Friday, 3 September 2021

Digital Nomads Seen as New Development Opportunity for Croatian Tourism

ZAGREB, 3 Sept 2021 - Croatia is an ideal destination for digital nomads who are provided with a quality internet network in our country and can enjoy its fascinating scenery, pleasant climate, and overall safety, and this is a new development opportunity for Croatia's tourism, Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Friday.

The tourism minister Brnjac underscored that digital nomads contribute to year-round tourism.

An estimated one billion people will be teleworking in 2035 and a significantly higher number of digital nomads are expected in the next period, she underscored at a conference organised by the Novi List daily in the seaside resort of Opatija .

Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) Kristjan Staničić underlined that an estimated 17 million people are digital nomads.

A joint campaign by the ministry and tourism board was launched this spring in an effort to promote Croatia's comparative advantages for digital nomads, primarily on the British market, followed and later on the markets of the USA, Canada and Russia.

200 applications for digital nomad status in Croatia

That has resulted in about 200 applications for digital nomad status in our country, said Staničić.

Croatia is one of the first EU countries to regulate a one-year temporary residence status for nomads. Cooperation between the ministries of tourism and of the interior has resulted in a series of laws being adapted related to digital nomads.

Interior Ministry State Secretary Terezija Gras recalled that the Law on Aliens had been amended to introduce digital nomads as a new category eligible for temporary residence. Conditions of eligibility have been entirely simplified and have cut unnecessary red tape, she said.

They have also been exempted from dual taxation payments and health insurance issues have also been regulated.

Digital nomads from Croatia and elsewhere presented their views and experiences at the conference.

For more news, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 3 September 2021

Digital Nomads Promote Croatian Tourism Best, Says Minister Nikolina Brnjac

September 3, 2021 - Minister of Tourism and Sports said that digital nomads promote Croatian tourism best, on the same level as social media influencers. 

According to the tourist traffic data for July and August compared to pre-pandemic figures, Croatia is the tourism star of the Mediterranean this year.

In August, 86 percent of arrivals and 93 percent of overnight stays compared to 2019 were realized. Specifically, about 4.3 million guests visited Croatia last month, and over 30 million overnight stays were realized. Thus, after the lost pre-season, the main season has restored optimism among tourism workers who will have a good post-season if the epidemiological situation allows. However, in addition to all other factors and the situation in the Mediterranean, Croatia has really prepared well for the season, primarily by ensuring the safety of guests, with a great response from foreign partners and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports' Safe Stay in Croatia campaign. Furthermore, the framework for digital nomads was defined at the beginning of the year. In addition, several other activities contributed to the season, which really surprised even the most optimistic.

Before today's press conference, Novi List spoke with Minister Nikolina Brnjac about what August was like, what was crucial in preparing for the season, how staff shortages will be solved, and the prospect of digital nomads in Croatia. 

August is behind us; many say that even the most optimistic could not expect such results in July and August. Was it more than expected?

"I think we have prepared well for this season, in cooperation with the entire tourism sector, in coordination with the Civil Protection Headquarters and all other closely related stakeholders. The fruit of all this synergy is this season's tourist results. Already on August 29, we achieved our minimum goal for traffic for this tourist year, which is 60 percent of tourist traffic compared to the whole of 2019. Still, we believe that the continuation of current favorable trends will be much closer to that record year by the end of the year. In the last days of August, we recorded traffic above 90 percent of what we had in 2019, which is a great announcement for September and for the postseason in general, which is our next goal. Compared to 2019, the biggest difference is in arrivals, but the number of overnight stays shows that tourists stayed longer and spent more.

I believe that we can all be satisfied with the results achieved when we talk about tourist traffic and when we talk about revenue, but now we want to extend the season as much as possible. With all our activities, the epidemiological situation was critical throughout the summer. It will continue to be so, and I believe that we will continue to behave responsibly, get vaccinated in as many numbers as possible because only in this way can we maintain continuity of good results, and ensure normal social and economic trends."

What was crucial in the preparation of the season and ultimately its realization?

"I think that the key thing was that with the preparations for this year's summer tourist season, we started on time with the synergy of the entire tourism sector and all departments in the Government. In each step we took, we involved the sector, listened to their needs and the market's needs, and thus made decisions about each step.

Starting with the Safe Stay in Croatia project, which was well-received in our biggest markets and which provided tourists with access to all relevant information in one place, and at the same time was a tool for educating our tourism sector on procedures for compliance with epidemiological protocols, then facilitating travel procedures and returning tourists to their home destinations by providing additional testing points, to enabling tourists to be vaccinated in Croatia. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been paying great attention to good communication and education of everyone in the system to have timely information and better adapt to today's trends and business conditions. Before and during the summer, we continuously held meetings with tourism stakeholders, leaders of local and regional governments, epidemiologists, and civil protection headquarters in their area so that everyone could be better prepared. As a result, tourism workers were also among the first to be vaccinated in a high percentage. All this shows how much we were all aware of the safety aspect and preparedness as an important factor in the choice of destinations by tourists. As a result, Croatian tourism has once again shown exceptional readiness and all the diversity of the offer that can satisfy the demand of different guest structures. I sincerely thank everyone for the cooperation, effort, and knowledge they have invested so that we can have such good results in another challenging year for tourism."

Which markets were the best in August and the first eight months of 2021? What has changed compared to last year and the years before the pandemic, and what does that tell us?

"The pandemic has definitely affected the travel paradigm, i.e., the habits of tourists for whom safety is one of the most important factors when choosing a destination. We are all aware of that, and that is why we have been working from the beginning to improve all security measures to create the most favorable preconditions for tourism. In addition to the demand for high-class accommodation facilities and those in nature, we also record excellent results in the charter segment. We achieved an even higher turnover in August compared to August 2019. When we talk about changing the structure of guests, the share of guests from nearby markets has further increased. In contrast, for more distant markets, stabilization will occur subsequently, depending on the normalization of travel and the favorable epidemiological situation in the world."

Which segments of the offer proved to be the most sought after? Namely, there is a lot of talk about the fact that 5-star, therefore the highest quality offer was the most sought after?

