Monday, 6 June 2022

WTA Makarska Open: Jule Niemeier Wins Singles Title, Tena Lukas and Dalila Jakupović in Doubles

June 6, 2022 - German Jule Niemeier won the WTA Makarska Open by Valamar tournament, while Croatian Tena Lukas and Slovenian Dalila Jakupovič won the doubles tournament!

In the final match on sunday, Jule Niemeier beat Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto 7-5, 6-1.

Niemeier won the first set, 7-5. After that, she started the match better, but then it reached 5-5. However, at the very end of the set, Niemeier hit some crucial points to win the first set 7-5.

In the second set, it was a one-way street. Niemeier was much better all around. Cocciaretto could not find any answer to Niemeier, who deservedly won the first Makarska WTA Open by Valamar tournament.

Croatian Tena Lukas and Slovenian Dalila Jakupovič won the WTA Makarska Open by Valamar doubles tournament. In front of almost a thousand spectators on the Central Court of the Valamar Tennis Center, Lukas and Jakupovič emerged as winners in a difficult match against the Serbian duo Olga Danilović and Aleksandra Krunić. The result was 5-7, 6-2 (10-5).

The first set was better for the Serbian team, then Dalila and Tena took over and dominated the final. In the tie-break match, they had the patience and composure to finish the job.

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Kevin Clement

"Thanks to everyone who cheered for us. This is a special title for me, but this is my tournament. I don't know; emotions overwhelmed me. Thanks to my parents, especially my grandfather. Thanks to my brother Feliks, congratulations on this tournament," said the overjoyed Tena, who also won the ITF in Rome worth 60 thousand dollars two weeks ago.

Tomislav Družak, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister, and Makarska Mayor Zoran Paunović awarded the trophies to the tennis players.

"Thank you all for supporting the players. It was nice to see passionate fans in the stands. Thanks to everyone who supported the tournament," said tournament director Feliks Lukas.

"I congratulate Jule on the big week and wish her all the best in her career. This is one of the best tournaments I have played in. I feel at home here because I am on the other side of the Adriatic," said Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

"I'm sorry I stopped Elisabetta down. However, I enjoyed being here, one of the most beautiful tournaments I’ve been to. I also had a great time at the party for the players," said the winner Jule Niemeier.

It has been a fantastic first edition in Makarska, and the best is yet to come!

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Friday, 20 May 2022

Makarska Transforms into WTACity with Best Entertainment on Adriatic!

May 20, 2022 - The WTA Makarska Open will be held from May 30 to June 5, transforming the coastal town into WTACity! 

For the first time in Makarska, but in great style! The WTA Makarska Open tournament, in cooperation with the City of Makarska, opens WTACity with a concert by the Big Band and Zdenka Kovačiček on May 30. Makarska's main square is the most beautiful backdrop for the hot summer rhythm that awaits all tennis fans, locals, and tourists.

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Funky House Night with DJ Toni Juranović is reserved for May 31, Black Coffee performs on June 1, New Gondoliers on June 2, Noa & Tour de Funk on June 3, and on June 4, after the semifinals, the central Makarska central will feature KUD Jedinstvo, followed by a concert of the popular Mjesni Odbor and a surprise guest. After Sunday’s final, WTACity closes with a performance by Ischariotzcky. Finally, the youngest will enjoy their day on June 1 from 10:30 in the main square.

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It will also be hot at the Valamar Riviera Tennis Center. First, Rijad Gvozden will make the audience laugh on June 2 with the comedy Bosanac on Vacation, and on June 3, Klapa Šufit will sing. Before the semifinals on June 4, a warm-up concert by Neno Belan will be held, and before the final on June 5, Klapa Cambi will sing their hits.

Excellent workshops and panels for athletes and recreationists will also be held, as well as an attractive exhibition of portraits of the most famous Hollywood actors, a great friend of this tournament, photographer Jadran Lazić.

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"From the first day, our goal is to bring attractive and recognizable events such as the WTA tournament to our city below Biokovo. I am extremely proud that we managed to bring such a prestigious tournament to Makarska and the cooperation of the City, WTA, and Valamar, which proved to be an outstanding partner to the local community. The WTA tournament in Makarska is the first and crucial step in realizing our vision of Makarska as a desirable tourist and sports destination. I am sure that the tournament will contribute to a new direction of sustainable development and help us get on the map of destinations that offer tourists new experiences and interesting content. From this year, we have WTACity - ten days of fun and music events throughout the city of sports and entertainment during WTA Week," says Zoran Paunović, Mayor of Makarska, and adds that the locals are looking forward to promoting their city, the arrival of top tennis players, and exciting matches.

