Sunday, 15 May 2022

Big 7 Travel Pronounces Korcula 5th Most Beautiful Island in the World

May the 15th, 2022 - The stunning Central Dalmatian island of Korcula is absolutely unique, and anyone who has ever spent any amount of time there doesn't need to be convinced of that. We all know it, and now it's official. Big 7 Travel has declared Korcula the fifth most beautiful island on the face of the Earth, ranking it alongside the likes of Bora Bora.

As Morski writes, Korcula's deserved title as the fifth most beautiful island in the entire world was announced by the readers and editors of the Big 7 travel site, who chose from as many as 50 islands dotted all over the globe. Very surprisingly, there were no other islands from Croatia listed, but there were Seychelles, Bora Bora, Barbados, the Maldives, jaw-dropping locations in from Hawaii and the Caribbean, and islands from Zanzibar, but all these places were overshadowed by Korcula.

It's difficult to pick the most beautiful island from all of the many inhabited and uninhabited islands this country boasts. Each and every one of them stands out from another in some shape or form, and each has unique qualities, customs and traditions. This particular Croatian island, however, has clearly caught the eye of the international community.

Margaret from Ireland stated: “What do I think about Korcula? If you're up for living in the moment and meditating, and you have to imagine a happy place, this is it. There is no price it could ever be sold for.''

Evelyn from France also has only praise for idyllic Korcula: “It's very quiet and the people there are very kind. Wherever we go, we meet lovely people, so I think we'll come back again.''

The old town of Korcula is unavoidable for all visitors, and it is remembered fondly for its beautiful architecture.

''Another specificity is that the side streets are curved so that the harsh winds of winter can't enter the old town while on the left they're flat so that the summer mistral refreshes us every day,'' revealed Andrea Tedeschi, a Korcula-based tourist guide, for RTL. Those who construced the buildings on the island of Korcula were smart, and it now has a number of restaurants to boast of as well, and with very good reason.

''The gastronomic life of Korcula as a whole is fantastic. I think that you rarely have so many different gastronomic offers on one island in Croatia,'' said Ante Bojic, the owner of the oldest tavern on Korcula.

Hana Turudic, the director of the Tourist Board of Korcula Town said: "We love our little island, we keep it very hospitable with the welcoming hearts of the local population, there's something for everyone on this island.''

The hidden gems Korcula can boast of are plentiful, such as the gorgeous beach which, in addition to being drenched in sun, a calm, crystal clear sea and silence, also offers a view of the island of Lastovo, seeing it get a rightful place on the list of most sought after beaches in the world.

This new title could bring Korcula many guests from across the globe, and nature has done its thing in the many gifts it has given to this breathtaking island, and now it is up to the locals to keep the island as it is - the most desirable.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Monday, 21 February 2022

Zagreb to Dubrovnik: the Ultimate 10-day Road Trip Itinerary

21 February 2022 - It’s never the wrong time to start planning the perfect getaway to the paradise that is Croatia. We decided to give you a hand in planning the perfect 10-day road trip from Zagreb to Dubrovnik (plus some bonus island time!) that showcases the best the country has to offer.

The best way to discover Croatia is by car, giving you the freedom to go off the beaten path and chart your own adventure around the country, all the way from Zagreb to Dubrovnik.

Before we jump into it, do be aware that most car rentals in Croatia are manual transmissions! Automatic cars are available for rent, though mostly by larger rental companies like Sixt, and are more expensive.

If you’re not a confident driver, no need to worry, there are plenty of private bus companies that run daily trips to most cities and tourist attractions during the high season (June - September). In larger cities such as Zagreb and Split, bus schedules are also available online. Transfers between major ports and the islands are also regularly serviced by ferries and catamarans.

Day 1: Zagreb

Welcome to Zagreb, the capital and largest city of Croatia! Nicknamed the city of museums, Zagreb is home to over a dozen award-winning museums such as the Archeological Museum, with over 450,000 artifacts and monuments.

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The gorgeous buildings of Upper Town in Zagreb. Visit Zagreb/Facebook.

Cultural landmarks of the city include Ban Jelačić Square which has existed since the 17th century, the Zagreb Cathedral, or the magnificent Croatian National Theater whose unveiling ceremony was attended by Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I. So, make sure you squeeze in some time for a walking tour to absorb the sights of Zagreb’s Old Town.

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Evenings on Tkalčićeva Street, Zagreb. Visit Zagreb/Facebook.

Hungry? Head to Dolac market, Zagreb's main open-air farmers market to pick up some fresh, seasonal produce and souvenirs. You can also choose to end your day with a tasty meal and local wine from any of the excellent restaurants, bars, and cafes along Tkalčićeva Street.

