Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Neum Tourism to Change Forever after Pelješac Bridge Opening

July 26, 2022 - Today's Pelješac Bridge opening will be a new start for Croatia - but what will it mean for Neum tourism? 

While the opening of the Pelješac Bridge to Dubrovnik is of significant importance to Croatia, both from the tourist and economic side, Neum tourism workers, especially restauranteurs, are feeling quite the opposite. 

Namely, from Tuesday, July 26, the Pelješac Bridge will officially connect Croatia for the first time in 300 years! 

Last weekend, Neum restaurateurs and hoteliers were not shy about speaking to the media, revealing their worries that nothing will be the same from Tuesday. 

Restaurateurs and tourism workers worry that the traffic on the main road through Neum will decrease significantly, threatening their businesses. Hoteliers and private apartment renters are also concerned because there will likely be fewer guests, reports Čapljinski Portal

"You have to call things by their right names and tell the truth - restaurateurs and merchants made a lot of money from tourists who traveled on the highway to Dubrovnik and vice versa," said one restaurateur who has operated a restaurant along the highway for many years.

"From Tuesday, things will change. All those tourists, mostly Poles, Czechs, and Germans, after waiting at the border, which used to be long and over an hour, would stop in Neum to freshen up, have lunch or dinner, a drink. And mind you, it was not a small number of people, from the beginning to the end of the season," they added. 

Travelers also enjoyed Neum because the prices were much more affordable.

"With their standard, these prices were low for them, and of course, they will stop to have lunch or dinner here before coming to Dubrovnik, where everything is ten times more expensive," they added. 

It seems there is an overall concern for a considerable drop in traffic immediately after the opening of the Pelješac Bridge.

"Come at the beginning of August and follow the number of cars going over the bridge and the number of cars on the highway. Nobody will want to wait at the border for hours now that they have a road to Dubrovnik without waiting. This will affect us," added the interlocutors for Čapljinski Portal. 

Hoteliers and private apartment renters are also worried, as they believe the number of overnight stays will decrease compared to the previous figures.

"Things simply won't be the same; the focus will shift to Pelješac. A good number of guests used Neum as an overnight destination, from where they visited Mostar, Dubrovnik, and the Dubrovnik coast in general, but that will surely change now. Nobody wants to wait at the borders for hours," the interlocutors pointed out. 

But could the newly opened Stolac-Neum road somehow compensate for a drop in travelers?

"Difficult. That road will not bring us anything in terms of tourism. However, it will make it easier for us locals to travel to Mostar and the interior of BiH, as well as for tourists who come to Neum from the interior of BiH so that they do not have to cross the border wait in lines. Those guests, frankly, were not our main consumers, at least when it comes to catering along the highway," said the same Neum restaurateur. 

According to them, Stolac will benefit the most from this road.

"Stores, fruit and vegetable sellers along the road, cafes, and restaurants located in Stolac could now benefit from passing tourists because it takes an hour to drive from the center of Stolac to the center of Neum, so Stolac is an ideal place to stop for a break," they added. 

In the end, they concluded that no one would fail in Neum tourism, but it will never be the same as it was.

"We will work, we have to work and live, but I think we can forget the golden times and the good income from foreign guests in Neum," the restaurateur pointed out.

Neum will thus have to consider offering new content in the seasons ahead to attract guests in summer, as tourism is paramount for restaurateurs and hoteliers, concludes the Čapljinski Portal.

With the ceremonial opening of the Pelješac Bridge on Tuesday, southern Croatia will be reunited with the rest of the country after 300 years.

The opening program starts already at 8 am at the Brijesta rest area, with a vigil by several orchestras from Dubrovnik-Neretva County. During the day, there will be races under the bridge and performances by klapa groups and cultural and artistic societies until the evening hours.

Visitors will be able to walk to the first pylon of the Pelješac Bridge as early as 10 am, the Dubrovnik-Neretva Police Department reported on Monday. From the Komarna side, the bridge will be accessible by organized mini-bus transportation from 10 am to 4 pm (departing from the parking lot in the Klek tourist resort), after which preparations for the official program will begin.

