Saturday, 20 April 2019

Krk Food Fest: Meet a Gorgeous Gourmet Island with a Bridge

The Krk Food Fest opened on April 19, 2019, and TCN joined 50 other journalists on a 3-day Gastronaut tour of the island with a bridge to learn more.

Having spent so many years living on one of the most beautiful islands in the world, I am always curious to compare and contrast my little slice of paradise with other islands. And while an island would have to be very special to come even close to me shifting my allegiances (as Korcula has managed to do), it is rare that I find something that compares. 

But if you are looking for someone to show you the very best of a destination in the shortest possible timeframe, then I heartily recommend the gourmet tours of Karin Mimica and the fabulous Gastronaut. I posted on social media before our three-day tour of the island and participants of Krk Food Fest that I would even follow Karin to the gates of hell if she were organising the tour, for she is simply the best in the business. 

And through her eyes and programme with the Krk Tourists Board, the island of Krk shone. 

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Such is the popularity of the Gastronaut tours, which this time included 50 journalists from all over the region, as well as the UK, that restaurants are keen to showcase their wares in front of such an audience, and the Gastronaut Krk programme was among the fullest - and most delicious - I have been fortunate enough to participate in. 

And the theme of 'Tastes of Spring' got off to an incredible start in Malinksa at Restaurant Primoska Koliba, where prawns and wild asparagus were just one of the outstanding dishes. 

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But first prize for innovation, and a true delight, was the asparagus panna cotta. Very original and in keep with the theme of the festival.  

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Nothing quite beats Spring on a Croatian island when the weather is favourable. A time to enjoy before the peak season crowds and higher temperatures. Having enjoyed the Korculanske Pjatance food festival about the same time last year, I heartily recommend you look into the Croatian food festivals taking place this time of year - here is an introduction to some of the quirkier ones - Natural Food Festivals: 25 Things to Know about Croatian Gourmet Goodness.

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A short walk to Hotel Malin's Mulino restaurant brought the second round of breakfast, of which the highlight was this egg fritata with bacon, prawns and asparagus. 

One of the keys to the success of Gastronaut tours is the precise organisation and Karin's ability to keep her guests under control and on schedule, no mean feat when then there are 50 foodie writers tucking into fine wine and food. The next stage was a joy, and a rather unusual experience - a short catamaran ride to Porat with Aquavision - complete with huge glass windows below deck, where one could observe life below and above water simultaneously - check out the video above. 

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More unusual transportation awaited in Porat in the shape of a road train, which was on hand to take the group for olive oil tasting at OPG Utla and a visit to the Franciscan Monastery in Porat, which involved a little off-roading - a first in my train riding experience. 

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The monastery, with its cool cloister, had some outstanding artifacts (we will be writing a separate article soon), and a first introduction to the ancient Glagolithic language, indigenous to the Krk region, about which we were to learn much more the following day. 

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I particularly likes this cute timelime of Franciscan monk fashion over the centuries. 

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Next stop OPG Utla, a true oasis of calm in this already peaceful island. Sitting among the trees, tasting the excellent family olive oil and admiring another great sea view, this short stop was in many ways a highlight of a very busy day. 

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And it seemed that I was not the only one in the mood to relax - I declare the 2019 bench tourism season officially open with this local giving a superb display of the 'fjaka' state of mind. 

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Krk is an island. And it is not. A bridge connecting Krk to the mainland in the 1980s removed one of the biggest characteristics of an island - the need to arrive by boat. Rather than be tied to a ferry schedule, locals and tourists can access the island 24 hours a day, via the 1.4 km bridge, at a cost of just 35 kuna (free for locals), which not only compares favourably with a car ferry cost, but makes Krk immediately more appealing as a destination. No wonder it is one of the most popular places to own weekend houses for people in Zagreb, just over two hours away. 