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Feliks Lukas, the tournament director, announced the best program so far. For the past six years, the WTA has been a great combination of sports and entertainment, so the event has been positioned as an attractive social event.

"In the 16 years that this event has been held in Croatia, the WTA tournament considers the local community, its wishes and needs, and tennis fans who come to the tournament and tourists who stay in the destination. We successfully organized a quality accompanying program last year in compliance with strict epidemiological measures. In addition to promoting a healthy lifestyle, it is essential for us to promote the destination where the tournament is held, which will be beautiful Makarska for the next three years," says Lukas.

From May 30 to June 5, Makarska will be the most beautiful introduction to summer in Dalmatia. 

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 5 May 2022

WTA Makarska Open Bringing 22 TOP 100 Players for Strongest Tournament Yet

May 5, 2022 - Defending champion Jasmine Paolini, last year's finalist and top-ranked Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus, and eight-time Grand Slam winner, 2019 doubles world number one and top 10 player in 2017 Kristina Mladenović will play at the WTA Makarska Open at Valamar this year! 

Clara Burel also comes from France, who, at the age of 19, played in the third round of Roland Garros in 2020. Marta Kostyuk, a young Ukrainian star under the leadership of celebrated Croatian ace Ivan Ljubičić, Anna Bondar, the best Hungarian tennis player, and Spaniard Nuria Parrizas Diaz will also compete.

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Along with the already mentioned Jasmine Paolini, Martina Trevisan and Lucia Bronzetti arrived from Italy. Furthermore, the legend of Italian and world tennis Sara Errani is on the waiting list. Again, the two best players from Slovakia - Kristina Kucova and Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, announced their arrival, and the best Swedish tennis player Rebecca Peterson. 

Mayar Sherif, the best tennis player from Egypt, and the best-ranked Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, a doubles finalist at this year's Australian Open, join the list. Quinwen Zheng is coming from China; a young 19-year-old hope and currently the second most successful player in the country.

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Bernarda Pera, who plays under the American flag, is also expected to compete while Antonija Ružić and Teni Lukas have been invited among Croatian tennis players, and Makarska's Marijana Dražić will play in doubles. 

Even more sports surprises are possible at the WTA Makarska Open hosted by Valamar because the two best Serbian tennis players are on the waiting list - 2017 winner Aleksandra Krunić and Olga Danilović, as well as the best Montenegrin tennis player Danka Kovinić and "miracle from Paris" Nadia Podoroska, the only tennis player to reach the Roland Garros semifinals from qualifying.

"Our goal is to grow from year to year. So we decided that the WTA tournament will be held in Makarska this year in partnership with the City and Valamar and with the support of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and Split-Dalmatia County, whom I thank once again for their support. The tournament is a step forward in terms of organization and logistics. This effort has been recognized, which can be seen in the applications of tennis players, because this year we have 22 tennis players from the top 100, while last year we had 13. Of course, the final list could vary and depends on the outcome at Roland Garros," said Feliks Lukas, tournament director. He added that tennis fans, locals, and their guests could expect an exciting entertainment program with top concerts and theater performances and numerous professional panel discussions and training in addition to the competitions.

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Where will you be from May 30 to June 5?

Photos by Vladimir Dugandžić, archive WTA Makarska Open hosted by Valamar

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 28 February 2022

From Bol to Makarska: 16th WTA Makarska Open Hosted by Valamar Announced!

February 28, 2022 - After 15 successful years in Bol, the popular WTA tournament will move to Makarska for the first-ever Makarska Open hosted by Valamar!

After 15 successful years in Bol, the time has come for a new destination, say the organizers of the WTA tournament. Its 16th edition will be held from May 30 to June 5 in Makarska! 

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The magnificent sea view, great atmosphere, and excellent organization are again the strongest assets of the famous sporting event, which features the best-ranked female tennis players from Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovakia, Montenegro, Italy, China, Luxembourg, Serbia, Slovenia, and Croatia - and all the winners regularly return! 

"First of all, I would like to thank Bol, its residents, and all partners on Brač for the exceptional cooperation over the past six years of leading this tournament. They were great hosts; we breathed as one and lived for this event. But the time has come for new energy and a new place. The city of Makarska, with a long sports tradition, and Valamar Riviera as a leading tourist group are the right partners for the growth and future of our event. I am convinced that this year we will bring the best of women's tennis and create a real sports spectacle in the pre-season," said Felix Lukas, director of the WTA tournament, which this year has a new name - WTA Makarska Open hosted by Valamar.

