Thursday, 4 August 2022

The Guardian's Best European Beaches of 2022 Ranks 3 Croatian Beaches

August the 4th, 2022 - The Guardian has once again showcased its love for Croatia with a new list of the best beaches of 2022, a list on which three gorgeous Croatian beaches have found themselves.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, The British publication The Guardian has compiled yet another list of 40 of the best beaches of 2022, which included three Croatian beaches. Croatian beaches are by no means strangers to such lists compiled by various publications and portals from around the world, and this time, travel writers have singled out locations in Losinj, Peljesac and the Pakleni islands near Hvar.

When it comes to Losinj they highlighted the stunning Krivica bay, for which The Guardian writes:

“Maybe the special thing about the pebbled Krivica beach lies in the fact that you have to walk along a stone path for 30 minutes - and back again. The reward for this is clear, deep, turquoise water in the bay surrounded by pine trees, and the only company here is sailboats in a narrow channel. Losinj, a long, unusual island in Kvarner bay, is one of the most heavily scented places in Croatia, with an incredible abundance of wild plants.''

For the beautiful beach on the Peljesac peninsula, it is stated that its name is very much justified because it really is beautiful - Divna beach.

“This beautiful beach is located on the northern coast of the Peljesac peninsula. A small pebble bay surrounded by hills overgrown with pine trees. There are several shady places, and the area between the beach and the islet is great for diving,'' The Guardian writes.

The top three Croatian beaches also included the bay of Mlini, which is part of the Pakleni islands which lie just away from the shores of the Central Dalmatian island of Hvar.

“Those who visit Hvar and want a change in the environment should take a water taxi to Mlini bay on the islet of Marinkovac. The pebble beach with the smell of pines provides a wonderful relaxed atmosphere, along with [the possibility of] rental deck chairs and a beach restaurant. As is the case with all Croatian pebble beaches, scuba shoes will make things more comfortable on your feet, and the incredibly clean blue-green water sees people diving for hours,'' The Guardian's travel writers said.

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

Sunday, 10 July 2022

Krešimir Dolenčić Reveals Details of Pelješac Bridge Opening Ceremony

July 10, 2022 - The Pelješac Bridge opening ceremony will be held later this month. Event organizer Krešimir Dolenčić revealed some of what we can expect. 

According to the Croatian Government, a use permit for the access roads should be issued on July 18, and one for the Pelješac Bridge has already been issued. Therefore, the bridge opening with part of the access roads is expected on July 26.

Ahead of the Pelješac bridge opening, journalists from Jutarnji List spoke with Krešimir Dolenčić, who is in charge of the opening ceremony. He has been planning the opening ceremony for more than a month. He said he has no time to enjoy himself for now, but that doesn't mean he isn't excited.

"The Pelješac bridge is a huge thing. I know that firsthand. I was there when they put it together, and there was spontaneous joy in Dubrovnik. The whole town was partying. Finally, after 304 years, Dubrovnik will be connected with that part of the hinterland. I saw what it means to the inhabitants of that part of Croatia. And that's why the highlight of the opening ceremony, broadcast live by HTV, will be a beautiful scenography with hundreds of boats surrounding the bridge and truly magnificent fireworks. In addition, there will be a musical program with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, the Libertas Klapa, and the choir of the HNK Split with Gotovac's 'Hymn to Freedom,'" said Dolenčić, who also worked on the opening of the Dubrovnik Bridge, mentioning only some of the numerous contractors.

The preparations, he pointed out, are proceeding exactly as they should.

"Many people from different sides participate, and everyone prepares their part of the task. From Croatian Roads, which are excellently equipped, through protocols, the police, the County, cities... So far, everything is fine," he confirmed.

He did not want to go into the details of the opening program because he would not want to spoil the surprise for the citizens completely. Still, he announced numerous local performers from Dubrovnik, Korčula, and Neretva and briefly revealed how the opening was conceived.

"The bridge will be partially open to the public during the day. But, of course, with a lot of security and control, only on foot and not along the entire route. Festivities in the cities are also planned; although the bridge was not built for festivities but for vehicles, it is the most demanding part of that day. There will be pyrotechnics, and we expect boats and ships under the bridge," he said.

