Monday, 12 September 2022

Waterfalls, Cheese and TV Shows - How Do Foreigners Recognise Croatia?

September the 12th, 2022 - Just what is it that makes Croatia so recognisable to foreign visitors? From Game of Thrones to waterfalls and Christmas events, the list is varied.

As Morski writes, the well known travel blog Travel Drafts Croatia has stated that ''Croatia is a beautiful country in the Western Balkans, which is actually a part of the former Yugoslavia... Although it is a very popular destination among newlyweds, families with children and backpack tourists, this country has recently experienced a small renaissance".

Game of Thrones

One of the most watched series ever to be produced used the Croatian city of Dubrovnik as King's Landing, the fictional capital of the seven kingdoms in the series. Because of this, among other things, word spread about how beautiful this city is. Tourists flock there to see where Cersei had her Walk of Shame, and to tour the sets of the hit series.

The blog then goes on to state that would-be visitord should know that the city is full of tourists during the hot summer months and is much easier to explore during the off-season.

Beautiful waterfalls

Krka National Park is home to the most famous waterfall in all of Croatia, known as Skradinski buk. Plitvice Lakes are also home to numerous beautiful waterfalls. Although they are not so well known individually, this is one of the ten world heritage sites located in Croatia which is under UNESCO protection and one of two natural sites under UNESCO protection.

Red tourism (so-called)

Red tourism is travel to communist, socialist or ex-communist/socialist countries, usually by people originating from non-communist/socialist countries to learn about the heritage of those forms of government. Tours of communist monuments are a great way to learn about what life was like in Yugoslavia. The blog recommends people to start with the Podgaric monument, which is one of the most striking examples of all of this form of ex-Yugoslav public art.

Even traditionally beautiful places like Dubrovnik offer opportunities for people seeking red tourism. Here, you can tour the Red History Museum, which is the first interactive museum in all of the Republic of Croatia dedicated to educating visitors about what life was like during communism.

The World Cup and football

Croatia made it all the way to the finals of the 2018 World Cup. Although they ended up losing to France, they were the pride of Europe and showed the world exactly how outstanding and passionate Croatia is when it comes to the most popular sport in the world. The blog notes that the footballing tradition in Croatia is strong, explaining how the country has actually competed in the World Cup five times as an independent nation. Croatia had its very first performance back in 1998, when it came third! Of course, before that, the Croats competed in the larger Yugoslav team.

Beautiful islands

The Greek islands may be more famous, but the Croatian Adriatic islands are just as (if not more) beautiful. From Pag to Hvar, each one is a small perfect gem located in the middle of the Adriatic Sea. One of the most popular ways to experience the Croatian islands is to go on a sailing adventure and visit the most beautiful islands in the country/ Different islands have different reputations. There are islands known for their nightlife and parties, while others are known as real family-oriented places. Others have a more romantic atmosphere.

There are over one thousand two hundred islands dotted along the Croatian mainland, and almost fifty of them are inhabited. The blog tells its readers to be sure to do their research beforehand and choose the right island (or combination of islands) to suit the type of trip they might want to take.

Ancient Roman ruins

The blog says that if its readers enjoy visiting ancient Roman ruins, then they'll absolutely love visiting Croatia. In Split, you'll very easily find the Diocletian's Palace which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Diocletian, one of the most famous Eastern Roman emperors, ruled from the year 284 to the year 305. Back during that time, his palace was built in the very heart of the City of Split (Spalato), which was his main residence. Other important historical landmarks in Split that are part of this UNESCO World Heritage List include churches from the twelfth century and palaces from the fifteenth century.

The cravat

Considered an original Croatian product, it spread throughout Europe during the seventeenth century thanks to Croatian soldiers serving in the Thirty Years' War, where it became a recognisable fashion detail. The French were among the first to adopt it, and it entered their language under the name cravate, and later also in other European languages ​​under similar names. Croatian ties, or cravats, are slightly wider than modern ties and are an extremely popular Croatian souvenir, especially in Zagreb, the country's charming capital.

Croatian honey

The Balkans is a region famous for homemade honey. While all countries in the region produce honey and claim that theirs is the best, you really don't want to miss trying it in Croatia. Or buying it as a souvenir.

