Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Hidden Dalmatia: Baško Polje - Forgotten Paradise of Yugoslavia Holidays

October 19, 2021 – TCN was taken on a tour of Camp Resort Baško Polje, the Children's Village near Promajna and Krvavica Military Children's Health Resort – each of these intriguing places had vastly different former lives in Yugoslavia.

In the days of Yugoslavia, some of the very best locations on the country's Adriatic coast were reserved for military hotels, resorts and other state-run enterprises. Among the best known are perhaps Brijuni, now site of a National Park and the vast Kupari near Dubrovnik, which was damaged in the war, looted and abandoned. But, they are not the only ones.

dfvgbDJI_0561.jpgFrom above, Camp Resort Baško Polje © Vice Rudan Photography

In a very short stretch of central Dalmatia - just three and a half kilometres, between Krvavica and Baško Polje - lie three of the most intriguing. They are former military resort, Camp Baško Polje, the Children's Village near Promajna and Krvavica Military Children's Health Resort.

Today, each of these places has a very different future prospect. But, they each share incredibly different former lives. They remain fixed within the memory of many thousands of people. And they are ready to be discovered by a whole new generation.

244317044_6302459256491472_9155132798305481358_n.jpgThe pine forest in Baško Polje stretches from the sea to Biokovo mountain © Marc Rowlands

Total Croatia News took a tour of these unique places in the company of Makarska-based creatives and travel bloggers Ela and Olya of Nifty Nomads (here). One of the recurring themes on their multi-platform excursions is the exploration of hidden or abandoned places in Croatia.

“I am primarily a product designer, so I'm quite invested in architecture and aesthetics,” says Olya. “Abandoned places always give you different stories. When something is finished, wholly functional, it already has its narrative. It is complete. But, with abandoned or unknown places, you have so much more mystery – to find out what came before, or simply to let your imagination run free.”

Children's Village near Promajna

244340530_6302472593156805_4449837595264122857_n.jpg© Marc Rowlands

Built in 1958, the Children's Village near Promajna was something of an international project. Since 1949, rivaling factions within the Communist system of neighbouring Hungary produced a building momentum of unrest. Then, in 1956, revolution broke out. Many people were displaced.

Partially built with aid from the Swedish government, the Children's Village near Promajna was initially designed for the needs of Hungarian refugee children. But, by the time the project was completed, the Soviet Union had brutally quashed Hungary's revolutionary government and installed a regime that was loyal to Moscow. That was that. With the crisis unequivocally concluded, it was decided the village would instead serve the needs of children from across the socialist federation of Yugoslavia. Among its first residents were children from Vojvodina and Slovenia.


Section of a TV documentary, showing how the Children's Village once looked

The capacity of the village was designated as 500 children in the summer months. In the winter period, 120 full-time child residents were accommodated. In keeping with its original international intentions, besides domestic children, children from other countries like Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Germany were accepted.

243484531_6302466476490750_7975241710804030776_n.jpg© Marc Rowlands

The Mediterranean climate here is warm year-round, with many sunny days, even in winter. Forceful winds regularly clear the sea air. The scent of pines is overwhelming. Even in the village's current state of abandonment, you can tell how such a place would be restorative for children.

244158106_6302482826489115_5167061946917374282_n.jpg"Listen to your mother and punk" © Marc Rowlands

The village welcomed child residents for over 30 years. But, with the outbreak of war in 1991, it was repurposed. The village was used to house refugees, largely from Bosnia and Slavonia. “My mother worked here during that time,” says Ela. “She remembers refugees being here until 2006.” Thereafter, the Children's Village near Promajna was left abandoned.

243824450_6302479879822743_8427807802315501981_n.jpg© Marc Rowlands

The 68 thousand square metre site is currently for sale.

Krvavica Military Children's Health Resort

12719262_910411305702999_3103125290541724730_o-1024x540dfgvbh.jpgFrom above, the Military Children's Health Resort in Krvavica © Slumbering Concrete series (produced by Hulahop for Croatian Radiotelevision)

The Military Children's Health Resort in Krvavica is visible from the Adriatic highway. It is a striking sight, a unique piece of architecture. Sitting just above the treetops, it looks like a flying saucer has just landed atop the pine forest.

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Built in 1964 to the design of Split architect Rikard Marasović, the building is actually much more functional than its sci-fi appearance might suggest. Yes, the design is uncompromisingly modern. But, as with most Socialist architecture, it is functional. The building specifically 'floats' in the trees. It was designed for the treatment and rehabilitation of children with respiratory diseases who had families in the military.

Betonski-spavaci_02-before-afterdfgvbnm.jpg© Slumbering Concrete series (produced by Hulahop for Croatian Radiotelevision)

After around a decade, the site was repurposed. In summer months, it functioned more like a military tourist resort. Outside of the tourist season, it reverted somewhat nearer to its original intent. It welcomed people with special needs, low-income workers and elementary school students in recreational classes. It existed in such a way until war broke out.

At the time of the Yugoslav People's Army departure from the site in 1991, the building was undamaged. Indeed, during the war, 1991-1995, it was used to accommodate refugees, the wounded, and to train special military units. In the early 2000s, the building was demilitarised and passed from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence into the hands of an alternate state entity. They held a large portfolio of property that was intended to be purposed for tourism. However, this proved to be a difficult task and some sections of the property portfolio were simply ignored and left to rot. Sadly, Rikard Marasović's floating masterpiece was among them.

243424791_6302511093152955_118510885960291257_n.jpg© Marc Rowlands

Though lamentable, the building's demise is perhaps understandable. As a stand-alone piece of architecture, Krvavica Military Children's Health Resort is undeniably remarkable. But, as previously noted, it was designed for a very specific purpose. Finding an alternate, modern and commercial use for such a building might not be the easiest of tasks. At least, not without compromising some of the building's integrity.

244345832_6302503413153723_3136523279464009317_n.jpg© Marc Rowlands

There is general agreement that the building's continuing decomposition is a bad thing. Previously, it had been suggested the building be torn down to make way for a viable tourist project. However, local design and architect enthusiasts remain incredibly protective of the building. In 2012, the Conservation Department of the Ministry of Culture in Split succeeded in designating the building as a cultural asset, thus affording it some protection. Although, that doesn't actually safeguard the space from further decay.

244334296_6302508756486522_8237790978817832154_n.jpg© Marc Rowlands

“Sometimes we use this as a background for photo shoots, in particular for fashion editorials,” says Ela. Certainly, the graffiti that covers the walls is eye-catching and colourful. “It has also been used as a background for dance choreography. But, for the most part, when people come here now, it's just to explore and maybe take photographs.”

