci, Đakovo, Baranja, Slavonski Brod, and other magical destinations in Slavonia, be sure to check all the full detailed guides at Total Croatia here.

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

Monday, 29 November 2021

Global Tourism Up in Q3 But Recovery Still Fragile

ZAGREB, 29 Nov 2021 - Croatia, Mexico, and Turkey were the closest to achieving their tourism results of 2019 among the larger destinations in the world, which saw an increase of 58% in international tourist arrivals in July-September 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, which indicates a certain but still fragile recovery, the latest data from UNWTO shows.

Noting that the pandemic is hampering recovery and the pace of recovery remains slow and uneven due to unbalanced vaccination rates and new variants of the contagion emerging, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation on Monday released its latest barometer of international tourist arrivals in Q3, 2021, noting that the results were encouraging but still 64% below 2019 levels and that there were imbalances between world regions.

"In light of the rising cases and the emergence of new variants, we cannot let our guard down and need to continue our efforts to ensure equal access to vaccinations,  coordinate travel procedures, make use of digital vaccination certificates to facilitate mobility, and continue to support the sector," UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvil said.

Europe and Mediterranean best performers

Europe recorded the best relative performance in the third quarter, with international arrivals 53% down on the same three-month period of 2019. In August and September, arrivals were at -63% compared to 2019, the best monthly results since the start of the pandemic.

Southern and Mediterranean Europe saw its best performance in Q3 2021, according to available data, with arrivals coming close to, or sometimes exceeding, pre-pandemic levels.  Croatia (-19%), Mexico (-20%), and Turkey (-35%) posted the best results in July-September 2021, according to the information currently available.

The uplift in demand was driven by increased traveler confidence amid rapid progress on vaccinations and the easing of entry restrictions in many destinations. In Europe, the EU Digital Covid Certificate has helped facilitate free movement within the European Union, releasing significant pent-up demand after many months of restricted travel.

However, in other regions recovery was uneven due to uneven vaccination rates.

Gradual improvement in revenue in all of 2021, similar to 2020 results

UNWTO notes that revenues from international tourism receipts show a similar improvement in Q3 2021. Mexico recorded the same earnings as in 2019, while Turkey (-20%), France (-27%), and Germany (-37%) posted comparatively smaller declines from earlier in the year.

According to the latest UNWTO data, international tourist arrivals are expected to remain 70% to 75% below 2019 levels in 2021, a similar decline as in 2020.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

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