Tuesday, 17 August 2021

The 10 Best Destinations For September Holidays in Croatia 2021

August 17, 2021 – With warm waters still perfect for swimming, but more space on the beach and at the best restaurants, September holidays in Croatia are the smart choice for discerning visitors. 

Much to everyone's surprise, the coast has been fully booked throughout August. Indeed, many who came last minute struggled to find accommodation. But, that doesn't mean you need to miss out. September holidays in Croatia are perhaps even better than July or August. The beaches are quieter and the sea is still warm. The waiters in the restaurants are less stressed and busy. The best tables and views are always available. Indeed, the Croatian welcome feels that much warmer in the ninth month.

Here's a look at our pick for the best destinations for 2021 September holidays in Croatia.
Omiš

old.jpgOmiš © Senka Vlahović

In Omiš, not only do you have Croatia's most underrated seaside city to explore, but also a whole remarkable riviera. A series of stunning villages - Nemira, Stanići, Ruskamen, Lokva Rogoznica, Medići, Mimice, Marušići and Pisak - offer postcard-pretty scenes with the Adriatic lapping at small fishing boats. Each comes with its own idyllic and uncrowded beaches.

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The city itself has an Old Town that is full of intrigue – ancient architectural detail, winding, white-stone streets, sheltered squares with restaurants offering traditional Mediterranean food and also some that's unique to Omiš. Also, the Cetina river and canyon gifts Omiš an incredibly varied offer – rafting, river swimming, zipline, kayaking, nature photography, riverside restaurants – that no other coastal destination in Croatia can compete with.

If you want to learn more about Omiš and its incredible offer, read our detailed guide.

Brela

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With Brela's shoreline not far off 10 kilometres in length, it could rightfully claim to be the Croatian village most blessed with beaches. Oh, and what beaches they are! Incredibly clear, turquoise seas, quiet coves, small pebbles and often shaded by ancient pine trees that sometimes stretch out over the sea.

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Away from the coast, you'll find intriguing heritage in the foothills alongside exemplary restaurants. Decide which you want to visit and they give you a free ride there and back from your accommodation by the shore. You'll be rewarded with traditional Dalmatian food – seafood, peka, pašticada and more – and incredible views of the sunset framed by Biokovo mountain, island Brač and Brela's epic and uninterrupted beaches.

If you want to learn more about breathtakingly beautiful Brela, read our detailed guide.

Makarska

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There's no shortage of beaches in Makarska but, in July and August, you might struggle to find a quiet and secluded spot just for yourself. You won't have that problem in September – arguably, it's the best month to be here.

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Makarska is an incredibly popular destination in peak season for a very good reason – its offer is fantastic and huge. At the rear of the city, the huge Biokovo Nature Park (which you can read about here), with a fantastic offer of nature, views, recreation and activities. Within the town itself, a port which remains small enough to be charming, unhurried and traditional, but big enough to grant fast and regular boat trips to some of Croatia's most desirable island destinations. You can hop over to several on day trips from Makarska. If you want to find out more about the massive offer in Makarska, then read our detailed guide.

Šibenik

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A city completely reinvented specifically for visitors, in truth Šibenik is a destination just as suitable for a long weekend break throughout the year as it is a summer holiday. In the centre, an incredibly charming Old Town, filled with atmospheric stone stairways, historic squares, fascinating architectural details and the world-famous Cathedral of St. James.

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Three Venetian fortresses hold hidden histories of the city's successful defence against the Ottoman Empire – each uses multi-media or augmented reality to tell their tales. Events take place on Šibenik streets and city centre parks throughout late summer. There is a range of quality restaurants – one even has a Michelin star – activities like cycling, zipline, kayak and canoe. Also, the further you travel down Šibenik's famous St. Anthony's channel towards the open Adriatic, the more secluded and quiet the see-through seas become. Gorgeous.

If you want to find out more about the endless entertainment and excitement of Šibenik, then read our detailed guide and see our dedicated TCN Šibenik pages.

