Saturday, 12 June 2021

Successful Croatian Digital Nomad Permit Stories: Kevin Macadam from UK

Jun 12, 2021 - There has been a lot of interest in the new Croatian digital nomad permit, with many looking to read about the experiences of successful applicants. Meet one, Kevin Macadam from UK, now enjoying life in Novigrad Dalmatia.

Access to Croatia is not as easy as it once was for Brits, now that the Brexit reality has kicked in, and  - like other non EU/EEA citizens, Brits can only stay for 90 at one time these days. Having heard of the Croatian digital nomad, Brit Kevin Macadam decided to try his luck, as he explains below. I did send Kevin questions for an interview, but I think the text reads better without my questions. Here is Kevin's story:


Our journey to Croatia originally began last year when we were out walking our dog in rainy Yorkshire and discussing where we might want to live when we retire.

And then we looked at each other and said why are we waiting to retire as we both were working remotely.

We had just come back from holiday on the Amalfi coast in Italy and said it would be great to live in Italy and so we started to look and how we could live there.

Unfortunately to get temporary residency we had to set up an Italian company and have our wages paid into that company so that they could take their share of tax.  


Our employers wouldn’t have agreed to that and so we thought that was that.  I then spotted the term Digital Nomad Visa online and looked at which companies offered them in Europe as we had to consider we would take our cat and dog with us.  Georgia - too cold Estonia - too cold and then we saw Croatia!  Having already been on holiday to Hvar and Dubrovnik we knew we loved the country and I already had friends there as I have been involved in British baseball for the last 30 years and knew the Croatian baseball president and the secretary of the European baseball federation who live in Zagreb and Karlovac respectively.

So that’s how we decided on Croatia, we already knew we loved the scenery, the food, the cost of living and the people.


We travelled over on the 1st March 2021 in a small window when we were allowed to leave the UK and arrived on the usual 90 day allowed time.  We then applied for the DNV around 6 weeks into our stay.  We had tried to get over before the 31st December but the U.K. was in a strict lockdown so we couldn’t get over.

We applied online via the Croatian government website and submitted all our supporting documents and waited.  We were asked to attend the police station and went for interview and then went to a separate department to go through the paperwork.  Unfortunately we thought our DBS check on U.K. government paper would be sufficient but apparently we needed it to be apostilled so we sent it back to the U.K. and then got them sent over by courier and once submitted in person again our residency was approved.  


The only thing I would say was a slight inconvenience was having completed the forms online we then had to complete them in paper format as well but I’m sure they’ll sort that out in future.  

We are aware that we are old for digital nomads and think that the residency permit should be marketed to people approaching retirement or an older age group (I’m 54 and Lisa’s 46) and as such probably have more disposable income. 


Also I hope the government rethink what will happen at the end of the first year when the the first permits expire.  We would like to make Croatia our home and are currently looking to buy a property here.  However we will be forced to leave for 90 days once our permit expires and therefore will likely go to a nearby non schengen country to wait out the time.  The risk is that some people may go to say Montenegro or Serbia and decide they like it more there and not return.  I think a simple extension each year providing there are no criminal activities and that we continue to meet the criteria as well as is understanding that it will not lead to permanent citizenship would remove that risk.  

It was easy to get the information as we had read articles by TCN as well as Expat in Croatia so just followed the instructions.

Ironically I voted for Brexit and my wife voted remain.  I regret that decision now! The permit allows us to live in a better climate in a safe country for longer than 90 days.


Croatia is a great destination for nomads.  There are loads of outdoor activities to do, food is amazing, people are friendly and English and German is widely spoken by the locals.   There are some great internet deals via partners who have linked in with the scheme.  The biggest issue we had which took us the longest amount of time was finding somewhere to live.  We contacted over 100 people on Njuškalo, Airbnb and asking them for a long term let and year round income.  We asked them to calculate what they earn over the summer months and divide by 12 and only one person our landlady Dolores agreed and hence why we ended up in Novigrad, Dalmatia.

All the others weren’t interested as they did they could earn a lot over the summer.  As it turns out we couldn’t have picked a better town.  The locals are so friendly and have welcomed us.  It’s position is perfect placed to visit the whole of Croatia.  So far we have visited Opatija, Pula, Rovinj, Karlovac, Zagreb, Split, hvar, Korcula, orebic, varazdin, plitvice and Karla and in the coming weeks will be venturing further south. 

Our lifestyle consists of working from home, travelling the country, eating great food, taking the dog for long walks, going to the coffee, swimming in the sea and drinking the worlds best kept secret Croatian wine!

People can follow our adventures @livingincroatia2021 on Instagram.

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Friday, 11 June 2021

Ahead of ZDNW 2021, Answers to Zagreb Digital Nomad FAQs

June 11, 2021 - With 10 days to go before the start of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, answers to some fequently asked questions.

How do I apply for the digital nomad permit?

The Croatian digital nomad permit came into effect on January 1, 2021, with an online application process launched on March 1, 2021. This allows non-EU/EEA nationals who fulfil the criteria to live and work in Croatia for a one-time 12-month period. You can see all the official conditions here.

You can apply for the permit online via the Ministry of Interior website here.

How long does the application take?

The application process is extremely recent, and there is not enough data yet to give accurate predictions. The quickest approval I am aware of is two weeks, while others have taken a couple of months. Two things which seem to slow things down are getting the background check confirmation from the home country police authorities, and the need for an apostille. Things seem to vary from applicants from country to country. 

How many people have applied so far, where are they from, and how many have been approved?


As of June 10, 2021, there had been 120 application for the digital nomad permit, 37 of which have been a approved, 9 rejected/withdrawn, and the rest in process. The biggest number of applicants have come from the USA, UK and Russia. The number of applications should improve considerably once borders open fully and travel is less restrictive. 

Do I need to apply from outside Croatia?

That depends on your personal situation. If you require a visa to enter Croatia, then yes (unless you get the visa, then enter and apply). Several nomads who can enter for 90 days have started the process from inside the country. 

How do I prove my income?

The financial pre-requisite of the permit is that applicants either have proof of funds up to 202,890 kuna for the 12 months (plus 10% each for a partner and family member), or they can prove a monthly income of 16,907.50. Proof of income for the previous three months of this amount via bank statements is enough.

What about tax?