Day 2: Rovinj

After a bustling day in Zagreb, the enchanting city of Rovinj is a splendid change of pace. Perfectly situated on the Istrian peninsula, the city boasts a rich heritage, from being settled by Venetian tribes, to becoming part of the Byzantine and Frankish Empires, all reflected in the diversity of the city’s architecture, art, and culture.

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This stunning setting has been a popular film setting for movies such as "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard". Rovinj Tourist Board/Facebook.

Stroll along the beautiful cobbled streets and narrow alleys of Rovinj Old Town and make your way towards St. Euphemia Cathedral. Along the way, you should pass by Grisia Street, lined with souvenir stalls and galleries with the most unique pieces to add to your collection.
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The charming, picturesque streets of Rovinj's Old Town. Rovinj Tourist Board/Facebook.

If you have time to spare, take a day trip to Sveta Katarina, a small picturesque island that’s a mere 10-minute water taxi ride from the pier. Spend the afternoon taking a dip in the aquamarine waters of the bay, or hike on one of the numerous trails dotted around the island, or both!

Alternatively, sit back and relax on some of the most beautiful beaches in Istria such as Amarin, Borik, or Valdaliso Beach.

Day 3: Pula

Before leaving the Istrian Coast, make Pula the next stop on your road trip. Serving as the capital of Istria, Pula was the main military port for the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy at the height of its military glory. Today, remnants of these times are reflected in the city’s breathtaking landscape.

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The Pula Arena frequently hosts concerts and festivals throughout the year. Pula Plus/Facebook.

The famous Pula Arena, one of the most well preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world, is a must-see! Another not to be missed landmark is the Temple of Augustus, a monument dedicated to the first Roman emperor in honor of his rule.

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The unique shape of Fort Puna Christo. Pula Plus/Facebook.

Also check out the impressive Fort Punta Christo, which includes an underground section to explore and a well-stocked rooftop bar for refreshments after. You can also enjoy magnificent 360-degree views of Pula from the Venetian Fortress (Kaštel) which also houses the Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria.

Day 4: Plitvice National Park

Although Croatia boasts some of the best coastlines in the world, Plitvice Lakes National Park consistently appears in the top must-see places to visit in Croatia, and for good reason! This UNESCO World Heritage Site holds the title as the oldest and largest national park in Croatia, famous for its gorgeous turquoise lakes. Well worth the detour inland.

plitvice_lakes_national_park_facebook_small.jpgThe main walkway of Plitvice Lakes National Park. Plitvice Lakes National Park/Facebook.

Be aware that the park can get very crowded during the season! To avoid this, just be prepared to visit early (7-8am), or better still, stop by during off-peak seasons where the park transforms into the perfect winter wonderland.

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Plitvice Lakes National Park/Facebook.

Day 5: Zadar

After a day in the lush forests, take a scenic drive back to the Dalmatian coast and spend a day in the charming city of Zadar, the oldest continuously inhabited Croatian city. Today, cozy cafes and art galleries are seamlessly woven into remains from the times of Julius Caesar and Emperor Augustus.

Enjoy a relaxing stroll through Old Town and admire the historical architecture including the Church of St. Donatus, the Landward Gate, the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, and the Roman Forum.

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Ruins in the Old Town of Zadar. Zadar Region/Facebook

Along the way, catch the famous Sea Organ, and a sunset so beautiful, it even captivated Alfred Hitchcock! Just after sunset, take in the light show at the Sun Salutation, an installation created by Nikola Bašić, the same artist who designed the sea organ.

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The Landward Gate, Zadar. Zadar Region/Facebook

If you have some time in between, head to Pag Island to try some of the famous Paski Cheese or to Nin, home to Queen’s Beach, the longest sandy beach in Croatia. Other gorgeous beaches along the coast of Zadar include Kolovare and Borik.

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Award-winning sheep's cheese from Pag Island. Pag Tourist Board/Facebook.

Day 6: Split

Welcome to Split, the largest city in Dalmatia, and second-largest in all of Croatia. The city was founded as the Greek colony of Aspálathos between the 3rd and 2nd century BC.

It was later where Diocletian's Palace was built for the Roman emperor in AD 305. The palace also houses the Peristil, or the main square, another great place to enjoy some coffee and people-watch in addition to the Riva promenade.

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Enjoy a drink inside the walls of the Diocletian's Palace, Split. Visit Split/Facebook

While exploring the Old Town, stop by the Green Market, the largest farmer’s market in Split, to pick up some fresh, organic produce. Turn the corner and it is difficult to miss the 8.5-meter statue of Gregory of Nin, sculpted by world-renowned artist Ivan Meštrović. Rubbing the statue’s toe is said to bring good luck, so much so that it has been worn smooth by visitors over the years.

You can also squeeze in a light hike up Marjan Hill, also known as the “lungs of Split”. Its summit is an ideal place for a picnic, offering marvelous views of the harbor and neighboring islands.

