Sunday, 13 February 2022

Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort Features in ABC's The Bachelor

February 13, 2022 - Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort is a proud participant in an upcoming episode of ABC’s “The Bachelor.”

The episode will feature the picturesque Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort property as the home for the week for the newest Bachelor, Clayton Echard, and the lucky ladies vying for his heart. This episode of “The Bachelor,” currently in its 26th season, is scheduled to air Monday, February 14, at 19:00 (CST).

The Bachelor on ABC

On ABC’s hit primetime reality series “The Bachelor,” one lucky man is offered the chance to find true love. A single and eligible bachelor embarks on a romantic journey, getting to know a number of beautiful women, gradually narrowing the field as he continues his search for his soul mate. At the end of this romantic voyage, if he has found the one, will there be a proposal — and will she say yes? “The Bachelor” is produced by Next Entertainment and Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Warner Horizon.

 

Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort

The Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort is idyllically located in a private bay, featuring an exquisite cascading pool area with mini-islets throughout, a restaurant, and a swim-up bar. It offers a wide range of activities suitable for couples, families, and groups. The communal areas are spacious and open-plan, and rooms are light and airy, with lots of glazing and contemporary décor. The penthouse suites are located on Amfora’s top floor for maximum privacy, with floor-to-ceiling windows and open spaces bathed in bright natural light with indoor and outdoor dining facilities. The surrounding area is embellished by various lush greenery, with a stunning pebble beach located just steps away from the hotel’s entrance. Hvar city is located just a short walk away along the stunning promenade. Amfora is the perfect place to enjoy your holiday with the most beautiful wrap-around view of the bay and Paklinski Islands. You can learn more about Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort here.

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Suncani Hvar

The island of Hvar has always been a desirable filming location and is a great place to shoot movies and series. In the past few years, film tourism has become a new travel trend for many tourists who want to take pictures or visit the locations of their favorite movies or series. However, the island of Hvar was recognized as a desirable filming location some fifty years ago, when the feature film The Deep was filmed by famous American director Orson Welles. Another movie that was filmed was The Odyssey, about the famous underwater explorer, Jacques Cousteau. Much of the filming took place in the town of Hvar, Jelsa, Stari Grad, and the Paklinski Islands. Moreover, a few years ago, an advertisement for Jean Paul Gaultier was shot on Hvar, which featured beautiful scenes from the pebble beach Dubovica and the popular Hvar promenade in the center of Hvar. 

The American reality show WAGS Miami - wives and girlfriends of high-profile sportsmen was also filmed on Hvar. Filming took place all over the island and in hotels Amfora and Adriana. The show was aired on E! Entertainment, part of NBCU Universal. In addition, the British reality show Made in Chelsea was also shot on Hvar, which included various island locations. This served as an excellent advertisement that attracted young Britons to this desirable destination. Most recently, the popular NetFlix culinary series Somebody Feed Phil was filmed in September last year. The filming took place at hotel Palace Elisabeth and in the town of Hvar. 

Find more information on “The Bachelor” here.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Jelsa Tackles Light Pollution in Effort to Become International Dark Sky Community

February 3, 2022 - Harmful outdoor lighting fixtures were removed from a park in the centre of Jelsa, getting the town on Hvar island a step closer to becoming the first International Dark Sky Community in Croatia

The spotlights in question have a colour temperature of 6500 K which is considered detrimental to local wildlife - birds, nocturnal insects, bats, and even plants. They were installed on palm trees in the park and turned upwards, making them a light pollutant of the night sky, reports the Croatian Astronomical Union.

The Croatian Astronomical Union has been collaborating with Jelsa Municipality and the local tourist board for over a year in order to help Jelsa achieve high standards of protection against light pollution. Jelsa is now a step closer to becoming the first International Dark Sky Community in Croatia and south-east Europe at large.

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Hrvatski astronomski savez - Facebook

In December 2021, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) accepted the motion of Jelsa Municipality to be declared an International Dark Sky Community. A few days ago, IDA delivered a favourable opinion and it’s now only a matter of time before Jelsa is granted the coveted title.

As defined by IDA, an International Dark Sky Community is ‘a town, city, municipality or other legally organised community that has shown exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation and enforcement of a quality outdoor lighting ordinance, dark sky education and citizen support of dark skies. Dark Sky Communities excel in their efforts to promote responsible lighting and dark sky stewardship, and set good examples for surrounding communities.’

 

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Croatian Football Federation to Host UEFA Executive Board Session on Hvar

January 19, 2022 - The Croatian Football Federation announced on its official website that it would host a UEFA Executive Board session on Hvar in September this year.

The session could be critical in the context of the fight with FIFA over the biennial World Cup and the latest preparations for the World Cup in Qatar, which will be held from November 21 to December 18, 2022.

The leadership of the Croatian Football Federation has expressed interest in hosting a session of the Executive Board, and the Federation's headquarters confirmed that UEFA accepts the proposal. Accordingly, the UEFA session will be held on September 21 in Hvar.

"We look forward to holding this session in Croatia and have the opportunity to explore your beautiful country further," reads a letter signed by UEFA Secretary-General Theodore Theodoridis, quoted by the HNS website.

