Wednesday, 22 September 2021

16 Super Reasons to Visit Croatia Now: September October 2021

September 22, 2021 – The sun is shining and we'll still be swimming in the sea for some time yet, although the weather and warm Adriatic are far from the only reasons to visit Croatia now

Here are a full 16 reasons to visit Croatia now, in September and October 2021
The weather is fantastic and the forecast is great!

Screenshot_205.pngVisit Croatia now: screenshot © Marc Rowlands

Screenshot_204.pngVisit Croatia now: screenshot

The sea is still warm enough for swimming

242336077_6243047692432629_2508322542701942610_n.jpgSwimming in very late September 2021 on the Omiš riviera, one of the best reasons to visit Croatia now © Marc Rowlands

The very best Croatian food

241480915_6170941186309947_1327304007351009063_n.jpgDomestic bacon and prosciutto, a classic Croatian 'tapas' served at the last surviving inn on Biokovo mountain, Vrata Biokovo © Marc Rowlands

There's no shortage of the finest fresh fish and seafood now the rush have tourists have gone. Want to cook them for yourself? Buy straight from the fishermen on the beach. You can't do that in peak season – it all goes to the restaurants. Also, Croatia's fruit and vegetables are ripe and at their best right now.

241126505_6138144742922925_8968400606881277475_n.jpgUnique, miniature squid, served in ink, with a medley of fresh, roasted vegetables at the restaurant of Camping Labadusa on the island of Čiovo, 2021. Yes, this is how amazing food is at some campsites in Croatia © Marc Rowlands

From figs, melons, mushrooms and truffles to salad greens, pumpkins and mandarins, Croatia is currently the land of plenty. And, the lunchtime specials – Marenda (Dalmatia), Gablets (Zagreb) are outstanding and super cheap right now. Looking for an amazing 50 kuna lunch in Dalmatia right now? Try Konoba Marenda in Šibenik, Konoba Joskan in Omiš or Gastro Diva or Konoba Kalalarga in Makarska?

242356626_6243046882432710_3401854122891850972_n.jpgRoast beef and beetroot risotto with sour cream, pomegranate and apple. Marenda of Konoba Joskan in Omiš © Marc Rowlands

Sports, activity and recreation

242223445_6222414447829287_952918838844562246_n.jpgCycling in Šibenik © Marc Rowlands

Now the temperature have grown more gentle, it's the perfect time to get sporty or active in Croatia. Why not try cycling and hiking in and around Šibenik? Or how about golfing in Zagreb? Inland Dalmatia is a great place for quad biking. Try it in Drniš, Knin, near Vrlika or in Imotski. If you want to try a range of activities and sports, then maybe head for Omiš. You can try canyoning, white water rafting, diving, mountain biking, hiking and a thrilling zip line in Omiš.

Peace, quiet, relaxation

IMG_3328defcvbnjuhgfcv.JPGThe peaceful beach at Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje, pictured in late September 2021 © Marc Rowlands

The kids are mostly back at school, the students have finished partying and are returned to university. Right now, Croatia's campsites, beaches and lunchtime restaurants are quiet and chilled. Romantic couples walk undisturbed across the sands or sip wine as they watch the sunset. The only sound you often hear is the lapping of the waves against the shore.

Idyllic camping

IMG_3321edrfghjnk.JPGRelaxing and peaceful, individual terraces of each glamping unit in Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje © Marc Rowlands

If you want to get up close to nature, camping in Croatia is one of the best ways to do this. And, right now, the country's campsites are at their best. Incredibly peaceful and way under full capacity, there are no more children, families or teenagers. You can bring your own mobile home or even tent – it's cool enough to sleep under canvas now (tents are too hot during the height of a Croatian summer).

241130404_6149405168463549_8737034291319710149_n.jpgUnforgettable sunset views at Camping Rožac, Trogir © Marc Rowlands

Looking for a brilliant Croatian campsite for late September / early October 2021? Camping Rožac, Trogir here has incredible sunset views, whereas the beach at nearby Camping Labadusa here on Čiovo island's other side is a faultless slice of paradise. Further south, the glamping offer of Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje here is also among the finest in Croatia. All three sites are nestled under strongly scented pine trees, just metres from the shore.

