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.


Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches

What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik

What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage

What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals

What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage

What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football

What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for


Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb

What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil

What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here

What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine

What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce

Drniš prsut
is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here


What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.


What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.


What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.


What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation

What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor

What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia

What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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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?

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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. 

game-of-thrones-dubrovnik (2).jpg

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.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Studio from Zagreb Updates Official Game of Thrones App

Filming locations are not the only connection between the Game of Thrones and Croatia. The global television sensation, which is currently broadcasting its eighth and final season, has another Croatian “touch” – the Five agency from Zagreb is the author of the latest update of the official app accompanying the TV series, entitled A World of Ice and Fire - A Game of Thrones App, reports on April 22, 2019.

The update was developed for one of the world's largest publishing houses, Penguin Random House. The Five agency has been working together with the publisher for years, and the update has been offered on the internet, at AppStore and GooglePlay, a few days before the start of the latest TV season.

The app is free, and for the first time, the latest version of the app is also available in Croatia, which has caused considerable joy among the fans.

“We only started working on the app a few months before the broadcast, but we have made a lot of improvements and created a much better user experience, a brand new user interface, with an added support for tablets and new devices, and added more than a hundred optimizations and upgrades,” said Perica Levatić, a project manager in the agency which has an office in New York as well.

The latest upgrade of the official Games of Thrones app has been selected as the best app update by AppStore, which gave an additional boost to the Five team, since they are, of course, great GoT fans.

They have also made the job easier for Penguin Random House to manage the app in the future. “It will now be a lot easier to add new content through the new Content Management System (CMS). It is easier to manage content from the books, and the app lets you explore all GoT's worlds through interactive maps,” said the Five agency.

Translated from (reported by Sergej Novosel Vučković).

More news about links between Croatia and the Game of Thrones can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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