Friday, 22 October 2021

Beyond the Walls: DN-i-R Presents Sustainable Dubrovnik Tourism Direction

October 22, 2021 - Sustainable Dubrovnik tourism was the topic at a workshop in Lazareti today, as the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence case study was presented, along with the city announcing co-working spaces, a co-living space, and the Dubrovnik Digital Nomad card. 

It has been quite a journey. 

And we are still only at the beginning. 


It is just 15 months since the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, gave me 30 minutes of his time to hear some ideas we had regarding sustainable Dubrovnik tourism. Half an hour later, we had an agreement to cooperate, and work started the next morning with Deputy Mayor, Jelka Tepsic, and Dubrovnik Tourist Board director, Ana Hrnic. 

Despite the considerable restrictions caused by the pandemic, progress has been swift. In October last year, the first-ever digital nomad conference, Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads, was held in Dubrovnik. It was a cooperation between the city of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, and Total Croatia News. 


It was followed by the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, the first event of its kind in the world, where 10 international nomads from different backgrounds and experiences, came to the city for 4 weeks to work with the city, tourist board, and community to co-create a strategy to help Dubrovnik develop its digital nomad strategy to attract more remote workers. 


The DN-i-R project achieved international recognition at the recent Conventa 2021 awards in Ljubljana, as well as being presented at the recent Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva as an example of regional best practice. 


At today's event '1 Year On, Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads Workshop' (so-called as it a year since that inaugural conference), Saltwater Nomads CEO and architect of the DN-i-R program, Tanja Polegubic, presented the case study of the findings of DN-i-R. Deputy Mayor Tepsic and Director Hrnic also presented their impressions, with DN-i-R facilitator extraordinaire Erin Maxwell also on stage. 


The case study outlined a strategy to success for the project created by the DN-i-Rs, with some very early quick wins to help Dubrovnik on that journey. 


The image and perception of Dubrovnik as a one-dimensional destination with only enough content for 2-3 days was evident at the presentation of the DN-i-R initial findings at a press conference back in May. A simple Google image search of Dubrovnik provided the same results - a spectacular and historic old town, but nothing more. And one of the key findings of the strength and potential of Dubrovnik's tourism was what lay 'Beyond the Walls'. Far from being a 2-3 day destination, find out why these 10 DN-i-Rs concluded that 30 days was not enough to spend in Dubrovnik


Changing the perception of Dubrovnik is going to take time after the horror years of overtourism prior to the pandemic, but the image (and a real image) of a more sustainable Dubrovnik is already taking hold. Few newspaper editors would have chosen Dubrovnik for the lead photo for an article about digital nomads a year ago, as The Times did recently, for example - in stark contrast to the Death of Dubrovnik headlines in the UK media just 4 years ago. 


Leading DN website NomadList is one of the biggest online resources for DN opinions and statistics. The recent 2021 survey was extremely good news, with Croatia named as the 2nd most liked destination after Japan. Data extrapolated from the Trends, based on real geographical data of users of the site showed that nomads were visiting Croatia - including Dubrovnik - in ever greater numbers.

The DN-i-R program can only achieve so much on its own, and it would have had limited success had its recommendations not been implemented. Too often in Croatian tourism, projects finish, a box is ticked, perhaps the right person has been thanked for a favour by being awarded a project. For Dubrovnik's Dn journey to continue, it is essential that the city maintains the momentum, builds the nomad community, and engages the local community. 


And not only did Dubrovnik rise to the challenge with their announcements today, but they exceeded my expectations. Among the things Ana Hrnic announced:

  • The opening of no less than 3 coworking spaces, at strategic parts of the city - Lazareti by the old town, the Red History Museum in Gruz, and Sunset Beach in Lapad.
  • The first co-living space in Dubrovnik.
  • A new planned information website for Dubrovnik, with its own visual identity, dedicated to longer-stay visitors.
  • A check-in point for DNs at the main tourist board office at Pile Gate by the old town.
  • A Dubrovnik Digital Nomad Card.

The Dubrovnik digital nomad card, believed to be the first of its kind in the world, will be launched soon, offering discounts for nomads from participating businesses. As TCN recently reported, the city recently invited businesses to provide special offers for digital nomads staying for an extended period. So far, 17 businesses have joined the programme, with more expected to follow. 

Deputy Mayor Tepsic also stressed the importance of involving and educating the community, with plans to hold monthly hybrid workshops to help Dubrovnik's tourism businesses better understand and adapt to the DN opportunity. 

Participation of the local community and local authorities will be crucial for the success of the initiative, and the facilitators of DN-i-R have been extremely impressed at the high level of engagement from the local community. This was in evidence once more today, as community members from the adventure tourism, restaurant, and private accommodation businesses explained how they were adapting their offers to welcome digital moments. Continued education, encouragement and information will only bring out more such offers. 

There is a long way to go, but Dubrovnik is demonstrating once again its willingness to take the lead in an attempt to build a more sustainable Dubrovnik tourism model. 

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

Monday, 18 October 2021

Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence 6 Months On: Charlie Brown

October 18, 2021 - In April this year, 10 digital nomads from all over the world came together for the inaugural Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence (DNIR) program. As part of European Freelancer Week 2021, TCN catches up with some of them 6 months on, starting with Charlie Brown from Wales. 

A year ago, the city of Dubrovnik held the first-ever digital nomad conference in Croatia - Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads - as part of European Freelancer Week. The city has made great strides advancing its DN credentials and strategy, thanks in part to the award-winning Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, which ran from April 23 - May 23. 


