Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Port For Smaller Boats Inaugurated in Rovinj

ZAGREB, 15 Sept, 2021 - The San Pelagio port, a new, HRK 53.4 million (€7.12 million) investment in the northern Adriatic city of Rovinj, which is expected to relieve the burden on the Andana port in the city centre, was opened on Wednesday.

The new port is intended exclusively for personal vessels up to eight metres in length, the Rovinj Port Authority said.

Port Authority head Donald Schiozzi said the new port was being opened ahead of 16 September, the Day of the City of Rovinj and its patron saint, St. Euphemia.

Mayor Marko Paliaga recalled that construction work on the new port started in late 2019, noting that currently more than 1,000 smaller vessels are registered in the city.

The largest part of the investment was contributed by Rovinj and its port authority, HRK 8.5 million was contributed by the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure while Istria County participated with HRK 1.6 million.

Josip Bilaver, State Secretary at the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure and the government's envoy at the inauguration of the port, said the government had recognised the importance of investing in port infrastructure and would continue with such projects.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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


Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Three More Croatian Restaurants Awarded Michelin Star

ZAGREB, 7 Sept, 2021 - Three more Croatian restaurants have been added to the prestigious Michelin restaurant guide, bringing the total number of Croatian restaurants with one star to ten, the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) announced on Tuesday following notification from Michelin.

The three new restaurants that have been awarded a single Michelin star are Nebo in Rijeka (housed in the Costabella Hilton Hotel), Alfred Keller in Mali Lošinj and Agli Amici in Rovinj. They joined the seven restaurants that have retained their stars - Boškinac in Novalja, LD Terrace in Korčula, Pelegrini in Šibenik, 360º in Dubrovnik, Monte in Rovinj, Noel in Zagrebu and Draga di Lovrana in Lovran.

In addition, seven more restaurants have been awarded the special Bib Gourmand designation for their remarkable menus at affordable prices. There are now 13 restaurants in Croatia with this designation.

The new Bib Gourmand restaurants are Konoba Mate (Korčula), Dunav (Ilok), Konoba Fetivi (Split), Izakaya by Time (Zagreb), Vuglec Breg (Krapina), Konoba Malo Selo (Buje) and Alla Beccaccia (Valbandon).

All the restaurants are listed in the new edition of the Michelin guide for Croatia for 2021. Another novelty in the new edition is the Michelin Green Star designation, which has been awarded to the Zinfandel's restaurant, housed in the Esplanade Zagreb Hotel, to acknowledge its commitment to sustainable and environmentally-friendly gastronomy.

Commenting on the news from Michelin, Tourism and Sport Minister Nikolina Brnjac said that enjoying food and drink is an important part of the tourist experience, adding that Croatia, as a country with a rich gastronomic tradition, should invest more in its promotion and development in the future. 

HTZ Director Kristjan Staničić said that the award of new Michelin designations is a huge success for the Croatian gastronomic scene and very important for the country's tourist industry, considering various restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

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

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

750,000 Tourists Currently in Croatia, Istrian Cities Proving Hit

August the 31st, 2021 - The Croatian tourist season just keeps on going despite the predictions we had earlier on in the year. With numbers rising to almost pre-pandemic levels and foreign arrivals having a much easier time entering Croatia than before, September is looking great and several Istrian cities are a particular hit at the moment.

While the vaccination rollout in Croatia might still leave quite a bit to be desired for, the tourist season has been excellent so far, with the announcements as we head into September also looking more than promising. The favourable epidemiological situation is likely to continue as long as all of the measures that remain in place are properly adhered to.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to the latest data from Croatia's eVisitor system, there are about 750,000 tourists currently holidaying in the country, of which about 650,000 are non-resident foreign nationals. Most of them are Germans, followed by other Croatian tourists visiting different places across the country, as reported by HRT.

The most visited cities are the Istrian cities of Rovinj, Porec and Umag. After that, most tourists can be found in the Split-Dalmatia, Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Zadar counties.