Digital permit holders are not subject to Croatian income tax during their stay, but there are, of course, plenty of other taxes. Kristina Grbavac from KPMG Croatia has been a strong supporter of the digital nomad initiative, and she gave a great tax overview in a TCN interview. You can contact Kristina directly via the KPMG Croatia website.  

Are there co-working spaces in Zagreb?

Yes! The scene is developing quickly, with more co-working spaces being added monthly. Check out BIZkoshnica, HUB385, Impact Hub Zagreb, InstantOffice Zagreb, Matrix Office Park, Virtual Office Croatia, Wespa Spaces, and ZICER - Zagreb Innovation Centre.

Where can I go for information about the digital nomad scene in Zagreb?

There are some dedicated Facebook groups:

Digital Nomads Croatia

Digital Nomads Zagreb

as well as 

The Digital Nomad Association Croatia.

and the dedicated TCN section for digital nomads

The Zagreb Tourist Board will soon be offering its own dedicated digital nomad section

Is there a big digital nomad community in Zagreb?

In terms of organised community at the moment, I would say no, but things are changing rapidly. In terms of number of nomads living in the city, I would say that there are quite a number, and they are growing quickly. Croatia is 'in' as a digital nomad hot spot, and less restrictive travel will see a significant increase. It is only a matter of time until the community gets more organised.  

Many nomads are heading to the Croatian coast and islands. Why Zagreb?

Zagreb and the coast are perfect parnters to showcase why Croatia is a fantastic nomad destination, based on safety, authentic experiences, and lifestyle. Digital nomads by definition are nomadic, and travel between the capital and the coast is natural. 

As the biggest city in Croatia, Zagreb has an increasingly international feel. Its Austro-Hungarian heritage has echoes of Prague and Vienna, but at a cheaper price. Its parks and outdoor cafes are a joy to wander and linger, while the surrounding area is full of additional tourism options. You can learn more on the Around Zagreb website.  

How can I check the Internet speed for a location in Zagreb?


Hrvatski Telekom have an online map of Croatia, where you can check the Internet speed of any address.

Are there any simple pre-paid digital nomad products to get online in Zagreb?

Hrvatski Telekom has developed a special product for digital nomads without the need for bureaucracy or contracts. The prepaid SIM offers 7 days unlimited access of FLAT mobile data with 4G/LTE speed up to 600 Mbit/s. The price is 85 kuna (11 euro) and this can be topped up each week for 60 kuna. More details here.

How easy is it to find long-term accommodation in Zagreb?

Finding longer-term accommodation in Zagreb is much easier than on the coast, as the city caters to people renting for longer periods and not just tourist short-term lets. Additionally,  the future of tourism is changing, with AirBnB reporting that some 25% of 2021 bookings so far have been for 28 days and more. This will naturally bring changes to the rental market. The Digital Nomad Association Croatia will be offering approved accommodation specifially for digital nomads. 

How to meet people?

Zagreb is an extremely relaxed and social city, and it will not be long before you fall in love with the cafe culture. Conversations inevitably start up with people at the next table, and new friendships are made. New in town and looking to find fellow exapts? The Facebook group Expats in Zagreb Official is a great resource, with many locals and expats sharing their experiences, organising meetups, and helping new arrivals with information. 

What about health insurance?

Digital nomads applying for the permit are required to have health insurance. This can be purchased abroad, or through the Croatian health system.  

Is English widely spoken?

Absolutely. Croatians have among the best English-language skills in the EU, and you will have no problem communicating in Zagreb and beyond. The older generation are perhaps not as fluent, but visitors are surprised at the level of fluency. German is also widely spoken in Zagreb. 

How safe in Zagreb?

Croatia is one of the safest countries in Europe, and many visitors comment on the safety in the city. There is very little crime, and single women can walk home late at night without problems. I know of several people in the Croatian diaspora who moved to Croatia from countries such as Australia and the United States, because Croatia was a much safer place to bring up their children. 

Where can I find information about Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project?

ZDNW 2021 will take place from June 21 - 27, 2021 in a variety of locations all over the Croatian capital. Online registration for the event will be available on the Saltwater Nomads website. Attendance, both online and in person, is free, but please be advised that physical attendance will be limited due to epidemiological measures. 

ZDNW 2021 will have 7 themes over 7 days: cyber security, online presence, remote careers, wellbeing, the future of work, tax & finance, and explore Zagreb. 

The Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project will run from July 1 to December 31, with 6 winners enjoying free accommodation for a month, working with the city to improve the Zagreb digital nomad offer. Want to apply?

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

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Preparing for Digital Nomads: Croatia Telecom (HT) Nikolina Pejovic Interview

June 10, 2021 - Great Internet is a prerequisite for remote work. An interview with Croatia Telecom (Hrvatski Telekom)'s Proposition Management Expert, Nikolina Pejovic, on the quality of the Internet in Croatia, and what her company is doing to support the digital nomad initiative.

1. The digital nomad revolution is here, and there is quite a buzz about Croatia as one of the top nomad hotspots. Let's look at one of the most important requirements for potential remote works - connectivity and speed. How good is the Internet in Croatia?

Yes, it's a popular topic nowadays, I think the whole corona situation made all of us really aware of how everything can be subject to a fundamental change. This has made a lot of people open to new ways of living and working. When it comes to tourism which accounts for some 20% of Croatian GDP, it is of course essential to make the most of the opportunities we have, building on the traditional ways and appeals Croatia has, with digital nomadism being a powerful platform.

In terms of connectivity Croatian Telekom is the leading network in Croatia, confirmed by not one, but three independent international pieces of research, and not only that but were named one of the 10 fastest mobile networks in the whole world, so the nomads coming to Croatia are covered. You can do your work worry-free from Croatia and we take care of the rest. Especially as we have implemented the first commercial 5G network in Croatia ensuring better coverage, speeds, and user experience through it, and we are fully committed to improving it even further which definitely benefits digital nomads that coming to Croatia.

2. Internet speeds vary across the country. Where are the quickest destinations, and where can people find online information about Internet speed if they are considering spending time at a particular location? 

There is a really cool tool called the coverage map on Hrvatski Telekom web page, and you can check the coverage in the whole country, and also specifically per location. We are constantly working on better network capacity, although we are already the leading network. We are well aware that the quality infrastructure is the foundation for great customer experience, and it is one of our priorities.


