Monday, 8 August 2022

Hvar Fire Still Burning, Man from Jelsa Dies

August 8, 2022 - The major Hvar fire continues to burn, with one man from nearby Jelsa tragically killed, reports Index.hr

The fire that broke out yesterday around 1 pm on the island of Hvar between the towns of Dol and Vrbanj has not yet been extinguished.

Ten hectares of dense pine forest have burned, and at one point houses were also threatened. One local man died while trying to save the machine from the fire. The man was from Jelsa, although his identity has not officially been made public yet. 

During the morning, new forces are expected to arrive from Split, with the help of which the fire should be brought under control today.

The commander of DVD Hvar Nikola Škare told Hina last night that the fire is not yet under control considering that it is still burning on the western side.

The fire broke out at 12:50 in the area of ​​Dol-Vrbanj on Hvar, where a dense pine forest caught fire. At one point, the fire came close to the houses, as a result of which one local tried to save the excavator, and died.

The firefighters, who at one point numbered 55 with 15 vehicles and all of them from the island, were also helped by the air force. At one point, three Canadairs and two air tractors were fighting the fire.

Fire near Dubrovnik under control, burning on Velebit
Shortly before midnight, a forest fire broke out below the town of Gornji Brgat near Dubrovnik. Members of the Public Fire Brigade Dubrovački vatrogasci and the Dubrovačka Parish DVD came to the intervention.

Despite the strong storm, the fire was brought under control after 1 hour and the peripheral parts are being repaired.

At the same time, two fires are burning on Velebit for the seventh day, on Panos hill near the settlement of Rizvanuša and near Lovinac on Mali Golić, and the danger of spreading is increasing due to occasional explosions of residual mines and a strengthening storm.

More information, photos and videos on this Hvar fire from yesterday's report.

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Large Fire on Hvar: One Person Dead Reports Croatian Media

August 7, 2022 - Two fires on Hvar have broken out - firefighters are on the scene, reports Dalmacija Danas

Update 08:00, August 8

 

Update 19:00

Fire under control, firefighters remain on duty
In the late afternoon at the fire site on Hvar, there was a Canadair planes who soaked the peripheral parts of the fire site so that there would be no major problems during the night. Two Canadairs were sent to the south, where a fire also broke out.

The guest of RTL Danas was Slavko Tucaković, fire chief, who spoke about the current situation with fires in Croatia, as well as the situation on Hvar. Tucaković expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased man.

"Unfortunately, this tragedy happened. The houses are no longer threatened. There are 55 firefighters, 15 vehicles and one Canadair on the ground. There is no further threat, the firefighters will stay all night, and help will come from Split in the morning."

Tucaković also confirmed that an investigation is underway to find out how the man died.

"We have sent the Canadairs to the area of ​​Prevlaka where there is a fire next to the border crossing. If necessary, they will be redirected to the area of ​​Slano", added Tucaković.

He also praised the local fire brigade that put out the fire in Kaštela last night.

"In a very short time, a large number of firefighters brought the fire under control. So far, we have had 6,609 fires, 100 fires have been sent to the fire brigade. With the great effort of the ground forces, but also with the help of the fire brigade, we are doing a good job. The burned areas are three times larger than last time It is a very intense and difficult season," said Tucaković.

"In the rest of the summer, there will be fires, the weather is not favorable, there is wind. It can also be a warning to all citizens not to light an open fire and if there is a fire, notify the firefighters very quickly. If there is a fire, I would ask all citizens not to go near it fire and a tragedy like this one can occur today. You should listen to the instructions of the emergency services on the ground. Especially do not fly drones, they can be fatal for our air force," said Tucaković.

(1530 update from Index.hr: -  A man died in the fire while trying to save property from the fire.

"An investigation will be conducted at the scene to determine all the facts and circumstances of the event," Jerko Kurevija from the Split-Dalmatia Police confirmed for Dalmacija Danas.)

According to unofficial information, a man who tried to save the excavator from the fire was killed, but then tragedy struck.

The portal repors that all the fire brigades are on the scene, and that three Canadair fire-fighting planes are en route to tackle the blazes from the air.

