Tuesday, 29 March 2022

French Groupe Looping Takes Over Largest Croatian Water Park Istralandia

March the 29th, 2022 - The French company Groupe Looping (Looping Group) has taken over the largest Croatian water park Istralandia which will see it enter the next tourist season under new ownership.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian water park Istralandia is set to enter this year's summer tourist season with new owners, local portal Glas Istre/The Voice of Istria reports.

According to the Lider portal, the takeover of the first and largest water park in all of Croatia and one of the largest in southern Europe was announced by the French Groupe Looping, which has expanded its network of amusement parks to span eight European countries.

The value of the deal itself, in which the seller's exclusive financial advisors were Grubisic & Partners, hasn't been revealed, but it can be assumed that it was not less than five times the amount of EBITDA for the company (16.4 million kuna) which generated a massive 30.2 million kuna in revenue back in 2021.

The French company in question otherwise describes itself on its website as a ''group of regional leisure parks consisting of 16 parks of four types. Our aquariums, animal parks, amusement parks and water parks are major local attractions in their areas. We operate in 7 countries - France, the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Portugal, and we aim to become the European leader in the regional leisure park market. Our core business is operating leisure parks; client experience and visitor satisfaction are our priorities. We welcome nearly 5.5 million visitors per year, and all staff members share the common aim of giving our visitors a fun and entertaining family day out.

Our expertise as an operator is the foundation on which we aim to build. The Looping Group aims to triple its business in the next few years, both by developing its existing parks, and by growing its portfolio of activities. We intend to acquire existing regional sites, build new sites and establish management contracts to operate leisure sites for both private and public bodies including leisure park owners, campsite operators, shopping centres, property developers, local authorities and all bodies concerned with tourism development.

The Group's sites are managed independently to enable them to adapt to local conditions. They benefit from support in aspects of the business such as shopping, merchandising, catering services, marketing, digital services, finance and human resources in order to benefit both from pooling resources and from sharing best practice among the group, thus enhancing performance.''

For more, check out our business section.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

People Also Ask Google: Is Porec in Croatia Worth Visiting?

February 21, 2021 – Continuing the TCN series answering the questions posed by Google's People Also Ask function. Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting? The shortest answer would be – of course – and here are all the reasons why.

What is Porec like in Croatia?

Located on the west coast of the Istrian peninsula in Croatia, Poreč can most simply be described as a seaside town with many tourist attractions but also with a rich and indispensable cultural history. It is perhaps best known as the home of the Euphrasian Basilica (so-called Euphrasiana) from the 6th century, one of the seven UNESCO's world heritage sites in Croatia.

However, in the last few years, Poreč has been filling newspaper columns as one of the best cities to live in Croatia, which has been contributed to by its economic, cultural, and social development. A famous tourist town that lives throughout the year? It seems like it could be. Since I have been spending almost every summer in Poreč since I was born, I would unquestionably like to get to know it better from the perspective of living in it. Maybe one day, but for now, I will focus on what I know Poreč is worth visiting for.

Historic center: Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for culture and heritage?

Apart from the aforementioned Euphrasian Basilica, a must-see cultural site to visit, the whole old Poreč city core is a cultural monument. The peninsula on which the old town of Poreč is located hides historic traces dating back thousands of years. The main street that passes through it – Decumanus – is full of tourists in summer due to its numerous shops and restaurants. At the intersection with Cardo Street, the so-called Dekumanova Street reveals several Gothic and Baroque palaces.



The Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč is one of the most beautiful preserved monuments of early Byzantine art in the Mediterranean.


Built in the 6th century during Bishop Euphrasius, after whom it is named, the Euphrasian Basilica is famous for glittering mosaics dating from the 3rd century. The picture shows the Euphrasian Basilica's apse decorated with Byzantine mosaics.

At the entrance to Dekumanova Street from Sloboda Square, attention is drawn to the Pentagonal Tower, at the top of which is a restaurant. At the top of the nearby Round Tower overlooking the waterfront, tourists love to enjoy a cafe.


