Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Travel + Leisure's 20 Best Islands in Europe: Hvar and Dalmatian Islands #9

July 13, 2022 - Travel + Leisure readers choose the best islands in Europe based on fabulous food, rich history, and beautiful surroundings. Hvar and the Dalmatian Islands take #9!

Travelers are once again exploring the world with gusto, and, as always, our intrepid readers have led the way. For this edition of our annual survey, hundreds of thousands of you reflected on recent journeys and shared your thoughts on hotels, islands, outfitters, national parks, and much more. Cheers to the best readers—and finest travel experiences—on the planet! - Travel + Leisure.

The World's Best Awards survey is back, where Travel + Leisure readers rank the best travel experiences worldwide, from top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, and airlines to hotels, resorts, and more.

And in the World's Best Awards, the best islands in Europe were chosen by readers based on their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.

Ischia Island in Italy, just off the coast of Naples, took the cake this year as the #1 island in Europe. The volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea was praised for its quaint towns, natural hot springs, and standout hotels, including the 128-room grande dame Regina Isabella and the 73-room San Montano Resort & Spa. 

And while islands in Greece, Portugal, Spain, and France helped make up the top 10, it wouldn't be the 'best islands in Europe' list without mentioning Hvar and Dalmatia. 

Namely, Hvar and the Dalmatian Islands came in at #9 this year, receiving an impressive 87.60 rating by readers! 

But are we really surprised? 

Hvar is a haven in the summer where glitz and glamour meet authentic experiences. The star-studded harbor is often decked out with luxury yachts, complemented by a series of standout hotels and restaurants from the Sunčani Hvar hotel group and, notably, the best nightlife on the coast. 

Hvar and Dalmatia have been increasingly voted as go-to destinations in Europe over the years, and you may remember that Hvar was voted the #1 island in Europe in the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards last year! 

You can find the complete list of Travel + Leisure's 20 best islands in Europe here

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

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Split Oceanographic Physicists Gave Lectures to Children from the Islands

August 26, 2021 - "Oceanographers on the Island" is the name of a project led by Split oceanographic physicists with the mission of organizing free workshops for primary school children and scientific cafes for older audiences on everything related to the sea.

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that a group of Split marine experts came to the Dalmatian islands, where through workshops and activities they dedicated themselves to share their knowledge and teach local children and adults about the marine ecosystem, as well as raising awareness about caring for the sea. All this is organized by five enthusiasts from Split faculties and institutes and funded by the European Research Council and the Croatian Science Foundation.

Workshops and scientific cafes were held at three locations: on Korčula, Ugljan and Hvar. In Vela Luka, doc. dr. sc. Jadranka Šepić introduced the topic of the Vela Luka tsunami, which surprised all residents on the first day of the summer of 1978. In Čeprljanda on Ugljan, under the leadership of dr. sc. Natalija Dunić talked about climate change, and in Vrboska on Hvar, doc. dr. sc. Jadranka Šepić spoke about Varbovac snails.

In addition to the mentioned, Krešimir Ruić, mag. phy., Marko Mlinar , B.Sc. ing., as well as Maja Karlović , mag. edu., were also part of the enthusiastic group of Split oceanographic physicists that came to the islands to share their knowledge through workshops.

Both large and small, through lectures and workshops, realized that marine physics is not a specter, but something quite interesting, and they also learned something about ecology.

''We told the children that they are the guardians of the sea, and if any of them is a future sea physicist, no one is happier than us'', Maja Karlović told to Slobodna Dalmacija.

Elementary school students measured the temperature of the sea and air, learned about sea currents, and given the good response and satisfaction of the organizers, next summer such workshops could be enjoyed by children from other islands.

You can learn more from ''Oceanografi na otoku'' on their official Facebook page.

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

Monday, 16 November 2020

Lastovo is a Hit! Families and Entrepreneurs Want to Live Here

November 16, 2020 – Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, when tourism and business are significantly affected industries, one Croatian island is gaining popularity in both. Lastovo is a hit.