Shortly before 1:00 p.m., a fire broke near the village of Dol, and at 1:40 p.m. a fire report was received near Zastražišće. Dol is a central village, located between Jelsa and Stari Grad, while Zastrazisce is in eastern Hvar. (15:00 Update - Hvar photo journalist Jaksa Kuzmicic has sent a message saying there is no fire at Zastrazisce, only between the villages of Vrbanj and Dol).

Firefighters from DVD Jelsa, Stari Grad and Hvar Town have been dispatched to tackle both fires..

A dense pine forest is burning. There is no initial information about buildings under threat, but putting out the fires has been made more difficult by a strong tramontana wind.

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The view from Dol, taken by Norman Woollons.

We will update this article as more information comes in. 

The fire near Dol.

- At the moment, three Canadairs have arrived. The fire is being extinguished by all forces from the island, so far no call has been made for reinforcements from the mainland. We are intensively monitoring the fire through the surveillance camera system, we have no information about the direct threats to the buildings - said the county fire chief Ivan Kovačević.

The village of Vrbanj next to Dol. 

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Swimming For All: A Deer Goes for a Dip on Hvar

 August 6, 2022 - It is not just locals and tourists heading into the inviting Adriatic on these hot summer days - some beaufitul shots of a deer going for a swim close to Hvar Town yesterday. 

Come on in, the water's lovely. 

An invitation which has been taken up enthusiastically by millions of tourists and locals on Croatia's Adriatic coast this summer.  

But not just people...

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Some lovely shots taken by Nada Kordic Bezic and posted to her Facebook page yesterday, of a deer wandering down to the beach, testing the water, and then going for the plunge. 

The impromptu swim took place at Pokonji Dol beach, opposite the small lighthouse island a short distance south of Hvar Town, and the water looked inviting indeed.

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Deer and mouflon can be found on the island, particularly in the hunting grounds north of Hvar Town, on the Pelegrin Peninsula, as can wild boar.

My own personal encounter with wild boar came on the drive back from the Sucuraj ferry late one night, when a few boar came from nowhere to cross the road. One ran straight into the front of my car, twisting the metal, although I think the boar came off worst. I wanted to stop, but there were several other angry boar behind.  

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And just like this deer, wild boar can turn up in the most unlikely places, so keep your eyes peeled. 

While dolphin sightings are quite common, keep your eyes out for some more unusual creatures in the water, such as wild boar, occasionally - here they are swimming from Brac to the mainland a few years ago in the video below.

Summers on Hvar - why would you holiday anywhere else?

To learn more about Hvar Town, check out the Total Croatia Hvar in a Page guide, or click here for the latest news from Croatia's premier island. 

Thursday, 4 August 2022

The Guardian's Best European Beaches of 2022 Ranks 3 Croatian Beaches

August the 4th, 2022 - The Guardian has once again showcased its love for Croatia with a new list of the best beaches of 2022, a list on which three gorgeous Croatian beaches have found themselves.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, The British publication The Guardian has compiled yet another list of 40 of the best beaches of 2022, which included three Croatian beaches. Croatian beaches are by no means strangers to such lists compiled by various publications and portals from around the world, and this time, travel writers have singled out locations in Losinj, Peljesac and the Pakleni islands near Hvar.

When it comes to Losinj they highlighted the stunning Krivica bay, for which The Guardian writes:

“Maybe the special thing about the pebbled Krivica beach lies in the fact that you have to walk along a stone path for 30 minutes - and back again. The reward for this is clear, deep, turquoise water in the bay surrounded by pine trees, and the only company here is sailboats in a narrow channel. Losinj, a long, unusual island in Kvarner bay, is one of the most heavily scented places in Croatia, with an incredible abundance of wild plants.''

For the beautiful beach on the Peljesac peninsula, it is stated that its name is very much justified because it really is beautiful - Divna beach.

“This beautiful beach is located on the northern coast of the Peljesac peninsula. A small pebble bay surrounded by hills overgrown with pine trees. There are several shady places, and the area between the beach and the islet is great for diving,'' The Guardian writes.