"I thank President Alexander Čeferin and the UEFA leadership for the great trust they have shown us. We are pleased with this decision because it confirms the excellent status that HNS enjoys in UEFA, and I am convinced that we will once again prove ourselves as excellent hosts and capable organizers of such events," said HNS President Marijan Kustić.

The UEFA Executive Board last met in Croatia in 2013, when the session was hosted in Dubrovnik.

Gol.hr reports that HNS president Marijan Kustić and his right-hand man and Čeferin's legal colleague Tomislav Svetina certainly did not accidentally throw Hvar on the table, which is an elite destination of Croatian tourism. Still, there is another important point in the whole story.

Well-known Slovenian lawyer and since September 2016 the leader of European football, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin, will combine business and pleasure on Hvar. 

Namely, Čeferin has been spending his summers on Hvar for many years. Moreover, he has a house in the small town of Zavala, approximately in the central part of the sunniest Croatian island, and on the south side.

Hvar locals already know him well. Čeferin has a beautifully decorated house about 200 meters from the sea, and tall palm trees were brought by truck and planted in the garden. From the home terrace, there is a fantastic view of the open sea, and in the immediate vicinity is a small vineyard that completes the experience.

The UEFA Executive Board has 20 members, among them the former president of the HNS and still the top scorer of the Croatia national team - Davor Šuker.

Among the most famous people in the Croatian public are Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, a legend of German football and Bayern, and the president of PSG Nasser Al-Khelaifi. Both are members of the UEFA IO as representatives of the European Club Association (ECA), while the famous Spaniard Javier Tebas represents the Europa League (EL).

All major football nations have their representatives among the members of the IO. Sixteen of them are elected by the UEFA Congress, two representatives are given by the ECA and one by the EL, and the UEFA President has a seat on the IO by the logic of things.

Gol.hr assumes that Dejan Savičević, President of the Montenegrin Football Federation and one of the six UEFA envoys to the FIFA Council, will also attend the session.

As the UEFA President can invite third parties to attend UEFA Executive Board meetings in an advisory capacity, we expect other well-known football names.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Winter Tourism on Hvar: Polar Donkeys Traditional New Year Swim in Bright Sunshine

January 1, 2022 - Croatia's premier sunshine island of Hvar welcomes 2022 in traditional fashion, as the Polar Donkeys take to the Adriatic for the first swim of the year.

People start a new year in different ways. Many with new resolutions, many more with hangovers. 

But if you are looking for a novel way to blow away the cobwebs of the previous year, head to Bonj les Bains at 13:00 on New Year's Day where the annual New Year's Day swim, organised by Polarni Tovari (the Polar Donkeys) takes place.  

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Now in its 7th year, the Polar Donkeys swim is attended each year by an increasing number of enthusiasts of the two and four-legged variety, and 2022 was no exception, as you can see from this year's video, below. 

Hvar, of course, is no stranger to winter tourism, for it was hear that organised tourism in Europe began back in 1868, with the formation of the Hvar Health Society. The 'Austrian Madeira', as Hvar was known to convalescing aristocrats from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was famed for its temperate 12-month climate. 

With the 2022 Hvar swimming season now officially open, why not jump in yourself?

Alternatively, there is plenty of other activity on the Adriatic at this time of year.

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(Photo credit Taliah Bradbury)

TCN Junior took to the waters around Hvar yesterday to try her hand at squid fishing. And with considerable success, but with the fishing and with the camera, two skills her father has so far failed to master.  

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There may have been bigger parties elsewhere, but there is something soothing about Dalmatia away from the crowds, away from the season. 

If you have never tried it and are looking for a complete detox, there is nothing quite like it. 

As for swimming on New Year's Day, that is also a skill I have yet to master, but I heartily commend the brave Polar Donkeys who maintain this wonderful tradition. 

To learn more about the magic of this incredible island, check out the TC Hvar in a Page guide

Saturday, 4 December 2021

2022 Sunčani Hvar Season Preparations Underway, 500 Seasonal Workers Needed

December 4, 2021 - The 2022 Sunčani Hvar season preparations are already underway, as the famous hotel group launches their recruiting program for the next season.

Next season, Sunčani Hvar will employ 500 seasonal workers as waiters, receptionists, chefs, assistant chefs, bartenders, and maids. In addition to several various benefits, this year, they also guarantee each employee a minimum salary of HRK 5,500 net, and during the high season, HRK 6,500 net, reports HRTurizam.

In recent years, Sunčani Hvar has been investing heavily in raising workers' living standards. Special attention is paid to the quality of accommodation units and common rooms to have comfortable and pleasant living conditions while working. In addition, employees are provided with accommodation in double rooms in attractive locations by the sea, free Wi-Fi, hot meals, and various education and training programs with stimulating monthly bonuses, Christmas bonuses, and more, according to Sunčani Hvar.

Their human resources development strategy stems from its focus on sustainable long-term development. It continuously invests in human resources - improving conditions and ensuring stability for seasonal workers through permanent seasonal contracts and opening opportunities for permanent employment and career building. This year, Sunčani Hvar is hiring 20 workers permanently.

