Friday, 3 April 2020

Novalja Tourist Board: Stay at Home, See You Soon (VIDEO)

April 3, 2020 - Don't travel now! Stay at home and see you soon!" says the Novalja Tourist Board in a new promotional video. 

On Wednesday, Goran Rihelj of HRTurizam penned an article on how national tourist boards should communicate in this time of crisis. 

“Now is the perfect time to plan, define new strategies, and prepare your marketing campaigns for the day after the coronavirus, to be ready and to start communicating and promoting immediately when the pandemic is over.

The fact is that everyone is online now, more than ever, and some in this situation see their opportunity to further position and expand their customer base. That is why now is the time to take advantage of all the benefits that the internet brings to us,” Rihelj wrote. 

In any case, the worst is not to communicate, especially in a crisis.

So, when it comes to tourism, the narrative is that now is the perfect time to explore, discover and plan your future trip, that is, to create a kind of bucket list for when we’ve all said goodbye to the four walls of our self-isolation chambers. 

The Portuguese Tourist Board, for example, has embarked on a "time to stop" campaign, followed by the hashtag #CantSkipHope. The whole campaign is accompanied by the main video with a phenomenal narrative.

The video was, of course, not planned, but made following this emergency. And this is cleverly emphasized in the introduction to the video itself, where the message is that the videos were recorded before the coronavirus and the narrator's voice was recorded over a cellphone in his home isolation.

Using this train of thought, the Novalja Tourist Board posted a video with the message - 'Don’t travel now! Stay at home and see you soon!'

Although it is not a top production, as in the case of VisitPortugal, we can certainly praise the Novalja Tourist Board’s prompt reaction, thought, and effort.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 28 February 2020

Michelin Stars for Croatian Islands: Congratulations Lesic Dimitri (Korcula), Boskinac (Pag)!

February 28, 2020 - Two more Michelin Stars for Croatia - the first on Croatian islands. Congratulations to Lesic Dimitri Palace on Korcula and Boskinac on Pag!

Great news for the gourmet scene on Croatia's gorgeous islands, as for the first time, the Michelin Star has been awarded to a restaurant on a Croatian island. And not one, but two.

LD Terrace, the exquisite restaurant of leading boutique 5-star restaurant on Korcula, Lesic Dimitri Palace, and Boskinac on the island of Pag, are the two new additions to the illustrious list of restaurants with Michelin stars, bringing to seven the number of such restaurants in Croatia. 

The first five restaurants to receive their Michelin stars all retained them in 2020. They are - Draga di Lovrana in Lovran, Monte in Rovinj, Pelegrini in Sibenik, Noel in Zagreb, and 360 in Dubrovnik.

Congratulations to both LD Terrace and Boskinac, both of which have pushed the boundaries of culinary excellence on their respective islands. I am particularly pleased for the Lesic Dimitri team, whom I know well due to my close friendship with owner Michael Unsworth. It is the perfect start to the year for them after the tragic loss of key team member Drazen Matkovic in a car accident recently. I asked Michael to say a few words:

"We are delighted that our team led by Chef Marko Gajski has received this recognition for the outstanding effort they have put into achieving this. We are sad that our colleague Drazen Matkovic is not here to enjoy it with us."

Learn more about both restaurants and their luxury boutique hotels from their official websites. 

LD Palace


Monday, 25 November 2019

Pag Cheese Becomes 24th Protected Croatian Product in European Union

November 25, 2019 - The European Commission announced that Pag cheese is enrolled in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications writes that the process of protecting the name "Pag cheese”, or what you may know better as ‘Paški sir’, began in July 2017, when the Pag Cheese Producers' Association on the island of Pag submitted a request to the Ministry of Agriculture for its protection. 

The Republic of Croatia now has 24 agricultural and food products registered in the European Union as a protected designation of origin or a protected geographical indication. With Pag cheese, the following other Croatian products are registered: Krk prosciutto, Cres extra virgin olive oil, Neretva mandarins, Ogulin sour cabbage, Baranja kulen, Lika potatoes, prosciutto from Istria, Drniš, Krka and Dalmatia, Poljički soparnik, Zagorje turkey, Krk olive oil, Korcula olive oil, Pag lamb, Solta olive oil, Varaždin cabbage, Slavonian kulen, Međimurje meat ‘z tiblice’, Slavonian honey, Lika lamb, Pag salt, and Zagorje mince. The EU trademark or geographical indication on the packaging guarantees the consumer an authentic product.

