Friday, 30 July 2021

Family Sailing Holiday, Croatia - Sailing With Children

1 August 2021 - It’s a sailing holiday in Croatia with the family. The sailing, sea air, and sun will be great for the kids, and there are some special considerations to make when sailing with children on board - especially toddlers. It also means a little extra planning and forethought, so here are SIX things to think about when planning and preparing to go on a sailing holiday with the kids:

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Life jackets (PFD or personal flotation device)

While most charter companies will offer children's PFD, most do not have the correct sized PFD for children under 5 years old. Some may and it is always a good idea to check with your charter company to see what sizes they have in stock. If you have a toddler, it is highly recommended to buy a PFD that you know fits from a local supplier. When looking for a PFD for a baby or toddler, there are a few things to consider.

- A crotch strap is a NECESSITY in any personal flotation device for a child, as it prevents the PFD from riding up over the child's head. 

- Think about comfort. Kids love to wiggle out of anything that they are restrained by that is digging into them or scratchy and uncomfortable. If their PFD fits them snugly and comfortably, then they are far less likely to fight you about wearing it.

- A wide V-shaped neoprene crotch strap won’t ride up as easily, and contoured panels, adjustable drapes and neck support will all contribute to a much better fit.

- Fit is important in keeping a child's head above water, so do not get a too-big PFD thinking he or she will grow into it.

- CE approved: All European life jackets must carry the CE mark.

- Make sure that this is all checked and fitted before you leave home, so that you and your baby are well prepared.

A good tip is to actually introduce the PFD to your child as a plaything well before you step on-board the boat. This will help your child create a positive association with the PFD before the sailing holiday even begins!

 

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Safety Netting

Another safety feature that you can choose to have installed is safety netting. This is an add-on that most charter companies offer for an extra charge. What this means is that netting is installed down each side of the boat on deck, tied to the lifelines and stanchions. This means that small animals and children are far less likely to slip on the deck and fall overboard. And yes, “far less likely” and not “impossible” because nothing is 100% effective. It is strongly recommended that children are always under adult supervision when moving around the boat, whether safety netting is installed or not!

 

Sun Protection

If you are thinking of a sailing holiday during the peak months of summer, protecting your child from the sun should be a priority.  Ensure that the boat that you are on has plenty of shade to sit/sleep/play in. Shade is always a much better sun safety strategy than simply relying on sunscreen. And with the sun also reflecting off the water, be mindful that your baby will likely soak up more than their usual amount of Vitamin D, and all that goes along with that. Don’t forget to pack plenty of your preferred brand of child-friendly sunscreen. Make sure that you have a good full-coverage sun hat!

 

Water Water Water

Children dehydrate FAST. Much faster than adults. So it’s important to keep a strict eye on how much your wee one drinks. Having a bottle that bub can constantly drink from is going to keep the little one hydrated, and water can easily be flavoured naturally with local fruits. Good advice for adults and children alike, staying hydrated can actually help you avoid seasickness too. Which is always a good thing!

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Play and Toys

An amused baby is much easy to sail with than a bored, cranky baby. Bringing a couple of favourite toys from home (make sure that they are waterproof and not too precious, just in case they end up in the Adriatic!) is a great way to help keep your child appeased and amused. Having a foldable or inflatable paddling pool that you can fill up and have in the shade of the cockpit is also a fantastic and safe way to keep your child occupied during long passages or hot days. Making sure that there is at least one safe play space for your child on the boat that you are chartering will make everyone’s sailing holiday much more enjoyable!

And don't forget water toys! An inflatable water float is great to help your child feel safe in the water. Stand-up paddleboards are also great water toys that kids and adults alike can use as giant floats. NOTE: If you do buy an inflatable toy, please make sure that it is firmly secured when not in use so that it does not escape and end up floating in the Adriatic Sea.

 

Trust Your Skipper

Your Skipper is in charge of the boat and thus, in charge of the safety of your family on-board. If you have additional crew on-board, ensuring that they are child-friendly can make or break your holiday. Extra eyes to watch out for bub, extra hands to make sure that any dangerous lockers are locked up or to catch bub if he/she is old enough to start climbing. There is a myriad of situations where the more baby minders on board, the better for everyone’s sanity.

If you can arrange to talk with your skipper prior to your trip. You should feel comfortable asking your Skipper and crew questions if you are unsure of anything. The more comfortable you are, the more at ease your child is going to be, so having a good crew is a must!

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Of course, there are many more aspects to consider when traveling with a child. Booking with a crew who specializes in families with small children can help to alleviate a lot of stress and worry. 45 Degrees Sailing are one such company that love to have small children on-board!  Small details can often make a huge difference in the success of a sailing holiday with small children, which Nick and Mahina from 45 Degrees Sailing know well!

Check out their Youtube channel for testimonials, like this one from David and Katherine Liola and their three kids.

 

If you have questions on anything sailing in Croatia, feel free to ask below in the comments or check out Total Croatia, Sailing in Croatia: Your One-Stop-Shop for everything sailing.

If you’re looking to experience an amazing family sailing holiday that keeps you wanting more, find more details here about 45 Degrees Sailing

For more about Travel in Croatia follow TCN's dedicated pages on Travel.

 

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Friday, 23 July 2021

Learn to Sail & Learn to Sail Holidays in Croatia

June 27, 2021 - Do you want to learn to sail? Why not look into learn to sail holidays in Croatia

Thousands of tourists each year are drawn to the Adriatic Sea, chartering boats and hiring skippers so that they can spend a week (or maybe more!) out on the water enjoying the crystal clear water, picturesque bays and charming towns and ports of the Croatian islands with friends and family.

So, what if you, are not a seasoned sailor, and you want to get to a skill level where you don’t have to hire a skipper?

Can you make a start towards learning to sail yourself?

And can you do it in Croatia?

The answer is YES! 

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Why learn to sail in Croatia around the Adriatic islands?