"Sunčani Hvar bases its success on highly motivated and productive human resources. Every year we work to improve material conditions, provide better accommodation and food, and financial stability for our seasonal workers. In principle, most seasonal workers return, recognizing Sunčani as a desirable employer. On the other hand, the possibility to advance and permanent employment are extremely motivating factors for those individuals who want to develop a career in tourism," said Director of Human Resources Blaženka Tomičić, adding that new programs and plans for recruiting seasonal workers are developed every year.

Thus, the ‘Recommend a Friend’ Campaign, launched several years ago, is recognized by employees who actively participate in the selection process and offers everyone financial incentives for each recommended worker. More information about open positions and job applications in Sunčani Hvar can be found HERE.

Next year, another newly renovated hotel will grace the center of Hvar - boutique hotel Riva Marina, an exclusive 4-star hotel, also part of Sunčani Hvar.

Sunčani Hvar is the leading hotel company on the island of Hvar and also one of the largest hotel houses in Croatia. As a leader in quality and innovation in the hotel industry, it owns ten hotels and one campsite located in the most attractive locations in Hvar.

Hvar as a destination also won the title of the best island in Europe for the second time, according to the prestigious magazine Condé Nast Traveler, thus reaffirming its position as one of the most desirable destinations in the world.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

VIDEO: Classic Island Vibes and Vistas of Spectacular Summertime on Hvar

November 25, 2021 – From the epic medieval harbour of Vrboska and the buzz of Hvar town to the historic streets of Stari Grad and 250 kilometres of brilliant beaches, this new footage of summertime on Hvar is making us yearn for next season.

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Hvar Town is overflowing with life in summer. By day, families wander by the waterside or between restaurants in the old town. By night, bars and discos are vibrant and full. In Stari Grad, a constant stream of excited new visitors arriving by boat. Such scenes tell of the popularity of summertime on Hvar. Arguably, this is Croatia's most well-known island for holidaymakers.

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But, away from the throngs of people in Hvar Town and Stari Grad, there's a distinctly different side to this island. Famously, Stari Grad Plain (Starogradsko polje) on the interior looks much the same now as it did over 2000 years ago. That's how long grapes and olives have been cultivated here. Pretty rows of vines and fields of olive trees or lavender colour the landscape all over Hvar. Passing by these agricultural endeavours gives a better reminder of just how much room there is for everyone on Hvar.

IMG_5362_DxO.jpgAs shown above, the long, ancient harbour at Vrboska © Goran Šafarek

With 250 kilometres of its own coastline, Hvar is not short of beaches. People love swimming in the island's crystal clear waters. Sailors love them too. In the ancient harbour of Vrboska, there's an altogether different feeling to arrivals by boat. Here, elegant yachts gracefully cruise into the long, thin harbour. They find temporary homes near small, traditional fishing boats. Inside, summertime sailors may have chosen this beautiful part of the island because of its famous restaurants. After the gastronomic joy of lunch, maybe they'll wander the historic promenade or visit one of the famous winemakers near here.

DJI_0991_Vrboska.jpgIn the background, sailors into Vrboska © Goran Šafarek

All these different aspects of summertime on Hvar and more have been captured in an all-new video made by Goran Šafarek. Goran, who is an independent biologist, publicist, photographer and filmmaker, was on the Adriatic working in summer 2021. His assignments included film work commissioned by Croatian National Parks. But, he took advantage of being on the coast and made time between assignments for a family sailing holiday. He visited Korčula island and Hvar island, using the opportunity to make new videos of each.

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Total Croatia News has already published Goran's new video of Korčula, which you can watch here. This new one of Hvar has us pining for summer and making plans for next.

For more info about Hvar island, look here. And for the latest news from Hvar, bookmark Total Croatia News pages here

Sunday, 21 November 2021

No to Sucuraj Marina as Government Turns Down Slovakian Concessionaire

November the 21st, 2021 - There is still a resounding no as an answer the the question of the Sucuraj marina as the Croatian Government turns down a would-have-been Slovakian concessionaire.

As Morski writes, there's still nothing much to say about the construction of the Sucuraj marina which would boast 250 berths on the Central Dalmatian island of Hvar. At a session held several days ago, the Croatian Government entirely rejected the only bid that arrived in the tender because it was deemed to be incomplete and thus rendered invalid.

The concession was to cover an area of ​​slightly more than 100,000 square metres of maritime domain on which the waterfront, breakwaters, moorings, road accesses, buildings and all other associated infrastructure for the potential Sucuraj marina were to be built, which would add a lot to Hvar as a whole with its aforementioned additional 250 berths. The concession was otherwise to be granted for a period of thirty years.

The estimated value of the investment was slightly higher than 390 million kuna  and the tender had already been annulled once back in 2018 because "the concession holder did not provide a mandatory guarantee of a commercial bank in the amount of 1 percent of the total value of the project", which was one of the vital conditions which needed to be met in order to get a thumbs up from the government.

Only one company, Marina Scuraj d.o.o., which was founded in September last year by the Slovak company Sitno Holding Real Estate, which is owned by a Slovakian businessman and former politician, Ľudovít Cernak, applied for the repeated tender.