Dolenčić is no stranger to designing massive public celebrations. In 2000, this respected theater director staged a massive stadium production of Verdi's opera 'Aida' in Shanghai with 2,300 participants, and three years later, he repeated the feat in Beijing with 3,000 participants.

He cited the space where the event takes place as the biggest challenge of such projects because it is usually not intended for that. It is necessary, he noted, to predict the number of visitors at the event, organize and ensure all logistics (energy, auditoriums, stages, lighting, sound system, security, ambulance, parking, police, media, and a hundred other things). It is demanding, he continued, and there can be a lot of performers. Therefore, rehearsals are also needed that do not take place on the spot but on several sides.

He revealed that such projects as concerts, sports events, and opening and closing ceremonies carry a strong emotional charge.

"It can easily turn and go sideways, so you need to know how to drive it," he believes.

Do such projects differ from country to country? What are the biggest differences between large projects in Croatia and abroad?

"While some countries bigger than Croatia have companies that deal only with such events, they have employed producers, scenographers, and designers, while others have no experience with this. For example, one hundred seven of us from Zagreb went to Muscat, Oman (for the opening ceremony of the Asian Beach Games); the entire production - video, audio, and author teams, dancers, choreographers, and make-up artists. In China, several companies organize huge events, concerts, fireworks... But, on the other hand, there is no difference. It's always the same default elements and similar problems, of course, in different formats," he explained.

During his fruitful career, Krešimir Dolenčić has directed 119 plays and worked on over 150 events.

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

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, 14 June 2022

After Much Spectulation, Official Pelješac Bridge Name Revealed

June 14, 2022 - After much speculation that the bridge connecting Croatia would be named after Oliver Dragojević, Marco Polo, Libertas, Homeland Bridge, Europe Bridge, among others, the final decision for the Pelješac Bridge name has been announced, and we hope nobody was paid too much to reach that decision.

In the last year, many names for the Pelješac Bridge have been proposed to the public: Oliver Dragojevic, Libertas, Marco Polo, Homeland Bridge, Europe Bridge, Croatian Integrity Bridge, and the like, and now the official Pelješac Bridge name is finally known, Net.hr writes.

The bridge that crosses the Mali Ston bay was given a very simple name: Pelješac! This was confirmed by the sign with the name that was placed at the beginning of the bridge last week on which it says "Pelješac" and below the name is its length - 2404 m.

Giving the name "Pelješac" also respected the common practice that when naming infrastructure facilities, as a rule, geographical toponyms of the area in which the facility is located are used.

Launched in the second half of July?

Another mystery remains, and that is the date of the opening of the bridge for traffic, as well as the opening of the part of the new road across Pelješac that connects to the bridge. According to unofficial information, it should be finally opened in the second half of next month.

Currently, the most critical situation is with the works on the Brijesta junction, which is located on the section of the Duboka-Sparagovići road, a little less than a kilometer from the Pelješac bridge on the peninsula itself. Strabag workers are trying to meet the deadline for its completion, which is July 13th.

Until then, the mentioned road to Sparagović should be completed. According to unofficial information, the section of the road from Sparagovići to the Prapratno junction built by the Greek company Avax has been completed and a technical inspection is underway.

Next month, in addition to the bridge, a section of the new road from Duboka to the Prapratno junction will be opened to traffic. The remaining part of the road to the Doli junction, which includes the Ston bypass, should be completed by the end of this year.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Three Croatian Beaches Ranked Among Most Beautiful in Europe

June the 7th, 2022 - Three Croatian beaches have been ranked among the most beautiful in all of Europe once again, which shouldn't really come as much of a surprise to anyone who has spent any time at all on the stunning coast.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the very height of the summer tourist season and the time of planning holidays are rapidly approaching. If you're the type whose holiday simply can't occur without the sun and the sea, you're probably in some sort of constant search for a beautiful beach where you'll spend long, hot and lazy days.

The Guardian has recommended the forty most beautiful beaches in all of Europe to its readers, writes Index. Three Croatian beaches are also unsurprisingly on the list: Krivica on Losinj, Divna on Peljesac and Mlini on the Paklinski islands.