Primošten

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The island on which the settlement of Primošten was founded helped protect this place and its residents from attack. Separated from the mainland, you'd have to pass across a drawbridge, through city walls and between military towers to enter. However, the surrounding sea also restricted city limits, leading to the development of wonderful and unique architectural solutions.

The Old Town of Primošten is that much more delightful to walk around in September, free from the bustle of fast-moving peak season tourists. In fact, Primošten is much more enjoyable taken at a gentle, even lazy pace. Away from the Old Town, Raduča, and Mala Raduča are considered to be among the most beautiful beaches in Croatia. Just back from the shore, on the mainland, Primošten's famous vineyards. Šibenik-Knin County has some of the most frequently awarded smaller wine producers in the whole of Croatia.

Tisno and Murter

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The island of Murter sits extremely close to the Croatian mainland. So close, in fact, that a short bridge connects the two. On each side of the bridge, one half of the town Tisno, known across Europe as one of the most famous sites for dance music festivals.

In fact, the festivals continue on the outskirts of Tisno in September 2021, with two of the best known of them all taking places in the month's first two weeks (Outlook and Dimensions).

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But, there's a lot more to Tisno and specifically the island of Murter than just the music festivals, as thousands of happy returning visitors will tell you. The settlements of Betina and Jezera on the island are incredibly beautiful, so too the larger town of Murter, which also has an incredibly famous restaurant offer. Across the whole island – and on the mainland in Tisno – you'll find incredible beaches and bays. On the opposite shores in Pirovac, one of the best open-air nightclubs in the world.

To find out more about Tisno, Betina, Jezera and Murter, read our detailed guide

Pula

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There are few cities whose Roman Empire heritage can compete with Pula's. Pula Arena is not only one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world, but also it is still a living part of the city's cultural and social life. Attending a music concert or film festival there is an unforgettable experience. More unforgettable Roman monuments come in the form of city gates and walls, a temple, an open-air theatre and forum.

Outside of the Roman heritage, there's a Venetian hilltop fortress right in the city centre, with exquisite views of Pula, its bay, nearby peninsula and the wider Adriatic. Nearby, the must-see Brijuni National Park (read about it here) and a short drive in any direction will take you to some of the most breathtaking and secluded beaches in Croatia.

It really is hard work summing up the immense offer of Pula in just a few short sentences. You'd be better advised to read about the fuller picture in our detailed guide.

Čiovo

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With a UNESCO world heritage site – Trogir – sitting proudly and loudly on its doorstep, the island of Čiovo sometimes stands in the shadow of its famous neighbour. But, sometimes it's worth listening more closely to those who are more softly spoken.

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Čiovo not only has the advantage of having the incredible Trogir as part of its very own offer but also it holds all the classic features that everyone looks for in a Croatian holiday – crystal clear seas, pristine beaches, breathtaking nature and unforgettable views. In particular, the southwestern section of the island, Okrug, has an incredible beachside promenade and a series of irresistible bays.

If you want to read more about Čiovo and Okrug, then read our detailed guide.

Zagreb

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Of course, not all of the best Croatia holidays in September 2021 need to be taken on the coast. In fact, the capital city of Zagreb has become the country's most popular city destination over recent years, including the warmer months. Zagreb in September has the added bonus that summer holidays are over for most city residents, prompting the return of the city's entertainment and event calendar in full force.

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All of the nightclubs are back open, catering for the return of the city's university students. The cafe bar terraces are full, with a wonderful atmosphere, as tanned friends reconvene. Art galleries and museums show their very best displays and food festivals or pop-up bars can be found in Zagreb's irresistible city centre parks. Some of September highlights include the 54th International Puppet Theatre Festival and massive one-day open-air rave We Love Sound with world-famous techno DJs Len Faki and Chris Liebing.

If you want to know more about the peerless Croatian city of Zagreb, then read our detailed guide.