Far from forgetting Croatia, several of the DNIRs have been very active in Croatia. None more so that Charlie Brown, who together with husband Sam, have been enjoying a lot more of Croatia and its excellent wines, as well as representing the Extra Virgin Digital Nomads at the 4th Olive Picking World Championships on Brac last week. TCN caught up with Charlie to reflect on all things nomaddy 6 months on. 

1. It is 6 months since you arrived in Dubrovnik for the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. Firstly, a brief look back at that month. How was it for you, and how did it change your perceptions of Dubrovnik as a nomad destination?

It was excellent, on many levels. It was such an exciting project to be a part of, from meeting other digital nomads to learning more about Croatia and the untapped potential for remote workers. Dubrovnik was to be honest, never on my list of destinations to visit as a digital nomad, but that has changed. During my month I found it filled with excellent people, excellent experiences and beautiful scenery. 


2.  Have you kept in touch with others from the project? Spent any more time in Croatia?

Yes! In fact I just spent a week with two of them in Split and I saw another every week during a month in Barcelona. 

And yes, I've spent a lot more time in Croatia; Hvar and Zadar straight after the program, and I returned to Split in September. I'm heading to Zagreb next week and Istria a couple of weeks after that; it seems I want to explore every nook and cranny (and with the islands, there are a lot of them) of this country.


3. It seems that a lot has been happening in the DN scene in the last few months since the program. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, Digital Nomad Valley Zagreb, the Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva, Croatia performing strongly in the Nomad List 2021 survey. What changes have you noticed since arriving in Dubrovnik back in April?

That there is more hunger than ever to attract digital nomads. I was part of the Cross Border Coworking Conference in Budva, Montenegro and it was amazing to see and hear what other countries are doing to appeal to digital nomads, not just DN visas but also welcoming communities, co-living situations and co-working spaces. I was also delighted to hear about how Dubrovnik has implemented our recommendations, from opening new co-working spaces to DN-friendly accommodation.


4. Have you noticed any change in the way Croatia is talked about in the global DN groups you engage with online? In what way if yes?

I see it crop up as a recommended destination more and more. Reasons are usually amazing scenery, good value, particularly as we head towards winter, and friendly people. 


5. What would you say are the key next steps for Dubrovnik on this journey, and for Croatia as a whole

I always think this time of year is an excellent time for Croatia to be attracting DNs. so in the very short term, I would make the most of that. Accommodation is cheaper and more plentiful, there is hiking, skiing, and other outdoor pursuits to be done and the opportunity to rest and re-charge in the quietness of the winter. Beyond that, continuing to build on things DNs want and need. Good quality and value accommodation (it's great to see DNA Stay has just launched), building communities, and co-working.


6. Your favourite memory/experience from DNIR, and when do expect that Dubrovnik will see you next?

There were a few post-beer nighttime swims that were pretty awesome. And just being able to socialize with a like-minded group of people - the first time most of us had been able to do that in a sustained way for over a year. I will be back in Croatia in Spring 2022, and Dubrovnik will for sure be seeing a bit more of me!


Charlie and Sam were part of a very international and all DNIR extra virgin digital nomad team which came a creditable 5th at this year's world championship. They were joined by fellow DNIRs Alyssa from California, Rob from the Netherlands, and coach Tanja from Australia.

If you are in Split on Wednesday and want to see if Charlie really can drink that much wine, she and Sam are doing what promises to be a fun presentation about life on the road at Zinfandel. More details here


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

Sunday, 29 August 2021

Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence Picks Up 2 Awards at Conventa 2021 in Ljubljana

August 29, 2021 - 13 months after an initial meeting with the Mayor of Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic's digital nomad initiatives pick up two awards in Ljubljana at Conventa 2021. 

It is just over a year since Mato Frankovic, the Mayor of Dubrovnik, gave me 30 minutes to present some new ideas for Dubrovnik tourism at the height of the pandemic. 

Having had many such meetings over the years, I was not overly optimistic about the outcome of the meeting, beyond probably warm words of support. But some 30 minutes later, we had reached agreement to explore the digital nomad potential of Dubrovnik, and work started the next day. Was this really Croatia?


In partnership with Ana Hrnic, DIrector of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Deputy Mayor Jelka Tepsic, and Tanja Polegubic, of Saltwater Nomads, work began. A planned event three months later had to be postponed due to the pandemic, but it was replaced with Croatia's first-ever digital nomad conference, Dubrovnik for Digital Nomads. Coverage went around the world, including a mention in the Washington Post. 

The following April brought the world's first Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence project, where 10 nomads from all over the world with different backgrounds and skill sets, came to the city for 4 weeks as guest of Dubrovnik, to not only experience digital nomad life in Dubrovnik, but to co-create strategies with the city, tourist board and community to make the destination a more welcoming place for the remote work revolution.  The ten motivated guests gelled perfectly and came up with  several excellent initiatives, which the Mayor committed to implementing during the final presenation

Word of the project has spread beyond Croatia's borders, the latest example being in Ljubljana on Friday night, as the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program scooped two awards at Conventa 2021 Best Event Awards in the Slovenian capital. 


(Photos by Zoltan Nagy)

The Conventa Crossover Best Event Awards have been held annually since 2018, and follows on directly from the Conventa Events Trade Show. It brings together Event and Live Marketing leaders and awards events on their innovation, creativity, legacy, execution, results and sustainability. There are 4 categories (B2B, B2C, B2I and Crossover) plus an audience award, creativity, sustainability and best agency. The event every year brings together leading speakers, workshops and in 2021, over 300 MICE professionals.