Dekumanova Street / Decumanus Street in Poreč

Evidence of life from ancient times is hidden near the oldest square of Marafor. Also, Poreč is the proud home of the largest Roman shrine in Istria, the Large Temple, and to the north of it are the remains of the Temple of Neptune.

For me, one of the usual evening activities in Poreč is a walk through the old town in the mentioned Decumanus Street, as well as along Poreč's lungomare or Ante Šonja Coast, with a romantic view of the north side of Poreč – Peškera Bay (where the city beach is located), Pical, and Materada. I call it the quiet side because there are no stands on it, for which the other part of the city is famous, just the open sea in front of you, with some lighthouse flashes.


The old town of Poreč and Poreč lungomare / Romulić and Stojčić

I usually continue my walk along the coast to the newly renovated city waterfront, i.e., Marshal Tito's Coast, thus embracing the entire old core of Poreč. I admire numerous yachts, tourist boats, and fishing boats moored in the Poreč port along the waterfront side.


Last year, the Poreč waterfront, an integral part of the Poreč old town, got a new attire – new facilities with signposts to the old town's sights. / Poreč Tourist Board

Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for beaches and sports activities?

I stayed in Poreč during all stages of my life – from a playful child, through a demanding teenager, to a serious student – and at no time was I bored in Poreč, nor my parents who have been spending their summers in this beautiful Istrian city for almost 30 years. As we are a family that likes a combination of active and lazy holidays, we love Poreč because we get both there – beautiful and clean beaches, as well as many cultural, gourmet, adventure, fun, and sports facilities.

As my all-time favorite activity is rollerblading (and as I'm not a fan of swimming), I enjoy long rides from the center of Poreč along beaches trails. There is a crystal clear sea on one side of the trail, while on the other side, there are various sports and catering facilities. The first beach to reach is Beach Brulo. Located in the mild Mediterranean and sheltered bay, surrounded by pine trees, it is ideal for a real summer vacation.


Brulo Beach / Croatian Tourist Board

The trail along the coast goes all the way to Poreč Blue Lagoon, Green Lagoon, and White Bay, beautiful bays and hotel resorts. I recommend the popular tourist train that goes from the south side of Poreč Riviera! Also, If you like cycling and similar recreation, you will love cycling in Poreč.

As there are pebble, sandy, rocky, and concrete beaches, you will indeed find a beach tailored to your needs in Poreč. In 37 kilometers of the Poreč shore, there are as many as 22 beaches with a Blue Flag, an international symbol of clean sea and landscaped coastline. That is as many as 20 percent of all Blue Flags which flutter along the Croatian coast!

What I always liked about beaches in Poreč are numerous fun activities, such as water sports – pedal boats, canoes, paragliding, banana boats, parasailing, aquapark, and sports facilities such as tennis courts, volleyball courts, and mini-golf.

It is important to emphasize that the City of Poreč works tirelessly to provide access to all cultural facilities to people with disabilities. For example, last year, they carried out an adaptation project in the Euphrasian Basilica, and many beaches have been adapted for people with disabilities.

Our all-time favorite daily activity is visiting the Saint Nicholas island across Poreč, also known as Valamar Isabella Island Resort. In the summer months, the island is connected to the Poreč waterfront by a full-day ferry line. The boat from Poreč to the island goes every thirty minutes in both ways. The boat ride takes only five minutes, and the ticket price is 40 kunas (5,30 euros).


The island of Saint Nicholas in Poreč and Isabella Castle, Valamar Isabella Island Resort / Poreč Tourist Board

I recommend visiting this lovely island across Poreč at least once during your stay to enjoy beautiful, clean, and tidy beaches. It has always been a kind of undiscovered place for my family and me, even before it was renovated by Valamar, the biggest tourism company in Croatia. A nice walk around the island to experience nature's calmness and see the old but now renovated Isabella castle is a must!

On the island and in the whole city, a lot of effort has been put into facilities and activities for children. Along the beaches, you can find numerous children's playgrounds and toboggans. Poreč invests a lot in education, which I witnessed last year when I found out they even have summer tourism workshops for children. Also, children's camps are organized on the beaches, where you can often see many animators with groups of children. There is also a diving school on Brulo Beach.