Learning how to sail gives you the ability to get out on the water and enjoy a special freedom that is both relaxing and stimulating. The Adriatic is the ideal place to learn to sail due to three key factors:

1. The sheltered position of the Adriatic Sea and the close proximity of the Croatian islands

2. The weather systems

3. The wide range of vessels available to charter

The sheltered position of the Adriatic Sea between Italy and Croatia means that you do not get deep ocean ground swells like the ones that are produced in the open ocean. The close proximity of the Croatian islands to each other also means that there is more flat water and more sheltered passages. This provides a safe and varied learning ground, while also being uncrowded and interesting to sail.

The topography of the mainland and the islands creates varied weather conditions that can be conducive and challenging to any level of sailors, from beginners right up to expert.

Being a popular charter destination, there are many different sizes and styles of vessels, from small cruisers and racers, to family-sized catamaran and spacious monohulls, to the even bigger and more challenging sailing craft.

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What options do I have for learning to sail in Croatia? 

There are so many options for learning to sail in croatia and here are the three most sought after options:

You can opt to jump on a course with other students and learn to sail with a trained instructor. Courses such as  RYA Competent Crew or Day Skipper are hands-on, fully immersive programs and you will be issued with a certificate upon successful completion.

You can also choose to supplement these courses with extra time spent on the water with a bareboat charter and skipper option. This is a great option that gives you the ability to take along your family or friends! If you hire a skipper who is also an instructor, you can still learn plenty of sailing skills whilst everyone else on-board enjoys their sailing holiday. Ensure that the skipper you hire is equipped to teach and you can turn your sailing holiday into extra hours learning to sail too!

Ultimately a private seven day learn to sail, sailing holiday option. As a package you reserve your all-inclusive private yacht, with crew and bring along your family or group of friends. Private tuition means you don’t have to share a boat or time with your skipper or with people you don’t know.

 

Examples Of Courses

- Competent Crew Course (5 days)

For those who would like to learn to sail and become active crew members rather than just passengers. Experience living, sailing, cooking and sleeping on board for five days and really get to know the boat. Virtually all the course is hands on. You are the crew – without you the sails won’t go up and the boat won’t be steered. A fantastic practical sail training course with a Competent Crew Sailing Qualification at the end. 

- RYA Day Skipper Practical Course (5 days)

Learn to skipper a short passage with an instructor on hand to give advice and encouragement and ensure your safety. Experience being in charge, taking credit when it all goes well and being responsible when it doesn’t. This is a great introduction to sailing and is the pre-entry level and the minimum requirement for chartering yachts in many locations around the world, couple it with your VHF license and you’re off running. Pre-course experience is required for this qualification.

- RYA Yachtmaster Preparation + Exam

The Yachtmaster preparation course is not designed to teach you sailing skills for the first time. The aim of the course is to polish and improve sailing performance and skills to meet the qualification. Before Booking Yachtmaster Prep Weeks it is essential that you satisfy all pre-requisites of mileage and make sure your experience and completed courses have been fulfilled prior to booking.  

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When Is The Best Time To Learn

That’s not an easy questions to answer. Every one’s circumstances are different and each season here in Croatia offers different kinds of weather along with different challenges that teach you and help reinforce different skills. And here we summarise the seasons from our perspective living in Croatia.

- Winter

Winter is the least sailed season in Croatia. And for those wishing to spend time on-board learning to navigate and learning weather systems, winter is ideal. Even the coldest winter days are great on the sea. It is not really warm enough for swimming. Great winds, and very often bright sunny days make winter sailing one of our favourite activities.

With many villages closed during the off season, meals are cooked on-board. With so many well-hidden and protected marinas, bays, ports, and islands very close to each other, you can enjoy in unspoilt nature and experience the true colours of Dalmatia. Donning wet weather gear and thermal layers is highly recommended! Having the right gear and safety equipment is a must during the winter season. 

- Autumn and Spring

Autumn and Spring are also great seasons to learn to sail in. You do need to ensure that you have an instructor/skipper who is very familiar with the very strong bura winds that blow from the north-east. These winds can be very dangerous to the inexperienced and learning how to manage volatile weather systems like the bura can teach sailing students valuable lessons.

The weather is warmer than winter and without the sweltering heat of summer, making a much more comfortable trip for all on-board. Ports may or may not be open and there are far less boats out on the water, providing plenty of space and opportunity to practice manoeuvres such as docking stern-to, coming alongside, picking up mooring balls, anchoring and many other skills required.

- Summer

Summer is, of course, peak tourist and charter season. Ports are full, island villages are bustling with tourists and the weather tends to be much calmer, meaning that there is less wind and lots of fuel is often used to make-way between islands. We generally do not recommend learning to sail in the heat of summer and of course part of 45 Degrees Sailing Premium tours you have the option of sailing as little or as much as you choose during your 7 day sailing holiday around the islands.

 

Do I have to be studying for a qualification to learn to sail?

No you don't.  Specializing in informal private sailing tuition for couples, families and groups of friends, 45 Degrees Sailing offers fantastic ‘Learn to Sail’ winter experiences, making the most of Croatia’s quiet winter. If you're looking to go sailing just for fun without the pressure of achieving a qualification, or maybe you already have a qualification and just want to gain some miles and experience while having fun with family or friends. Then this is a great winter holiday choice for you.

All ages and abilities can join in and get involved sailing the yacht whilst enjoying time together relaxing in the sunshine, exploring the islands and sailing in the usually clear, calm waters.

Private Tuition: Grab your family or group of friends and reserve your all-inclusive private yacht. Private tuition means you don’t have to share a boat or time with your skipper, with people you don’t know.

Cabin Tour Options: This option is for parties of one or two and only available from November-April on selected dates. This offers all the benefits of an all-inclusive private yacht charter, for the price of a one double en-suite cabin.

What ever options you choiose, the best way to learn to sail is to JUST DO IT. 

Book it now and make it happen!

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How long does it take to learn to sail?

Learning to sail is different for everyone and it depends entirely upon you.

How long it will take you to learn to sail is ultimately a question of how much you need to know before you consider yourself a sailor. How much you need to know will depend entirely on what you want to be able to do it a sailboat.