This is yet another recognition for Croatian agricultural products after the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, and Agriculture Minister Marija Vuckovic confirmed the first six protected Croatian products on the Chinese market. They include Neretva mandarins, Baranja kulen, Dalmatian prosciutto, Drniš prosciutto, Lika potatoes and Dingač. They will even list a seventh product, Istrian prosciutto, but as a protected product of Croatia and Slovenia.

The geographical area of Pag cheese production includes the island of Pag and the two islands of Maun and Škrda. Pag cheese is hard sheep cheese made from whole fat sheep's milk of the original breed of Pag sheep. Milk for the production of Pag cheese is obtained from Pag sheep grown semi-extensively throughout the year in fenced pastures within the geographical area of production. 

To read more about things made in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Saturday, 19 October 2019

VIDEO: Experienced Pag Fisherman Catches Rare Type of Shark

As Morski writes on the 19th of October, 2019, an experienced fisherman called Ivo Palčić from Proboj on the island of Pag saw a rather strange type of shark get caught up in his fishing net.

Oxynotus centrina, or better to say the Angular roughshark, is a very odd looking resident of the deep sea, usually found living between 100 and 600 metres below the surface. It is indeed rarely caught, as no fisherman would hunt it on purpose, and it rarely swims into the shallows where fish that are typically caught would be. It is a protected species and luckily, this unfortunate shark survived; Palčić immediately freed the strange animal from the net and put it straight back into the sea, seemingly unharmed.

''It was caught in the trawler, I don't know the exact position it got caught in, as I'd been pulling the net for seven hours, which covers an area of ​​about 18 nautical miles. It was on the lower side of the island of Pag, at 75 metres deep. He was a little stunned, I guess, by the silt, but he survived because when I let him go, he slowly began to move deeper into the sea. I've never seen one before, and I have been trawling for 38 years,'' Ivo Palčić from Pag told Morski.

The experienced fisherman has had numerous meetings with odd creatures, and this is not his first unusual catch.

''I have happened to catch some unusual species here and there,'' said the Pag fisherman.

The shark (Oxynotus centrina) is a species that takes a long time to reach sexual maturity and is therefore susceptible to fishing, despite the fact that it is still thankfully rarely involved in accidental catches. In some countries, the adjective "rough" is also used in their name because of its skin that looks just like sandpaper.

While they do live in the Adriatic sea, they're very rarely seen and little is known about them or their regular lives in Croatian waters. Take a look at the specimen captured by the fisherman from Pag in the video below:

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Embrace the Stone and the Wind: New Pedestrian and Bicycle Paths Opening on Pag

August 28, 2019 - In cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds and the Pag Tourist Board, and as part of the Island Development Program in 2019, the City of Pag will set out to arrange a pedestrian-cycling path "Embrace the Stone and the Wind” next month, reports HRTurizam.

The main objective of the project will be to invest in public tourism infrastructure and to enrich the tourist offer of sports and recreation, directly through the arrangement and rehabilitation of the hiking-cycling path, and indirectly by investing in the tourist offer of the city of Pag and promoting it as a cycling tourist destination.

Along the pedestrian-bicycle path, three locations will be arranged as resting places that are selected according to the criterion of dividing the trail into sections, i.e., according to the height of a particular section of the trail and the available views. Each rest area will be arranged in such a way that it will be equipped with urban equipment (benches, waste bins, bicycle stands and info panels with information about the town of Pag, sites seen from the trail, etc.).


Grad Pag

The highest point of the trail will be where the Adriatic winds - bura, jugo, tramontana, maestral, burin, levant - trigger wind turbine blades that will be encountered further along the course.

“The implementation of the project directly influences the increase of the tourist value of the City of Pag as a cultural, active, and environmentally conscious tourist city. Cycling in Pag has enormous potential given the unusual, untouched scenery full of contrasts, as it is well known that the main motive for guests visiting is the attractiveness of the landscape. The development of cycling tourism on the island is an excellent tool for the extension of the pre and post-season, and it is in accordance with the Strategy for the Development of Croatian Tourism, in which the main goal is to position Croatia as one of the leading Mediterranean cycling tourism destinations,” the city of Pag points out.