Baško Polje Military Resort

frfghbnDJI_0537.jpgFormerly a military resort, now Camp Resort Baško Polje © Vice Rudan Photography

Of the three sites, the camp at Baško Polje is the most spectacular and optimistic to visit. Formerly a military resort, the camp has functioned continuously for over four decades and thus avoided the sad, forgotten fate of the other two. On the contrary, the pine forest of Baško Polje is full of life.

rfgbhIMG_3166.jpgIncredibly clear waters of the beach at Camp Resort Baško Polje © Vice Rudan Photography

Yugoslavia's military resorts sound like a great opportunity for affordable holidays. Well, if you were in the military, that is. However, the reality is frequently remembered differently to the ideal. Military personnel had to apply for vacations in such resorts. Former servicemen recall holiday places at Baško Polje Military Resort being very difficult to get. Unless you were well connected.

DJI_0554dfgbhn.jpgFrom above, the shoreline at Baško Polje © Vice Rudan Photography

The resort was accessible to non-military visitors. Although, there was a two-tiered pricing system. By showing their identification, military guests would get a discount on coffee, ice cream or beer. During and after the last war, the popular resort hosted refugees from Bosnia and Slavonia. After fulfilling that obligation, it once again began welcoming guests.

fghnjmkIMG_3168.jpgContemporary guests rediscovering Baško Polje © Vice Rudan Photography

But, for many years, Baško Polje remained under the control of the same state entity that held the Military Children's Health Resort in Krvavica. It incurred a huge amount of debt and its management was complicated and outdated. Baško Polje also suffered from a serious lack of investment and modernisation. However, that story begins to change with the resort sale in 2018.

244046474_6302450849825646_5774094669685340811_n.jpg© Marc Rowlands

“What's so amazing about Baško Polje is the space,” says Olya. “It's totally the opposite of anything that gets built on the coast now.” She's right.

243460837_6302451726492225_1053023991475877785_n.jpgSo much space © Marc Rowlands

The Baško Polje resort is spread generously over roughly 270 thousand square metres (27 hectares) of pine forest. This thick, dense forest stretches all the way from the foothills of Biokovo mountain – specifically, the southern portal of the St. Elijah tunnel - to the sea. It is vast.

fgbhnDJI_0580.jpgCamp Resort Baško Polje is dwarfed by the surrounding pine forest © Vice Rudan Photography

Hidden within the forest is the Hotel Alem. Holding 612 beds, it currently has two stars. The main hotel building has 99 double rooms and 9 double suites over 3 floors. A further 99 renovated rooms are found in 3 annexe buildings. Each are named after an area of natural beauty in Croatia.

AnyConv.com__IMG_4336fvgbnmmkjnhb.jpgVisiting cyclists, parked in front of the superior mobile homes of Kamp Adria village Baško Polje (here) © Marc Rowlands

Away from the main accommodation, reception and administration buildings, there are villas, a beach restaurant, a small bakery and a store. There are 600 campsite pitches stretching into the forest. And, there you can find many modern mobile homes.

243863101_6302438539826877_119559823193809698_n.jpgOutdoor cinema © Marc Rowlands

The old outdoor cinema that used to entertain guests here is long since abandoned. And the indoor pool is currently not in use. But, that may change in the near future.

241466533_6302444663159598_2653965628601783339_n.jpg© Marc Rowlands

New owners Jadran Hotels and Camps envisage something very different here. Following years of underinvestment, they plan a gradual but complete overhaul of the site. Eventually, their hotel here will hold 5-stars. It will replace some of the existing structures, so as not to damage the site's number one asset – the incredible pine forest.

244017014_6302742956463102_4495608928721280474_n.jpgA cycling extravaganza - the shoreline path runs almost 10 kilometres, from Krvavica to Brela © Marc Rowlands

Truly, the scent of pines here is overwhelming. As is the silence. At night, no sound other than insects in the trees is discernable. By day, guests make their way down to the generous beach area. There's so much of it, room enough for everyone.

rftghbnjIMG_3171.jpgA huge expanse of beach at Camp Resort Baško Polje, with room enough for everyone © Vice Rudan Photography

Well into autumn you'll find visitors here. The forest is ideal for walking. The gentle slope from the foothills to the sea is also perfect for mountain bikes or off-road motorbikes. The shoreline path runs all the way from Brela to Krvavica. To those who already come, it is already a pristine paradise. In forthcoming years, it may attain a fame comparable to the one it held in Yugoslavia.

IMG_20210927_162856_1iuygfdf.jpgOff-road motorbikes, by the beach in Baško Polje © Marc Rowlands

Both the author and Total Croatia News would like to thank Vice Rudan Photography (here) for the kind permission to use their photography.

On these links you can read the other features in our Hidden Dalmatia series:

Drniš - Drniški Pršut and Meštrović Roots

Soparnik - 100% Authentic Croatian Food

The Fantastic Food of the Cetina River

Incredible and Mysterious 10 Rajcica Wells near Klis

Wild Rides on the Cetina River

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

The 10 Best Destinations For September Holidays in Croatia 2021

August 17, 2021 – With warm waters still perfect for swimming, but more space on the beach and at the best restaurants, September holidays in Croatia are the smart choice for discerning visitors. 

Much to everyone's surprise, the coast has been fully booked throughout August. Indeed, many who came last minute struggled to find accommodation. But, that doesn't mean you need to miss out. September holidays in Croatia are perhaps even better than July or August. The beaches are quieter and the sea is still warm. The waiters in the restaurants are less stressed and busy. The best tables and views are always available. Indeed, the Croatian welcome feels that much warmer in the ninth month.

Here's a look at our pick for the best destinations for 2021 September holidays in Croatia.
Omiš

old.jpgOmiš © Senka Vlahović

In Omiš, not only do you have Croatia's most underrated seaside city to explore, but also a whole remarkable riviera. A series of stunning villages - Nemira, Stanići, Ruskamen, Lokva Rogoznica, Medići, Mimice, Marušići and Pisak - offer postcard-pretty scenes with the Adriatic lapping at small fishing boats. Each comes with its own idyllic and uncrowded beaches.

21868215_10156015116624410_555677073_o.jpgOmiš © Senka Vlahović

The city itself has an Old Town that is full of intrigue – ancient architectural detail, winding, white-stone streets, sheltered squares with restaurants offering traditional Mediterranean food and also some that's unique to Omiš. Also, the Cetina river and canyon gifts Omiš an incredibly varied offer – rafting, river swimming, zipline, kayaking, nature photography, riverside restaurants – that no other coastal destination in Croatia can compete with.