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WTA leader Steve Simon says Croatia has always supported women’s tennis and the WTA tournament.

"Croatia is a country with exceptional success and history in organizing top tournaments dating back to 1991. We are looking forward to the Makarska Open continuing our WTA story on the beautiful Croatian coast," says Simon.

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Global promotion of Makarska

"We are on a good path to turn Makarska into one of the better destinations in Europe. From the first day, our goal is to bring globally recognizable events such as the WTA tournament to our city below Biokovo. I am extremely proud that we managed to bring such a prestigious tournament to Makarska and the cooperation of the City, WTA, and Valamar, which proved to be an outstanding partner to the local community. The WTA tournament in Makarska is the first and significant step in realizing our vision of Makarska as a desirable tourist and sports destination. I am sure that the tournament will help us get on the map of destinations that offer tourists new experiences and interesting content," says Zoran Paunović, the mayor of Makarska.

Makarska locals are looking forward to promoting their city, the arrival of top tennis players, and exciting matches, and they hope that they will be great hosts like Bol.

Split-Dalmatia County could not hide their satisfaction that this tournament is still being organized in the region. 

"This is a significant international sports event that promotes our county, the whole of Dalmatia and Croatia. Thanks to its extremely positive atmosphere, this tournament is recognized, and I am convinced that it will be the same in Makarska, another beautiful Dalmatian destination. From the beginning, Split-Dalmatia County has supported the WTA tournament, which sends a picture of optimism to the world, and we all need that in these challenging times," said Blaženko Boban, County Prefect of Split-Dalmatia County.

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Valamar is investing in the renovation of the Tennis Center.

"The development of the destinations in which we operate is part of Valamar's strategy of socially responsible business. Therefore, we are looking forward to this new partnership and that we will be the general sponsors of the WTA Makarska Open tennis tournament, which we will be proud to host for at least three years, for which we have signed a contract so far. By sponsoring this tournament, which includes an investment in the renovation of the Makarska Tennis Center, which will be the venue of the tournament, but also the reconstruction of the Dalmacija Places Hotel, which will be officially opened during the tournament, we prove how much Valamar Group believes in Makarska as a destination and its tourism development," said Alen Benković, Senior Vice President for Development, Property Maintenance and Technical Services at Valamar Riviera and President of the Management Board of Imperial Riviera.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 21 February 2022

Zagreb to Dubrovnik: the Ultimate 10-day Road Trip Itinerary

21 February 2022 - It’s never the wrong time to start planning the perfect getaway to the paradise that is Croatia. We decided to give you a hand in planning the perfect 10-day road trip from Zagreb to Dubrovnik (plus some bonus island time!) that showcases the best the country has to offer.

The best way to discover Croatia is by car, giving you the freedom to go off the beaten path and chart your own adventure around the country, all the way from Zagreb to Dubrovnik.

Before we jump into it, do be aware that most car rentals in Croatia are manual transmissions! Automatic cars are available for rent, though mostly by larger rental companies like Sixt, and are more expensive.

If you’re not a confident driver, no need to worry, there are plenty of private bus companies that run daily trips to most cities and tourist attractions during the high season (June - September). In larger cities such as Zagreb and Split, bus schedules are also available online. Transfers between major ports and the islands are also regularly serviced by ferries and catamarans.

Day 1: Zagreb

Welcome to Zagreb, the capital and largest city of Croatia! Nicknamed the city of museums, Zagreb is home to over a dozen award-winning museums such as the Archeological Museum, with over 450,000 artifacts and monuments.

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The gorgeous buildings of Upper Town in Zagreb. Visit Zagreb/Facebook.

Cultural landmarks of the city include Ban Jelačić Square which has existed since the 17th century, the Zagreb Cathedral, or the magnificent Croatian National Theater whose unveiling ceremony was attended by Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I. So, make sure you squeeze in some time for a walking tour to absorb the sights of Zagreb’s Old Town.

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Evenings on Tkalčićeva Street, Zagreb. Visit Zagreb/Facebook.

Hungry? Head to Dolac market, Zagreb's main open-air farmers market to pick up some fresh, seasonal produce and souvenirs. You can also choose to end your day with a tasty meal and local wine from any of the excellent restaurants, bars, and cafes along Tkalčićeva Street.