“Maybe the fact that you have to walk for thirty minutes along a rocky path and return the same way makes the pebble beach of Krivica so special. The reward for this trip is clear, deep, turquoise water in a protected bay surrounded by pine trees where only sailboats keep you company,'' The Guardian wrote about gorgeous Krivica.

When it comes to Divna beach, they point out that it truly justifies its name, (which alludes to something being pretty, beautiful and stunning in Croatian). As it is stated, it is a beach on the northern coast of the Peljesac peninsula, with hills overgrown with pine trees, which surround a small pebble bay. The Guardian adds that there are several shady places and that the bay is great for diving. They recommend that you refresh yourself with a drink and a meal in a cafe on the beach and that you stay in a camp nearby.

"Those who visit Hvar and want to change the landscape should take a taxi boat to the bay of Mlini on the islet of Marinkovac within the Paklinski islands. This pebble beach with the scent of pine trees offers you the enjoyment of a relaxed atmosphere, with deck chairs and a restaurant on the beach. As on all Croatian pebble beaches, you will be more comfortable with swimming sandals, and the incredibly clear blue-green water will encourage you to dive for hours,'' they stated in their description of Mlini's beach.

For more on Croatian beaches, why not check out our dedicated travel section.

Friday, 27 May 2022

Pelješac Bridge Opening Confirmed for End of July

May 27, 2022 - Minister of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure Oleg Butković has confirmed that the Pelješac bridge opening will be at the end of July.

Most of the works on the access roads to the Pelješac Bridge are nearing completion. Minister Oleg Butković visited the bridge to confirm that everything was ready for the July opening, reports Dalmacija Danas.

Works on access roads are in full swing. However, everything will depend on July 13, when the technical inspection of access roads and connections with the bridge is scheduled. Then it will be known whether the access roads and the Pelješac bridge have a use permit. In that case, the bridge's grand opening would be in late July. The most distinguished guests from Croatia and the EU are expected at the opening.

Currently, the largest works are on access roads, more precisely at the Brijesta junction. New forces are constantly being brought in to finish everything on time. One of the major problems that emerged during the construction of access roads is the rage in prices on the global market, which has led to an increase in the cost of road connections in Croatia. It is estimated that there was a difference in costs of 100 to 150 million kuna.

"The bridge is finished; as far as access roads are concerned, we can say that at the end of July, we will open the Pelješac Bridge with part of the access roads, more precisely the second and third phases. The second phase goes from Duboka to Sparagović and the third phase from Sparagović to Prapratno. A total of 25 kilometers of roads. We still have eight kilometers of the Ston bypass and the connection to the state road D8, which should be completed by the end of the year," said Oleg Butković, Minister of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure.

"The contractors are working in challenging circumstances due to global market disturbances, but nothing will be called into question," the Minister said.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 8 April 2022

Omiš Bypass Project One of Croatia's Highest Priorities

April 8, 2022 - Minister of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure Oleg Butković spoke for HRT about major transport infrastructure projects in Croatia that are underway and plans for the future. He especially commented on the Pelješac Bridge and the Omiš bypass.

"We do not have the exact date of the Pelješac Bridge opening yet, but everything is going well. The bridge is finished, and we are now concentrating on the access roads. As for the bridge itself, the procedure is more about documentation, and access roads are being worked on in a hurry. We expect the opening of the Pelješac Bridge and part of the access roads in mid-July. This year we will witness a massive event. It is a large infrastructure project, the most important because it is about merging the state territory," said Butković.

"I must be satisfied because despite COVID-19 and all the recent events, major infrastructure projects, including the Pelješac Bridge, were built at a good pace, so there were no delays," he said.

The opening of part of the access roads will cover a little more than 12 km, but the completion includes the Ston bypass and the Ston bridge, which should be completed by the end of this year. However, Butković added that there were some delays in that part due to unforeseen circumstances.

"By the end of the year, we will connect southern Dalmatia, which includes the Pelješac Bridge, 30 km of access roads with the Ston Bridge, and a large project, which is impressive with a 500 m across Ston Bay."

