Monday, 14 February 2022

Ancient Wells of Rajčica Valley, Inland Dalmatia's Hidden Wonder

February 14th, 2022 - While most tourists tend to gravitate towards the coastline, there are many hidden gems to discover in inland Dalmatia. Meet the wells of Rajčica valley, a magical place that looks as if it came straight out of a fantasy novel

Less than an hour’s drive from Split, in the rugged karst landscape of the Klis hinterland, you’ll stumble upon an extraordinary site. Known as Rajčica, the valley near Nisko village is home to a cluster of 10 ancient wells.

And when we say ancient, it’s actually a bit hard to pinpoint the moment in time when the wells were built. They are commonly referred to as Roman wells, some believe they're from the Illyrian times, and it’s also said they date to late Middle ages, namely the 13th or 14th centuries.

Whatever the case, there’s a certain mystical quality to the picturesque site; it appears to be timeless. The wells are all alike in size and design; they’re closely spaced, each encircled by a dry stone wall and fitted with stone steps descending to the water surface.

Three of the ten wells are shrouded by greenery and have a lower water level, making them somewhat harder to spot. Since the site is located in a valley, heavy rain will often leave the area flooded; during summer droughts, the water level drops.

It’s unknown whether there are any underground rivers in the area, or if the wells are mainly getting water from precipitation. Nestled among the wells is a small pond where the cattle roaming the area often comes to drink. 

 

The name of this wondrous site is another mystery that remains unsolved. Why Rajčica valley? The name literally translates to tomato in Croatian, but it’s believed to be more likely to refer to the place being a paradise in nature (raj = paradise, heaven). Finally, there are sources that claim the toponym originates from a family name that had a historical presence in the area (the valley of the Rajčić).

The wells of Rajčica used to be a seldom visited site, hidden away in a somewhat inaccessible location where one would have to fight their way through the thicket to get to the untouched clearing.

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Rajcica valley / YouTube screenshot

These days, it’s more visitor-friendly. Backed by EU funding, Klis Municipality first had a forest road restored that connected the nearby villages of Brštanovo, Nisko and Matase, and which also doubles as an access road to Rajčica valley.

In a more recent part of the project, they had a picnic site built near the ancient wells. As of late 2021, there are seating areas, a grill, and even a balota rink as a nod to one of Dalmatia’s favourite pastimes. 

raj-4-1024x683.jpgPicnic area / klis.hr

Rajčica valley gained in popularity since it was touched up a bit, especially as the pandemic drove more people to forgo urban destinations and spend time in nature instead. It’s not overcrowded yet, so if you happen to be looking for trip ideas, it just might be the perfect moment to visit the mystical wells before they become too popular among the locals and tourists alike. 

 

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Zadar Outdoor Festival Returns for 2021 Spring and Autumn Editions

March 27, 2021 - After the one-year pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, and because of which the 2020 edition couldn’t be held, the Zadar Outdoor Festival marks its return to the joy of adventure and sports fans.

As Croatia’s National Tourist Board announces, this year’s festival has been confirmed for its Spring and Autumn editions, encouraging locals and foreigners to visit the region by developing a special form of tourism and preserving the natural and cultural heritage of Zadar, thus making a major step towards the development of sustainable tourism.

The beautiful landscape of Zadar County is characterized by exceptional geographical diversity, which makes the county an ideal place for various outdoor sports activities. As part of the Zadar Outdoor Festival, for the fourth time, the sea, land, and beauties of this region will be transformed into natural sports arenas for competitors from all over the world, who will test their sports capabilities and have great fun.

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Zadar Outdoor Festival will be held in two parts, as their Spring and Autumn editions, in May and September 2021, respectively. The spring edition of the Festival will be held from May 8th to 9th on the green island of Ugljan in a safe environment and in compliance with all recommended measures. A kayak and SUP competition is planned along the phenomenal route around the islet of Galevac in front of Preko. For those who prefer the mainland, carefully prepared trails have been included as well as great climbing routes. In addition to exciting races, Zadar Outdoor Festival also offers a very interesting educational program, which includes various workshops led by experts in sports, recreation, and adventurous lifestyle.

The autumn edition of the festival will be held in September 2021 and it will include the Ravni Kotari Trail and the swimming marathon. You don't have to play sports professionally to participate in competitions. Each of the Festival’s activities is directed towards a wide audience.

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The Festival offers accommodation packages as a special offer for the participants and their families, with prices starting at 225 kuna. Participants will have the opportunity to spend their time and rest in the beautiful Vile Dalmacija or in the newly opened Camp Resort Ugljan. For more information about the accommodation offers, you can contact them by phone at +385 (0)23 286 108 or through an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
It is possible to become a volunteer for the Zadar Outdoor Festival and in order to do so, be sure to write an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you’re interested.

To find more about the Zadar Outdoor Festival dates, accommodation, how to get to, and other FAQs, be sure to check their official website

For more information about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

One Man and His Dog: Outdoors Croatia Discovers the Island of Gubavac (VIDEO)

December 10, 2020 - One of the best way to discover the hidden outdoor treasures of Croatia is through the adventures of Outdoor Croatia. Today, kayaking to the leper island of Gubavac. 