If you want to learn more about Omiš and its incredible offer, read our detailed guide.

Brela

201251368_4090729184298801_2977464117068100083_n.jpgBrela © Vice Rudan Photography

With Brela's shoreline not far off 10 kilometres in length, it could rightfully claim to be the Croatian village most blessed with beaches. Oh, and what beaches they are! Incredibly clear, turquoise seas, quiet coves, small pebbles and often shaded by ancient pine trees that sometimes stretch out over the sea.

146254804_3715045301867193_3511865349649961953_n.jpgBrela © Vice Rudan Photography

Away from the coast, you'll find intriguing heritage in the foothills alongside exemplary restaurants. Decide which you want to visit and they give you a free ride there and back from your accommodation by the shore. You'll be rewarded with traditional Dalmatian food – seafood, peka, pašticada and more – and incredible views of the sunset framed by Biokovo mountain, island Brač and Brela's epic and uninterrupted beaches.

If you want to learn more about breathtakingly beautiful Brela, read our detailed guide.

Makarska

206836234_4119940851377634_8129877583474515472_n.jpgMakarska © Vice Rudan Photography

There's no shortage of beaches in Makarska but, in July and August, you might struggle to find a quiet and secluded spot just for yourself. You won't have that problem in September – arguably, it's the best month to be here.

236899549_4251621594876225_9066465384493055383_n.jpgMakarska © Vice Rudan Photography

Makarska is an incredibly popular destination in peak season for a very good reason – its offer is fantastic and huge. At the rear of the city, the huge Biokovo Nature Park (which you can read about here), with a fantastic offer of nature, views, recreation and activities. Within the town itself, a port which remains small enough to be charming, unhurried and traditional, but big enough to grant fast and regular boat trips to some of Croatia's most desirable island destinations. You can hop over to several on day trips from Makarska. If you want to find out more about the massive offer in Makarska, then read our detailed guide.

Šibenik

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A city completely reinvented specifically for visitors, in truth Šibenik is a destination just as suitable for a long weekend break throughout the year as it is a summer holiday. In the centre, an incredibly charming Old Town, filled with atmospheric stone stairways, historic squares, fascinating architectural details and the world-famous Cathedral of St. James.

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Three Venetian fortresses hold hidden histories of the city's successful defence against the Ottoman Empire – each uses multi-media or augmented reality to tell their tales. Events take place on Šibenik streets and city centre parks throughout late summer. There is a range of quality restaurants – one even has a Michelin star – activities like cycling, zipline, kayak and canoe. Also, the further you travel down Šibenik's famous St. Anthony's channel towards the open Adriatic, the more secluded and quiet the see-through seas become. Gorgeous.

If you want to find out more about the endless entertainment and excitement of Šibenik, then read our detailed guide and see our dedicated TCN Šibenik pages.

Primošten

238640369_4621303521236055_2517203873394563661_n.jpgSeptember holidays in Croatia: Primošten © Jeremiasz Gadek

The island on which the settlement of Primošten was founded helped protect this place and its residents from attack. Separated from the mainland, you'd have to pass across a drawbridge, through city walls and between military towers to enter. However, the surrounding sea also restricted city limits, leading to the development of wonderful and unique architectural solutions.

The Old Town of Primošten is that much more delightful to walk around in September, free from the bustle of fast-moving peak season tourists. In fact, Primošten is much more enjoyable taken at a gentle, even lazy pace. Away from the Old Town, Raduča, and Mala Raduča are considered to be among the most beautiful beaches in Croatia. Just back from the shore, on the mainland, Primošten's famous vineyards. Šibenik-Knin County has some of the most frequently awarded smaller wine producers in the whole of Croatia.

Tisno and Murter

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The island of Murter sits extremely close to the Croatian mainland. So close, in fact, that a short bridge connects the two. On each side of the bridge, one half of the town Tisno, known across Europe as one of the most famous sites for dance music festivals.

In fact, the festivals continue on the outskirts of Tisno in September 2021, with two of the best known of them all taking places in the month's first two weeks (Outlook and Dimensions).

236335331_3062014214034876_6848389841683692665_n.jpgAs shown above, beautiful Jezera @druckerroman

But, there's a lot more to Tisno and specifically the island of Murter than just the music festivals, as thousands of happy returning visitors will tell you. The settlements of Betina and Jezera on the island are incredibly beautiful, so too the larger town of Murter, which also has an incredibly famous restaurant offer. Across the whole island – and on the mainland in Tisno – you'll find incredible beaches and bays. On the opposite shores in Pirovac, one of the best open-air nightclubs in the world.

To find out more about Tisno, Betina, Jezera and Murter, read our detailed guide

Pula

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There are few cities whose Roman Empire heritage can compete with Pula's. Pula Arena is not only one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world, but also it is still a living part of the city's cultural and social life. Attending a music concert or film festival there is an unforgettable experience. More unforgettable Roman monuments come in the form of city gates and walls, a temple, an open-air theatre and forum.

Outside of the Roman heritage, there's a Venetian hilltop fortress right in the city centre, with exquisite views of Pula, its bay, nearby peninsula and the wider Adriatic. Nearby, the must-see Brijuni National Park (read about it here) and a short drive in any direction will take you to some of the most breathtaking and secluded beaches in Croatia.

It really is hard work summing up the immense offer of Pula in just a few short sentences. You'd be better advised to read about the fuller picture in our detailed guide.

Čiovo

Life-is-simple-just-add-seaTatinja-beach-Okrug-GornjiDino-Caljkusic.jpgSeptember holidays in Croatia: Tatinja beach, Okrug Gornji © Dino Čaljkušić

With a UNESCO world heritage site – Trogir – sitting proudly and loudly on its doorstep, the island of Čiovo sometimes stands in the shadow of its famous neighbour. But, sometimes it's worth listening more closely to those who are more softly spoken.

18891579_14644fromaboveOV-1536x864.jpgSeptember holidays in Croatia: Čiovo and Okrug

Čiovo not only has the advantage of having the incredible Trogir as part of its very own offer but also it holds all the classic features that everyone looks for in a Croatian holiday – crystal clear seas, pristine beaches, breathtaking nature and unforgettable views. In particular, the southwestern section of the island, Okrug, has an incredible beachside promenade and a series of irresistible bays.

If you want to read more about Čiovo and Okrug, then read our detailed guide.