Dubrovnik

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The great southern city of coastal Croatia. A famous filming destination for movies and TV series. Not that the Pearl of the Adriatic needs any extra help with promotion. A global superstar for centuries, thanks to its status as an independent city-state, its well-known walls have been welcoming strangers for much longer than tourism has existed. They continue to do so and at the height of summer, competition for space in the city is at a premium.

All that can easily be avoided by visiting Dubrovnik outside the peak season. The walls and winding streets are much more easily enjoyed at an unhurried pace. And, when you're not trailing immediately behind a sluggish crowd of 500, fresh off a cruise ship. No queues at the restaurants, the best tables available. Truth be told, there's a strong case for Dubrovnik as the perfect destination even later than September – the quieter it gets, the better the experience seems to be.

If you want to preview a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Dubrovnik, then read our detailed guide

Total Croatia News contacted the Tourist Boards of each of the destinations recommended, who confirmed that - at the time of publication - there are accommodation vacancies available for the month September 2021

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Pula Arena Muay Thai Spectacle: Battles Return to the Roman Amphitheater Today!

May 22, 2021 - A Pula Arena Muay Thai spectacle will be held inside the famous Roman amphitheater today! 

Glas Istre reports that today, the Roman Amphitheater in Pula will become the center of spectacular fights in Thai boxing. In the main, evening program, renowned fighters from several countries will fight, while in the daytime, the younger age groups will fight in the Croatian Championship and measure their strength around noon.

In the evening, spectators will be able to attend the five most interesting finals of the Croatian Championship, both men's and women's in the category up to 65 kg. The final four tournament of fighters up to 73 kg, however, comes with even more incentive, as the winner will receive a trip to Thailand, where they will be able to train twice a day with local fighters, have a paid fight against one of them, and enjoy free food and accommodation.

Senad Ramakić, Denis Vojniković, and renowned Istrian fighter Teo Mikelić are part of the organizational team, and the president of the Croatian Thai Boxing Association, Mario Franić, also commented on today's fights.

"We also visited some of the clubs that operate in Istria County; we are very pleased with what we saw. All that is happening in Istria is a big step in the development of Thai boxing. And the Croatian championship in the Arena itself will be an unprecedented spectacle and an important criterion in choosing a national team to go to big competitions. Everyone has a chance, and only the best will be in the national team," said Franić.

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Although the citizens of Pula are still used to watching him inside the ring, this time, Teo Mikelić found himself organizing the tournament. 

"Pula really deserves this, and we are proud. The organization was harder than we expected, yet the Arena is outdoors, and we’re still not sure if it’s going to rain. In addition, one fighter from Serbia was forced to cancel his performance today; he was not allowed to enter Croatia at the border and had to return. We had to find another fighter at noon, but luckily we managed to combine something. That fighter will have to correct his weight a bit, as he has a bit overweight but has enough time available.

Organizing really isn’t a joke; I think it’s a lot easier to fight than to organize a tournament! Still, I think everything will be fine if time is on our side. In case of rain, our alternative was the Home of Croatian Veterans, but we spoke to various meteorologists and, as things stand, it should not rain tomorrow after 10 am. The ring is folded and covered with a tarpaulin," Mikelić said and continued:

"The event was supposed to start at 10 am - we have about seventy registered fighters, which would mean that the first part would end after about six hours, so around 4 pm. A break of four hours is to follow, until 8 pm when the main program of the evening begins. This way, we will start with the first part somewhere between noon and 2 pm, and then without a break or with a short break, we will continue with the main part of the evening," Mikelić said yesterday at the House of Croatian Veterans, where the fighters officially weighed.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

To get more news about sports in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 23 April 2021

KSW Pula Area: Biggest European MMA Organization Looking to Host September Spectacle

April 23, 2021 - The KSW Pula Arena event is scheduled for September 4, bringing Europe's biggest MMA fighters to the world-famous arena. 

The leader of the Polish KSW, the strongest European MMA organization, visited Pula and the world-famous Pula Arena. A martial arts spectacle should take place in the Roman amphitheater at the beginning of September, which was revealed to Gol.hr by Martin Lewandowski. 