IMG_2401dfvgbhnjkiuyhgb.JPGIncredible paradise beach at Camping Labadusa on the island of Čiovo © Marc Rowlands

Discover some of Europe's greatest white and sparkling wine in continental Croatia

AnyConv.com__IMG_2044fgvbnmjnhg.jpgVineyards of Koprivnica-Križevci County winemakers © Marc Rowlands

Been to the Croatian coast before? Then no doubt you've tried some of Dalmatia's famous red wines. Unlike other places, where white wines usually accompany the lighter seafood, pasta and fish dishes of the seaside and summer, on the Croatian coast it's the red wines that rule. Big, gutsy red wines like Plavac mali and Syrah are found by the Croatian Adriatic.

IMG_1802wsdfgh.JPGWinemakers of Koprivnica-Križevci County © Marc Rowlands

Less well known are Croatian white wines Even more hidden are Croatia's sparkling wines. Because, if you want to find them, you have to move away from the sea and come inland. For the best sparkling wines, look to Zagreb County.

IMG_2122.JPGWinemakers of south Koprivnica-Križevci County © Marc Rowlands

For brilliant white wines, there's a thick strip of continental Croatia you simply must get to know. Its north is the Drava river and the sandy soil runs along its length from Koprivnica and Đurđevac to the start of Baranja. Up into the hills of Baranja and to the border with Hungary the vineyards stretch. To the east, Aljmas and Erdut, to the south Ilok, then west through Kutjevo and back to Zagreb County. Now is the time of the newest wines, of harvest celebrations. Now is the best time to walk the wine roads and trails of this massive white wine super-region.

It's the perfect time for a city break

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Nobody wants to be trapped in a bustling city in summertime's 40-degree heat. The high temperatures never subside. The concrete retains it. When things really heat up in Croatia, you need the cooler mountain air or the sea, which at night absorbs the heat of the day. But, right now is the perfect time to go exploring Croatia's bigger cities.

Why not try Osijek, with its kilometres of cycle routes and parks, epic riverside promenades and the best-preserved complex of baroque buildings in Croatia? Certainly, Osijek's Tvrda and its Secession architecture should be seen by everyone once.

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Or, how about Zagreb, the country's social, cultural and economic capital? There are different happenings in Zagreb streets and parks almost every day. And the atmosphere is second to none.

In Istria, you can linger for much longer on the Roman Forum at this time of year. No need now for running urgently between shadows. You can instead afford to take your time as you wander around the epic Roman architecture here. You'll find more unmissable Roman architecture in Croatia's second city of Split, by way of Diocletian's Palace.

A packed events calendar

_MG_9181fgvbnh.JPGEvents of Zagreb parks 2021, captured by © Marc Rowlands

Croatia's event calendar explodes at this time of year. In Zagreb and Dubrovnik, famous music festivals fill the parks and streets. Elsewhere, this is one of the most important times of the year for food and drink festivals...

Harvest time

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It's harvest time, and when the local produce is collected from the trees or fields, usually there's an accompanying celebration. The party always extends well beyond championing the local produce. These are some of the best events in Croatia – accessible to all ages and appealing especially to gastro fans.

For example, Ivanić-Grad's pumpkin festival - Bučijada - always has a great music and entertainment programme attached. Held on October 1, 2 and 3 in 2021, it draws folks from far and wide to the pretty Zagreb County town. You won't have to look hard to find fun events like this all across Croatia at this time of year, celebrating everything from walnuts and almonds to grapes, olives and mushrooms.

Budget flights are still available

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Not only are budget flights still available, but the summertime routes to all Croatian airports are also still in play. Everywhere in Croatia is easily accessible right now. And for very little cost.

Last minute deals and inexpensive accommodation

AnyConv.com__IMG_3340edrfghjnmkjhgfd.jpgPrivate pool of the 4-star Boutique Hotel Noemia, Baška Voda © Marc Rowlands

It's no secret that prices plummet on Croatia's coast at this time of year. Smart operators do their best to extend the season by dropping prices. You can pick up incredible deals at this time of year everywhere from restaurant dining to luxury resorts, villas, apartments and hotels with full or half board.

Sailing in Croatia

AnyConv.com__IMG_3354ertyhujhgfd.jpgA regular visitor to Brela, Baska Voda and Split returned again in September 2021 © Marc Rowlands

The season for sailing Croatia is nowhere near as short as that enjoyed by most sunbathers. You only need look at the daily newspapers to read about the latest luxury yacht to sail into Croatian Adriatic waters. But, you don't need to be a Russian oligarch to enjoy the beautiful bays, beaches and islands of Croatia. Charter yachts in Croatia can be found at reasonable rates – especially in late September and early October!