Day 2: Rovinj

After a bustling day in Zagreb, the enchanting city of Rovinj is a splendid change of pace. Perfectly situated on the Istrian peninsula, the city boasts a rich heritage, from being settled by Venetian tribes, to becoming part of the Byzantine and Frankish Empires, all reflected in the diversity of the city’s architecture, art, and culture.

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This stunning setting has been a popular film setting for movies such as "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard". Rovinj Tourist Board/Facebook.

Stroll along the beautiful cobbled streets and narrow alleys of Rovinj Old Town and make your way towards St. Euphemia Cathedral. Along the way, you should pass by Grisia Street, lined with souvenir stalls and galleries with the most unique pieces to add to your collection.
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The charming, picturesque streets of Rovinj's Old Town. Rovinj Tourist Board/Facebook.

If you have time to spare, take a day trip to Sveta Katarina, a small picturesque island that’s a mere 10-minute water taxi ride from the pier. Spend the afternoon taking a dip in the aquamarine waters of the bay, or hike on one of the numerous trails dotted around the island, or both!

Alternatively, sit back and relax on some of the most beautiful beaches in Istria such as Amarin, Borik, or Valdaliso Beach.

Day 3: Pula

Before leaving the Istrian Coast, make Pula the next stop on your road trip. Serving as the capital of Istria, Pula was the main military port for the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy at the height of its military glory. Today, remnants of these times are reflected in the city’s breathtaking landscape.

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The Pula Arena frequently hosts concerts and festivals throughout the year. Pula Plus/Facebook.

The famous Pula Arena, one of the most well preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world, is a must-see! Another not to be missed landmark is the Temple of Augustus, a monument dedicated to the first Roman emperor in honor of his rule.

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The unique shape of Fort Puna Christo. Pula Plus/Facebook.

Also check out the impressive Fort Punta Christo, which includes an underground section to explore and a well-stocked rooftop bar for refreshments after. You can also enjoy magnificent 360-degree views of Pula from the Venetian Fortress (Kaštel) which also houses the Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria.

Day 4: Plitvice National Park

Although Croatia boasts some of the best coastlines in the world, Plitvice Lakes National Park consistently appears in the top must-see places to visit in Croatia, and for good reason! This UNESCO World Heritage Site holds the title as the oldest and largest national park in Croatia, famous for its gorgeous turquoise lakes. Well worth the detour inland.

plitvice_lakes_national_park_facebook_small.jpgThe main walkway of Plitvice Lakes National Park. Plitvice Lakes National Park/Facebook.

Be aware that the park can get very crowded during the season! To avoid this, just be prepared to visit early (7-8am), or better still, stop by during off-peak seasons where the park transforms into the perfect winter wonderland.

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Plitvice Lakes National Park/Facebook.

Day 5: Zadar

After a day in the lush forests, take a scenic drive back to the Dalmatian coast and spend a day in the charming city of Zadar, the oldest continuously inhabited Croatian city. Today, cozy cafes and art galleries are seamlessly woven into remains from the times of Julius Caesar and Emperor Augustus.

Enjoy a relaxing stroll through Old Town and admire the historical architecture including the Church of St. Donatus, the Landward Gate, the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, and the Roman Forum.

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Ruins in the Old Town of Zadar. Zadar Region/Facebook

Along the way, catch the famous Sea Organ, and a sunset so beautiful, it even captivated Alfred Hitchcock! Just after sunset, take in the light show at the Sun Salutation, an installation created by Nikola Bašić, the same artist who designed the sea organ.

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The Landward Gate, Zadar. Zadar Region/Facebook

If you have some time in between, head to Pag Island to try some of the famous Paski Cheese or to Nin, home to Queen’s Beach, the longest sandy beach in Croatia. Other gorgeous beaches along the coast of Zadar include Kolovare and Borik.

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Award-winning sheep's cheese from Pag Island. Pag Tourist Board/Facebook.

Day 6: Split

Welcome to Split, the largest city in Dalmatia, and second-largest in all of Croatia. The city was founded as the Greek colony of Aspálathos between the 3rd and 2nd century BC.

It was later where Diocletian's Palace was built for the Roman emperor in AD 305. The palace also houses the Peristil, or the main square, another great place to enjoy some coffee and people-watch in addition to the Riva promenade.

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Enjoy a drink inside the walls of the Diocletian's Palace, Split. Visit Split/Facebook

While exploring the Old Town, stop by the Green Market, the largest farmer’s market in Split, to pick up some fresh, organic produce. Turn the corner and it is difficult to miss the 8.5-meter statue of Gregory of Nin, sculpted by world-renowned artist Ivan Meštrović. Rubbing the statue’s toe is said to bring good luck, so much so that it has been worn smooth by visitors over the years.