These figures represent encouraging growth of as much as 67 percent when compared to last year and the current state is only 15 percent less than the record year of 2019. As long as nothing changes drastically in regard to the currently very favourable Croatian epidemiological situation, the post-season could be above all expectations, bringing a very welcome sigh of relief for all those in the hospitality and tourism sector who more than likely believed such success would never come.

For more on travel to and around Croatia, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel and border rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centres, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language.

Saturday, 21 August 2021

46th Edition of Prstenac Tournament Started With Flag Hoisting

ZAGREB, 21 Aug, 2021 - The 46th edition of the traditional three-day Prstenac tournament started in the Istrian town of Barban on Friday evening with the flag-raising ceremony.

This year, the event is held in line with the COVID-19 epidemiological measures.

The tournament is held under the auspices of Croatian President Zoran Milanović.

Spectators are able to attend the event after presenting the COVID-19 certificate confirming that they have recovered from the coronavirus or that they have tested negative to the virus. 

The final race will be held on Sunday afternoon with 16 horsemen participating.

First mentioned in 1696 and revived by the town of Barban in 1976, the Prstenac Race is held every year on the third weekend in August. The race features horsemen dressed in Istrian folk costumes, and they must cross a 150 metre track on horseback in 12 seconds and hit the "prstenac" iron ring with a spear.

This tournament has become a must-see cultural event, attracting several thousand visitors each summer.

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Wednesday, 18 August 2021

46th Edition of Prstenac Tournament Starts on Friday

ZAGREB, 18 Aug 2021 - The 46th edition of the traditional three-day Prstenac tournament will start in the Istrian town of Barban on Friday evening with the flag-raising ceremony, organizers announced on Tuesday.

This year, the event will be held in line with the COVID-19 epidemiological measures.

Spectators will be able to attend the event after presenting the COVID-19 certificate confirming that they have recovered from the coronavirus or that they have tested negative for the virus. 

The final race will be held on Sunday afternoon with 16 horsemen participating.

First mentioned in 1696 and revived by the town of Barban in 1976, the Prstenac Race is held every year on the third weekend in August. The race features horsemen dressed in Istrian folk costumes, and they must cross a 150-meter track on horseback in 12 seconds and hit the "prstenac" iron ring with a spear.

This tournament has become a must-see cultural event, attracting several thousand visitors each summer.

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

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Central Istria Tourist Board Appoints New President

July 31, 2021 - Goran Hrvatin, who has been the mayor of Tinjan for four years, has been appointed as the new mayor of the Central Istria Tourist Board.

HrTurizam reports that the Mayor of Tinjan, Goran Hrvatin, was unanimously appointed the new President at yesterday's meeting of the founders of the Tourist Board of Central Istria (TZSI) and will hold this position until the end of his current term. Until now, the duty of the president of the Central Istria Tourist Board was performed by Renato Krulčić, the mayor of the City of Pazin, and with the termination of the duty of the mayor, his duty as the president of the Tourist Board ceased.

The biography of the new president shows that from 2005 to 2008 he actively participated in the work of the Municipality of Tinjan as a councilor in the municipal council. Since May 2015, he has been volunteering as the Mayor of Tinjan. In his biography, he states that "during his tenure, he found a model for overcoming the crisis of the Municipality of Tinjan and laid the Municipality of Tinjan on a solid foundation." He has actively participated in IPARD projects for unclassified roads, tourist facilities, and in projects related to public lighting. Through four years of work on projects of the Municipality of Tinjan, he states that he has the necessary experience to manage projects co-financed by state and county aid and aid from EU funds.

The Central Istria Tourist Board was established, as one of the first in Croatia, for the area of ​​several local self-government units. It includes the City of Pazin and the municipalities of Cerovlje, Gračišće, Karojba, Lupoglav, Pićan, Sveti Lovreč, Sveti Petar u Šumii Tinjan.