Zagreb

220862634_10160017442313221_7939799732839949953_n.jpgSeptember holidays in Croatia: Zagreb © Julien Duval Photography

Of course, not all of the best Croatia holidays in September 2021 need to be taken on the coast. In fact, the capital city of Zagreb has become the country's most popular city destination over recent years, including the warmer months. Zagreb in September has the added bonus that summer holidays are over for most city residents, prompting the return of the city's entertainment and event calendar in full force.

Garden.jpgSeptember holidays in Croatia: Zagreb © Julien Duval Photography

All of the nightclubs are back open, catering for the return of the city's university students. The cafe bar terraces are full, with a wonderful atmosphere, as tanned friends reconvene. Art galleries and museums show their very best displays and food festivals or pop-up bars can be found in Zagreb's irresistible city centre parks. Some of September highlights include the 54th International Puppet Theatre Festival and massive one-day open-air rave We Love Sound with world-famous techno DJs Len Faki and Chris Liebing.

If you want to know more about the peerless Croatian city of Zagreb, then read our detailed guide.

Dubrovnik

1920px-1_dubrovnik_pano_1.jpgSeptember holidays in Croatia: Dubrovnik © Chensiyuan

The great southern city of coastal Croatia. A famous filming destination for movies and TV series. Not that the Pearl of the Adriatic needs any extra help with promotion. A global superstar for centuries, thanks to its status as an independent city-state, its well-known walls have been welcoming strangers for much longer than tourism has existed. They continue to do so and at the height of summer, competition for space in the city is at a premium.

All that can easily be avoided by visiting Dubrovnik outside the peak season. The walls and winding streets are much more easily enjoyed at an unhurried pace. And, when you're not trailing immediately behind a sluggish crowd of 500, fresh off a cruise ship. No queues at the restaurants, the best tables available. Truth be told, there's a strong case for Dubrovnik as the perfect destination even later than September – the quieter it gets, the better the experience seems to be.

If you want to preview a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Dubrovnik, then read our detailed guide

Total Croatia News contacted the Tourist Boards of each of the destinations recommended, who confirmed that - at the time of publication - there are accommodation vacancies available for the month September 2021

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Makarska Firefighters: ''Use of Fire Outdoors is Strictly Prohibited''

August 11, 2021 - Through a statement, the Makarska firefighters have warned all landlords and their guests that the use of open fire, such as fireworks or barbecues, is strictly prohibited.

HrTurizam reports today that the Voluntary Fire Brigade of the City of Makarska sent an appeal to all landlords, tourist workers, the tourist community, and all citizens of Makarska, to warn tourists that lighting fires in the open are strictly prohibited.

In addition to the dystopian images coming from Turkey and Greece from the fires that have already caused irreparable ecological damage and evacuated thousands of tourists and locals, the fires also continue to be a threat on the Croatian coast due to the high temperatures in the summer, the wind, and in many cases by the irresponsibility of the people.

Just a week ago, a fire in Trogir set off alarms and took a few days to fully extinguish. Even in Makarska, which has seen record numbers of tourists and guests this summer, it has also had to call on fire brigades and canadairs to put out fires in the area. For this reason, the Makarska firefighters have decided to pronounce on the matter through a statement.

According to their statement, last night they had 5 interventions related to barbecues, lighting candles, torches, and other fire uses close to the forests.

They emphasize that during the summer months it is strictly forbidden to use open flames in the open, as any form of barbecue in the woods, lighting wax candles, torches, smoking, and more. The Voluntary Fire Brigade of the City of Makarska, therefore, has asked renters and all other accommodation owners to warn their guests that the use of open fires is strictly prohibited.

"Let's all be the guardians of our city together and prevent a catastrophe in time. Even the slightest zeal is needed for just that to happen. Let's be responsible", emphasizes DVD Makarska.

Also, DVD Makarska is in the process of raising money for a set of firefighting suits for forest fires, and they are asking for help with donations. Find out more details HERE.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

French Road in Brela: How Napoleon put Croatia on a Path to Independence

August 10, 2021 – The fascinating French Road in Brela, Dalmatia, actually leads nowhere. But, although unfinished, it is an incredible reminder of the modern era that Napoleon's short reign ushered in. It put Croatia on a path to independence.

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Some of the best heritage in Croatia today is the remnants of empires that once ruled here. Roman arches and an amphitheatre help define the city of Pula. In Split, emperor Diocletian's Palace does the same.

Atop hills in the centre of Šibenik, four Venetian fortresses remind of their undefeated stand against Turkish invaders. In nearby Drniš, the westernmost minaret of the Ottoman Empire attests to that city's differing fate. Meanwhile, in Zagreb, the grandiose architecture and carefully curated parkland tell of the capital's prestigious past within Austro-Hungary.

Napoleon, the First French Empire and the Dinaric Alps in Dalmatia

Few signs of the First French Empire's time in this territory remain. However, there's strong evidence to suggest Napoleonic rule had a much more profound effect on Croatia than mere aesthetics. Indeed, it was at the hands of the French that Croatia was placed on a road that would ultimately lead to independence. But, that's not the only road they left behind.

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In fact, the French began the most advanced infrastructure project attempted in Croatia since Roman times. Plans left behind give an incredible insight into how Napoleon's empire hoped to modernise – and hold onto – the region. They wanted to build a huge, contemporary road network across the Dinaric Alps.

Not only would this stretch down the entire length of Dalmatia - from Zadar in the north, to Metković and Dubrovnik in the south - but also it would criss-cross over the mountains. In doing so, hinterland cities like Knin, Drniš, Sinj and Imotski would be connected to the coast by modern roads for the very first time.

Unfortunately, the First French Empire was here for an insufficient time that the road be finished. However, a great piece of the French Road in Brela stands as a testament to the boldness of the project. It is the largest and best-preserved section of the road in existence.

Governor Auguste de Marmont and the need to construct the French Road in Brela

After the fall of the Roman Empire, transportation through Dalmatia did not improve for over 1000 years. As a matter of fact, it only got worse! In ancient times, the average distance of daily travel was just 12 kilometres a day for an ox cart. 20 km a day for a heavily laden mule and 30 km a day for those on foot, including an army at regular march.

This slow progress was a serious hindrance to Napoleon’s forces, who first began moving into eastern Adriatic territories from 1797. Indeed, it wasn't until a decisive victory against the Austrians in 1809 that the First French Empire finally managed to take full control of the region.

