Saturday, 5 June 2021

Kvarner Tourism Doing Well in Overnight Stays When Compared to 2020

June the 5th, 2021 - Kvarner tourism is showing some encouraging results when compared to this time last year, as the eVisitor system's data shows a 30 percent increase in overnight stays in 2021's first five months.

As Barbara Ban/Novac writes, according to the Croatian eVisitor system, more than 600,000 thousand overnight stays were realised in Kvarner in the first five months of 2021, which is 30 percent more than were recorded back during the same period in 2020. It is also equal to 40 percent of the overnight stays recorded for Kvarner tourism compared to the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019.

The highest number of overnight stays were realised by Croatian guests (234,000, which is 75 percent of the realised overnight stays for Kvarner tourism when compared to 2019), followed by guests from Germany (more than 126,500 overnight stays) and guests from Slovenia (66,000 overnight stays).

The island of Krk, the Opatija Riviera and the Cres-Losinj islands were the most sought after destinations for Kvarner tourism, and if we're to talk about the type of accommodation facilities sought, from January to May, most overnight stays were realised in family/private accommodation (216,000 overnight stays), hotels (157,000 overnight stays) and camps (126,500 overnight stays).

"In mid-May, with the gradual calming down of the epidemiological situation, many European countries began to ease their anti-epidemic measures. In Kvarner, we began to record a stable and significant growth of overnight stays during the month of May - for example, in the first week of May we realised about 36,000 overnight stays, while that number rose to almost 120,000 overnight stays in the last week of May. Over recent days, about 20,000 guests have been staying in Kvarner every day, and we're very happy that loyal guests from Germany have returned in large numbers and in May they hold the first place in terms of the number of overnight stays (104,000 overnight stays, a 36 percent share in total overnight stays),'' stated Kvarner Tourist Board director Irena Persic Zivadinov.

Numerous studies tell us how guests want and now even need to travel following such a long time of being restricted, and this is especially the case during the hot summer months. For example, the European Travel Commission (ETC) says as many as 56 percent of Europeans plan to travel within the rest of Europe by the end of August. TUI analyses also confirm that guests will choose destinations that are easily and quickly accessible by car, while "last-minute" bookings and the ability to change the date of stay at any time without additional costs will be almost crucial in the decisions of guests.

Analyses from the Booking.com platform also show that 79 percent of respondents are looking forward to being able to travel elsewhere again after a period of isolation and numerous restrictions placed on movement, while 64 percent of respondents say that travel is now even more important to them than it ever was before the pandemic.

“Since the beginning of 2021, we've done a series of virtual presentations. The participants of these presentations, whether they're representatives of tour operators, agents or media representatives, confirmed to us that guests want and need to travel. That's why the Kvarner Tourist Board continues to present the region throughout the month of June through presentations and advertising campaigns. Thanks to the EU digital COVID certificates and the growing vaccination of the EU's population, we believe that movement between countries, especially at the EU level, will be greatly facilitated and encourage guests to travel again. In cooperation with the County Teaching Institute for Public Health and the Health Centre, we'll continue to organise locations for conducting COVID-19 testing.

Additional tourist clinics will soon be open, where guests will also be able to take tests, and many accommodation facilities - hotels and camps - will conduct tests on COVID-19 only for their guests, right there on the spot. In this way, we'll try to ensure a carefree and safe stay for guests in Kvarner. Guests are always looking for quality, which also gives them a sense of security and protection in their destination, at all levels. In addition to all that, the proximity and accessibility of Kvarner will certainly remain our important imperative in 2021 as well,'' pointsed out the director of the Kvarner Tourist Board.

For more, follow our travel section.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Brand New Opatija Riviera Hotel Being Constructed in Autumn

April the 16th, 2021 - Yet another beautiful Opatija Riviera hotel is set to be constructed in autumn this year, bringing yet more luxury to this picturesque part of Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, although there are still a lot of challenges ahead of this Opatija Riviera hotel project, the construction of a brand new luxury hotel next to the marina in Icici should begin this year. It marks an investment from the Hungarian entrepreneur Lorinz Meszaros worth a massive 50 million euros, which may bring a new global hotel brand to Kvarner.

Optimism despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis

Denis Sikljan, the owner of the DDG Group, which developed the project on the land of a former hospital, which covers 20,000 square metres next to Marina Icici, confirmed that the main project has faced delays because of the pandemic.

The new Opatija Riviera hotel will be a five star facility with 180 rooms and 12 villas, next to which a square for public use will be built, and the project includes the construction of an access road, a pedestrian bridge to the sea, and a new rainwater drainage system from Ucka. Fountains, shopping facilities and complete horticultural landscaping are planned on the public square, which will become the new center of Icici.

"We're very optimistic about it all, although we do still have a lot of work to do, precisely because a number of public institutions are involved in all of this, from the state to local government and public companies, and it involves a series of permits that must be obtained for implementation.

For now, everything is going according to plan, although slower because the pandemic has slowed down the administrative processes, and part of the property status of some of the land needs to be resolved. Once the works start, and we expect them to begin to be right after this summer season, everything should be completed within two calendar years.

