Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Medjimurje Sustainable Tourism Proves Itself, Tourists Willing to Pay More

March the 28th, 2023 - Tourists from across the rest of Europe and indeed the world are ready to pay more for sustainable tourism, and the situation for Croatian tourism is no different. With visitors ready to fork out around 20 percent more, Medjimurje sustainable tourism stands out from the crowd.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, as many as twenty years of dedicated and hard work at the level of the entire destination was needed for Medjimurje sustainable tourism to reach a level of sustainability that many are only just beginning to think about.

Confirmation that they're on the right track came back at the beginning of March at the ITB Berlin tourism fair, where beautiful Medjimurje County was declared a Green Destinations region and was awarded the silver Green Destination label. This made it the first region in all of Croatia and the fourth in the world to receive this certification.

''Green Destination'' is a globally recognised non-profit organisation that cooperates with 200 destinations across more than 80 countries of the world, and develops sustainable and responsible tourism in accordance with the principles of the United Nations (UN) and the goals of the Global Council for Sustainable Tourism.

Rudi Grula, the director of Medjimurje County's tourist board, and Nusa Korotaj, the director of the very well known Terme Sveti Martin, which generates an impressive 80 percent of tourist traffic in Medjimurje, spoke about how sustainability has become a lifestyle for the people of Medjimurje at the Place2Go tourist fair.

"The fact that sustainability has become imperative is also showcased by the new policy of the TUI group, which will no longer enter into contracts with hotels that don't have a sustainability certificate. In Medjimurje County, tourism makes up only 2% of the local economy and we see tourism as an activity that will improve the lives of the local population as well. That's why we can freely choose guests who are ready to pay 20% more for all of the services that are carried out in a sustainable way here,'' explained Grula. In the survey that preceded the certification process for Green Destination, as many as 80% of respondents, out of 60% of the total number of stakeholders in the county's tourism who responded to the survey, were in favour of introducing sustainable solutions.

The next step will be the introduction of the Good Travel brand, and a new analysis of the satisfaction level of locals is underway, which is being done for them by the Tourism Institute. The local tourist board frequently realises many projects with Terme Sveti Martin, which is the largest tourist entity in the entire county and also operates in a sustainable manner. For example, as Nusa Korotaj revealed, they have signed contracts with 25 OPGs (family farms) that supply Sveti Martin with local products, grown within a radius of 15 kilometres.

As many as 80% of employees working at Terme Sveti Martin are locals, and since many of them work the land, with the project ''Work, earn extra'', the company offered them to open their own OPGs and be priority suppliers, so that a waiter can also brag to his guests that they're eating zucchini that he grew himself.

Local products are more expensive than those we can purchase in retail chains, that's true, but this way we have foods we know the origin of and we know exactly who grew them, with extremely short supply chains. In addition, we support the surrounding restaurateurs, so we send our guests to eat at their restaurants, we also have packages in which guests can exchange dinner at our hotel for a local restaurant. In order to appreciate these locally grown foods even more, we introduced a programme to reduce food waste, after we determined that we were throwing 200 kilograms of food into the compost every single day. In order to reduce this, we reduced the number of plates at breakfast and reduced food waste by 40% on the first day," said Korotaj.

The road to sustainability is often paved with a lot of small steps, and the next one is to convince restaurateurs to stop serving biscuits wrapped in cellophane with their coffee, but rather to serve biscuits in bulk. At the same time, through promotion, they also educate the guests, who not only appreciate these solutions, but also look for them themselves. In fact, research by the Expedia portal showed that this year as many as 65% of travellers will look for some form of sustainable service in tourism, while companies will invest significantly more in marketing through which they show what they are doing to contribute to sustainable development.

For more, make sure to check out our news and travel sections.

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Medjimurje Tourist Attraction Fairytale Forest Opening in August

April the 7th, 2022 - This August, the Medjimurje tourist attraction ''Fairytale forest'' (Bajkovita suma) is set to open its doors to visitors from far and wide.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, last week, the Tourex project was presented at Medjimurski dvori - the implementation of which is being carried out in cooperation with the company Malo selo (Croatia) and Pannonia Inferior (Hungary). This project is being co-financed by the Interreg V - cross-border cooperation programme involving Hungary and Croatia (2014-2020), and its total value reaches 349,210.00 euros with a support intensity of 75 percent.