Volunteering

IMG_20210915_165305139_HDR.jpg2021 volunteer divers at Calypso Diving in Omiš © Marc Rowlands

Late summer, early autumn and spring are the best time to come volunteer in Croatia. In late summer and early autumn, it's the Adriatic that needs a little love. Volunteer divers undertake ecological missions to clean the seabed around the coast. It's surprising just how much trash falls into the seas after a summer season.

IMG_2818edcvbnhgf.JPGExperienced divers, pictured in 2021 at Trogir Diving Centre © Marc Rowlands

If you're a qualified diver, why not come and help out? Try Trogir Diving Centre here, the oldest diving school in Croatia. Or try Calypso Diving in Omiš here. There, you don't even need to be qualified - beginners can learn from scratch and earn their first diving certificates in return for their volunteering!

242151424_6227553893982009_4396189167021449696_n.jpgVolunteer divers at Calypso Diving in Omiš, 2021 © Marc Rowlands

It's the best time to explore Croatia's National Parks and Nature Parks

241316764_6170947642975968_6841343418900551668_n.jpgThe famous Skywalk of Biokovo Nature Park on the Makarska riviera in Dalmatia, 2021 © Marc Rowlands

In the preserved and protected wilderness of Croatian National Parks and Nature Parks, there's sometimes very little shelter from the sun. They can be tough to explore at the height of summer. Mountainous parks like Paklenica, Velebit and Biokovo have incredible hiking trails that are best enjoyed at this time.

241631995_6170951239642275_3522302139938915487_n.jpgBiokovo Nature Park peaks in 2021 © Marc Rowlands

Elsewhere, you can trace the waterways and waterfalls of Krka National Park, Kopački rit, Plitvice lakes and Žumberak-Samoborsko gorje in relative calm right now. No long lines of queueing tourists spoiling your photos. The island parks like Mljet, Kornati and Brijuni are all the more idyllic when there's nobody else around.

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There are much worse places you could be working remotely

Working.JPGVisit Croatia now: September October 2021 © Marc Rowlands

Friday, 27 August 2021

Mala Butiga is Dubrovnik’s New Wine and Food Hotspot

27 August 2021 - Mala Butiga is a brand new shop located in the centre of Dubrovnik's historical district. It is the city's newest and one of the most interesting additions when it comes to wine and food offers.

Across the square from the Great Onofrio's Fountain, Mala Butiga offers an amazing selection of Croatian wine and premium food items. It is a family business and a passion project started out of love for all things local and authentic. It is run by locals with plenty of tourism and hospitality experience that includes running a wine bar and making wines. Mala Butiga aims to be a one-stop shop for foodies and wine enthusiasts alike.

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Dubrovnik's historical centre might be brimming with people and activity, but it is hardly a shopper's paradise. There are plenty of options when it comes to stores catering to travellers, but not many offer great quality for a reasonable price. When it comes to local wine and food, the quality of which is one of the major draws for people visiting the area, the situation is not much better. Thankfully, Mala Butiga is here to save the day.

Croatian Wine and Spirits

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It is a very easy shop to find when entering the historical centre. As you walk through the inner Pile gate, it sits directly behind the prominent fountain to your right. Inside you will find arguably the best selection of wine in all of the Dubrovnik area. Wines sourced directly from local family wineries fall into a wide range of prices and styles. Some of the best Croatian bottles are on display. In a country where almost all the wine is produced on small scale, it took a long time to create this impressive collection. Knowledgeable staff is on hand to help you find that perfect bottle to take home as a memento of Croatia or to enjoy while on holiday with friends or that special someone. Wines from all four major regions of the country are on display, everything from light sparkling wines to full-bodied reds. You can find other spirits at the shop as well with a smaller, but a great selection of craft beer and a lovely offer of Croatian liqueurs waiting for you.

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Local Delicacies Not to Miss

When it comes to food items, the deliciousness within is hard to put into words. Truffle specialties from Istria, prosciutto from various Dalmatian regions, top Croatian olive oil, cheese, cured meats, and hot sauces… all this is just a quick visit away. Mala Butiga is stocked perfectly for those last-minute shopping runs before having to entertain a group of friends at home. It is also perfect for creating instant romantic dinners or stocking up for a nice picnic in the local area. Putting together a quick picnic basket was never easier, nor more delicious. In fact, that just might be the perfect choice for a day out while in Dubrovnik. The store holds some items impossible to find elsewhere in Dubrovnik, so its popularity is bound to rise not just with international travellers, but the locals as well.