However, just a few days ago, the Croatian Government rejected the offer of this particular Slovak investor, because the conceptual design submitted in the offer is not in accordance with the spatial planning documents, ie the Urban Development Plan for the Nautical Tourism Port of Sucuraj - UPU 5.

It's worth mentioning that the aforementioned Slovakian holding previously won the tender of the Municipality of Preko for the development of the tourist zone Macjak - Sumljak.

For more, make sure to check out our politics and business sections.

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Summer in Croatia Through the Lens of Croatian Photographer Timotej Gošev

November 20, 2021 - ''I want people to look at my photographs, and simply desire to be right there in the place their eyes are seeing'', says Timotej Gošev, better known as Timotej on Instagram, inviting thousands of people every day to experience the Adriatic summer through his photographs. Total Croatia News managed to interview the photographer with Varaždin roots.

In what ways can photography positively impact the promotion of tourism in Croatia? The question may sound simple to answer, but nowadays photography can be manipulated in such a way that the first impression of a tourist upon arriving at his destination is one of disappointment. It happens in many parts of the world. The use of visual content, to be used responsibly and strategically, can be essential to make Croatia known around the world.

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Krivica Cove and beach, Lošinj (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Now I live in Croatia, but for 24 years of my life, my only reference was what I saw on the internet and on social networks. Now that I have spent two summers here, I can attest that Croatia has the advantage of meeting the expectations of those who came with a preconceived image in their heads. Those turquoise and transparent waters that you see in photos and videos, they are like that! But the Adriatic coast of Croatia is very extensive, and to it, we must add its more than 700 islands. Imagine the number of remote and wonderful places along almost 6000 kilometers of coastline that must exist to fulfill your fantasy of an Adriatic summer. Well, a Croatian photographer is dedicated to exploring, capturing, and sharing the magic of these places with his thousands of followers.

If you have looked for photos of Croatia to corroborate what everyone is surely saying about it, chances are that you have come across Timotej's photos. Also, if you have seen one of his photos, it is most likely that you have already bought your air ticket to spend the following summer in the Adriatic.

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Lopud Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Croatia will always stand out for its history, and its stories. But being someone who has lived most of his life on another continent, I am aware of the visual impact that Croatia has on other countries in the world. Especially in these times, many friends shared with me photos or videos that they found on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, or Twitter, and they could not believe that such a place existed, and especially in Europe. When it comes to paradise islands and turquoise waters, many think of Hawaii, the Caribbean, or the islands of Melanesia. But Croatia has already positioned itself as an alternative Eden, and one that combines dream destinations and a calendar packed with cultural activities.

I find it impressive that a photo is able to motivate someone to book airfare and accommodation. I think this reinforces the idea that the world is there to be explored, and that Croatia is one of those must-see destinations in it. But for this to work as it has been working in recent years, it is necessary that all the tourism promotion forces in the country aim towards the same objective. There is the National Tourism Board, the local Tourism Boards, and why not, talented Croatian citizens who use their platforms and content to highlight their country in a showcase.

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Kamenjak, Istria (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

One such person is precisely the famous Croatian photographer Timotej Gošev, who's approaching his mid-thirties, and currently living in Berkshire, England. He's the owner of the @timotej Instagram account which has become one of the largest social media accounts in the world by sharing travel photography and recommendations from only around Croatia. With almost 100 thousand followers on Instagram, his pictures often go viral and are reposted and shared by some of the biggest media groups such as Forbes, Conde Nast, as well as the biggest re-sharing travel accounts on Instagram such as Earthpix, Travel & Leisure, Wonderful Places & Beautiful Destinations. If you haven't seen his photography yet, be sure to check his Instagram first. He also has an impressive guide to his top 30 favorite beaches in Croatia, you can check it here.

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Dubrovnik (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Timotej shares with Total Croatia News about his special connection to his country, his photography, tourism in Croatia, his future projects, and much more.

The vast majority of your followers and all of those who have come across your photographs on social media already know you for the quality of your work and your captivating images. But few know about your personal side and your history with Croatia. How does this connection with Croatia begin? Were you born and raised in Croatia?

It’s true. A lot of people see my photographs on Instagram, and just by looking at them can say this looks like one of Timotej’s photographs. However, very few people know me personally. Remember, I am a photographer sharing photos from around Croatia, through social media, to the world. I am not another influencer showcasing my life and hoping to influence you to be like me. My goal is to inspire people through my photography to visit and fall in love with Croatia.

It’s also very amusing to me, how so many people are surprised that I’m from Croatia. Even Croatians often assume I’m from somewhere else. I was introduced to Nina Badrić for example, and she knew of my photography but thought I was a Slovenian photographer. I think it’s purely because my name, Timotej (pronounced ‘Timo-tey’ in English), is not so common in Croatia. Think about it, most boys in Croatia are named after the first four books of the New Testament Bible. Ivan (John), Marko (Mark), Luka (Luke), Matej (Matthew). My mum wanted to be a little bit more original with her Biblical name choice, so she looked further down the list until she came to Timotej (Timothy). Simple and straightforward explanation.