3. How will Hrvatski Telekom be developing its coverage and service over the next 5 years? What are the key strategic milestones for HT?

The past year has made it clear how vital the ICT industry and investments in digital infrastructure and digitalization are to all aspects of our lives, society, and economy. Hrvatski Telekom has been leading Croatia’s digital transformation through continuous investments in network infrastructure and innovative services, ensuring technology and digitization development will continue being our priority. Next to the investments in technology, our second focus area will continue to be our customers and not only meeting but exceeding their expectations.


(Nikolina at the Digital Nomads-in-Residence Program, with Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, and DNA co-founder, Jan de Jong)

4. HT was one of the first private companies to support the Digital Nomad Association and this new initiative to welcome digital nomads to Croatia. Tell us a little about that?

Yes, we really feel that our mission is to improve the quality and digitalise the life of our citizens, we are calling it a world of better opportunities. In a world where almost every business is digital, digitalization is a prerequisite of progress, be it the community, economic improvement, business development, and a better quality of life.

When it comes to the DN initiative we recognized it from the beginning as a big thing for the whole society and also as a concept that fits perfectly well with our mission of connecting everyone in the country with the opportunities of digitalization. Because with a laptop, tablet or a smartphone and a reliable internet connection we are in position to help redefine not only the way we work, but also where one can work, and then Croatia is an excellent choice.

We are interested in supporting programs that really create value, and that is why we recognised and support the work of DNA and wanted to help to make the Nomads feel welcome, and we went even further by creating a product that DN can and will use while living here.


5. As part of that support, you provided a specific digital nomad product to the 10 Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence, which is also publicly available. Tell us about that product, and what feedback did you get?

I really loved working with my team on this product, actually we very quickly realised that all a remote worker wants is a really easy-to-use solution that works everywhere they go. They said that prepaid is the best thing for them, because it can be paid (topped up) upfront. We really wanted to find out what DN think of our product and is it as good as we thought.

I had the opportunity to meet these interesting young people, and the feedback was really positive. They liked the product and had great coverage everywhere they went, and they were travelling quite a lot with the Nomads-in-Residence program. Our ‘Unlimited’ offer is an easy to use flat prepaid solution, with weekly flat options, that just by topping up your account automatically gets reactivated. We have a web page dedicated to the product, where you can order the product or additional hardware, like for example a router if you are in need of one.


6. How do you see HT's future role in developing this sector of the Croatian economy?

Bringing tech-savvy, dominantly high-skilled, knowledgeable people to Croatia could prove to be a valuable source of capital inflow for the country’s economy. And since their numbers have been growing over the past years the potential could be great.  The one estimation I saw was that there are 4.8 million people in the world who have in some way opted for a digital-nomadic lifestyle, with as many as 17 million people aspiring to it. Having in mind the characteristics of such a lifestyle, mobility, flexibility, creating your own schedule, and choosing the location of work, Hrvatski Telekom wants to provide digital nomads with a fast and stable internet connection at any time and in any place, which is crucial for their ability to work from any location across Croatia.

7. And finally, your impressions of the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence program?

It was very well-organized, I want to congratulate the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, Jan, and you Paul as initiators and organizers of this project. I think working in that little paradise part of Croatia is something that appeals to a lot of people around the world. I am from Dalmatia although I have been living in Zagreb for quite a while now, and every time I have this little escape from the capital to Dalmatia, I realize how unreal it is and how interesting it surely would be for young people to come and enjoy it. It is our task to make them aware of this being a real option.. Also, I believe all other parts of our country have a really good potential to offer tourism solutions for this group of people. I enjoyed my 2 days in Dubrovnik, only could wish that it lasted longer...


8. And finally, finally, will we be seeing you at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021?

Yes, indeed! After the great energy of Dubrovnik, it is great to see the DN opportunity being featured in Zagreb. I think Zagreb is a fantastic destination for digital nomads, and there is plenty to see and do. Of course Hrvatski Telekom will be involved in Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021. We are happy to support such great initiatives.

About Nikolina Pejovic:

I really got to know our customers and their needs by career-wise growing gradually through the company, starting with my first student jobs in our shops to today being the Proposition Management Expert and creating products for HT. I started working while I was an undergraduate student and keeping to the mantra that you learn every day I’m presently a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Zagreb. In my free time, I am interested in improving the education system, which I am helping with as a member of the Board for quality management of education at the University of Zagreb and member of the Community for the promotion of intellectual capital at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, visit the Saltwater Nomads website.

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section



Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Zagreb's Digital Nomad Op: The View from Swanky MINT Hostel

 June 9, 2021 - Zagreb Digital Nomad Week will take place all over the city to showcase the diversity of the city. Thursday, June 24 is Finance Day at Swanky MINT Hostel.

One of the exciting things about the upcoming Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Digital Nomad Ambassador Project is the decision to hold the event all over the city, and in a variety of locations - hotel, coworking space, hostel and, of course, the Great Outdoors. 


An early mover in exploiting the new opportunities the digital nomad lifestyle has been Swanky MINT Hostel, arguably Croatia's most innovative hostel and travel group. Located very centrally on Ilica, Swanky has been attracting digital nomads for some time, and they managed to survive last years horrors by some smart diversification. 

Ahead of ZDNW 2021, TCN caught up with Swanky Travel Branch Manager and Travel Master, Iva Perokovic, to learn more about that, ZDNW, and the new tourism realities in Zagreb.


1. Let's start with last year. Zagreb, a pandemic, two earthquakes, a hostel. Take us through the realities of running a hostel during that crazy year.

It was a roller-coaster for sure. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were closed for a short while faced with cancelations, earthquakes and generally uncertain about the future of business. It was like a bad break up – going through the 5 phases: Shock & denial, Pain & anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance...

Nevertheless, we were active all the time introducing new ideas and trying to keep sane. We advertised vouchers for future travel, did a “Swanky Quarantine” show for Instagram, organized giveaways, filmed a virtual Zagreb tour, made special offers, and - for the first time ever -  long term stay options. We redecorated some things in the hostel and prepared for the opening following all the epidemiological measures.

During spring and summer, things got better and it felt like the worst was behind us. The best thing that happened was our long-term guests (some staying up to 5 months, some coming back even during winter) who really became a part of our Swanky family. Regarding business itself, there were not a lot of us employed so the level of teamwork skyrocketed.