It would have been earlier, but we have to take into account the ban on such work during the tourist season, which automatically takes away eight months of work,'' revealed Sikljan, who took over the project from Karlovacka banka after the bankruptcy of Industrogradnja, which initially purchased it from KBC Rijeka. There used to be a hospital for lung diseases on the land, and it end up being left totally neglected for a long time.

The investor, Meszaros, is known to the public as the owner of NK Osijek, and he connected with Sikljan, a well-known developer of luxury tourist projects in Kvarner, mostly on Krk, through sport.

The investor profile

The company that is implementing the project in Icici is Rivas Hotels & Resort, registered back at the end of 2019 in Rijeka, and its founder is the company Talentis group, owned by the family of Lorinzo Meszaros.

The company has 30 hotels in its portfolio in Austria, Hungary, Romania and Montenegro, and soon plans to develop a strategy for its expansion in Croatia, with Icici as the first hotel project.

Meszaros is also the owner of the company Mirno more, which owns Vila Maria in the bay of Ceprljanda in Ugljan, and reached the eyes of the media when five years ago a group of hooligans shot at the windows in the house where national team member Ivan Rakitic was staying with his family.

The Talentis Group points out on its Linkedin profile that it is one of the most prestigious investors in Hungary, which is currently developing a new innovative city on 5,000 hectares, with more than 300 real estate projects in the western suburbs of the capital city of Budapest.

Over the last few years, they have completed projects worth more than 100 million euros in total, and in addition to hotel facilities, they have also developed a shopping centre and logistics centres.

For more on upcoming business ventures and projects in Croatia, follow our dedicated section.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Development of Health Tourism: High Priority for Croatian Tourist Offer

March 25, 2021 - Both the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sports and Croatian tourist boards recognised the development of health tourism as a high priority for Croatia.

To discuss the development of health tourism in Croatia, a branch that is becoming one of the more important Croatian tourist products, Croatian Tourism and Sports minister Nikolina Brnjac met with Kvarner Tourist Board director Irena Peršić Živadinov, Kvarner Health Tourism cluster president Vladimir Možetič, and Zagreb Tourist Board director Martina Bienenfeld. As life expectancy and healthy lifestyle trends increase, the value of health tourism grows. The novel coronavirus only made that growth even more rapid.

"Over 80,000 tourists in 2020 visited Kvarner (well-known for Lošinj Island and its hospital for respiratory issues) for health services. Today, many people are recovering from the consequences of the novel coronavirus there," said the Kvarner Tourist Board director Živadinov.  

"We have all the advantages for further development of health tourism: a good reputation of health services, qualified staff, natural richness of thermal sources, good climate, and long tradition of tourism," said minister Brnjac. Her goal is to pull Croatia out of the perception of a country only good for the summer season.

Croatia offers health services in wellness and medicine tourism. Health tourism is most associated with the regions of Kvarner, Istria, northern Croatia, and Zagreb, but the goal is to include other regions that have the potential for health tourism and to achieve the goals of a strategy that needs to be accomplished by 2030.

Martina Bienenfeld said that the Zagreb Tourist Board is working on the City's recognition as the centre of medical excellence. She pointed out good traffic connections, a mixture of the Mediterranean and mid-Europe climate, as well as good prices of health services as great advantages of Croatia's capital to the international clientele.

The Health Care Bill and Services in Tourism Bill now allow hospitality and health tourism services in hospitals and medical centres. These legal changes are also significant in attracting further investments in the field.

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

 

Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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Drniš prsut
is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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Wednesday, 27 January 2021

FIRST PHOTOS: New Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa Complete

January 27, 2021 – They promised its arrival this spring and, true to their word, these first-look photos show the construction of the beautiful new Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa is complete

With an investment of €80 million and the keen co-operation of the city authorities, the arrival date of the new Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa was never in doubt. They said it would be ready for spring and due to open its doors in April. As these first look pictures show, they've been true to their word. Construction of the new Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa is complete.

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Its been at times difficult to fully visualise the completed project from the glossy, computer-generated builders' images of how they predict the finished product will look. Rijeka residents too have had their worries – would the new promenade in front of the complex (paid for with city money) place a section of their beloved coastline off-limits to those not staying at the Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa?

Hil2.jpg

They needn't have worried. As these new images show, the major construction work at the Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa is complete. It looks as though they could throw open the doors tomorrow. The worried-over promenade snakes between the main complex and the hotel residents' beach area. It allows pedestrians full access to the seafront – they can pass along the entire front facade of the Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa and enjoy the view from the shore just as much as hotel residents. When the Rijeka Hilton finally opens its doors, they'll also be able to take advantage of all of its spa facilities too, which will be opened up to local residents via a membership scheme.

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The Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa complex has been built across a considerable 18,000 square metres. The main building complex has 10 floors which hold 132 rooms. The site also has 66 villas separate to the main building, six restaurant/bar/food outlets, a private beach, and one of the largest wellness facilities in the region - the two-floored spa area covers more than 3,000 square metres.