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The crystal clear waters of Bačvice beach. Visit Split/Facebook

Fancy another beach day? Bačvice beach is a popular hangout spot in the center of Split. Relax at one of the many cafe bars and watch the locals play picigin, a traditional ball game. Rumor has it this beach is also where the sport originates from.

Day 7: Krka/Omiš/Trogir

Don't be too quick to leave Split. From here, there are several options for day tours to surrounding attractions.
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Some of the most stunning waterfalls in Croatia can be found at Krka National Park. Krka Nationa Park/Facebook

For nature lovers, Krka National Park is another national park about an hour’s drive from Split. Spend a day walking along well-maintained trails that wind along some of the most stunning waterfalls in the country. Again, make sure you get there early to avoid the crowds!

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Try white water rafting in Omiš. Tourist Board Omiš/Facebook

For those craving more action, head to the picturesque town of Omiš which offers one of the most dramatic scenes on the coast. The city is nestled in a canyon surrounded by gray, craggy mountains, contrasting the peacock blue waters where the Cetina River meets the Adriatic Sea. Omiš offers white water rafting, free climbing, ziplining, abseiling, and canyoning, amongst other activities for visitors seeking a bit of a thrill on their vacation.

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Just one of the many well-preserved remains scattered around Trogir's Old Town. Visit Trogir/Facebook

For the history buff, head to Trogir which has the best-preserved Romanesque-Gothic complex in all of Central Europe. Take a walk around the Old Town, surrounded by walls comprising a series of dwellings and palaces from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods.

Day 8: Hvar

With over 1,000 islands, it wouldn’t be a complete trip to Croatia without doing some island hopping. From Split, take the 1-hour ferry ride over to Hvar. Its beauty and vibrant nightlife have made it a regular vacation spot for the likes of celebrities such as George Clooney and Beyonce.

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Hvar is one of the longest and sunniest islands in Croatia. Hvar Tourist Board/Facebook

Start by wandering around St. Stephen’s Square, the largest square in Croatia and don’t miss the Cathedral of St. Stephen and the Hvar public theater. For the best view, climb to the top of the Španjola Fortress to get an unobstructed view overlooking Hvar Town and nearby Pakleni Islands. You can even rent a small boat (no license required) to explore these islands on your own!

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The view from the top of the Španjola Fortress is unparalleled on the island. Hvar Tourist Board/Facebook

Once you’ve taken in all these sights, enjoy another relaxing beach day at one of the many pristine beaches such as Malo Zaraće, Dubovica, or Pokonji Dol.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for another day trip, book a tour with one of the local travel agencies to the Blue Caves on Biševo and marvel at its clear, iridescent blue waters.

Day 9: Korčula

After the buzz of Hvar, take the ferry to the tranquil town of Vela Luka on the island of Korčula, the birthplace of famed explorer Marco Polo and home to some of the best Croatian wines.

From Vela Luka, take a scenic drive towards the town of Korčula, also known as “little Dubrovnik”. Along the way, stop by the numerous family-run vineyards that welcome visitors for wine and cheese tastings.

Grk is a white wine variety grown almost exclusively on Korčula, other white wines such as Pošip and Rukatac are also premier Croatian wines, often served on celebratory occasions. For fans of red wine, do grab a bottle or 2 of Plavac Mali.

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Vineyards of Korčula island. Visit Korčula/Facebook

In Korčula, walk off the afternoon’s indulgences exploring the streets of the Old Town with its architectural influences by the Venetian Renaissance, before capping off the night with a meal and more wine at any of its superb restaurants.

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Korčula town. Visit Korčula/Facebook

Day 10: Dubrovnik

There’s no better way to end the trip than with Dubrovnik. And yes, there is no shortage of Game of Thrones tours to indulge your senses, but there is so much more to this medieval city than where Cersei Lannister did her walk of shame.

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The beautiful Saint Blaise's Church in Dubrovnik was built during the 10th century. Dubrovnik Tourist Board/Facebook

Talk a walk along the city walls and through Stradun, Dubrovnik’s main street. From here, you can also catch Onofrio’s Large Fountain that used to supply Dubrovnik with fresh water during the Middle Ages and other impressive structures including the Clock Tower, Saint Blaise's Church, Saint Ignatius Church, Cathedral of the Assumption, and the Franciscan Monastery.

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The view from beyond the walls of Dubrovnik looking upon Fort Lovrijenac. Dubrovnik Tourist Board/Facebook

Watch the sunsets and reminisce on your amazing road trip through the country at one of the cliff bars along the city walls, before capping it all off with an exquisite meal at one of the many Michelin-starred or recommended restaurants Dubrovnik has to offer.

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Nothing like a luscious meal to top off a fantastic experience road-tripping in Croatia. Dubrovnik Tourist Board/Facebook

And that’s all folks, you’ve done it! Croatia in 10 days! Bear in mind, this is merely the appetizer of what Croatia has to offer. Customize this guide to better suit your tastes and pace and remember, don’t hesitate to ask the locals in order to unlock the best secrets each location has to offer.