2. You were one of the first to offer long-stay accommodation for digital nomads in Zagreb. How did that come about, and how successful has the initiative been?

Yes, thanks to long-term accommodation, we actually had guests all the time. Digital nomads are nothing new to us, but in the last year we really saw an increased number of people wanting to stay and work in Zagreb (freelancers, exchange students, bloggers & influencers or people who were just on “on a break” from working).

We advertised this through our own channels but also through different OTAs for long term stays offering both private rooms and dorms with extra services such as breakfast, tours and activities, laundry service, rent a bike, discounts in our bar and with many of our partners (museums, restaurants, hairdressers, …). We are also pet-friendly, so long-term guest can bring their four-legged friends.

People coming from countries with really bad covid situations and strict rules, felt a release to be in a place where there is no hard lockdown and where you can walk outside without a mask and grab a cup of coffee in the bar (since Swanky Monkey Garden was opened for the guests of the hostel)


3. As one of Zagreb's innovative tourism providers, you are at the cutting edge of tourism change in the city, and you will have had more contact with digital nomads than most. Are you seeing more nomads coming to Zagreb, and what trends are you noticing?

Digital nomads have been coming to Zagreb (and Croatia) for years but we just did not have the need to focus our marketing and sales specifically for them. Now it has became more popular with the introduction of Digital nomad Residence Permit but because of the corona situation, we feel that it did not get the appropriate attention. For now, we saw a trend in solo traveling as a nomad with friends, partners and family coming for a visit + a lot of exchange students coming for half semesters or shorter summer/winter schools.


4. The future of work is going to be very different with this shift to remote work. What are the opportunities for Zagreb's tourism providers, and how should they best prepare themselves for the opportunities?

First and most important – we all have to be flexible and follow the trends. There are things neither of us can influence on so in some cases it is actually smart to follow the rule “if you can´t beat it – join it”. Regarding both tours and accommodation, we expect private versions will be the most popular (maybe even the only option). Of course – safety first so tourism providers should really follow all the epidemiological rules and do their best to provide a safe environment. We can forget about big groups and mass tourism for a while and focus on individuals and providing real local experiences.


5. The concept and opportunity of digital nomadism is still not widely understood in Croatia, and education of the possibilities seems to be a top priority to move this opportunity forward. How do we best provide that education?

Well, a lot of things in Croatian tourism are not widely understood since we have all kinds of people and companies trying to get a piece of that cake. Tourist boards are doing their part in providing info (some more, some less) but more agencies, guides, hotels, hostels etc. should get involved and maybe bump heads in order to provide better service and aimed offer towards digital nomads. Also, we should not forget the fact that corona stepped in a way so a lot of tourism provides had other, more important things on their mind.


6. Tell us about your involvement in ZDNW and why you decided to get involved?

It is a great opportunity to meet people who think alike. Swanky has been always following trends and this one is important. Zagreb has so many things to offer and I honestly think it can become a new European digital nomad hub. This opens a lot of possibilities for new business, because Swanky can provide info, accommodation, tours and activities, meeting and networking events, parties and most important – a local friend and host.


7. Zagreb as a destination for digital nomads. Sell it to us in a sentence - why should they come here?

The question is not why – it is WHY NOT?  Zagreb is well connected to other European hubs, its safe and it is a perfect combination of traditional and modern lifestyle with a lower cost of living than most of the EU capitals and with both urban and nature parts, plus a bunch of great restaurants, bars and outdoor happening and festivals.

8. And finally, tell us a little about Swanky 2021. You guys always have something new. What do you have in store for this season?

This year we are not doing any big groundbreaking changes. We will “listen” to our guests' needs and trends in tourism keeping up with them so we can be prepared for 2022. SWANKY TRAVEL will focus on private and small group activities, especially on urbex tours . SWANKY MINT HOSTEL will keep the long-term accommodation option, open a pool during summer and offer extra value to its guests. SWANKY MONKEY GARDEN will take care of both locals and guests offering great vibe, cool music, delicious cocktails and wonderful sunny terrace.

And when this pandemic and crazy period will be finally over – we want to be here to talk about it, coming out of it smarter, stronger and richer for this life-changing experience…


#neverstopexploring #stayswanky

For more information about Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, visit the Saltwater Nomads website.

Want to Stay Swanky? Learn more on the official website.

For more news and features from the digital nomad scene in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

Follow the Swanky empire on Instagram.

Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 is a collaboration between Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News, Digital Nomad Association Croatia, and Zagreb Tourist Board, who are financing the project.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Bol Through the Lens of a Croatian Digital Nomad Permit Holder

June 7, 2021 - Digital nomads give back to communities in various ways. A new series on TCN, following the lens of Steve Tsentserensky, one of the early recipients of the Croatian digital nomad permit. Where better to start than photogenic Bol on Brac?

One of the discussion in Croatia these days surrounds digital nomads. What EXACTLY does Croatia get from digital nomads, especially if they do not have to pay income tax locally with the 12-month permit?

It is a classic Croatian tourism short-term mindset, which has become sadly familiar over the decade I have been writing about the subject. 

For me, there are three key wins for Croatia - and they all cost nothing.

1. Permit holders may not pay tax, but they are spending on rent, food, drink, entertainment once they leave their virtual office. Think of them as long-stay tourists if you will. I never heard of anyone here complaining about tourists spending here.

2. The mindset. This, to me, is one of the most exciting aspects of the digital nomad era. People with fresh ideas, different experiences, stimulating lifestyles. If they are moving to Croatia because it is so great, perhaps Croatia has something to offer, rather than the sad path of emigration. 

3. The fabulous free promo from digital nomads, clearly in love with this beautiful country. They decided to come, love what they find, and want to tell the world how amazing Croatia is - through blogs, Instagram posts and various other forms of social media. Kind of like the national tourist board's job if you like. Only better. 

This series will focus on the last point, the fantastic free promotion of Croatia by these longer term visitors. TCN is delighted to announce a working partnership with one of the early recipients of the digital nomad permit. Steve Tsentserensky from Ohio. Steve first came to my attention with this fabulous video of Zagreb.

We are big fans of Steve's work, and we met recently over a beer or three in Zagreb. Steve will be travelling around the country over the next 12 months (actually, we thing a little longer) documenting Croatia through his lens. We thought it would make a nice feature on the site, as well as showing how just one nomad with the permit is spreading the word about this beautiful country, so that others may see and come. 