Both Saltwater Nomads projects, Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and Dubrovnik  Digital Nomads-in-Residence made the final six in the Crossover section, along with Travelling with ICare (Italy), World of Synergy Confluence (Slovenia), 'Promotion of Entrepreneurship' by Komunikacijski Labatorij for the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, and Photomath Press Event (Croatia). Zagreb Digital Nomad Week was named the winner, with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence coming third, while DNIR took first prize in all categories for the Audience vote.

You can learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence project here

Each entrant was required to submit a project video (see above), as well as a 60-second live pitch on stage, which Tanja Polegubic performed with aplomb. Here are her some of Tanja's thoughts:

The appeal was certainly that we worked with digital nomads. Everyone is working from home, and could relate and quickly grasp that a destination would suit these needs.

I started the pitch with a strong statement - every year, millions of people come to Dubrovnik from around the world and are wowed by what they see. Most only stay about 3 days. Ron - who was one of our selected DN-I-Rs, was one of those millions. Someone like Ron never thought about staying longer. Even though he could work from anywhere…How might we work on a solution to transform his experience and get Ron - and others like him - to consider working from Dubrovnik, be it a month or a year?


 In addition to this, the human connections endure. This is an example of a transformative event - and the longterm plan which was produced will live on. Winning the audience Award meant the world- this meant, after all the presentations, this was the one the audience of event professionals - and online-  connected with the most! The feedback from people who came up to me after the pitches and online was really positive.

I am happy i did the partners and participants justice with sharing the story and impact of the Dubrovnik DNIR program.


I have to acknowledge and applaud the leadership and trust and Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the CIty of Dubrovnik  showed in us by taking on these projects. Beyond the success for the tourist boards, providing great outcomes for the city -  the broader events industry in Europe recognises this is a viable segment in tourism and the value of these programs.Winning these awards demonstrates this is a sustainable model Croatia can develop to engage this audience.

The Saltwater Nomads CEO made four trips to the awards podium in total, collecting another two awards for Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, a collaboration between Saltwater Nomads, Total Croatia News and the Zagreb Tourist Board. You can read more about that here

A successful night, as well as a pointer to how successful public/private tourism partnerships can work in Croatia to develop niche sectors. Both Dubrovnik and Zagreb responded superbly to the initiatives. 

To learn more about Dubrovnik, check out the TC Dubrovnik in a Page guide

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

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Digital Nomads Wowed by Karaka Event Ship

23 June 2021 - Dubrovnik digital nomads recently had a chance to enjoy one of the city's most breathtaking event venues - the Karaka event ship.

We covered the first-ever digital nomad in residence program that took place in Dubrovnik during May. The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program was designed by Saltwater Nomads in partnership with Total Croatia News and with plenty of help from the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board. For more about it and Zagreb digital nomad program, check out our dedicated page.

One of the highlights of the entire program in Dubrovnik was the presentation of the design thinking workshops' results. Yes, it was an important point of the entire effort, but it also took place in one of the most magical settings in Dubrovnik – Karaka. 

Magical Ship

Karaka is a beautiful replica of a 16th-century wooden merchant ship of the Dubrovnik Republic. The quality and craftsmanship involved in creating it are enough to make you stop and stare. When seeing Karaka sailing into Dubrovnik's historical port, you can't help but reach for your camera. Of course, she's not just about looks. In fact, Karaka is a top-quality event & special products ship.


The ship offers full catering and features outside decks in two levels. There are also two levels of the indoor restaurant area. Options are endless on Karaka as most spaces can be quickly converted between dining areas to presentational areas or entertainment venues. Powerful Wi-Fi, plenty of electrical outlets, and some onboard A/V equipment make life easy for event organisers. Aside from that, Karaka is a very sea-worthy vessel. With an experienced captain at the helm and a dedicated crew, no distance is too big and no port too far for Karaka.


Perfect Venue for a Variety of Events

It is very popular for product launches, small cocktail parties, gala dinners, weddings, family celebrations, and various themed events (with pirate and Game of Thrones themes being the most popular). The latest high-profile event was the product launch of Croatian electric “hypercar” – Rimac Nevera. So, it is hardly surprising Karaka has seen its share of rich and famous gracing its decks like Benicio del Torro or Mickey Rourke. But, you don’t have to be rich to come aboard. There are regular boat tours organised with Karaka as well. These amazing adventures cruising around the picture-perfect islands of the Dubrovnik archipelago are sure to leave you with lasting memories.



Weddings on the Karaka are absolutely spectacular. Dubrovnik is a renowned wedding destination. It only makes sense destination wedding organisers often choose Karaka as their preferred venue for intimate ceremonies or after-parties. Tying the knot on such an impressive vessel overlooking one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Europe is a wonderful way to start the married life.


Photo courtesy of Love and Ventures

Options abound when it comes to Karaka. Simply seeing it in the port is a treat. But, seeing the world from its wooden decks is a time-traveling experience. With a highly skilful and efficient team managing it, you will make the right choice by choosing Karaka for your next Dubrovnik business or private event. Explore more on Karaka’s official website and get full information on the options and contact details.

 For more on Digital Nomads in Croatia, click here

For those looking for travel news, follow our travel section.

Friday, 28 May 2021

Imitation & Flattery, as Benidorm Copies Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence Program

May 28, 2021 - It seems that the successful Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence Program has its admirers, as the Benidorm Tourist Board lifts the entire concept and launches it as its own. Not cool. 

I have been writing about digital nomad tourism for about 2 years now. I am far from being an expert, but the more I learn, the more I see that the letter 'C' is important.