A specific opening date for the bridge with part of the access roads will be known in May, and the opening will be sometime in July.

"The Omiš bypass project is also being done. Last year we broke through the Komorjak tunnel; now, the bridge over the Cetina is slowly springing up. I toured it about ten days ago, the view from the bridge is really impressive. It is one of the most impressive projects, and it is complex because there are big bridges and tunnels. The Omiš Bypass project will be completed in a year and a half at this stage, but we must solve the entire multimodal platform," said the Minister of Transport.

Butković pointed out that the biggest traffic problems are in that part of Croatia. The 50,000 vehicles a day on the existing old D8 highway from Split to Omiš in the summer and through Omiš is simply unsustainable, he says. 

"I would say that the construction of the Omiš bypass is one of the highest priorities in Croatia today. The completion of its construction will be financed in the next financial perspective. We have confirmed from the European Commission that the entire multimodal platform from Solin, Split to Omiš will be financed with European funds. Croatian Roads is also preparing the project's next phases," he said.

He added that the Ministry would announce a tender for the section from Omiš to Dugi Rat by the end of this year.

"We recently visited the Omiš port, one of the largest port infrastructure projects in Croatia today. It is about 90 million kuna; the road is being relocated, the new port will improve and make life easier for people in that part," he said.

"According to all the announcements, the season should be good for our Jadrolinija liner, but recent events are likely to have consequences for tourism. According to Jadrolinija, we had certain interventions at the end of 2021 since they did not have any help from the state during the entire period of the pandemic.

Jadrolinija is stable; they should start purchasing new ships this year. The plan is to build three new "Postira" because the famous "Postira" is over 50 years old, but it sails. I can't talk about procedures and tenders, but modernizing is crucial for Jadrolinija," said Butković when asked about plans for Jadrolinija.

He pointed out that procuring new ships is also a priority of Jadrolinija.

"Without new ships, we will have a problem in a few years when tenders are announced because there is always a danger that someone who has more modern ships will take over the line. Therefore, the process to modernize and buy new ships must go faster," the Minister of Transport concluded. 

For more, check out our lifestyle section

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Construction Works on Pelješac Bridge Have Finally Been Completed!

January 27, 2022 - After 1277 days, the construction works on Pelješac bridge were completed yesterday, and now the technical inspection follows.

Jutarnji List reports that the technical inspection of the bridge began today, which should be completed by 31 January. Although the formal completion of the works is calculated after the completion of the technical inspection, because during the inspection some shortcomings can be identified that need to be further corrected, today it is possible to say that the construction works on Pelješac bridge have been completed.

The Chinese company CRBC started the construction of the Peljesac bridge on July 30, 2018. On that day, the President of the Croatian Roads Administration, Josip Škorić, handed over all the documentation to the CRBC representatives in Ston, a diary of works was opened and a report on the introduction of the Chinese contractor was signed. The deadline for completion of works was 36 months and 29 days. Although the technical inspection is included in that deadline, it can be said that the construction of the bridge took 52 days longer than planned.

But when you take into account that the works stopped for several months due to the coronavirus epidemic, it can be said that the bridge was completed before the set deadline. After the successful completion of the technical inspection, the procedure for obtaining all necessary permits for the bridge will follow.

At this moment, the works on the bridge have been completed and the connecting road leading from the Adriatic Highway to the bridge will be completed soon.

According to the latest official announcements from Hrvatske ceste, the connecting road from the Adriatic Highway to the bridge, and the new Pelješac road from the bridge to the Prapratno junction will be opened to traffic in the summer. The rest of the road, from the Ston bypass to Doli, should be completed by the end of this year at the latest.

For more, check out our travel section.

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Pelješac Salt Festival Kicks Off Tomorrow in Ston With an Extensive Program

August 19, 2021 - The Pelješac Salt Festival seeks to continue the success of the Wine Cellar Festival carried out between May and June, promoting through well-organized events the products and eno-gastronomic offers of the peninsula.

The 5th edition of the Pelješac Salt Festival starts on August 20 in Ston and this year it is spreading to the entire peninsula, reports Turističke Priče. Until September 20, from Ston, through Janjina to Orebić and Trpanj, visitors will enjoy tastings of local specialties and wines, exhibitions, concerts, workshops, and presentations in which Ston salt from the world's oldest saltworks is the main star.