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Mala Butiga is on a fast track towards becoming one of Dubrovnik’s favourite stores. Make sure you pay it a visit before filling up that free space in your luggage for the return flight and we promise you will not be sorry.

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

For more in-depth information on Dubrovnik, check out our Dubrovnik in a Page section of Total Croatia

 

Sunday, 9 May 2021

First Croatian Wine Camp Open in Medimurje!

May 9, 2021 - Hažić Wine Camp, opened in Jurovčak in the Sveti Međimurje municipality Martin na Muri, is the first Croatian wine camp of its kind. 

The camp on the Hažić family farm offers 12 pitches for campers and eight wooden mobile homes available in early July. It is built to the highest environmental standards along with a category of four suns.

"We have invested a lot of effort and energy in our wine camp. I am happy that we succeeded. Although still until at the end of June we have to set up mobile homes. The first campers have already arrived”,  said the owner Tatjana Hažić, who has been running this farm with her sister Valentina for many years.

The camp's construction, worth 3,500,000 kunas, was helped by the Rural Development Fund with 1.5 million. OPG Hažić is an excellent example of a successful withdrawal of funds from EU funds because, since 2015, they have applied for six projects with a total value of over five million kunas.

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The camp will offer accommodation to tourists who want to enjoy nature, fine wines, sparkling wines, juices, and other apple products of the Hažić family and the rich tourist offer of Međimurje.

Campers in the area can enjoy cycling, wellness services at Terme Sveti Martin, getting to know local cultural sights, enjoying numerous adventurous activities is organized by the Accredo Center, or on a picnic with excellent local food and drinks from the restaurant Međimurski dvori.

The Hažić family represents a very successful tourist story of rural Croatia, which through the countryside tourism provides the best of Međimurje. EU funds have certainly helped them in their development funds. Still, the immeasurable contribution of this whole valuable family must not be overlooked either own funds invested in improving the quality of own products and tourist offer" emphasized Aleksandra Kuratko Pani, head of the Croatian Rural Tourism Association, of which she is a member of the family farm Hažić since 2020.

Guests and tourists of the camp can also enjoy local products from Međimurski štancun.

If you'd like to find out more about Međimurje, click HERE

For more, follow our travel section.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Zadar Wine Festival 2021 to be Held in Famous 16th-Century Arsenal

March 24, 2021 - Zadar Wine Festival 2021 gathers winemakers, caterers, hoteliers, and wine lovers across Croatia. 

The city of Zadar, the Zadar hinterland, and nearby islands have created a significant market for discovering the best wines in Croatia and around the world. The Zadar Wine Festival provides you with an excellent opportunity to present wines, find your new favorite, and make new connections.

The festival aims to achieve successful business cooperation while enjoying the best wines and for exhibitors and visitors to understand why the Zadar Wine Festival is increasing its popularity. 

The festival will be held on Friday, April 23rd and Saturday, April 24th in Zadar's Arsenal, a unique zero-category monument built in the 16th century. The multipurpose space has been described as an "indoor town square" due to its size. Its unique mix of tradition, culture, and modern design makes it the perfect location for a first-class experience such as the famous Zadar Wine Festival. 

With its unique location, next to the Zadar city walls and the Muraj promenade, visitors and exhibitors get to enjoy a unique experience and witness the beauty of Zadar and its most famous attractions the Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun. 

Zadar Wine Festival 2021 is supported by the City of Zadar, Zadar County, the Tourist Board, the Croatian Chamber of Crafts, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Sommelier Club, the Association of Winemakers, and others. Whether you're going for the experience, finding your new favourite wine, or making business connections, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the Zadar Wine Festival. 

You can check out the two-day program on their website, grab a ticket and enjoy the beauty of Zadar while sipping on Croatia's best wines.  

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

Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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Drniš prsut
is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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Thursday, 1 October 2020

One Minute Ludbreg: Branko Kezman, Award-Winning President of Trsek Wine Association

October 1, 2020 - Continuing our tour of Croatia's miracle town in the TCN One Minute Ludbreg series, a visit to the Kezman winery and President of the Trsek Wine Association, Branko Kezman.