Hil4.jpg

The new photos of the complete Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa, which are signed as Mr. Fly, were posted publicly to the Facebook group Riječka enciklopedija - Fluminensia by renowned Rijeka photographer Dario Matijević, whose breathtaking images of the nature, landscapes and cityscapes of the Kvarner region are often signed as Baredice Photo and can be enjoyed here. They were subsequently used by RiPortal in their coverage of this story.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

The Biggest Hit Of Advent 2020? Kvarner Christmas Online

January 5, 2020 – Thanks to the imaginative coverage of local portal Fiuman.hr, more than half a million people visited Kvarner Christmas online over the 2020 holidays. From the spectacular lights of Opatija and Rijeka, to toy bears in Rijeka cafe bars, this is what they saw...

Everyone will remember the Advent of 2020 as unusual. Many were separated from friends and family. Others weren't able to travel nor visit the places or people we wanted to. The difference was noted significantly in Croatia, where family means everything, especially at Christmas.

Over recent years, Croatia has become one of the best-known places in Europe to visit for the Advent season. Zagreb's award-winning Advent celebrations have spurred on efforts elsewhere in the country and many towns and cities in Croatia now pull out all the stops during Advent, gloriously decorating their streets and holding events that draw thrilled visitors.

Under the unusual constraints of 2020, one Advent season in Croatia imaginatively continued to draw the crowds. Although, it wasn't so much the streets that were jammed as it was the internet servers. With the considerable help of local news portal Fiuman.hr, Kvarner Christmas Online welcomed tens of thousands of visitors.

Thanks to the imaginative coverage of Fiuman.hr, Kvarner Christmas Online was visited by well over half a million people in 2020. While many bars in Europe remained closed to human customers, Rijeka cake and ice cream cafe Cacao took the opportunity to fill its empty chairs with toy bears during Kvarner Christmas Online. Fiuman.hr's video of the scene was viewed almost 245,000 times.

Their video of the Advent lights in the Gradina part of the city fared even better. Always a spectacular highlight of Kvarner Christmas online, Fiuman.hr's video of Gradina got more than 300,000 views.

With its beautiful city centre parks, peaceful walks and promenade, the Advent season of nearby Opatija has become an increasingly popular choice for visitors over the winter holidays. And, in 2020, that was still the case during Kvarner Christmas online. Fiuman.hr 's video from the Opatija park near Šporer generated over 190 thousand views.

It just goes to show that while the Advent of 2020 may have been curtailed in unexpected ways, there's no dampening of the love of Christmas and the festive spirit. Fiuman.hr's video viewers will surely be lining up to visit Kvarner Christmas in person as soon as they can.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

PHOTOS: The 21 Most Incredible Croatia Castles To See Year-Round

August 06, 2021 – Serving as Christian Europe's defensive front line for centuries, incredible Croatia castles can be found throughout the country. Whether on a summertime day trip, set next to the spectacular backdrop of autumn's colours or postcard-pretty covered in winter's snow, here are 21 of the best to visit year-round

Croatia Castles Mailáth

DM-DvoracZdenko Brkanić.jpg© Zdenko Brkanić

Mailáth Castle is located in Donji Miholjac in Osijek-Baranja County, just next to the Hungarian border in Slavonia. It's well worth making the trip to see this wonderful building, not least because it sits right next door to an earlier grandiose structure. After being gifted lands for services in fighting the Ottomans, in 1818 the Prandau family built its first castle in Miholjac in the Baroque style. But, in 1901 its grandeur was supplanted by Mailáth castle. Built over four floors, its decorative chimneys, spacious terraces with neoclassical balustrades and wrought iron fences identify its debt to the Tudor style. The building has some 50 rooms over around 3500 square meters. Its interior was decorated with hunting trophies from Count Mailáth's travels in Asia and Africa, set above oak panelling which lines every room. In recent times, the building was used to house city authorities, but considerable effort has been made to restore the building and open it up to visitors. Its grand hall now acts as an impressive host to events such as classical music performances, as do the immediate grounds in warmer months. These grounds extend out into a 16-hectare public park which was curated by the family and bequeathed to the town inhabitants. This is now one of the few Croatia castles to have a nationally certified horticultural monument attached. It has been classed as such since 1961.
croatia_slavonija_donji_miholjac_004NTB.jpgDonji Miholjac in Slavonija gives you two adjoined Croatia castles, Mailáth (right) and Castle Prandau (left)  © Croatian National Tourist Board

Maruševec Castle

AnyConv.com__2880px-Dvorac_Marusevec3MaGa.jpeg© MaGa

During its lifetime, the extraordinary Maruševec castle in Varaždin County has passed through a confusingly long series of different owners, many of whom have left a significant mark on the building. The original structure dates back to 1547 and it was privately owned from that time up until 1945 when it was seized by Yugoslavian Communist authorities from the Pongratz family. They fled to Austria, having established with zeal the splendid gardens that surround the building. In the first years after independence, the building was used by a section of the Protestant church in Croatia. However, over the last two decades the government began the process of returning many such Croatia castles to their rightful owners and Maruševec Castle now once again lies in the hands of the Pongratz family. Needless to say, the grounds are once again superb.
slika-dvoracOpćina Maruševec.jpg© Općine Maruševec