C for Community

C for Creativity

C for Co-Creation

C for Cooperation

C for Collaboration

C for Cool thinking out of the box

But definitely NOT

C for Copying someone else's Concept and posting it as your own without any Credit

As one of the organisers of the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence Program, the first of its kind in the world, I am taking a breather after an intense month of co-creative ideas between our 10 resident nomads, the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist board, local community, and programme organisers. The final product and recommendations are outstanding, and we will be exploring them in detail in the coming weeks. The city has already committed to implementing some key findings, and the reaction to the first story on the program's findings has been really encouraging. Read more in Beyond the Walls: 4 Weeks in Dubrovnik Not Enough, Say DNIR Digital Nomads


The collaboration between the 10 nomads we chose was exceptional. Several were experts in related fields such as skilled migration and the future of work. They were attracted to Dubrovnik, which they knew was far from a polished nomad destination, by the innovative programme and dynamic concepts. None of which I can take credit for - full credit to Saltwater Nomads and their program team for coming up with the entire Digital Nomads-in-Residence concept - I was just the guy who wrote the words. 

In a post-program interview with one of the nomads who is an expert on the future of work, I asked him for his reflections on the 4 weeks. He had been attracted by the innovative program, was blown away by the quality of the delivery, the destination, and the design-thinking workshops. The concept was excellent, one that the Saltwater team could export to numerous destinations.

And then... this. 


I would not go as far as accusing the Benidorm Tourist Board of cutting and pasting the Saltwater concept in its entirety and posting is as their own. For starters, Saltwater Nomads knows how to spell 'Applications' - see above. 

But there are some striking resemblences, not only in the concept, but also the terms and conditions. Consider the following:

The Benidorm conditions:  benidorm-dubrovnik-copy_7.JPG

Eligibility for Dubrovnik 6 weeks earlier.  benidorm-dubrovnik-copy_6.JPG

A sample from the Benidorm FAQs:


Well done for managing to change the words Spain and Spanish without any spelling mistakes this time.  benidorm-dubrovnik-copy_1.JPG

etc. etc. 

My favourite, however, was the video announcing the winners:


Dubrovnik 6 weeks earlier.


Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say. Nikola Tesla, who was born not far from Dubrovnik, in the village of Smiljan in modern-day Croatia, had some thoughts on the matter in my favourite quote of his.

I don't care that they stole my idea, I care that they don't have any of their own. 

Growing up in Manchester in the 1980s, Benidorm was synonymous with the trashiest tourism for Brits. Lager Louts Central. If stealing someone else's ideas is part of the official stratgy of the local tourist board, one begins to wonder about Benidorm... 

The irony, of course, is that the whole concept of digital nomad tourism is about community and collaboration. Starting a competition based on stealing someone else's ideas is hardly the best approach, especially if you are the official tourist board. 

Not cool, Benidorm. If you wanted to Contact, Compensate or Collaborate (there goes the big C again), you can find them at Saltwater Nomads. 

Me personally? A little selfishly, I am thrilled about Benidorm stealing the concept. My job is to write about the program, as well as producing a report on its global impact. Imagine that Saltwater and TCN, in partnership with the City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Tourist Board, deliver Croatia's first-ever digital nomad conference in October 2020, and then the world's first Digital Nomad-in-Residence program in April, 2021. Only to find the concept stolen and used internationally, without credit or permission, just 6 weeks later. I will add that to the report on reach, with a little note saying that perhaps our concepts were not so crazy. 

For more on digital nomads in Croatia, check out the dedicated TCN section.  


Sunday, 23 May 2021

Closing DNiR Conference at Lazareti: Mayor Franković Announces Dubrovnik Digital Nomads Coworking Space

May 22, 2021 - As Dulist reports, the closing conference of 'The Dubrovnik digital nomad-in-residence' project was held this Saturday at Lazareti. At the closing ceremony, Dubrovnik mayor Mato Franković announced a Dubrovnik Digital Nomads coworking space.

As part of the conference, the results of four creative workshops were presented, in which, in addition to digital nomads, representatives of the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, as well as citizens, also participated. The goal of these workshops was to make joint recommendations for creating a better environment for digital nomads who will be staying in Dubrovnik. 


photo credit: Dulist

"We are pleased to conclude the first major conference of digital nomads in Dubrovnik. Digital nomads stayed in the City for a full 30 days and saw it in a different way, not only as a tourist city, but also as a city that has neighbourhoods pleasant to live in, like Mokošica, Lapad, Gruž, and Gornje Selo. They discovered a different Dubrovnik as well as our way of life. This is exactly what we wanted to achieve, to have digital nomads with this experience send a clear message to their colleagues across the world to come to Dubrovnik and stay here for a few months as a place to develop their creative ideas and contribute their practical experiences and knowledge to the Dubrovnik economy. We cannot expect our tourism of the future to rely solely on digital nomads, but I believe they will occupy one significant segment of it. At the same time, we expect some new ideas, products, and reflections of our city," said Mayor Mato Franković on this occasion, announcing that Dubrovnik will soon get a digital nomad coworking space. 


photo credit: Dulist

"We must not stop here, this is just the beginning. The future brings us coworking spaces of digital nomads, a place where all those who come to Dubrovnik will find all the information they need, a workplace where they can share ideas with all other digital nomads. They are not engaged in just one job, but in different professions and jobs. They love to travel, their work allows them to realize their ideas elsewhere. These are people who are very well paid for the jobs they do, and their company allows them to travel the world because of their creativity. That is the future we will go for. The coworking spac is the next thing we will realize," said Franković keeping the location of the space a secret for now.