Christmas markets

While many people think of Croatia as a summer destination, it is actually a fantastic place to go in the winter too! The Zagreb Christmas Market has been awarded the title of "Best European Christmas Market" for three years in a row. The people of Zagreb really turn their city into a winter wonderland, with an ice rink, amazing lights, traditional food and drink, and festive shows.

While Zagreb gets the most attention, Dubrovnik and Split also have great Christmas markets that are worth seeing, the blog adds.

Pag cheese

This hard cheese with an extremely distinctive and strong taste comes from the island of Pag and is made from sheep's milk. It is considered the most famous specialised cheese in all of Croatia, and can be found in many markets outside the country.

Lavender fields

The blog lets its readers know that the most famous lavender fields are located on the stunning Central Dalmatian island of Hvar. This island has been growing lavender for centuries, and during the months of July and August the fields become beautiful, and the air is permeated with the distinct smell of lavender.

''Croatia is an absolutely amazing country and I strongly encourage you to plan your own Croatian adventure! The top five destinations that you should not miss are Dubrovnik, Split, Plitvice Lakes, Zagreb and the island of Hvar. However, Rijeka is currently famous for its role as the European capital of culture, so you should put it on your itinerary for Croatia,'' Travel Drafts tells its readers.

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

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Game of Thrones-Related Tourism Brings €180m to Croatia

ZAGREB, 2 Dec 2021 - Film tourism related to the mega-popular HBO series "Game of Thrones", the filming of which began in Dubrovnik and elsewhere in Dalmatia ten years ago, brought into the Croatian economy a total of €180.7 million between 2013 and 2018, or €30.1 million annually. 

The figures were published in an article in the scientific journal Oeconomica Jadertina, issued by the University of Zadar. The article was written by Martin Vukašin and Josip Miočić from Zadar and Mirela Brechelmacher from Slavonski Brod.

The filming of the popular television series spawned a new type of tourism service, including trips to filming locations such as the Walls of Dubrovnik, the Palace of Diocletian in Split, the Klis Fortress, and the Krka falls in Krka National Park. Some travel agencies offer routes where particular Game of Thrones episodes was shot, the article says.

The BuzzFeed website, which has more than 80 million visits a month, has included Dubrovnik among the 18 most popular film tourism destinations.

The fourth season of the Game of Thrones series attracted a record 18.4 million viewers per episode.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Game of Thrones Prequel - House of the Dragon - to be Filmed in Croatia

May 5, 2021 - Game of Thrones is returning through a prequel series House of the Dragon which will feature locations in Croatia.

Game of Thrones is returning! After cancelling the plans to shoot a prequel series starring Naomi Watts in 2019, HBO seemed to be putting their incredibly popular franchise to bed. However, things changed at the end of April as the company confirmed the start of production for a different prequel series based on George R. R. Martin's book „Fire & Blood“. The book focuses mainly on the story of the Targaryen Family. The plot follows them up until the civil war known as the „Dance of the Dragons“, set 300 years before the events of HBO's Game of Thrones.

House of the Dragon will feature a fittingly solid cast. Paddy Considine of The Outsider and Peaky Blinders fame will play the role of King Viserys. Matt Smith (Doctor Who, The Crown) plays Prince Daemon Targaryen. Olivia Cooke (Bates Motel, Ready Player One) will fill the role of Alicent Hightower. Emma D’Arcy (Truth Seekers, Misbehaviour) will play Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen. HBO will produce one season featuring ten episodes.

Positive Effects of Game of Thrones are still felt in Croatia

The. exciting news doesn't stop there. The British edition of GQ reports locations in Croatia and Morocco are going to be used for filming. Original series found numerous locations along the coast of Croatia perfect for depicting the fantasy world of Westeros. Croatian cities like Dubrovnik, Split, and Sibenik helped create a unique look and feel of some of the key places in the story. It is hard to find a Game of Thrones fan who doesn’t associate the city of King’s Landing with the medieval architecture of Dubrovnik’s historical centre. So, it will be very interesting to see which exact locations the production will choose and how they will shape the look of the new series.