Some people have an affinity for the wind and the sea, and catch on surprisingly quickly. While for others, it takes longer and seems much more of a hard road. In your learning process the most important things that can determine how long it will take:

  • Experience, Exposure, and/or Research
  • Your Preferred Learning Style
  • Geographic Considerations
  • Exit/Re-entry Requirements
  • Your Sailing Goals

Of course, every geographic location has unique features that you’ll need to be aware of in order to safely navigate those waters. This is also true for Croatia, sometimes it’s as simple as remembering that there is a log or rock to worry about if you approach the dock from a certain direction.  

At other times it involves currents, changes in wind direction and speed, traffic on the water,. If your environment is simple, you will be able to get out in a boat and learn by trial and error fairly quickly. If your location presents some serious challenges, you’ll need to make sure you’re ready for them.

If you’re fortunate enough to be learning in an environment that is low-pressure, you can get right down to business. If your craft is docked at a busy marina, you’ll also spend time getting comfortable with getting in and out before you can say that you’ve learned to sail.

  • Tips To Learn The Ropes Faster

Practice plays a big part in sailing, similar to learning to drive a car. You have many options on theory-based material available to you, how to record in your logbook and build your nautical miles. Ultimately, it is the combination of hands-on experience and studying the theory that will help you to really consolidate your learning and give you the confidence to go it alone when “qualified”.

The best tips we can give you to help you through the process are:

  • Have theory-based material on hand to read, refer to and back-up what you are learning practically
  • Figure out your learning style and what environment you learn best in so that you are in the best environment possible for your learning.
  • Ensure you have an instructor that you trust and feel comfortable with, as opposed to someone you know that can sail. Sailing and teaching others to sail are two very different skills.
  • Get online and join groups. From time to time experienced captains search for mates for sailboat transfers or regattas, where an extra pair of hands comes in useful.
  • As with any learning, the best way to learn is through hands on Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.

 

  • Mile Building

If you have a good theoretical base and you still feel insecure to get out on the water, then mile building in Croatia is for you.  It’s a fantastic opportunity to practice theoretical knowledge in one of the most beautiful places in Europe, along with a great opportunity to undergo invaluable sailing practice under the guidance of professional skippers, as well as gaining an unforgettable experience.

Maybe you’re only planning on learning enough to handle a day sail by yourself in familiar waters. Don’t be surprised if, before long, you’re looking at larger craft and longer journeys. Once you know the basics, the world will be your oyster.

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  • Our Recommendation

There are a range of English-speaking options for learning to sail here in Croatia. Our recommendation for you to check out is Yacht Sail Training.

Yacht Sail Training is located in Marina Kaštela, between Split city and Split airport, and is a really convenient spot to simply fly in and jump on-board. Their aim is to help anyone transform their life by accessing the world’s best learning experience on and off the water in the most idyllic Adriatic Sea in Croatia.

Check out their offerings here: https://yachtsailtraining.com/

If you have questions on anything sailing in Croatia, feel free to ask below in the comments or check out Total Croatia, Sailing in Croatia: Your One-Stop-Shop for everything sailing.

If you’re looking for informal, private sailing tuition for couples, families and groups of friends, read more about 45 Degrees Sailing fantastic ‘Learn to Sail’ winter experiences here.

For more about sailing and travelling in Croatia follow TCN's dedicated pages – Travel | Lifestyle

All photos supplied by Nick Hathaway, 45 Degrees Sailing.

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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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Sunday, 13 October 2019

Sailing Yacht 'A': an Early Morning, Long Lens Encounter on the Adriatic

October 13, 2019 - An early morning and long lens encounter with one of the most talked-about boats on the Adriatic this summer, Sailing Yacht 'A'.

TCN is delighted to welcome Fritz Gotschim to the team. Fritz, a passionate sailor, runs the successful Bay Express magazine and app for sailors, and he is never far from the water. One early start a few weeks ago provided a wonderful and tranquil early morning view of one of the boats of the summer, Sailing Yacht 'A'.

It happened on the way to Biokovo Nature Park. And it became a trip to the source of wonderment, the perception of the beautiful and the special, something that Croatian tourism may not quite succeed in: bringing its otherness onto the world tourism stage like an opera. Only that nothing needs to be staged. Everything is already there, everything is ready on stage, only the curtain is not raised by anyone, the audience are satisfied even with a small gap through which they look at the stage. They leave money there and that makes the locals happy, even if it could be more. 

What you see is enough for the tourists, compared to other countries, but does not show anything special about what is necessary to become a sustainable global brand. This remains largely behind the curtain.

And in winter, the curtain is closed, opaque, so to speak, at least in Dalmatia. The money from the summer will be enough over the turn of the year, one says on stage. And by the way, what could you do about it? Nobody comes in the winter.

But now to the trip, one of many in recent years, which should keep me busy for a long time.

No more motorcades, as in the high season, which meander south from Split on the Makarska Riviera and demand a full concentration of motorcyclists, if one wants to take advantage of the two-wheeler. This is the time to focus sometimes on what's off the road. Not often you can see the coastline of this Riviera from the curvy main road, it is mostly covered by houses or green or lies too steep below, and if you see it, then you do not have a second, because the next turn needs attention.

Only the opposite island of Brac is almost always visible.

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An hour and a little more than 40km driven, much faster it is not even with the bike, the anticipation rises to the first part of the route with a really good view. After leaving the town of Pisak behind you and taking the road in a long, gentle right turn over 200 meters, you can look at the beauty of this landscape more than a second and you also see the parking lot in time. You can stop and enjoy the view of the massif of Sveti Jure, which borders the steep Makarska Riviera.

It was everything as always, magnificent nature in the early morning and the clear backlight emphasized the backdrop of the rugged mountain. The bura blew and made the view wide and detailed, here she was clearly felt, then it was again held by Sveti Jure.

As soon as the long right turn came to an end, just before full attention had to return to traffic, the gaze caught a strange silhouette on the water, the size of which did not quite match the presumed distance. But then the curve was already over and the now parallel to the road running coastline did not clear the view.

The focus was now defensive driving, to use every free-looking outlook in search of this silhouette.