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

Monday, 24 January 2022

PM Plenkovic Claims to Have Made Life for Croatian Islanders Better

January the 24th, 2022 - PM Andrej Plenkovic has claimed that his government (HDZ) has pushed life for Croatian islanders in a better direction, adding that the digital transition is a huge chance for Croatian islanders in many ways.

As Morski writes, after visiting the moonlike island of Pag and participating in the "Croatian Island Product" for 2020 and 2021 award ceremony, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic stressed that this initiative, which has been going on since way back in 2007, is a great example of promoting island economies, indigenousness, cuisine and agricultural products - all that makes up the true identity of not only the islands but Croatian islanders themselves.

The Croatian island product label, he added, is a guarantee of quality and originality, and is proudly placed on products from the islands of Brac, Hvar, Vis, Korcula, Pag, Krk, Lastovo, Dugi otok, Rab, Cres, Lošinj, Prvic, Ugljan, Mljet, Solta, Zirje, Pasman, Iz, Murter, Olib, Kornati, Rab, Silba and Zlarin and the Peljesac peninsula.

He pointed out that the maritime orientation of Adriatic Croatia is important for understanding Croatia and its differences, but above all - its riches and what it has to offer.

"The government wants the sustainable management of island resources"

''Croatian islands are among the riches of this country that many of our friends have come to love and appreciate. In terms of tourism, the islands are always among the most attractive destinations, visited by many tourists, and they want domestic products,'' said Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, talking about the meaning of the Croatian Island Product initiative which emancipates the tradition of Croatian islands and Croatian islanders in a visible and recognisable way.

He said that his government had partly continued and partly improved the strategic, legal, programmatic, project and financial framework for improving life on the islands and providing more support to Croatian islanders.

He added that the islands are also part of Croatia's National Development Strategy until the year 2030, which emphasises the direction of development of smart and sustainable islands, fully incorporated into global and European Union (EU) trends. The government also wants the sustainable management of island resources, respect for specifics and the greater availability of infrastructure and public services.

''In the future, the islands will be the focus of one of the most important global topics - the issue of climate change,'' he pointed out.

''The digital transition is a huge opportunity for Croatian islanders''

In addition to the green transition, Prime Minister Plenkovic emphasised, the digital transition is also important for the country's many inhabited islands. He said that it was a huge opportunity for island inhabitants, noting the fact that Croatia was the first to embrace digital nomads, given that today, internet platforms for work and more or less everything else can be used from anywhere in the world.

Croatia also has a National Island Development Plan, added Prime Minister Plenkovic, which aims to improve the availability of health and social services and strengthen all of the brimming potential of the islands that will have an impact on demographic trends and economic revitalisation. It will also work to further encourage the creation of the proper entrepreneurial infrastructure for island economy development, competitiveness, innovation, and increase the recognisability of island products and services. On top of that, it will work for the protection of nature and the environment and the use of renewable energy sources.

One of the key topics, Plenkovic also pointed out, is the mobility of Croatian islanders and frequent transport connections, not only from the islands to the mainland but also between the islands themselves.

He stated that 1.8 billion kuna had been invested in transport and transport connectivity, 300 million kuna had been invested in the economy and employment, 262 million kuna had been invested in agriculture, 166 million kuna in energy, 162 million kuna in water management, while when it comes to the budget, another 560 million kuna had been invested, and 206 projects worth as much as 118 million kuna had been co-financed through the Island Development Programme.

''We're going to continue to do everything to keep our people living on the islands and to make life better for them,'' he said, emphasising that fact that the island of Pag is one of the great examples of recognisability in this way.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Monday, 8 November 2021

iCat: Tomislav Uroda Wants to Connect Islands with Electric Vessels

November the 8th, 2021 - The idea of connecting Croatia's many islands with an electric vessel, which is far more environmentally friendly and sustainable, has been in the works since way back in 2010. The man behind the iCat project spoke to tportal about his ideas and plans.

As Morski writes, the vision of a fleet of modern and economical ships connecting Croatia's many inhabited islands to the mainland has been in Tomislav Urod's head for more than ten years now.

He started thinking about it as a young shipbuilding engineer, disappointed with the condition of the ships transporting passengers across the Croatian Adriatic. He started turning his dream into reality back in 2011 by founding iCat. To date, he has developed several types of solar and electric boats, and recently attracted the media spotlight as one of the signatories of the initiative to build an Adriatic fleet of as many as 21 ''green’''catamarans.