Local tourism sectors in Dubrovnik and Split enjoyed quite a dramatic positive effect caused by the worldwide Game of Thrones craze. Themed filming locations tours are still some of the most requested by travellers to Dubrovnik. The show also created a ripple effect that saw these Croatian destinations become more recognised globally than ever before. Real effects are as significant as they are immeasurable. It stands to reason the news about the return of Croatian tourism’s favourite TV series is an exciting one.

With all said and done, it seems the fans of the original show have something to look forward to, as do local tourism boards in Croatia and Morocco. The rest of us are hoping the new series will live up to the reputation of its over-hyped big brother.

For more information about Game of Thrones filming locations, tours, and activities in Croatia be sure to visit this page on our newly launched Total Croatia portal.

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

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Free Game Of Thrones Tour in Dubrovnik this Weekend!

April 15, 2021 - The Dubrovnik Tourist Board is marking the 10th anniversary of the broadcast of the first Game of Thrones episode with a special gift for all fans of the series this weekend - a free Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik, in both Croatian and English!

Turizmoteka reports, Dubrovnik hosted the filming of GOT, the most-watched HBO series ever from 2011 to 2018, from the 2nd to the 8th season. A series that has become a worldwide television phenomenon, based on George R.R. Martina's novel, won numerous accolades, including 59 Emmy Awards, was first aired on April 17, 2011, and was watched by about 13 million people worldwide.

In the series, Dubrovnik represented the capital of seven kingdoms, King’s Landing, one of the most important locations in the series. The scenes filmed in King's Landing brought invaluable worldwide promotion to both Dubrovnik and Croatia. The well-known attractive views of Dubrovnik have been recognized around the world, both by fans of the series and by numerous foreign media who have written about the beauties of Dubrovnik.

Numerous promotional activities, carried out by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, related to the Game of Thrones series, have marked the past decade. The most popular was the Game of Thrones city map with marked filming locations through which many fans could tour the filming locations on their own and as part of several themed GOT tours accompanied by a guide.

The Dubrovnik Tourist Board hosted numerous foreign journalists, and TV crews who reported exclusively on GOT organized numerous presentations on the same topic in emitting markets. The iron throne used to film the series was briefly borrowed to promote Dubrovnik. For several study trips of foreign journalists, a unique thematic GOT menu was designed with the dishes mentioned in the series to imagine and taste that they are in King’s Landing. In cooperation with HBO, CNTB, and the City of Dubrovnik, the Tourist Board of the City of Dubrovnik organized the premiere of the last episode of the 8th season of 2019 in the Revelin Fortress in Dubrovnik.

On that occasion, the CNTB and the Tourist Board of the City of Dubrovnik organized a prize competition in 14 European countries. Hence, the lucky winners had the opportunity to attend the premiere and visit the locations of the filming of their favorite series. 

In the past ten years, Dubrovnik has established itself as an attractive location for filming, to which the Game of Thrones series has undoubtedly contributed. Themed GOT tours will be held on Saturday, April 17, starting at 10 a.m., in front of TIC Pile. Due to epidemiological measures, the number of participants is limited, so it is necessary to confirm arrival by Friday, April 16, until 17:00, by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone number: +38520312011.

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


Thursday, 10 September 2020

Diana Rigg Star of Game Of Thrones Has Died Aged 82

Thursday, 10 September 2020 - Diana Rigg star of Game Of Thrones has died aged 82 “I loved that location,” she said of filming the series in Dubrovnik and Gradac Park, “it was absolutely beautiful.”

Dame Diana Rigg, famous to younger generations for playing Olenna Tyrell in Game Of Thrones, has died aged 82. The star spent time in Croatia, filming the Purple Wedding in Gradac Park, Dubrovnik. “I loved that location,” she said of Dubrovnik and Gradac, “it was absolutely beautiful.”

“I love locations, I love traveling,” Rigg told one journalist after the filming had ended. “Locations, for the most part, have always been interesting. To begin with, it was Croatia, and that was wonderful because I’d never been to Croatia, and on my days off I’d do some exploring.”