An expectation of excitement set in, which reached its climax after 5 kilometers, when the view for the first time was released on the largest motor glider in the world. It was in front of Brel, very close to the coast, with its 100-meter-high masts with the unmistakable, characteristic shape. With a draft of 8 meters you can only get close to steep coast lines.

Immediately to the right at the next opportunity to stop: Grand Opera, this motor glider "A", owned by the oligarch Andrej Melnichenko, who divided the professional world with the look of this yacht: the boat designed by the famous Philippe Starck is far from what is commonly called nautical. And that is why it attracts attention all over the world, no matter where the yacht anchors. Also because the design required technical solutions that did not exist before.

Bill Gates and others were here in Croatia with yachts this summer, there were photos of the yachts, which were very similar to each other. But talked about people, not about the ships.

Before Brel it is the other way round, everyone knows the ship, no one can pronounce the name of the owner correctly.

Observed from a height of over 50 meters, from the slopes over Brel, the "Sailing Yacht A" presents itself in its otherness as nowhere else. Mostly it anchors one or two miles away from the land, even before Split you could not get close to it. If, then from the waterline and there comes the almost "opaque" design of the yacht into play: view yes, but insight: njet.

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Only those who step onto the fold-out balconies will be visible. A large armchair with a mask like backrest, placed in the corner of the balcony and apparently designed by Starck, plays ironically with what is seen.

On over 140m length or 8 decks you can hide well on this yacht, also in the stern of the hull, where under the waterline, near the propellers, a submarine-like cabin with large glass chests is installed. Oh, yes, a submarine should also be on board. Only the helicopter that can land on the foredeck will never go unnoticed.

I would like to take the lift from the dinghy garage to the main deck to take a look at the Sveti Jure.

After talking to the locals, a plan is made. Shooting in the morning light. The views that Brel offers are ideal. The yacht will stay for a few days, there is a family connection between the "A" and Brel.

The next morning is clear, the Bura does not give off any haze and so there is something like the Croatian light. Sunrise is about 6 o'clock, I got my point at 5.30 and watch the beginning of the day's work on deck, which is also partly executed with the help of a banal floor mop instead of special technique. But the lonely morning cleaner in the mild twilight on 140 meters deck and the massive mast constructions are great cinema. 

Always the special feature unfolds only in contrast and in the correct angle of view.

The next hour, until the sun comes out in full force behind the mountain, passes with change of attitude and never-decreasing fascination. In today's attention economy, I have one of the masterpieces in front of me.

Unmistakable, different, terrific in detail and in a team thought out by the builders together with the owner in all its facets. Boarding is not necessary to know that. Everyone sees this from the outside, especially through the long telephoto. The shipyard was not allowed to publish any footage. 

Only on boatinternational.com you can find details about the construction. 

You do not have to find the ship beautiful, you can call it a waste of money. But that's the way we humans are, we're looking for something special and some are creating something special and others have it, without many knowing it.

The "Sailing Yacht A" of the shipyard Nobiskrug is known by the whole nautical world, it has an aura of the special. Attention is sure, no matter where she anchors.

The situation is different with the sailing area where the "A" anchored last week. It's not completely unknown, it's special, yes, but not many people know about it in detail.

Apart from Dubrovnik, Split, Sibenik, Hvar and maybe also Vis (with Mamma Mia is still a story of its own) hardly destinations have their own aura, which is perceived from the outside.

Of course, this is exactly what is interesting for superyachts, when their passengers are not so much noticed by the public in small port cities and can stroll around almost unnoticed. But even that would be a starting point to work out a tourist trait and to place it on the big world stage of tourism and to develop it into something special.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Testing Naval Myths: Do Women on Board Bring Bad Luck?

 August 13, 2019 - A snapshot of a sailing holiday around the island of Vis with new TCN writer, Dear Leader Joe.

I still clearly remember the advice my old mother gave me before I went sailing: “Eat a lot of cabbage so you don’t get scurvy!” Namely, everyone from my parents' sh*thole village is an expert in sailing. Magellan is nothing comparing to them. I could not explain to her that I wasn’t going on a trip around the world, just on a three-day cruise around Kornati. This year, she was sustained. “You eat at fancy restaurants, you sail and we’re supposed to starve! I mean who is paying for all that?” Father replied: “The CIA, woman! The CIA! They have destroyed half of the world, they will destroy him too!”

We decided to redo the entire Kornati trip, but this time we would sail for five days. The only thing we didn’t count on was the fact that this was the busiest nautical season ever on the Adriatic and it was nearly impossible to find a sailing boat for ten people. Four days before departure we still did not have a boat. I prayed to God and Allah to help me in this impossible mission. One of them must have heard my prayers because I accidentally stumbled upon a monoflot.com site and a charter agency Vishe Radugi. I contacted them immediately and got a very nice Russian owner Anna on the line. I don’t know why, but I immediately asked her how come she came to work in Croatia when everyone is running away and how did she even get here. She said: “What do you mean how did I get here? On a plane, of course.” She asked me for my name and I proudly said Josip. She said: “Ohh, comrade Stalin!” I replied: “Nope, comrade Tito.” I apologized right away for my country being an EU “errand boy“ and for introducing visas for the Russians and she gratefully said they had one more boat with only four cabins HANSE 445, but it could fit two more people at the saloon and that we could take it if we reserved it right away.

The boat was docked at the Kaštela harbor so we changed our route and chose Vis archipelago instead of Kornati.

From the first day we decided that there would be no discrimination on the boat. In that spirit, I allowed Ivana of Vishe Radugi Sailing to board my stuff. I knew there was a reason for the women to get equal rights. My job was to make sure all of the hard labour was done properly and I pointed out all those who were slacking.

(Ivana is boarding my Keilwerth saxsophon and B&O Beolit 17 speaker with a smile on her face. My job was to make sure all of the hard labour was done properly and I pointed out all those who were slacking.)

As soon as we entered the boat, I thought of an old village saying: “Women on board bring bad luck!” If that was true, we were heading for a Titanic type cataclysm because we had five women on board (SOS – PMS). We boarded all the stuff and sailed to the Stončica cove on Monday.