"Through this year's financial results and the fact that we have the highest occupancy in high-end accommodation facilities, i.e., four and five stars where we record occupancy above 95 percent, it is clear that this year we have a larger number of tourists with higher purchasing power. Quality products and an offer that gives them an extra sense of security were among the most sought after."

In that sense, can it be said that there has been a kind of transformation towards better quality tourism and moving away from the masses?

"Our strategic goal is to move away from the masses and turn towards sustainable and innovative tourism, and the demand for high-quality products and a longer stay in the destination certainly goes in favor of that. In the long run, our goal is to increase the number of tourists compared to previous records, especially in already congested destinations, and distribute tourist results more evenly throughout the year and throughout Croatia while achieving equal or higher total revenues. By the way, even before the pandemic, we started to reform the legal framework aimed at the sustainability and professionalization of tourist boards, recategorize private accommodation, regulate the status of health tourism, tourist land, and the like. We will continue with reforms that will follow our strategic goals."

The Ministry has also initiated the Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy. Will this document also be the basis for further profiling towards high-quality tourism?

"With the new Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy until 2030, we will focus on sustainability, value-added products, and special forms of tourism. The strategy should respond to the challenges of extending the season and expanding the tourist offer outside the summer months and in spatial terms to less-developed tourist areas, especially continental destinations. The project of drafting a new strategy is in line with the Program of the Croatian Government from 2020-2024 and the National Development Strategy until 2030. For the first time since Croatia's independence, the Sustainable Tourism Strategy, a Strategic Environmental Assessment, is being prepared. The fact that we have been provided European funds with which we can strategically direct tourism development should be emphasized. Simply put, we have provided the opportunity to invest in the tourism we want, and that is sustainable, year-round, with greater added value. Funds from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan will focus on solving the challenges we face in the coastal zone in the summer and encourage the development of year-round forms of tourism with high added value throughout Croatia. The fact that in the next financial period of the EU, both in the National Plan and in certain operational programs, we will be responsible for allocating funds is a great obligation, but also an opportunity to define priorities together with the sector and try to solve long-standing challenges."

In preparation for the season, a big step forward was made towards attracting digital nomads at the beginning of the year. So what specifically has changed legally?

"Croatia is one of the first members of the European Union to legally regulate a one-year temporary stay for digital nomads from third countries. This is an interesting niche for Croatian tourism because nomads are not seasonal but year-round guests, and their interests are diverse and unrelated to the sea and the sun. The idea was realized with excellent inter-ministerial cooperation with other ministries, primarily with the Ministry of the Interior, which carried out the most important legislative processes and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. The Ministry of the Interior amended the Law on Foreigners, and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs announced the procedure for obtaining temporary residence for digital nomads. At the same time, the Ministry of Finance changed its laws through its Income Tax Act and the Ministry of Health through the Law on Amendments to the Law on Income compulsory health insurance and health care of foreigners in Croatia, all to enable the stay of digital nomads in Croatia. Furthermore, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports has initiated an e-platform for digital nomads, with the help of the Croatian National Tourist Board, and we have included 21 regional tourist boards in all processes so that digital nomads have the opportunity to discover the whole of Croatia."

What are the conditions for the arrival of digital nomads, and do you have information on how many have taken advantage of this opportunity?

"Digital nomads must first meet all the prescribed conditions to obtain a temporary one-year stay in Croatia. All steps are described in detail on the Ministry of Interior website. By August 20, more than 200 people had applied, while about 80 had been approved, with the most applications coming from the US, UK, and Russia. However, persons working in Croatia as digital nomads, i.e., for companies not registered in Croatia and citizens of EU member states, do not regulate their stay on the same legal basis and are not recorded based on the relevant new provision of the Law on Foreigners. It should also be noted that our legislative framework has been in force since the beginning of this year, when strict measures to restrict movement were applied. Nevertheless, we expect that the improvement of the epidemiological situation and further activities that the tourist boards and private sector plan to initiate will have a positive impact on the interest of digital nomads in Croatia."

Have accommodation providers prepared and generally realized the benefits of longer leases, which we specifically offer to digital nomads?

"Digital nomads, with the conditions and steps they must meet to obtain a visa for "digital nomads," mostly search for the content available in certain destinations. The data from our research thus show that tourist products such as active holidays, nature, culture, and eno-gastronomy arouse the most interest, which Croatia offers them. Moreover, many hotel chains have already adapted their tourist offer to the longer stay of digital nomads with the possibility of work."

What do digital nomads, influencers, and world stars really mean for the promotion of Croatian tourism?

"People who want to make Croatia their temporary office, who fall in love with our natural and cultural beauties, food, people, but also the way of life, can be our best promoters, just like many influencers. Any positive reaction to Croatia as a tourist destination, especially in the world that is mostly informed through social networks, is a great advertisement for our country and an additional invitation to stay."

What are the announcements for the offseason?

"The announcements for September and October are excellent, judging by the bookings of our hoteliers and camps. As I mentioned at the beginning, in recent days, we have recorded traffic above 90 percent of what we had in 2019, and this is a good announcement for September. If the current trends continue in the next month, in the second half of September, we could reach 70 percent of turnover when it comes to overnight stays and financial indicators."

One of the basic problems of Croatian tourism at the moment is staffing. How will efforts be made to address the shortage of tourism workers that has escalated this year, and what is the future?

"In the long run, we see solving the problem of labor shortage in the creation of preconditions for the engagement of domestic labor in the tourism sector. For several years now, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports has been implementing measures to promote tourism occupations through the co-financing of innovative tourism projects designed and implemented by high schools to educate students in hospitality and tourism. We also have a program for co-financing the practice of high school students in the tourism sector. Through the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, we have provided an additional 10 million kuna to develop educational programs that meet the needs of the labor market. We will also allocate funds for training with employers to support investments in the green and digital transition. We want to increase the attractiveness of tourism occupations for young people and improve conditions and general satisfaction of workers in the tourism sector. We are actively thinking about how to ensure a sufficient quality workforce, first from Croatia, and then through imports, because the quality of services is an indispensable part of the tourist product."