I was expecting that Krk would have lost some of its island identity as a result, but it very much had the feeling of an island full of its own traditions and quirks. And Malinska Bay, above, is typical of an island village harbour. The roads on Krk are excellent, with good access to all its coastal destinations. What did surprise me the most was the sheer diversity of its vegetation. Having been raised on Hvar pine trees, the Mediterranean flora and fauna on the one hand, and forests of oak on the other, were a striking and very welcome contrast. 

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Incredibly, only three hours had passed since the start of the tour with those prawns and asparagus at Primorska Koliba, and time for more food, as Karin rounded up the troops for a return boat ride to Malinska. I decided to stay above deck for this one, as journalistic underwater selfies took place below me. 

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Next up, Konona Intrada, and a first taste of the famous Krk lamb chops, whose taste is partially defined by the salt brought to the island by the biting Bura wind. It was well worth the wait. 

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Our train driver was on hand to deliver us to our next destination, Konoba Bracera, where I felt more than a hint of Dalmatia. 

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Octopus peka, slow cooked with potatoes and vegetables under an iron bell. One of the true classics of Croatian coastal cuisine. 

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The next stop was a mere 100 metre walk to Nostromo, whose dishes were showcased together with Bistro Toni. I did not manage to learn more about their culinary offers, as I had a much anticipated meeting with Vlasta Brozicevic, owner and medical tourism dynamo behind Terme Selce, the nearby health resort which has treated, among others, over 120 Olympic medal winners in her 30-year career. A remarkable woman, whom we will be introducing in greater detail soon. 

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Did I say it was a gorgeous time of year to visit Krk? Young Ana quickly tempted to the lure of the Adriatic. 

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A return to the town of Krk to Kuca Krckog Prsuta (the Home of Krk Prsut), after I had missed the stinging nettle soup and dried octopus brudet at Pod Prevolt. The view through the floor at Kuca Krckog Prsuta - now I want a basement like that! The prsut was excellent, as were the associated products, and the prsut pate was to die for.  

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There was time to check into the very comfortable Hotel Drzica in Krk, with 40 minutes to enjoy hotel terrace views like this before a gentle walk into two for an impressive double to finish off the first night. 

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First up was Galija in the heart of the old town, which served up some of Krk's famous surlice pasta dishes, but I had eyes for only one - this delicious home-made ravioli stuffed with prawns and adorned with truffles - one of the highlights in a truly impressive Krk gourmet day. 

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And just when I really couldn't any more, a little nightcap with nibbles at historic Volsonis in the old town of Krk. A gem of a find and a great bar with cocktails. 

But what do to when you are a bar and decide to expand and find a Roman wall in the basement? Change your plans for sure, and the wall has become a major tourist attraction, while Volsonis has adapted to the new realities rather well. There is a very cool vibe, and there aren't many places in the world where you can play pool next to such antiquity. 

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A truly breathtaking first day of gourmet and cultural discovery, and I was exhausted. My biggest fear was that Day 1 started at 11:30 and that tomorrow's programme would be even fuller with a 09:30 start. A day which would take in the fascinating Baska, Kosljun, Punat and Vrbnik. Of which much more soon... 

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To learn more about the Krk Food Fest, Tastes of Spring, visit the official website, or follow the event on Facebook. 

Saturday, 6 April 2019

World's Biggest Welcome in Croatia: Day 11 - Njivice to Martinšćica (Kayak, Bike)

April 6, 2019 - Putting Croatian adventure tourism on the map, with the biggest welcome in the world. Day 11 of this incredible 2011 adrenaline trip covering 2,500 km along the Croatian coast. 

The World's Biggest Welcome, an ambitious adventure tourism project in 2011 in Croatia enters Day 11 of this 2019 appreciation of one of the finest tourism promotion projects ever in Croatia.  

The plan? To showcase the diversity and fabulous offer of adventure tourism in Croatia by following a GPS route the length of the Croatian coast in the shape of the word 'Welcome' - thereby creating the biggest welcome in the world from a hospitable tourism country. 

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Day 11 moved on kayak and bicycle from Nijvice to Martinšćica.