You can also squeeze in a light hike up Marjan Hill, also known as the “lungs of Split”. Its summit is an ideal place for a picnic, offering marvelous views of the harbor and neighboring islands.

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The crystal clear waters of Bačvice beach. Visit Split/Facebook

Fancy another beach day? Bačvice beach is a popular hangout spot in the center of Split. Relax at one of the many cafe bars and watch the locals play picigin, a traditional ball game. Rumor has it this beach is also where the sport originates from.

Day 7: Krka/Omiš/Trogir

Don't be too quick to leave Split. From here, there are several options for day tours to surrounding attractions.
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Some of the most stunning waterfalls in Croatia can be found at Krka National Park. Krka Nationa Park/Facebook

For nature lovers, Krka National Park is another national park about an hour’s drive from Split. Spend a day walking along well-maintained trails that wind along some of the most stunning waterfalls in the country. Again, make sure you get there early to avoid the crowds!

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Try white water rafting in Omiš. Tourist Board Omiš/Facebook

For those craving more action, head to the picturesque town of Omiš which offers one of the most dramatic scenes on the coast. The city is nestled in a canyon surrounded by gray, craggy mountains, contrasting the peacock blue waters where the Cetina River meets the Adriatic Sea. Omiš offers white water rafting, free climbing, ziplining, abseiling, and canyoning, amongst other activities for visitors seeking a bit of a thrill on their vacation.

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Just one of the many well-preserved remains scattered around Trogir's Old Town. Visit Trogir/Facebook

For the history buff, head to Trogir which has the best-preserved Romanesque-Gothic complex in all of Central Europe. Take a walk around the Old Town, surrounded by walls comprising a series of dwellings and palaces from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods.

Day 8: Hvar

With over 1,000 islands, it wouldn’t be a complete trip to Croatia without doing some island hopping. From Split, take the 1-hour ferry ride over to Hvar. Its beauty and vibrant nightlife have made it a regular vacation spot for the likes of celebrities such as George Clooney and Beyonce.

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Hvar is one of the longest and sunniest islands in Croatia. Hvar Tourist Board/Facebook

Start by wandering around St. Stephen’s Square, the largest square in Croatia and don’t miss the Cathedral of St. Stephen and the Hvar public theater. For the best view, climb to the top of the Španjola Fortress to get an unobstructed view overlooking Hvar Town and nearby Pakleni Islands. You can even rent a small boat (no license required) to explore these islands on your own!

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The view from the top of the Španjola Fortress is unparalleled on the island. Hvar Tourist Board/Facebook

Once you’ve taken in all these sights, enjoy another relaxing beach day at one of the many pristine beaches such as Malo Zaraće, Dubovica, or Pokonji Dol.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for another day trip, book a tour with one of the local travel agencies to the Blue Caves on Biševo and marvel at its clear, iridescent blue waters.

Day 9: Korčula

After the buzz of Hvar, take the ferry to the tranquil town of Vela Luka on the island of Korčula, the birthplace of famed explorer Marco Polo and home to some of the best Croatian wines.

From Vela Luka, take a scenic drive towards the town of Korčula, also known as “little Dubrovnik”. Along the way, stop by the numerous family-run vineyards that welcome visitors for wine and cheese tastings.

Grk is a white wine variety grown almost exclusively on Korčula, other white wines such as Pošip and Rukatac are also premier Croatian wines, often served on celebratory occasions. For fans of red wine, do grab a bottle or 2 of Plavac Mali.

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Vineyards of Korčula island. Visit Korčula/Facebook

In Korčula, walk off the afternoon’s indulgences exploring the streets of the Old Town with its architectural influences by the Venetian Renaissance, before capping off the night with a meal and more wine at any of its superb restaurants.

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Korčula town. Visit Korčula/Facebook

Day 10: Dubrovnik

There’s no better way to end the trip than with Dubrovnik. And yes, there is no shortage of Game of Thrones tours to indulge your senses, but there is so much more to this medieval city than where Cersei Lannister did her walk of shame.

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The beautiful Saint Blaise's Church in Dubrovnik was built during the 10th century. Dubrovnik Tourist Board/Facebook

Talk a walk along the city walls and through Stradun, Dubrovnik’s main street. From here, you can also catch Onofrio’s Large Fountain that used to supply Dubrovnik with fresh water during the Middle Ages and other impressive structures including the Clock Tower, Saint Blaise's Church, Saint Ignatius Church, Cathedral of the Assumption, and the Franciscan Monastery.