To learn more about digital nomads in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Croatia Through the Eyes of a Digital Nomad: Yachting Part 2 - Yacht Week Host

July 8, 2021 - Digital nomad Cyndie Burkhardt reveals what life is like as a Yacht Week host for a week. 

Some experiences are too good to pass up and whether you have fun or live to regret it, you go along for the ride just for the kick of saying you did it.

When something falls out of left field and I know I just have to say “yes,” I follow my gut. It’s all about the journey, right? Want to be a yacht host for Yacht Week in Croatia? Main responsibilities: prepare, cook, and serve meals for 12 people; manage the galley and the food supply; clean the heads. Below Deck has nothing on this gig…

02CBurkhardt_IMG_5527.jpegEveryone comes together in the galley—it’s the workspace for hosts and the café for guests. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

Port of departure: Trogir

Saturday was the start of Week 23, as The Yacht Week group calls this particular week in its summer sailing season. Fifty boats with ten guests each (plus hosts and skippers) comprise its biggest flotilla of the year. I fell into a job as a yacht host and found myself in an alternate reality from my previous week with Croatia’s elite sport—I went from guest to staff in a single day. My work began at the marina, including provisioning the boat, unloading food and liquor packages, inspecting inventory, and greeting my “crew,” as guests were called.

03CBurkhardt_IMG_5605.jpegBreakfast. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

The job

People who apply for these jobs typically pay €1,000 to attend a 3-week training academy. I filled out a brief application, attended a free 1-day training, and received my assignment. The only extra effort on my part was to complete an online food safety course for a required certificate. The pay was laughable given the amount of work but hey, it was change in my pocket and maybe the gig would lead to something else.

At first, I was excited and then I grew anxious. What if the guests didn’t like my food? Or me? What if they were demanding, or obnoxious? I received a set menu with recipes for lunch and dinner but I needed to come up with my own breakfast. Sometimes I make quick egg dishes at home—like scrambled or hardboiled—but the company suggested shakshuka (huh?), frittata, Benedict, fried, poached, pancakes, muffins, and more. I had no clue how to make those from scratch and I started stressing about BREAKFAST! 

Destination: Vis

Guests got their drink on first thing in the morning—Karlovačko, tequila shots, Hennessy, champagne, Red Bull, vodka, and more. They were content to party on the boat all day rather than explore the towns or the islands. Why travel all this way from home and never leave the dock? It seemed a waste to miss so much of what Croatia has to offer. But it wasn’t that kind of trip...

04CBurkhardt_IMG_5344.jpegSunset at Fort George, Vis Island. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

When nighttime came however, guests went to a DJ/dance party at Fort George. I’d heard the sunset views were spectacular up there, but today the party was the main event. It felt like I stepped into a music video—crazy DJs, bodies moving in sync with every rhythm and gesture, the crowd singing each word of each song, and all sorts of outrageous clothing—except this wasn’t choreographed.

Destination: Pakleni Islands

The next day started with a circle raft, which was all the boats joining to form a big swimming circle. Guests lounged on their floaties and swigged from their bottles while a DJ boat blared music. By the time we arrived at Palmižana later that afternoon, I was happy to get off the boat for a break and a shower.

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The party’s just starting. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

By 1am I was in the “grave,” sailors’ jargon for my tiny sleeping quarters at the front of the catamaran. To enter, you open a hatch on deck and hop in, there’s no door. When I found out this was going to be my “room,” claustrophobia kicked in and I did everything I could to stay calm. It was still better than sleeping in the galley.

I had just fallen asleep when one of the guests was above my head shouting and pounding on the deck, “Cyndie, are you awake?” Not really, but now I was. One of the other guests wanted to go to the hospital. Oh boy, this wasn’t a drunk prank or a plea to make hangover food. I rallied to get up, wondering what exactly was going on and what to do. Who to contact first, get the medic, get on a boat to the nearest island with a hospital, was it even open at this hour? So many questions were racing through my head…

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The front hatch on a catamaran leads to the “coffin,” a small sleeping bunk. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

The girl felt ill and was upset. Me, the skipper, and the guest who woke me jumped into action and helped her calm down; then she just wanted to sleep. She’d been partying hard all day in the hot sun, without drinking water, and it caught up with her. 

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The “coffin” is named for its size and shape (literally). All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

Destination: Štipanska

The day we hit Štipanska for a barbeque and a party, it was another scene straight out of a music video, only this time I was right in the middle. One of my guests asked if I knew how to twerk. Sure I’ve seen it, but can’t say I knew how to do it. She proceeded to teach me in 10 seconds. Bend over, hands on knees, arch your back, look over your shoulder, shake your butt up and down. Want to take it further? Raise your arm up in the air. It was the most fun I had with my crew and we all shared a good laugh.

08CBurkhardt_IMG_5441.jpegThe DJ boat is full-powered with speakers and sound. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

Destination: Brač

Midway through the week, this cooking business was exhausting. The job description was clever marketing: prepare food for a few hours a day, enjoy time with your guests, swim, serve lunch, relax and party in the evening. With hours upon hours of prep, cooking, and endless dishes, I had virtually no down time and little sleep. I started to resent the job as it became clear that there would be no “play” time.

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Guests party on floaties and travel between yachts to pick-up friends. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

At 8pm, the agreed upon dinnertime for this one night, I was ready with salmon, couscous, and tabouleh. The guests were out and started to trickle in after 9pm. It was a chaotic mess and I didn’t finish serving and cleaning up until nearly midnight. I was totally deflated that nobody contacted me about their change of plans or even cared. I crashed in bed, ready for the trip to be over.

Destination: Stari Grad, Hvar

At Stari Grad, we were moored in a bay, with each boat was tied to the next. Guests roamed onboard each other’s yachts to drink and eat while some partied in the water on large floaties. The DJ boat was back and the scene roared on for the entire day and night. I was trapped on the boat to cook, serve, and clean while people got wasted all around me. We never disembarked for the island or saw that side of Hvar.