I was taking photos the entire time and when you’re on a rocking boat, looking at the camera screen is more dangerous than going to Syria for a summer vacation. I got sick after ten minutes. I heard a murmur in the background: “He’s got one foot in the grave!” My friends tried to comfort me by singing: “Knock-knock-knockin’ on heaven’s door…” I thought these might be the last photos I would ever take.

I started with an intro about women bringing bad luck. Along with my nausea on the first day, that theory was confirmed by the fact that in this crazy heat we lost all our water reserves on the boat. Why? Glad you asked. Someone (read: a girl) didn’t close the shower all the way and the water just poured out. We decided to go to Vis on Tuesday and fill up the tank. We ate some breakfast, swam a bit and arrived in Vis at 11 o’clock.

The beauty of the island was overshadowed by the fact that we were late to the harbor because they poured water only until 10am and told us to come tomorrow. If Keith Richards can drink wine the entire day, so can we. We didn’t let the lack of water on the boat ruin our good mood.

(The lack of water on the boat did not ruin our good mood.:) Photo: Flash.hr)

I did not strangle my colleague Krešo, also known as the king of anticorrosive protection, because of the lack of water, but because of the fact he provoked me with his new SEIKO wristwatch. I wanted to buy one for myself before heading to the coast, one that can go under the water, perfect for sailing, but I didn’t have the time and now I was stuck being jealous at Krešo like a true Croat and almost strangled him at one point.

After the crew has separated us, there was no choice left but to take a swim and for that we have chosen a beautiful port Biševo. We have decided to sleep over at this gorgeous cove and went to the restaurant for some pancakes before sleep. The owner has said there were so few people on the island outside the season that he goes around the houses in the mornings, checking if there is smoke coming out of them. If there isn’t any smoke, he knows that yet another islander has passed away.

That is my colleague Goran jumping on the photo below. He is a designer and an owner of the company ENDEM.HR. Naturally, he did not pay me for this advertisement, but you know, I am a good person so I thought I’d publish the man’s occupation.

On Wednesday, we sailed to the Blue Cave. Unfortunately, we were left under the impression that the whole field trip to the cave was a “TAKE MONEY AND RUN” thing. I mean, the cave was really beautiful and worth seeing but for 70 kuna per person, we expected a bit more. We didn’t swim in it nor take enough photos because the guide kept hurrying us so that the other boats waiting in line could get in. It was just a plain “fast food” experience.

After the Blue Cave, we traveled to Komiža which we were, unfortunately, only able to observe from the deck and afterwards we went to the cove Zakamica to take a swim.

In the evening we anchored in Vis. We weren’t able to reserve a table for 10 anywhere because that was the day of the Yachting week event and everything was booked. We got drunk on the boat and skipper Neven drove us to the nearby bar in a dingy. Another confirmation of women being bad luck on a boat was his girlfriend Ana who took a romantic dingy ride with him when suddenly, in the middle of the channel, they ran out of fuel. Naturally, they didn’t even have a light. That was more stupid than Captain of Titanic’s decision to say: “Full speed ahead! F*ck the ice!” They were lucky to be noticed by a skipper who was also Neven’s acquaintance. He saved them in the last second.

On Thursday we sailed from Vis to the cove Milna to take a swim. We looked around the cove Rukavac, Mala and Vela Travna and the cherry on the top was a nice swim at the most popular cove of the island of Vis – Stiniva. The cove is around 600 m long and surrounded by tall and unreachable stone rocks. Towards the end of the cove, there are a few uninhabited fishermen houses which are, along with the cove, protected as a natural resort. The cove was as full as a Dear Leader's labor camp, but in spite of the numerous tourists and boats, this was one of the most beautiful places on the Adriatic which you must certainly visit.

In the evening we anchored in a lagoon of the Mali and Veli Budikovac island where we proved once again how women aboard are bad luck. Just before going to bed, the rope which we tied to the beacon has snapped and we almost hit another boat. If we were in the medieval ages, someone would surely be burned on a bonfire. Unfortunately, we are civilized people. I got up the next morning at 6 o’clock and jumped in for a swim. I swam to the nearest island and did my “number two” in the shallows when suddenly, a goat approached me. I thought to myself: “If I get up now, butt naked and with a goat in front of me, someone will accuse me of zoophilia.” Luckily, the goat left and I swam around the boat for an hour like an idiot because everyone was still asleep and the ramp wasn’t down so I couldn’t climb up on the boat.

On Friday we went to the cove Stončica, more accurately the restaurant Konoba Stončica. They did not have any bluefish available even though it was on the menu, their seafood was frozen, the soup tasted instant like and the waiter was extremely unkind. The general impression was more than desperate, but I will compliment on the meat which was very nicely prepared.

I had my saxophone with me, but I had no chance to play it. We have assigned music playing to my new B&O Beolit 17 Bluetooth speaker which I have bought specifically for this trip. Conchita Wurst has never sounded so good. We partied like those lively folks down at the retirement center.

We partied along the Bang and Olufsen Beolit 17 Bluetooth speaker.

The last evening of the trip we stayed at the Nečujam cove on Šolta. We got drunk on mojitos and other alcoholic beverages and celebrated our five-day trip in great style. Once again, as we were heading home, we proved that women aboard are in fact bad, bad luck. After we returned the sailing boat, the scuba diver found a plastic bag tied around our propeller and we had to pay a hundred euros extra for the cleaning. Actually, we went pretty well because the damage could have been even bigger.

All in all, it was an unforgettable experience and we are definitely coming back next year. I have to praise our lovely Anna and her employee Ivana who was always available to us. If you are interested in spending an unforgettable summer at the Adriatic and see all the beautiful beaches and islands, sailing is the right option for you and I can definitely recommend Vishe Radugi. All of the info you can find on their web page www.monoflot.com.

We proved that a woman aboard brings bad luck and five women…well that is a cataclysm. On the other hand, if they weren’t there, who would have washed all the dishes? EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING.