Marmont_as_Marshal_of_the_Empire_by_Jean-Baptiste_Paulin_Guérin_1837.jpgMarmont as Marshal of the Empire, by Jean-Baptiste Paulin Guérin (1837) © Public domain

Installed as the first governor of the Illyrian Provinces was Auguste de Marmont. His tenure would prove to be the greatest and most influential of all who took the position. He immediately set about transforming the region's infrastructure, including commencing work on the French Road in Brela. However, it was the changes in society brought by the French that would be truly irreversible.

Napoleon and French rule in Croatia

Coat_of_arms_of_Illyrian_ProvincesSodacanSamhanin_1.pngVersion of the coat of arms of the Illyrian Provinces © Sodacan/Samhanin

A major priority was to establish French bureaucracy, culture, and language. The French also introduced compulsory national service. Locals were conscripted into regional regiments of Napoleon's army and/or put to work on the infrastructure project. While these sound like impositions similar to those set by any empire controlling the region, in fact, French rule was incomparable. Because within the French system lay many new benefits for the locals.

Although they did not altogether succeed in removing the medieval feudal system from the Illyrian Provinces, the French brought about the first real taste of emancipation for the populace. The importing of the French legal system meant - in principle - every citizen was equal under the rule of law, irrespective of social standing or wealth. French was made the official language of the provinces. However, all the respective states were allowed to speak and work in their native languages.

Tabla_carinarnice_Ilirskih_provinc_iz_Radeč_pri_Zidanem_mostu_1809_1.jpgAlternate version of the coat of arms of the Illyrian Provinces © Public domain

Separation of church and state was introduced and the judiciary nationalised. The tax system was made uniform, abolishing some tax privileges in an attempt to create a fairer society. Inhabitants of the Illyrian Provinces had Illyrian nationality. The French embarked upon an overhaul of the education system within the provinces. One example was the founding of a French-language military school in Karlovac, the headquarters of the Croatian army. However, it was not only the French language that was taught but also French culture and history.

The Illyrian Provinces inspire the Illyrian Movement

People who lived in the Illyrian Provinces learned exactly how life had changed, how universal rights were established, following the French Revolution. While the awareness of national identity was becoming more widespread across Europe within this broad time period, French rule within this particular region must be viewed as a catalyst for the awakening of such sentiments in Slovenia and Croatia.

Ljudevit_Gaj_1898_Theodor_Mayerhofer_1.pngLjudevit Gaj by Theodor Mayerhofer, taken from Đuro Šurmin 'Povjest književnosti hrvatske i srpske' Zagreb 1898 © Public domain

In 1814, a further period of Austrian rule replaced that of the French within the territory. As a result, work on Illyrian Province projects like the French Road in Brela ceased. But, within less than a decade and a half, linguist and writer Ljudevit Gaj and other members of Zagreb's intelligentsia, began a process of national revival and a standardisation of language and alphabet. It is no coincidence that their Illyrian Movement referenced the same regional history as had Napoleon's Illyrian Provinces. Within the foundations of this Zagreb-based movement lay both a future of amalgamated states of southern Slavic peoples, free of Austro-Hungary and also the future independent Croatia.

Legacy

Re-evaluated through the eyes of an independent nation, French rule assumed greater appreciation than it did at the time of its occurrence. Certainly, French rule is not nearly so ill-remembered in Croatia like it is in other countries. Subsequently, you can find squares, fountains and streets here all named in respect of the brief French period, not least the famous Marmont ulica in Split.

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But, the most beguiling and intriguing remnant of the Illyrian Provinces in Croatia is the French Road in Brela. It zig-zags almost 100 meters up Biokovo mountain. Although, never at a gradient greater than 6° (in order to accommodate carts, horse riders and easy walking).

Looking at it today, you are tempted to imagine the radically modernised Dalmatia that would have emerged had it been completed. But, when you remember your view is taken from within a wholly independent Croatia, it's easier to appreciate the consequences of French rule, rather than regret anything unfulfilled.

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Both the author and Total Croatia News would like to thank the following for their invaluable help in the construction of this article: Vice Rudan Photography, Tourist Board of Brela, doc. dr. sc. Marko Rimac, department of History, Split University, dr. sc. Tvrtko Jakovina, University of Zagreb. All photography and video by Vice Rudan unless otherwise accredited.

If you want to learn more about the fantastic holiday destination that is Brela, then please see our detailed guide

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Makarska Registers 56 Thousand Guests, Highest Since 2019

July 31, 2021 - In a clear sign of recovery, Makarska registers 56 thousand guests on its riviera, reaching 70% of what was achieved in 2019, a record year for tourism in the Dalmatian town.

Tportal.hr reports that in the resorts on the Makarska Riviera, according to the data of tourist offices, more than 56,000 domestic and foreign guests spend their holidays, which is about 70 percent compared to the same time in 2019.

According to the number of tourists, Makarska leads with 15,800 guests, in Baška Voda where a 'bed more' is still sought, 11,500 tourists rest, in Tučepi there are more than 8000, and in Podgora 5.5 thousand, while the Municipality of Gradac hosts more than 6000 guests.

Almost all hotel houses on the Makarska Riviera operate without free rooms, so it is recommended to book accommodation in advance to continue your summer stay in hotels.

There are few vacancies left in holiday homes as well as apartments with private homeowners on the entire coast, and more beds are in demand in most tourist offices, according to tourist offices.

The last weekend of July was marked by significantly increased traffic on the roads of the Makarska Riviera and in ferry ports.

On the state road, the D8 is driven in longer intermittent columns with occasional shorter delays, and smaller crowds are created at the entrances to tourist places. Traffic was significantly increased on the state road 535 from Baško Polje to the Sveti Ilija tunnel in Basto, while at the entrance to the highway near Zagvozd, a convoy of vehicles was about two kilometers long.

The ferry Pelješčanka, which runs on the line Makarska-Sumartin, is full in both directions for today's and tomorrow's voyages.

There are two ferries on the Drvenik-Sučuraj line, the wait for boarding in Drvenik is about two and a half hours, and it takes so long to return from Hvar to the mainland.

Good occupancy of hotels, holiday homes, and family accommodation is expected in the summer, say the tourist offices on the Riviera, where the end of July pleasantly surprised hoteliers and tourism workers.

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!

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

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Makarska Riviera Private Accommodation Owners Look Towards Season

May the 16th, 2021 - Makarska Riviera private accommodation owners are biting their nails in anticipation of the rapidly approaching 2021 tourist season which still has very many question marks dangling above its head despite the more favourable epidemiological situation.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, yet another coronavirus-influenced Croatian tourist season is just around the corner. The epidemiological situation across the country is fortunately becoming much more favourable, the number of new cases of infection has been declining over recent days. However, there is uncertainty among private accommodation owners as the season largely depends on measures in other countries from which tourists typically come.