10CBurkhardt_IMG_5502.jpegCarpe Diem Beach is a favorite party spot in the Pakleni Islands. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

Destination: Trogir

On the last day, I woke up before 6am and tired as I was, I moved nonstop on all the outstanding duties I needed to complete. I liked my guests and it was a little sad to say goodbye after getting to know them for the week, but I was sooo happy to be going home.

My mother asked if I had fun and I replied, “I’m glad I did it, it was a new adventure. I was off the computer for a week, I lived on a yacht, learned some things, and met some nice people. But no, I did not have fun.” I have a funny story and I’m okay to end it there.

Story and photographs ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt. https://photo-diaries.com

Learn more at TCN’s Digital Nomads channel.

TCN now has a new resource in the Total Croatia Sailing Page. Get answers and information about Croatia’s favorite pastime on the water.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Croatia Through the Eyes of a Digital Nomad: Yachting Part 1 - The Best Office for Digital Nomads

July 7, 2021 - Why is a sailing yacht the best office for digital nomads? Cyndie Burkhardt tells all. 

Many digital nomads enjoy Split’s climate and working with a sea view, which are among the best perks of being here. If beautiful blue water, fresh air, and sunshine are your thing, you can satisfy your inner nature-lover while working ON the sea, with the right yacht and the right skipper.

I grew up by the beach and I love being in, on, and near the water. When friends invited me to join their week-long yachting vacation I didn’t hesitate to say yes. It’s been a goal of mine to experience this beloved Croatian pastime and pre-season was an ideal time of year—not too hot and not too many tourists. We were going to sail around the islands and our sights were set on Vis, Brač, Hvar, and others. Was it warm enough to pack a bathing suit? Check.

010CBurkhardt_4878.jpegThis is why you yield to the Croatian wind, it makes trees literally grow parallel to the earth. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

The ideal remote work

I was a little concerned about getting behind on work because I wanted to relax on the trip without being tethered to a device. I found out there was reliable Wi-Fi onboard and I could login anytime and check my business. Thankfully, that turned out to be true and I never had an issue getting online when I needed to follow-up on a project or check-in for a Zoom meeting. Once I tested the connectivity I relaxed—I’d be able to work and play this week. My vacation wasn’t a digital nomad charter, but it was a good opportunity to see how hard or easy it would be to work when sailing.

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Morning view from my cabin, somewhere in the Adriatic Sea. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

Our yacht was a Lagoon 40 and with the four of us plus the skipper and his wife the space was comfortable enough, although I’ll never get used to cooking in such a compact kitchen. Good thing I have experience with a shoe-box size NYC apartment, it was practically the same thing, although the yacht had much more room to move about than my place back home.

Born on the water

Our skipper, Danijel Razi, was game to hit the islands we mentioned but he hesitated a few times when we asked about the itinerary. Vis today? Maybe later, he replied. I noticed that he kept looking up at this little pointer thing on top of the main sail (a wind vane). He watched the weather and the wind and every nautical detail with his eyes and his instincts, but he didn’t really watch the fancy equipment. His main concern was the viability of the trip and safety. I was curious, what did this guy know and how did he know it?

03CBurkhardt_4692.jpegAn homage to the Beatles and Yellow Submarine; public art on Šolta. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

It turns out Danijel was born in Viganj, a very windy village on Pelješac that’s a popular sailing destination. Viganj is part of Orebić county, a former maritime center known historically for traditional sailing and navigating, where all the men go out to sea. These guys have lived on the water for centuries before marine electronic systems were invented—working on commercial boats, trading goods, and traveling the world. Danijel comes from a long line of sailors, including his grandfather and earlier generations, and he inherited their skills and their lifestyle. Sailing is in his blood and he clearly loves it.

04CBurkhardt_4708.jpegA typical bay and a small village could be any Croatian island; where there’s water there are boats. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

Fun fact

Viganj is the second most famous windsurfing location in Croatia, after Bol.

07CBurkhardt_5187.jpegThe sound of full sails blowing in the wind and the feeling of gliding across the water makes you want to sit quietly and fully experience it. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

Sailing to the island destinations we hoped for, including some bays for swimming, was amazing and there was only one day when the Bura wind adjusted our plans. Skipper Danijel followed nature’s direction and everything worked out. I got in my first swim of the season, which was a tad bit cool but so refreshing.

We’re here and we know

If I do this again, and I hope I do, I learned that a little research can help you get the trip you expect and avoid getting hit with unexpected costs and disappointment.

09CBurkhardt_5021.jpegDanijel preparing to tie up at a mooring buoy. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

So who are the best skippers and hosts? Without a local presence, charter companies are missing things that people would appreciate knowing. Booking a boat is not like a hotel room—there are lots of details to know about each yacht, itinerary, and destination. Danijel and his crew are based in Croatia. For more info on things you need to check, go here.

05CBurkhardt_4733.jpegA beach near the Franciscan Monastery and Church of St. Mary of Grace, Hvar. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

When to go

As far as I’m concerned, any day on the water is a great day. For digital nomads who are in Croatia year-round, I suggest that you consider traveling before and after peak season—April to June and September to November. Prices are lower, destinations are less crowded, you can see the islands better, and service is more attentive with fewer tourists. If you can only go during the summer, just do it!

06CBurkhardt_4962.jpegA quiet street in Vis. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

For thrill-seekers who want something a little different, regattas in Croatia are underrated. It’s possible to join one just to sit on a boat as a counterbalance when a team needs extra weight. How cool is that? Danijel collaborates with some of the teams and I’m already on his list to be notified when my bum is needed, haha. You can be too, contact him by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

08CBurkhardt_5136.jpegDanijel confirming our mooring buoy. All photos ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt.

Learn more about Danijel’s yacht charters and catamarans, including trips to Greece.

Story and photographs ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt. https://photo-diaries.com

Learn more at TCN’s Digital Nomads channel.

TCN now has a new resource in Total Croatia Sailing Page. Get answers and information about Croatia’s favorite pastime on the water.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Highlights of the Week: 5 Big Events in Croatia from June 20 - June 27, 2021

June 27th, 2021 - TCN's highlights of the week. A look at the events in Croatia from June 20 through the selection of TCN's intern Marina Kaleb. 