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The view from beyond the walls of Dubrovnik looking upon Fort Lovrijenac. Dubrovnik Tourist Board/Facebook

Watch the sunsets and reminisce on your amazing road trip through the country at one of the cliff bars along the city walls, before capping it all off with an exquisite meal at one of the many Michelin-starred or recommended restaurants Dubrovnik has to offer.

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Nothing like a luscious meal to top off a fantastic experience road-tripping in Croatia. Dubrovnik Tourist Board/Facebook

And that’s all folks, you’ve done it! Croatia in 10 days! Bear in mind, this is merely the appetizer of what Croatia has to offer. Customize this guide to better suit your tastes and pace and remember, don’t hesitate to ask the locals in order to unlock the best secrets each location has to offer.

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

Thursday, 17 February 2022

New 14,000 sqm Apfel Center to Unite Culture, Sports and Health in Makarska

February 17, 2022 - The new Apfel Center in Makarska will be completed in October and cover 14,000 square meters, focusing on culture, sports, and health. 

After the Makarska company "Apfel," owned by entrepreneur Mijo Pašalić, built a residential building with 13 apartments for 16 of its employees last year in Makarska, and a house in Banja for the Boltužić family, now it's time for a project of great importance for Makarska and its Riviera, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Namely, the Apfel cultural and sports center will cost 80 million kuna, will employ 30 people, and is located at the eastern entrance to the city, more precisely at Volicija. The center, whose construction began two years ago and which employs about 100 contractors, will be completed in October and will cover 14,000 square meters and have 100 parking spaces.

The project that will unite culture, sports, and health was developed by the company "Lukić projekt" and was publicly presented by the leader Matko Pašalić.

As he explained, at the entrance to the Center, there will be a Mediterranean garden of 3500 m2 with three gazebos and a barbecue, in which fellow citizens will be able to organize various celebrations and gatherings. There will also be a children's park, a field with artificial grass for indoor soccer, and a hard surface tennis court.

In 4300 m2 of the inner part, there will be a parquet playground, a court with artificial grass, and behind it a court for padel tennis, a children's playroom, while in the middle of the Center there will be a cafe and pizzeria with indoor and outdoor terraces and a children's park.

On the 1st floor of the Apfel Center, there will be three fitness halls and gyms equipped to the latest standards, which will satisfy both recreational and professional athletes, all with service facilities, and in the eastern part a multimedia hall with 360 cascading seats for concerts, congresses, plays, and performances. However, negotiations are still underway with the City to have a cinema in the hall.

On the 2nd floor, there will be a health section - a polyclinic and office space, with Apfel negotiating with top specialist doctors who would come to Makarska once a week and perform specialist examinations so that locals do not have to go to Split for wider health care. 

Furthermore, upstairs there will be an office of nutritionists and physiotherapists, and there will be places for all entrepreneurs, crafts, and associations. As Pašalić said, all sports facilities are for amateur athletes and fellow recreational citizens.

Since its founding in 1996, Apfel has been actively involved in the life of the wider community, not only as an observer but also as an active generator of public events. The company's business plan has always included promoting cultural and sports content in society, whether through sponsorship or the organization of events. 

"As a natural continuation of participation in the sports and cultural life of the Makarska Riviera, the Pašalić family came up with the idea of a Sports and Cultural Center that would unite public events that enrich everyday life in one place. In the Apfel cultural and sports center project, we were supported by both the current and former authorities. The idea of building the center arose after long thought about what our city lacks, so we started with sports fields and continued with everything else. I am convinced that the Center will have good attendance and positive response among our fellow citizens," said Pašalić, adding that part of the program is designed as a year-round and part as a seasonal.

The year-round plan of activities includes seminars and congresses, hosting performances and concerts, cinema screenings, basic and specialist health services, daily fitness programs, children's birthday celebrations, a sports school for the youngest, team sports in indoor and outdoor sports fields, a team-building organization for companies, children's playroom, use of gazebos with barbecue, and many other facilities, while the periodical programs include the Festival of Satire, Days of Slavonia, children's competitions in various sports and many other events that will accompany the seasonal calendar.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 12 November 2021

Makarska Introduces Free Public Transport for Its Citizens

November 12, 2021 - Good news for the inhabitants of the Dalmatian town, as Makarska introduces free public transport towards the end of the year. Here are the routes.