We often read about the situation for Croatian tourism, primarily from the aspect of large hotel companies, while the extremely important segment of those who rent out private accommodation to foreign visitors is very rarely mentioned. Slobodna Dalmacija examined the expectations and current state of reservations and the perspectives of Makarska Riviera private accommodation owners.

"We're totally ready for the season. Taught by last season, of course we're cautious. We don't expect madness from the reservations. Booking for this year mainly consists of reservations from Poland and Slovenia. It's obvious that the German market hasn't yet been definitively defined. If and when it opens, then that'll be something,'' said Makarska Riviera private accommodation renter Eleonora Filipetti.

"It's hard to be smart when it comes to setting prices. Currently, the poorer booking is a reflection of market conditions, vaccinations and measures, and the question is whether our product is too expensive or not. We'll play with prices depending on the interest,'' she added.

Makarska Riviera private accommodation landlord Pavo Boric revealed how they're preparing for the season in beautiful Tucepi.

"According to all the reservations we've received so far, I think that this season will be like it was in 2020, with the possibility of better realisation for September compared to last year. In terms of representation, for now it's dominated by reservations from Austria and Germany, and we've got a good number of bookings from them. There are 30 percent more Slovenians compared to last year, and reservations from Bosnia and Herzegovina have also started to arrive. The prices have remained the same as they were back in 2019, with previous guests having 10 percent discounts. I think that by lowering prices we'd lose out in the long run. We're being realistic with the prices,'' he said.

For more, follow our dedicated travel section.

Friday, 30 April 2021

BSH Berulia: Bluesun Opens First Hotel on Makarska Riviera, COVID-19 Testing at All Locations

April 30, 2021 - Just before the May Day holiday, on April 29, Bluesun has opened its first hotel on the Makarska Riviera - the 5-star BSH Berulia in Brela.

Thus, all guests who have booked other Bluesun hotels in Brela will be accommodated in their most sought-after and most luxurious hotel, regardless of the price range. According to Bluesun, other hotels in their destinations will open gradually, in line with market demands, which is expected at the end of May, reports HRTurizam.

Interestingly, Hotel Berulia in Brela is one of the capital works of Ante Rožić, and the famous Bernardo Bernardi designed the interior. The hotel is divided into individual compositional units, which brings the rooms closer to nature, and all other design procedures lead to the fact that architecture and nature permeate as much as possible, from the fact that the body of the building is "broken" and "pierced" by the atriums. The corridors and staircases partly turn into an exterior space that extends to the terraces. The hotel and outdoor facilities cascade down to the intimate beach of Berulia, respecting the morphology of the terrain and entering it minimally invasively.

"Bluesun Hotel Berulia opens its doors on Thursday, April 29, when we expect about 100 guests, while May Day itself will welcome between 200 and 250 guests. These are mostly domestic guests and guests from nearby auto destinations. The exact number of guests, given the situation, is difficult to estimate because they all have flexible conditions for changing and canceling reservations. Still, we do not expect the number to deviate too much from the current situation. Namely, we are in daily contact with guests who confirm their arrival, and we also record new reservations after confirming the opening of the hotel," said Stjepko Šošić, Bluesun's Director of Revenue Management.

Holiday village Velaris *** in Supetar on Brač and Bluesun camp Paklenica **** in Starigrad Paklenica have already been opened.

Bluesun provides COVID-19 tests / Contactless check-in at all destinations.

For guests to start their holiday safely, they have provided contactless check-in at Bluesun this season. The procedure is quick and easy - and the link is sent to the guest by mail after the guest enters all the necessary information, while upon arrival at the hotel, they pick up the key to their room. By ensuring such minimal contact and avoiding gathering people around the reception, the highest safety and health standards are respected.

"For our guests, we will organize RAT (ANTIGEN) and PCR testing for COVID-19 in Brela, Tucepi, Bol, Supetar. Guests wishing to do so should contact the hotel reception. Testing will be performed on Mondays and Fridays for each listed city so that the arrival time is fixed and the results are issued accordingly. The results of antigen tests will be issued during the stay in hotels, while PCR will be issued and sent by the end of the day for Tucepi and Brela and Brač the next day by 12:00. In case of a positive test result - our employees are educated, and our protocols for such situations are carefully developed," said Josip Rikić, Bluesun's Director of Hotel Operations. 

The price of the PCR test is HRK 560, and the price of the RAT (ANTIGEN) test is HRK 200. The Lablus Split Polyclinic will perform testing in all Bluesun destinations:

Tucepi - testing at hotel Alga for the whole destination
Brela - testing at hotel Soline for the whole destination (until the opening of Soline, in hotel Berulia)
Brac - testing at the Elaphusa Hotel and the Velaris Resort

Since the beginning of April, good booking numbers and great interest in the main season have been recorded, according to Bluesun.

At the moment, it is difficult to plan anything and stick to the numbers, both because of the flexible cancellation conditions that everyone had to introduce this year and because of the last-minute bookings that will dominate. Also, precisely because of the flexible cancellation conditions and the uncertain situation, guests book in several places. A few days before departure, they will finally determine which accommodation and destination to choose, which will further disrupt any long-term planning.

Although the state of reservations doesn't mean much right now, it is good that there is interest.

"Through our own sales channels and major OTA partners, we had the same number of bookings for the main season as in the same week of 2019. Vaccination in Croatia and major markets, strict adherence to epidemiological measures, as well as the possibility of testing at destinations, certainly give optimism for this season," concluded Šošić.

Follow the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

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

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Makarska Riviera Readies for Summer: 900 Seasonal Workers in 20 Hotels Needed

March 2, 2021 - The Makarska Riviera readies for summer with 900 seasonal workers needed in hotels from Brela to Gradac.

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that with the hope that the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, 20 hotels from Brela to Gradac on the Makarska Riviera are looking for about 900 seasonal workers, of which 500 are in Makarska alone.

Director of the Makarska hotels Biokovo and Miramare, Drago Nosić, revealed that both hotels in the coming season would need from 30 to 50 seasonal workers, which were not needed last year, as Miramare closed after only one month of operation.

"We currently have 38 full-time employees and this summer, if all goes well, we will need 30 to 50 seasonal workers, mostly chefs, waiters, and receptionists," says Nosić, adding that Miramare will open its doors in May, and perhaps earlier, depending on the opening of borders.