The top three Croatian beaches also included the bay of Mlini, which is part of the Pakleni islands which lie just away from the shores of the Central Dalmatian island of Hvar.

“Those who visit Hvar and want a change in the environment should take a water taxi to Mlini bay on the islet of Marinkovac. The pebble beach with the smell of pines provides a wonderful relaxed atmosphere, along with [the possibility of] rental deck chairs and a beach restaurant. As is the case with all Croatian pebble beaches, scuba shoes will make things more comfortable on your feet, and the incredibly clean blue-green water sees people diving for hours,'' The Guardian's travel writers said.

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

Friday, 29 July 2022

Sunčani Hvar Hotels First in Croatia to Join UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge!

July 29, 2022 - Sunčani Hvar Hotels are the first group in Croatia to join the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge, or UNESCO's sustainable tourism program.

This program, promoted by UNESCO and Expedia, one of the leading online booking platforms, is the first of its kind created to promote sustainable tourism and heritage conservation on a global scale. Signatories implement sustainable practices in their business and encourage positive change in the travel and tourism industry.

Through this program, all Sunčani Hvar Hotels received the UNESCO "Sustainable Travel Pledge" certificate, which signifies their commitment to achieving international sustainable development goals. The aforementioned includes a whole range of activities such as supporting the local community and suppliers, energy saving through green renewable energy sources and advanced energy efficiency systems, implementing waste separation and disposal systems, implementing digital solutions for improved business processes, and minimizing the use of plastic packaging, to name a few. 

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"As a company, we are proud to be the first hotel group in Croatia to join the UNESCO sustainable tourism program. Green entrepreneurship is the future of business and is the key direction of the long-term development strategy of Sunčani Hvar. So this year, we opened an eco-hotel in the town of Hvar, Beach Bay Hvar, designed according to the principles of sustainability, which offers guests a unique, luxurious, and ecologically conscious vacation," said the President of the Management Board, Gordana Tomičić.

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Beach Bay Hvar Hotel is the first green hotel in the town of Hvar that strives to be environmentally friendly. It is located in a quiet bay in the center of Hvar town with carefully designed interior details and natural materials. One of the goals during the hotel's renovation was to achieve the hotel's energy independence, which was achieved by installing a solar power plant, the first of its kind on the island of Hvar. Through the efficient use of energy, water, and materials and by providing quality service, Beach Bay Hvar offers its visitors an environmentally conscious vacation based on natural resources.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 23 July 2022

The Rise of Quality Hotels in Hvar Town and Stari Grad

July 23, 2022 - The Four Seasons may have never opened, but that didn't affect the quality of hotels in Hvar town and Stari Grad over the last few years. 

International media has not been shy about Hvar as the hotspot of summer, but that's to no one's surprise. However, instead of praising Hvar Island as one of the best in Europe (well, it was named that again, too), a different aspect of Hvar is in the spotlight this time around, outside of the sun and sea - its hotels.

Hvar Island has seen its accommodations enhanced to another level in the last few years as the rise of quality hotels have taken the front seat - and Hvar Island is now the only Croatian island with three 5-star hotels! 

So, who is international media raving about?

A look at the quality hotels in Hvar town and Stari Grad. 

Let's kick things off with Hvar town jewel Palace Elisabeth, a 5-star heritage hotel and historic landmark that opened in 2019.

With a vibrant history that dates back to the 13th century, Palace Elisabeth was rebuilt in 1898 and renamed Spa Hotel Empress Elisabeth, after the Austrian Empress Sisi, a crucial asset to its construction. Hvar's oldest hotel and Empress Sisi inspired Sunčani Hvar's 100 million kuna investment to transform the 3-star Hotel Palace into Palace Elisabeth, the first 5-star hotel on the island. Costing nearly 300,000 euros per room, Palace Elisabeth was also one of the most significant investments in the Croatian hotel industry. With 45 rooms and suites, Palace Elisabeth offers refined luxury and timeless design and is a member of the prestigious The Leading Hotels of the World. And things have only gone up from here. 