Prandau Normann in Valpovo

dvorac-air1greenroom.jpeg© Greenroom Festival Valpovo

The pictures don't do it justice. Prandau Normann in Valpovo is one of the Croatia castles that has to be visited to get a true sense of its size, significance and history. One of the oldest and largest castles in Slavonia, it sits within a small area of greenery upon which the surrounding settlement closely encroaches. Some trees at the edges of these thin grounds partially obstruct the view. However, stretching out from the southern ends of this green island is a glorious public park of 25 hectares. Formerly part of the hunting grounds of the castle inhabitants, it was designed as a grandiose garden in the English style and has been declared a national monument of natural and horticultural architecture. The castle sections now form a three-walled complex with an inner courtyard. The original triangular-shaped fortress and the shorter, round tower date back to the beginning of the 15th century at which time it was surrounded by defensive moats. During the first half of the 18th century, the Prandau family rebuilt one side of the medieval structure with the Baroque palace which now lies at the front. Its tower is 37 metres high. Badly damaged in a fire on New Year's Eve in 1801, it stylings were somewhat altered when reconstructed. A true giant, it has over 60 rooms and, together with the inner courtyard, has an impressive ground space of 4031 m2. The Museum of the Valpovo Region was established here as far back as 1956. Its continuous running was halted by both war and reconstruction work, but it is once again open. Although the building is of significant national importance, it is to the immense credit of its forward-thinking governance that the building and grounds have in recent years been utilised for public events, including very contemporary youth culture happenings such as the Reunited Festival. and Greenroom Festival
Dvorac_Prandau-Normann_dvorac_iz_zrakaRoko Poljak.jpg© Roko Poljak

Ozalj Castle

ozalj-stari-grad-za-web-ivo-biocina_0NTB.jpg© Ivo Biočina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Around 60 kilometres from Zagreb, in Karlovac County, Ozalj is one of the most picturesque Croatia castles. It has simply everything you would want from a visit to a castle – an impressive approach, towers, defensive walls, surrounding waters, incredible views and a fascinating amalgam of different buildings. Sat spectacularly on a cliff above the Kupa river and the surrounding settlement of Ozalj, this castle was once the entire town. First mentioned as a free royal city as far back as 1244, the walled medieval stronghold was gradually built to become a castle in the 18th century. It is a building of great national significance as the site of the Zrinski–Frankopan conspiracy which, although unsuccessful, is an important marker in the country's struggle for autonomy. Between them, the Croatian families of Zrinski and Frankopan owned the castle from 1398 until 1671, when both family lines were severed with the execution of the conspirators by the ruling Habsburgs. The effects were felt throughout the region – some 2000 nobles were also arrested, the Protestant church was suppressed, Habsburg troops attacked commoners in both Croatia and Hungary and the position of Ban of Croatia, formerly held by Nikola Zrinski, would be left completely vacant for the next 60 years. The conspirators were executed on April 30 which became the city day of Ozalj in remembrance.
AnyConv.com__2880px-Zugang_Schloss_Ozalj1BernBartsch.jpeg© Bern Bartsch

Trakošćan Castle

TURISTIČKA ZAJEDNICA OPCINA BEDNJA.jpg© Turistička zajednica Trakošćan - Općina Bednja

One of the most-recognisable Croatia castles, from its surroundings Trakošćan looks like something out of a fairytale. Its position on a hill near Krapina, Varaždin County, not far from the Slovenia border, was obviously made for defensive reasons. But, today, it serves to bolster this romantic vista. Trakošćan dates back to the 13th century, although local legend says that it stands on the site of an even earlier fortress. Nobody really knows who commissioned it nor who originally lived there. In 1556 the castle came under state control, but just 18 years later it was gifted to the Drašković family. In the second half of the 18th century, the castle was abandoned. The Drašković family resumed interest in the building in the middle of the 19th century, renovating the house and constructing the surrounding gardens which are such a highlight to visit today. The family lived there until 1944 when the Drašković's were forced to emigrate to Austria and the state assumed ownership. It is today owned by the Republic of Croatia, has been renovated considerably and holds a permanent museum.
TrakoscanCroatiaTZ.jpg© Croatian National Tourist Board

Trsat Castle

Domagoj BlaževićTrsatKvarner.jpg© Domagoj Blažević / Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner)

The city of Rijeka rises sharply from sea level into nearby heights, the cause of its above-average rainfall. The cityscape vista is superb from some balconies of the residential tower blocks located in these overlooking neighbourhoods. But, the best view of Rijeka is from Trsat. The Rječina valley separates you from these competing high rises, the river itself immediately below you, scoring a path through an industrial landscape, to it right the old city and beyond, Kvarner Bay. Sitting 150 metres above Rijeka, it's thought that the castle lies on top of an earlier Illyrian and Roman fortress. Today, Trsat is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rijeka, the grounds containing a restaurant and its courtyard serving as a wonderful backdrop for cultural events like theatre and music concerts.
5.-TRSAT_gradina-trsat01-pogled-domagoj-blazevic-19.07-724x500.jpg© Domagoj Blažević / Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner)

Stara Sušica Castle

DomagojBlaeviStaraKvarner.jpeg© Domagoj Blažević / Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner)