Highlights of the week: Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 Opens at Canopy by Hilton

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project kicked off the beginning of this week at Canopy by Hilton, one of 7 locations over 7 days, exploring 7 Digital Nomads related themes. The project is a collaboration between Saltwater Nomads, TCN, Doma Zagreb, the Digital Nomad Association Croatia, and the Zagreb Tourist Board (funded by the latter), and there was a high-profile turnout from the city and national officials to open the conference. 

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Croatia has been one of the more high-profile countries globally over the last year with its efforts to introduce the digital nomad permit, which came into effect on January 1, 2021. The 7 days each focused on the individual themes - cybersecurity, online presence, remote careers, tax & finance, the future of work, wellbeing, and explore Zagreb. The keynote speakers are a mixture of in-person and remote speakers.

Highlights of the week: Basketball Legend Magic Johnson Returns to Dubrovnik! 

Magic Johnson's visit to Dubrovnik means he kept his promise of returning to the city. Johnson visited Croatia in the summer of last year. While strolling down Dubrovnik's main street Stradun he told a member of the media he finds the place beautiful and will be returning. Not even a year has passed, and he is once again seen smiling with his wife, Cookie, on one of Croatia's most beautiful streets.  

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Grgo Jelavic/PIXSELL

It is unclear if Johnson will continue the trip to other parts of the country as he did last year. Low numbers of guests on the streets of Dubrovnik seem to be attracting plenty of wealthy tourists who do their best to avoid crowded beautiful destinations. 

Highlights of the week: EURO 2020: Croatia Tops Scotland for 2nd Place in Group D and Round of 16 Spot! 

Croatia tops Scotland 3:1 in the final Group D match for 2nd place and a spot in the Round of 16! The two nations played at Hampden Park in Glasgow on Tuesday night. 

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Goran Stanzl/PIXSELL

In the EURO 2020 round of 16, the Croatia national team will play against Spain on Monday night, the second-placed team from Group E in Copenhagen. Unfortunately, the Croatian national team will play without Ivan Perišić, who tested positive for Covid-19 just before the game. Ivan Perišić could not play before the EURO final on July 11th at Wembley Stadium. We wish him an uneventful recovery and returning to football at Wembley on that day, with Croatia in the finals!

Highlights of the week: EURO 2020: Croatian Female Team Wins 3 Medals at EGOI: Amazing Results at First Female-Only European Informatics Olympics

Ema Borevković, Lina Krištić and Lara Semeš (from Zagreb's XV Gymnasium), and Martina Licul (Pulau Gymnasium) represented Croatia and the aftermath of the contest that gathered 157 contestants saw Ema winning a gold medal, while Lara and Martina grabbed silver medals for their results

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Pixabay

The contest was held online due to Covid-19 measures. The organization of the event for Croatian was arranged by the Croatian Computer Science Association (CCSA), and Zagreb's XV Gymnasium was the host of the event, where the studnets took the tests.

Highlights of the week: Lorde Returns to Her Roots for 2022 St. Michael's Fortress Spectacle in Šibenik

At an extremely exclusive concert with only 1,050 tickets on sale, the New Zealander with Croatian roots will recall some of her mega-hits from the first two albums and present "Solar Power," which will be released later this summer. Born in New Zealand, her mother has Dalmatian roots, and Lorde herself has dual citizenship.

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Lorde Instagram

On tour, Lorde plays in locations she personally chooses and wants to visit, mostly the best concert stages in the world. Thus, the special Šibenik fortress found itself on the list in the company of legendary concert destinations such as Radio City Music Hall in New York, Shrine Auditorium in LA, Roundhouse in London, or Castello di Villafranca in Verona.

 For more on events in Croatia, follow our dedicated lifestyle section.

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

To follow the rest of the TCN coverage of the Euro 2020, click here.

For the latest news and features od digital nomads in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section

Saturday, 26 June 2021

5th Day of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and Beginning of Ambassador Program

June 26, 2021 - A look at the 5th day of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and the first digital nomad ambassador!

The announcement of Veronica Mulhall as the ambassador of 'Zagreb Digital Nomads' concluded the fifth day of 'Digital Nomad Week' on Friday, where the organizers Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News, and the Zagreb Tourist Board presented the advantages, opportunities, and possibilities of the Croatian capital for remote digital nomad work, reports Jutarnji List

In July, Veronica Mulhall will be the first ambassador - a digital nomad who will work and live in Zagreb for a month. 

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"Congratulations to Veronica on this election, Zagreb welcomes her, and I think she will have a wonderful time in our city; that is, she will have great opportunities to find her new job office here. We will introduce her to everything that Zagreb has to offer digital nomads," said Petra Maršić Buljan from the Zagreb Tourist Board.

The 'Zagreb Digital Nomads' ambassador was preceded by three 'Digital Nomad Week' panels which analyzed future trends in the labor market, digital nomads as a solution to changes in the labor market, and Croatian policies in accepting and deepening global trends in teleworking.

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Jose Alfonso Kusijanović

Before the panels, the participants were given a lecture by blogger and labor market researcher Albert Canigueral on the future of work.

"The future of work has three dimensions, the future of the job itself, the job and the fulfillment of business tasks or goals. Nomads are one of the solutions for the future of the workplace, and how far we have come in applying this way of working is evidenced, among other things, by the example of employers in the Swedish transport business who are committed to regulating the work of truck drivers from home," said Canigueral. He recalled the thesis of the famous sociologist Peter Drucker that the basic question of the labor market is not to find answers to the demands that arise but to ask a key question of the labor market.

After Canigueral’s presentation, the first three panels of the ‘Digital Nomad Week’ closing day entitled ‘Sustainable and Self-Renewing Destinations’ followed. In addition to moderations by Ron Tardiff, the director of the Zagreb Tourist Board Martina Bienenfeld, the director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board Ana Hrnić, the author of numerous travelogues Anja Mutić, and the entrepreneur in tourism Daniel Lacko spoke about sustainable and self-renewing tourist destinations.