Poreč Tourist Board

Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for daily boat excursions?

Daily boat excursions from Poreč to surrounding bays and cities are among the most popular activities among tourists. While walking along the waterfront during the evening, when many tourist boats are waiting for their next venture, you can book one-day boat trips to Rovinj, Vrsar, and Lim Fjord, fish picnic trips, and submarine ride. You can also find boats and taxi boats to the nearby Poreč bays, such as Green Lagoon, Blue Lagoon, and White Bay.

One of my earliest travel memories was a one-day trip to Venice from Poreč when I was eight, which I totally recommend. Even though I have seasickness, my first trip to Italy was by boat from Poreč, and I absolutely loved it. Hopping to another country and another city in the middle of your holidays was so exciting back then, and I hope that soon the circumstances will allow the like journeys again.


Tourist boats in the Poreč waterfront / Poreč Tourist Board

Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for nightlife?

Here comes the fun part. During the summer evenings, at the beginning of the city waterfront, you will not be able to miss the sounds of the world's greatest hits and dance rhythms from the famous Poreč club Saint & Sinner.

There is no shortage of night bars and clubs in the city, and the Poreč casino is also popular. Various performers (most often musicians) perform at the summer terraces of hotels and restaurants almost every day. One of the most famous such summer bars is the Lapidarium.


Saint & Sinner / Poreč Tourist Board

At the very top of the Poreč peninsula, at the foot of the Riviera Hotel, music from the attractive Palazzo Club attracts attention. Besides, there are numerous lounge and beach bars by the sea.

I also remember seeing organized transport vehicles around Poreč offering transport services for party people to the nearby famous nightclub Byblos. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is nostalgic about crazy summer parties! Last summer, it was relatively quiet in Poreč, but let's hope for the better in the upcoming summer season.

As for parties, Poreč is also known for hosting Poreč Open Air Festival, an all-summer-long festival that consists of street performances, music nights, cinema, theatre, and special events. The MTV Summerblast in Poreč was also held, but due to the current situation with the coronavirus, the holding of all festivals is uncertain for now.

Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting for gastronomy, adventure, and education?

Although the temperatures in Poreč are high and the sea is warm, I will not lie - almost every year, I experience one rainy day during holidays. However, such days allow me to explore Poreč and its surroundings.

In addition to the many hotels and apartments, many famous restaurants and cafes in Poreč offer only the best Istrian delicacies. Getting to know the local specialties is an indispensable part of getting to know the destination. In Poreč and Istria, those are, among others, truffles, olive oil, Istrian prosciutto, Istrian boškarin beef, asparagus, and seafood, offered in best of Poreč offer. Along the Dekumanova Street in the old city core, you can find many patisseries with ice cream.


Istrian food - scallops, mussels, oysters / Poreč Tourist Board

I don't have to emphasize the importance and popularity of Istrian wines and wine roads. One must taste them when in Poreč, but what surprised me last year was the favorite activity of Istria people – truffle hunting. It was the best activity for me in the whole visit to Poreč and Istria the previous year, and it is worth experiencing!


As part of a truffle hunting tour, we ate an Istrian specialty - scrumbled eggs with black truffles / Donatella Pauković

And since Istria has been named the best olive oil region in the world for the sixth consecutive year, my next visit will for sure include olive oil roads in the Poreč hinterland.

Near Poreč, there are many entertainment and educational facilities, such as Motodrom Poreč with karting. In addition to karting, many other activities are offered: bigfoot riding, cross-kart driving, segway, quads motor wheels, paintball, and Adventure Park SkyFox. It is possible to ride horses in the nearby horseriding centers in Poreč.


Motodrom Poreč / Donatella Pauković

A few years ago, we spent a day visiting the Baredine Cave, at the bottom of which we saw one of the few specimens of a human fish. I recommend the Baredine Cave if you get bored of the heat because by descending to a depth of 60 meters, the air temperature also drops to 14 degrees Celsius, which is a shock compared to the outside 30 degrees during the summer days.