Diana Rigg star of Game Of Thrones, pictured in 1973

Born in 1938, to older generations Rigg was well known for playing Emma Peel in the hit TV series The Avengers between 1965 and 1968. In 1969 she played Countess Teresa di Vicenzo, wife of James Bond, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Rigg joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1959, just after the start of her career. She made her Broadway debut in 1971, won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for the BBC miniseries Mother Love in 1989, and an Emmy Award for her role as Mrs. Danvers in an adaptation of Rebecca in 1997. For her title role in Medea, she won the 1994 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. She was made a CBE in 1988 and a Dame in 1994 for services to drama.

Despite achieving much in her career, she is said to have been pleasantly surprised to have become known as Diana Rigg star of Game Of Thrones, so late in life. She played the role of Olenna Tyrell in the series for four years, between 2013 and 2017.

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Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Luxury Game Of Thrones Cruises Still On For August

June 10, 2020 — A luxury cruise set to tour Game of Thrones filming locations in Croatia was postponed to August, with a few changes nodding to life with the coronavirus.

The cellars where Daenerys Targaryen keeps her dragons are actually the walls of Diocletian's Palace in Split. The ancient city of Mereen where that ruler freed slaves is Klis, and the iconic scene in which Khaleesi bathes her Missandechi was filmed in the village of Žrnovica.

This is only a small part of the history of the "Game of Thrones" written in Croatia, which was to become one of the backbones of our film tourism. Foreigners were among the first to recognize this, in the Cruise Croatia agency, with offices in London, San Francisco and Split.

Last year, more than 30,000 people applied for their contest in which the prize was a luxury themed "Game of Thrones" cruise on the route Split - Dubrovnik. 

If it weren't for the coronavirus, the first ship would have set sail now. Cruise Croatia didn't give up on the plan, so the first, and probably the only luxury cruiser, will set off on GOT in mid-August, according to Jutarnji List.

“Last year, the last season of that globally popular series ended, so it seemed to us that it was an ideal opportunity to launch this cruise on one of our smaller ships. We made a prize game that got a lot of world media attention. We managed to fill four ships,” Graham Carter, director of Cruise Croatia, told the paper, adding that the ship that sails these tours has a capacity of 38 people.

Luxury cruise prices range from about €1,800 per person, depending on the boat you choose. However, the coronavirus disrupted the agency's plans, which is why part of the tour was postponed to next year.

“There was a plan for the first two tours to go in June and early July, but we switched them to 2021,” Carter said. “However, we have an appointment in mid-August and we are not giving up on it for now.”

The seven-day journey begins in Split, where after boarding the ship, a tour of Diocletian's Palace follows. The first day includes visits to Klis and Žrnovica, then returns to the boat to hang out with other fans of "Game of Thrones". The next day includes Šibenik, and the third day Vis.

The tour then hits Hvar, Korcula, Mljet and then to Slano. Trsteno Arboretrum is toured as the backdrop of the "palace garden" in Kings Landing, and as the crown of the trip and the final destination is going to Dubrovnik, also known as Kings Landing to the show’s fans. Visitors can expect a detailed tour and a special GoT party.

“It will all culminate just by circling around Lokrum at sunset on one of the traditional ships used to film the series. After that, we take the guests to a secret building, where a themed party will take place,” Carter said

Most of the cruise’s guests come from the US, UK and Canada.

This seven-night cruise takes place on the MS Adriatic Sun Ship, just under 50 meters long with 19 guest cabins. The fact that it is a boutique cruise with a small number of guests is in favor of this agency when it comes to the current situation with the coronavirus.

The staff has been on board all summer, and that the islands that are visited have mostly gone through a corona crisis without a single case of an infected person.

For added safety, common areas on board will be disinfected every half hour to hour, guests will have their temperatures measured, and the crew will include medical staff.

The price of the cruise includes tickets for all the attractions that are visited and even transportation from the airport to the boat. The bar offers unlimited water, tea and coffee, fresh fruit and breakfast, and breakfast is served daily.

The on-board menu is a combination of Croatian and Mediterranean cuisine, including sea bass and lamb, but also Croatian dishes such as pasticada, buzara or soparnik.

The director explained the strategy related to themed cruises. Cruise Croatia includes a wine, yoga and bike cruise.