One of the many unusual facts about Croatia is that it is the birthplace of quarantine. Back in 1377, the first quarantine station was introduced by the Republic of Dubrovnik in Cavtat, with several more being introduced on nearby islands, before the Lazareti were established just outside the city's famous old stone walls. (Learn more in Cyndie Burckhardt's Dubrovnik’s Lazareti Backstory Still Resonates.)

But did you know that Croatia has an island which translates as 'Leper'?

Not did I until this morning as I was scrolling through one of my favourite - and most educational - YouTube channels about Croatia, Outdoors Croatia.

Apart from the spectacular video footage of some of Croatia's finest and lesser-known adventure tourism spots, the Outdoors Croatia one man and dog team (and now with expanded young family) is proving to be very educational for those looking to discover Croatia beyond the main tourist spots. 

The weapon of choice this time was the kayak, as the expanded Outdoors Croatia team took to their kayaks to explore the tiny island of Gubavac, known as Leper in English. And what a gorgeous location just off the coast of Korcula. 

Gubavac is a small island near Korcula that we rowed from the island of Vrnik where we spend our summers. They say that it was uesd for quarantine and that is why it is called Leper. The girls enjoyed the warm lakes, the remains of an old quarry, and Mishka looked for the rabbits we saw from the kayak.

You can follow the latest from Outdoor Croatia on their YouTube channel.

For more from the TCN One Man and His Dog series, click here

Sunday, 29 November 2020

One Man and His Dog: Outdoors Croatia Explores Seagull's Rocks and Pula Arena (VIDEO)

November 29, 2020 - The one man and dog team from Outdoors Croatia are out and about again exploring Croatia - this time Seagull's Rocks and the Pula Arena.

What is th best way to explore The Great Croatian Outdoors to find out what this wonderful country has to offer?

There are lots of websites out there and Google is your friend, but there can be few better places to start than the team from Oudoors Croatia, which started out as one man and his dog, but has recently branched out into a family journey of exploration. 

As regular readers of TCN may recall, we have been featuring the excellent videos from the Outdoors Croatia team, as they seemingly cover every inch of this beautiful land, showcasing its natural beauty and adventure tourism potential. And, in these socially distanced times, perhaps there is no better time to escape the crowds and see what Croatia off the beaten path has to offer. 

In the latest installment, we head to Istria, and a kayaking experience in a place I have never heard of  - Seagull's Rocks - before heading to somewhere much more familiar, Pula Arena, the sixth largest Roman amphitheatre in the world.  Pula Arena is, of course, one of Croatia's most unusual event locations, hosting a range of activities from rock concerts to exhibition football matches and even an ice hockey game a few years ago. 

We visited The Seagull's Rocks in Pula, a very interesting area, there are beautiful beaches, small caves, it's really great. The only thing is that there were a few waves so it pushed them into the caves, it was not exactly a day to explore.

You can follow the latest from Outdoor Croatia on their YouTube channel.

For more from the TCN One Man and His Dog series, click here

Saturday, 21 November 2020

One Man and His Dog: Outdoors Croatia Explores Velebit with Kids (VIDEO)

November 21, 2020 - While many kids are glued to their phones and other gadgets, the team from Outdoor Croatia offer a more natural way to spend a day - Velebit with kids. Stunning!

It has been a while since I checked out one of my favourite YouTube channels promoting Croatia, and it is great to see it going from strength to strength. 

Longer-term followers of TCN might be familiar with the series of articles we did on the man and dog team from Outdoor Croatia, whose efforts are quite simply the best video promotion of The Great Outdoors in Croatia that exists on YouTube. I hope they are being supported and rewarded for their efforts. 

I first came across the channel a few years ago when I came across this mesmerising winter run through virgin snow at Plitvice Lakes, a reminder that Croatia's most famous national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site is very much a four-season destination. Since that video, I have toured some of the most beautiful nature spots in Croatia vicariously through the camera of the outdoors Croatia crew - by kayak, hiking, bike and running, all year round. 

And in this era of social distancing and avoiding crowds, Croatia's endless natural beauty and stunning open spaces are ever more attractive, providing a very different family experience for those who can leave their gadgets behind and go out to explore. 

The latest episode from Outdoors Croatia was uploaded yesterday, entitled Velebit with Kids. Not a soul in sight for much of the day, and you would be hard pressed to find better views than this in the region. 

We spent the holiday on Velebit, on Premužić's path south of Alan and back along the path that goes along the ridge over Buljma, altogether a little more than five kilometres. 

You can follow the latest from Outdoor Croatia on their YouTube channel.

For more from the TCN One Man and His Dog series, click here

Sunday, 7 July 2019

One Man and His Dog: Outdoors Croatia Explores St. Ilija on Peljesac (VIDEO)

July 7, 2019 - Looking to escape the crowds and explore the Great Outdoors? The one man and dog team from Outdoors Croatia have the answer on Peljesac. 

If you are an active outdoor person looking for a place to research what Croatia has to offer, there is only one recommendation I would make - the YouTube channel of Outdoors Croatia, which has done more to highlight the potential of Croatia as an active tourism destination than any other I have come across.