And so begins our new series - Croatia through the lens of a Croatian digital nomad permit holder, starting in magnficent Bol. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So I will shut up now. 

You can follow Steve on Instagram.









































Monday, 7 June 2021

Ahead of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Jan de Jong Interview on Croatia's Progress

June 7, 2021 - It has been a breathtaking year on the digital nomad scence in Croatia. As the Croatian capital gears up for Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, TCN catches up with the man who set the ball rolling with that open letter to the Prime Minister - Split-based Dutch entrepreneur, Jan de Jong.

1. It is almost 11 months since you wrote the famous open letter on LinkedIn to Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. What were your hopes and expectations back then, and how do you feel about the consequences of that letter?

When I wrote the open letter to our PM Plenkovic, I had zero expectations and really high hopes. Prior to my open letter, I had already tested the opinion of the general public about welcoming digital nomads to Croatia - through various LinkedIn posts. And the response was each time overwhelming. So, I expected a lot of support for my open letter, but that we would actually change the laws in Croatia, within such a short time period – was something I could only dream of.


2. It has been an action-packed 11 months. Can you give us three high points from the journey?

The 3 high points were definitely the invitation to meet with the Ministry of Interior, as this was the first confirmation that my request for introducing a digital nomad visa was heard. The second high point was my meeting with the Prime Minister, when he shared his support for this initiative. The third high point was January 1st, 2021 – when the laws became active and when the first digital nomad got approved her staying permit soon after.

3. Along with Tanja Polegubic of Saltwater Nomads and Karmela Tancabel, you are a co-founder of Digital Nomad Association Croatia, with a website going live next week. Tell us a little about DNA Croatia - why did you found it, what is its purpose, and who is it aimed at?

The moment we knew that Croatia was going to be among the first countries in the world to welcome digital nomads, we decided that we wanted to have a more coordinated approach to supporting and uniting digital nomads in Croatia. This is not a job for one man/woman, so we wanted to start an association where other people can get involved in pursuing our mission. There are several stake-holders in all this: 1) The digital nomads. 2) Companies and individuals who wish to serve digital nomads and last but not least – we want to be the bridge between the digital nomad eco-system and the Croatian government.


4. You are just back from Dubrovnik, where DNA took part in the final day of Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence, which was organised by the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads and TCN. Tell us a little about the energy down there, and what Dubrovnik learned from its 10 nomadic residents.

Aside from a stunning location, amazing weather and great people, to me it feels that this event is a gathering of lots of positivity and optimism – something we can definitely use in Croatia. At an event like this, we don’t talk about the challenges we are facing in Croatia or about what could have been done better. We talk about opportunities and what needs to be done in order to fully utilize our potential of becoming Europe’s hot spot for digital nomads.

The DNiR program was a co-creation event between digital nomads and local government/tourist board. Together, they came up with a 4-A strategy: Attract, Accommodate, Amaze & Amplify.


5. The focus now shifts to Zagreb, with DNA, TCN, Saltwater Nomads and the Zagreb Tourist Board hosting Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project. Tell us a little about that, and how you will be involved specifically.

The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program had great energy, and I am delighted that this will be transferred to Zagreb, albeit with a very different concept. The concept is once again being framed and delivered by Saltwater Nomads, with media support from TCN and hosted and financed by the Zagreb Tourist Board. This project will have two distinct parts. From June 21, there will be Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, 7 themes over 7 days, in various locations all over the city. The key topics will be cyber security, online presence, tax & finance, wellbeing, the future of work, remote careers, and explore Zagreb.

The second part of the program will be the Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, where six digital nomads will be guests of the city, one month at a time from July 1 to December 31. It will give us a chance to explore Zagreb as a digital nomad destinations through the seasons, with a view to learning and improving the city's offer. 

From DNA Croatia we will be involved in a similar way as in Dubrovnik. For us its important having a chance to interact with digital nomads and all other stake-holders, including the Zagreb Tourist Board, our sponsors/donors – such as Hrvatski Telekom, Raiffeisen, KPMG.

Each event brings new discoveries. We are a young association in a country for which “digital nomad tourism” is a new phenomenon. The most important thing during every single event is to keep learning and introducing new ways on how we as DNA Croatia can support & unite digital nomads in Croatia.

6. A lot of the focus on digital nomads in Croatia has been on the coast. What are your thoughts on the potential of Zagreb for nomads? What does the capital do well, and what can it do better?

I believe there is no place in Croatia where the infrastructure for digital nomads is better than in Zagreb. It is the capital city of Croatia after all. What many people don’t know is that the tourism sector in Zagreb is bigger than that of the rest of this country. Many digital nomads that are in search of great urban lifestyle and communities with like-minded people will be attracted to come to Zagreb. Luckily, knowing that Croatia offers 12-months staying permits to digital nomads, there will be plenty of time to explore different part of Croatia.

7. What are the biggest challenges, in your opinion, in developing the digital nomad opportunity?

Building strong communities is and will be the biggest challenge. Digital nomads will come to Croatia for what this country has to offer. However, they will decide to stay here as long as possible if there is a community they can join. Co-living, co-working spaces, infrastructure – this can all be created by entrepreneurs making investments. Building a community will take lots of efforts…and more time.


8. Regarding the visa, sorry permit, how many have applied so far, how many have been approved, and what level of applications do you expect once the borders fully open once more?

So far we have received 120 applications for 29 different countries. 37 applicants have been approved so far. The U.S. and U.K. digital nomads are taking a strong lead – making up for nearly half of all applications. Russians are also showing great interest, closely following the U.K.

On one hand I am happy we have the first 100+ applications. On the other hand, I was secretly hoping for more. Countries like Barbados, who did a great PR campaign right after launching their visa – got over 1.000 applications in the first month. So, compared to those results, we cannot be happy with 120 applications.

I personally believe that we as a country could have done more to promote our permit internationally. I am being told by the Ministry of Tourism and Croatian National Tourist Board that the digital nomad permit will get more attention from their side, in promoting it, after the tourism season ends.

Hopefully, around that time, it will also be easier to travel again, so we can see a rapid increase in number of applications in the second half of this year.


