Thursday, 24 February 2022

5 Ways to Get a Free Week’s Stay in Croatia's Dream Destinations

February 24th, 2022 - If you happen to love spending time outdoors and have a few days to spare this spring or summer, Croatia’s national and nature parks offer amazing volunteering opportunities that involve a free week’s stay in some of the most spectacular locations in the country

We prepared a selection of five attractive volunteer programmes that are 5-10 days long and require up to 6 hours of work a day, with free accommodation, meals and transportation provided to participants. English speakers are encouraged to apply, as knowledge of Croatian isn’t a requirement for any of the following roles:

 

1. Dry Stone Restorer in Mljet National Park

Become a guardian of the past by restoring ancient dry stone walls in Mljet National Park. Traditional dry stone construction is inscribed in the list of intangible cultural assets of the Republic of Croatia, which means you’d literally help restore and preserve precious cultural heritage on Mljet island!

Volunteers will learn how to build and fix up walls, stairways and other dry stone structures. The job also involves clearing existing dry stone structures of vegetation, simple processing of stone using hand tools, and photographing dry stone walls before and after restoration.

Croatia_Islands_Mljet_National_Park_Mljet_0054-min.jpgMljet island / Photo © Mario Romulic

The programme takes place in April and is seven days long, including six days of work and one day off. Volunteers are expected to work six hours a day with a one-hour break, but considering that the physical work involved in this particular programme can be strenuous, the number or working hours can be reduced if needed.

All necessary tools will be provided by the Park. Accommodation is provided free of charge on Mljet island in the Collier building owned by the Park, which has seven rooms equipped with bunk beds, toilets, showers, a kitchen and a living room. Meals are also provided free of charge, with the Park delivering groceries to volunteers or providing free meals at the local hotel.

If stonemasonry isn’t your cup of tea and you’d prefer a less hands-on kind of creative work, may we suggest another volunteer programme on Mljet island:

 

2. Photo Amateur in Mljet National Park

A dream come true for anyone who loves island hopping and snapping pics of stunning landscapes (don’t we all?), this programme involves photographing the scenery and events in Mljet National Park in the period between April and June.

Depending on the time of year, volunteers will be required to photograph various locations, events and activities on Mljet island using their own gear. You’ll be capturing the island’s flora and fauna, cultural monuments and landmarks, historic sites, enchanting landscapes and fun summer events.

opis_NP_Mljet_2-1024x695-min.pngMljet National Park / Photo: volonteri.parkovihrvatske.hr

Those who choose to participate in this particular programme will sign a statement of the assignment of the photos to Mljet National Park. You’ll have to submit the photos shortly after the programme is over, and can look forward to seeing them featured in the Park’s publications in Croatia and abroad.

A minimum of one DSLR camera with a lens is required to partake in this programme.

You’ll have plenty of time to explore the island on your own time, and there’s no shortage of things to do: there are over 40 kilometres of hiking and cycling trails, you can rent a kayak or canoe to explore the saltwater lakes on Mljet, or take diving lessons with a certified instructor.

For all Mljet-based programmes, volunteers are to bear the cost of travel to Mljet island, and the Park will provide transport from the ferry port on Mljet to the place of accommodation.

 

3. Gull Catcher in Kornati National Park

Are you a fan of the great outdoors and love being in close contact with wildlife? Consider becoming a seagull catcher in Kornati National Park. Don't worry, you'll be releasing them too!

You’ll be joining the Park’s experts as they band and monitor Caspian gulls in the stunning Kornati archipelago, specifically on a few islands where seagulls are known to nest.

program_PP_Kornati_purara-1024x770.jpgKornati National Park / Photo: volonteri.parkovihrvatske.hr

Do you dare to catch a young gull with your bare hands? If you do, you get to name the bird and take notes as it gets banded by a qualified employee of the Park. Banding and monitoring allows experts to track the behaviour and habitats of seagulls in order to collect data used to ensure protection of the species.

Volunteers will receive training prior to starting work and will be supervised by the Park staff. The programme takes place in May and June lasts about ten days, with volunteers expected to work seven hours a day.

Accommodation is provided and free, and in this case, it’s pretty amazing: you’ll be staying on a sailboat owned by the National Park Kornati, fully furnished and featuring 3 cabins, 6 beds, a living room, kitchen and toilet.

3S8C9082-min.jpgKornati National Park / Photo © Mario Romulic

Groceries are provided free of charge, and volunteers can either prepare meals on their own or seek the help of the volunteer manager.

Volunteers have to arrange transportation to Murter island, while further transport from Murter and within the Park area is organised by the Park and free of charge.

4. Traditional Gardener in Lonjsko Polje Nature Park

Lonjsko Polje (Lonja Field) is the largest protected wetland in Croatia, located approximately 70 km south-east of Zagreb.