“The most popular times for cruising on small boats in Croatia are June, early July and September,” Carter said. “During these months, our regular tours on the route Split - Dubrovnik usually sell out. May, August and October are a bit less popular, which is why we are launching specialized cruises in these months, which clients come to because it is a special experience.”

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Lessons from the Private Sector: Viral Game of Thrones Promotion of Croatia

May 30, 2019 - Game of Thrones promotion of Croatia - the public versus the private sector. An update from Unforgettable Croatia on THAT competition offer.

It was possibly the most anticipated event in television series history - the opening of Season 8 of the wildly popular HBO show, Game of Thrones. 

All over the globe, major international brands teamed up with HBO to produce GoT-themed variations of their popular products. Brands such as Johnnie Walker.

One of the main locations for Game of Thrones, of course, is Croatia, and Dubrovnik. As a global marketing opportunity for Croatian tourism, this was hard to beat (well, perhaps last year's World Cup in Russia, another gift for tourism promotion). 

And one company not only saw the opportunity but took full advantage. There was only one story at the launch of Series 8 that people were talking about with regard to Croatia - the genius competition offered by UK-based Unforgettable Croatia, which promised a luxury 7-day holiday in Croatia for the lucky winner who correctly guessed the ending of the show

The offer went viral, and it was EVERYWHERE in my Facebook feed and elsewhere. Just how viral I learned from Graham Chapman, co-founder of Unforgettable Croatia, who was kind enough to respond as follows to my query to the agency Facebook page:

The idea for our Unforgettable Croatia ‘Guess-the-Ending’ Competition came from our fantastic marketing and creative team. The competition was open from 14 April to 5 May, just before the final episode was aired. The reason we got so much great coverage was down to the creativity of the idea, the timely advantage of the final series and that we were willing to give a fantastic prize that was worth around $5k.The idea for our Unforgettable Croatia ‘Guess-the-Ending’ Competition came from our fantastic marketing and creative team. The competition was open from 14 April to 5 May, just before the final episode was aired. The reason we got so much great coverage was down to the creativity of the idea, the timely advantage of the final series and that we were willing to give a fantastic prize that was worth around $5k.

The result of this campaign has meant that we've been aired throughout US television including Fox News and NBC News. We've also been incredibly fortunate to have over 300 magazines and news outlets worldwide feature the story. The most prominent ones being Cosmopolitan, Condenast, the Independent, Elle Magazine, Travel & Leisure Magazine, Yahoo, MSN and Thrillist. 

During the period in which we ran the competition, we had 98,200 unique visitors to our Game of Thrones competition page and 14,487 applications which was an incredible response. It's taken us a bit of time to choose the winner due to the overwhelming response. We have chosen a winner and they have been notified, though we are just waiting for them to respond. We plan to share pictures of their trip on our social media channels once completed.

Croatia has been truly blessed to host so much of the Game of Thrones filming in Split and Dubrovnik. This and Croatia's World Cup success has significantly raised the profile of Croatia, particularly in the US and Canada. I don't think we can underestimate the number of visitors and revenue this hit series has brought to Croatia, especially Dubrovnik in recent years. I hope the Croatian Government does more to promote itself as a destination for future filming projects.

On a side note, as someone who brings in a long of visitors to Croatia every year, I've been following your articles on the difference between infrastructure investment and planning in Croatia versus Montenegro. I too find it incredibly frustrating the amount of red tape and everything else that still goes on. We are about to launch Unforgettable Greece and so I have been spending quite a bit of time visiting new hotel partners in Greece. It is simply staggering how far ahead Greece are compared to Croatia with the number and standard of 5-star hotels there. I would love to defend Croatia and insist that it is still an emerging country, but I fear this would be the same excuse 10 years from now and we will still be waiting for the Four Seasons in Hvar to open.....