One of the most bewildering Croatia castles, the fantastical architecture of Stara Sušica comes from a series of restorations and additions that have taken place over many generations. It's far from being the biggest of Croatia castles, but it's certainly one of the most intriguing. By prior arrangement, you can actually stay in this castle. It has previously hosted organised groups of fantasy role-playing games, the mysterious-looking building acting as the perfect backdrop to wild imagination. This architectural gem of a castle is located 60 kilometres to the east of the city of Rijeka. It sits in the shadows of tall coniferous trees, just outside of the town of Stara Sušica, near Ravna Gora.
Stara_Susica_0004Domagoj BlaževićKvarner.jpg© Domagoj Blažević / Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner)

Veliki Tabor

veliki-tabor-optimizirano-za-web-ivo-biocina_1600x900_0Croatia.jpeg© Ivo Biočina / Croatian National Tourist Board

The sizeable Veliki Tabor is another of the Croatia castles that sits atop a hill for defensive purposes. It dominates a beautiful rural landscape of agricultural land, gently rising hills and vineyards near Desinić in Zagorje, less than an hour's drive from Zagreb. Dating from the middle of 15th century, most of the castle was built by the Ráttkay family from Hungary, in whose ownership it remained until 1793. The castle is said to be haunted. Legend says a local woman was murdered upon false accusations of witchcraft and entombed within the actual castle walls, the ulterior motive being that the castle's then-owner did not wish his son to marry her. Her voice is said to still inhabit the building. Today, owned by the state, it holds a permanent museum and is a popular tourist attraction. It plays host to events of significance to the local culture, such as food festivals and also nationally recognised happenings, such as its famous short film festival.
veliki-tabor-web-ivo-biocina-1CROATIA.jpg© Ivo Biočina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Lužnica Castle

Luznica2ZCTY.png© Zagreb County Tourist Board

Set back from the main road and obscured by ancient trees, the immediate approach to Lužnica is impressive. Surrounded by neatly trimmed lawns, you can reach the castle from several different directions, the pathways leading to the building bordered by low-lying hedges. At the end of these sits a baroque castle that shares its name with the nearby settlement, just a few miles to the west of Zaprešić in Zagreb County. The castle was built in 1791 as a residence for a noble family but, since 1925, the building has been owned by the Convent of St. Vincent de Paul, with nuns thereafter using the building as a residential and care home for elderly members of the sisterhood. From 1935 the building was used for the care of poor children, and then for educational classes organised by the nuns. In 2005, a purpose-built modern property was constructed to assume the residential care of retired nuns, allowing greater public access to the castle. The nuns still hold spiritual and educational programs there and the castle also hosts secular conferences and seminars.
LuznicZaagrebCounty.jpg© Zagreb County Tourist Board

Krašić

KrasicZgC.jpg© Zagreb County Tourist Board

So well suited to its contemporary purpose as a church does Krašić look that it's difficult to imagine that it was ever anything other. But, this complex of buildings originally dates back much further than the hundred or so years it has served as such. It was first built in the Gothic style of the late 14th century and later reconstructed in the Baroque style, only beginning its current role after reconstructions that took place between 1911 to 1913. It is now the Parish church of the Holy Trinity, serving the population of Krašić, which is located near Jastrebarsko, about 50 km southwest of Zagreb. Enthusiastic hunters of Croatia castles who are visiting Zagreb and Zagreb County will also not want to miss the nearby Pribić, which is located just three kilometres east of Krašić. It is the site of an incredible triumvirate of spectacular neighbouring buildings, two castles and one Greek Catholic church.
krasic08RegionalDevelopment agencyZagrebCounty.jpg© Regional Development Agency Zagreb County

Pejačević Castle

Dvorac_Pejačević._NašiceSamir Budimčić.jpg© Samir Budimčić

Though they were natives of Slavonia, eastern Croatia, the name of the Pejačević family extends significantly further than the borders of Pannonia or modern-day Croatia. Their name dates back to at least the 14th century, during which time some of them settled in north-west Bulgaria. Alongside Bosnians and Germans attracted to that region by mining, these immigrants were responsible for bringing Catholicism to the area around Chiprovtsi, the site of a famous 1688 uprising of Catholics and Orthodox Christians against the ruling Ottomans. For their services in the defence of Christian Europe, the Pejačević family were rewarded with significant lands in their native Slavonia and for centuries were very influential in the region's political, social, economic and cultural life. Pejačević Castle, Našice was the main family seat, although they have another castle in Virovitica, some 80 kilometres to the northwest, which is also called, rather confusingly, Pejačević Castle.
dvorac-velikaTZnasice.jpg© Našice Tourist Board

Stari Grad Varaždin

VarazdinZup.jpg© Turistička Zajednica Varaždinske Županije

The city of Varaždin once served as the capital of Croatia and, as its focal point, Stari Grad fortress is therefore of significant national importance. In acknowledgment, an image of the fortress used to appear on the back of the old 5 kuna bank notes, although presumably due to some printer's error, the image appeared in reverse to how it sits naturally. The building is mentioned as far back as the 12th century but was reconstructed as a Renaissance fortification in the 16th century. At the end of that century, it came into the hands of the Hungarian-Croatian family Erdödy. Today, Stari Grad holds a permanent museum and is one of the most-famous tourist attractions in a city not short of reasons to visit.
varazdin-ivo-biocina-NTZ.jpg© Ivo Biočina / Croatian National Tourist Board