"I was here 20 years ago; my wife reminded me of that. When I saw Arena, I said it was my dream to bring KSW here. Then, honestly, I forgot. But my two associates came up with the idea."

After months of negotiations, September 4, 2021, was confirmed as the date. 

"We want to spread the KSW brand here in Croatia and make an event every year. This place is unique. There used to be a gladiatorial arena, and I think fights have to happen here."

KSW performances are viewed in more than 200 million households. It will be a new big promotion of Pula and Croatia.

"We have a great signal range, not just television but streaming. We are known for the quality of matches and production."

Roberto Soldić and Antun Račić are already big stars of KSW, but Lewandowski wants to promote other Croatian fighters.

"I came here to establish a connection between Pula and KSW; if we succeed, we will come every year."

Lewandowski even tried to persuade Nova TV expert co-commentator Zelgo Galešić to an exhibition fight.

"He is stubborn. He disagrees with me on that, but he wants to participate in the organization," revealed the first man of KSW.

The host Zelg Galešić revealed how the cooperation came about.

"I presented the Arena to them before, which in my opinion is one of the most beautiful stages and the only true stage of martial arts. It would be a shame not to bring one MMA event here, especially at that level. Those stories have been going on for two years now, and because of the pandemic, they are now watching the open spaces. That's how the Pula Arena came in as the perfect stage for that." 

"It will tour all the front pages of all media in the world," Galesic said.

 

Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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Drniš prsut
is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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Monday, 11 January 2021

Pula Arena as It Once Was: Stunning 3D Animation of Roman Amphitheatre

January 11, 2021 - Pula Arena dominates the city's centre these days, but how impressive was the Roman amphitheatre in the past? A stunning 3D animation of the Roman era.  

It is almost 8 years since my first visit to one of Croatia's most interesting and versatile building, the Pula Arena in Istria. 

The year was 2013, and the Croatian National Tourist Board invited me to cover the opening night of Outlook Festival, which was being held in one of the world's largest remaining Roman amphitheatres for the first time. 

The concert was just one of the innovative uses by the Pula authorities of its considerable heritage, as I reflected in my article for a Canadian Google News portal in Preserving heritage through tourism: The case of Pula in Croatia.

Leonard Cohen, Joe Cocker, Sting and a host of other global stars would grace the Pula Arena, and it was also the scene of some quite unusual sprting events, including a football match with Bayern Munich veterans, and even an ice hockey match. 

Reminders of its former use were introduced by the tourist board, as gladiator fights became a popular spectacle during the season. 

An impressive building today, but wondered how it must have looked during the era of the Roman Empire. 

Help is at hand, in the form of modern technology recreating the heritage of the past. 

Yesterday, we featured a wonderful 3D animation by Stipan Ujgur of life in Dubrovnik before the devastating 1667 earthquake, which you can view here

In today's feature of Stipan's work, we head even further back in time to Pula during Roman times, when the Pula Arena dominated the city skyline even more than it does today, giving not only an insight in how the arena stadium looked, but also what the warren of rooms and corridors below the surface were used for. 

For more features on Pula, follow the dedicated TCN section

 

Thursday, 3 September 2020

PHOTOS: Pula Amphitheatre and Zagreb Arena Lit Red for Events Industry

September 3, 2020 - Three of Croatia's most internationally famous venues in the events industry were lit in spectacular red on Monday. Pula amphitheatre, Zagreb Arena and Fort Punta Christo were bathed in light from sunset until after dark

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Three of Croatia's most internationally famous venues used by the events industry were lit in spectacular red on Monday. Pula amphitheatre, Zagreb Arena and Fort Punta Christo, also in Pula were bathed in light from sunset until after dark.

Though the change in appearance was enjoyable and visually impressive, the action was undertaken to send a strong message. It was part of a worldwide campaign to highlight the effects of Coronavirus on the events industry and those who work within it.

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Some of the most famous historical buildings, concert venues and event halls in the world joined the Red Alert campaign and were similarly lit on the same night.