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61 kilometres for the day: 31 km by kayak from Njivice to Merag, followed by 30 km bike ride from Merag to Martinšćica to continue forming the ‘E’ in ‘Welcome’.

Unlike the rest of the days of the journey, Day 11 saw only a few photos taken by photographer Luka Tambača.

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One of which was on the ferry to Cres from Krk. Lacko wrote that there were even some tourists from Germany traveling as well. 

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And another of them napping on a bench on the island of Cres with the caption “We were so tired that day.” Understandable. 

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But then a bike race on Cres to wake them up.

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A stellar photo with a view on both Cres and Krk from the old path above the village of Merag.

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And Lubenice.

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Lubenice in bloom, too.

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They even fed hens with grass there.

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Lubenice in all of its glory.

A key part of the project was promoting tourism, and the official website has details of the key places visited during the day. 

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Lubenice was the one landmark they did visit on this part of the journey, which is an ancient fort city on the island of Cres, exactly opposite Valun.

You can see the entire project on the Welcome website, as well as much more of Luka Tambaca's stunning photography on the Welcome Facebook page

Tune in tomorrow for Day 12, as Lacko moves by kayak, foot, and bicycle from Martinšćica to Mali Lošinj. 

To follow the whole project from the start, follow the dedicated TCN page

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Potential for Croatian Producers as Prosciutto Exports Continue to Grow

As Morski writes on the 3rd of April, 2019, what has been happening with prosciutto for the past three to four years is truly spectacular. Due to its superior properties and specific traditional production technology, Croatian prosciutto producers have stumbled upon some great export potential and even more potential for the product's better placement in Croatian tourism through the country's already rich gastronomic offer.

When compared to five years ago in 2014, exports have increased in quantity by fourteen times, and perhaps most importantly, in value eleven times. Approximately 88 percent of total exports go to the EU market, and just over eleven percent go to CEFTA countries.

''The latest 2018 statistics show an increase in exports of shank and aitchbone products by nearly sixty percent, but unfortunately, we still don't even cover a third of imports. We need new investments and we need to invest in new prosciutto production capacities to double our production, and 700,000 pieces annually to at least meet the needs of the domestic market,'' said Dragan Kovačević, vice president of the Croatian Chamber of Economy for Agriculture and Tourism, at a press conference announcing the event Days of Croatian Prosciutto.

Ante Madir, Executive Director of the "Hrvatsko pršuta" (Croatian prosciutto) cluster, which brings together producers responsible for 95 percent of the total prosciutto production in the Republic of Croatia, explained more precisely what awaits Croatia on the fifth Days of Croatian prosciutto, which is being held from the 26th to the 27th of April at the Zagreb International Hotel this year.

''On the first day, we'll have a manifestation with round tables and workshops, the expert part of the gathering, and the second day at Ban Jelačić Square, there'll be a show-selling part where people can taste our prosciutto,'' Madir said, adding that they decided on Zagreb because quite a large market and a high demand for the product can be found in the Croatian capital.

"What's been happening with prosciutto over the past three to four years is truly spectacular. The signs of protection (special labels) are our tickets to the wider European Union market, that's very important for being able to [have our products] arrive to shop shelves. In Croatia, we still need to work on presenting [our products] to consumers to have them pay more money for something which is domestic and specific,'' said Igor Miljak, chairman of the PPK Karlovac meat industry, stressing that Croatia still doesn't have key gastro brands that are recognised on the European or global market, but it definitely does have the quality to be able to cope well with the competition.

Ana Babić from Voštane pršut, a representative of the Association of Dalmatian Prosciutto, explained the difference between Dalmatian and Istrian, or more specifically Krk prosciutto.

''Dalmatian prosciutto is smoked, while Istrian and Krk prosciutto isn't. There are no additives or preservatives in its production, and the process itself lasts for at least a year,'' Babić explained, adding that the tradition of Dalmatian prosciutto production draws its roots from as far back as ancient Roman times.