The central ceremony will be opened by the Dubrovnik-Neretva County prefect, Nikola Dobroslavić, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure, Oleg Butković. Afterward, the representative of the President of the European Commission, Dubravka Šuica, will address the audience, followed by a video message from Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang. Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, President of the Croatian Parliament, Gordan Jandroković, and President of the Republic Zoran Milanović will then speak.

The musical program will include the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, Dubrovnik Trombunjeri, Lado, Linđo, and others, and the ceremony will end with the performance of the "Hymn to Freedom" and fireworks, during which the bells of all the churches of the Dubrovnik Diocese will ring, as well as the blessing of the bridge.

After the bridge's opening at 10 pm, motorcyclists of the defense forces will be the first to cross it.

tourisFor more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Bolette Cruiser is First Large Vessel to Pass Under Pelješac Bridge

June 23, 2022 - The Bolette cruiser, under the command of Dubrovnik Captain Jozo Glavić, passed under the Pelješac Bridge in the direction of Neum this morning with just over a thousand passengers on board.

This ship passed successfully at 6:18 am. It is the first large ship to pass under the newly built bridge, officially opening in late July. Passengers on board could enjoy the view of the bridge, which has just now ticked off another test, reports Slobodna Dalmacija. You can find all photos HERE.

Namely, after heavy trucks drove across the bridge, testing the durability of the steel structure and windbreaks were tested, it was time to check the permeability of maritime traffic between the pillars of the bridge.

The Bolette ship is slightly more than 237 meters long and 32.5 meters wide. The ship has 12 decks, can accommodate 1,380 passengers, and can sail at 25 knots. "Air Draft," or the height from the water to the highest point on the ship, is 48.1 meters, while the maximum allowed height under the Pelješac Bridge is 55 meters.

Bolette had no problems entering the Neum area. Experienced captain Glavić managed fantastically at the helm. And how could he not when he gained world fame by maneuvering a ship in the narrow Corinth Canal with a 195.82-meter-long and 22.5-meter-wide cruiser without significant problems, setting a new world record.

It should be reminded that the maritime society from BiH and politicians there have repeatedly pointed out that the Pelješac bridge will prevent ships from entering Neum. The Bosnian academic community went the furthest, suggesting cutting the Pelješac bridge and making it movable, which would be raised and lowered so that large ships could sail into Neum.

However, the designer of the Pelješac bridge, Slovenian Marijan Pipenbacher, calls such claims from Sarajevo nonsense that are placed for daily political purposes.

"Such statements have nothing to do with the profession. The Republic of Croatia has opened a maximum passage to Neum, 55 meters high, and every ship can pass. It passes as in the largest European ports. Large ships and cruisers have nothing to do here because it is a protected area through Natura 2000. Large propellers would dig up the seabed," Pipenbacher explained.

"Up to 35 meters in height would be enough for this bridge. So sailboats with a 25-meter high mast can pass. However, the area is too sensitive, and Neum has such a small port that a large ship can't even turn around," Pipenbacher added, emphasizing that they have four passages under the bridge 285 meters wide, so those passing towards Neum can choose where to go, which was confirmed by the Bolette.

However, it seems that they are not thrilled with the arrival of the first cruiser. It has nothing to do with the Pelješac Bridge, but the people of Neum do not want mass tourism, city crowds, and the pollution that cruisers bring. They are also allegedly preparing a protest against cruise tourism.

The President of the Municipal Council of Neum, Daniela Matić, believes that the announced entry of Bolette into the Neum area is inadmissible.

"I think that something like this is inadmissible. Neum is not a port; therefore, big ships have nothing to do in our bay. The entry of this and similar ships into the Neum Bay means automatic endangerment of the ecosystem and pollution that will cause significant damage to Neum," Matic said in a statement sent to the BiH public just before the cruise ship sailed.