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Croatian figs (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

My parents came to study in England after finishing their high school and army service in Varazdin, so I was born in the UK. But a few years later we moved back, so my younger brother was born in Varaždin. After a few years, my parents realized they could make a better life for our family back in England. So, once again, we moved back. Thankfully Croatia is just a drive and short flight away from England, so I was lucky enough to visit very often growing up. I can speak, read, and write Croatian too. I believe an Instagram account like mine, can only really belong to a Croatian, in love with his country.

Nowadays, when one associates the words ''travel photography'' and ''Croatia'', one of the first things that come to mind for a lot of people is ''Timotej''. How did you get started in photography and how has the learning process been so far? Is there another type of photography that you like equally?

I’ve been into photography for as long as I can remember. Cameras and lenses, all the gear, simply fascinates me. So does the quest to snap a perfect picture. As a child, I always wanted to press the camera’s shutter button and shoot everything. This wasn’t possible, as it was still the time of film cameras, and film roll was precious, so parents couldn’t let me waste it taking fifty pictures of nothing. So you can imagine my joy when digital cameras came into existence with memory cards.

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Brseč, Primorsko-Goranska (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

As far as learning goes, when you figure out how to work a camera/lens, the shooting settings, and how light affects the scene being shot, everything comes down to one’s eye for a good picture. Personally, for me, the learning these days mostly centers around training my eyes even more. If you take 50 shots, 1 can easily turn out perfect. But the goal is to be able to take 1 shot and make it perfect first time. Sometimes this means learning to be patient. Waiting. It can also mean making a bigger effort to find a unique vantage point. Doing research to find out what has already been shot where you are shooting.

I love beachscape photography as you all know, and architectural too. I also love to shoot macro shots. I really want to do more wildlife and food photography in the future.

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Restaurant Mandrač, Lopud Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

What inspires you to be a travel photographer and how has that changed in recent years?

I’m in love with the Croatian coast and the Adriatic Sea. Its beauty simply inspires me to capture it with my cameras. I am lucky and blessed to be able to call such a place, my country. I want to see and explore as many spots along the coast, and visit as many islands as my lifetime allows me too. Each place is its own world. People today are so obsessed with seeing as many countries as possible, but few have had the pleasure of truly knowing, exploring, and enjoying theirs. I love going back to a place I’ve already visited, to see how it’s changing, developing, and evolving. I am constantly inspired by the big and little changes happening everywhere. The way I see it is, that there is a lifetime of exploration for me and capturing moments with my camera. There is no getting bored.

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How do you manage to balance your time between the UK and Croatia? Has Brexit affected in any way the way you travel between the two countries?

I like to be in Croatia during the summer, so I can enjoy the sea and beaches. It’s where I experience the most joy. Since I got my driving license, I have been planning my life in a way so I could spend the maximum possible time in Croatia every summer. To my surprise, neither Brexit nor Covid19 has affected my travels to Croatia. I have dual nationality. Croatian and British passports and therefore was legally allowed to travel to go to either home. With negative PCR test results, I drove England to Croatia three times during the pandemic. When you have a registered photography business in the UK, going to Croatia to shoot photos is a legitimate and valid reason to travel for work too.

How would you describe the personal style behind your photography? And how about your visual style?

I want people to look at my photographs, and simply desire to be right there in the place their eyes are seeing. To imagine themselves living the moment being shown. My photos need to mentally seduce and show the essence of an Adriatic summer experience in Croatia. People think my visual style is really unique, but it’s a classic beachscape visual style used in travel magazines and by some of the world’s most known beachscape photographers for decades.

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Sveta Nedjelja beach, Hvar (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

It is a beautiful summer day in Croatia, how does Timotej spend it from start to finish?

I like to wake up early. No need for coffee. I really believe in seizing the daytime. I want to be the first on the beach. Put my towel in the best spot, and go for a morning swim to truly wake up. Love soaking in the early morning sun too. Around 9 am, it’s time for a light breakfast, and then back to the beach where I’ll stay until lunchtime being as active as possible. I prefer to stay in apartments, so for lunch, it’s usually time to cook something, rather than eat out. After lunch, it’s back to the sea/beach until sunset. The afternoon is usually about exploration. Then shower, dress up a bit and go to town for dinner and some ice cream. I always end up chilling on apartment terraces late into the night, always in good company getting into deep conversations.

It has happened to me on several occasions that I have decided to put my camera aside so as not to miss the experience. How do you manage to consistently create content and live in the moment at the same time? Do you have any advice for other travel photographers?

It’s actually very simple for me. When I go to a place in Croatia, I am not going there to take a picture. I am going there to enjoy the experience and moment of being in a place which brings me total joy. I live the moments fully with my camera at home, or in my backpack. After I enjoyed the place, explored it, I come back with/take out a camera. Also, I don’t live from making social media content and I don’t have any pressure to create content. My advice to travel photographers is that when you decide to shoot a place, make a decision to spend at least 1 week there. Don’t follow the content creator crowd, and a lot of Croatian photographers, are doing this, in that they go to a spot for a few hours with the purpose of taking a photo and then off to the next location.