It is important to mention that the Municipality of Tinjan has for many years recorded the largest number of overnight stays in the Central Istria Tourist Board, and has the largest accommodation capacity with more than a thousand beds.

Also, one of the positive things that are happening in Istria, and thanks to more and more luxury holiday homes is the opening of a new market for family farms. Thus, local Istrian family farms are organized and offer guests in holiday homes the delivery of their products to the doorstep. A new market has opened up, which we also wrote about in an article last year.

“Central Istria strives to position itself as an ideal combination of uniqueness, but also of untouched nature, ideal for outdoor activities. Thus, the beauty of the natural landscape and the richness of cultural heritage are key elements of the tourist offer", said then director of the Central Istria Tourist Board, Sanja Kantaruti, adding that the principles of slow, green, and healthy tourism have been adopted.

The main problem of central Istria is still the fact that it is not united as one tourist product, the North-Western cluster is missing, which creates additional problems in positioning, branding, and development. It is the north-western part of Istria that is developing and positioning the fastest and it is absurd that Motovun belongs to Central Istria and Grožnjan to North-Western Istria. Tourists really do not know or are interested in various municipal, city, county, and other imaginary borders, but they see first Croatia as a destination, and only then Istria.

And this is proof of how it is necessary to brand the regions, and then descend to logical and natural wholes, as well as niche rounded tourist products. And that is why central Istria must be one brand because it is one story and practically one destination. I emphasize that this is the interior of Istria, that is, only one area where visitors do not see the borders, here is the idea for a new President of the Central Istria Tourist Board.

For more information and travel tips on the Istrian region, be sure to visit our newly launched Total Croatia portal.

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

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Why is Istria on ECDC Orange List When Cases are Minimal?

July the 21st, 2021 - I think it's safe to say that everyone is sick to the back teeth of colours, traffic light systems, and the words testing and quarantine. The advent of the vaccine was supposed to put a gradual but certain end to all of this, and it leaves one wondering when everything will become normal again. Some things make little sense, and Istria being on the ECDC orange list is just one in a long line.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, numerous reactions, but also fears for the height of the summer tourist season were caused by the decision of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to mark the Croatian coast with orange on the now almost Godly coronavirus map.

Protests against the criteria according to which ECDC designates high-risk regions were the loudest of all in Istria, from which experts and politicians said that they had a favourable epidemiological situation and that they were victims of other more irresponsible Croatian counties.

Namely, the ECDC divided Croatia into four regions - northern, Pannonian, Adriatic and the City of Zagreb. There was an initiative aimed at the ECDC to change the criteria and apply to individual counties, but it seems that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control isn't even thinking of changing their current practice. The total lack of logic shows obviously when Istria is placed on the ECDC orange list, when, at the time of writing, there were no new cases, much less hospitalisations or deaths.

''Such a decision was agreed at the level of EU member states last year during the German presidency. Observing each unit separately wouldn't be practical, as it would mean that 1,500 regions need to be treated as being in the European Union, while with this methodology there are 330,'' the ECDC told HRT.

It's worth reminding ourselves of the fact that the ECDC monitors the fourteen-day incidence of new cases of coronavirus infection per 100,000 inhabitants and the percentage of positively tested persons, and according to these criteria, the coastal part of Croatia is shown in orange. Continental Croatia is still very much green.

On the map of Europe, most countries are in green, and in the red are Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Malta and Cyprus, as well as parts of Greece, Belgium and Denmark. Apart from the Croatian coast, parts of France, Greece, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Belgium, and the whole of Ireland are also all in orange.

For more, follow our travel section.

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Injured Turtle in Korčula Bay: Rescued, Treated, Ready For New Life

July 17, 2021 -  An injured turtle in Korčula Bay sparked immediate action by locals and vets, seeing the turtle being saved and getting a second chance.