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Suncani Hvar

Sunčani Hvar continued their investments to heighten Hvar town's hotel accommodation this year, also recognized by American business magazine Forbes

Namely, the newly refurbished 4-star Beach Bay Hvar Hotel opened earlier this month as Hvar town's first-ever sustainable hotel, located just around the bend from the busy town harbor. The hotel's renovation revamped 21 rooms with many eco-friendly features for guests to enjoy an interpretive travel experience inspired by sustainable development and care for the environment. All rooms and suites also have a sea view! 

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Suncani Hvar

Sunčani Hvar also pumped 40 million kuna into the newly renovated Riva Marina Hotel, one of the first hotels in Hvar town, which opened in 1914, or 15 years after Palace Elisabeth. Targeting guests primarily from the British and American markets who are after superior service and high-quality accommodation, Riva Marina offers 50 new unique rooms and suites and an upgraded restaurant and bar concept. And it's pretty hard to beat its iconic outdoor terrace with a view of the Hvar town's yachts and marina.

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Suncani Hvar

Conde Nast Traveller also couldn't forget to mention the family-friendly Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort as one of the best hotels in Croatia this year, another product of the Sunčani Hotels brand. 

Newcomer Moeesy Blue & Green Oasis Hotel was also applauded by Forbes as Hvar town's newest 5-star hotel just 10 minutes from the city center. With foundations dating back to 1929 (formerly known as Hotel Croatia), Moeesy has 37 rooms and four suites, pools, and a beautiful garden, spa, and Mediterranean restaurant. Its green area spans approximately 5000 sqm! 

And that's just Hvar town. 

The Daily Mail recently revealed it was smitten with Stari Grad, especially the 5-star Maslina Resort, a Relais & Chateaux hotel that opened in August 2020. Applauding its 'Mindful Luxury' philosophy which is seen at first glance as the facade 'blends seamlessly into the pine-tree-clad hillside,' Maslina Resort has revived Maslinica Bay with 50 rooms & suites and three villas, a standout spa, Michelin-recommended restaurant, beach bar and beach area where high-end hospitality is king. Conde Nast Traveller also named Maslina Resort one of the best hotels in Croatia this year, where Hvar's history as a well-known healing destination (since 1868) is reflected in its philosophy. A savvy, safe and serene choice away from the hustle and bustle of Hvar town. 

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Maslina Resort

But Maslina Resort isn't the only newcomer to Stari Grad. The Valamar [PLACES] lifestyle hotel brand launched last year with the opening of HVAR [PLACESHOTEL] by Valamar, designed for travelers seeking "freedom of choice and a vibrant Mediterranean holiday in a hotel by the sea." Taking over the former hotel Lavanda, HVAR [PLACESHOTEL] by Valamar welcomed a 53 million kuna investment to reinvent accommodation suitable for the millennial generation. Offering 179 rooms, a pool complex, bars, DJs, modern design, and smart features like cashless payment and contactless check-in, this hotel is also only 50 meters from the sea.  

And all this without the Four Seasons ever opening.

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

 

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Travel + Leisure's 20 Best Islands in Europe: Hvar and Dalmatian Islands #9

July 13, 2022 - Travel + Leisure readers choose the best islands in Europe based on fabulous food, rich history, and beautiful surroundings. Hvar and the Dalmatian Islands take #9!

Travelers are once again exploring the world with gusto, and, as always, our intrepid readers have led the way. For this edition of our annual survey, hundreds of thousands of you reflected on recent journeys and shared your thoughts on hotels, islands, outfitters, national parks, and much more. Cheers to the best readers—and finest travel experiences—on the planet! - Travel + Leisure.

The World's Best Awards survey is back, where Travel + Leisure readers rank the best travel experiences worldwide, from top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, and airlines to hotels, resorts, and more.

And in the World's Best Awards, the best islands in Europe were chosen by readers based on their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.

Ischia Island in Italy, just off the coast of Naples, took the cake this year as the #1 island in Europe. The volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea was praised for its quaint towns, natural hot springs, and standout hotels, including the 128-room grande dame Regina Isabella and the 73-room San Montano Resort & Spa. 