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Ron Tardiff, one of the winners of the last Dubrovnik Digital Nomads in Residence competition, discussed Sustainable and Regenerative Destinations with a panel that included Martina Bienenfeld, CEO of the Zagreb Tourist Board. (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)

Ana Hrnić pointed out that the tourist season in the pearl of Croatian tourism in Dubrovnik is currently under the strong influence of last year's consequences of the coronavirus and large restrictions in air traffic on Dubrovnik tourism, which, she warned, is an air destination. On the other hand, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board director pointed out that 2019 was a record year in terms of visiting guests for Dubrovnik tourism.

"In 2019, we took the first steps to ensure the long-term sustainability of Dubrovnik tourism, limiting the number of cruiser arrivals in the city port," said Ana Hrnić. Martina Bienenfeld reminded that the Zagreb tourist offer in 2020, in addition to COVID-19 and lockdown, also faced a devastating earthquake.

"I must emphasize that we have not given up our efforts to prove that we are still 'alive' as a tourist destination, and we have done many great projects and campaigns since the beginning of the pandemic. I want to remind you that Zagreb changed, and we do not give up with new stories, new projects, highlighting some of the projects such as Pimp my Pump, Mali Zagreb and Triptych. When it comes to the sustainability of the city's tourist offer, we try to prove that Zagreb is not only the capital of a beautiful tourist country but a great place to live and work," said Martina Bienenfeld.

DSCF3144.jpgTanja Polegubić, organizer of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, moderated a panel consisting of Petra Maršić Buljan from the Zagreb Tourist Board, Paul Bradbury from Total Croatia News, Dalibor Kovačević from Raiffeisen Bank Hrvatska, and Matthew Parsons from Skift. The theme was Future of Work Trends and Croatia's Global Standing. (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)

The first panel was followed by a conversation between the moderator of ‘Digital Nomad Week’ Michael Freer, and Mandy Fransz, the founder of the company ‘Digital Leap’ for Digital Transformation.

"I heard about Croatia as a digital nomad destination, came here, and was convinced that Croatia provides a lot of events, but also opportunities for community development, which I consider the most important part of my job," said Mandy Fransz.

In the second panel, moderated by Tanja Polegubić from Saltwater Nomads, Petra Maršić Buljan from the Zagreb Tourist Board, Paul Bradbury, CEO of Total Croatia News, editor of the Skift portal Matthew Parsons and Dalibor Kovačević from Raiffeisenbank. This was followed by a presentation by Dean Kuchel, who introduced himself to the participants as a nomadic lifestyle ambassador.

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Jan de Jong (Digital Nomads Association), Nikolina Pejović (Hrvatski Telekom) and Tanja Polegubić (Saltwater Nomads). (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)

The last panel of the fifth day featured Jan de Jong, an entrepreneur who initiated the digital nomad visa in Croatia, Kristina Grbavac from the auditing company KPMG, Branka Bajt Hrvatski Telekom, and Hermes Arriaga Sierra from Impact Hub.

Asked by panel moderator Michael Freer how he came up with the idea to initiate the introduction of digital nomad visas in our country, Jan de Jong said that at his first participation in a conference on Croatian tourism, he faced the question of how to make Croatia a year-round tourist destination. The answer to the latter question, Jan de Jong, as he said, was given in the texts of Paul Bradbury on the portal Total Croatia News.

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In the third and final panel, moderated by Michael Greer, Branka Bajt from Hrvatski Telekom, Kristina Grbavac from KPMG, Jan de Jong from DNA Croatia, and Hermes Arriaga Sierra from Impact Hub discussed about DNA Croatia, Policy, and Connecting a Global Community. (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)

"In Paul’s texts, three words shone on me, digital nomad tourism. Then I started to promote this concept in my public speeches, finding great support from the followers of my speeches, but, very soon after, almost all major media in the country," said de Jong, revealing that after they received support for the development of digital nomad tourism from the Croatian Government, i.e., the Office of the Prime Minister. We managed, de Jong, concluded that Croatia becomes one of the top ten countries in the world with a visa for digital nomads. De Jong continues to implement his idea through the DNA Croatia association.

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Paul Bradbury, Total Croatia News CEO, talks to Dean Kuchel, who spoke about Community Building, and Israel's Ambassador to Croatia, Ilan Mor. (Jose Alfonso Kusijanović)

"One of the DNA Croatia association goals is to extend the visa from the current six-month residence permit for digital nomads. We also want to simplify the procedures regarding the taxation of digital nomads," announced Jan de Jong.

Meet one of Friday's keynote speakers, Albert Cañigueral, one of the Dubrovnik nomads-in-residence and recently appointed to lead the Catalan Government's Transparency and Open Data, division. Albert will be focusing on the topic of the day, the future of work.  

Tourist Board Director Martina Bienenfeld on Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Ryanair, Tourism in Pandemic

Want to be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador and live in the city for a month between July and December? 

For the latest news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

After Croatia, Montenegro Digital Nomad Visa One Step Closer to Becoming Reality

June 1, 2021 - The energy of the Croatian digital nomad visa is spreading through the region as the Montenegro digital nomad visa is in the works. 

Bankar.me reports that the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society, and Media has sent a public invitation to organizations, associations, and individuals to get involved in the initial phase of preparing a Program for Attracting Digital Nomads and Encouraging Foreign Investments in Montenegro until 2025.

According to the invitation published on May 27, the consultations of the interested public in the initial phase of the Program will last for 28 days from the publication date of this invitation.

The invitation states, among other things, that priorities and challenges can be proposed in the consultation process when it comes to conditions for defining the status of digital nomads and incentives for foreign investments, including other important topics that this Program may cover.

As stated in the invitation, the Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society, and Media will update all received initiatives, proposals, suggestions, and comments should be updated and, after the consultation, a report should be prepared containing an overview of the participants in the consultation and an overview of received initiatives, proposals, suggestions, and comments. It will then be published on its website http://www.mju.gov.me/ministarstvo and portal e-administration https://www.euprava.me/ and submitted to the participants in the consultation within seven days from the expiration of the aforementioned deadline of 28 days.

"The Ministry of Public Administration, Digital Society, and Media will consider and take into account all received initiatives, proposals, suggestions, and comments during the preparation of the Program for Attracting Digital Nomads and Encouraging Foreign Investments in Montenegro until 2025," the Ministry said.