You can read more from Dear Leader Joe on his website, Flash.hr 

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Is Anyone Having a Record Tourism Season in Croatia? Oh, Yes - Chris from Koda Sail

July 26, 2019 - As the Ministry of Tourism restricts access to the transparent and award-winning eVisitor statistics system and last available statistics pointing to another record season, many destinations are reporting the exact opposite. So is anyone having a record season in Croatia? Meet Chris from Koda Sail.

A few days ago, I posted on my Facebook wall that I was looking for any tourism businesses who were indeed having a record season to be featured on TCN. Although it is the peak season and people were busy, I was expecting a few replies. I have received just two replies, which you can read below (the offer is still open, details at the bottom of this article). The first interview I did with Ante Lacman of Hvar Tours caused plenty of discussion in certain circles

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And for the second, we head to the sailboats of the Adriatic to find out how Chris Tabone of Koda Sail is enjoying his summer. 

1. Briefly tell us who you are and what you do.

My name is Chris Tabone. Australian from Melbourne, with Maltese heritage. 39 years old, married with a 6-month-old son.
 
Early life worked as an Art Director in Melbourne until 29. Packed the bags and came to Europe to travel. Got a job as a tour guide with a Youth Travel brand and learned a lot about the Travel Industry. As an older traveller I saw there wasn't much out there for my age group, so started working on creating something different for the Young Professional age bracket of the late 20s to late 30s. Created Koda Sail back in 2015 and have had much success bringing like-minded travellers to Croatia, and now to Turkey and in 2020 to the Maldives. 
 
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2. We hear you are having a good season while many are complaining or a poor what. Tell us about that, and what are you doing differently? 

I believe there has been a shift in tourism here in Croatia. The travellers are wanting different things so you have to keep it fresh. I've been working in Europe for almost 10 years now and see some companies still doing the same thing I saw them do way back then. 
 
I'm trying my best not to fall into the trap of just doing what is easy, and try to change things up and add new relevant things to my tours each year. For that reason alone I know my customers know they are going to get the best of what our destinations are offering. Listen to what your customers are wanting and make changes. 
 
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3. How do you think nautical tourism is developing in general. What are its strengths and what do you think needs to improve?
 
I think nautical tourism is on its way up, especially in the category of the smaller boats that we are using. 15 years ago it was all about the large cruise liners, but now we live in the Instagram era in which it's all about finding something smaller and unique. I'm not too sure what the numbers are on the larger cruise ships, but I've seen a downfall in the amount of those in ports such as Dubrovnik and Split, but a definite increase in the smaller boats. 
 
The strengths are the style of travel in general. Passengers are realising that you can see so much in one week and only having to unpack their suitcase once, vs bus/train travel in which there is so much wasted travel time. 
 
Improvements that I would like to see are at the ports, with them needing to accommodate the number of tourists coming in. 10 years here and I've seen nothing change at all. Same struggles for the captains, fighting for positions and docking times. Port fees are on the rise and nothing visibly has changed.  
 
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4. You also have a sailing operation in Turkey. How do Croatia and Turkey compare as nautical destinations? What does each do best, and what can they learn from each other?
 
Both Croatia and Turkey are fantastic locations for Sailing trips. They both have beautiful coastlines, with small bays and amazing locations for swim stops throughout the week. The differences are in the style of sailing with Croatia having larger boats and bringing in a lot more tourist numbers. The towns are all alive with locals and many things to see and do, whereas Turkey's coastline is a bit more rugged and it's all about the journey. Smaller boats in Turkey make the trips there a bit more intimate. The towns along the Southern coastline are smaller and less accessible which makes them feel a lot more local and cultural for our passengers. 
 
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What do each do best? I think Croatia has really compensated for what tourists want and have made those changes, whereas Turkey has stuck to what they know and kept everything as is. There is a fine line here where both destinations can learn from each other. 
 
As great as it is that Croatia has compensated for tourism, I feel that it has lost the charm I first saw here 15 years ago and you see less locals enjoying the towns and some actually avoiding them altogether, whereas in Turkey you can find locals side by side with you, interested in talking and integrating with the tourists. 
 
I know that in Croatia the 'party boats' have really put a sour taste in the mouths of the locals and they don't wish to integrate with the tourists, which is something I'm totally aware of and have been trying to bring back the level of respect with nicer travellers.  
 
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5. Are you happy with the direction of Croatian tourism in general? What suggestions do you have to improve it?

Overall I think Croatian tourism is great. I've been lucky enough to really get to know the locals and see year after year how tourism has continually changed. It's a country that has so much to offer for the tourist and the people here are passionate about their home. 
 
One thing that I think that could be a problem moving forward is the ever-increasing costs. Croatia used to be an affordable destination, whereas now the word is spreading that it's not as cheap to travel here as it once was. I'm afraid that this becoming a deterrent, and destinations like Greece and Turkey are now becoming those more affordable destinations. Something I'd like to see the government step in on and help the Tourism and Hospitality sectors to keep the tourists coming here.
 
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6. And, for our sailing readers, a couple of lesser-known places on the Adriatic to check out. 
 
North of Split is where our tourists need to be. Those that haven't been there only know about Dubrovnik, Hvar and Split, and without them on the itinerary then those tours would struggle to sell, but more education about the north and I think that will not only impress tourists even more with what Croatia has to offer, but free up those more popular destinations and make them more enjoyable to be in. 
You can connect with Chris via the Koda Sail website
 
Are you having a record season in Croatian tourism and would like to be featured in this series. Please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject - Record Season. 

 

Saturday, 20 April 2019

The World is in Chaos, Escape, Book a Sailing Holiday in Croatia

April 20th 2019, it’s not too late to escape from the ‘real world’ for a bit, book a sailing holiday in Croatia.

Let’s face it, there is not much positive news around the world at the moment, or this is what the mass media would have us believe. What, with Trump, Brexit, climate change, and news being released that we are in the midst of a mass extinction… it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Maybe a sailing holiday in Croatia is just what the doctor ordered.

Last year, sailing in charter for the summer, almost every single person shared that they were feeling weighted by anxiety; the stress of the daily grind coupled with the state of the world in general. These were well-educated people, all successful in their various careers, feeling at a complete loss. Stepping aboard our yacht for the first time, everyone was excited but also apprehensive, everyday stress notably resting on their shoulders.