If you have a green thumb and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you’d be a great fit for a traditional gardener in Lonjsko Polje Nature Park. You’d help clean up the untended plots in the Park and plant new seedlings around traditional wooden houses in the villages of Krapje and Čigoč - think of it as traditional landscape design!

posavina_cigic_1-min.jpgLonjsko Polje Nature Park / Photo © Mario Romulic

The programme takes place in April and lasts five days, six hours of work each.

Accommodation is provided free of charge in a dormitory in Krapje. The facility is equipped with a small kitchen and a bathroom, and has central heating. As volunteers will be sleeping on spare beds, they are required to bring their own sleeping bags. Groceries are provided free of charge, and bikes and vehicles are available to use for transportation within the Park.

5. Guardian of Plant Biodiversity in Brijuni National Park

There’s not much need for gardening on Brijuni islands - domestic wildlife and imported species such as mountain zebras and mouflons take care of landscaping by nibbling away at the grass at all times.

There’s a single item on the menu that the animals don’t like: a spiky flower called Spanish oyster thistle. Since the wildlife practically mows the lawn, it removes all natural obstacles that would prevent the spread of the Spanish oyster thistle, allowing it to take over whole areas that would otherwise be home to other plants.

Istra0026-min.jpgBrijuni islands / Photo © Mario Romulic

As a volunteer, you’ll help maintain the biodiversity on the meadows of Veliki Brijun island by keeping the pesky thistle in check. You’ll be removing the aggressive plant using provided gardening tools.

Volunteers are needed in the month of May and are required to put in 6 hours of work daily. Beyond that, the islands are yours to enjoy: explore the Safari and Ethno Parks, rent golf equipment and play on the golf course opened in 1922, or go for a swim at one of Brijuni’s pristine beaches.

The Brijuni are also a nice jumping off point for trips in Istria. Discover the ancient Roman monuments in Pula which is located only 7km away from Fažana, or visit the picture-perfect city of Rovinj.

IMG_3729.jpgWildlife on Brijuni islands / Photo © Mario Romulic

Accommodation is provided in one of the apartment buildings on Veliki Brijun island that are owned by the Park. Apartments are equipped with toilets, bathrooms, and a kitchen; rooms are shared with one or two other volunteers.

Groceries are provided free of charge and delivered to the apartment building, and one meal a day is also provided free of charge in the workers’ restaurant.

Volunteers have to arrange transport to Fažana town, and boat transportation to and from Veliki Brijun island is organised by the Park free of charge for the duration of the volunteer programme.

***

Applicants who don’t speak Croatian must be able to speak English in order to communicate with the park authorities and volunteer coordinators.

You can find more information about these and other volunteer programmes on the website Volunteer in Parks of Croatia.

Looking to apply? Fill out this form (in English), pick a programme you like and specify when you're free to participate, and the relevant programme coordinators will get back to you.

Please note that some of the programmes might not be accepting applications for the time being, or might be otherwise affected by epidemiological measures.

 

Check out our comprehensive Guide to the Nature and National Parks of Croatia.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Kornati National Park Finalist for 2021 Best European Filming Location

Kornati islands are among the finalists competing for the best European filming location of the year!

The European Film Commission Network (EUFCN) announced the five finalists competing for the Location Award 2021. In the fifth instalment of the annual competition, Kornati National Park made the cut as one of the filming locations for the award-winning Croatian film Murina

Each year, all EUFCN member film commissions have a chance to nominate one location from a film or a TV series filmed in their country; the list of submissions is then reviewed by the Location Award Jury who select the top five locations to compete for the title. EUFCN state that the jury looks for locations that have a significant role in the story and innovative use in the audiovisual product. 

Here’s a full list of this year’s finalists:

Berlin, Germany: The Queen’s Gambit

Cahir Castle, Ireland: The Green Knight

Malaga, Spain: The Crown (Season 4)

Stadlandet, Norway: Dune 

Kornati National Park, Croatia: Murina

eufcn.pngEUFCN - European Film Commissions Network 

Voting is open to the general public - you can cast your vote until January 31st, 2022 at the EUFCN Location Award page. If you need an incentive, let it be known that one lucky voter will be randomly selected and awarded a trip to the winning location!

Murina was directed by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović and stars Gracija Filipović, Leon Lučev, Danica Ćurčić and Cliff Curtis. 

The Dubrovnik-born director’s first feature film won quite a few international accolades this year, most notably the prestigious Camera d’or award at the Cannes Film Festival in July. Murina had its Croatian debut at the Pula Film Festival where it won three awards: the Golden Arena for Best Supporting Actress (Danica Ćurčić), the Breza Award for Best Debutant (Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović), and the Golden Gate of Pula Audience Award for best film in the Croatian programme. 