Drago Pletikosa of Belcrotrade and the president of the Association of Drniš pršut stressed that Drniš prosciutto is a little and is therefore certified, although there is no difference between Drniš and Dalmatian prosciutto when it comes to the production process itself.

''Last year, we imported 3,848 tons of products worth more than 21.5 million euros and exported 1.113 tons (6.5 million euros). Compared to 2014, exports have increased in quantity fourteen times, and by value eleven times. Approximately 88 percent of our total exports go to the EU market, and just over eleven percent go to CEFTA countries. We export the most to Slovenia (35.5 percent of total exports) and to Italy (28.1 percent),'' stated Pletikosa.

''This event brings together and promotes prosciutto producers from all over the country, whose products are protected by a stamp of designation of origin, and labels of geographical origin (Krk, Dalmatian and Drniš prosciutto) at the EU level,'' stated the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

Quality labels for consumers guarantee the purchase of authentic and properly controlled products, with recognised quality and a local origin. Protecting products without educating consumers and business partners about its proper valuation has no great benefit. Therefore, this event contributes to the strengthening of the recognisability of these Croatian meat products with higher added value and a better market positioning, all with the aim of developing the wider Croatian economy.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Lawsuit Against Permit for Floating LNG Terminal on Krk Rejected

ZAGREB, April 4, 2019 - Omišalj Mayor Mirela Ahmetović on Wednesday commented on the latest ruling by the Administrative Court rejecting the municipality's lawsuit questioning the changes made to the development permit for a floating LNG terminal on Krk, saying that the municipality would appeal and that it and its residents would turn to European judicial bodies and institutions.

Ahmetović told a press conference that the court had rejected the municipality's lawsuit against the Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning questioning the legality of the development permit issued for the floating LNG terminal.

Ahmetović said that the municipality would appeal the court's decision and added that considering the developments to date concerning the terminal, she did not expect the court would have decided differently.

"We have initiated communication with the European Commission and European Parliament and are preparing to take the matter to European judicial institutions," she said and added that the government had not once turned to the local community and the prime minister and president "have not set foot in Omišalj municipality where the so-called strategic project is to be implemented."

Ahmetović claimed that the state wants to "install something (in Omišalj) that wasn't considered even in the craziest scenario" by the municipality or county. She added that it never happened that the EU financed a project that an entire local community objected to, as is the case with the local community on Krk island.

Ahemtović said that county and municipal physical plans exist. There is also a development strategy that mentions an LNG terminal, and the development strategy refers to an onshore terminal and not offshore.

County Prefect Zlatko Komadina said that the local community was not opposed to an LNG terminal but wanted it to be built on shore.

"It is absurd that instead of an onshore terminal, as provided for under the physical plan, we are facing aggression with a floating terminal that no one here wants," Komadina concluded, appealing to state authorities to work on the project in agreement with the regional and local community.

More news about the LNG terminal can be found in the Business section.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Brand New Zadar-Rijeka Catamaran Line Coming This Summer

Something new is set to take to the placid waves of the Adriatic sea this summer as the Dalmatian city of Zadar and the city that flows - Rijeka in Kvarner, are set to be connected by catamaran.

As Morski writes on the 2nd of April, 2019, as of the 15th of June this year, the G&V Line Iadera will begin running a brand new daily line that will connect Rijeka and Zadar, joining Krk (Krk), Rab (Lopar) and Pag (Novalja) seasonally.

This is a new and unique line from G&V Line Iadera, which will connect Dalmatia and Kvarner by sea, enabling a person to arrive to Zadar from Rijeka (or vice versa) in only four hours, according to a report from eZadar.

190 kuna is the one-way maximum price, and the fastest ship, Melita, with its capacity of 180 passengers and an indoor air-conditioned salon will depart from Rijeka on 08:15 and from Zadar at 16:15.

The total journey time between the two coastal Croatian cities is four hours, and passengers can enjoy travelling in air-conditioned indoor areas with comfortable seating.