"For now, there is no crazy demand for accommodation, but we should hope for the best," Nosić points out.

Given the current epidemiological situation, Hotel Romana opens on June 12, and Romana Apartments will open as the measures loosen.

According to Ines Buntić, work coordinator of Romana d.o.o., the company currently has 29 employees for an indefinite period of time. With the opening of Hotel Romana, they would need about 60 employees for an indefinite period of time.

"In the season, we plan to employ between 160 and 190 seasonal workers with a minimum net income of 5,000 to 7,500 kuna, with the fact that we offer accommodation or transportation, meals, as well as rewards for a job well done. We will soon open tenders for staff, given that within the Romana Beach Resort, there is Hotel Romana with 297 accommodation units, Romana Apartments with 111 accommodation units, wellness, nine restaurants, as well as other accompanying facilities and catering and tourist content, such as an exchange office, souvenir shop, hairdresser, and more," said Buntić, who adds that Romana will look for chefs and support staff in the kitchen, waiters, bartenders, maids, cleaners, receptionists, employees on the maintenance of outdoor areas and swimming pools, sales clerks and other necessary staff.

The Park Hotel will open its doors in April and will have 30 to 50 part-time employees, who work for 10 months a year along with 25 full-time employees. According to the Park director, Marina Josipović, the hotel will need only a few seasonal workers, maids, chefs, and waiters.

"It will not be a problem for us to find staff because more people are registered on the labor market than last year," Josipović points out.

Hotel Osejava will also open its doors to the first guests at the beginning of April. If it's anything like 2019, it will need 15 seasonal workers who will work with 20 full-time employees, which was confirmed by the director Ivana Pivac Ivandić.

"We need cleaners, maids, waiters, and bartenders, and the salary of seasonal workers is from 5,000 kuna and up, with the offer of accommodation and food," Ivandić emphasizes, adding that a group of foreign guests will arrive on April 1. They also had reservations for March 1, but there are more and more cancellations by Germans, Austrians, and Scandinavians.

Hotels Valamar Meteor, Dalmatia, and Riviera will most likely need about 200 seasonal workers. According to Joško Lelas, a member of the Imperial Riviera Management Board and director of the "Hotels Makarska" Makarska Branch for Tourism, Meteor should be open in April, while the opening of Dalmatia and Riviera is still in question.

"It is too early to talk about seasonal workers, but in 2019 we had about 200 of them, as well as 100 permanent employees," said Lelas.

Hotels in Baška Voda, Slavija, and Horizont, will need about 100 seasonal workers who will work with 100 employees registered indefinitely. As the President of the Management Board Jakša Medić revealed, Baškovo hotels have about 30 permanent seasonal workers.

"We act like our season will be great, although the announcements for April and May are not very good. Of the seasonal workers, we will need chefs and waiters the most, and we plan to open the Slavija Hotel on March 26, when a group of Slovak cyclists arrives, while we plan to open the Horizont on May 1," said Medić.

One-hundred-seventy-five seasonal jobs are currently open in four Brela hotels and five in Tučepi's Bluesun hotel. According to long-term practice, it is expected that this year at least three-quarters of that number will be permanent seasonal workers, returning from season to season and working with 320 employees employed indefinitely.

According to Stanislava Čulin, Bluesun's head of public relations, the needs have remained the same.

"We are looking for waiters, assistant waiters, bartenders, chefs, and kitchen helpers. In addition to the salary, the seasonal workers are provided with accommodation in a hotel for employees in Zadvarje. They have organized transport to the hotel and back several times a day.

They are also provided with meals at the hotels where they work, their travel expenses to and from are covered, and if they live more than a 15-minute walk away from work, they are also provided with transportation. They are paid on time, accurately, and for all overtime hours worked, either monthly or through a redistribution model of hours," says Kristina Radha Milinković, from Bluesun's Human Resources Department. The opening of the first Bluesun hotels in Tučepi and Brela and each destination is planned for the beginning of April, just before the Easter holidays, while other hotels will open around the May holidays when demand is traditionally higher.

According to Stjepko Šošić, director of revenue management at Bluesun Hotels & Resorts, this year's pre-season is greatly influenced by the current epidemiological situation and will be adjusted to further development.

"We are in daily contact with partners and guests, interest in travel is great, but it all depends on the epidemiological situation in the main markets, the degree and dynamics of vaccination, and measures to cross borders," says Šošić.

Furthermore, Medora Hotels and Resorts Podgora will need 130 seasonal workers according to current projections.

As Vladimir Miklić, head of revenue management and direct and online sales said, there are currently 72 full-time employees in Medora hotels. In terms of seasonal workers, the most needed are housekeepers and in the food and beverage department.

"In addition to the salary, we provide all our employees with comfortable accommodation near the workplace, food, and the opportunity for further training and career development, as well as a motivating work environment with a competitive salary," said Miklić, adding that the Medora Orbis camp plans to open in early April and the hotel Medora Auri in late April.

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Wednesday, 20 January 2021

PHOTOS: Incredible Makarska Villa Kuk Immersed In Natural Rock

January 20, 2021 – One of Croatia's current most-adventurous architectural projects, the incredible Villa Kuk near Makarska, actually takes advantage of one of the area's most striking features – the natural rock of the Dinaric Alps foothills almost completely encases its hidden luxury

A villa or apartment on the Dalmatian coast is a dream for many. If not forever, then just for a little while. But, in the race to throw up new builds to satisfy demand, some older tricks can be lost. Some new buildings seem to seep heat in through the very walls, demanding the use of the air conditioner to keep you cool. In older buildings, that's rarely a problem. Built with thicker walls, from older stone, the time-honoured dwellings of Dalmatia are often cool enough without the klima.

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Perhaps this was a point taken into consideration by architect Branka Juras, whose latest project, Villa Kuk near Makarska, has walls broad enough to shelter from even the strongest sun. Her plans for Villa Kuk see the luxurious villa encased in the karst rock of the Dinaric Alps foothills. Sandwiched between two giant slices of rock, Villa Kuk's inner luxury will be all but hidden from view.

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As detailed by journalist Anita Budimir in Jutarnji List's feature on the Villa Kuk project, Branka Juras of the Faculty of Architecture and a former employee of regarded Croatian architectural studio Randić & Turato architects. Her latest project, Villa Kuk, is being undertaken by Juras and the team she has assembled within her own practice.