Large public events have been put on hold over most of the world under epidemiological guidelines. Seating arrangements in theatres, conference halls, sports and music halls are simply not compatible with social distancing regulations – many such venues could not make a profit by holding events at 50% capacity.

This has affected millions around the world who work in the events industry, from musicians and performers to technicians, bookers, agents, the media, PR representatives, venue management and general staff. Freelancers operating within the events industry are some of the hardest hit and have had all of their income sources removed completely. Many who operate in the events industry are highly trained and skilled, so diversifying into other industries can be problematic.

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Pula amphitheatre (also known as Pula Arena) is a massively popular open-air venue in warmer months. It holds spectacular opera, ballet and classical music events as well as hosting a film festival. Like Zagreb Arena, it attracts some of the biggest names in pop and rock music. Fort Punta Christo has become famous all over Europe and further over the last decade, thanks to the internationally renowned Outlook and Dimensions festivals. Those events were supposed to take place in Tisno, at The Garden festival site. But, along with seven further festivals due to be held there this year, they chose to cancel in order to safeguard the health of their attendees and locals.

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Fort Punta Christo in Pula is widely known as a host site for international music festivals

The Croatian events industry alone is comprised of 2000 business entities, has more than 12,000 employees, and annually generates HRK 4.5 billion. Autumn/winter 2021 is the soonest estimated point at which large scale events could return to normal. The Red Alert campaign has been undertaken to highlight the plight of the events industry as many sections within it face total collapse if deprived of work until then. 

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All photos © Red Alert

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Monday, 25 May 2020

Pula's Iconic Arena Reopens

May 25, 2020 —  It survived several empires, wars and an epidemic or two in its 2,000 years of existence. Pula’s Roman Arena has now seen through the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as well, reopening to visitors every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Archaeological Museum of Istria announced on Monday.

The museum, which manages Pula’s arena and other monuments, closed the Roman relic and other facilities to visitors on March 13 in accordance with measures to combat the spread of coronavirus enacted by the City of Pula.

The amphitheater technically did open once, allowing local cellist Stjepan Hauser to stream a concert from the arena.

Visitors will have to adopt epidemiological measures, and working hours will be extended if there is more interest in visits.

According to the Museum Documentation Center (MDC), Croatian museums had more than 5.2 million visitors last year. The Archaeological Museum of Istria had more than 575,000 visitors.

The arena is the most spectacular monument that Pula offers, and thanks to it, the Archaeological Museum of Istria generates large revenues. 

In the first eight months of last year alone, the Arena was visited by 373,583 tourists. Revenue from tickets was HRK14.6 million, which is 2.6 percent or about HRK370,000 more than in 2018. And there were about two percent more visitors.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

VIDEO: Stjepan Hauser of 2Cellos Holds Empty Pula Arena Concert 'Alone, Together'

April 28, 2020 - Thousands around the world watched Stjepan Hauser serenade an empty Pula Arena from their computer screens Monday night.

Just like the many musicians around the globe who are dedicating their music to everyone fighting against COVID-19, so did Croatia’s celebrated cellist Stephen Hauser of 2Cellos fame.

Glas Istre reported that Hauser held a special concert in an empty Pula arena, which was streamed on YouTube Monday night. The concert aimed to send a message of thanks to all those risking their lives to save ours. 

At 7 pm, thousands of fans around the world jumped onto YouTube to watch the musical spectacle, which you can find in the video below.

One important note was sent before the concert - don't go to the Arena, because the concert was pre-recorded. 

“Thanks to everyone for the considerable interest in the live-streamed concert on Monday, just like wanting to come to the Arena to see the event. Since we have received information that people are planning to go to the Arena at the time of the streaming, which is by no means allowed or safe, it is important to know that the concert was recorded in advance and the streaming will be held as scheduled. 

Public gatherings are banned and I did not want you to endanger your health and put you in unnecessary danger. After all, this is why I decided to stream this kind of concert, so you could follow it from the safety of your homes,” Hauser said.