The line will run from June the 15th to September the 15th, and ticket sales online will soon begin.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle and travel pages for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by eZadar

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Janaf Inaugurates Three New Crude Oil Tanks

ZAGREB, April 2, 2019 - Janaf on Tuesday put into operation three new crude oil tanks in Omišalj on the island of Krk, and this national operator of the oil pipeline and storage system invested nearly 280 million kuna (38 million euro) in this project that enables the storing of 240,000 cubic metres of crude oil on that Adriatic island.

The new tanks increase the capacity of the Omišalj terminal where there are now 20 tanks for the storage of 1.4 million cubic metres of crude oil, while storage capacity for petroleum products is 80,000 cubic metres.

The inauguration of the three tanks completes the process of upgrading the Omišalj facility.

Apart from this terminal, Janaf operates terminals in Sisak, Virje, Slavonski Brod and Zagreb, with the aggregate storage capacity being 1.94 million cubic metres of crude oil and 220,000 cubic metres of petroleum products.

The Zagreb-headquartered company also operates 631 kilometres of oil pipelines throughout Croatia.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony, State Assets Minister Goran Marić said that Janaf, in which the state holds a majority stake, sets the model for other state-owned companies.

Janaf Board chair Dragan Kovačević boasted that the Omišalj terminal was among the top three terminals of this kind in the world.

The company registered a 4.5% rise in both gross and net profits in 2018, with gross profit totalling 370.6 million kuna and net profit 303.7 million kuna.

Total revenue was 781.8 million kuna, which was similar to 2017, whereas total expenditure was cut by 3.5% to 411.2 million kuna.

Last year, Janaf set aside 457.4 million kuna for investment.

More news about Janaf can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Crikvenica's Jadran Expands to Krk, Capacity is Growing

As Suzana Varosanec/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 25th of March, 2019, under its new administration and new owners, the popular Jadran hotel group from Crikvenica is expanding rapidly and after taking over Club Adriatic, it is continuing to introduce new facilities in Baško Polje, and is now expanding to the Kvarner region.

Based on the ten-year lease of the Hotel Delfin in Omišalj, business for Jadran is beginning on the island of Krk. The offer was favourable, as can unofficially be revealed. The Crikvenica-based hotel group also signed a long-term lease for three pavilions in Crikvenica. Owing to these business moves, Jadran's accommodation capacities will increase by a significant 139 accommodation units, in Baško Polje there are about 440 new units, and this season Jadran will be able to boast about having a 36 percent higher capacity compared to last year.

And while Hotel Delfin can't be renewed this season for various reasons, this is thankfully not the case for the three pavilions that were once owned by Jadran. Since they are situated at the location of a common entity whose renewal is already in full swing, a makeover awaits.

Namely, from the Adriatic highway to the coast, Jadran's property in Crikvenica is having works carried out at Hotel Ad Turres and on thirteen pavilions, each with 27 rooms as well as works at Hotel Omorika, which will be completed in ten days.

Last year, this hotel group grew by 10 percent more than it did back during 2017, and realised an impressive 416,000 overnight stays, in 2019 they're planning for 437,000 overnight stays, marking an increase of about 6.6 percent. Slovenian guests and Croatian guests have primarily been the main group to stay in Jadran's numerous accommodation facilities, followed by those from Austria and Germany, and a similar tourist structure is expected this season as well.

Congress tourism is still being developed, and after the completion of the welcome renovation of the Omorika and Katarina hotels, Jadran is expecting an increase in those niches, too. In the health sector, however, Jadran has some big plans in synergy with some local health institutions.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

 

Click here for the original artice by Suzana Varosanec for Poslovni Dnevnik

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Exciting Night at Sea: Baby Born on Ferry Cres - Krk!

Bojan Purić writes for the Otoci.net website about the exciting event that took place during the night of Friday to Saturday, February 9th to 10th this year: various circumstances led to a baby born on ferry between the islands of Krk and Cres!