(Jan de Jong at the Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads conference in October 2020, with conference organiser Tanja Polegubic of Saltwater Nomads. Both are co-founders of the Digital Nomad Association Croatia)

9. Is the permit the finished article, or is it still a work in progress? The speed with which the whole processed was like driving a Rimac Nevera in the context of Croatian bureaucracy. Certain issues, such as the need for an apostille and the FBI background check proof, have caused some problems for some applicants. Are such issues open to being addressed?

The part that I am currently looking into are to make some additional legislative changes to the tax law. Currently, digital nomads are exempt from paying income tax in Croatia. We would however, like to see some additional clarity on digital nomads being exempt from paying taxes on other types of income, such as tax on capital gain, dividend tax, etc. Even though, the tax authorities stated that they would not go after such taxes, currently this is not defined by law. Together with KPMG we are looking into these open items, to make sure they are well defined.

Croatia will not waive from getting proof of no criminal record for applicants of the staying permit. Unfortunately, for some digital nomads, this is a time-consuming process to obtain such documentation, from i.e. the FBI. But if U.S. citizens who apply for the permit follow all necessary steps and take the time for their application, than I don’t see major obstacles here. This is not a problem of Croatian bureaucracy but more that of the U.S. bureaucracy.

Just to give you an example, as a Dutch citizen it would take me 30 minutes to get such proof of no criminal record at the city hall in the town where I would be registered. That is how its done in the Netherlands.


(De Jong with two of DNA's biggest corporate supporters - RBA Croatia CEO Liana Keseric, and KPDG's Kristina Grbavac - all three were panelists on the final day of Digital Nomads-in-Residence)

10. The support of private business has been excellent so far. Tell us more.

Yes, its great to see how some amazing Croatian companies have decided to support our efforts. And that in a very challenging year, where the Croatian economy was hurt severely as a result of Covid-19 and several major earthquakes. Hrvatski Telekom, Raiffeisen Bank, KPMG, Links, Younited Agency and several other companies have reached out – wanting to help and support. Hrvatski Telekom has already introduced a special proposition for digital nomads, offering unlimited, fast, mobile internet for just 60,00 kn per week – without contract obligation. It is great to see the largest telecom provider in Croatia demonstrating such leadership.


(Living the Croatian dream with and a meeting of the man who makes one very fast car)

11. And finally, what are the next steps for Croatia on its digital nomad journey?

For a change, we have the laws on our side in Croatia. The Croatian government did what it had to do to welcome digital nomads to come to Croatia. Now, we need to focus on building community, infrastructure and to promote Croatia internationally as a digital nomad hot spot in Europe. You know what they say – it takes 10 years to have overnight success. Right now, we are in year 1. I am super excited to see where we can take this in the coming decade. What it requires to turn this into a success is action today!

For more information on Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 and Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project, visit the Saltwater Nomads website.

Zagreb Tourist Board Director Martina Bienenfeld interview on Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, and the digital nomad tourism opportunity for the city.

For the latest news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ask KPMG Anything about Tax at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week

June 1, 2021 - Zagreb Digital Nomad Week & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project kick off on June 21. A look at some of the content and speakers, starting with Kristina Grbavac from KPMG on everyone's favourite subject - tax. 

These are early days in Croatia's digital nomad tourism journey. It is less than a year since a Dutch entrepreneur sent an open letter to the Croatian Prime Minister, requesting that the introduction of a digital nomad visa for Croatia.  

Since then, a lot has happened. Both the Foreigners Act and the tax code were amended, and the visa (actually a permit) came into force on January 1, 2021, with the first successful applicant getting her permit some 3 weeks later. (Meet Melissa Paul, Owner of Croatia's First Digital Nomad Visa). The online application form was launched on March 1, and there have been several other milestones to note as well. The Digtal Nomad Association Croatia was formed by Jan de Jong, that Dutch entrepreneur, Tanja Polegubic, and Karmela Tancabel. 

The first digital nomad conference in Croatia was held last October in Dubrovnik, and it was followed by the world's first Digital Nomad-in-Residence program (also in Dubrovnik), which has already been copied by a destination in Spain

The next significant milestone will start in the Croatian capital later this month, with Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 (ZDNW) & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador Project beginning at Canopy by Hilton on June 21. Apart from bringing together nomads both physically and virtually, ZDNW will also look at some of the biggest issues and unknowns in the Croatian digital nomad story. 

The week will consist of 7 days and 7 themes - cyber security, online presence, career advice, tax + finance, wellbeing, explore Zagreb, and the future of work.

Te full programme will be published shortly, and you can find the latest version on the Saltwater Nomads website - this is where it will be updated. 


Thursday, June 24, is dedicated to tax and finance, with a key session led by Kristina Grbavac from KPMG. Kristina and KPMG have been enthusiastic supporters of the whole digital nomad initiative, and they are working closely with and supporting the Digital Nomad Association, as well as participating in both Dubrovnik projects above. She has also been kind enough to write a couple of great articles about digital nomads and tax for TCN.

While bearers of the digital nomad permit do not have to pay income tax in Croatia for the duration of their stay, the tax issue is a lot more complicated than that. For a start, not all nomads will be here on a permit (EU/EEA citizens, those on a less than 90-day stay, for example). And income tax is just one type of tax that faces us. 

In an attempt to add a little clarity to the thorny issues of taxation and digital nomads, Kristina has kindly agreed to host an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on tax and digital nomads. We will shortly be publishing details on how to submit questions in advance. 

For the latest information on ZDNW - and to apply to be a Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador - follow the latest version of the programme here

You can contact Kristina about KPMG services here.

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

Monday, 31 May 2021

Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence Video Exit Interviews

May 31, 2021 - The inaugural Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence (DNIR) program ended with a commitment from Dubrovnik's mayor to implement some of the recommendations. TCN caught up with some of the resident nomads prior to their departure for exit interviews (with thanks to 45 Degrees Sailing for the video) 

It was the first of its kind in the world. Bring in ten digital nomads with different skills, backgrounds and lifestyles from all over the world. Give them free accommodation for 4 weeks, as well as a social and tour program and attendance at some design thinking workshops. And then work with the local community, city, tourist board and program coordinators to co-create a strategy for Dubrovnik to meet the needs of digital nomads who are taking an ever-increasing interest in spending time in the safe, authentic lifestyle destination that is Croatia. 