A great return for $5k. By contrast, this massive global marketing opportunity was met with complete silence on the Facebook page of the Croatian National Tourist Board, something which I could not quite understand and have written about recently

I contacted the Croatian National Tourist Board for an explanation as well as other questions related to using Game of Thrones to promote Croatia, a show which has been filming here since 2011. They were kind enough to answer and I am just waiting for clarification on certain points before writing a bigger piece on Croatia's official approach to Game of Thrones tourism, but here is the explanation from the Croatian National Tourist Board as to why there was no promotion of the season opening:

Our strategy was to be more focused on the last episode since we were in the process of finalizing activities related. We have established cooperation with HBO Adria focused on the exclusive screening of Game of Thrones finale in Dubrovnik, which happened on May 20th. Cooperation also covers activities across 14 countries where HBO Europe operates (Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Spain and Portugal). In each of these countries Game of Thrones fans had the chance to compete and win an exclusive trip to Dubrovnik, including the attendance at the series finale screening.

I don't have any details of the cost and effectiveness of the official campaign, but I will ask. 

To learn more about Game of Thrones in Croatia, check out the Total Croatia guide

Monday, 20 May 2019

Life as a Game of Thrones Tour Guide in Kings Landing, Dubrovnik

May 20, 2019 - An early start for TCN's Ivana Sepak this morning, as she attended the exclusive screening of the final Game of Thrones episode in Dubrovnik. I caught up with Ivana over the weekend to learn more about being a GoT guide. 

End of an Era

Is it possible? After 8 seasons and 8 years of being present on TV, Game of Thrones is becoming a part of history. The plot thickened, at the time of writing these lines, we still do not know who the conqueror of the elusive Iron Throne will be, who’ll become the ruler of the 7 kingdoms. So far Martin, Benioff and Weiss did their best in surprising us, we don’t doubt the same will be now. I am very proud Dubrovnik was a part of this story and our medieval town was in fact the capital city – King’s Landing, making us recognized around the world by having HBO airing the tv show in more than 170 countries! No advertising budget can ever top this!


1. A new season of Game of Thrones is about to finish with airing for good. Obviously as a fan you are excited. How much does Dubrovnik feature in this series?

Well, it’s a sad moment when one comes to realize GoT is over. I am curious about the spin-offs, but from what I’ve read so far, none of the surviving cast shall be rehired. Will any of the spin-offs supersede the original? I highly doubt it. Anyways, HBO is always unpredictable and until the end it was uncertain just how much of Dubrovnik would be in the show. We saw a little bit of Dubrovnik in the 1st episode, then a bit more in episode 4, a whole lot in episode 5 and we have to see in the final episode where the plot shall resolve, in King’s Landing or elsewhere. Of course, I am cheering for Dubrovnik, that the final scene includes our magnificent city, that will be the most memorable scene viewers will take away from the show. I am also waiting to see if any scenes from last year’s shooting in Dubrovnik will find their way to the last episode, but if it’s to judge by episode 5, Dubrovnik’s filming was a decoy for fans. Well done HBO, you fooled us! I’ll be watching the finale on Monday, early in the morning, probably before anyone else in Croatia, just to avoid the spoilers. Can’t wait to see how it’ll end!

2. You have been around when the GoT stars are filming. Can you explain a little what that was like?

filming-game-of-thrones-duborvnik (2).jpg

If you recall, I sent photos from the set 4 years ago when I was lucky enough to witness up close, with my guests, filming of a random scene on a random October day in 2015. It was Thursday and it was a national holiday; I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was even able to see some of the cast from up close that time, Lena Heady and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson. What appeared as a very complex scene when I was watching it behind the scenes, live, turned out to be a section that went on for roughly a minute in the big screen.

Many questions started bothering me – why on Earth would you come to a location that could have been easily featured in any global studio, less remote to HBO than Dubrovnik? The filming started early in the morning, the weather wasn’t the brightest, you should have seen the amount of logistics and sacrifice from the production for that small act. The production didn’t bother closing the set like they did, for instance, for the Walk of Shame, which immediately told us the scene is not that big or ground-breaking.

Nevertheless, it was very exciting. Later on I realized, what if HBO decides to cut out that scene and it never survives the final cut?! I’d turn out as a big fat liar :D :D :D luckily, the scene made it to season 6, episode 1.

3. Lots has been written about 'the Game of Thrones effect' on tourism in Dubrovnik, when in reality, those numbers are small compared to cruise tourism to the city - can you tell us a little about how it looks from your perspective?