As Slobodna Dalmacija reports, the island of Lastovo is still a corona-free zone, they had a great tourist season this year, and a baby boom. However, as if those were not compelling enough reasons, in the last two months, Lastovo has recorded the interest of several families with children who would like to settle on the island.

And not only families, but on this Dalmatian island, a few hours away from Split by ferry, several entrepreneurs are interested in starting their own business. This story is confirmed to Slobodna Dalmacija by 26-year-old Don Tonći Ante Prizmić whose arrival on the island, in his first parish, coincides with this interesting and unusual phenomenon.

Why do people want to come to Lastovo? Well, the reason is simple. Besides the favorable conditions, the Church on this island continues to lease agricultural land for ten lipas per square meter. The only condition is that you must stay on the island. In the new normal, some see it as a ticket to a better tomorrow.

Because of that, and also because of the church's million square meters of land, the sum of numerous Lastovo fields, and cheap fertile soil – Lastovo is a hit.

"I agree, Lastovo is a hit. And I am so pleasantly surprised that coming to my first parish accompanies me with such good stories," says Don Tonći, continuing with a story about a family from Imotski who first came on vacation on Lastovo, but then fell in love so much that they expressed a desire to move here and engage in agriculture.

"I asked him if he knows how far we are from the mainland and what our ferry lines are. And he said he knows everything, but that they are serious. The only problem is that it is difficult to buy or rent a house on the island due to unresolved property relations. And there are a lot of houses. But they have a solution for that as well. They say they would put a container on the ground first hand. I told them then to come," says don Tonći.

'We wanted to give people a chance'

Other people also called, mostly young families from the area of Kaštela, Split, Dubrovnik, and even from Zagreb. This was followed by several calls from those who would grow lavender, essential plants, produce oils, and open a healthy pharmacy on church land.

Don Tonći opened the door to everyone, happy that on the island from which the youth must move to the mainland to continue their education, the new youth wants to settle. Lastovo, with its 46 green islands and 46 fields, has many church plots where a lot can be grown.

"We are happy that people are calling us and want to come. The price is not commercial because we wanted to allow people to cultivate the land. It began with the blessing of the bishop, and as we now await the new one, we will acquaint him right away with this noble idea. We have vineyards, pastures, fields, forests, all in different sizes. The problem is that they are not in one plot. Some land plots are 20, 50 meters, and more apart. But it is always possible to arrange a lease with one of the owners so that consolidation can be done. This island is beautiful. The truth is, we are a little further from the mainland. To get to Split, you have to get up at three in the morning to catch the ferry. But it has its charms," Don Tonći considers.


The island of Lastovo / Sara Alduk

Don Tonći is a native of Dubrovnik, and on all of the island, as he jokingly likes to say, he is the only spiritual authority. When he got his first parish, St. Kuzma and Damjan on Lastovo, at first it was a small shock, but he adjusted very quickly. He says that the local people are very open, noble, atypical islanders. They are so strongly attached to each other that an island of 760 inhabitants seems like one big family caring for its members.

"And that's why the interest of those who would like to come here surprised me so pleasantly. I openly showed them what we have – plots of a few hundred to a few thousand square feet, vineyards just waiting for hardworking hands. There are no problems with irrigation either because the dew and nature here do the work themselves. There is a lot of lands, and the locals from Lastovo also rent it. The soil is fertile, soft, well, and gives excellent fruit. We offer you a welcome, so come," says Don Tonći.

Lastovo Statute

Don Stipe Miloš, a former Lastovo priest, explained to Slobodna Dalmacija where the Church got so much land from.

The church land is connected to the Lastovo Statute from the 14th century, according to which each family was obliged to give one-tenth of its annual income to the parish. A third of it went for the needs of the parish, another third as a salary for the pastor. And the third was used for the education of priests. In the 700 years that the Statute has been respected, a lot of lands have accumulated, but also the Lastovo youth has been ordained. And a good part of the estate came through the foundations of fraternities such as Our Lady of the Rosary, the fraternity of St. Anthony, and the fraternity of St. Peter.