                                                                                                                                                                           photo credit: Dulist


Franković emphasized that a digital nomads week, with which he would connect, was being prepared in Zagreb, but also that the goal was to connect all cities in Croatia through the project of digital nomads. (Read more about Zagreb Digital Nomad Week).

"Digital nomads are moving around and if the whole of Croatia is ready for the project of digital nomads, then the wealth of Dubrovnik in that project will be greater. If we are all open and friendly towards them, only the sky is our limit," concluded Franković.


 photo credit: Dulist

The director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Ana Hrnić, emphasized that at the very end of the project she would have concrete data on how many posts digital nomads had from Dubrovnik and what results the project obtained.

"Nomads gave their suggestions about the little things that we could improve as a destination for them. For the time being, our accommodation has been intended for shorter stays. All they have listed are things that can be easily improved. They had, for example, suggestions like providing kettles, additional hangers, and similar minor details. It doesn’t require a big investment, and it makes a big difference. We should start on a coworking space where they will all meet as soon as possible. For digital nomads, when they come on their own, it is very important for them to have a space where they will meet others, work, and exchange experiences. They showed that the involvement of the local community in every part of this project was important. We are happy that the general impression is good, everyone is happy and satisfied," said Hrnić.

digitalni-nomadi-zavrsna-konferencija-lazareti-5.jpgphoto credit: Dulist

She added that this conference was a good foundation for the further strategy of digital nomads that would be developed in Dubrovnik in the future. The concrete effects of the stay of digital nomads will be reflected in their social media posts, which will ultimately be summarized and multiplied in the following period. When asked about the financing of the stay of digital nomads and this conference, director Hrnić answered that the Tourist Board financed the fees of the companies Saltwater Nomads and Total Croatia News, in the amount of 200 thousand kuna.

Tanja Polegubić from the Saltwater Nomads company presented the results of four creative workshops, in which, in addition to digital nomads, the citizens of Dubrovnik also participated.

"The aim of the workshops was to make joint recommendations for creating a better environment for digital nomads who will stay in Dubrovnik," said Polegubić.

The owner of the Total Croatia News portal, Paul Bradbury, stated that the project is a great opportunity for changes in tourism, based on the new slogan "Croatia - your safe, authentic, lifestyle destination".

"The project is great and could stop now, but there is already great momentum and discussions on the next steps. It is very encouraging to see the CEO of Raiffeisen Bank, as well as senior representation from Hrvatski Telekom, KPMG, and the Zagreb Tourist Board here today," Bradbury said. "The future of work will look very different, and Croatia - and especially Dubrovnik - can repivot its tourism based on its three jewels of safety, authentic experiences and lifestyles. People want these things, and with the freedom of workplace, Croatia has a lot to offer. And one of the findings of this month was the Beyond the Walls concept, which we will be exploring more on TCN shortly. Rather than Dubrovnik being limited in its offer by the content of the old city, these nomads found more than enough content for a one-month 'workation'."

The president of the Digital Nomad Association of Croatia, Jan de Jong, stated that the project is developing very quickly and successfully.

"We need to build content and community, where I recognize the role of the association, which must unite and serve digital nomads. We also need to send a message of inspiration to young people who may want to leave Croatia and somehow reverse the 'brain drain' with the arrival of digital nomads," he said.


photo credit: Dulist

Dutchman Rob Schubert is one of the digital nomads who has been in Dubrovnik for the past month and is delighted with the experience he has gained. His ‘start-up’ is normally located in Estonia, but it offers him various opportunities to work as a digital nomad.

"This project was so inspiring, we broadened our horizons. At this conference, I strengthened my thinking about digital nomads. I am glad that Dubrovnik has positioned itself as a new ‘hotspot’ for digital nomads. I will recommend to my friends and colleagues to come here. The city is beautiful, I have gotten to know it and I am so sad that I have to leave tomorrow," said Schubert.


photo credit: Dulist

Let us remind you that in a joint project of the City of Dubrovnik and the Tourist Board of the City of Dubrovnik, in cooperation with Total Croatia News and Saltwater Nomads, Dubrovnik hosted ten digital nomads from different parts of the world for a month.


photo credit: Dulist

For more information about digital nomads in Croatia, visit the TC Digital Nomads in Croatia in a Page, or follow the latest in the dedicated TCN section

Friday, 21 May 2021

Checking in with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Nomad Partners

May 21, 2021 – We have been covering the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program for some time now, focusing on the digital nomads themselves. We’ve decided to catch up with the nomad partners as well and find out about their Dubrovnik experience.

The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program gathered ten digital nomads from various corners of the world. They have been working hard to give their input in an effort to create a strategic direction for Dubrovnik. This program was created by Saltwater Nomads in partnership with Total Croatia News, with crucial help from the City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Tourist Board. During the four-week-long program, design thinking workshops are used to define the perfect image of a digital nomad-friendly Dubrovnik.


With all the emphasis on what digital nomads need in a destination, it is easy to forget many of them do not travel alone. Six of the nomads in the DNiR program have their partners with them. Whether or not a destination is attractive to their partners will undoubtedly play an important role in the decision to move there. We’ve gathered our digital nomad partners and did short interviews with all of them. It was very interesting to hear their stories. Much like the digital nomads themselves, their partners are a very diverse group. Some of them are digital nomads themselves, while some are using the time in Croatia to rest and re-charge. All of them love being in Dubrovnik, but all of them also have their comments on how to improve the offer.

The Interviews

Nicki is a digital nomad as well as his partner Kaisu who is one of the digital nomads in residence. He is often seen at the Lazareti co-working space making sure he stays on top of his work while staying in Dubrovnik

" determining whether to go somewhere or not, for us it's always about: Is there something to do? Is there a community? Is there something we can learn from? Is it an inspiring place?"