As a co-organiser of  DNIR, along with Saltwater Nomads, the City of Dubrovnik, and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board (the latter funded the project), I can honestly say that I have never been involved in such a thought-provoking project, or hung out with a group of strangers initially, who gelled to form lifelong friendships, as well as a superb vision for the future of Dubrovnik. 

Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring the DNIR findings in more detail, having made a start with Beyond the Walls: 4 Weeks in Dubrovnik Not Enough, Say DNIR Digital Nomads.

I caught up with several of them on their last evening to get their overall impressions of the program.

As you can see, it was a fairly relaxed setting for the interviews, with Dutchman Rob very proud to take part in the first paid interview of his life (he got a free beer).

Some great insights, and there are several quick wins that Dubrovnik can implement to move the story along. Mayor Frankovic's commitment to providing a co-working space at the final press conference was vey encouraging. 

Also included here are two interviews with original DNIR, Carolyn Zelikow, who had to withdraw halfway, but spoke to us before she left, and Vanessa Anderson, who replaced her. 

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section.


Attention now turns to the Croatian capital, with Zagreb Digital Nomad Week & Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador project starting on June 21. More information on the Saltwater Nomads website.

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Beyond the Walls: 4 Weeks in Dubrovnik Not Enough, Say DNIR Digital Nomads

May 27, 2021 - Far from being a destination with enough content for just 2-3 days, Dubovnik's Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DNIR) did not manage to visit all they wanted in 4 weeks. The secret? Beyond the walls. 

Google 'Dubrovnik'.

Go to Google Images and tell me what you see. 

Probably something like my screenshot of my search below.

So what is Dubrovnik to those who search for it? A magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the great iconic cities of the world. Rich in history, majestic, full of culture, spectacular sea views. The Pearl of the Adriatic, as George Bernard Shaw called it. 

And that's it. 

One gorgeous and fascinating old town with plenty to absorb for 2-3 days, but that's it. 


(DNIRs aboard gorgeous Karaka on the farewell party - 4 weeks was not enough. Photo by 45 Degrees Sailing)

My perception of Croatia's most famous destination has changed immeasurably in the last 12 months, as I too was guilty of the stereotypes about Dubrovnik. A city I tended to avoid, rather than enjoy, especially in the season - the poster child of overtourism. 

And then came corona. 

Devoid of tis cruise ships and day trippers which contributed the brunt of the overtourism plague the city had become associated with, Dubrovnik's hospitality industry suffered more than anywhere in Croatia, being such a dependent cruise and flight destination. But that short-term (albeit very sharp) pain has enabled the city and its residents to take a fresh look at their tourism direction. If ever there was an opportunity to repivot a destination, that is one cloud with silver lining that COVID-19 has brought. 


(Photo credit Zoltan Nagy)

And if you bring in some fresh eyes with a foreign perspective, their insights can contribute considerably to the debate. 

The Google Images observation above is not mine. It was the first point noted by the 10 Digital Nomads-in-Residence in their final presentation at the end of an absorbing 4 weeks as guests of the City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Tourist Boards. Apart from road-testing Dubrovnik's credentials as a digital nomad destination over a 4-week period, the DNIRs also took part in weekly design thinking workshops with program organisers, the local community, the city and the tourist board, to co-create a strategy and vision to move Dubrovnik forward in this exciting new tourism direction. 


The DNIRs came up with some really quality recommendations, many of which I will be exploring in greater detail in subsequent articles once I have had the full debrief with the program team, but today we focus on the lowest hanging fruit fo them all. 

Beyond the walls. 

(The very best introduction to Dubrovnik, Beyond the Walls - the stunning Adriatic Sunsets tour, with vlog by 45 Degrees Sailing)

And far from being bored after a couple of days with nothing to do, not one of ten DNIRs was ready to go home after 4 weeks. For there was still so much more to see. 


(Authentic Dubrovnik in front of Karaka, ahead of the farewell party)

The concept of Dubrovnik tourism beyond the walls is not new or revolutionary, but the need to convey that message articulately and clearly can - and will - transform the destination.  

Viewing the destination not just as Dubrovnik, the city, but as Dubrvonik, the region, with cameo appearances from neighbours such as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Mostar in BiH and Kotor in Montenegro, and suddenly, we have a very different tourism proposition. 

I became aware of the power of transformation that combining destinations could have last year when the Zagreb City and County Tourist Boards combined in a project called Around Zagreb. Enjoy the city, then enhance the experience with a round of golf, touring a wine region, hiking and cycling, immerse yourself in nature, then enjoy endless authentic and traditional experiences. A city destination became a complete tourism experience. 


(Cavtat, 15 km south of Dubrovnik - Photo by Taliah Bradbury)

Looking at Dubrovnik last summer, I saw exactly the same potential. Again, the finding is hardly groundbreaking, but the need to communicate it is a little more pressing.  

I was curious to see how much the resident nomads would pick up on this. And the answer did not take long to come. In several interviews a few days into the project, several common themese started to emerge. Few, if any, of our visitors had much - if any - concept of Dubrovnik outside the famous old city prior to their arrival.  They were actually spending quite a limited time in the old town as there was so much to do beyond the walls. Ron Tardiff, an American marine biologist living in Budapest, gave his early impressions in the interview above. Life in Lapad - a place he had no idea existed before arriving - was pretty sweet indeed. Beach, parks, local cafes and shops, friendly locals, great weather. What's not to like?


There is still a lot of confusion in Croatia about what a digital nomad is and does. They are not all bloggers and influencers - although they can be - and they all go to work each day. Just not in the same office back home. Their office is wherever their laptop happens to be. 

Let's move away from the notion of traditional tourism. The been there, done that (oops, I seem to be paraphrasing the national tourist board brilliant new slogan - hopefully not another lawsuit is imminent), got the Instagram shot is not the topic here. 


Imagine you work from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, and you can work anywhere in the world. Finish your job at the office, and off you go to enjoy the neighbourhood. A swim in the Adriatic, a stroll down Stradun, a cocktail overseeing an other spectacular Dalmatian sunset. One evening a week for a cultural event, another to a museum. Dinner out twice a week with friends (fellow nomads in a growing community where you can find your tribe). 


(Photo by Zoltan Nagy)

And then comes the weekend. 


Weekend one (and TCN will cover each in the coming weeks) - a visit to Cavtat and Konavle. 


Weekend two - the majestic island of Korcula, with some oysters, salt and historic Ston stone walls on the way home. 