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

Thursday, 24 October 2019

The Great Demographic Shift on the Dalmatian Islands

For decades we've all been hearing about the drastic reduction of the population on Croatia's Dalmatian islands. Now it seems that the trend might finally be reversing!

Although most islands still have a negative population trend because of the reduced number of births and people leaving them to go and live elsewhere, there are examples of the exact opposite happening. Damir Šarac writes for Slobodna Dalmacija not just based on stories and anecdotes, but referring to the real numbers issued by the Croatian Bureau of Statistics.

In the category which follows migration state-wide, in the period between 2013 and 2018, data shows that some of the Dalmatian islands are the undisputed champions. Among the municipalities with over a thousand inhabitants, the biggest growth has been seen in Šolta (23 percent), Sali on Dugi otok (16 percent) and Vir (14 percent). When it comes to towns with population growth, Novalja on Pag is the first (almost 10 percent growth), and Vis is second (6 percent).

While other islands congratulate them on their successes, mayors and municipality heads highlight that these are the results of years of policies aimed at increasing the number of inhabitants and making it easier for people to find work on Dalmatian islands. The sad side of the story is that so many people have already left the islands, and such a small number of people are still living on them, that it takes a very small number of births or arrivals to make that type of difference we've seen in the last paragraph.

The first example is Šolta, which can be seen as a Split suburb as it's close to Split and is well connected through ferry and catamaran lines (eight during the summer, six during the winter).

These measures allow people to live on Šolta and work in Split. The municipality, headed by Nikola Cecić Karuzić (in his third term, as an independent candidate) gives support for each newborn, they've opened a kindergarten and the number of children in their school is growing each year. There are a total of 92 foreigners living there, mostly from European countries, who have recognised Šolta as an island that makes for a nice life.

Šolta has no surtax, some other taxes are also at zero, and, interestingly enough: there are no unemployed people on Šolta! They need workers constantly, anybody who needs a job can find one on Šolta - and that leads to them having over 400 inhabitants more in 2018 than they did in 2011.

The Mayor of Vis, Ivo Radica of HDZ, is a bit sceptical about the numbers, saying that some of the people just register on the island in order to use the benefits from that, while they're actually living elsewhere, but he does think that some improvements have been made.

He says that the only way to increase the population is to give people a place to stay and work and that everything else is demagogy. Apartments are being built on the island, and families with children get sizeable benefits on Vis. However, he highlights that it's necessary to have people move to the island as well, and adds that four families have moved to Vis this year, one of them from Dubai. Some major projects (tourist and infrastructure) are planned on Vis, which means that more workers will be needed.

The Sali Municipality is known as the municipality in Croatia that gives out the biggest financial support for each newborn child - a massive 60 thousand kuna! That has certainly helped, as the schools are seeing the increased number of students (for instance, a school in Sali has 14 pupils in the first grade, and there were only 5 last year). The biggest problem for Dugi otok is that they're not connected to the water supply system from the mainland, and the water that can be obtained on the island isn't enough for the tourist season. However, new investments and projects are announced which might solve that problem.

Friday, 5 April 2019

First Croatian Olive Oil for Children - Brachia Kids

There's no denying that Croatian olive oil is second to none, and we're not the only ones who think it. Croatian produce has won award after award and the long coastal traditions of olive growing, picking and harvesting in Croatia are worthy of just as much praise as the final results of that hard work are.

As Morski writes on thr 4th of April, 2019, the respected Brač brand of olive oil, Brachia, has launched Brachia Kids, the first Croatian olive oil made just for children of kindergarten and elementary school age, reports

''Brachia Kids brings the fresh and intriguing taste of organic olive cultivation from ecological [olive] growing from the island of Brač. These flavours are ideal for children when it comes to falling in love with the taste of olive oil. This new product is intended for parents who understand the healing properties and the great nutritional value(s) of olive oil, and who want to introduce it to their children's diet,'' said Leopold Botteri, the co-manager of the Brachia cooperative.