This is one of the most important steps in bringing digital nomads to Montenegro, which will be among the first countries to grant a visa to this tourist group.

A digital nomad visa is a great chance for Montenegro

Several countries have already legally regulated the issue of visas for digital nomads. Estonia became the first country in the world to officially start with digital nomad visas. Shortly afterward, other countries such as Barbados, Bermuda, Georgia, Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, Dubai, and Mauritius followed in Estonia's footsteps. The initiative was first shown by Croatia from the surrounding countries, which is most similar to Montenegro with its beaches and beautiful destinations for tourists.

One of those who realized in time that Montenegro is an ideal destination for digital nomads is Milovan Novakovic, CEO, and partner of Colliers International. Novakovic and his team have taken the initiative with the Government to approve digital nomad visas as soon as possible. The team includes Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong, one of the most deserving of Croatia on the list of countries that approve digital nomad visas. As they say, there will be support from Estonia, which was the first country to regulate the visa legally.

Novakovic believes that Montenegro is a very suitable destination for digital nomads and has a satisfactory infrastructure, so in that sense, it would be necessary to introduce a one-year digital nomad visa and harmonize the Law on Foreigners as well as relevant bylaws, all to create a suitable legal framework that would encourage the arrival of digital nomads in Montenegro.

At the end of last year, he launched an initiative to position Montenegro as a new popular destination for digital nomads because, as he said earlier, a digital nomad visa would be a special benefit to improve tourism and extend the season to a whole year.

"Covid-19 has accelerated this industry as well, and more and more people in the world want to do their job remotely. Research predicts that by 2035, one billion people will work "remotely." If Montenegro regulates the visa program for digital nomads, a special benefit would be improving tourism and extending the season to the whole year. Digital nomads would no longer come to Montenegro for just a couple of weeks, but for a minimum of a few months or a whole year," Novakovic said.

For all, you need to know about digital nomads in Croatia, bookmark our dedicated section.

Monday, 31 May 2021

Trokut - Very First Sibenik Digital Nomad Office Opened

May the 31st, 2021 - As Croatia begins to finally recognise the importance of digital nomads being able to live in the country as they work remotely, the very first Sibenik digital nomad office has opened its doors.

As Novac writes, the very first Sibenik digital nomad office was recently officially opened in Trokut in the presence of the Mayor of Sibenik, Dr. med. Zeljko Buric, the head of the Administrative Department for Economy, Entrepreneurship and Development, Petar Misura, digital nomad Mike Pulley, the Head of the Office, Katarina Corkovic and the director of Trokut, Diana Mudrinic.

As of January the 1st, 2021, Croatia has officially started offering temporary residence to digital nomads, a process that TCN has been heavily involved in, including with the recent Dubrovnik Digital-Nomads-in-Residence programme. This visa, or better to say permit for digital nomads allows them a temporary stay in Croatia for up to one year. Digital nomads are also able to apply for a second, subsequent digital nomad permit, but only six months after the expiration of the first permit they've been issued on that precise basis.

"We've been following the story that is developing in Trokut with joy and optimism. We're glad that Trokut, as the Sibenik digital nomad office, has already become recognisable as a place that brings together young entrepreneurs from across Croatia and the world. Entrepreneurs of the new generation who lead us into the future can find their opportunity here and we believe that all digital nomads who visit Sibenik once will fall in love with this city and all the advantages it provides,'' said Mayor Zeljko Buric.

Digital nomads don't have a fixed working time or location because they work as needed depending on the type of project or job they're currently working on. Some nomads work more than 12 hours a day, but their place of work often changes as they wish. The current coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an increase in the number of people now able to work remotely, making the term "digital nomads" more popular than ever before, and thankfully Croatia didn't miss the boat on this opportunity.

Petar Misura pointed out: “Based on thinking about digital nomads who most often like to work in coworking spaces, we've developed the concept of the Trokut Centre, which is adapted to them because a large part of that space is filled by them. That we've predicted well in regard to that is evidenced by the need for new office desks in the first year of operation alone. I believe that the occupancy of digital nomads here at Trokut will be more than satisfactory. "

Mike Pulley has spent more than two and a half decades in the IT industry, working with large international companies such as Apple and HP.

"As an IT entrepreneur, I feel that I'm in the right place in Sibenik at the right time. Trokut is a perfect example of this as it provides an ideal space for IT people. The staff have created a programme and environment in which you can get what you need for business and a place where you can meet people like you. In my career, I've been fortunate to live and work in numerous places around the world, including the last 22 years in London, but I've worked and lived in Central and South America and in most other European countries (apart from the UK). Given that I had the opportunity to explore different places, people and cultures, and after all these options, I chose to be here in Sibenik,'' he stated.

"As for obtaining a residence permit in Croatia and doing business, I can say that I'm extremely satisfied with my own experience. The interaction with the Ministry of the Interior was professional and efficient, I submitted the necessary documents for the application and they made a decision very quickly. I think this is another example of the fact that Sibenik is the right place for entrepreneurs,''

Diana Mudrinic pointed out that “Trokut strives to follow the current trends in the world of digital nomads and freelancers. At the beginning of this year we introduced payment in cryptocurrencies, we have tips for nomads on how to apply for their visa/permit on our website, and our goal is to help them with the whole process of coming to Sibenik, from registration to finding accommodation and places to visit. At that threshold, last week we signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Krka National Park and then we opened the first Sibenik digital nomad office in order to provide them with a complete experience and support.''

For all you need to know about digital nomads in Croatia, bookmark our dedicated section.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Krka National Park Becomes the First Nature Reserve to Provide Working Conditions for Digital Nomads

May 23, 2021 - Working conditions for digital nomads will now be offered at one of the most attractive locations in Croatia - Krka National Park. 

