Friday, 27 May 2022

The Ultimate Guide For Digital Nomads in Dubrovnik

May 28, 2022 - Dubrovnik's first digital nomad ambassadors are giving back - a few hints and tips for DNs coming to visit the Pearl of the Adriatic.  

This guide has been written by Yvette Pelgrom and Mandy Fransz to share their top tips and recommendations after working remotely in Dubrovnik, Croatia as the inaugural Digital Nomad Ambassadors, a pro-bono concept designed and deivered by Saltwater Nomads, in partnership with the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and City of Dubrovnik.

With its Mediterranean vibe, impressive culture and history, beautiful nature, extremely friendly locals, and surrounded by islands with crystal clear water, we truly believe that Dubrovnik is a must-visit city to add to your bucket list!

For the last few weeks, we’ve had the amazing opportunity to experience the digital nomad lifestyle of this magical “Kings Landing” city as a Digital Nomad Ambassador.

In this guide, we happily share our experiences to hopefully provide you with the tips and recommendations needed to create the ultimate digital nomad experience!


Where to stay:

During our 3-week stay, we’ve stayed at a different apartments each week which gave us the opportunity to explore different areas of Dubrovnik.

One of our favorite areas is Lapad, which is about 10 minutes by taxi (approx. €6- one-way by Uber or Bolt) to the Old Town. We stayed in Dvori Lapad which was only a few minutes walk from Sunset Beach where you can walk alongside the beautiful promenade filled with hotels and restaurants serving delicious fish and seafood.

Another area we enjoyed during our stay was only a 7-minute walk up the hills from Old Town. We stayed at Apartments Lora which offered one of the best views from our big (+ sunny!) terrace right on top of Old Town and the magical Lokrum island. A little side note: you do need to walk a few stairs to get here, but it’s worth the view!


(Apartment Lora)

Where to eat:

Our favorite restaurant is Urban & Veggie, which is conceived as “Dubrovnik's vegecentric sustainability hotspot” offering the best vegan and healthy options in town. Definitely try their Veggie Burger while you’re there!

Another favorite is Nishta, a small place in the middle of Old Town that offers vegan, raw and gluten-free dishes, including a salad bar. Their falafel wrap is delicious! A few other restaurants in Old Town that we really enjoyed are Castro (pizza / pasta), Kamenice (budget-friendly seafood), Kopun (seafood - a bit more fancy / higher prices), and Arsenal (amazing harbour view - a bit more fancy / higher prices).

Finally, we highly recommend walking alongside the promenade in Lapad for delicious fish and seafood restaurants such as Casa (incl. very friendly staff who kindly allowed us to work remotely with an ocean-view while enjoying a seabass for lunch!)



Where to work:

As digital nomads, having a work-friendly home office is essential. Hence, make sure to find accommodation with high-speed Wi-Fi, enough space to work from, and/or ideally, a dedicated desk to comfortably work-from-home.

While Dubrovnik currently doesn’t have many co-working spaces, we truly believe that Lazareti has the potential to become one of the most beautiful co-working spaces worldwide! With an exceptional location only a few minutes wak from Old Town and a picture-perfect view the Adreatic sea, this makes it the perfect place to work and meet like-minded people. During our stay, Yvette Pelgrom (one of the Digital Nomad Ambassadors) hosted a Workshop ‘Life Design for Wellbeing’ which was a great way to bring together digital nomads and expats in Dubrovnik.


(Lazareti co-working space)

Finally, we regularly worked from the previously mentioned Urban & Veggie, which offers a few work-friendly tables with electrical outlets and an outside garden which makes it a perfect spot if you’re looking to switch up work environments. 

Things to do:

There is no reason to be bored in Dubrovnik! There are a lot of fun activities including walking the Dubrovnik Walls, going for a Karaka sunset tour, sea kayaking, exploring Kings Landing with a Game of Thrones tour (highly recommend Dubrovnik Tourist Guide!), or enjoying a cocktail during sunset at the Buza Cliff Bar.