We have to lessen the animosity towards cruise ship guests. It’s not their fault our city’s infrastructure is obsolete. Us locals get very agitated when we see hoards of those guests get on our public transportation, not knowing that you can enter the buses only at the front entrance. Everywhere else in the world you enter at all entrances, and for 90% of those guests it’s the first time in Dubrovnik. How should those guests know the local public transportation etiquette - by osmosis? No one made it clear to them in any way and that should be the job of our local tourist board, in my opinion. There’s a lot of place for improvement in all fields for enabling our guests’ better experiences while they’re in Dubrovnik. We’re still waiting to see if the cruise ships schedules shall remain as dense as they were in previous years. One thing is certain – the popularity of the city is growing, we’ll get this year more guests than ever, my guess is we’ll have 2 million single visitors. We’ll see in December how right I was.


4. What are the most common expectations and requests from GoT tourists, and what advice do you have for them to prepare for their tour?

Those guests are usually relaxed by default and they don’t have any requests. I believe their biggest expectation is to have fun and that we most certainly deliver. Our Game of Thrones tours take guests to some locations which require walking up a lot of stairs; we go slowly, but if any of the guests had some surgery or if they’re on crutches, it’d be good to let me know beforehand. It may sound silly, but even if you hadn’t seen a single GoT episode, you’ll enjoy the tour very much because we go to the best sites in Dubrovnik, locations that have a phenomenal view, so take the plunge and let’s explore the locations together. A general GoT tour lasts for about 2 hours. 

5. While GoT has undoubtedly raised the profile of this already famous city, some say that such a show cheapens the heritage of this historic city. What are your thoughts?

Show a glass that’s half full to 10 people, ask them what they see, and you’ll most likely get 10 different responses. I am certain plenty of locals are not very happy with our city getting recognized as King’s Landing, but we must use it as our advantage. We were the capital city of an imaginary kingdom in a tv show that was aired in almost every country on the planet. I have guests telling me when they were watching certain scenes they were wondering if there was a place on this planet that beautiful and imagine their shock when they learn just how real filming locations around Dubrovnik are. Us locals take the beauty of our city for granted. Even if we’re not happy with this fake history being set in our actual and proud historical town, let’s display our hospitality, great cuisine and beautiful locations to guests and let’s get them acquainted with Dubrovnik beyond the King’s Landing frame.


6. Interest in Dubrovnik obviously increases when the episodes are shown - how is that reflected in your business in terms of traffic and enquiries?

Well, last year HBO took a break in airing Game of Thrones episodes and we had a lot of guests wanting to do the GoT tour regardless. This year, of course, the demand is on the rise, which was expected. The biggest difference from, let’s say, last year to this would be the guests are more acquainted with the plot and the details.

7. Top 5 highlights of a GoT tour in Dubrovnik?

a) The best views and best locations in Dubrovnik are featured on this tour

b) Light topics – if you like present times and you’re not much of a history fan, this is the best tour for you; still, you’ll hear a little bit about Dubrovnik because the city’s history is truly remarkable, and we hope you’ll take a historical tour as well to get the full story 

c) Moderate exercise – I know you spend too much time sitting behind the computer at your office, taking this tour is an ideal way to explore beautiful sites and get a little bit of a workout 

d) Even if you’re not a fan, you can join the tour – not knowing about Game of Thrones is impossible if you have internet and watch TV. Without seeing a single episode, you can find a lot of relatable scenes and characters to memes and pop-culture. A big bonus is seeing phenomenal locations which wouldn’t be on a regular historical tour route. Walk of Shame, anyone?

e) If you’re a fan, this tour is a dream come true. You’ll see where Joffrey was poisoned, where Sansa and Littlefinger were plotting, Cersei’s walk of atonement and many many more. A lot of the scenes remain concealed to guests exploring King’s Landing sites on their own, which is why taking a tour is mandatory for you to cover all scenes taken in Dubrovnik. As well, at the end of the tour, we take you to the Iron Throne, for you to rule King’s Landing in a righteous manner for a day, unlike the disastrous previous kings and queens. You can sit on the throne and take photos.

8. Do you think Croatia is maximising its Game of Thrones tourism potential in the way that New Zealand did with Lord of the Rings?