Uroda revealed in an interview for tportal how realistic it is for this to actually come to fruition and happen, what iCat is currently dealing with, and what his future business plans are.

iCat has sold four of its solar boats so far, and its last job was with Mljet National Park, to which three BabyCat boats were delivered, with the last boat delivered at the beginning of last year. The contract was worth about 10 million kuna. With the outbreak of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, orders and production stopped. Uroda has since been dedicated to designing new types of ships and dealing with agreements on the Autonomous Electric Ships for Smart Islands and Cities initiative, which was launched about ten days ago.

In addition to iCat, the initiators and signatories of the initiative are the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, the Technology Transfer Centre and the Nikola Tesla Innovation Centre. The initiative envisages the development and construction of 21 passenger catamarans with a capacity of 100 to 300 passengers in three sizes, and one of each model will be located throughout the Croatian Adriatic as part of a pilot project to test the possibilities of individual destinations.

The smallest catamaran would be 17 metres long, seven metres wide, and could accommodate 94 passengers. Its value stands at about two million euros.

''We don't look at it so opportunistically. Here in our country, a lot of opportunistic projects have been born lately, because now everyone is trying to grab hold of something green and self-sustainable. We only offer what we know. We've been developing the project since back in 2010, when we started the first cooperation with the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture on the development of passenger ships. Then, in 2015, we made a detailed analysis with the Koncar Institute of Electrical Engineering on the possibility of implementing electric propulsion on such a vessel. The initiative is a logical sequence of everything we've been doing for years,'' explained iCat's Tomislav Uroda.

He added that the initiative has no funders behind it and it is the result of long-term development and discussions with various state institutions about what they need and what they would finance in the next budget period.

Croatian administration is, unsurprisingly, very slow...

Since none of the ministers was present at the signing, when asked what level of interest the state showed, he said:

The State Secretary from the Ministry of Economy and the Director of the Inland Navigation Directorate of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs were present. Their position is that this will be one of the priority projects in the next financial period. What we've heard in communication with the institutions is that they have 227 billion kuna at their disposal that they have to spend in the period from 2020 to 2027. That's a very short period and there are only five years of it left, and we can deliver the first ship in the third year of the project. The administration is very slow. The European recovery plan began the same year that the coronavirus pandemic began and the idea was for countries to spend money to save their economies. Nothing has happened to or with us so far.

Who should apply for European Union funds?

We expect such an application to come from the top. We have no plan to operate these ships. We'll build them for some carrier that then will apply for funds. It's the state that must recognide the project and put it into one of its programmes, as was the case with Mate Rimac’s initiative to research, develop and produce autonomous electric taxis.

Has Jadrolinija shown interest in your catamarans?

Jadrolinija hasn't, no, but other private transport companies have. Jadrolinija is a huge company and it may be looking at the process conservatively.

Can Rimac batteries be used in your ships?

We don't cooperate with him, we import our batteries. Although ten years ago Rimac and I talked about whether he could assemble a battery drive for us. He told me; ''You make the boat, I’ll bring the battery, and we’ll see what we get.'' However, developing a boat is a little more complicated than developing a car. A prototype ship is a very expensive thing. You can't start working in your garage, you have to report it to the captain's office immediately as a ship under construction. Then you're followed through the whole process by the Croatian Register of Shipping. They must first approve the design, the structure and all of the equipment of the ship. They come to set up the keel, check the materials that are installed…

Tomislav Uroda also says that in the period from 2009 to 2011 he worked for the Norwegian company CroNoMar.

When I told them about electric boats, they sort of stuck their noses up at it. What do we need it for? they said, when we have oil? But while we in Croatia were changing our minds, the Norwegians stepped up their game and today they have the strongest fleet of electric boats in the entire world. They're building large ships, mostly ferries, which network the fjords, iCat's Tomislav Uroda concluded for tportal.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

How to Brand Croatian Islands? Showcasing Individuality

November 3, 2021 - They are among the crown jewels of tourism on the Adriatic, but how to brand Croatian islands? 

They are one of the most picturesque attractions, and yet we can't agree how many of them there are. Some say Croatia has 1185 islands, others 1244 and others 1246. 

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It has always been somewhat symbolic to me of the 'strategy' of the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism that we cannot even agree on how many pieces of our prized asset we have. If you are wondering why there is confusion, How Many Islands Does Croatia Have? should make things clearer. 

Now that we have confronted tourists with the amazing statistic of more than a thousand islands on offer, the next logical step might be to tell people a bit about them, so that they can differentiate between them and make an informed choice on which ones might be most suited to visit. 

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A few years ago, as part of the TCN series, 25 things to know about Croatia, I did a piece on the islands - Croatian Islands: 25 Things to Know about the Gems of the Adriatic

And yet, despite that incredible diversity, we do a terrible job at informing tourists of the wealth of choice on offer. 