Apart from Kornati, the filming of Murina also took place on Hvar and Koločep island. 

 

For everything you need to know about filming in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 7 September 2020

PHOTOS: It's True! Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia on Holiday

Total Croatia News broke the story last Friday. And now it's finally been confirmed - it's true, Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia

News travels fast in Croatia. Nowhere does it travel quicker than on the ever-reliable News pages of Total Croatia News. Unless, of course, you count Croatian gossip.

TCN journalist extraordinaire Iva Tatić was relaxing on the island of Korčula, playing with her dog, when last week she heard an eyebrow-raising piece of gossip through the open window. “Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia!”

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Iva Tatić's dog, one of the first to hear about Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia

Ever the professional, Iva leaned out of the balcony to ask a neighbour to confirm the rumour. “That's what they're saying” replied the neighbour, above a small street filled with laughter. The cause of the chuckles? Not only are Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia, but they've also asked for the entire islet of Vrnik to be evacuated so they can enjoy a private visit. “Hmm, difficult request,” thought Iva. Vrnik is an inhabited island. People live there throughout the year. There are probably around 100 people there right now.

Much to the disappointment of her dog, Iva's journalistic instincts took over. She sat down at the computer and set about trying to corroborate the rumour so that she could break the news. At her time of writing, she was unable to do so. There was simply nothing in any other media confirming Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia.

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How Iva Tatić broke the story about Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia last Friday. Her's was the first story to announce the pop star's arrival. It has since been confirmed that the celebrity couple are indeed aboard the pictured yacht, Lana. Iva Tatić took this photo of the yacht from the shores of the island of Korčula, where she likes to spend much of her summer

But, sometimes a journalist's instinct is all they need. Iva confirmed that the yacht Lana had been seen in the surroundings of the Korčula archipelago. She went to the shoreline and it was there! From a distance, she managed to grab a photo. At 107 meters in length and capable of accommodating 12 guests and 31 crew, this is no ordinary yacht. Some special visitors were definitely holidaying here.

Knowing that Beyonce and Jay Z had been here nine years ago, on Hvar, and two years prior to that had been in Dubrovnik, Iva went with gut instincts and published the story, being careful to mention it was uncorroborated. Her article was the first to break the news of a visit that is now 100% confirmed. It's true, Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia.

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Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia, pictured on Instagram

The yacht Lana was spotted further up the coast on Saturday, around the Kornati archipelago. Then, in the afternoon of the same day, tourists visiting the island of Žut were finally able to corroborate Iva's story. They managed to grab pictures of Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia. They were dining in an otherwise deserted restaurant, Fešta on the island. The visit coincides with Beyonce's 39th birthday.

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Iva's story was confirmed by Croatian portal Zadarski.hr one day after Iva published when they were able to show photos of the couple dining on the island of Žut

This being visit number three for Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia, we wouldn't count out a return visit next year for her 40th. The couple clearly love coming to Croatia. If they do come, be sure to look out for Total Croatia News again breaking the story. Since the writing of her article, Iva Tatić and her dog have been taking their cuddling sessions much closer to Iva's open window.

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Iva Tatić's dog "Beyonce and Jay Z in Croatia? I don't care! Where did my cuddles go?"

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Tuesday, 4 August 2020

VIDEO: Drone Footage Shows Cycling On Ugljan Island, A Blissful Paradise

August 4, 2020 - Get a bird’s eye view of Zadar’s closest facing neighbour with this new drone footage of cycling on Ugljan island

Even in the height of summer, Croatia can offer total escape. The crowds and city streets have been all but forgotten by Andrej Šimunaj and his friends, who are currently enjoying cycling on Ugljan island. A new video they shot using a drone offers an incredible perspective of the peace, tranquillity and beauty of this little-discussed island.

The footage shows the visitors passing through peaceful pine forests as they journey to the vantage point of Venetian-built St. Michael’s Fort, high above the town of Preko and just of the edge of the Kornati National Park. From there, the cyclists roll downhill to a small cove named Prtljug, which holds the incredibly clear turquoise seas so beloved by visitors to the Croatian coast.


Cycling On Ugljan Island

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Commemoration Held for Firefighters Killed on Kornat Island 12 Years Ago

ZAGREB, August 31, 2019 - Croatia today remembers the greatest tragedy in the history of firefighting in the country which occurred on 30 August 2007 on the Kornat island, when 12 firefighters were killed, and a central commemoration was held by the firefighters' families and Interior Minister Davor Božinović at stone crosses that were erected on the island in their memory.

Frano Lučić was the only surviving firefighter of the tragedy. A large number of firefighters from around the country also attended the commemoration.