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Brela, Dalmatia (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

A photographer was telling me how they photographed every nice spot on Korcula Island in 1 day. Don’t make this same mistake. The world’s most famous beachscape photographers, when shooting a particular area, commit to spending a whole summer season there, chasing the billion-dollar shot, as we say. I can’t commit to a whole summer in one spot yet either, but everyone can do 3-7 days. 1 to enjoy without smartphones and cameras at least.

It could be said that you lean more towards photography of landscapes and places, but would you like to also venture into a type of travel photography where you can also highlight the Croatian people, their traditions, and their customs?

My focus is the Ljeto (Summer) in Croatia. The goal is to photograph and show the summertime experience. Naturally, there is a lot of landscape shots. But if you have been following me for a while you also see the entire summer experience. If I go into town at night and see a cultural dance, or traditional outfits, if I like what I see, I will photograph it. But right now, the priority is to show beaches and nature, accommodation, and things one can experience when visiting Croatia in the summer. I am showing what my audience wants to see.

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Town of Rab (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

However, if Drago Sopta retires, I would gladly like to venture off and take over as the photographer of the Croatian National Football team and take pictures of the guys playing football. I believe in myself as a photographer, and my ability to shoot in a variety of styles.

It is said that there is an excessive amount of drone images to visually promote Croatia and that they do not accurately reflect the possible experience of a tourist (for example Izvor Cetina or the Croatian islands from above). But you manage to combine both images with a drone as well as those from a personal point of view. How can both promote tourism in Croatia?

Look, Zlatni Rat Beach shot with a drone, from above, looks like one of the most beautiful spots in this world. It’s unreal. Then you come there, stand on the beach, and you can’t really see it from the vantage point the drone did. So you now have two options. The first is to get upset, choose to be negative, and leave disappointed, as many do. Or you can think about it, and say to yourself, I’m standing on this magical beach full of shape-shifting pebbles, surrounded by perfect water, and enjoy the beach all day. Every destination spot in the world that looks good from above is excessively photographed with drones. Those saying it doesn’t accurately reflect the tourist experience are a very small minority, and they are there for the wrong reason in my opinion. I believe you need both to give the true picture to someone. Let them know what it looks like from above and below. Balance is key. I like to show how it looks from ground level and from the sky.

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Otok Vrnik (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Many content creators avoid bringing discussion topics to their feed to avoid losing followers or getting into disputes with them. But in addition to visually promoting Croatia, you also take the time to raise awareness about caring for the environment, such as animal rights and the situation about smoking in Croatia. Is it necessary for content creators to be ambivalent in that regard? What responsibilities should someone with so many followers and a lot of reach assume?

I always speak my mind. From day one on Instagram. I have my opinions, and my account is a space where I can share them as well as my photography. I don’t expect everyone to agree with them and that’s okay. Does Croatia have a smoking problem? Yes. Have tourists noticed it? Yes. Is it destroying our beaches? Yes. A lot of what I highlight are facts and truth. Common sense. It’s already been said by others, and it’s very much connected to keeping Croatia’s land beautiful and not destroying it. I don’t live from Instagram, so if I lost all my followers tomorrow, it does not affect me in any way. As for disputes, occasionally some arise, but surprisingly not a lot. I think the things which I’m highlighting are things the overwhelming majority of my followers agree with me on. We all want to keep Croatia clean and beautiful for generation after generation.

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One Table Restaurant, Hvar Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Regarding the promotion of tourism in Croatia, what aspects and efforts made by the national and local tourist boards in the last two years can you highlight?

I don’t see anything the National Tourist Board does, and as the majority of the tourist sector in Croatia, see them as irrelevant, and a waste of taxpayers’ money. The Local Tourist Boards, on the other hand, are great. I’ve had the chance to work with a lot of them now. It’s hard to keep everyone happy, but they are doing their best. I can say and see they are finally embracing social media, and valuing its importance more than ever. Making sure they have a strong social media presence, as well as using people like me, and other Croatian photographers to showcase their tourist regions to the world.

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Žitna Beach, Korčula Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

In what aspects do you think the promotion of tourism in Croatia should improve? Is there something you can criticize?

The biggest issue I noticed is the relationship between the local tourist boards, and the locals working in the tourist sector. It seems everyone is against the tourist boards and everything they do, with only a small minority pleased. I’ve been to places, and I like to talk to locals, and the moment they find out I’m involved with the local tourist board, they don’t want anything to do with me! Why? Well for starters Local Tourist boards should have nothing to do with political elections and political parties. The tourist boards should exist to serve the tourist, those offering tourist services, and they should be neutral. Also too many tourist board employees, naturally have friends working in the tourist sector and thus drive tourists to only use their services. I think you can guess what kind of issues that can create. The tourist boards should be the pride of the local tourism sector. A fair helping hand, letting the tourists know all their possibilities. Show them all the options on offer, and let them choose which to go with. I also really think it’s time for an official tourist app, where everyone in the tourist sector can list their tourist offers for free. Create it with taxpayer money. Tourists can use the app to find out and search for everything. Beach information. Boat rentals. Taxi numbers. Available accommodation. In 2021, one shouldn’t have to go to a tourist office for information anymore.

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Badija Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev) 

In what ways can photographic content contribute to effective tourism promotion in Croatia? How important is it?