I have been meaning to write something on the subject for a while, but I was finally inspired by this LinkedIn post below - from a man with a far bigger brain than mine, and a much more intricate understanding of tourism. Regular readers of TCN may be familiar with the excellent tourism writings of Zoran Pejovic on the site already

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Croatia and the (open) question of islands brand architecture
(Friday night musings)

Over the past couple of weeks I took part in several webinars and discussions on the topic of (smart) development of Croatian islands, mostly from the perspective of tourism development, but not limited to. However, even saying the syntagma "Croatian islands" I fail to have a clear image of what exactly do we refer to, other than in the pure geographical terms. It is of note to mention here that I have dedicated years of my career to hospitality projects on the islands, so I know a thing or two about the said islands. By the way, Croatian archipelago is the second largest in the Mediterranean Sea, after the Greek archipelago.

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This is largely a branding and positioning issue. Is it Croatian islands, Croatia's islands, Islands of Croatia, Adriatic islands, Dalmatian islands and Kvarner Gulf? Is it Dubrovnik archipelago, Split archipelago, Šibenik archipelago, Zadar archipelago? Or Elaphiti, Kornati? Or is it all of the 718 islands, 389 islets and 78 reefs all individually listed? Or we focus only on the 47 inhabited islands?

How do we position Hvar, two years in a row Condé Nast Traveller Best Island in Europe along for example Kornati archipelago, a National Park, which consists of 140 uninhabited islands and presents one of the most beautiful wonders of nature in Europe?

Perhaps these discussions were held in the nineties, perhaps in the 2000s, or in 2010s, but surely I don't hear much being spoken about this in 2020s. How do we brand and position our islands. Which strategy do we apply?

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Maldives for example took the branded-house marketing strategy, and you never really know the names of individual islands, but one knows very well the strength of the brand that Maldives are. Balearic islands took the route of house-of-brands and you know of it as a brand, but the individual brands of Ibiza and Mallorca are stronger brands. When people go to Ibiza or Mallorca they almost never say they go to Spain, as the appeal of island branding is stronger.

How does one square this brand architecture and manage a loose network of brands when we have four different tourist boards on Hvar alone, trying to brand their towns independently?

When we were opening Maslina Resort, we wrote Maslina Resort, Hvar, Croatia. This could be called Endorsed Brands strategy, as the brand of Hvar was being linked to the brand of Croatia? Or perhaps this was Master/Sub-brand relationship? None of this is clear. What is clear is that islands are more than their geographic names and locations, when it comes to the appeal and imagination they cause in people's minds. This needs to be utilized better. Island is one of the most romanticized words in English language. We have plenty of them.

p.s. if someone knows work that was done on the topic of Croatian islands branding architecture please share.

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This was my answer:

For me Croatian islands. People get confused by Dalmatia, Kvarner, Adriatic. They are easy to brand I think, and with such diversity, you can give personality to each. Losinj, Island of Vitality is a great start. Call it Losinj, Croatian Island of Vitality, Hvar, Croatian UNESCO Island of Wine. Solta, Croatian Island of Honey, Susak, Croatian Island of Sand, and suddenly people can see they are all different. I wrote an article on 25 things you wouldn't expect to find on Cro islands a few years ago as a starter

How hard would it be to create a map - a website even - and a campaign (the Kings love their campaigns) promoting Croatian Islands Full of Diversity. 

Rather than 'we have somewhere between 1185 and 1246 islands, we can't quite agree' and they are all pretty...

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Meet the Croatian Islands - which one was created for you?

Then (just some rough ideas - and yes, I will be attacked for citing the wrong association within 5 minutes of publishing, so bear in mind these are working examples only.

Losinj, Croatian Island of Vitality

Hvar, Croatian UNESCO Island of Wine

Brac, Croatian Island of Olives and Stone

Korcula, Croatian Island of Marco Polo

Solta, Croatian Island of Honey

Mljet, Croatian Island of National Parks

Jerolim, Croatian Island of Naturism

Vis, Croatian Island of Military Tunnels and Cricket

Bisevo, Croatian Island of Blue and Green Caves

Goli Otok, Croatian Island of Dark History

Susak, Croatian Island of Sand

Peljesac, Croatian Half-Island of Zinfandel's Cousin

Pag, Croatian Island of Cheese, Lamb & Party

Galesnjak, Croatian Island of Hearts

Zlarin, Croatian Island of Coral

Krapanj, Croatian Island of Sponges

Cres, Croatian Island of Griffon Vultures

Brijuni, Croatian Island of Exotic Animals

Lokrum, Croatian Island of Game of Thrones

We could go on, but you get the point.

It really is not that hard. 

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Solar-Powered Catamarans for Croatian Smart Islands Being Developed

October the 27th, 2021 - Croatian smart islands are set to have something new, with as many as 21 autonomous, solar-powered catamarans set to connect them to the mainland.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the Republic of Croatia is very much a ''maritime country'' and ships, mostly ferries and catamarans, are often the only connection to civilisation for tens of thousands of inhabitants on 47 of the nation's inhabited islands. That's why efficient and ecological shipping is of strategic importance for the country. Part of the solution could be a system of autonomous electric ships, the proposal of which was presented very recently in Zagreb.