Dubrovnik is the perfect place to start your day with a dip in the sea.  A few of our favorite beaches include Banje Beach nearby Old Town, Sunset Beach in Lapad, and St Jacobs Beach which is a ~20-minute walk alongside the coast and is located next to the old ruins of Hotel Belvedere, a Game of Thrones venue! You can also take a ~35-minute drive to the secluded Pasjaca Beach, a must-visit according to locals.

If you’re a little more adventurous, you can also hike the Srd hiking trail, which takes you within 45-minutes to the top at the Panorama restaurant with a breathtaking view.  Also, we recommend exploring “hidden gems” within walking distance such as the romantic seaview point we discovered in Velika and Mala Petka Forest Park.

Last but not least, for a unique experience we highly recommend Koshara picnic to enjoy an Instagrammable picnic with a view in beautiful locations such as Gradac park (yes, another Game of Thrones venue!). 


General tips & recommendations

Want to live in Croatia for a year? Check out the digital nomad visa by DNA Croatia.

Want to meet fellow digital nomads in Dubrovnik? Join the Facebook group here.

We hope this guide will help you to create the ultimate digital nomad experience in Dubrovnik. Do you have any other tips and recommendations? Feel free to leave a comment below!


(Lazareti co-working space, just outside the Old Town)

This guide is written by Yvette Pelgrom and Mandy Fransz to share their top tips and recommendations after working remotely in Dubrovnik, Croatia as the inaugural Digital Nomad Ambassadors, a pro-bono concept designed and deivered by Saltwater Nomads, in partnership with the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and City of Dubrovnik.

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, check out the  dedicated TCN section.  

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Destination Dubrovnik: Meet Mandy Fransz from Make the Leap Digital

April 5, 2022 -  With just over a month to go until the innovative Work. Place. Culture. remote work conference in Dubrovnik, TCN continues its look at the list of high-class international speakers who will be sharing their wisdom in the Pearl of the Adriatic. Below, a familiar face and recognized as one of the US LinkedIn Top Voices 2022, Mandy Fransz returns to share about remote work, LinkedIn, and entrepreneurship.

A busy season for Croatia's digital nomad story is about to begin. Last year's highlights included the introduction of the digital nomad permit on January 1, 2021, and destinations such as Zagreb and Dubrovnik attracted global interest with award-winning events such as Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and Dubrovnik Nomads-in-Residence project.

Both Zagreb and Dubrovnik will continue their push to position themselves in the market in 2022, with Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2022 set to take place in June, and a news conference before that in Dubrovnik, as previously reported on TCN: Work. Place. Culture.

Total Croatia News continues to present the elite lineup for the Work. Place. Culture., this time with Mandy Fransz. A former LinkedIn™ employee, Mandy had a front-row seat in witnessing the world’s largest professional network grow to currently nearly 800 million members in over 200 countries while generating +$320K in revenue in less than 12 months. She founded Make the Leap Digital from a tropical co-working space in Bali and since then she has worked, lived, and traveled around the world while helping clients around the world through digital courses, consulting, speaking, and interactive workshops. In 2019, she was nominated as one of the most inspiring and ambitious women entrepreneurs in The Netherlands and she has been featured in top (inter)national publications such as Thrive Global, VIVA400, & LINDA.

Another digital nomad event in Croatia, another appearance by Mandy Fransz. Tell us firstly about your relationship with Croatia.

Thank you for having me again! Excited to be back in Croatia -- last year, I was invited as one of the keynote speakers at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week and since then it has been one of my favorite remote work destinations worldwide. From the food, culture, and work-friendly cafes & co-working spaces in Zagreb to working remotely from the beautiful coast in Split while exploring islands with cobblestone streets and emerald green waters such as Brač and Hvar island. I am excited to see what this new remote work adventure will bring!