People travel to different places in the world for different reasons. Everyone is looking for something specific. An image they have seen either in a photo or video usually serves as the primary mental motivation for doing so. They want to see that image with their own eyes. I have always argued that people come to Croatia first and foremost for the natural beauty of the sea and beaches. The old towns. Natural parks. I loved our old tourist slogan, the Mediterranean as it once was. So, before booking a flight or hotel, people want to know what the particular area they are potentially going to visit has on offer. I have been the first Croatian photographer to share certain places in Croatia on Instagram for the very first time, and the response was, we had no idea this place existed.

I’ll give you a personal example. I grew up spending summers around Zadar. Since I was a kid. Only recently as an adult, I discovered one of the most beautiful spots in Croatia. Vrsi, right by Zadar. I never saw this spot advertised anywhere. So I never went there. Some beaches like Zlatni Rat were advertised everywhere, so normally, I went there, and it was crazy crowded. By showing a little bit of every place, you are now giving people the choice to go to so many places.

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Stiniva Cove, Vis Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

If you could describe Croatia to your followers as an ideal travel destination, based on five unique aspects, which ones would you choose?

1. Raw natural beauty everywhere. 2. The crystal clear blue water. 3. Safety. We are an extremely safe country for tourists throughout the day and night. One of the lowest crime rates in the world I believe. 4. Quality of food and drink. 5. There’s something for everyone.

Is there anything in particular in Croatia that catches your attention and would you like to investigate further? I have seen that at some point you inquired about the history of abandoned stone houses on the Croatian coast and islands. It is really a fascinating subject.

The abandoned stone houses are a sad story. I really hope the property ownership laws change soon. They are killing Croatia. A lot of people say it’s impossible. But I believe there’s an easy fix to it if you apply common sense. Pass a law, that every property in Croatia within 2-3 years has to have one owner owning 100% of it. No more multiple owners, owning small percentages. If some owners can’t agree on a deal between themselves, it goes to auction among all the owners, and the highest bidder gets the property. Why hasn’t this happened? I hear lawyers in Zagreb make a killing on these property disputes. I also think Croatia has a serious waste management problem. Especially on the islands. I’ve heard shocking accounts from those who live on the islands about what really happens with the waste tourism generates. I think the situation is worse than many believe. And if that’s really true, we need to do something about it. I truly believe the world sees Croatia as a clean country where natural beauty can be seen in abundance which is its biggest selling point. The land is really ‘Lijepa Naša’ and it needs to stay that way.

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Otok Vrnik (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Connected with this issue are the party sailing trips such as The Yacht Week. Everywhere they go, they leave so much rubbish behind it's unreal. In the sea. I’ve seen it. Again and again. All the locals I meet in the entire tourism sector as well as those simply living in the spots The Yacht Week comes by, wants these party sailing holidays banned. It’s beyond me how this hasn’t happened yet. Whoever is giving them the green light to continue summer after summer needs to be put in the spotlight.

Besides being a travel photographer, do you also consider yourself a travel journalist? Many content creators upload their photos or videos and that's it, but you like to include reflections, chronicles, and recommendations alongside your images. Is it something that you are interested in developing further in the future?

I grew up reading travel magazines like Conde Nast, and I currently collect travel-themed coffee table books full of pictures with text. There’s always a story behind what you see in a photograph and something to learn. I do consider myself an excellent writer in the English language. People have noticed this, and this past year, a few travel magazines and a national airline, asked me to write for them about Croatia, as well as showcase my photography to their readers. I hope more people will ask in the near future. It’s something I love doing.

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Čikat Bay, Lošinj Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

What does your Instagram profile look like on a summer day in Croatia? How do you usually interact with your followers or people who need help or recommendations?

During the summer the plan is to share 2-3 posts a day. The pictures being posted are usually what I photographed 1-2 days prior. Also, because we are in the summer season, many of my followers are currently in Croatia, or about to visit. This results in a crazy amount of questions. I used to answer every question without fail in previous years, but with an increasing number of followers, it’s impossible sadly. Remember I’m not getting paid to do this. It takes a lot of time. This summer I was receiving roughly 300-500 messages a day. A lot of people also don’t read the caption in my posts and then send messages, for example, asking what’s the name of the beach in the picture I just posted, without making an effort to read the caption where this has already been stated. This is very frustrating. However the questions generally are usually based on recent posts, so I try to answer a lot of them in one of the next posts or stories.

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Bol, Brač Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Besides photography, what other things do you spend your time on? Do you have any other interests or hobbies that are just as exciting?

Out of the summer season, I live in England, so when I’m not working, I really love to play sports. I play football, basketball, volleyball every week, competitively. Then there’s gym and lap swimming. I’ve always been into cooking too. So, always trying to master certain dishes and learn new ones. In the summertime, besides photography, it’s very much every activity connected to the water. I’m a big water sports lover. I love diving. I’m a very active individual. I love the company of friends too. I’m a very social extrovert that likes to laugh a lot.

What next projects do you have planned? What are the next steps in Timotej's life and career?