And while islands in Greece, Portugal, Spain, and France helped make up the top 10, it wouldn't be the 'best islands in Europe' list without mentioning Hvar and Dalmatia. 

Namely, Hvar and the Dalmatian Islands came in at #9 this year, receiving an impressive 87.60 rating by readers! 

But are we really surprised? 

Hvar is a haven in the summer where glitz and glamour meet authentic experiences. The star-studded harbor is often decked out with luxury yachts, complemented by a series of standout hotels and restaurants from the Sunčani Hvar hotel group and, notably, the best nightlife on the coast. 

Hvar and Dalmatia have been increasingly voted as go-to destinations in Europe over the years, and you may remember that Hvar was voted the #1 island in Europe in the Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards last year! 

You can find the complete list of Travel + Leisure's 20 best islands in Europe here

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

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Property of the Week: Who Wants a Place in Old Town Hvar?

July 13, 2022 - You have visited the island and fallen in love and are dreaming of a small place. Is there any Hvar property for sale?

As they say in real estate, it is all about three things - location, location, location.

I won't pretend that Hvar Town is the cheapest places in Croatia - it isn't - but it is certainly one of the most beautiful and most exclusive.  

Finding property for sale in the old town of Hvar is not all that common, but one has just come on the market from our friends at Trgostan: 

This duplex house of 120 m2 located in a quiet street just 70 meters from the waterfront, which consists of a kitchen with dining area, living room, hallway and toilet on the ground floor, and three bedrooms, hallway, bathroom and large balcony on the 1st floor, with the potential to add another floor, facing south-north, close to all amenities, ideal for a holiday home or tourism, rarely on the market.

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The island of Hvar is one of the most beautiful islands in the world and the sunniest Croatian island, displaying all the traits of the Mediterranean area – gentle climate, beautiful inlets and beaches, crystal-clear sea and vast fields of lavender, olive groves and vineyards. Inhabited since the pre-historic times, the Island of Hvar developed under various influences of Greek, Illyric, Roman, Venetian, Austro-Hungarian and Croatian culture, witnessed by the preserved buildings, fields and customs. The largest sites on the island are the ancient town of Stari Grad (Pharos), Jelsa, Vrboska, Sućuraj and the most attractive destination, Hvar Town.

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The Town of Hvar is one of the most beautiful and most exclusive tourist resorts not only in Croatia, but in the whole of Europe. The trendy destination is a perfect blend of rich architecture, top-notch culinary delights, modern hotel infrastructure and fantastic natural beauties, allowing for active enjoyment in all the town’s offerings, including the Pakleni Island archipelago, or just simple and pleasurable sipping of your drink on the town strand, enjoying the view of luxury boats moored in the port.

For more photos, information, and to book a viewing, visit the listing on the Trgostan website.

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Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Revamped Beach Bay Hvar Hotel Opens on Friday, July 8!

July 6, 2022 - Summer continues to heat up in Hvar town with the opening of the Beach Bay Hvar Hotel on Friday, July 8!

The newly refurbished 4-star Beach Bay Hvar Hotel is the latest show-stopper by Sunčani Hvar. Located in Hvar town just around the bend from the busy Hvar harbor, Beach Bay Hvar Hotel is tucked into a tranquil area by the sea for those looking for a peaceful and rejuvenating holiday on the island.

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And while its beachside location is one of the hotel’s many benefits, we'd like to argue that its redesign also takes the cake. Namely, the Beach Bay Hvar Hotel's renovation included many eco-friendly features so that guests can take part in an interpretive travel experience inspired by sustainable development and care for the environment. Better yet - all rooms and suites boast a sea view! 

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"Our mission is to provide sustainable practices so that our guests can have enriching and authentic experiences at our hotel. We encourage responsible travel and provide responsible vacations in order to achieve a negligible carbon footprint. That is why we created a concept that is perfectly aligned with the hotel's natural surroundings," announced Beach Bay Hvar Hotel before its opening on Friday. 

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It's also no surprise that Hvar is one of the sunniest islands in the Adriatic, bringing in around 2843 hours of sunshine a year, which made it easy for Beach Bay Hvar Hotel to incorporate solar power as a natural solution and the best renewable energy source into the hotel's redesign.