Photo: Jose Alfonso Cussianovich

You were one of the keynote speakers at Zagreb Digital Nomad Week. How was that for you, and how do you see Croatia's progress in the DN sector since then?

It was an honor to be one of the keynote speakers at the Zagreb Digital Nomad Week last year, a well-deserved award-winning event! I hosted a workshop about "How To Build Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn" and a keynote "The Rise of Remote Work" sharing my top insights and lessons learned since I quit my corporate job to work remotely back in 2018 while building an online community of 25K+ social media followers and +75K group members inside the Remote Workers on LinkedIn group. The entire city was transformed into the event venue, which was a perfect way to attend a wide range of activities, keynotes, and workshops while exploring the city -- also, one of the event highlights was the fun and insightful themed city walking tours in the evenings! (make sure to join the Ghosts and Dragons Tour by Secret Zagreb while you're there!).

I believe Croatia has done a fantastic job in taking the digital nomad and remote work lifestyle to the next level with ambassadors and initiators such as Digital Nomad Association, Total Croatia News, and Saltwater Nomads -- I am excited to see the momentum grow with the exciting events and conferences lined up for 2022.


Photo: Jose Alfonso Cussianovich

The Zagreb Digital Nomad Ambassador program was a successful postscript to ZDNW, and now you will be working as a similar ambassador for Dubrovnik in May. Why did you take the role, and what do you expect it to involve?

I learned about the Ambassador Program while attending ZDNW last year, and immediately knew I'd apply if I'd have the chance -- I believe that it's a great initiative to explore a new destination while bringing together the digital nomad community by organizing local events and collaborating with different stakeholders to make a positive impact on the remote work lifestyle in Croatia. Additionally, I hope to discover the work-friendly cafes and co-working spaces, experience the food and culture, and explore the beautiful Dalmatian coast during the evenings and weekends.

Work. Place. Culture. takes place from May 5-7. Tell us about it, why people should come, and your role in it. 

Tanja Polegubic from Saltwater Nomads asked me if I would be keen to return to Croatia this year for another exciting event focused on remote work and digital nomads. Since my last visit, Dubrovnik has been high on my list as I've heard many great stories from fellow digital nomads and expats -- so when I heard about the Work. Place. Culture conference taking place from May 5 - 7 I immediately said yes! 


Looking at the event program, I am positive that this is going to be another world-class event filled with activities, workshops, and keynote speeches across beautiful venues from "netwalking" the fortress walls, a Game of Thrones Tour, and a Sunset cruise dinner on a "Karaka". I am honored (and a bit nervous haha!) to open the conference with my keynote and I'm excited to meet a few of my industry peers in-person, such as those I've been honored to be featured in the 2022 US LinkedIn Top Voices: Remote Work, and to reconnect with last year's speakers and attendees, many of which turned into friends.

You have built your business on LinkedIn, where you used to work, and there are 5 speakers of the Top 10 2022 LinkedIn Top Voices: Remote Work speaking in Dubrovnik. Tell us about the relationship between LinkedIn and the remote work revolution. 

I worked for LinkedIn's EMEA headquarters in Dublin, Ireland as my first full-time job upon graduation. However, I've always had an interest in the digital nomad lifestyle, hence, in 2018 I decided to quit my comfortable 9-to-5 corporate job to "explore the world of remote work". While working at the world's largest professional network with currently +810 million members across the globe, I realized that the demand of the global workforce was shifting -- many research and studies showed that (especially millennials and Generation Z) more and more people were craving the freedom and flexibility to work from wherever they feel the happiest and most productive.


I decided to share my remote work journey on LinkedIn, and I was asked to manage a small community on LinkedIn focused on digital nomads and remote workers. In the past three years, we've grown from ~2,000 members to currently +75,000 engaged members which clearly showcases the remote work revolution! Many of our members were forced to "work from home" due to the pandemic, and now desire to work remotely forever.