Both companies run family restaurants that work to nurture the regional gastronomic offer and tradition and thus represent a tourist attraction in their market.

Partners and investors in the cross-border project Tourex - Marijan Martinjas and Gabor Kovacs emphasised the values ​​of joint development of a new Medjimurje tourist attraction that will contribute to the overall tourism development of the rural areas of both destinations. Rudi Grula, the director of the Tourist Board of Medjimurje County, stressed the importance of mutual support with the aim of sustainable development of tourism in that continental Croatian county.

“The goal of this project is to diversify the tourist offer by developing new products. The ''Zrinski - Guardians of the Past'' project is a jointly designed tourist product, based on local legends and myths. The project will develop common historical and fairy-tale content that will be presented by innovative IT solutions (software and hardware, including augmented reality) that will be available at the locations of project partners. This kind of tourist product will complement the existing catering and hospitality offer and provide facilities for the arrival and longer stay of guests at these destinations,'' say the organisers.

The gastronomic brand ''Zrinski'' will present a new, joint cross-border gastronomic tourism product that will be used in restaurants on both sides of the Croatian-Hungarian border. As part of this activity, the ''Zrinski'' cookbook will be published, which will include several recipes of specialties prepared in the restaurants of the project partners.

The main goal of the new Medjimurje tourist attraction Fairytale Forest is to offer an active, fun and educational holiday to children, families and travellers of all ages, establishing a connection with nature that many of us have lost as a result of living in the fast-paced modern world.

Veronika Aurora Zrinski and Juraj Zrinski will lead you through the Fairytale Forest and introduce you to its mysterious inhabitants. The Fairytale Forest Theme Park is intended for families, as well as children of preschool and school age, with the aim of preserving and promoting the sustainable development of natural and cultural heritage.

"We're looking forward to the realisation of the project and we're looking forward to the day when we'll be able to open the doors to our first visitors in August this year," conclude the organisers, Tatjana and Marijan Martinjas.

For more, make sure to check out our travel section.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Jakopić Family Wines and Terbotz Restaurant Presented in Zagreb

The Jakopić family from Međimurje has been in the wine-making business for over a hundred years, and they also manage the Terbotz restaurant in Železna gora.

They've decided to showcase their Decanter-awarded wines, as well as the cuisine from the Terbotz restaurant to the Zagreb audience, and they did so in the recently opened International Business Hotel. The history of winemaking in the family starts with grand-grandpa Filip, who began making wines in the hills of Međimurje in 1908. The winery's current owner, Branimir Jakopić, is the fourth-generation winemaker in the family. The three sons are still not decided on whether they want to keep the family's tradition. Terbotz restaurant has not been in the family for that long, but it also creates traditional food, made from the indigenous ingredients - but, thanks to the chef Silvija Korak - the food is done with a twist!

The Jakopić family has succeeded in getting four Decanter wines over the last three years: a platinum, a golden and two silver medals. In Zagreb, Jutarnji list writes, they offered their Pušipel, Graševina, Rajnski Rizling, Sauvignon, Zeleni Silvanac and Žuti Muškat. The flavours of the Jakopić wines were paired with a creative menu by chef Hrvoje Nakić, a master of combining ingredients and his own unique interpretation of them. Siniša Lasan, leading Croatian sommelier was in charge of the presentation of the wines, so the guests were able to learn more about the richness of the wines by this label.

The guests had Jakopić Terbotz 2018 sparkling wine and Jakopić Mlado Međimurje 2019. After that, a meal with red prawn was paired with Pušipel Classic 2018, and the pairing was perfect, thanks to the aromas of green apple and tropical fruits in the wine. The freshness and minerality of Jakopić Sauvignon 2017 were accented when it was paired with octopus. Next came the veal risotto paired with Jakopić Rose 2017, with aromas of berries. Jakopić Rajnski Rizling 2016 went perfectly with meatballs made with beef cheeks. A reduction of raspberry, pink pepper, grilled goat young cheese and raspberry jam was served for dessert. That, of course, required a sweet, mature wine, such as Jakopić Muškat Žuti 2017, with flavours of honey and peaches and apricots. And at the end of an amazing evening, the guests were given a special opportunity, when Jakopić Selected Grapes Graševina 2017 was tasted - a wine that won the platinum award at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

UNESCO Intangible Heritage of Croatia – Međimurska Popevka

December the 1st, 2018 - With two more pieces of Croatia's rich heritage having been added to the prestigious list, we take a look at one piece of UNESCO intangible heritage of Croatia, a musical tradition originating from Medjimurje - Medjimurska popevka.