Weekend three - Hiking and chilling on the gorgeous island of Mljet. 


Weekend four - Exploring the Plavac Mali vineyards of the Peljesac Peninsula OR the magic of the Elaphite Islands - Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan.


Weekend five - oops, you are out of time, sorry. And now in the same position as our recently-departed nomads. 

The future of work will look VERY different than today. Remote work is in, and more and more people will be looking to combine remote work with lifestyle. One of the most interesting statistics from the final day panels was that 25% of AirBnB bookings for 2021 so far have been for 28 days and more. Time to upgrade those kitchenettes to better-equipped kitchens if you want to take advantage of the new opportunity for your rental. For nomads are looking for a home from home, not somewhere merely to lay their weary heads after a day at the beach. 


Digital nomads thrive on community. Build the community, service that community, and add in the three trump cards in the slogan Croatia, Your Safe, Authentic Lifestyle Destination, and the future for Croatian tourism - including Dubrovnik - is very bright indeed. 

For the latest topics on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated section


The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence was a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads and Total Croatia News, funded by Dubrovnik Tourist Board. 

Sunday, 23 May 2021

5 Steps to Making Dubrovnik a Vegan-Friendly Destination

May 24, 2021 - We sat down with Alyssa Isogawa, one of the digital nomads in residence in Dubrovnik, to try and craft five steps towards making Dubrovnik a vegan-friendly destination.

Alyssa is vegan and has been for eight years now. She comes from California which is known for having plenty of vegan-friendly restaurants, shops, and markets. However, she suggests this hasn’t always been the case. Her experience of Dubrovnik is overwhelmingly positive, but getting food was not always easy. She spent one month living in Dubrovnik through the Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. During that month she struggled to keep her diet healthy and balanced. There are some good vegan options in Dubrovnik when it comes to restaurants. Still, the selection is pretty limited. On the other side, there is very little information out there for any foreign newcomers to the city as to how and where to find suitable food.

Through a long coffee-fuelled meeting with Alyssa, we managed to craft a list of 5 steps that Dubrovnik can make in order to become a vegan-friendly destination. Most of these steps would also be of great help for local vegans. Not only that, but the local omnivores might find themselves interested in going vegan a few days a week. This would be good for the environment and the local producers.

Produce Markets and Shops

The main mission of a travelling vegan is to find a reasonably priced, good quality, diverse selection of fresh vegetables and fruits. The good thing about Dubrovnik is: there is plenty of locally sourced, seasonal produce around. There are also a few farmers’ markets, with the biggest one being in the Gruz Harbour area. Along with a few greengrocers in the city, the selection is actually not bad. The problem is, these places rarely advertise. They never advertise to foreigners. This is a clear consequence of short-stay tourism. The average guest to Dubrovnik coming to the city for 2 or 3 days is hardly looking for vegetables to buy during this time.

The potential solution calls for the higher visibility of these businesses. Advertising, branding, and inclusion in promotional materials promoting the city are obvious solutions. Another beneficial thing would be to educate the people selling their produce on the needs and market share of the vegan visitors and local people alike. Various food delivery services have become popular in Croatia. They would probably have an interest in cooperating with these businesses which could then offer online ordering and delivery of fresh produce.

Updated Restaurant Menus

Many Dubrovnik restaurants are lacking a decent offer of vegan dishes. Aside from two dedicated vegan restaurants, very few other places offer quality vegan options. Most of the offer comes down to grilled vegetables or seasonal salads. These dishes don’t have the main food groups necessary for a balanced meal. Carbohydrates, protein, and fats need to be present on the plate in all the vegan main dishes. They rarely are in restaurants offering vegan dishes only to satisfy the format.

Restaurant menus need updating. However, this doesn’t just mean additional work or expense incurred by the restaurant. This means a chance for more business. Most restaurant owners in Dubrovnik underestimate the share of vegan guests. Not only that, but they fail to realise vegan customers usually come to their restaurants with their partners or friends. If the restaurant is not offering vegan options, they will lose not just that vegan guest, but the people they are coming to eat with as well. In order to make their efforts worth it, restaurants need to be upfront with their vegan options. Things like HappyCow stickers or similar signs let the potential guest know the place offers vegan options.

Enriching Local Cuisine

Tied to the previous step, Croatian and Dubrovnik chefs might want to step up and make themselves heard about the vegan issue. The fact of the matter is, there are plenty of Croatian vegans that want the changes described here. There are also a number of talented and highly skilled local chefs. They might be encouraged to re-visit some of the most popular local dishes and create vegan versions of the classics. This action could be tied to promoting local cuisine to the vegan market. Creating new delicious dishes reminiscent of the traditional Dubrovnik cuisine is a great thing in itself. When these dishes are also modern, healthy, and environmentally friendly, the promotional opportunities are endless.

Labelling for Vegan-Friendly Food Items in Shops and Souvenir Shops

There are plenty of food items in Dubrovnik’s shops and souvenir shops. Spreads, preserves, sauces, or pastes are usually labelled in such a way that they are perhaps understandable to local people, but rarely are easy to read for foreigners. Additionally, sales staff often doesn’t know whether certain food items in the shop are vegan safe or not. Many potential buyers will refrain from buying these because of this lack of information. Clear labelling for food that is vegan-friendly would distinguish these items. Education of staff would help this innovation along as well. Much like restaurants with vegan options, shops offering vegan-friendly items could use signage or stickers to inform their potential customers. Sauces and spreads are a great addition to simple vegetable homemade dishes in order to take them up a level.

Education of Dubrovnik Locals

Perhaps the most important step is educating local people about vegan food. The majority of people are not aware of what real vegan food is. Many of them don’t know just how delicious, healthy, and balanced a proper vegan diet is. By raising awareness of the health and environmental advantages of vegan food, Dubrovnik would start a chain of dominoes resulting in becoming a truly vegan-friendly city. With more local vegans and people interested in having occasional vegan meals, businesses would be quick to adapt. The vegan community is tight-knit and dynamic. In an area renowned for locally sourced food, vegetable-based cuisine could be the next big thing, not just for visitors.

Majority of steps proposed in this text stem from problems caused mainly by lack of knowledge or interest. Informative events, pop-up food stands or food trucks celebrating vegan food would do wonders for the local food scene. The future is green. Let’s make Dubrovnik a city of the future!

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

For more news in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

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