Like many other places, towns, locations, and neighborhoods, Korčula also has groups on social media to ease communication among users who share the same place of daily life. Friday afternoon saw residents of Korčula have a big heart, and despite might being stereotypically perceived as laid back, chilled chaps (as for every Mediterranian-culture impacted people), they were quick to act when needed.

A user under the name Antoni Ja, one of the members of the FB group Oglasnik otoka Korčule (Korčula Island Message Board), reported on a 20 kilo turtle floating in the sea in Žrnovska Banja. Floating, the keyword.

„Please do something, so it doesn't get hit by a speedboat or some maniac“, said Antoni Ja.

Other users immediately started to worry if the turtle was injured, and the name of a local vet Vilović was suggested as an address to report the issue.

Sure enough, Vilović examined the turtle, and the 20-kilo turtle turned out to be over 50 kilos. Not quite often seen in shallow waters, but nevertheless a normal turtle size in the Adriatic sea.

„It had a head wound, most likely from the propeller. It is on its way to the Specialist in Split by catamaran“, briefly commented Vilović.

Indeed, as the photo on the FB group published by Ana Jurić shows, the turtle was on its way to Split.

„Kudos to the vet and the guys that organized all this, and the turtle is huge!“ wrote Jurić.


Zrnovska Banja where the turtle was spotted floating © Visit Korcula

Dr. Mario Gavranović, head of the VET VISION clinic in Split, confirmed that the turtle arrived on Friday night.  „It should arrive in an hour or two. The propeller injury is an old wound and I will first have to examine it to see what is the proper way of treatment“, said Dr. Gavranović.

When contacted on Saturday morning to provide more information on what happened to the turtle, dr. Gavranović wasn't in his office. As confirmed by Aquarium Pula, the reason was Gavranović took the turtle to the aquarium which also has a Marine turtles rescue centre.

"The turtle is alright, on its way and should be in the Centre around midday", briefly confirmed Aquairum Pula.

Pula's rescue centre has been active for around 17 years (with turtles being strictly protected in Croatia since 1995 as one of the most endangered animal species), and wrote in 2019 how the centre cured over 100 turtles. 


One of the many rescued turtles by Marine turtles rescue centre © Aquarium Pula

Croatia loves its animals

With vets displaying their expertise, locals on Korčula once again demonstrated their compassion and big heart when it comes to animals. And that compassion is not different from the general mood in Croatia.

With the nourishing of the recently deceased stork Malena being the most famous story of love between Croatians and animals, there were plenty of other examples too. From rejoicing every time whales or dolphins are spotted, when sheep visited the Zadar mall or when a Croatian reality TV star Jasmin Kunišinac raised a fox.

Unfortunately, Croatia also records cases of animal cruelty, such as the poisoning of cats and dogs, and each time Croatian public met it with a fierce backlash and anger for such acts.

Despite quite often arguing about everything imaginable and unimaginable, Croatians also express solidarity with each other when things get tough. For instance, many cities canceled their new year celebrations and relocated the money to Petrinja following its earthquake, as well as Croatian entrepreneurs too. But, many more instances of help were noted over the years.

Learn more about Korčula on our TC page.

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

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Petram Resort and Residences: Largest Croatian Tourism Complex in the Works

July 13, 2021 - The largest tourism project currently being built in Croatia, Petram Resort and Residences, is located at the northernmost point of the Croatian coast, on the border with Slovenia and Italy, at the Alberi location in Savudrija in northwestern Istria.

However, this is also a huge real estate project, reports Jutarnji List.

The complex will have 252 luxury properties - 55 tourist villas, an aparthotel with 179 holiday apartments, and 18 residential apartments. According to the announcements, everything is conceived on top design ahead of trends, sustainable construction, new materials, fragrant Mediterranean horticulture, and open views, combined with an innovative concept of resort maintenance and real estate management. It is the first resort for housing and vacation of its kind in Croatia and the region.