About 200 meters from the historic center of Pag, near the town cemetery, begin the ascent to the top of Kiršin (263 m.n.v.) which houses the HRT transmitter and then continues through the Ravna wind farm field. Due to the weather (rain, storm, salt), karst landscape and poor maintenance, it is in bad condition. The total length of the trail is 7.5 km. The path will be tidied up and marked, and one part repaired and filled in that is 2.5 km long.

Also, three rest areas with urban equipment and tables will be arranged, with benches, waste bins, and bicycle racks. Panel info and trail information boards will be installed, with indigenous plant labels, prehistoric hillforts, and other interesting and instructional information along the trail, as well as bike route signage.

The total value of the project is HRK 444,444.44, of which HRK 200,000.00 was provided by the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds and the rest (HRK 244,444.44) by the City of Pag. The works should be completed by the end of 2019.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Shaquille O'Neal, "World's Biggest DJ", Performs on Zrće

One of the numerous clubs located on the famous party-beach Zrće, Noa club, organised the inaugural Pow Wow festival this week. The biggest star of the festival, both literally and figuratively, was DIESEL, an African-American DJ of impressive proportions, much more famous under his actual name: Shaquille O'Neal.

Yes, THAT Shaquille O'Neal. After finishing his glorious basketball career, which brought him 4 NBA titles, an MVP title, 15 All-Star game appearances, Olympic and World Championship golds, he didn't start his baseball or golfing careers.

While he was still an active basketball player, he began his second career as a rap singer, but has since shifted his focus and is currently producing and DJing electronic music, performing around the world live under the stage name DIESEL, and calling himself, probably correctly, the World's Biggest DJ.

This July, he has been performing and having what seems to be a lot of fun all over Europe, and every relevant electronic music DJ has to visit Zrće, the mecca of that type of music in Europe. So he flew in to Zadar Airport by private airplane from Sardinia, where he was also performing at a festival, and had a fun day on Pag, sightseeing, supposedly driving around on a rented scooter (too bad there are no photos of that sight!), and in the evening performing as the main event of the night.

Jutarnji list reports that, unlike some other stars who arrive in Croatia, he had no special requests or demands for his stay, that he just really liked the lighting for the performance of another DJ and wanted something similar for his show.

His performance has been described by the Croatian media as packed, very energetic and powerful, and Shaq was giving out autographs all night and seemed to be having a lot of fun himself, while performing, before and after. He posted on his personal Instagram and on his DJing account as well.

Hopefully, the world'sbBiggest DJ will find some time to stay in Croatia for a few more days, as he really seems to enjoy it here.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Sixtieth Summer Carnival Successfully Begins on Island of Pag

Visiting the island of Pag any time soon? You're in for a treat...

Summer in Croatia isn't short of events. From live music and film festivals in Pula to to the famous Dubrovnik Summer Festival which celebrates all things to do with the Arts and everything in between, the warmer months along the coast are far from boring.

Croatia's many islands often also have their own individual shows to put on, and one of the best loved of all is the Pag Summer Carnival, held annually on the other-worldly-looking island of Pag. 

As Morski writes on the 23rd of July, 2019, last night, the sixtieth jubilee summer carnival officially kicked off in the crowded square of Petar Krešimir IV. This is the oldest summer carnival (not to be confused with summer festival, of which there are several in Croatia) in the whole of the Republic of Croatia and is certainly one of the most attractive and full summertime entertainment events on the popular island.

In the Rector's Palace, under the organisation of the Markov Kumpanija Association, an exhibition titled ''60. lita litnjeg karnevala'' (colloquial: 60 summers of the summer carnival) and on the piazza, groups of masked performers and local lovers of the celebrated Pag Summer Carnival performed.

Pag City Music held a concert on the square performing various hits with accompaniment, dancing and the singing of carnival groups, as well as amateur singers and dancers.

The visitors to the opening of the Pag Summer Carnival, both local and foreign, enjoyed a real carnival atmosphere, and at the end the local folklore group Paško kolo danced for the audience. Warming up and opening the Pag Summer Carnival appears to have gone excellently, and much more can be expected of this much-loved island event as the warm summer goes on.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. 