"I spoke to the families of the killed firefighters today. I empathise with their pain, which is not easy to bear. That is burden that is difficult to live with," Božinović said.

He could not comment on the judicial epilogue of the case which is currently being heard before the Supreme Court.

What awaits us now is to see what the epilogue of that procedure will be. As far as institutions are concerned, they are prepared at any given moment to act if there is any indication or need for that and if requested by relevant authorities, Božinović said.

National Fire Chief Slavko Tucaković said that everyone wishes that a tragedy of this nature never occurs again. He added that he believes that the system has been improved compared to 12 years ago.

Šibenik Fire Chief Dražen Slavica was tried for negligence that led to the death of the 12 firefighters on Kornat island. However, he was acquitted of the charges in two trials, for the second time in April last year.

More news about firefighting in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

10 Incredible Chefs, 1 Uninhabited Island: Festa Days Returns to Zut

June 9, 2019 - It may be an uninhabited island for most of the year, but the Kornati island of Zut has a growing reputation for gourmet excellence. Festa Days returns next week. 

The diversity of Croatian tourism never ceases to amaze me. Not the determination of people to succeed. 

Next week TCN will be heading down to the gorgeous island of Zut, part of the Kornati Islands for this, our third visit. It remains one of the most fantastic stories of Croatian tourism success for me, despite all the odds. 

festa-days-zut.jpg

Imagine trying to open a restaurant and tourism business on an island with no water and no electricity. And no ferry, so everything had to be brought in by yourself. 

And then try and imagine doing it and opening for business in the middle of a war. That is the story of Festa on Zut, which last year celebrated 25 years of successful business as one of the Adriatic's top restaurants, attracting humble sailors and A-list celebrities. Last year's event was celebrated by Festa Days, a gourmet treat with ten Michelin and top Croatian chefs providing the culinary magic. Without repeating the Zut story, you can learn more from our report on last year's event.  

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After the success of last year's event, Festa Days is returning for its second edition from June 14-16, with another high-quality lineup of international and Croatian cheffing excellence. 

No less than 5 international Michelin-star chefs and five of Croatia's top 5 chefs. 

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And while the focus is very much on food, there will be plenty of other activities, including cooking shows, a mixology workshop, local fishing traditions including an opportunity to go night fishing with lanterns with local fishermen, and ecology education points.  

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There is still limited availability - contact details on the flyer below. It promises to be quite an event. 

To learn more about Festa on Zut, including the new glamping options, check out the official website

festa-days-zut (2).jpg

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Kornat Tragedy Sole Surviving Firefighter Wins Damages before Zagreb Court

ZAGREB, February 2, 2019 - Frane Lučić, a firefighter from Vodice who was the only survivor in a 2007 tragedy in which his 12 fellow firefighters were killed while trying to put out a wildfire on the Kornat island, has won a lawsuit, pending appeal, against the town of Šibenik and the Republic of Croatia, which are to pay him damages in the amount of 1.75 million kuna as well as cover his previous and future disability-related costs and compensate him for lost income.

Lučić has won the case after more than 12 years since what was supposed to be a routine firefighting operation turned into a tragedy in which 12 firefighters from Šibenik, Vodice and Tisno were killed while Lučić survived, albeit with multiple injuries. He has been declared totally unfit for work.

When interest is added to the damages, and if the ruling of the Zagreb Municipal Labour Court becomes final, the town of Šibenik and the state will have to pay Lučić damages in the amount of several million kuna.

Šibenik firefighting commander Dražen Slavica was on trial for the Kornat tragedy two times but on 27 April 2018 he was acquitted by Zadar County Court pending appeal.

The prosecutor's office in Šibenik has appealed against the ruling, proposing that the Supreme Court quash the ruling and return the case to the trial court.

More news on the Kornati islands can be found in the lifestyle section.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Ecotourism Experts Test New Tourist Programme for Kornati Islands

ZAGREB, October 8, 2018 - International ecotourism specialists have tested a new tourist programme for Kornati National Park, which is based on tradition, nature and authentic experience, the national park's management said.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

5 Top Croatian, 4 Michelin Star Chefs, 1 Uninhabited Island: Quite a Festa on Zut

A rather special 25-year anniversary will take place on an uninhabited island much loved by celebrities on September 4, 2018, and there is quite a team of culinary talent to ensure one of the gourmet events of the year. 

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Anniversary of Kornati Firefighters’ Tragedy Marked

ZAGREB, August 30, 2018 - A wreath-laying ceremony was held outside the firefighting station in the coastal city of Šibenik to mark the start of events commemorating 12 volunteer firefighters from Šibenik, Vodice and Tisno who were killed while trying to put out a wildfire on Kornat island on 30 August 2007.

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