"It will be possible to leave the care of the property completely to the resort and thus ensure a carefree vacation, but also to improve and return the investment. It will be a ubiquitous, almost invisible service worthy of a five-star hotel," announced investors MK Group and Aleksandar Group.

This resort will offer a closed community holiday with all amenities and services at your fingertips and concierge service 24 hours a day. It will offer a combination of sea, greenery, thoughtful and top design, sports facilities, and wellness. In addition, it will have a striking infinity rooftop pool, garden pools, swimming pool, children's park, and restaurants.



Surrounded by the sea as far as the eye can see, Petram Resort & Residences will be an ideal location for hedonists. The big advantage is good connections, as it is close to several airports and a few hours drive from many cities.

"We are talking to LAD 1 studio architects Lotus Group Maja Bručić and Eva Cotman. We were interested in the contents of the resort because a large infinity pool on the roof is mentioned as an attraction. It will be the largest and most beautiful outdoor roof pool you can imagine, 105 meters long, the second-longest in the world, on which our top statisticians worked," says Maja Bručić.

There will also be a fine-dining restaurant on the roof of the aparthotel. The garden pool is located next to a modern Italian restaurant on one side and a steak house with Istrian specialties. There is also a swimming pool surrounded by Mediterranean scents created for lazy mornings, active days, and afternoons full of sun and relaxation, an outdoor swimming pool and children's park, swimming pools with facilities for children, and golf courses nearby.



"The resort will have 55 tourist villas, 12 of which with their own infinity roof pools and another 43 modern villas perfectly blended into the Mediterranean climate in which they are located. High construction standards will allow immersion in a beautiful environment and ensure privacy, luxury, and peace. The buyer of the villa chooses one of the three types of decoration, the one that best suits their sensibility," explains the architect Bručić.

In addition to villas, there are 18 apartments in apartment buildings and 179 tourist apartments in the main building, the apart-hotel, ranging from studios to three-bedroom.

"Flats and apartments will be modern, with open views and the right dose of luxury and privacy, which will allow undisturbed enjoyment of all occasions. Each property will choose an interior design package that suits the style and sensibility of future owners. It will also be possible to choose a maintenance package," explains Eva Cotman.

Apart from the fact that the architects were committed to using top local materials that are in harmony with the climate and originate from it, they also paid attention to horticultural landscaping that is indigenous, lush, and full of colors.

"We strived to achieve the ideal combination of respect for Mediterranean construction and horticulture while leaving a sufficiently open view of the sea and the environment that surrounds us, which reflects our commitment to sustainable construction. The whole complex is energy class A+, with quality thermal insulation and renewable energy sources. The heating and cooling and hot water preparation system are designed with cranes that use energy from renewable sources and thus significantly increase energy savings and reduce the harmful impact on the environment, especially air and water," says Maja Bručić and adds that they pay attention to sorting and separate waste collection and use waste air recovery.

Schuco brand windows and doors are made of aluminum frames with an interrupted thermal bridge, with double-glazed insulating glass, which is also low-energy and has a thermoreflex coating. This allows the residences to have large glass surfaces with open views without affecting the increased energy consumption.

The investor, Čista voda project, is an Istrian company, and the Petram Resort and Residences project is implemented in cooperation with well-known investors MK Group and Aleksandar Group. MK Group is one of the leading holding companies in agriculture, tourism, and banking in Southeast Europe. In its more than 25 years of operation on the Serbian market, Aleksandar Group has built hundreds of thousands of square meters of residential and commercial space. LAD 1 studio is in charge of designing, supervising, and managing the project, and the Lotus Group is the brand of that company.

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

Sunday, 11 July 2021

80% Vaccination Rate in Rovinj Untrue

July 11, 2021 - The 80% vaccination rate in Rovinj, which Health Minister Vili Beroš communicated, has turned out to be untrue. 