And rather than focusing just on the popular spots, the one man and one dog team have explored literally every corner of Croatia, while taking exceptional footage of each activity along the way. I, for one, have learned of a number of new destinations and hidden gems through their excellent videos. 

This week's video comes from Peljesac, as our dynamic duo first kayak to the peninsula, then hike to the tallest peak of the peninsula, Sv. Ilija, which stands majestically some 961 metres above sea level. 

Views from the top include the gorgeous island of Korcula and its archipelago.

Feast your eyes on yet another stunning part of this beautiful country awaiting your hiking boots. 

You can follow the latest from Outdoor Croatia on their YouTube channel.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

One Man and His Dog: Outdoors Croatia Discovers Slunjcica (VIDEO)

June 7, 2019 - Continuing our journey through the Great Croatian Outdoors with Croatia's most athletic man and dog team, enjoy River Slunjcica just 90 minutes from Zagreb. 

Another week, another active trip for the man and dog team from Outdoors Croatia. Over the last couple of years, Outdoor Croatia has put together the finest collection of adrenaline tourism videos from every corner of Croatia, during all its four seasons. A truly great advert for adventure tourism in Croatia. 

This week, the fearsome due are canoeing on the idyllic River Slunjcica, yet one more natural treasure in Croatia's adventure tourism arsenal. 

Slunjcica flows into the River Korana through the beautiful waterfall resort of Rastoke, just 90 minutes by car from Zagreb. If you want to enjoy the peace and nature but don't have a boat, there is also a 6-kilometre path by the side of the river.

To follow the rest of the amazing Outdoors Croatia discovery of Croatia under the stars, follow their YouTube channel

Saturday, 1 June 2019

One Man and His Dog: Running the 'Love Path' near Crikvenica

June 1, 2019 - The athletic man and dog team from Outdoors Croatia are back, this month running the Love Path near Crikvenica - stunning as usual!

There are many different ways to promote tourism in Croatia, but one of my favourite is the approach taken by the adventure tourism team at Outdoors Croatia. One man and his dog have seemingly covered every corner of this beautiful country in the last few years, both the most famous attractions and parts of Croatia that even many locals will be unaware of.

Using an array of adventure sports and some excellent drone footage, Outdoors Croatia have put together a really impressive collection of the diverse magic that the Great Croatian Outdoors has to offer. Like many others, I came across them first during that incredible run through virgin snow at Plitvice Lakes a few years ago - see below.

But it is the lesser-known parts of Croatia that I have discovered via the Outdoors Croatia which makes the channel - for me at least - such compelling viewing. 

Have you ever come across the Love Path, near Crikvenica, for example? One of the latest videos from the dynamic duo, and sponsored by the Crikvenica Municipal Museum, learn more below before sitting back to enjoy the Outdoors Croatia run:

Located above the town of Crikvenica, Love Path was named after its most common visitors – young lovers.

The trail was built in the 1930s by forestry engineer Ante Premužić, best known for famous fifty kilometres long trail on the Northern Velebit. His trails often avoid prominent peaks with distant views in favour of modest beauty of micro-locations that they are connecting. Love Path is no exception, returning just below 290m high peak with a view on the sea and Vinodol valley. You can still reach the peak but the last few hundred meters are rocky and demanding. Read more... 

Saturday, 23 March 2019

One Man and His Dog: the Best of Outdoors Croatia

March 22, 2019 - Continuing our look at the Great Croatian Outdoors and its adventure tourism potential through the one man and dog team from Outdoor Croatia, this week a compilation of the very best. 

This is becoming one of my favourite channels on YouTube. 

More fabulous promotion of Croatia as an active tourism destination form the one man and dog team of Outdoors Croatia, who seem to have covered every inch of this beautiful land, and from every conceivable angle. 

A really nice compilation of some of the many highlights from their previous videos. 

Gorgeous stuff, and with Spring here, time to get the running shoes out and discover active Croatia. 

You can follow more of Outdoors Croatia via their YouTube channel

Saturday, 16 March 2019

One Man and His Dog: Outdoors Croatia Discovers Plitvice Lakes

March 16, 2019 - Continuing our look at the beautiful nature of Croatia through the active eyes of the one man and dog team from Outdoors Croatia, this week a trip to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Plitvice Lakes.

It is one of Croatia's best-known tourist attractions, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, and a slice of natural beauty which attracts more than a million visitors a year. 

But how to escape the crowds?

Our favourite active man and dog team from Outdoors Croatia have found a way. Get there early when it opens and rent a rowing boat. More lovely footage from these great promoters of Croatia's Great Outdoors. 

It is not the first time Outdoors Croatia has featured Plitvice Lakes. Their most popular video ever - and possibly one of the most beautiful things I have seen in Croatia - was a morning run on virgin snow. If you missed it first time around, here it is below.

Follow the Outdoors Croatia YouTube channel to experience Croatia as you have never seen it. 

To learn more about Plitvice Lakes whatever the season, check out our comprehensive Total Croatia guide

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