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"The hotel features a solar power system on the hotel, with energy-efficient equipment such as programmable thermostats and energy-efficient lighting. The focus is in its entirety on nature and sustainability. The hotel also features locally sourced ingredients and foods in order to support the local community and tailor to guests who favor locally authentic experiences," added Beach Bay Hvar Hotel. 

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Beach Bay Hvar Hotel is also running a special pre-opening deal with 10% off for the first guests at the newly renovated property this summer! Don't miss out on Beach Bay Hvar Hotel's stunning sea-view guest rooms and suites, ready to welcome guests this Friday, July 8! 

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

Sunday, 3 July 2022

NomadList 2022: Croatia #1 in Europe, Zagreb, Split, Hvar, Zadar, Dubrovnik in Top 10s

July 3, 2022 - The NomadList 2022 State of Digital Nomads report is out - and there is lots of good news for Croatia.

It is hard to imagine that a little over 2 years ago, the term 'digital nomad' was almost unheard of in Croatia. An open letter to the Prime Minister from a Dutch entrepreneur in Split asking for a digital nomad visa changed all that, setting in motion a chain of events where the term 'digitalni nomadi' is now a widely recognised term in the Croatian language by the majority of the population. 

And the nomads are coming... and liking what they see. Award-winning events such as the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads-in-Residence programme and Zagreb Digital Nomad Week have helped to put Croatia on the remote work map, and Croatia is now featuring regularly in the top places to enjoy the remote work revolution. 

Getting accurate data about how many digital nomads there are, where they travel to, and what their preferences are, has been a challenge, however, as such data is not captured by traditional data collection methods. One of the most respected sources of data, collected in real time from actual registered nomads, comes from one of the leading websites catering to the digital nomad community - NomadList. 

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Last year, NomadList released a major survey about the digital nomad lifestyle, extrapolating data from their members, and there was plenty of good news for Croatia. As TCN reported at the time, Croatia was placed second as the most liked country for nomads behind Japan, while Zagreb made it to the top 5 most-liked cities in the world (and the first in Europe).  You can read more analysis of last year's survey here.

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The NomadList 2022 survey has just been released, and there is LOTS of good news for Croatia, as well as evidence that the remote work revolution is spreading around the country. In addition to Croatia being named as the most-liked country in Europe again (and globally number 2 behind Japan), no less than five Croatian destinations make it into one of the top 10 lists in the survey - Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, and Hvar. 

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An explanation about the data for the NomadList 2022 survey from the website itself:

In this report, we try to figure out who these people are, what work do they do, and how they spend their life based on data from tens of thousands of Nomad List members. In this report, we try to figure out who these people are, what work do they do, and how they spend their life based on data from tens of thousands of Nomad List members. This page is built LIVE with data pulled straight from the database every day, so it's always up-to-date. Conclusions you can derive from this are always limited and merely indicative but possibly interesting. Nomad List is a paid membership community, which means there's a selection bias as people who do not or cannot pay are not in the dataset. On the other hand, free digital nomad communities, like on Facebook, require no commitment to join, therefore it's not clear if these people are merely aspirational or active nomads or not. On Nomad List we can confirm they are active based on their travel logs.

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You can see the full report here

I won't pretend I fully understand the criteria behind what defines attractive men and women, but I include it as it shows that other destinations such as Hvar are now being discovered. There is a real buzz about Croatia at the moment, and several destinations are now joining the remote work revolution, and I would fully expect several more Croatian destinations to be part of the 2023 survey. 

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One interesting list was that of Croatia's inclusion at number 5 in the destinations where female nomads go more than male nomads, a nod I think to the fact that Croatia is a very safe country in general, with many female travellers commenting on how safe it feels to travel around. 

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Perhaps the most satisfying find of all, however, is the rise of Zagreb, Europe's fastest-growing remote work hub in the last 5 years, and the fourth fastest in the world. With much of that growth coming last year and coinciding with the inaugural Zagreb Digital Nomad Week, it is hoped that this year's ZDNW in October will continue that trend. 

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

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