For digital nomads who have been allowed to temporarily stay and work in Croatia with recent legislative changes, new „job locations“ are opening up at the most attractive locations of Krka National Park. The Park and Incubator for new technologies Trokut Šibenik have started business cooperation developing programs for attracting digital nomads to Šibenik-Knin County.  This region encompasses some of the most beautiful parts of the Croatian coast and a part of Dalmatian Hinterland which hides an astonishing amount of natural, cultural, and historical phenomena. Many of them are situated at Krka National Park, which is now offering its infrastructure with a fast and stable Wi-Fi to digital nomads at the following Park locations: Laškovica Visitor Centre, Krka Eco Campus in Puljane, on the Stinica, across Visovac, and on Roški slap waterfall. Digital nomads will be able to freely join educational programs that the Park is organising, as well as join Friends of the Krka Club, under the same conditions as their temporary neighbours, the residents of the County.

At Šibenik’s Trokut, digital nomads have a secured workspace with their desk and chair, free access to three kitchens, showers and bathrooms, a basketball court, a free parking lot for bicycles and cars, tech support, fair use printers, and scanners, and other interesting offers. This gives digital nomads the chance to combine work and travel, fulfilling their duties and maximizing the use of their leisure time, according to the increasingly popular model of work – holliwork.

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„Krka National Park is where digital nomads can find the best mixture of natural values and cultural and historical heritage. The goal of our collaboration with Trokut through the project with digital nomads is to facilitate the implementation and development of new technologies and entrepreneurship, not only in the Park or in the city of Šibenik, but throughout Šibenik-Knin Country“, said the director of Krka National Park Nella Slavica.

The city of Šibenik extended full support to the concept of holliwork and the acceptance of digital nomads, recognizing them as a niche group of world travelers. This group primarily encompasses developers, graphic designers, gamers, social media experts, blockchain developers, IoT experts, and professionals who cover many other IT areas. They need to connect with nature and a highly developed awareness of climate change, so cooperation with Krka National Park is a natural step towards strengthening Šibenik-Knin County as an ideal destination for digital nomads throughout the year.

For the latest news and features, follow the TCN dedicated digital nomads section

Saturday, 8 May 2021

New Destination for Digital Nomads in Split: SPAlato Spa

May 8, 2021 - Digital nomads in Split can now work at SPAlato Spa in the Radisson Blu Hotel, with free Wi-Fi and a relaxation zone. You may also want to book a treatment to destress your mind and body while you’re there…

The digital nomad lifestyle can sometimes be rough on my posture and my brainwaves. I live on a computer and some days it feels like I’m becoming a piece of the furniture, hunched over a keyboard with a never-ending to-do list. Recently, I had enough. I desperately needed a massage to release my tight muscles and clear my head. I decided to check out the spa at the Radisson Blu hotel near my apartment. I went there last year just before the pandemic shut things down and I enjoyed a terrific treatment with a stunning view of the Adriatic Sea.

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SPAlato Spa opened in a completely renovated space on May 1, including treatment rooms, pools, a sundeck, relaxation zone, fitness center, and a yoga studio.

Cool vibe

A year ago the spa was under renovation and this time I was glad to see the new space. I went on a Sunday morning and the first thing I noticed was the cool ambiance with jazz music and a lounge vibe. I loved it immediately. It reminded me of places I used to go back home to settle in and relax with the Sunday New York Times and a pot of coffee.

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A lounge area includes a retail display for purchasing organic products used during treatments.

I scheduled a facial and a massage and I arrived early to swim and sweat in the sauna before my treatments. The spa was airy and light, which I like, and the design was minimal yet elegant. I was delighted to find several different “zones” where I could hang out, including comfy couches near the pool and an outdoor sunbathing terrace. Later I found out that the designated Relaxation Zone has Wi-Fi, is kid-free, and it’s where I can set-up and work for a day. Wait a minute, what?

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Digital nomads can set up shop in the Relaxation Zone, Wi-Fi included, and alternate between work and spa amenities.

No more WFH (work from home)

The concept was mind-blowing. The SPAlato (a cute name playing up Spa with the old Italian name for Split) could replace my dining table office and allow me to take breaks from the computer in any number of spots:  indoor and outdoor pools, gym, sauna, steam room, whirlpool, cold and hot plunge pools, or a yoga studio. And there’s another bonus for this spa and wellness devotee—I could tackle the enticing list of treatments.

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Brand new saunas are fresh and let you build up heat before jumping in the pool.

TCM (traditional Chinese massage) with a certified Chinese therapist; Power of the Sea—a combination of marine salt scrub, aromatherapy with local essential oils, a bath, full body massage, body wrap, and finisher with local immortelle oil; and other treatments promised to restore my body and mind energies.

It seems decadent, and perhaps dangerous in regard to keeping work deadlines, but my body would be so grateful and my mind would be so happy.

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The indoor pool is surrounded by glass, giving a sense of being outdoors and close to nature.

Treatments

My therapist Doris asked what kind of massage I like and I said sports or deep-tissue. Every therapist I’ve ever said that to has interpreted it differently. For all the good massages, I’ve also endured being rubbed with inexperienced, weak hands and pounded with killer claws. Not this time. Doris not only had the right touch, she knew how to apply pressure in the correct way to get my muscles flowing. Yesss!

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Treatment rooms are comfortable and calming, an ideal environment to relax.

She also did my facial and explained the steps and the products used, including my particular skin type needs. Small details in both treatments made all the difference, starting with the bowl of water and eucalyptus oil she held under my nose before we began. Oh my, I inhaled deeply. I’ve had enough treatments over the years to know that every place is different and charming in its own way. That also sets a benchmark for quality and this place rates high on my list.

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Thalgo and Elemis spa products are organic and made with marine ingredients for maximum effectiveness.

Mediterranean experience

I spent the rest of my time on the upper dining terrace, looking over the sea and eating a fresh salad. It couldn’t have been nicer. I can’t believe I’m contemplating my future workspace in a spa; how cool would it be to be the first digital nomad to claim a co-working seat at SPAlato.

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An upstairs dining terrace offers Mediterranean food and drinks in a casual, elegant atmosphere.

Learn more about SPAlato on Radisson Blu’s website.

Learn more at TCN’s Digital Nomads channel.

Story and photographs ©2021, Cyndie Burkhardt. https://photo-diaries.com

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