Along with Solana Ston, about twenty restaurants, taverns, wineries, family farms have joined the program, so all the best that the south of Dalmatia has will be "served" at this attractive event with promotional prices. Top Pelješac wines are 20 percent cheaper, festival menus at prices, a visit to oyster farms with tasting on boats, all this awaits you in a new, richer version of the Festival. The program includes about forty restaurants, taverns, wineries, family farms, shellfish, and shipping companies from all over the peninsula.

In addition to the eno-gastronomic experience, an entertainment program is being prepared, and guests of Pelješac can participate in a special experience: salt harvest. Just as in the 14th century the saltworks in Ston was a strategic economic point of the Republic of Dubrovnik, so today it is the guardian of the tradition of this region, but also a trump card that with Pelješac wines, rich heritage, and top specialties, at the end of this great season, enriches offer of Pelješac and the whole region.

''After the extremely successful Pelješac Cellars Festival, where in May and June about fifty wineries, wine shops, hotels, restaurants, and taverns presented their offer, top wines, and specialties, everything is ready for another attractive event. Given the large number of guests staying on Pelješac, we expect even greater success and a great response, and we believe that the festival program will attract guests from neighboring destinations. Next summer will be even more exciting and fun because, in addition to the Pelješac Cellars Festival and the Salt Festival, three more festivals are being prepared'', says Fani Slade, director of the Ston Tourist Board.

For more on the tourist and eno-gastronomic offer of the highly renowned Pelješac peninsula, be sure to check out the Total Croatia guide.

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

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Pelješac Bridge Finally Completed!

July 28, 2021 - What always seemed to be an unattainable dream (even in recent years) is now a reality: the Pelješac bridge has been completed tonight and Croatia is one again.

The impossible is no longer so, and as of tonight, the Croatian territory reconnects with Dubrovnik via the Pelješac bridge, and the Neum corridor will no longer be the way to the Pearl of the Adriatic and back. Tonight at 11 pm, the last segment of the steel span structure of the Pelješac Bridge will be installed, which will connect the mainland from Komarna with Brijesta on the Pelješac peninsula. Although the vehicles will not cross the new bridge until June next year, tonight's connection of its construction will be one of the most important dates in the calendar of this, as the Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butković called it: ''the project of all projects''.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and several of his ministers, present at a celebratory event. (Video: Index.hr)

The project started on several occasions, but for various reasons, it stalled until a contract worth half a billion euros was signed in April 2018, of which the European Union gave as much as 85 percent. The contract entrusts the construction to the Chinese consortium China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), one of the globally largest and most experienced in such works. It was also the first such project of a Chinese company in the European Union.

Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic shared an emotional post on his Facebook account, reflecting on the importance of the project for the Pearl of the Adriatic, and the story behind it. ''After 303 years, the extreme south of Croatia will be connected to the mother country, and we, the inhabitants of this part of Croatia, will cease to be second-class citizens waiting in a column at the border crossing for transit from one part to another. In recent days, many have been trying to direct the historical chronology of the Pelješac Bridge towards one, two, or some third option'', he wrote in his Facebook post. Franković also thanked PM Andrej Plenković, and he ended his post by saying that ''to the questions of what the bridge should be called, the answer is actually simple: the Pelješac Bridge and let it be guarded by St. Blaise and St. Rocco.

Likewise, the publication was accompanied by a video in which the progress of the bridge can be seen until a few days ago. You can see it below:

When talking about the impossible, it is precisely difficult not to go back thirty or twenty years, and remember the times when the project was groped around but without any concrete plan. Even since the project began three years ago, there have been many, many occasions where political tensions and doubts arose not only about its completion but about its development itself.

Now, the Peljesac bridge is a reality after the tireless and titanic efforts made in these three years and not only because of the demand for a bridge of these dimensions but also because of the area and the climatic conditions in which it was built. It is worth mentioning that the completion of the project has occurred in a very early period, and for this it would be necessary to work even at night and at dawn, taking into account the strong winds and storms that hit the area.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

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