Human fish in the Baredine Cave near Poreč, Istria / Donatella Pauković

If you want to get the best from water experience, near the tourist resort Zelena Laguna in Poreč, you can enjoy the largest Croatian water amusement park – Aquacolors Poreč. Also, the attractive Aquapark Istralandia, recently named fourth best water park in the world, is only a 20-minute drive from Poreč.

If you want to learn something about astronomy, the Višnjan Observatory, one of the 12 most productive observatories in the world of all time, is 16 kilometers away from Poreč. During 2018 and 2019, the Observatory discovered and documented over 1,400 asteroids, and recently, as part of a crowdfunding campaign, they secured funding for further investment in scientific and educational facilities.

Conclusion: Is Porec in Croatia worth visiting?

Suppose you want to have active holidays, then yes. In that case, Poreč is worth visiting because it offers a combination of lovely beaches, city sights, beautiful sunsets, rich culture, numerous sports and adventure activities, great food, and even a great nightlife. Poreč simply has it all.

I have visited Poreč countless times in winter when it turns into a quiet town without tourists, and I would always rejoice to see some pizzerias, restaurants, and cafes open even during the winter. Poreč is also a host to many sports teams during winter, who do the preparations for sports competitions in six Poreč sports halls. Did you know that Poreč will soon even have a football camp? It is the result of a long-term investment in sports in Poreč.


Poreč Tourist Board

It is fascinating to me how every Croatian city and place hides many interesting facts, and sometimes it is challenging to discover them all in one visit. Therefore, I know there is a lot more to do and see in Poreč, and I can't wait to revisit it.

Although I have traveled a large part of the Croatian coast in my 24 years and the mainland, I think there is always something new to explore in Croatia, and I'm looking forward to finding out more about my beautiful country in the future.

To follow the People Also Ask Google about Croatia series, click here.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Aquapark Istralandia Voted Fourth Best Water Park in the World!

December 10, 2020 – Despite this year's slowdown in business caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Croatian Aquapark Istralandia can be proud. Park World Magazine has named it the fourth-best water park in the world!

As Turističke priče reports, the Istrian water park was named the fourth-best outdoor aquapark of summer character in the world. At the same time, the Istralandia's Space Combo slide was voted the third-best water slide in the world.

Second award this year

Although this year, the Istralandia Aquapark's work has been slowed down and marked by the application of strict epidemiological measures for visitors, this is already their 22nd recognition and award. Earlier this year, Aquapark Istralandia was named the fifth-best aquapark in the world and the third-best aquapark in Europe by the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice 2020.

The winners of the 2020 Park World Excellence Awards established by the Park World Magazine, the world's amusement park news agency, were announced during an online ceremony on Tuesday, December 8, 2020.

The first category took into account the experience of riding in an indoor or outdoor attraction such as a water slide, the excellence of attractions such as a wave pool and surf simulator, or the experience provided by a water park as innovation and uniqueness of an individual attraction or slide. The German attraction Vinterhal Rulantica Rust was declared the winner, and Istrialandia's Space Combo slide was declared the third-best slide in the world.


Space Combo slide / Photo: Aquapark Istralandia

Along with Istralandia's Space Combo slide, the nominates were: Banzai, Twister, Thunder & Anakonda (Aquapark Fala, Lodz, Poland), FlowRider Double (Surf House Helsinki, Finland), High Five (Aqualand Moravia, Pasohlavky, Czech Republic), Rangnakor (Rulantica, Germany), Splash Course (Palomaqua, Antalya, Turkey), and the Vinterhal (Rulantica, Rust, Germany).

In the category of summer outdoor and indoor aquaparks that stood out because they did something exceptional in the past year that exceeds the usual standards, as many as seven world water parks were nominated, including Aquapark Istralandia, the only Croatian nominated aquapark. The winner in this category was the German aquapark Rulantica as the best indoor water park in 2020, while the Aquapark Istralandia was named the fourth-best summer outdoor aquapark in the world.