One of my greatest joys working on a yacht in private charter, is seeing the difference between people stepping aboard and then disembarking at the end of the week.

Our itinerary is based on our clients’ wishes and while some people come aboard with a list of ‘must sees’, it usually doesn’t take long for them to realise that this will not just be another trip of ticking things off the ‘bucket list’, it offers so much more. We oblige their initial requests, talk and inform along the way, but within a few days, most guests entrust the experience of their holiday to us – an honour we do not take lightly.

We love sharing the history and culture of Croatia with our guests, but more so, we love taking them to ‘off-the-beaten-path’ locations, and just allowing them to completely relax and immerse in nature. Slow mornings, with breakfast, hot coffee and fresh juice waiting. Anchored in a bay with nothing but the rhythmic beating of the cicadas’ chorus to fill the air. Diving directly off the boat into the crystal-clear turquoise waters, before we hoist the sails and catch the late morning breeze and find another spot to anchor for lunch. Fresh grilled fish, accompanied with a crisp glass of local wine – did you know Croatia has 132 indigenous grape varieties? Another swim and siesta, before we pull into the harbour of a quaint coastal town. Evening strolls, local restaurants, live music, ice cream… before happily toddling back to their home away from home. If this doesn’t sound like bliss, I don’t know what does.

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Photo credit: Mario Romulić

I could wax lyrical about the historical sites, the culture, nature, gastronomy of Croatia but more often than not, it is the simple moments that stand out for our guests. We had esteemed psychologists, actors, IT experts, people topping rich lists, tell us about the stress and drama of their lives and then we watched these same people succumb to the beautifully slow rhythm of a sailing holiday in Croatia. Those who had booked several activities in advance, eventually cancelled some of their plans and threw their itinerary out the porthole – content to just take each day as it came, allowing for whim and inspiration or just divine ‘nothingness’ (fjaka).

I am not advocating from running away from responsibilities and the reality of this world, but sometimes, we need a small retreat, an escape from life to be able to return to it invigored. And, I may be biased but, after years of travel, I still have not found anything that tops a sailing holiday in Croatia. Every single guest we have ever had, no matter how well-travelled, has inevitably told us that it was their best holiday, ever.

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Photo credit: Mario Romulić

Nature has an undeniable way of bringing us out of our heads, away from daily pressures and back to ourselves. And, a 7-day sailing holiday in Croatia is the best way to truly escape everything and immerse ourselves in nature and the present moment. You’ll wake up in peaceful bays, sail past the changing coastline of unique islands, swim in crystalline waters, watch every sunset and maybe catch a sunrise (which we highly recommend doing at least once).

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Photo Credit: Tash Peričić

I am lucky that I get to sail Croatia all summer. Yes, it is physically and emotionally challenging at times, but for the most part, I have nature to reinvigorate and inspire me. While I escape the ‘real life’ for four months of the year, it leaves me more inspired to connect and engage in a meaningful way off the boat. It keeps me connected to this world, knowing that we all need to do our part to make a difference, and it helps keep me grounded and put life in perspective – by only focusing on what matters. And, I believe that even if for only 7-days, this is what all of our guests get from their sailing holiday in Croatia.

At the end of every week, our guests stepped off our yacht – sun-kissed, with a spring in their step, a new glitter in their eyes and the weight of the world removed from their shoulders. I would like to think that they had more to give to their families and lives once they returned to the ‘real world’. We can’t be our best and give our all to life if our cups are empty.

Escape. Book a sailing holiday in Croatia to escape the stress of life – then return fully-charged.

For more stories like this, visit our dedicated Lifestyle Page, or Total Croatia Sailing.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Croatian Chamber of Commerce Sings Praises of Nautical Tourism

As Morski writes on the 12th of April, 2019, the Republic of Croatia has achieved growth in terms of nautical tourism, but the problem of the lack of berths has to be resolved - these were some of the conclusions drawn from the meeting of the nautical associations of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) with the relevant nautical institutions, which took place within the framework of the two-day Nautical Tourism Days conference organised by HGK for the preparation of a peaceful, successful and safe season at sea.

The conference covered the need for communication on all of the important issues which concern and involve Croatia's blossoming nautical tourism sector.

''With a fleet of more than 4000 charter boats, with over 140 nautical tourism ports, 17,000 berths, and then more than a million passengers having arrived on cruise ships back in 2018, Croatia is a nautical superpower and one of the most important nautical destinations not only in the Mediterranean, but in the world,'' said HGK's Dragan Kovačević on the first day of the conference.

The revenue achieved by Croatia's nautical tourism ports amounted to 857 million kuna, while the average guest spends a handsome 183 euros per day on a charter vessel, which is more than twice the daily consumption of the average Croatian tourist.

''Money is not only spent on boats, but on all other forms of tourism, and more than 30 percent at that; from culture, sport, entertainment to gourmet and gastronomic offerings, Kovačević pointed out, adding that all these are parameters that speak volumes about nautical tourism in the Republic of Croatia as the country's most dynamic tourist offer and has enormous potential. However, Croatia also needs to make sure to take wise steps to direct the further development of this branch of tourism.

HGK's Paško Klisović pointed out a number of problems facing members of this association, as well as the Croatian nautical tourism sector itself.

''Part of the problem can be solved by better promotion on some markets, especially in the United States. We need to motivate Americans to come in larger numbers, at least as far as Croatia's nautical tourism is concerned. Existing markets are stagnating because we've reached the limit. Last year, our fleet grew by seven percent, and the number of guests grew by less than two percent. The fleet will grow this year, and we will be happy to repeat the past. We're somewhat concerned about the fact that, as far as bookings are concerned, Greece has become the most sought after charter destination. These are the trends and we need to make the right moves,'' stated Klisović.

The conference also discussed new regulations for nautical tourism, the prevention of unregistered activities, as well as the overall sustainability and safety of nautical tourism.