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

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

VIDEO Peljesac Bridge Makes Giant Progress Leap With Land Connection

February 16, 2021 – The future of Croatian travel is almost here! In this brand new video Peljesac Bridge's gigantic horizontal sections are installed, joining the land to colossal sea pillars and bringing to life a project so mammoth it was previously difficult to visualise

The Peljesac Bridge project is so huge, it hasn't been easy to imagine just how it will look. Even after seeing all the plans, maps, computer-generated graphics and the imported parts arriving the bridge will be so vast, so important, so revolutionary for Croatia, visualisation of how life will look on the other side has been hard. Until now.

In this brand new video Peljesac Bridge's gigantic horizontal sections are installed, joining the land to colossal pillars standing steadfast within the brilliant blue of the Adriatic sea. We can finally see in the video Peljesac Bridge coming to life, taking shape and how connectivity to southern Dalmatia and its islands will be changed forever.

Explaining Peljesac Bridge's significance and life-changing promise to those not from Croatia can be difficult. Sure, rising 55 metres above the sea and stretching over 2400 metres in length, this is a big bridge. After reeling off the figures, anyone would be sure to agree. But, there are many, much bigger bridges out there.

Vividly illustrating its importance, in this video Peljesac Bridge is seen joining two parts of the Croatian mainland over a vast stretch of sea. On a bright and sunny day there is no interruption of the light glaring down on the project. Within a beautiful backdrop of pristine blue waters and clear, cloudless skies – a sight that will be familiar to all who have visited Croatia – in the video Peljesac Bridge can be seen traversing a topography littered with islands and peninsulas. And, in the background, lies another country altogether – Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The never-ending tailbacks, time-consuming, business-retarding and visitor-annoying border controls required for travel across the thin section of Bosnia and Herzegovina are absent from these February scenes. But, not only are they absent from this video Peljesac Bridge will eliminate them forever. Following the bridge's completion, south Dalmatia, Dubrovnik and its islands, will be just as accessible by road as Split or Makarska. Brought to life by this video Peljesac Bridge progress is more than just taking shape – the future is almost upon us.

Monday, 15 February 2021

Good Progression for Peljesac Bridge Construction, Finished by End of Year?

February the 15th, 2021 - What with coronavirus, a few political scandals and protests being held by those who were unable to work due to the country's current epidemiological measures, it's been easy to forget about what was once a top theme in the news and media - the Peljesac bridge construction process down in southern Dalmatia.

The Peljesac bridge construction wasn't immune to the coronavirus crisis either, with parts and even Chinese workers unable to get into the country for some time a while ago before proper measures could be thought up and introduced in a timely manner, leading many to wonder if this will be yet another stragetic Croatian project that fails to meet the deadline. This fate for the bridge, however, seems to have been averted, at least for now.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, today, the Peljesac bridge construction is set to take another important step to its much anticipated final realisation as it will finally connect with the mainland, that is, the first pillar that rises up out of the sparkling Adriatic sea below will connect with the pillar from the mainland, marking a significant leap in progress.

Davor Peric, a civil engineer from Hrvatske ceste (Croatian roads), explained that the two parts would be connected by an element 52 which is 52 metres long and weighs as much as 587 tonnes in total.

Given the fact that Chinese hands working for a Chinese enterprise are the ones building the massive structure, the Chinese New Year was also celebrated in Komarna, the location of the Peljesac bridge construction site, and the workers were all on a two-day break.

''The celebration was well felt,'' said Ivo Jerkovic, the owner of the facility where the Chinese workers are accommodated for RTL Danas/Today, adding that they also prepared gifts for the workers, including homemade wine, olive oil and other traditional gifts which are given at this time of year in that culture.

The Peljesac bridge construction process, at this rate, could even be completed by the end of the year despite all of the obstacles it has faced, both long before and during the pandemic.

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Friday, 24 July 2020

Crossing the Neum Border with Croatia & BiH in the Corona Era: New Rules (July 24 Update)

July 24, 2020 - Crossing the Neum border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the corona era has a slightly different procedure. 

July 24 update - TCN passed through the Neum Corridor twice this week. Waiting times at both borders were under 3 minutes on both occasions. Passports are scanned on the Croatian side and you have one hour to transit through. There were no border guards on the BiH side. There are no issues with any nationality transiting through. 