Organized by the City of Makarska, free public transport has started on the route Veliko Brdo - Makarska - Veliko Brdo as a pilot project, reports Slobodna Dalmacija. The test period will last until the end of the year and refers to the connections of the most remote local board with the city. Makarska Mayor Zoran Paunović was also on the first run.

In this test period, transportation is free for all citizens who have a permanent or temporary residence in the area of ​​the city of Makarska, which passengers will prove with an ID card or appropriate certificate. The carrier will issue them a monthly travel ticket on the spot on the bus.

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Departures from Veliko Brdo to Makarska are at 7.30 am, 8.33, 9.33, 10.33, 12, 13.30, 14.50, 16.50 and 19.20. Departures from Makarska to Veliko Brdo are at 8.25, 9.25, 10.25, 11.30, 13.20, 16.15, 18.15, 19.05 and 20. 27 hours.

Boarding and disembarking of passengers on the route Veliko Brdo - Makarska - Veliko Brdo is performed at three bus stops in the area of ​​Veliko Brdo, bus stop near Napoleon's monument, near the store "Tommy" in Ante Starčević Street, at the beginning and end of the city waterfront, below the bus station, the end of the roundabout next to the high schools and the end of the town market and the Music School.

The City of Makarska has concluded a contract on co-financing the line at the initiative of the Family Bus Service carrier, which, according to the publicly available register, is the only one with registered lines and issued county licenses for county public regular passenger transport between Veliko Brdo and Makarska.
This pilot project is a step closer to the organization of public transport and an opportunity for the City of Makarska to know first hand the real traffic demand and the justification for the introduction of public transport in Makarska.

Are you planning to visit Makarska? Take a look at the Total Croatia 2021 guide, where you will find all the information about accommodation, restaurants, things to do, tours, how to get to the riviera, and much more HERE. Now available in your language!

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Sunday, 24 October 2021

President Calls on Makarska Citizens to Absorb As Much EU Money As Possible

ZAGREB, 24 Oct, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Sunday attended the special session of the city assembly of Makarska on the occasion of the day of that Adriatic city, and commended local residents for having done a lot for their community.

Addressing the session, the president called on the local authorities and citizens to make use of the funds available under the EU funding schemes as much as possible.

"Take the money from the EU funds and be greedy within the rules," he said.

He presented that data showing that since Croatia's admission to the EU eight years ago, the money disbursed to Croatia exceeded Zagreb's contributions to the EU budget by HRK 43 billion.

This means that the payments to Croatia were by 5 billion kuna higher than Croatia's contributions annually, he said elaborating that of those 5 billion per year, three billion were earmarked for agriculture, and "you have nothing of that", he said.

He praised the current generation of Makarska citizens of being on the right track.

You live in a small and relatively wealthy community with the resources that are not unlimited, he said, among other things, urging them to rely on their own resources to upgrade their community.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Valamar Places Revamp on Makarska's Hotel Dalmacija: The Details

October 6, 2021 - Makarska's Hotel Dalmacija will be the second hotel to join the new Valamar Places brand. 

The Imperial Riviera d.d. Supervisory Board approved an HRK 67 million investment in repositioning Makarska's Hotel Dalmacija as a Places hotel by Valamar. The investment continues the announced five-year cycle of investments in Croatian tourism worth HRK 1.5 billion, jointly launched by AZ pension funds and "Valamar Riviera."

After the successful privatization of the companies "Imperial" and "Hotel Makarska," and the subsequent merger and increase of capital in "Imperial Riviera," investments in the total amount of HRK 580 million were made, and the hotels "Parentino," "Meteor," "Padova," "Imperial" and Camp Padova were repositioned.

The COVID crisis has temporarily halted and slowed down the investment plan, which is why investments started in 2019 were finalized only in 2021. The approval of the Hotel Dalmacija investment represents a partial restart of the investment cycle. The tourist season has shown the potential for a rapid launch of Croatian tourism and an opportunity for further growth and development of high value-added tourism.

As Slobodna Dalmacija reveals, with the HRK 67 million investment, Hotel Dalmacija will undergo complete reconstruction and refurbishment following the standards of the Valamar Places brand. Recall, the Valamar Places brand is "a new hotel concept for modern travelers seeking freedom of choice and a vibrant Mediterranean holiday by the sea in properties that introduce guests to the destination in a unique way with full respect for nature and the environment."

Hotel Dalmacija will become the second hotel operating under this Valamar brand from next season. 