At the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (FSB), the initiative "Autonomous electric ships for smart islands and cities" was signed with the aim of developing modern shipping, using a zero emission rate, relying exclusively on "green" fuels.

At the FSB, they point out that technologically advanced propulsion on ships is accompanied by partial or complete autonomy, where the safety aspects of passenger transport come first, and autonomous docking is the first development step.

The initiative envisages the development and construction of 21 passenger ships with a capacity of 100 to 300 passengers, which will be built in three sizes, and one of each model will be located throughout the Croatian Adriatic as part of a pilot project to test the possibilities of individual destinations. A total of seven destinations will be selected on the basis of joint deliberations with the competent authorities and the aim will be to connect Croatian smart islands in a far better way.

These modern green vessels will be for the benefit of both residents and tourists

The development of this fleet of electric ships is accompanied by requirements for the development of energy infrastructure for the supply of ships with electricity. The project also envisages the development of charging stations with battery tanks and solar power plants for green electricity generation.

By connecting to the energy infrastructure, the battery tanks of ship charging stations will contribute to the development of Croatian smart islands and cities as part of a system of "smart" networks that will enable the storage and delivery of the said electricity.

As explained by Tomislav Uroda, the director of the company "iCat - integrator and shipbuilder" on whose ships electric propulsion and autonomous navigation will be tested, based on the existing iCat model, they'll develop a passenger ship project and ship management and control system based on advanced methods and artificial intelligence (AI).

"Ship monitoring and control, a robotic system for replenishing the ship's energy tanks, and a system of high-power smart charging stations that use energy from renewable sources are the backbone of the development and application of modern technical solutions in maritime transport.

In order to significantly improve the lives of islanders and residents in coastal cities, as well as the many tourists who visit these areas, with this initiative, Croatia has a unique opportunity to contribute to the implementation of green and digital transition through the National Recovery and Resilience Programme and other EU funds. Rich in renewable energy sources, Croatian smart islands can lead the energy transition to a completely carbon-neutral economy in 2050,'' said Uroda.

Power plants on the islands of Vis, Cres…

Croatian islands don't have larger plants that use energy from fossil fuels, and there are more and more and more construction projects for plants that use green, renewable sources, such as solar power plants on islands such as Vis, Cres, Unije and elsewhere.

Given the above, the decarbonisation in electricity consumption and production will be implemented quickly, and the transport and connection of Croatian smart islands is an essential item that depends on fossil fuels.

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

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Korčula Hosts Conference on Renewable Energy Projects on Islands

ZAGREB, 23 Oct, 2021 - Energy transition has become a major topical issue on Croatian islands, notably large ones such as Krk, Cres, Lošinj and Korčula, over recent years, however, local inhabitants need more education and information on the matter, heard a conference held in Korčula last Thursday and Friday.

Islands are areas where the need for energy self-sufficiency is more compelling than elsewhere, and in the case of Croatian islands it is even more conspicuous during the tourist season in summer when glitches in electricity and water supply systems are more frequent, it was said at the conference, organised by the Movement for Islands and the Clean Energy for EU Islands Secretariat.

"Although they are faced with specific challenges, islands are in a unique position to be front-runners in efforts to achieve energy transition, thanks to abundance of renewable energy resources," said Antonia Proka of the Secretariat.  

During the secretariat's two-day academy, experts discussed financing tools and mechanisms as well as citizen engagement in energy transition.

The implementation of clean energy in the farming and tourist sectors, which are dominant on islands, reduce operating costs and boost the competitiveness of businesses in those sectors.

Also, improvements in waste management on islands can be attained by implementing clean energy technologies, it was said.

A great challenge is insufficient awareness of islanders and inadequate education. Although over recent years a series of successful projects have been launched, transition to clean energy on the Croatian islands is still slow.

The conference presented the example of the island of Samso in the Kattegat sea area between Denmark and Sweden, which has been successful in the use of renewables since 1997. A part of the local wind parks on that Danish island belongs to the local model renewable energy community. Now 100% of its electricity comes from wind power and biomass.

In 2000, the local community established the Samso Energy Academy, which today serves as a centre for development of technologies and a meetinghouse for knowledge and solutions.

Participants in the Korčula conference called on the Croatian authorities to organise energy transition seminars, conferences and training for local population.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Best Nudist Beach in the World is on the Island of Lokrum

October 10, 2021 - Up to 100 nudist beaches and bathing spots around the world were evaluated in a survey conducted by the My Dating Adviser portal, in which the island of Lokrum ranked first for its quality and accessibility, and is thus considered the best nudist beach of the world.