Bosiljevo Castle

Dvorac,_Bosiljevo_-_panoramioKrittinskiy.jpg© Krittinskiy

Something of a bratić (cousin) to Ozalj Castle, Bosiljevo again lies in Karlovac County and was also owned by the Frankopan family. It is a sprawling structure, impressively situated on a hillside within forest land. The nature of the building and its remote location perhaps contribute to the fact that it is unrestored. However, it is still one of the Croatia castles worth visiting year-round, not least because the surrounding trees grant a spectacular backdrop that changes throughout the year's seasons. Although access is limited, you can get up close to the fascinating buildings, intricately decorated defensive walls and the towers of the complex. The earliest sections date back to at least 1344. Following its seizure by the Austrians in 1671, it passed through the hands of a series of private owners, including the Irish-born Laval Nugent von Westmeath, who started his career as a loyal soldier to Austria but finished his life in Bosiljevo as something closer to a Croatian patriot. The property was seized by Communist authorities after the Second World War, its decline beginning with its ill-purposing as a retirement home, restaurant and cheap motel between the 1960s and the 1980s when it was finally abandoned.
bosiljevoopcinacas.jpg© Općina Bosiljevo

Čakovec Castle

stari_gradcakovectz.jpg© Čakovec City Tourist Board

Situated within a sizeable park, right in the town centre of Čakovec, Međimurje, Čakovec Castle is a beast of a building. Like several Croatia castles, it is actually several buildings. Access to the park is great from all sides of the site and, this being the case, the grounds are a section of greenery much-enjoyed by residents and visitors, as are the spectacular buildings which lie at the centre. The original 13th-century fortress was built by Count Dmitri Čak, hence the town's name. Its walls form the basis of the complex's front section, behind which the 16th Century Zrinski Castle sits detached. The Zrinski castle houses Croatia's biggest museum, the Međimurje County Museum, and its courtyard plays host to cultural happenings like music concerts, theatre and gastro events. Although we call this independent structure the Zrinski Castle, they were not in fact responsible for the building's original construction, but rather rebuilt it. Also, the modern-day appearance of this palace cannot be wholly attributed to the Zrinski family, as it was severely damaged in an earthquake and rebuilt by later owners. However, this is one of the most significant of Croatia castles because it was the family seat of the Zrinski during a time in which several family members served as Ban of Croatia. As the most important man in the land, the building naturally held a similar stature.
MuseumMedimurjeCak.jpg© Museum of Međimurje, Čakovec

Feštetić Castle, Pribislavec

dvorac_festetic_01visit medimurje.jpg© Visit Međimurje

One of the most singular-looking of all Croatia castles, not least because of its unforgettable neogothic tower, Feštetić Castle in Međimurje actually pre-dates the Feštetić family who lends it their name. The original building dated back to at least the beginning of the 18th Century. Throughout its life, the structure that lay here was ravaged by war, fire and natural disasters, but we can attribute its striking neogothic stylings to the Feštetić family, whose work on the castle began in 1870. The building has been in continuous use ever since, serving at times as a retirement home and a school. It is therefore in great condition and sits in grounds that are also enjoyable upon any visit.
Feštetićvisitnorthcroatia.jpgGosh! The occasional darkened skies above Međimurje seem to suit the neogothic Feštetić Castle almost as much as do the clear blue! © Visit North Croatia

Nova Kraljevica Castle

Domagoj BlaževićKraljevicaKvarner.jpg© Domagoj Blažević / Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner)

Located atop the start of a peninsula at the entrance to the Bay of Bakar, less than 20 kilometres east of Rijeka, Petar Zrinski started to build Nova Kraljevica in 1651. The castle has large towers at the corners of each of its four walls. They surround an inner courtyard decorated with archways on both floors. Petar's wife, Katarina Frankopan, is said to have paid close attention to its interior design and the couple spent much time within what is one of the few Croatia castles to sit upon the mainland's shoreline. The castle's main salon was decorated with gilded leather wallpaper, had marble fireplaces, floors paved with a marble mosaic and doors made of black and white marble. This spectacular and well-preserved castle also once held one of Croatia's very first museums. It is not only great to visit on foot but a spectacular sight when approached from the Adriatic by boat.
dvorac-nova-kraljevica07-atrij-domagoj-blazevic-11.07-1200x800.jpgThe ornate inner courtyard of Kraljevica Castle © Domagoj Blažević / Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner)

Miljana Castle, near Kumrovec

DSC_0248-visitZagorje.jpg© Visit Zagorje

Though not open to spontaneous visit by the public like many of the Croatia castles on this list, you can go to the Baroque castle of Miljana near Kumrovec, Zagorje. You just have to arrange to do so in advance, as this picturesque building is undergoing gradual restoration. Miljana is impossibly pretty, as are its grounds. Three wings surround a central courtyard and striking black plaster covers the walls, periodically interspersed with white plaster ornamentation. Its construction began in the late 16th century under the Rattkay family although it was expanded and adapted several times before its last substantial remodeling in the 18th century. Its first floor has eight salons, seven of which hold frescos on the walls. These form much of the current restoration work and it promises to be incredible once the painstaking work is complete.
Miljana Castle, near KumroveKrapina Zagorje County Tourism Board.jpg© Zagreb County Tourist Board