Sunday, 14 July 2019

FT Meets Anthony Bourdain: Croatia Next Big Foodie Destination

July 12, 2019 - A meeting of minds between the Financial Times and the late, great Anthony Bourdain, who concluded the same thing 8 years apart - Croatia is the next big foodie destination

“This is world-class food, world-class wine, world-class cheese. The next big thing is Croatia,” enthused the late chef Anthony Bourdain when he first visited the country in late 2011. “If you haven’t been here, you’re an idiot.” Bourdain’s surprise at the gastronomic riches of Croatia was perhaps understandable. For thousands of years, the region had it all: salt production along the coast, started by the Liburnians well before the 1st century BC, plentiful fish from the clear waters of the Adriatic, a climate ideal for wine production, and olive oil that was prized above all others. In the 1st century AD the Greek epicure Apicius suggested adding bay leaves, cypress root and salt to Spanish oil so that it tasted more like the Liburnian version.

And so begins an excellent and in-depth piece by the FT, which came to exactly the same conclusion as Bourdain after his infamous visit to Croatia in 2011. You can read the full article here.

Whereas Bourdain travelled the whole coast for his No Reservations programme, the FT focused on one small region - the area around Zadar. Highlights included a visit to iconic winemaker Alen Bibic, the tuna farms of Ugljan, the cheese, olive and lamb heaven that is the island of Pag. On Pag, leading boutique hotel and restaurant Boskinac even held a foodie event in honour of Bourdain. 

So many different high-quality gourmet experiences in one tiny part of Croatia. And yet enough to get the Financial Times waxing lyrical. 

Croatia's gourmet tourism potential is huge. With 130 indigenous grape varieties, including the original Zinfandel, several very distinct regional cuisines, and the Mediterranean Diet inscribed as intangible UNESCO heritage on Brac and Hvar, gourmet tourism and income should be somewhere in the region of that in of France, Germany, Italy or Spain. And indeed, the small private agencies, such as Culinary Croatia, which are offering high-quality gourmet tours, are doing great business. 

And yet... 

Despite being proud of the original Zinfandel hailing from Dalmatia, one of the most important wine regions in this part of Europe, there is no wine road for Dalmatia. An example of how seriously the authorities are taking the potential of this great 12-month tourism opportunity. 

I heartily agree with Bourdain and the FT, and sincerely hope that the tourism chiefs wake up to the opportunity. 

Learn more about Croatian food in the dedicated Total Croatia food guide

To get a flavour of the diversity and celebration of food in Croatia, check out 25 natural gourmet festivals around the country.



Monday, 1 July 2019

First Bourdain Day Held at "Boškinac" on the Island of Pag

July 1,  2019 - We are, after all, citizens of the world—a world filled with bacteria, some friendly, some not so friendly. Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico, and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafés and McDonald’s? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once, said Anthony Bourdain in his book Kitchen Confidential.


And it pretty much sums up his motto in life. He was a famous chef, writer and TV personality, and a man who traveled the world but unfortunately left it much too early, at 61 years of age. And one year after his unfortunate passing away, the world is still mourning, but also celebrating his unusual and fabulous persona.


On the 25th of June, the First International Bourdain Day was held all over the world with events and tributes. From the USA and Canada to Europe and Africa; from South America to Asia – people who admired and still admire Bourdain and his work wanted to celebrate his legacy on the Day he was born. Bourdain Day was also celebrated in Croatia, a place he has visited a few years ago and was so taken by the beauty of the country, the tastes of the local wines and exceptional food that he openly, in his specific style, said that anybody who hasn't visited Croatia yet is - an idiot. 


Hotel Boškinac on the Island of Pag organized First Croatian Bourdain Day, the event co-hosted by Chef Mate Janković, who was Tony’s Croatian guide at the time of his famous visit. Nearly 200 guests gathered in Boškinac to honour the life of Anthony Bourdain.


"It’s a beautiful thing, when the reality lives up to your hopes and expectations; when everything—everything—is as good as anything could be," said Bourdain on his programme No Reservations in Spain and, indeed, the dinner in his honour on Pag - lived up to everybody's expectations.