Part of the main role in popularising the consumption of olive oil for children will also be played by its attractive packaging, which has been made by Izvorka Jurić and Jurica Kos.

''We've designed the packaging so that the product is attractive to children, fun to use, and also educational, in order to develop their awareness of the importance of the regular use of olive oil. The body of a glass vial (0.25 dcl) has been partially placed in a box that, together with the black tip of the bottle, forms a crayon, and within which six crayons are actually housed. Following the dissolution of the box, there is a fun colouring book with illustrations of olive trees and leaves and various tasks for children to complete. Olive oil nourishes the body, and the puzzle and colouring on the packaging, acts as food for the brain. Together, they make a complete product for the healthy development of children,'' explained packaging designer Izvorka Jurić.

In addition to the premium olive oil of Brachia Maslina and the latest Brachia Kids product - Izvorka Jurić has designed products for the lines of Brachia sort oils, ecoBrachia and Brachia & Friends. All of these products, including Brachia Kids' olive oil for children, are now available for purchase in UJE stores across the Republic of Croatia.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia page for much more.


Click here for the original article by Journal

Monday, 1 April 2019

Film about Vis Takes Home Main Award at Florence Film Festival

The stunning Croatian island of Vis takes to the screens as a film which showcases its sheer beauty rightfully wins big in Florence.

As Morski writes on the 1st of April, 2019, the film by Italian director Nicola Bongiorna "The Lions of Vis" won over both the public and panel in Florence, Italy, with a warm story about the Croatian island of Vis, its inhabitants, history, maritime heritage, fishermen, divers, and, above all, its story of love and respect for the sea.

"The Lions of Vis" (I Leoni di Lissa) won the main prize at the Florence Archeofilm Festival. Nicola Bongiorna's film describes the step by step process of a huge search under the sea for the wreck of a sunken Italian vessel - the Re d 'Italia ship from 1866, which sank with its 400 crew members.

The words of an Italian journalist, "The film isn't a historical story of the battle, but a story told through the astonishing beauty of the archipelago that speaks to the soul of the viewer, a film about the transparency of the sea that connects, and doesn't separate the people".

Some sequences of films from as far back as the 1930s and a film from the 1960s from the island of Vis were introduced, which the director used to reconstruct life on the island. Bongiorna also co-operated with prof. Josip Bozanić, who specialises in linguistics, and the film goes on to reveal many similar and even identical linguistic expressions used by people on both sides of the Adriatic coast.

Recalling the success of the film, the Italian media write that "the beauty of Dalmatia is borderless, and the islands are magical".

Nicola dedicated the film to no less than his own father, Mike, a renowned Italian TV quiz host, who taught him what it meant to fall in love with the sea.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.


Click here for the original articles by Pokret otoka (Island movement) and Slobodna Dalmacija

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Brač: Kids With Special Needs Should Have Free Transport

Living on a beautiful Dalmatian island might be the dream of many, but the daily grind and the confronting realities of island life often pour cold water on paradise-type notions. From access to various types of transport to water to regular ferry lines to and from the mainland, life on an island isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Brač's inhabitants however, are fighting the good fight for those who need it most.

As Morski writes on the 24th of March, 2019, for years now, Brač's Red Cross has helped the Association of parents of children with developmental disabilities through numerous organised actions and various donations. Owing to this, a large number of therapies on the island of Brač have been secured, but often kids and their parents still have to go to the mainland multiple times for other therapies. With that in mind, Red Cross Brač has initiated a petition with the aim to amend the law which governs transport between the island and the mainland.

"For this reason, Red Cross Brač initiated the initiative along with ''Brač buds'' to amend the necessary law in a manner that will in the future regulate the exercise of the right to free transportation on public transport for children with developmental difficulties residing on an island who need physical, sensory, communicative, or linguistic therapy, as well as those who have intellectual difficulties when it comes to learning and development support to achieve the best possible developmental outcomes and social inclusion. 