Kutjevo Castle

dvorac-kutjevoTZK.jpeg© Tourism Board of Kutjevo

Built on the site of a much earlier monastery, Kutjevo castle still holds a wine cellar belonging to its predecessor. It dates back to the year 1232. The original buildings were destroyed by the Ottomans. After they left, the land was gifted to Zagreb canon Ivan Josip Babić in 1689 and he invited Jesuits to make a home for themselves there. They cleared the land and built the castle between 1704 till 1735. One side of the castle is a church, the other three wings have a less overtly religious feel to their architecture. They surround an inner courtyard and, beyond them stretches a large park area. It has a circular motif located centrally, around which pathways wind through the grounds and the large trees which live there. Perhaps the most striking feature of the building is its polygonal tower on which sits a bulb-shaped roof. The building is privately owned and its interior not open to spontaneous visits from the public.
Kutjevo-ParkCROATIA.jpg© Croatian National Tourist Board

Eltz Castle, Vukovar

Vukovar_Dvorac_Eltz_SKStjepkoKrehula.jpeg© Stjepko Krehula

One of the most famous, spectacular and oldest castles in Germany is called Eltz Castle. This one, located in Vukovar, eastern Croatia, is clearly something other. However, the two are connected by the same Eltz family, the descendants of which still inhabit the German castle, just as their ancestors did in the 12th Century. The family owned huge tracts of land around this section of the Danube, by far their most significant territory outside Germany, and Eltz Castle in Vukovar was their main residence until 1945, when they were expelled by the Yugoslav communist regime. The front facade is a sea of ornate baroque windows, painstakingly (but speedily) reconstructed following the building's near-complete destruction by bombing during the 1990s. Since 1968, the castle has housed the Vukovar City Museum, one of the most significant in Pannonia. It charts the history of all the peoples who have inhabited this area of the Danube and contains valuable exhibits returned to it from Zagreb, Novi Sad and Belgrade.
GradskiMuzejVuko.jpg© Gradski muzej Vukovar

Lukavec Castle, Turopolje

LukavecTZZC1.jpg© Zagreb County Tourist Board

Built on the site of a wooden fort first mentioned in 1256, could some of the wooden bridge that gives access to this castle be made of remnants of its ancestor? Maybe not, but it's nice to imagine the lineage being so palpable. This replacement structure dates from 1752 and is marked by golden plastered outer walls which contrast beautifully against white borders, the red-tiled roof and the darkened top of the main tower. In the building's courtyard sits an old cannon, this remnant of its military past perhaps surprising when you see just how well preserved and unblemished this building is. It is an integral part of the local community's cultural and social life and hosts many events.
The_Old_Town_of_Lukavec_6Zeljko.filipin.jpeg© Zeljko Filipin

Kerestinec Castle

kerestinec2-10svetaned.jpg© Grad Sveta Nedelja

The Renaissance-Baroque building in Kerestinec, Sveta Nedelja, is one of the Croatia castles that has seen much better days. Its interior remains unrestored. Its construction was started in 1565 by Petar Erdödy, then Ban of Croatia, so it would have been made to high standards and specifications. The castle was remodelled several times over the centuries and is today notable for circular towers that sit at two corners of its four wings. The central courtyard has in recent memory served as the host site to events such as a dance music festival. This may be far from its original purpose, but such events continue to breathe life into a spectacular building that perhaps otherwise would be completely abandoned.
dvorac_helikoptersvetanedelja.jpg© Grad Sveta Nedelja

All of the photos of castles in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (Kvarner) were taken by Domagoj Blažević for the Route Of The Frankopans website, which allows visitors to trace a path through all of the former Frankopan properties in the county and is recommended reading for castle hunters

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

81st Skal International World Congress to be Held in Opatija and Rijeka

October 21, 2020 - The 81st Skal International World Congress will be held in Opatija and Rijeka in 2022, bringing around 1,000 tourism professionals to the Kvarner region.

At the online session of the General Assembly of the Skål International Association, the Skål Club Kvarner unanimously confirmed they would host the World Skål Congress, which will be held from October 13 to 18, 2022.

HRTurizam reports that, unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Skål Congress, which was to be held in Opatija and Rijeka this year, was canceled under the motto “SKÅL CONGRESS IN THE EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE 2020”. However, tourism workers from Kvarner did not give up on the unique opportunity to present their region to the representatives of the world's largest association of tourism professionals. They will still have their chance in a few years. 

The repeated demanding candidacy of Kvarner, Opatija, and Rijeka was presented at today's session of the General Assembly by Irena Peršić Živadinov (president of Skål Club Kvarner for two terms and director of the Kvarner Tourist Board). Kvarner was unanimously, and with the great support of colleagues from around the world, entrusted with hosting this event, which is of immeasurable importance for tourism destinations and the whole of Croatia.

Skål Club Kvarner is celebrating 10 years of work this year and was founded thanks to Katica Hauptfeld, owner of the famous travel agency Katarina line, which gathered some of the most influential tourist workers in Kvarner. Together, projects and ideas quickly became noticed in Skål International circles internationally.  Thus, both this candidacy and the congressional hosting in 2020 and again in 2022 is largely to her credit.