Oh, I have a lot of ideas. Some are already slowly turning into reality. I would love to see more art stores around the world selling my prints of beautiful beachscapes from around Croatia. At the moment it’s just a few in England. As well as being a good photographer, I also believe in my ability to capture video, so expect to see some epic short films soon. I’m also already working on my very own coffee table book taking you on a journey around Croatia’s coast and islands. I’m really excited for this. I have the photographs and text, and just need to find the right publisher to make the dream come true. Lastly, due to demand, I think I will slowly get into trip planning. So many people want me to plan their visit to Croatia. I’m honoured.

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Pritišćina beach, Vis Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Your talent as a photographer, and your Instagram account, have resulted in many collaborations over the last few years. What’s your favourite one so far? Is there one you would really love to do in the future?

It’s hard to pick a favourite. I love them all. This past summer I did a collaboration with Valamar Hotels. Had the chance to visit all their hotels across Croatia over a period of 6 weeks. It was amazing. Shooting the hotels, rooms, beaches in front of the hotels. The facilities. Loved every second. The sailing collaborations are always unforgettable too. What would I love to do? Shoot Villa Sheherezade in Dubrovnik. Or shoot a mega-yacht in Croatia. I dream big.

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Lopud Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Finally, are you planning to ever move to Croatia permanently?

If you ask me, “Timotej, would you like to live in Croatia one day?” The answer is obviously going to be a definite yes, yes I would. However, I wouldn’t want to live there throughout the whole year. I can see myself living there between April and October. I’m the type of person who dreams of having multiple homes. At least two in two different countries. But in life, you should also never say never. If the right opportunity arises, who knows, I might end up living in Croatia all year long. Living there would give me the chance to photograph Croatia during all the seasons, and not just summer.

For everything you need to know before planning your next summer vacation in Croatia and all these magical destinations shown in this article, be sure to check Timotej's Instagram account and our new guide to everything Croatia, Total Croatia, here.

If you don't have Instagram, follow him on Facebook.

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

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Great Archaeological Finds Discovered in a Cave on Hvar

ZAGREB, 6 Nov 2021 - The cave called "Babina Špilja" on the Adriatic island of Hvar was explored by archaeologists this summer and autumn when they found ceramic items and animal bones dating back to the early Neolithic period and a pebble with natural markings, which appears to have originated from the Mesolithic.

The discoveries are currently in Oxford for radiocarbon dating, archaeologist Marcel Burić has told Hina.

The results of that analysis will be completed in January 2022, and they will indicate whether or not people had existed on this Croatian island also before the early Neolithic.

The exploration was triggered off by the results of the doctoral thesis of researcher Alen Miletić who has studied the topography of prehistoric sites on the western side of Hvar.

Babina Špilja is at an altitude of 200 metres.

Burić said that researchers of Columbia University in the City of New York and of La Sapienza in Rome are included in the project of exploration of this site.

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

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Squid Games on Hvar, as Peskafondo Celebrates 10 Years

November 2, 2021 - Global media talk about Squid Games is a recent phenomenon, but the island of Hvar will celebrate 10 years of competitive squid excellence this weekend with a record turnout at Peskafondo 2021. 

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Just over 10 years ago, about 15 days after I launched Total Hvar, the first event I ever reported on for my new portal took place. 

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I really wasn't keen and I didn't think that the event would be a success. 

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A squid fishing competition in Hvar Town at the of October in Hvar Town, organised by the arguably the most famous fish restaurant on the Adriatic, Restaurant Gariful. It didn't sound that exciting to me, but I reported on it anyway. 

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There is a reason why Gariful is one of the most successful hospitality businesses on the Croatian islands, and I remain a fat blogger. 

Over the past decade, Peskafondo has grown each year, and as it celebrates a decade of late season entertainment for a growing number of competitors, locals and tourists, my hat goes off to young Gariful for this excellent example of how to provide interesting and authentic content after the main season has long finished. 

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Back in 2011, I seem to remember that there were just 11 teams taking part in th two-day event. This year - so far - there are 72 teams from all over Croatia, as well as international squid-fishing teams from Germany, Italy, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Hercegovina. 

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At Peskafondo 2011, there were about 100 people enjoying the event. Gariful is expecting 1,500 - 2,000 people this year, a huge increase. 

And with quite a programme. 

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And it is not just squid games these days. Peskafondo also includes the Hvar Big Game Fishing competition, as well as a very eagerly awaited event by the little ones - Hvar Kids Day.

This is what Kids Day was like as a standalone event several years ago, including parachute jumpers landing on the main square, as well as an appearance from Mickey Mouse and friends.

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Peskafondo quickly established itself as far more than a fishing competition, bringing together friends from all over th country. The fishermen from Sinj complete with delicious prsut, were always a hit, for example. 

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Fine wine, excellent sea food, live music, and a real carnival atmosphere - Peskafondo has done an excellent job over the years at extending the season a little and bringing a lot of colour to those quieter winter months. 

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Peskafondo 2021 kicks off this Friday, and TCN will be covering the event, which was the first we ever reported on all those years ago. It promises to be livelier than ever, so if you are on the island, I do encourage you to check it out. 

There is still time to register to compete, which you can do via the Peskafondo Facebook page.  Let the original squid games begin!

Here is a flavour of what awaits - a video report from Peskafondo 2021.  

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

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