Jeff is here with his wife Marlee and they are both digital nomads in the broadcasting industry. Their needs are similar, but they also want to spend quality time in a nice location when working remotely.

"...meeting the people has been the highlight. Getting to know someone other just - 'Hi, How are you? Here are the keys to your home.- We've actually gotten to know people and spend time and talk...


Mira is a student from Hungary, so she doesn’t get to work much while in Dubrovnik. She needs plenty of activities and enjoys exploring the destination she finds herself in. Emi is also from Hungary. She is a digital nomad with a job that requires specific conditions in her place of remote work.

"For me, the challenge has been getting around in the public transportation. That's an everyday challenge."

"I have different requirements than some other digital nomads. Because I teach online, so I need a quiet room. That is actually something not everybody needs."


Pete comes all the way from sunny California and is enjoying his stay in Dubrovnik. The nature of his work doesn’t allow him to work remotely. So, his main focus is on exploring the area and enjoying his stay in Croatia.

"...some of the challenges, especially when your partner is working, you are kind of just left on your own. But, luckily, Dubrovnik has great things to do. So, I've been kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, eating a whole bunch..."


Sam is a writer and a digital nomad, just like his wife Charlie. They are flexible and determined to enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle. But being a digital nomad couple often means having different requirements than when you are an individual traveller.

"...because we are a couple we like doing things independently as well. So, for the people that are here in the co-living space, you've instantly got that community together. Whereas being a couple, we obviously like a bit of our own time as well."


With all these different views and opinions, it seems catering to all of them is not an easy task. However, if you already have beautiful areas and friendly people in your community, most other items on the wish list are quite manageable. It is safe to say all of them have one thing in common. They are happy in Dubrovnik and want to be a part of the community.


Saltwater Nomads' Tanja Polegubic on Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence Program

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic on Digital Nomads, US Flights, 2021 Season

Winners announcement video:


Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.


Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Slobodna Dalmacija Features Dubrovnik's Digital Nomads-in-Residence

May 18, 2021 Slobodna Dalmacija brings a story about digital nomads from the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

“We can work four hours, have coffee and make good money”

Croatia is one of the first countries in the world to have adopted the concept of a one-year digital nomad visa.

The City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Tourist Board, in partnership with Saltwater Nomads and TCN, selected ten “official” digital nomads and gave them a rent-free month in Dubrovnik. In return, they expect useful advice on how to create a nomad-friendly atmosphere in the south of Croatia. This type of guest doesn’t crave travelling only in the summer months nor do they sit at home waiting for the pandemic to pass. The project is entitled “The Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program”.


Game of Thrones

In the world of digital nomads, Croatia is renowned as one of the cheaper European countries for a longer stay. Participants in this program are housed in private apartments, some at Akademis "Academia" as well. They admit their knowledge of Dubrovnik was more or less reduced to the city being tied to the role of King’s Landing it played in the popular TV show Game of Thrones. However, Albert Canigueral, a Spanish teacher, writer and documentary filmmaker, visited Dubrovnik back in 2003.

“The city is today pretty empty because of the pandemic. Otherwise, it is visited by numerous tourists. Almost 20 years ago, communication with the local people was much harder than today when almost everybody communicates in English.” – Albert recalls.

His career has involved extensive travel across Europe, North and South America, but this program in Dubrovnik is his first formal digital nomad experience. At the moment, he is researching the issues around the future of work, the future of employment and new technologies in society. Therefore, digital nomadism is his research matter as well. As it turns out, flexibility affects productivity in a positive way.

Paid per project

“If someone takes a walk around the City Walls and has a cup of coffee after four hours of dedicated work, and then continues after taking a break, he is bound to be more effective than someone forcefully seated for eight hours straight in an office. Working from home and flexibility in managing work hours will be a more and more common occurrence. It is not all black and white. Not everyone will be able to work like that, there are jobs that demand the physical presence of the worker and strict hours, but more and more jobs will be organised on a per-project basis with deadlines defined. Also, more and more people will be paid on a “per project” basis than on a fixed salary. Innovation and changes are happening ever faster and the companies are looking for new talent and fresh workforce not on a fixed model, but on individual projects. The metaphor for that type of work is known as a “Hollywood model”. Part of the employees of the film studio are the ones with steady jobs, but for each movie new screenwriters, actors or make-up artists are employed. Imagine every movie had the same actors! For companies, this model works well and it is up to the individual governments to ensure an effective social system and adapt to the new paradigm. Instead of working in the same position for salaries our entire lives, we need to get accustomed to a fragmented system in which the income will have its ups and downs and the social system that will accommodate this.” – says Albert

Flexibility is Key

COVID-19 Pandemic proved to even the most conservative employees how working from home or some other alternative place is not necessarily a bad thing. When asked what advice would she give to a beginner digital nomad on how to build a sustainable career, Charlie Brown considers flexibility to be the keyword. Cyberspace offers indescribable options which she had no idea about until she sold her assets, home and wine shop near London and set out on the path of the nomad. Before Dubrovnik, Charlie was already in Croatia, in Zagreb and Split. For beginners with no work, she recommends the website which is packed with offers for hundreds of thousands of work opportunities. Everything is possible, even running a radio show in Texas from Dubrovnik…

Ron Tardiff is a young scientist from the United States who studied in seven different countries, from Europe to China. He believes Dubrovnik to be a logical choice for “workcation”, a rising trend in companies that give employees the opportunity to work from whichever location they prefer for three months of the year.