One of the joys of exploring the wineries of Croatia is that - in addition to the wines - you have the chance to share and experience the private dreams of individual winemakers. There are so many different approaches to wine making and wine presentation, even within the producers of the Ludbreg wine road. And if you are looking for a taste of authentic rustic living, then look no further than Branko Kezman in the pretty village of Slanje, a short drive to the west of Ludbreg. 

The Kezman family winery was founded back in 1995, and today it produces 10 - 12,000 bottles a year. As with the rest of the region, the focus is very much on white wines, and there is an impressive selection to choose from -  graševina, rajnski rizling, bijeli pinot, sivi pinot, silvanac zeleni, manzzoni, muškat and chardonnay. The winery has enjoyed considerable success with numerous awards in regional and national competitions.

The Kezman tasting takes place in a quaint traditional wooden house built by owner Branko Kezman. It is a divine spot and is available for overnight rent. If you are looking for a peaceful escape in traditional Zagorje nature, especially after an excellent wine tasting, this is pretty hard to beat. The house is directly opposite the winery.

Not content to just produce his own wines, Branko Kezman is also the President of Trsek, the Ludbreg Wine Association, which was formed back in 2010 with the aim of promoting the Ludbreg wine story. Among his most important duties is organising and presiding over the annual Young Wines Exhibition in Ludbreg. Now in its 30th year, the event is the largest international exhibition of young wines in Croatia today. 

Learn more about Branko Keman and his winery in the latest episode of our One Minute Ludbreg series, below, then check out the other videos in the series.

The One Minute Ludbreg video series is a project in paid partnership with the Ludbreg Tourist Board.

To learn more about Ludbreg beyond its stereotype as the centre of the world, read Marc Rowlands' Ludbreg, the Croatian Road Less Travelled

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Monday, 21 September 2020

One Minute Ludbreg: Marko Makar, Young Wines Overlooking Timeless Hills

September 21, 2020 - Continuing our tour of Croatia's miracle town in the TCN One Minute Ludbreg series, a visit to the Marko Makar winery for strawberries and sparkling wine overlooking the rolling hills towards Hungary.

In addition to the unique flavours of its reported 130 indigenous wine varieties, one of the key factors which gives the Croatian wine scene such personality is the sheer diversity and determination of its hundreds of private winemakers to realise their own dreams of producing excellent wines according to their vision. With so many different personalities and grape varieties to play with, the results for the wine tourist are spectacular, and one can enjoy several totally different tasting experiences at wineries which are very close to each other. 

Such is the case on the Ludbreg Wine Road in Varazdin County, which exists solely due to the passion and dedication of a few private individual winemakers who have come together to promote their wines and the Ludbreg wine region. Among them is Marko Makar, who is quietly expanding his business beyond wine and into tourism. 

His winery, located 1.5 km south-east of the town, is a delightful combination of excellent young wines and fabulous views of the rolling hills typical of the region, and the view extends into neighbouring Hungary. 

Not content to stop at wine production, Makar is also building a holiday home with swimming pool to add to his offer.  

A very relaxed place, and if you come at the right time of year, you can check out his ultimate hedonistic combination, strawberries and his sparking wine, Nika, a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 

Learn more about Marko Makar and his winery in the latest episode of our One Minute Ludbreg series, below, then check out the other videos in the series.

The One Minute Ludbreg video series is a project in paid partnership with the Ludbreg Tourist Board.

To learn more about Ludbreg beyond its stereotype as the centre of the world, read Marc Rowlands' Ludbreg, the Croatian Road Less Travelled

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Saturday, 19 September 2020

Daily Telegraph Features 1st Master of Wine Making Wine in Croatia

September 20, 2020 - The Daily Telegraph features Master of Wine Jo Ahearne, the first MW to make wine in Croatia. Grapes from Hvar, Hands from London. 

One of the most interesting developments in the last few years has been the arrival of the first Master of Wine to produce wine in Croatia from indigenous Croatian varieties. 

Jo Ahearne MW took the plunge back in 2014 and moved to Hvar. After years of consulting and buying wines for the likes of Marks and Spencer and Harrod's of London, she had been looking to make her very own wine, and the indigenous grapes of Hvar combined with the relaxed Croatian lifestyle seemed like the perfect opportunity. 

I have known Jo since those early days and watched with awe as she has mastered her craft despite the complexities and bureaucracy of starting a wine business in Croatia. 