Make sure to stay up to date by following our dedicated lifestyle and travel pages for much more. If it's just nautical tourism and sailing in Croatia you're interested in, give Total Croatia Sailing a follow.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Sailing in Croatia: 5th Women’s Sailing Regatta (PMS), Vis

From the 7th – 10th March 2019, the PMS Žena (Povijesno Mediteranksi Skup Žena – Historical Mediterranean Gathering of Women) women's sailing regatta took place on the island of Vis. This unique women's regatta is one of a kind; supporting and promoting women in this typically male-dominated sport.

I reached out to one of the organisers, Suzi Kraljević, to ask a few more questions about the PMS Žena Women's Sailing Regatta.

When did the PMS Žena Women's Sailing Regatta Begin?

This unique women’s sailing regatta started in 2015, despite extreme weather conditions, with only 3 crews – all from Croatia. The second year saw it turn into an international women’s sailing regatta, with the addition of Austrian and Slovakian crews.

The racing area is the port of Vis – triangle course in Vis bay; the entire race can be observed from the coast, which gives it another unique element.

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What was the motivation behind creating the PMS Women’s Sailing Regatta?

The motivation behind the regatta was quite simply to create the only, exclusively women’s sailing race. It was in an effort to promote the sport but especially women in sailing, and International Women’s Day gave great timing and motivation to make it happen. This women’s sailing regatta is also unique because it is a sporting event on the island which is totally out of season.

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How has it developed over the past 5 years?

In the first year, we had only 3 crews, all from Croatia.

2016: 6 crews; 1 crew from Austria, 2 crews from Slovakia, 3 crews from Croatia

2017: we had 11 crews in total; 2 crews from Austria, 2 crews from Slovakia, 2 crews from Montenegro, 1 crew from Hungary, 1 crew from Italy, 1 crew from the Czech Republic, 2 crews from Croatia.

2018: 7 crews; 1 crew from Austria, 1 crew from Slovakia, 1 crew from Montenegro, 1 crew from Hungary, 3 crews from Croatia

2019: This year we had 9 crews; 1 crew from Austria, 1 crew from Montenegro, 2 crews from Hungary, 1 crew from Italy, 2 crews from Croatia and two mixed International crews: WOB1 - Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Croatia, Serbia and WOB2: Ukraine, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia and Croatia

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Tell us a little about the history of sailing in Croatia, and women in sailing?

The first sailing club in Croatia was founded in 1876. The oldest regatta in Croatia is the Mrdujska Regatta, which was established in 1927. The organiser of this women’s sailing regatta (PMS Žena) is YC HOST from island Vis. The club's first regatta was the Adriatic Race (13th incarnation this year) which is one of the most challenging regattas, it is around 250 miles from Vis – Dubrovnik – Palagruža – Vis.

So, while sailing in Croatia and regattas have been here for the better part of a century; the PMS Žena women's sailing regatta promotes women in sailing because there still aren't enough women in sailing (Croatia and worldwide), but things are slowly changing. In the past, women were not welcome on a boat, but today it is normal for women to cross the ocean and circumnavigate the globe. Women are present in sailing, but we still need to do more to promote this sport and encourage more women.

Participating in the PMS Žena women's sailing regatta, are women of all ages but we are especially pleased to see new, young crews appearing every year.

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What was the highlight of the PMS Žena Women's Sailing Regatta 2019?

The highlight this year was the atmosphere of the competition, but also the mutual support between the crews and the feeling of common enjoyment in this unique women's sailing event. Maybe it was like this because for the first time we had international crews.

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Have you received support for the PMS Žena Women's Sailing Regatta?

Without the generosity of all of the past sponsors and support from the local community, it would be nearly impossible to secure the means and support of this important sports competition. A huge thanks goes out to all of the former patrons who have enabled development of this event, whether they helped in the form of food and drinks, providing accommodation, or being involved with the logistics and organisation of the event itself.

Our main sponsor is INTIMINA, but there are a lot of other sponsors like private firms, and of course, the support of the local community and people from the clubs who work voluntarily for 4 days.

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What are your hopes for the PMS Žena Women's Sailing Regatta in 2020?

We received a lot of praise for the event this year; the organisation, atmosphere, food, hospitality. So, we hope to better the women’s regatta next year. Thanks to all who were involved and see you at the PMS Žena Women's Sailing Regatta in 2020

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A few words from the only Kiwi in this International Women's Sailing Regatta

Sammie Williams, grew up sailing in NZ, she was introduced to the sport by friends and has had the bug ever since. Sammie is an accomplished sailmaker and now lives in Montenegro skippering a Hanse, she tells us her impressions as a participant of the PMS Žena women’s sailing regatta.

"I haven’t done many regattas before, more day sailing events, tall ship racing, two-handed, off-shore, inshore… My first regatta was the Hanse Cup Regatta in Croatia last year. I was the only kiwi in this international mix of women; this was the first female regatta I have ever attended, and it was amazing! I couldn’t believe how many female sailors there were, and, all in one place! The organisation was incredible and the food and housing provided were superb. I was in WOB1 (Welcome on Board International) which was Claudia’s idea to put a boat together of all different nationalities; she managed to bring together 12 women from 11 different countries! No one had met prior to the regatta, so we weren’t sure how we would go but my team placed 3rd overall, and the other team WOB2 placed 5th – so, we didn’t do too bad at all!

I’ve never heard of a women’s sailing regatta before and honestly, never really thought there were enough women to pull it off, but the weekend has definitely proved me wrong! As well as the atmosphere and the racing, the entire organisation was phenomenal and very affordable – around 35 euro per person, which included all accommodation, lunch and dinners. The whole island pulled together and helped to create this event which was really fantastic to see. I will definitely be back.”

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Photo credit: Mate Acalinović, Sammie Williams rocking it on the bow!

2019 Results for the PMS Žena Women's Sailing Regatta

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All photos courtesy of Ante Acalinović, Alenka Alujević, Adriatic Race Official, and Welcome on Board International Sailing Team.

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If you would like to see more about Sailing in Croatia, you can visit our Facebook page, or find more news on Total Croatia Sailing. For more on Sports or News in Croatia, visit Total Croatia News.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Sailing in Croatia: Six Tips You Should Know

Exploring Croatia by sea is an amazing experience, here are a few important pointers.

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