“Moving for school or work, I have done so much bureaucracy and can therefore tell you it is refreshing to run across a country where you are being welcomed and barriers to entry are being lifted. Looking at it from the perspective of pre-pandemic times, the advantage of Croatia is accessibility, ferry connections to Italy and proximity of Balkan countries that are generating interest among digital nomads. It is wonderful to do some island hopping as well. I have to also admit Croatian roads are some of the best in Europe. If only the trains were equally as good.” – Ron commented

From Costa Rica to Croatia

Mr. Tardiff is in love with the idea that is being developed here and the effort in proving digital nomads can be more than just tourists. He is hopeful other cities will take on the Dubrovnik model. As a scientist, he is particularly interested in the development of the “blue economy”. Considering tourism is the second most important industry in the Mediterranean region and is taking over as the most important one, which is not always a good thing from the standpoint of environmental protection, Ron Tardiff is preoccupied with the issue of reducing the number of tourists or attracting the tourists that create a bigger value for the destination. Like digital nomads.

For the last five years, as the interest of Americans in Croatian tourist destinations grew, Texas-born Kelsey Kay Love put Croatia on her bucket list. She started her nomadic lifestyle eight years ago, travelling from Costa Rica, through Bali, New Zealand, Thailand…

“I’m attracted by situations that will get me out of my comfort zone, which is inherent in the digital nomad lifestyle. Having a stable job is a huge advantage” – Says Kelsey, a brand manaer for a luxury alcoholic beverage brand co-owned by Bruno Mars. She worked as a travel writer in the past for numerous travel websites and tour companies in Maui and Australia. Is she worried about her financial security?

“Oh yes! Luckily, I have been holding on to the same job for almost two years now, so I am pretty relaxed. One needs to be persistent, creative and willing to take an occasional risk. Do you know how to make website, write, or manage social media? There are many jobs you can do. It was easier for me in New Zealand where I had a work visa, compared to Asia. Now Croatia is offering digital nomad visas, which is great. I think one year is the right duration for the visa.” – says Kelsey.

Price of Accommodation

Ron Tardiff emphasizes nomads never spend all the money they make and they take great care that the costs of living in a country they’re residing are lower than those of the country their employer is from. This is a chance for Croatia which offers the possibilities of cheaper longer stays than many other countries. When asked about the most important considerations when choosing a destination in which to spend a month or more, our interviewees first emphasize the cost of accommodation. There are cities with a high cost for short stays, but the accommodation owners are willing to accept reasonable monthly rates. Furthermore, good internet connection ranks very high, as does affordable transportation, whether public transportation or rent-a-car, the proximity of an international airport, safety, nature, pleasant climate, and community of digital nomads or expats. They are trying to avoid overcrowded cities where tourism has a negative effect on the quality of life.

Internet Speed

Global nomad network has 210 reviews for Dubrovnik. The average city score is 3,41. Digital nomads speak highly of the speed of the internet, workplaces, quality of life, safety and education levels. Negative comments usually have to do with nightlife, air-conditioning systems and smoking in public areas. There are mentions of difficulties in forming friendships and hostility towards women and members of the LGBT community. Out of all the above, nomads we’ve interviewed jokingly comment how the rental properties are obviously geared towards the summer rentals and cooling rather than heating. Those that have already been to Croatia say the locals are very kind people and they suffered no unpleasantness. They say the scores on websites like this have no great bearing on their decisions to travel to a certain destination, but they do check all the available information before their trip. When asked what about the main advantages to Dubrovnik and Croatia, they emphasize pleasant weather and a relaxed lifestyle.

“You have the Mediterranean lifestyle, access to great beaches especially in the summer, all going in your favour. Croatians are very gracious hosts! The most beautiful side to being a nomad is not having to base yourself in one spot. Therefore, you don’t have to select living in just one Croatian city. I can spend one month in Dubrovnik, the next one in Split, or in an undiscovered continental part of the country” – says Charlie Brown.

Split is Cheaper

Ron and Albert agree. According to them, one thing that makes life easier is the fact most people speak English well. Ron objects to the location of Dubrovnik. Although he would gladly return to it, cities in central Dalmatia seem like a more sensible choice for a digital nomad’s base. Split is somewhat larger and somewhat cheaper. Seeing how Croatia is at the top of his list of countries in which to live for years now, after Budapest, that will probably be his destination of choice.

Interesting to note is their stance on medical insurance. Before the pandemic, they mainly risked and had no insurance coverage, but COVID-19 made them more cautious. Charlie Brown says she is still upset about Brexit, but still holds a medical coverage card that is valid in EU countries. In situations when that kind of solution is not possible, digital nomads are partially reliant on travel insurance which, they argue, do not work always or everywhere. With the work visa in Australia and New Zealand, Kelsey was insured as any other employee, but this is rarely this simple. After her partner contracted denga fever in Thailand and spent 48 hours in the hospital having to do MRI and similar tests, travel insurance wasn’t going to cover his expenses, so they ended up paying USD4000. They still feel they got off lightly considering the prices in their homeland. Ron remembers having to do appendicitis surgery in Greece a year ago. His German travel insurance covered the cost.