The concert is dedicated to those in the fight against COVID-19. Hauser also supported the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in this way.

“In these difficult times, the human spirit showed all its strength. We have found it in the people who surround us every day and whose extraordinary work saves lives, the workers on the front line, and all of us who stayed home. Although we are forced to be separated, we remain together. Staying together while keeping a distance and finding hope in our humanity,” Hauser said.

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

Monday, 4 November 2019

Istrian Wimbledon? Tennis Spectacle at Pula Arena Planned for 2020

Pula is a destination that is gradually building its touristic value outside of the old and rather self-limiting ''sunshine and sea'' label, which is unfortunately something Croatia has bought far too much into and is now struggling to promote the depth of what it has to offer, from gastro tourism to sustainable tourism, this country has a lot to offer and Pula's efforts in terms of culture and creative potential have just recently been recognised by the European Commission (EC).

Istria in general is a destination that seems to grasp what being sustainable really means. Far from basing its entire offer on the sunshine and the glorious Adriatic sea, this region of Croatia is known for its wine, its food, its beautiful landscapes which for many are reminiscent of nearby Italy, on top of everything else that Croatia has to offer to foreign visitors. Sport, however, could potentially be yet another acheivement, and Istria could add this to its proverbial portfolio.

As Glas Istre/Chiara Bilic writes on the 4th of November, 2019, a new contract between Pula Airport and the popular British low-cost airline Easyjet has now been signed at the Tourism Fair in London, UK. Under that contract, three new lines should operate from the United Kingdom to the Istrian city of Pula.

The director of Pula Airport, Svemir Radmilo, said that back in 2015, 15,000 passengers arrived in the city with Easyjet, and this year that number increased to 150,000, which is no small feat and confirm's both Pula and Istria's popularity among Northern European tourists.

The good news for Pula is the possibility of holding a top tennis spectacle at the beautiful Pula Arena, which was announced by the director of Istria's Tourist Board, Denis Ivošević.

"We have spoken with Wimbledon with the aim of creating a two-day tournament in which tennis legends would participate," Ivošević said, seemingly not giving much away, but the news is encouraging for Istria as a whole.

Make sure to follow our dedicated sport and travel pages for much more.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Pula Arena's Majority Owner Opens Hotel in Amsterdam

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 14th of October, 2019, after investing more than 113 million euros across several key markets, the majority owner of the popular Pula Arena's plan is to invest another 340 million euros in the new Art'otel London Hoxton and Art'otel New York projects.

The Dutch PPHE Hotel Group, the majority owner of the well known Croatian company Arena Hospitality Group, has opened the brand new Park Plaza Vondelpark hotel in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in which it has invested 10 million euros in total. The new hotel in the Dutch capital boasts 102 rooms and will soon have a new restaurant and bar, as well as a gym, a private garden and several meeting rooms.

With this large investment, PPHE has completed a multi-year investment cycle of more than 113 million euros on key markets, including that of Croatia.

"This hotel, located in the highly desirable Amsterdam district of Oud-Zuida, perfectly complements our strong offer in the city, with our Park Plaza Victoria Amsterdam hotels that we remodeled in 2018, and Art'otel Amsterdam," said PPHE Hotel Group's CEO Boris Ivesha, Chairman of the Arena Supervisory Board.

As previously mentioned, the CEO also announced that they expect to spend another 340 million euros on new projects such as Art'otel London Hoxton and Art'otel New York. As is known, the company announced the first Art'otel outside Europe last spring, that being the facility in the Big Apple.

Arena Hospitality Group, in addition to being the majority owner of the Pula Arena, managing and developing its own Arena Hotels & Apartments and Arena Campsites brand, through PPHE Hotel Group Limited, as a majority owner, has the exclusive right to operate and develop the international Park Plaza brand in eighteen Central and Eastern European countries and to manage the exclusive Art'otel brand.

To briefly reall, the same company purchased Hotel 88 Rooms in the Serbian capital of Belgrade back during this spring for a price of 47 million kuna.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and travel pages for much more.

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