The desired change to the law will also positively affect those with severe disabilities residing on an island whose long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments may interfere with daily life and create various and multiple obstacles to their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with persons without disabilities.

This proposal seeks to highlight one aspect of discrimination against island children with developmental disabilities compared to the rest of the more privileged population.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Friday, 22 March 2019

New Ferry Dock for Island of Kaprije Before Summer 2020

As Morski writes on the 21st of March, 2019, the first conference regarding the construction of a brand new ferry dock in the port of Kaprije has been held at Šibenik's city hall, handled by the Port Authority of Šibenik-Knin County.

The total value of the island's ferry dock project currently stands at over 11 million kuna, of which 9.3 million kuna is being financed by European Union funds, 1.6 million kuna is being co-financed by the Croatian Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, head by Oleg Butković, while the Port Authority of Šibenik-Knin County is participating in the project with a bit more than 42,000 kuna.

The details of the new Kaprije project were presented to those gathered by the director of the competent port authority, Željko Dulibić, who pointed out that the new pier will be 55 meters long, with a surface measurement of 330 square metres, and will allow for vessels with deeper beams that are less susceptible to the impact of winds to dock, and so that the island of Kaprije's inhabitants will be better connected to the mainland.

The location on which the ferry dock is set to be constructed is located in an area which is managed by by the Port Authority of Šibenik-Knin County and is located about 700 metres northwest of the centre of Kaprije.

The main objectives of the project are to improve the traffic connections of the island of Kaprije with the mainland City of Šibenik and the other islands which belong to the Šibenik archipelago, improve traffic safety within the centre of the bay and Kaprije, improve the access of Kaprije's residents to their respective workplaces, education facilities, medical facilities and other such locations which typically lie on the mainland, and reduce traffic congestion and noise as well as aim to improve overall traffic safety within the centre of the bay and Kaprije.

The current foreseen deadline for the completion of this infrastructure project is summer 2020.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and lifestyle pages for much more.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Vela Luka: Construction of Passenger Terminal and Fishing Port in 2019

As Morski writes on the 21st of March, 2019, a session of the Municipal Council of Vela Luka on the island of Korčula was attended by the county's deputy prefect Joško Cebalo, who expressed the wider county's support for all of the innovative projects currently being prepared and implemented by the municipality, which are aided by EU funds.

''This time especially, I'd like to emphasise sincere congratulations to all of the employees of Vela Luka's home for the elderly for the municipal award that will be given to them today,'' Joško Cebalo stated, adding that the project of energy renovation for the home, which is worth more than four million kuna, will soon begin.

Port infrastructure is still seen as a top priority for Vela Luka. Deputy Prefect Cebalo stressed the fact that this issue really is a matter over which the county's administration is continuing to take care and that one of its main priorities is the continued renewal and further construction of Vela Luka's highly important port infrastructure.

According to him, the county is currently preparing as many as eight projects worth over 500 million kuna in total, and the most important for Vela Luka's residents were highlighted, these include the construction of a new ferry-passenger terminal worth 60 million kuna, which should be implemented this year, and the project of the construction of a fishing port, for which the project documentation is currently being prepared.

''As the completion of the construction of Pelješac bridge will be the symbol of the first decade of Croatia's membership of the European Union, these two projects in Vela Luka will symbolise [our] development thanks to EU funds, as well as our care for the islands,'' concluded Vela Luka's deputy prefect.

Make sure to stay up to date on the construction of infrastructure in Vela Luka and far beyond by following our dedicated lifestyle and business pages. If it's just the island of Korčula you're interested in, give Total Korčula a follow.

Friday, 18 September 2020

Island Secrets: Meet the Prettiest Little Whore on the Adriatic

September 18, 2020 — All my dog wanted to do was take a leak. Perhaps sniff something.

Then the braying started.