“I’m at a Gain”

“I come from the United Stated of America, the country with the most expensive healthcare in the world, so even if I had to pay for a medical service out of my own pocket here, it would be cheaper than a medical insurance policy in USA. I don’t have dental insurance. The basic one I have at the moment doesn’t cover tooth breakage, but if I went to the dentist here, it would cost me 10 to 15 times less than in the USA. So, I am at a gain. People joke about this, but it is cheaper to fly here from America, get a cocktail, have your teeth fixed and fly back, then to do it back home.” – says Ron and adds: “I am not worried about health insurance because it cannot be more expensive than back home”

When asked where they would prefer to live, Ron chooses Greece, although he notes difficult bureaucracy as the main problem for someone coming from United States. Although he went to school in Greece, he can’t be employed there. Some of the most attractive countries for nomads also have the most barriers for staying there, but this rarely deters them.

“Before this program, I was torn between going to Portugal or Croatia, and now I am one hundred percent certain about coming here. Dubrovnik surroundings are peaceful with beautiful nature, and everything is more straightforward than in Portugal.” – says Kelsey Kay Love

Saltwater Nomads' Tanja Polegubic on the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence Program

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic on Digital Nomads, US Flights, 2021 Season

Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

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

Monday, 17 May 2021

Checking In with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Kaisu Koskela Interview

May 17, 2021 – Our digital nomads are paving the way for their future colleagues in Dubrovnik as a part of the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program. We caught up with Kaisu Koskela to get her thoughts.

When it comes to being a digital nomad, Kaisu Koskela is the „real deal“. She has been embracing the life of a digital nomad since before the term existed. Originally from Finland, Kaisue feels at home anywhere she finds interesting. She holds a Ph.D. in social sciences from the University of Helsinki and an MSc in social anthropology from the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Her Ph.D. research dealt with skilled migrants, their communities, and social identities. All this makes her outstandingly qualified to take part in a project dealing with digital nomads in Dubrovnik.

DNiR Program


The Digital Nomads-in-Residence program was created by Saltwater Nomads in partnership with Total Croatia News. With both the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the City of Dubrovnik supporting it and collaborating on it, the aim of the program is to create a strategic direction for the city. Through design thinking workshops the potential future of digital nomads in Dubrovnik will be described.

Kaisu found out about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program through a friend. She applied intrigued by the prospect of contributing to such an interesting project. Today, she is one of the ten nomads in residence in Dubrovnik.

The Interview

She shared some of her thoughts with us during a short interview. It was interesting to hear her opinions on living and working in Dubrovnik as a digital nomad. Also, Kaisu was clear about her personal likes and dislikes about the experience.

„I think the challenges are to do with the tourist season being so intense and the prices hiking up in that period. Because, as a nomad, you have the whole world to choose from. You have so many locations you can go to at any one time. Personally, for me, what is most important is to have nice sunny weather, which we have here currently and through much of the year. You get to experience really nice weather here, so that's great.“

She is also happy with the colleagues in the Dubrovnik DNiR program as well as the participation of the city and the local tourist board.

„...the fact that the Dubrovnik city and tourism authorities are a part of this I think is a really encouraging sign for digital nomadism in general. So, I am very happy to be a part of the whole program.„

Check out the full interview with Kaisu Kaskela below.


Saltwater Nomads' Tanja Polegubic on Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence Programme

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic on Digital Nomads, US Flights, 2021 Season

Here is Kaisu's application video:

Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Checking in with Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence – Albert Cañigueral Interview

May 16, 2021 – We caught up with Albert Cañigueral, a digital nomad from Barcelona who is a consultant freelancer dedicated to exploring the future of work and the effects of digitization on the labour market and workplaces.

Albert Cañigueral is a man on a mission. This freelance consultant is out to learn about digital nomads by becoming one of them. He will use this knowledge later in his work that revolves around the impacts of digital technology in society, the future of work, and the collaborative economy. In his professional life, Albert is exploring the impacts of digital innovations on societies and traditional companies. He is currently working on a documentary on how the changes in the workforce and workplaces affect the cities. He is also a published author and a very interesting guy. Albert comes from Barcelona, one of the jewels of the Mediterranean.

After learning about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program, he wasted no time applying. It was clear from the start, Albert is a great match for the program dealing with issues so familiar and important to him.

DNiR Program


The Digital Nomads-in-Residence program will create a strategic direction for Dubrovnik in order to show the way for the city to adapt to digital nomads. Saltwater Nomads created the program in partnership with Total Croatia News. With collaboration from the City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Tourist Board, design thinking process workshops are organized to facilitate the co-creation model the program is based on.

The Interview

We took Albert Cañigueral away from his work for a few minutes to ask him about his impressions of Dubrovnik and working with his fellow nomads. Through a short interview, he was able to tell us a lot. His views on the city and the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program are very interesting. As one of the main advantages of being a digital nomad versus being a tourist, he emphasizes time to explore and engage with the city.

“I like the sights of the city. I came here 15 years ago, more or less, so I’ve had a more touristic perspective, and now, being here almost more than 15-20 days already, you learn more about the other parts of the city. We are in Lapad, in Akademis. We’ve been enjoying all this area which is probably not so well known for someone who comes here for just one day or one weekend. As a digital nomad, you enjoy more of the city, the diversity, other beaches, other areas… more time to explore in a more relaxed pace.”

When it comes to working within the program he is very happy with the group. The initial meeting and introductions set the correct tone from the start.

“I think the landing was super smooth. I really enjoyed… the welcoming dinner. We met and that was very important. That social part, to create a group. From very early on, I’ve spent quality time and energy on that. Because it smooths the rest of the process. “

Below is the full interview with Albert. Make sure to watch it and find out more about his views on the program and living in Dubrovnik.

Saltwater Nomads' Tanja Polegubic on Dubrovnik Digital Nomad-in-Residence Program

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic on Digital Nomads, US Flights, 2021 Season

Here is Albert's application video:

Learn more about the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence program.


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