What are you looking forward to most from your time in Dubrovnik, and what are you hoping to get from the conference and ambassadorship?

As mentioned before, I'm excited to (finally!) meet a few of my industry peers in person and to reconnect with last year's event attendees-turned-friends -- and, of course, I really look forward to the exciting line-up of keynotes, workshops, and activities (in case you don't know what a Karaka is, Google it now, please!). Finally, I'm thrilled to explore Dubrovnik and the Dalmatia region and I look forward to contributing to the digital nomad lifestyle and community in Dubrovnik as an ambassador. 


Photo: Jose Alfonso Cussianovich

And finally, what's next for Mandy Fransz?

I am currently working remotely from beautiful Portugal while launching my signature, online group program for early-stage entrepreneurs who are ready to kickstart and grow their online personal brand and business so they, too, can enjoy the freedom and flexibility that they deserve before I'll head to Croatia for the events and ambassador program. After that, I'm excited to see what serendipitous opportunities will cross my path!


Feel free to visit Mandy's website or reach out to her via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for inquiries, or follow her on Instagram or LinkedIn for valuable tips and inspiration about LinkedIn, remote work, and (online) entrepreneurship.

You can download the full programme of the Work.Place.Culture Conference in Dubrovnik here.

Work. Place. Culture. is a collaboration between the City of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads and TCN, with support from the Digital Nomad Association Croatia and Dubrovacka Bastina. Zagreb Digital Nomad Week is a partnership between Zagreb Tourist Board, Saltwater Nomads, and TCN. 

To learn more about magnificent Dubrovnik, check out the Total Croatia Dubrovnik in a Page guide, in partnership with Sun Gardens Dubrovnik.  

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Mandy Fransz of Make the Leap Digital on the Digital Nomad Opportunity

July 28, 2021 - One of the star speakers of last month's Zagreb Digital Nomad Week was Mandy Fransz from the Netherlands. She caught up with TCN after a little relaxation on the Croatian coast.

It is a few weeks now since the conclusion of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021, the first conference of its kind in the Croatian capital. There was plenty of positive energy throughout the week, despite the heat, including several inspirational speakers. Among them was Mandy Fransz from the Netherlands, who flew in for the event, before continuing her Croatian nomad journey to the Adriatic, where she worked remotely for a couple of weeks after the conference. TCN caught up with Mandy to get her perspective on the future of remote work, and the opportunity for both Zagreb and Croatia.


1. Your company Make the Leap Digital sounds like an exciting journey. How did it come to be? 

I quit my corporate 9-to-5 office job at LinkedIn's European headquarters in early 2018 without a solid plan. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to explore the opportunities to work and travel. I booked a ticket to Bali, Indonesia as I knew it was known as one of the most popular destinations for remote workers and digital nomads. I joined a co-working space as I believe in the power of networking with like-minded people such as remote workers and digital nomads and attended organized events, workshops, meet-ups etc. This is how I met my first freelance client, without having a website or even a registered business. Upon return, I decided to cancel my lease and moved all of my belongings to the Netherlands (I was living in Dublin, Ireland at the time) and registered my business Make the Leap Digital to help entrepreneurs and businesses to unlock the power of LinkedIn.


2. I love this line on your website - What if I could teach others how to digitally transform the way they work — perhaps traveling the world while I’m at it?

Tell us firstly how much different your working day and approach is these days? Back in corporate, I was working a traditional 9-to-5 office job and at some point I was even expected to come into the office at 8AM. Since I quit my job, I work whenever and wherever I feel the happiest or most productive. I've been a digital nomad for 1,5 years and I've worked, lived, and traveled in beautiful destinations such as Bali, Portugal, California, and Colombia. I'm now based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and mainly work from home but when travel restrictions allow I love to go on a regular "workation" to beautiful places like Croatia for a change of scenery. This really helps to spark inspiration and creativity while having the freedom to travel and explore the country and culture during weekends. I now work with clients around the world from the comfort of my laptop either from home, a co-working space, or a nice cafe. But, most importantly -- I am grateful to help my clients to unlock the power of LinkedIn and remote work so they can digitally transform the way they work and they, too, can enjoy the freedom and flexibility to work from wherever they feel the happiest and most productive.