The host, Boris Šuljić, warmly welcomed everybody with „longa bevanda“ (wine diluted with water) and proudly presented Hana Čičić, a journalist and a foodie who ideated and initiated the Bourdain Day event in Croatia. While DJ Kanca, Ozren Kanceljak, was playing the sounds which would undoubtedly have been approved by Bourdain himself – who had excellent taste in music and firmly banned Grateful Dad from his kitchen – guests started to get „into the groove“. Producers Tomec & Grabber, (Marc Grabber and Krešimir Tomec) were also presented with their "Dalmatian Dub", "Dalmatian Lounge" and "Deep Into Croatia" music projects.


The dinner that was served was identical to the one Bourdain enjoyed back in 2011 when he was in Croatia filming ''No Reservations: Croatian Coast'', or were directly inspired by them and mainly consisted of different variations of the famous lamb from the island, including the lamb tripe. Chef Mate Janković told the story of his trip through Croatia with Bourdain and claimed that he would remember it all his life, and posthumously thanked Bourdain for the enormous impact his visit had on Croatian tourism and gastronomy. Mate introduced to the guests and presented Croatian wine producer Alen Bibić who also welcomed Bourdain at the time - in his winery and offered him exquisite 12-course dinner prepared by his talented wife Vesna. Alen also expressed his gratitude for Bourdain’s visit since the episode from Croatia was watched by 120 million people around the world.


Truly a unique personality, Bourdain once said: "What does freedom mean? I don’t know that either, I guess. For sure, it does mean the freedom to enjoy an afternoon no one thought possible only a little while ago. The freedom at least to joke, to laugh, to be for a while, relatively carefree."


That is exactly what was the aim of this fantastic evening under the stars on the island of Pag. As Hana Čičić has put it: "Tonight was meant to be, and indeed it was - an honest celebration of a man who gathered us all around the table and united us with so many dear and familiar faces, good friends and connoisseurs of the food and the wine. But it wasn’t so much about sophisticated food – it was about the joy of life and all those nice moments that life brings about – that become memories. The food courses were paired with excellent Boškinac wines but the cocktails made by the talented Zvonimir Lovrenčić were also worth remembering.


The food had a signature of both Boris Šuljić and his talented chef with Michelin recommendation, JRE Matija Bregeš. Matija and his team have once again proven that it is equally important to be able to prepare sophisticated fine dining food and cook the traditional food.  Chef Bregeš presented his team while the third course was served and it was quite spectacular when 12 different varieties of the cheese from Pag have been cut. The dinner lasted until the early morning hours of the next day – celebrating life, food, wine and, above all - friendship. Everybody is looking forward to repeating the celebration next year in Bibić winery on the 25th of June 2020. 

All photos by Fabio Šimićev

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

BBC Travel Features Pag, Croatia's Wild Cheese Island

June 26, 2019 - BBC Travel discovers one of the culinary secrets of one of Europe's most unusual islands - Pag. 

It is not often that Croatia is featured on the BBC homepage - unless we are talking about World Cup sporting success, of course. 

And how nice to see today's feature focusing on one of Croatia's most fascinating island's - Pag. 

Home to the strongest winds on the coast, the finest lamb in all Croatia, an olive grove with more than 1,000 trees each over a thousand years old, its own UFO landing site, the party - and salt - capital of Croatia, as well as a handful of UNESCO lace - the list goes on. 

And cheese. In the words of the late, great Anthony Bourdain - 'world-class cheese.'

Here is the opening to the BBC feature on the cheese of Pag:

The bus driver shook his head. “Zatvoren,” he said, looking at my ticket to Pag. “Closed.”The bus driver shook his head. “Zatvoren,” he said, looking at my ticket to Pag. “Closed.”

I was scheduled to travel to Pag, a barren, moonscape-like island off Croatia’s northern Dalmatian coast, but the bridge was closed. Paški most – the bridge connecting the island to the mainland – is the only point of entry by road, and the bura, a powerful north-eastern wind, thwarted my plans.

The bura (also known as bora) can reach hurricane-strength speeds; its 2004 record in the Dalmatian city of Split was 174.6km/h. Its mighty gusts define Pag and its famous cheese, Paški sir, dusting wild herb-filled pastures with Adriatic sea salt, which gives the sheep’s milk a unique flavour. Robust, salt-coated aromatic herbs – including sage, sea fennel, St John’s Wort, immortelle and thyme – are a treat for the sheep.

To read the full story, click here.

TCN did a recent tour of the two main cheese factories on the island - learn more about the island's cheese story

To learn more about his incredible island, check out the Total Croatia Pag in a Page guide


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