On November the 28th, 2018, UNESCO inscribed two more pieces of intangible heritage from Croatia onto its list. The first one was Medjimurska popevka, which is a form of traditional singing from the continental county of Medjimurje. The second was the art of dry stone walling, the knowledge and techniques of which were inscribed together with Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland.

This article will look into Medjimurska popevka, traditional folksong, and its heritage. This piece of heritage was arlready on the list of the intangible heritage of the Republic of Croatia, and as of now, it is also part of the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The nomination process started back in 2016 and was prepared with the following experts: dr. sc. Lidija Bajuk, dr. sc. Nail Ceribašić and dr. sc. Tvrtko Zebec, along with the support of the local community and institutions from Medjimurje County.

Medjimurska popevka is an irreplaceable part of the area's local traditions and is a very popular and recognisable form of singing. This singing originates from the north-western part of Croatia and is historically a soloist vocal genre sung by women. Medjimurska popevka is used in vocal, vocal-instrumental, instrumental, monophonic and multipart renditions as a musical genre or incorporated into the dance.

Popevka has verses which are sung according to melody (viža) and in that way, they form a song (pesem). The songs are divided into the category of newer and older songs and when it comes to lyrics they are usually related to love, sad melancholy, humor and other types of emotion experienced in varying life events.


In general, most of the people from Medjimurje have experienced popevkas in numerous life events and were encouraged to join the making of the music in these situations. This makes popevka important an part of family and friends’ gatherings in Medjimurje. When we look into the history of this traditional singing, we can find the oldest textual evidence of popevkas dating back to the 16th century.

The songs were initially sung without any musical instruments until the 19th century, and then from then, it became common to use instruments too. Even though the songs are divided into older and newer categories, they still have the traditional way of singing and similar lyrics and themes.


The older songs usually involve mythological themes and are sung in a natural scale, while the newer songs are generally about real events and people, and have balanced metrical structure. The most active representatives who keep this piece of heritage alive and kicking are the cultural artistic societies and associations, as well as individual singers. At the moment, there are fifty singers regarded as masters of the art, and they are considered to be the ones able to teach these singing techniques to younger generations.

There are various cultural associations and folklore groups who use Medjimurska popevka in their performances. One of the events important for keeping this piece of heritage active is Smotra međimurske popevke, which has been happening every year since 1971 in Nedelišće.


Last year in June, the 38th consecutive festival of Medjimurska popevka with many participating folklore groups took place. In this way, the singing is shared among the wider public and still kept within the local community as an important part of life. Now inscribed on the list of UNESCO's intangible heritage of Croatia, this cultural gem will continue to have its significance highlighted and protected.

SOURCE(S) (text and photos): UNESCO, Ministry of Culture, Muzej Međimurja Čakovec, Culturenet, HRTurizam, Tourist Board Nedelišće

Make sure to follow our lifestyle page for more information on the UNESCO intangible heritage of Croatia and much more.

Friday, 19 October 2018

750 km of Cycling Trails Ready for Tourists

The project was partially financed by EU funds.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

First High Category Hotel Worth 20 Million Kuna Opens in Čakovec

A new addition for Medjimurje.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Međimurje: Terme Sveti Martin Becomes European Centre for Cannabis Healing

A somewhat different kind of health tourism for Medjimurje.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Čakovec to Get First 4 Star Hotel in Spring!

Međimurje's popularity is growing among tourists, and without high-end accommodation...

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

100 Million Kuna Investment in Medjimurje for ''Eco Factory of Future''

The factory will meet the highest eco standards in the world.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Medjimurje: Meet Maja Lesinger, Director of the Best Library in Croatia

When it comes to the recognition of Croatia as a whole, not many people have heard of Prelog in Medjimurje County. It is even less likely that they've heard about Prelog's library, considered to be, and awarded as - the best library in the country. The Director of Prelog's library, Maja Lesinger, sat down with us to tell us just how this unassuming little place achieved such a title, and it seems it was all down to the help of an amazing community of members and the inhabitants of this small city of around 8000 citizens.

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