Croatian's Istralandia competed with Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark (Dubai, UAE), Suntago Water Park (Wrecza, Poland), Rulantica (Rust, Germany), Sandcastle Waterpark (Blackpool, Lancashire, UK), Siam Park (Tenerife, Spain), and Yas Waterworld (Abu Dhabi, UAE).

"We would like to thank all the employees and partners of Aquapark Istralandia who, with their selfless efforts and cooperation, made it possible to receive this world award. The obligation is all the greater that in the next season, the Istralandia Team will maintain high standards of excellence and innovation that have distinguished us all in these past business seasons," they pointed out in Istralandia on the occasion of receiving these awards.

All the 2020 Park World Excellence winners are listed here. Next year, the Awards are planned to take place in Barcelona.

New attractions planned

Aquapark Istralandia, opened in 2014 in Brtonigla near Novigrad, Istria, covers 81,000 square meters. According to Tportal, in the next few years, it should be expanded to another three hectares. It will include new catering facilities with food and drinks, a large relaxation pool overlooking other pools, an adventure pool for children, and a "river" to ride a boat.

Also, the expansion of the shopping center is planned, as well as the construction of a 65-meter-high belvedere. This "lighthouse of Istria "should have several floors with shops and restaurants and a congress part where various events could be held. Unline the park, the belvedere would work all year round, thus enriching the nearby tourist offer and, more importantly, extending the tourist season, which is now very short.

According to their success so far, the new investments could push Istralandia to even higher places of the world's best aquaparks.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Istralandia Named 3rd Best Water Park in Europe

July 29,  2020 - The Travelers Choice list dedicated to theme parks and water parks was published on Wednesday... and Istralandia is once again the best water park in Croatia and the only Croatian park represented in Europe's top 10!

HRTurizam reports that the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice 2020 ranking dedicated to the category of water parks, published today by the most important internet portal for quality excellence ratings in the world, confirmed that Istralandia is the 3rd best European water park in the competition of more than 300 European water parks. Istralandia is classified as the 5th best water park in the world.

The ratings are processed based on the TripAdvisor algorithm that compares different parameters, including the ranking, quantity and quality of reviews published by the international user community.

The European bronze medal emphasizes the values ​​of quality and is another in a series of confirmations of excellent international positioning, which again sees Istrialandia in the European Top 10, and the only Croatian park to compete amongst the best in Europe. 

"Third place for Istria is a sign of growing public respect and comes at the center of a particularly complex season for this sector, fitting in with the task of harmonizing entertainment and respecting new safety protocols and epidemiological measures," said Silvio Kraljevic, head of Istralandia Aquapark.

Kraljevic says that Istralandia bases its attractions and services on several, clear and simple "rules of the game", preserving the original formula of the park, like a perfectly successful combination of fun and entertainment for all lovers of water attractions, taking care of the cleanliness in accordance with the highest hygienic standards and, of course, impeccable safety for all visitors and lovers of water elements.

“The award restores employees' hope that quality always wins because it recognizes the effort and constant investment in staff training, kindness and professionalism, care for greenery, entertainment and variety of animation programs, order, cleanliness and quality of pool water, rich and varied gastronomic offer, new adrenaline attractions of the latest generation, always high standardized levels of services, a rich sports offer and, at the same time, great readiness to accept innovative entertainment programs," says Kraljevic and emphasizes that he thanks all the employees of Aquapark Istralandia for this important new achievement and great international success, which is also a great tourist success for the destination of Istria and Croatia in general.

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

Monday, 3 October 2016

« Istralandia » Parmi les Meilleurs Parcs Aquatiques en Europe

Bonne nouvelle pour le parc aquatique situé près de la localité de Brtonigla en Istrie.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Istralandia among Best Water Parks in Europe

Good news for the water park near Brtonigla.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Istralandia, a Visit to Croatia's First Aquapark

Istralandia, Croatia's first aquapark opened in 2014. TCN took a tour on July 20, 2016 to find a successful business delivering buckets of fun for all the family.