I don’t know how popular GoT tours in other Croatian cities are where the series was filmed, but I can say Dubrovnik is definitely utilizing GoT potential to the maximum; still, with all our effort, we’re nowhere near New Zealand. For instance, if there wasn’t for a guest asking me about a restaurant in the old town that was recommended to him by his friend who visited Dubrovnik 2 years ago and ate a Game of Thrones menu, I would have no idea such a thing existed. I inspected, called the restaurant and the manager explained to me the menu was not popular amongst the guests at all so the owner decided this year to not offer it anymore. Was the menu not popular because nobody knew of it, because the restaurant did not advertise it, or because the food selection was not good? It’ll remain a mystery. Also, we must wait and see for how much longer shall the GoT hype go on.

9. And finally, TCN would not be talking to you if you were not the best - what makes your tours so special compared to the rest?

My tours are led by the best guides available in Dubrovnik. My team is young, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and witty.

Regardless of how big the group of guests attending the tour is (and we like to keep our groups small), we always dedicate attention and time to each individual. We make sure we give excellent service from the very first contact until the guest’s departure from our city. We also care about your opinion and you can see on Trip Advisor what everyone else said of us so far. I hope you’ll join me in walking the King Landing’s streets!

You can learn more about Ivana's tours on Dubrovnik Private Tours.

To learn more about Game of Thrones in Croatia, check the Total Croatia guide.  


Monday, 20 May 2019

Game of Thrones Croatia: Final Episode Screening Live from Kings Landing

May 20, 2019 - The day has finally come, the final episode of Game of Thrones. TCN is in Kings Landing for an exclusive screening in Dubrovnik. 

Is it possible? After 8 seasons and 8 years of being present on TV, Game of Thrones is being consigned to history. The plot has thickened, at the time of writing these lines, we still do not know who will be the conqueror of the elusive Iron Throne, and who will become the ruler of the 7 kingdoms. Is it possible? After 8 seasons and 8 years of being present on TV, Game of Thrones is being consigned to history. The plot has thickened, at the time of writing these lines, we still do not know who will be the conqueror of the elusive Iron Throne, and who will become the ruler of the 7 kingdoms. 

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A special screening of the final episode has been organised in the heart of King's Landing itself, Dubrovnik, with media and bloggers invited to witness the final moments of one of the most successful shows in television history, and one which was an incredible free marketing tool for Croatian tourism. Also attending are winners of a contest organised by HBO Adria and the Croatian National Tourist Board. 


TCN did not receive an invite, but we managed to sneak in anyway... You can't really be a top GoT guide and miss out on an event like this, and we are grateful to TCN occasional Dubrovnik, Ivana Sepak from Dubrovnik Private Tours, for getting hold of one of those sought-after tickets and making such an early start. A truly dedicated GoT tour guide, and we have a great interview with Ivana coming soon, where she talks of the realities of being a GoT guide in Dubrovnik.

Some pictures from the screening of the final episode at Revelin. 

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Now that you have seen the show, where to find information about Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik in particular, and Croatia in general.


The Dubrovnik Tourist Board, perhaps?

Well, not quite. After several years of the existence of its alter ego, Kings Landing, it was something of a surprise to learn that there is no GoT section on the Dubrovnik Tourist Board website. Not only that, but when you search for Game of Thrones in the search box, this is what you get. A blank page linking back to the home page. 


Never fear, the Croatian National Tourist Board will surely be full of life with GoT information. The HBO series has been filming in Croatia for no less than 8 years after all. 

Hmmm. Again no dedicated section, unlike the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (see below). At least the Croatian National Tourist Board search box did not take you to a blank page, but I am not quite sure what information about a fruit fair in Zagorje has to do with Game of Thrones, but I have written to the tourist board to find out. 


So with no official information on this major tourism driver, we humbly offer our own Total Croatia Game of Thrones in a Page guide

And if you are looking for a great GoT tour guide in Dubrovnik, check out Ivana and Dubrovnik Private Tours

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Stephen King's 'The Dark Tower' TV Series Filming in Split

Have you noticed a film set coming to life at the Golden Gate entrance to Diocletian's Palace in Split? Here's why.

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