"After the successful investment in the renovation, modernization, and repositioning of the Valamar hotel "Meteor" in the last two years, totaling HRK 90 million, Imperial Riviera continues to invest in its facilities in Makarska. An additional impetus for the continuation of investment was provided by this year's successful tourist season, which showed the potential for a rapid recovery of Croatian tourism in the still present COVID circumstances.

The investment includes reconstructing the existing facilities and constructing a new swimming pool, with a sun deck and a new pool bar, and reconstructing the 190 accommodation units and all other spaces in a modern lifestyle design. In addition, the existing restaurant, ground floor, and lobby are designed as one unit, thematically separated by zones, and the current wellness facility will be branded in the Places Spa.

The focus will be on the unique atmosphere, ambiance, offer of local food and dishes, with people at its center. The target markets will be the UK, Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, and, of course, the domestic market," said Imperial Riviera, adding that lifestyle hotels today are a particular genre in the hotel industry, based not on the classic features of luxury and high gastronomy but on a specific type of service intended for target consumer groups who value unique experiences with people of similar affinities and affiliations.

"Makarska is a destination that has already successfully positioned itself in the market, so it was chosen as an ideal place to implement this type of hotel. This means contributing to the continuation of diversifying the hotel segment, not only in Makarska but also beyond," concluded Imperial Riviera.

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

Thursday, 30 September 2021

CRO Race 3rd Stage: Milan Menten Wins from Primošten to Makarska

September 30, 2021 - Belgian cyclist Milan Menten, a Bingoal Pauwels Saucers WB team member, won the CRO Race 3rd stage from Primošten to Makarska (167 kilometers) and also took the lead in the overall standings.

In the final meters, Menten overtook Dutchman Mick van Dijk (Jumbo-Visma), and 3rd place was taken by Norwegian Anders Skaarseth (Uno-X). At the same time, excellent placement was achieved by the Croatian cyclist Josip Rumac (Androni Giocattoli), who remained one step closer to the podium in fourth place, reports HRT.

With a stage victory, Menten also took the lead in the overall standings with three seconds ahead of Skaarset, and four ahead of third-placed Van Dijk.

After a nervous start to the stage due to a very early first passing goal in Rogoznica, just eight kilometers after the beginning, which was won by Norwegian Anders Skaarseth (Uno-X), an escape was formed in which five cyclists participated - Spaniards Jon Barrenetxea (Caja Rural) and Xabier Mikel Azparren (Euskaltel), Italian Davide De Cassan (Friuli), German Robert Jageler (P & S Metalltechnik) and Pole Adam Stachowiak (HRE Mazowsze Serce Polski).

The five had the biggest advantage of six minutes before the peloton started to catch them. Then, on the first ascent of the day, two Spaniards stood out from the leading group on Dupce, and Barrenetxe won the mountain goal in front of Azparren. 

On the descent towards Makarska, three cyclists caught up with the Spanish duo, and five cyclists passed through Makarska together before the final lap of 47.3 kilometers. Their advantage was 1:42 minutes ahead of the peloton.

That the leading five cooperated harmoniously is also shown by the results of passing goals in Makarska and Podgora, only nine kilometers away. In Makarska, Jageler won the passing goal in front of Stachowiak and Azparren, and in Podgora Barrenetxe in front of De Cassan and Azparren.

Until the southernmost point of this year's CRO Race in Živogošće, only Barrenetxe, Azparren, and Stachowiak remained in the lead. The main group reached them about 20 kilometers before the finish.

At the beginning of the last ascent of the day, the overall group leader, Dutchman Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma), broke out at the head of the group to attack his teammate and compatriot Sam Oomen. Unfortunately, the only one who could follow Oomen's attack was Norwegian Torstein Traen (Uno-X). The duo remained in the lead until the peak of the climb won by Traen, and the Norwegian managed to maintain a slight advantage over the group until entering Makarska. However, in the end, the group still caught him. 

Traen took the lead for the best climber and will wear a green jersey in the fourth stage, which will run from Zadar to Crikvenica (197 kilometers) on Friday, while Kooij kept the blue jersey for the best sprinter.

Croatian cyclist Fran Miholjević (Team Friuli) finished the stage in 48th place.

Upcoming CRO Race stages:

October 1, 4th stage: Zadar - Crikvenica (197 km)
October 2, 5th stage: Rabac / Labin - Opatija (137.5 km)
October 3, 6th stage: Samobor - Zagreb (156.5 km)

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