It is expected that during this prestigious international event in 2022, about 1,000 participants will visit Kvarner, including many owners of influential travel agencies and tour operators who will have the opportunity to show the tourism potential of the region and who will even more successfully offer Croatian tourist facilities to its clients.

SKÅL International is an international organization of tourism managers with about 14,000 members in over 340 clubs in more than 100 countries around the world and is the largest in the tourism sector. Members of SKÅL Club Kvarner are professionals in Kvarner tourism (hoteliers, agencies, tourist boards, representatives of the academic community, and others). Skål clubs Zagreb, Dubrovnik, and Split still operate in Croatia.

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Friday, 3 May 2019

Hilton to Bring Kvarner More Traffic and Quality Destination Growth

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 2nd of May, 2019, with the launch of Hilton in the Costabella resort between Opatija and Rijeka, Kvarner has gained its first global hotel brand and Hilton is entering the market for summer resorts in the Republic of Croatia for the first time.

As we reported recently, last week, Hilton confirmed that they signed a contract with JTH Costabella on the management of Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa, which should open before the 2020 summer season, and the investment poured into the project by a Czech investor is worth about eighty million euros. The investment was announced as a luxury product since its very inception, and when in search of an operator last year, the investor negotiated with the well known Hard Rock Hotels group. Eventually, the results of the negotiations ended with Hilton entering the resort. The company has more than ten resorts in Europe.

Siniša Topalović, a partner at the Horwath HTL consulting house, believes that opening of Hilton's new resort in Kvarner is a very positive move for a number of reasons.

"The internationalisation of the Kvarner tourist offer, the strengthening of traffic in the pre and post [tourist] season, the raising of the quality of the tourist destination's offer, as well as transferring the knowledge of the workforce and internal education are just some of the expected positive effects of this cooperation," Topalović stated.

He also recalled the fact that Hilton recently updated its concept, and this would be the first regional resort to adhere to the globally respected company's brand new philosophy and standards. Sanja Čižmar also emphasised that the entry of Hilton into Kvarner will contribute to deepening the global recognition of the Croatian tourist offer as a whole.

Josipa Jutt Ferlan, the director of the cluster of Hilton Hotels in Zagreb and the director of Zagreb City Hotels revealed to Poslovni Dnevnik what Hilton had brought to the Croatian capital.

"Hilton brought with it a higher quality perception of Zagreb as an international destination, because with the entry of Hilton, Zagreb gained the presence of yet another, globally strong hotel company. The diversity of hotel deals through the presence of various brands, strengthens the destination compared to its international competition,'' explained Jutt Ferlan.

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Click here for the original article by Marija Crnjak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Kvarner Records 100 Percent Increase in Tourists Over Easter Holidays

As Morski writes on the 25th of April, 2019, over the Easter holidays, 28,500 guests stayed in Kvarner, accounting for 99,000 overnight stays, which is a massive 100 percent increase when compared to the same period back in 2018, according to the Kvarner Tourist Board.

According to the official data from the eVisitor system, 28,500 guests spent 99,000 nights in Kvarner over four Easter holiday days (from Friday to Easter Monday).

The numbers from not only last year, but also from 2016 and 2017 prove the fact that during the Easter season this year, Kvarner was visited by a record number of guests. Thus, this year, 37 percent more overnight stays were realised when compared to 2017, when the Easter holidays fell during the same period of April, and even more incredible 147 percent more than 2016 were recorded, when the Easter holidays fell earlier, at the end of March.

In more than 100 of Kvarner's hotels and in as many as 25 camps, as well as a large number of holiday homes and private apartments, guests from Germany, other parts of Croatia, Austria, Italy and neighbouring Slovenia made up large numbers. German guests realised 25 percent of the total number of overnight stays, while domestic guests and guests from Austria realised 14 percent of the total number of overnight stays, with guests from Italy making up 11 percent.

Most of the overnight stays were realised on the island of Krk (32,300), followed by the Opatija riviera (23,400), the island of Lošinj (15,500), the Crikvenica-Vinodolski riviera (10,000), Rijeka and its surroundings (6,300), on the island of Rab (5,500), the island of Cres (5,300) and Gorski Kotar (850).

Nearly half of the overnight stays (49,000) were realised in hotels across Kvarner, most of which open on the Opatija riviera. 23,000 overnight stays were spent in private accommodation and in camps, most of them on Kvarner's numerous islands, account for 22,000 overnights.

In the spirit of the Easter holidays, Kvarner's hosts across the region prepared a large number of events for guests, from traditional cultural and entertainment events to gastronomic, religious and nature-related activities.

''In the last eight years, if we only look at the [main tourist] season, we're talking about a jump of as much as 90 percent, while in terms of the total number of overnight stays for the same period we've seen an increase of 50 percent. This marked increase in the number of guests, both foreign and domestic, shows us that we have a well-established development strategy based on our activities and programs, with the emphasis on filling out the period outside of the main summer tourist season.

The performances at this year's fairs and presentations on our strongest markets - Germany, Austria, Italy and Slovenia - gave us a good insight into the beginning of this tourist year and what those employed in tourism in Kvarner can expect,'' stated dr.sc. Irene Peršić Živadinov.

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