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Villa Kuk will be situated at 110 metres above sea level in the Velko Brdo area of Makarska, in the foothills of the Dinaric Alps immediately to the north of the city centre. Its west and east walls will be comprised of the huge, natural boulders between which the villa will sit. The villa will only be visible from the north and south, which will hold its constructed facades.

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The south façade will use large glass walls, gifting a widescreen view of the open sea. A minimalist but luxurious contemporary design is planned for the interior. The project is actually a radical overhaul of a building that previously stood in the plot – a restaurant.

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The villa will consist of a basement, ground floor and a roof area, which was used as a terrace by the restaurant. An atrium has been added to the dwelling's redesign, affording additional light and the basement space extended to accommodate extra living space. Though radical in design and ambition, the height of the building does not extend beyond the height of the rocks between which it is sandwiched, ensuring Villa Kuk will have minimal impact on the area's natural and existing aesthetics.

All 3d visualisation images of the completed Villa Kuk project by Marijan Katić

Monday, 14 September 2020

PHOTOS: Luxury Villas Croatia - Breathtaking Views in Makarska's Foothills

September 14, 2020 – 10 minutes from the centre of bustling Makarska, blending traditional Dalmatia with incredible 5-star facilities, My Home Adriona is a blissfully secluded paradise and one of the most singular luxury villas Croatia has

_DSC0210.jpegMy Home Adriona sits in the foothills of Biokovo mountain, just 10 minutes drive from the centre of bustling Makarska

Not everyone knows exactly what kind of holiday they want. Taking to the crystal clear waters on a pristine beach and soaking up the atmosphere of winding old town streets and their taverns are essentials of every holiday in Dalmatia. But, sometimes you need to break off from the crowds. They are not who you chose to spend your precious holiday time with. Neither are the all-too-near neighbours in the crowded apartment complexes or the town's full capacity hotels.

20200809_155449.jpegViews from the first-floor bedrooms show the wild nature which surrounds the custom-designed pool, the Adriatic close by and Brač island is the distance

IMG_5694.jpegA handful of houses are the villa's only neighbours, the only sound you hear all day is the crickets in the trees and the splashes you make in the pool

Luxury villas Croatia are the best way to make sure you and your fellow travellers get the most out of your vacation, and each other. Located in Kotišina, a small village in a Makarska neighbourhood, My Home Adriona is one of the most singular luxury villas Croatia has. Balancing traditional Dalmatian architecture with 5-star luxury, the villa is surrounded by the indigenous flora of the region and breathtaking views of the Adriatic and Brač island. Out of sight, but less than 10 minutes drive by car, the beautiful beaches and vibrant tavern and town life of Makarska await. Like the salty waves, they are on your doorstep any time you feel like dipping in.

myhomeadriona-7_R.jpegOlive, citrus, fig and pine trees surround the villa.

The scent of wild rosemary, lavender, citrus and other Mediterranean plants and herbs fill the air on the ample terrace of My Home Adriona. Gazing across the custom-designed pool and down into the tree-filled valley below, only the sounds of crickets fills the air. The village is quiet. Many of its quaint, traditional houses lie empty, used for a week or two as holiday homes. A car or moped might travel through the single road in the village once every hour. Or maybe none will pass through all day.

20200709_195651.jpegThe 17th-century Kotišina castle is carved into the mountainside, just 10 minutes walk from the villa, before it, the Botanical Gardens, dedicated to local plants and herbs

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IMG_5713.jpegShade from the sun by the side of the pool or soak up the rays in the morning or late afternoon

Sitting elevated from the shoreline, in the foothills of the mighty Biokovo mountain, it's all too easy to become captivated by the seascape from Adriona. But, of all the coastal luxury villas Croatia boasts, this is one where the breathtaking view surrounds completely. Olive and fig trees line the property boundary. Beyond them, the handful of traditional dwellings sit on gentle slopes before, suddenly, the karst rock shoots up towards the sky. At dusk, you can watch the colour shadings on the mountain change spectacularly every minute in response to the waning sun. Carved into the mountain, 10 minutes walk from Adriona, a 17th-century castle dominates the view behind. Below it, 300 wild plants grow in the Kotišina Botanical Gardens, each of them indigenous to this specific area, just like those surrounding Adriona.

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_DSC1295.jpegThe spacious open-plan living room and dining area sit next to a monster-sized, modern and fully-equipped kitchen. There's an additional eating area on the terrace, perfect for dining in the evening

IMG_5792.jpegBedrooms come with king-size beds and ensuite bathrooms. Each double bedroom is individually named after locally growing fruits and herbs - the natural bathroom products of each room hold a corresponding scent

crop_9999_666_My-Home-Adriona-Dalmatia-Olivers-Travels24.jpgThe games room and its bar are a proper man cave, with snooker table and poker table. Like the rest of the villa, it is furnished with fully restored antique furniture

The traditional white stone of Dalmatian houses forms the exterior to Adriona. Inside, restored antique furniture maintains the authentic feel, but it's combined with jaw-dropping luxury features that are wholly contemporary. On the ground floor, a spacious living room and dining area sit next to a fully equipped kitchen. A games room comes complete with snooker table, poker table and a fully stocked bar (although it's not as well-stocked as the wine cellar which, like the rest of Adriona, displays exquisite taste). In the basement, a spa and wellness area boasts a gym, sauna and a jacuzzi. Each of the four double bedrooms is huge, with kingsize beds, ensuite bathrooms and incredible views which perfectly welcome each day. All floors are accessible by lift and one bedroom is designed to accommodate those with disabilities or mobility issues.

20190927_162108.jpegThe wine cellar is stocked with exemplary Croatian wines. Some of the best red wine from the country comes from this region and all feature within this connoisseurs collection

IMG_5719.jpegWhat a view to wake up to in the morning!

When it comes to luxury villas Croatia has more than a small share. But, among them, Adriona is quite unique. Neighbourless and remote, yet just 10 minutes from the centre of a town brimming with people, beaches and nightlife, it's a luxurious base perfect for exploring the Makarska riviera and wider Dalmatia. Beautiful beaches, the Biokovo nature park, islands Hvar and Brač, adventure sports on the Cetina river, traditional taverns and Michelin-starred restaurants are all within very easy reach. This is a luxury villa at which every day can be different, and at which you can take your holiday at your own pace.

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IMG_5739.jpegThe view of Biokovo mountain and the castle from the upstairs terrace of My Home Adriona. The colours of the rock face seem to change every minute at sunset

All photos © Marc Rowlands / My Home Adriona

You can check out more photos of My Home Adriona on their Instagram page

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