As many as 100 nudist beaches and bathing places around the world were evaluated in a survey conducted by the My Dating Adviser portal, in which the island of Lokrum came first as the best nudist beach, reports Turističke Priče. The quality of the beach, safety, weather, and the price of the hotel were evaluated, and Lokrum received the best evaluations for the safety and quality of the beach.

Lokrum is the closest to the historic city center of Dubrovnik, and centuries of rich history, legends, and stories, the magic of the sea and nature renew old loves or bring new ones. But apart from that, Lokrum became famous after the Game of Thrones series. Lush vegetation, intoxicating scents, and the song of crickets "played" the gardens in the Game of Thrones where "those of pure blood" ruled. Numerous tourists walked the trails walked by Khaleesi and her powerful host Xaro Xhoan Daxos. And while on the island, you can also sit on the  Iron Throne, which is located in a Benedictine monastery

On the list of the 100 best nudist beaches, Lokrum is located above the beach Spiaggia della Lecciona from the Italian province of Lucca, and the Australian beach Maslin Beach .

In the description of the beach, My Dating Adviser states that if you spend time in Dubrovnik, the island of Lokrum is a great place to visit, only 10 minutes away by ferry and that it is a small, uninhabited island, which provides a haven for nudists.

''Here you can enjoy the impeccable landscape, national parks, and clear sea. The island consists mainly of rocks, so be careful with pieces of stone. This island also has a natural salt lake where you can relax like a jacuzzi'', the text explains about the now considered best nudist beach in the world.

In addition to Lokrum, this list includes three other destinations from Croatia: Punta Križa on Cres in 13th place, then Valalta near Rovinj in 16th place, and Sovinje Beach in Tkon in 21st place, which was rated the best in the beach quality category.

Nudist beaches in Croatia have been popular for a long time now. The country with such an abundance of hidden bays and beaches is nothing short of perfect for all those looking to get in touch with nature on their holiday. For more about the history of nudist beaches in Croatia and detailed information, be sure to check Total Croatia's guide here.

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

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

National Plan for Island Development, Island Register Presented

ZAGREB, 1 Sept, 2021 - Representatives of the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds presented the National Plan for Island Development and Island Register in Preko on the island of Ugljan on Wednesday, saying these were strategic documents that should enable a better quality of life on all Croatian islands.

"The National Plan for Island Development is a comprehensive document, presenting various sources of financing and aims, priorities, measures and projects for the development of the islands in the period from 2021 to 2027," the ministry's state secretary, Šime Erlić, said.

The document covers many areas, from social and cultural to traffic and other areas vital for people living on the islands, Erlić said. It underscores the key issues that bother islanders and they will be resolved with the help of national and European funds, he added.

Some of the key problems are transport connectivity from the islands to the mainland, access to health care, water supplies and environmental protection, he said.

"This plan is a basis for negotiations with the European Commission. Croatia is negotiating a new financial envelope and preparing priority investments," said Erlić.

Asked about the problem of water supply, he said that owing to legislative changes, the quantity of water available to islanders had increased from 45 to 85 cubic metres per person but he underlined the importance of building water supply and drainage systems on islands. He added that funding for those investments would be available as well.

He said that measures under the National Plan for Island Development were estimated at HRK 7.8 billion.

Speaking about the Island Register, Erlić said that this was the first time all the islands had been listed and categorised in one place - all 1,244 islands, islets and rocks.

"We have created a database that will serve as the basis to prepare analytical reports necessary to direct and manage efficient policies for island development," he said.

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For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 20 August 2021

Over €1Bn To Be Set Aside for Development of Islands Until 2027

ZAGREB, 20 Aug, 2021 - EU Funds and Regional Development Minister Nataša Tramišak said on Friday in Split that HRK 7.8 billion would be earmarked for development projects on Croatian islands until 2027.

The national plan for the development of islands will provide a scope for investments, and we have assessed that 7.8 billion kuna will be necessary for the implementation of measures envisaged by the plan. However, that amount is not definite and other ministries are expected to make contributions to additional investments in compliance with the money made available in EU funds until 2027, Minister Tramišak told the press.

Tramišak held the news conference after she awarded seven contracts, worth HRK 22 million in total, on regulating the state's co-funding of the EU-funded projects.

The total value of those seven projects which will be implemented in Split-Dalmatia County stands at 223 million kuna, and 140 million will be covered by EU funding.

After Split, Tramišak travelled to Hvar for a ceremony of awarding HRK 4 million worth of contracts on that island.

The registry of islands and the national island development plan will be presented at that ceremony.

More than six billion kuna was invested from national funds into different activities and projects for the islands in the 2016-2020 period.

Croatia has 1,244 islands, and 45 islands are permanently or temporarily inhabited, with 51 maritime routes, 58 community health centres, 102 primary and 13 high schools, and 23 care homes.

(€ 1 = HRK 7.482172)

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For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

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