Life on the islands in Croatia is wonderful, almost idyllic, with amazing scenery, peace and quiet throughout most of the year etc., but when it happens that you need urgent medical assistance in February, it's possible that things just might go a bit wrong. The pregnant lady on Cres got into labour on the Friday night, and the original plan was for helicopter transport to be organized, to take her to Rijeka on time to have her deliver the baby in the hospital. Unfortunately, for reasons that are still unknown, that couldn't be organized on time, so the crew of the Ilovik ferry (which spends the night at Cres anyway) organized the special run for the mother-to-soon-be, but the baby was in a big rush to come out, and was born halfway between Cres and Krk islands. 

So, it was nowhere close to the Rijeka hospital, where the mother and the baby were consequently transported once they reached Krk. There's no indication that the mother had any medical help with her, but supposedly everything went well for both of them.

We congratulate the happy parents for their newest addition to the family, and although things went well this time, hope that this doesn't happen again soon: babies should be born in hospitals, not on ferries. We also hope that the parents will take this amazing opportunity to name the baby born on ferry Adrian or Adriana (variants of which are common Croatian names), as there probably isn't a more appropriate name for a child born - on the Adriatic sea!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

China and Croatia Grow Closer as Chinese Focus on Rijeka and Coast

The relationship between China and Croatia is continuing to grow ever closer, and bringing the Chinese to the Croatian coast is potentially just an introductory step in their much wider engagement on the development of Rijeka's traffic connections, both operationally and financially.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of January, 2019, Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković, will travel to China later this month, where he will discuss, among other things, the opportunity for them to take the concession for a new Rijeka container terminal on the coast with Chinese shipowners and port operators, according a report from Novi list.

Butković will meet with the Chinese traffic minister, representatives of CRBC, who will build Pelješac Bridge, and will also meet with representatives of the naval giant COSCO, as well as several large Chinese shipping and port companies, the potential leasers of the container terminal on that part of the Croatian coast, for which the concession would have to be announced by the middle of this year.

As China and Croatia's bond grows deeper still, the Chinese companies will start with the concession on that particular part of the Croatian coast, the development of a logistics centre and a back terminal in the entrepreneurial Miklavlje zone will probably be offered.

If an interest in making such a move is shown, then the competent Croatian ministry and the Croatian Government will begin seriously contemplating their involvement in far larger infrastructure projects on Rijeka's traffic connections, primarily the construction of a railway line from Rijeka all the way to the Hungarian border, and when looking at much longer-term plans, the possible construction of a large container terminal on the island of Krk, along with a new road-rail bridge.

Make sure to stay up to date with everything you need to know on the growing relationship between China and Croatia and much, much more by following our dedicated business page.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Island of Krk to be Mediterranean's First CO2-Neutral Island

ZAGREB, December 15, 2018 - The northern Adriatic island of Krk plans to become the first energy-independent and CO2-neutral island in the Mediterranean, according to one of the conclusions of the 7th Krk Energy Conference organised by the Eko Kvarner NGO in the Town of Krk on Saturday.

The conference was held as part of the "Krk - Energy-independent and CO2-neutral Island" project which Eko Kvarner will implement in cooperation with the European Asbestos Risk Association from Trieste, Italy and the Town of Krk, with the support of the German Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety Ministry's European Climate Initiative.

All seven local government units on the island are included in the project, the objective being to encourage its energy transition towards renewables.

The island already has an energy cooperative, a cadastre of roofs and several solar power plants, the biggest one being on the Treskavac landfill.

The conference heard how to design and install a small photovoltaic power station, how to conceive and optimise a management system for numerous energy sources, as well as the methodology for the smart integration of renewables. Participants also discussed the economic and health aspects of installing solar panels.

One of the goals of the "Krk - Energy-independent and CO2-neutral Island" project is the installation of 250 to 500 solar panels of up to 5 kW, totalling up to 1 MW in power, by the end of 2021.

More news on the island of Krk can be found in our Travel section.

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