While it is undeniable that vaccinating as many people as possible is the most effective measure in the fight against COVID-19, it would be equally good if the public were treated with accurate figures rather than arbitrary calculations by individuals. Likewise, in an organized state, at least the Minister of Health could be expected to present correct information and not present unverified facts to the public, reports Glas Istre.

This is exactly what Minister of Health Vili Beroš did a few days ago when he stated at a press conference that Rovinj is the Croatian record holder in vaccinations and that 80 percent of the city's population has been vaccinated so far. Beroš reiterated the information that appeared on some portals, which was created by a wrong calculation of the figure released to the public at the end of June by the Office of the Mayor of Rovinj, Marko Paliaga.

That release states the following:

"While in most other parts of Croatia, there has been a decline in citizens' response to vaccinations, the situation in the City of Rovinj is more than satisfactory. According to the Rovinj Branch of the Istrian Health Centers, from 11 February 2021 to 24 June 2021, 11,414 citizens were vaccinated at the Rovinj Branch, of which 2,056 at the Health Center and 9,358 at the Valbruna Hall. We also learn from the head of the Branch Office, Dr. Corinne Pellizzer Lanča, that 6,853 received the first dose, while a total of 4,561 people were vaccinated with both doses."

According to the last census, Rovinj has about 14,500 inhabitants, and 11,414 citizens correspond to 80 percent of those vaccinated. However, Mayor Marko Paliaga himself told Glas Istre that he did not know where Minister Beroš got this number because they did not communicate 80 percent vaccinated. Paliaga also confirmed that 11,414 citizens include residents of surrounding municipalities such as Bale and Kanfanar that were vaccinated in Rovinj. Also, it is clear from these figures that so far, only about 4,500 people have been vaccinated with two doses, which is about a third of Rovinj's population. Still, even here, it should be considered that some of those vaccinated are probably from the surrounding municipalities. It is also unknown whether the 6,853 people who received the first dose and 4,561 the second dose are counted or are only people who received only one dose and will be vaccinated with the second dose in the next few months. In that case, the number could indeed reach 11,414 vaccinated citizens, but again, even that number will not include only Rovinj residents.

Regardless of this misinterpretation of figures, it remains an indisputable fact that Rovinj is very successful when it comes to the vaccinated population and that the citizens of this city are aware of how much vaccination means for a successful tourist season in Rovinj, which is the most visited city on the Croatian coast. The only pity is that people at the top of the government who spread unverified figures do not have the same responsibility, thus distrusting those citizens who have not yet been vaccinated.

Dr. Jasna Valić from the Istrian Teaching Institute for Public Health told Glas Istre that they do not have accurate data for Rovinj because they are under the jurisdiction of the local branch of the Istrian Health Centers, but confirmed that 48 percent of the total population in Istria was vaccinated with just one dose. In comparison, 37 percent of the total population received two doses or 31 percent of the adult population. Jasna Valić emphasized that it is easily possible that there was confusion about vaccinations because they are dealing with a lot of different numbers.

"It is not surprising that there was a misunderstanding because there are too many numbers in the game. First, you have to count on those who have gotten over Covid. Then some of them have already been vaccinated, so you have those vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson for whom one dose is enough and then those who are vaccinated with two doses. However, I think it is clear to everyone that the only thing that matters is that we are vaccinated as much as possible because that is the only way to return to normal life," said Dr. Jasna Valić. In contrast, Rovinj Mayor Marko Paliaga says that he is still delighted with the vaccination process in Rovinj despite this misunderstanding.

"The men and women of Rovinj have once again shown a great degree of responsibility and care for the protection of their health and the health of others. This is also one of the key reasons Istria records a far better epidemiological situation than the rest of Croatia. Vaccination is currently the only way out of this situation and the only way we can stop the spread of the virus. I would like to remind you that in some countries with a high vaccination rate, almost all restrictions, including the obligation to wear masks, have been lifted. Therefore, I hope that we will soon achieve mass immunity that will allow us to repeal all or most of the measures that are currently still in force," said Paliaga.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centers across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

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