PLEASE NOTE: THIS SITUATION CONTINUES TO BE THE CASE AFTER JULY 1 BORDER OPENING UPDATE. IF YOU ARE IN TRANSIT, YOU CAN PASS THROUGH.

One of the most-asked questions every summer is from tourists wanting to travel between Split and Dubrovnik, and what happens at the Neum Corridor, the 23-km coastal strip, sometimes called the Bosnian Riviera, which divides Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia from the rest of Croatia? With Croatia now in the EU and on the brink of joining the Schengen zone, it means that a journey between Dalmatia's most popular tourism cities entails leaving the EU for about 20 minutes, before reentering Croatia at the Neum border. 

The usual procedures are explained in this Total Croatia article on how to get from Split to Dubrovnik. If you don't want to leave Croatia, it is possible to stay within the country by taking the ferry service from Ploce on the mainland across to Trpanj on the Peljesac Peninsula. The Peljesac Bridge is also due for completion in 2022, at which point independent Croatia will be joined in one contiguous territory for the first time. 

On my recent tour of the Croatian border control system, I asked about Neum and was surprised to learn that there was a change in the border crossing rules during the pandemic, a change which has been in force for a couple of months now, I think. 

The Neum border is currently ONLY available for transit passengers. As such, you can travel on an ID, but your stay in BiH is timed. You have an hour to cross the 23 km. Your journey is timed, and if you take more than an hour, you will have problems as you try and reenter Croatia. 

The Bosnian border police are also actively encouraging those who pass through the Neum border that this is transit only. 

I always stop for lunch at Neum when I am driving down to Albania or Montenegro, but I guess this is discouraged for the moment. 

If anyone has any experiences of recent travel across the Neum border, please let me know, and we will add to this resource. Send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Neum.  

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Friday, 10 May 2019

World's Biggest Welcome in Croatia: Day 49 - Ston to Ploče (Kayak, Paddle, Bike, Row)

May 10, 2019 - Putting Croatian adventure tourism on the map, with the biggest welcome in the world. Day 49 of this incredible 2011 adrenaline trip covering 2,500 km along the Croatian coast. 

The World's Biggest Welcome, an ambitious adventure tourism project in 2011 in Croatia enters Day 49 of this 2019 appreciation of one of the finest tourism promotion projects ever in Croatia.  

The plan? To showcase the diversity and fabulous offer of adventure tourism in Croatia by following a GPS route the length of the Croatian coast in the shape of the word 'Welcome' - thereby creating the biggest welcome in the world from a hospitable tourism country. 

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Day 49 moved from Ston to Ploče.

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61 kilometres for the day: 3 km by kayak and paddling from Ston to Neum, followed by 33 km bike ride from Neum to Metković, and 25 km from Metković to the Neretva firth rowing in an old Neretva style boat to continue forming the ‘E’ in ‘Welcome’.

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Day 49 kicked off with a send-off from the kids of Mali Ston. 

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Lacko trying out his new vessel. 

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Lacko giving tribute to Czech adventurers who often choose paddle boats as their transport on the Adriatic.

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They traded in their paddleboats for bikes and set off towards Bijeli Vir.

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Passing Lake Kuti along the way. 

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Locals in Bijeli Vir admiring their traveling circus.

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Lacko made it to Metković and rowed with the team from Krvavac 2 in an original ship from Neretva. 

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Passing by the Kula Norinska tower. 

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Krvavac 2 arriving in Opuzen where Kominski pirates gave Lacko a proper welcome.

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The Kominski gusari pirate ship.

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They even let Lacko steer for a bit!

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Kominski gusari pirates in Crna rijeka.

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The day ended with a group photo. 

A key part of the project was promoting tourism, and the official website has details of the key places visited during the day. 

You can see the entire project on the Welcome website, as well as much more of Luka Tambaca's stunning photography on the Welcome Facebook page

Tune in tomorrow for Day 50, as Lacko and the team move from the Neretva to Korčula. 

To follow the whole project from the start, follow the dedicated TCN page

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