A key early theme has been to use local grape varieties, of which Hvar has several unique sorts. Her debut wine, Rosina, a rosé made from Drnakusa, was met with critical acclaim, and she has been slowly expanding her range from there. 

Perhaps her most acclaimed wine is the maceration wine 'Wild Skins', which is a blend of Posip and two Hvar varieties, Kuc and Bogdanusa (which literally translates as 'a gift from God').

I did smile to myself a couple of years ago, as Jo headed off on a wine tasting tour of note. Invitations to exclusive addresses in Tokyo, Kyoto, Melbourne and Sydney - new frontiers for the humble grapes of Hvar, inspired by the vision of a straight-talking Londoner. 

After some time making wine on the south side of Hvar, Jo has moved her production to the hilltop village of Vrisnik in central Hvar, from where she runs great wine tastings, which are growing in popularity. 

Media attention is also growing in this fascinating relationship between a Master of Wine and the indigenous grapes of Hvar, with today bringing perhaps the biggest exposure yet - a very well-written piece in The Daily Telegraph. 

I’m lucky that Jo Ahearne agreed to speak to me during harvest. Winemakers are always hard-pressed when the grapes are being picked, so it’s no surprise that our chat is aborted a couple of times. “It’s all going crazy here as all the whites have decided to come in at the same time. Normally they form an orderly queue,” she messages from the Croatian island of Hvar, a haven of pine trees and lavender fields in the Adriatic, where she has been making wine since 2014. Another day we’re emailing at 4am.

Read the full story in The Daily Telegraph here.

For more information about Ahearne Vino, check out the official Facebook page.  

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Saturday, 22 August 2020

One Minute Ludbreg: Meet the Ludbreg Wine Road

August 22, 2020 - Although Croatia is a well-known wine-producing region, not every region has its own wine road. Meet one which has, the Ludbreg Wine Road. 

It is the land of 130 indigenous grape varieties and the birthplace of the original Zinfandel, whose unique wine offer is attracting more and more international attention. 

And yet not every wine-producing region in Croatia has its own wine road. Dalmatia, arguably the most famous Croatian wine region of all (although Istrians may dispute this) does not have an organised wine road that tourists can use to find the finest Plavac Mali or Posip. 

One small wine-producing region tucked away in northern Croatia has got itself organised, however, one more example of excellence in the unusual town of Ludbreg, which is better known in Croatia for its claim to fame as the Centre of the World. 

The Ludbreg Wine Road has been in existence since 2010 and this year celebrated its 10th anniversary. Local producers have come together to form the Association Trsek, whose mission is the promotion of the region's wines. 

All the wine producers and restaurants on the Ludbreg Wine Road are in close proximity, and each offers a different tasting experience of the local grape varieties. 

Although perhaps not the best known of wine roads in Croatia, Ludbreg plays an important role in the Croatian wine story. It has been the host to the biggest international wine festival in Croatia for young wines for almost 30 years, and its vineyards have been guarded by the world's largest statue of the Protect of Vineyards, St Vincent - or Sveti Vinko as he is known in Croatian. 

Take a tour of the Ludbreg Wine Road in our latest episode of One Minute Ludbreg, before continuing your tour of this fascinating little town in the other videos in the series published so far. 

The One Minute Ludbreg video series is a project in paid partnership with the Ludbreg Tourist Board.

To learn more about Ludbreg beyond its stereotype as the centre of the world, read Marc Rowlands' Ludbreg, the Croatian Road Less Travelled

Monday, 30 March 2020

Međimurje Farmers Will Be Able to Tend to Their Vineyards in Hungary

ZAGREB, March 30, 2020- Grape farmers from the northern Croatian region of Međimurje will be able to cross the border into Hungary to tend to their vineyards there despite the border restrictions Hungary has introduced to fight the coronavirus epidemic, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Sunday.

Szijjarto said that he and his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman had agreed on cross-border commuting in areas near the border, according to the Hungarian news agency MTI.

The Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry did not respond to Hina's query about the agreement.

Szijjarto says that Croatian grape farmers from Međimurje recently contacted him about the border restrictions preventing them from crossing over to Hungary to farm their grapes.

"And if they do not finish the work now then there certainly won't be any harvest," he said on Facebook.

The Hungarian minister said that he had phoned his counterpart Gordan Grlić Radman and they quickly agreed to enable commuting over the border.

"The two police captains will work out the details and spring work can start," Szijjarto said.

More news about relations between Croatia and Hungary can be found in the Politics section.

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