3. And now what about the challenges and obstacles to encouraging people to make that leap. How do people leave their comfort zone and take that leap? 

When I quit my job to explore the world of remote work, I had no idea how I was going to make this happen. The only thing I had was a big dream and the courage to take a leap of faith. Based on my experience, I'd say, think about what it is that you'd like to achieve within the next 5 - 10 years, and take small steps towards that big dream or ambitious goal. The best things happen outside of your comfort zone, and sometimes you need to take a leap of faith. Learn to embrace uncertainty and view failures as opportunities for growth. Believe me, the remote work opportunities are endless, especially now the pandemic has accellerated the adoption of remote work by at least 10 years. 

4. In Croatia, we are just becoming aware of the remote work opportunity and how it could shift things significantly. Paint us a picture. How do you see the workplace in 5 years? 

I believe that the traditional 9-to-5 office job will become obesolete and companies will need to adapt remote work to meet the changing demands of the global workforce. Different studies show that remote work not only increases productivity, but it also provides some key benefits such as lower real estate costs and attracting and retaining top talent worldwide. The traditional workplace will most likely transform into a central hub focused on in-person collaboration, creativity, and community, with an increasing number of co-working spaces. Additionally, companies will need to adopt sustainable remote work policies to digitally transform their workforce from culture, communication, and collaboration in order to thrive in a fully remote or hybrid environment. We've just gone through the world's largest remote work experiment, now it's time to take those learnings and embrace the potential of remote work in the long term.


5. How does a city such as Zagreb prepare to meet this changing demand? 

I think Zagreb has done a phenomonal job by organizing and hosting the Zagreb Digital Nomad Week recently. At this stage, it is all about connecting different stakeholders from co-working spaces, tourism, hospitaliy, digital nomads and remote work advocates to learn from each other and to make sure everyone is on the same page. Now, the next step is to take small incremental steps towards your common goal to transform Croatia into one of the world's top destinations. Remember, remote work is a marathon, not a sprint.


6. There is a lot of buzz about Croatia as the next digital nomad destination, especially with the new permit. How does Croatia rate on the scene in your opinion, and can you give us 3 quick wins to improve things considerably. 

Having experienced digital nomad life in Croatia for a few weeks now, I can definitely say that Croatia has all the key ingredients to become one of the world's top destinations for digital nomads and remote workers. You have it all: the culture, warm weather, great food, central location, fast Wi-Fi, and beautiful nature with a combination of mountains, natural parks, and islands with crystal clear water. If there's anything that Croatia can improve, I'd say focus on providing the best digital nomad experience by 1) investing in inspirational co-working spaces, 2) collaborating with different stakeholders to provide a great infrastructure from flexible gym memberships, mobile phone contracts, co-living arrangements and 3) building a community of like-minded people by organizing local events and meet-ups such as an interactive workshop, networking session, lunch & learn etc. 


7. Tell us about your role in ZDNW, and why did you decide to come?

 I'm grateful for having been invited as one of the keynote speakers at the Zagreb Digital Nomad Week to host a session about LinkedIn - Online Presence and a keynote on The Rise of Remote Work. I've been in Croatia briefly in the past, and I always wanted to come back to explore the country and digital nomad scene. It was the perfect opportunity to learn about the culture, food, and digital nomad life while meeting an amazing group of like-minded people. After spending a week in Zagreb, I decided to extend my stay with a "workation" on the coast and visited Split, Hvar, and Brac. The whole experience far exceeded my expectations and I will definitely be back very soon!

You can follow Mandy Fransz via LinkedIn.

For more news and features about digital nomads in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN section