Friday, 1 October 2021

New Bronze Sculpture of Šibenik Unveiled In the City

October 1st, 2021 - As in Zagreb, Split, and other Croatian cities, a new bronze sculpture of Šibenik has been officially unveiled and warmly received by city residents. It is a scale sculpture that serves as a miniature of the Dalmatian city, and now adds to its various attractions.

As reported by Slobodna Dalmacija, eight hundred kilograms of clay, 1.5 tons of bronze and almost two years of hard work, sculpting, studying the theory of space, mathematics, and geometry were all needed by the Zagreb painter-graphic artist with Šibenik address Zvonimir Vila to create his city plan in volume, a new bronze sculpture of Šibenik called Šibenik stina. It was placed on the square in front of Krešimir's home where the city administration is located, and it was ceremoniously opened on Wednesday night on the Day of the City of Šibenik.

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Photo: Dusko Jaramaz/PIXSELL

Other cities have models, mostly industrially processed, but Šibenik got a work of art, high relief, in fact, a sculpture of its historic city center that creates a story of space, brings emotion, and leads the viewer to the old Šibenik streets, rocks, thighs, and squares, points to its historical and cultural heritage as well as the very life of Šibenik, as the mayor of Šibenik Željko Burić said, satisfied that Šibenik is now a part of that life.

The creation of the sculpture, which Vila determined the dimensions of 4x2 meters on a pedestal about 60 centimeters high, was initiated by the Šibenik Tourist Board, and the money was provided from European funds.

''The goal was initially to make a model of the city center as our largest and most valuable resource and potential, as other cities have. However, we decided to give it to our Zvonimir Vila, who made a sculpture out of the model. The process was long, there were technical, financial, and administrative problems, and the pandemic bothered us. The new bronze sculpture of Šibenik is there now and I am overjoyed about it. Šibenik has gained another cultural value and tourist attraction'', said Dino Karađole, director of the Tourist Board.

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Photo: Dusko Jaramaz/PIXSELL

''I am glad to be in my city tonight and I just told the mayor that I don't recognize anything anymore. Whether it is good or not, I do not know, but I know that this sculpture, it is good that you call it that, and not a model, speaks of the spirit of Šibenik. However, why this sculpture on this day, the feast of St. Michael? Simply because saints personify cities. That symbiotic relationship between a saint and a city, an equation that has been confirmed in a thousand examples. What are St. Vlaho, St. Duje, St. Krševan to Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, it is St. Mihovil to Šibenik. I think it is a happy choice that this work was given, not so much to the sculptor, but to the graphic artist, because he succeeded in what is most important in Šibenik, and that is the labyrinthine feeling you have in this city of incredible topography. If you were to make a model, 3D, 4D or as it is done today, you would get a good informative picture, but here you have a real work of art'', said the art historian dr. Sc. Josip Belamarić.

''I did this quite emotionally and hard. When I took the job, I knew it wasn’t easy, but it was challenging. The sculpture was made with the classical sculptural technique, first in clay, and later also with the classical method in bronze by his colleague Ante Jurkić, who did a great job of casting'', said Vila, the author, also thanking all of those who supported him in the arduous and long process of creation, especially many citizens and tourists peeking into his studio while he worked.

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Photo: Dusko Jaramaz/PIXSELL

Vila also admitted that he would have preferred his work, as originally planned, to be located in Poljana. Nothing is more logical, he says, than for the sculpture of the old town to be in the old town, and not outside its borders, although only 50 meters from Poljana. However, the authors of the architectural-urban project of arranging Poljana did not accept this proposal.

In any case, the people of Šibenik will not be bothered by the location of the new bronze sculpture of Šibenik. A large number of people came to discover the sculpture, and the strong congratulations to Vila and numerous selfies were taken on the first evening near Šibenik stina.

For everything you need to know about the historic city of Šibenik and all things you can do and see, be sure to check Total Croatia's guide: Šibenik in a Page. Now in your language!

For more made in Croatia news, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

16 Super Reasons to Visit Croatia Now: September October 2021

September 22, 2021 – The sun is shining and we'll still be swimming in the sea for some time yet, although the weather and warm Adriatic are far from the only reasons to visit Croatia now

Here are a full 16 reasons to visit Croatia now, in September and October 2021
The weather is fantastic and the forecast is great!

Screenshot_205.pngVisit Croatia now: screenshot © Marc Rowlands

Screenshot_204.pngVisit Croatia now: screenshot

The sea is still warm enough for swimming

242336077_6243047692432629_2508322542701942610_n.jpgSwimming in very late September 2021 on the Omiš riviera, one of the best reasons to visit Croatia now © Marc Rowlands

The very best Croatian food

241480915_6170941186309947_1327304007351009063_n.jpgDomestic bacon and prosciutto, a classic Croatian 'tapas' served at the last surviving inn on Biokovo mountain, Vrata Biokovo © Marc Rowlands

There's no shortage of the finest fresh fish and seafood now the rush have tourists have gone. Want to cook them for yourself? Buy straight from the fishermen on the beach. You can't do that in peak season – it all goes to the restaurants. Also, Croatia's fruit and vegetables are ripe and at their best right now.

241126505_6138144742922925_8968400606881277475_n.jpgUnique, miniature squid, served in ink, with a medley of fresh, roasted vegetables at the restaurant of Camping Labadusa on the island of Čiovo, 2021. Yes, this is how amazing food is at some campsites in Croatia © Marc Rowlands

From figs, melons, mushrooms and truffles to salad greens, pumpkins and mandarins, Croatia is currently the land of plenty. And, the lunchtime specials – Marenda (Dalmatia), Gablets (Zagreb) are outstanding and super cheap right now. Looking for an amazing 50 kuna lunch in Dalmatia right now? Try Konoba Marenda in Šibenik, Konoba Joskan in Omiš or Gastro Diva or Konoba Kalalarga in Makarska?

242356626_6243046882432710_3401854122891850972_n.jpgRoast beef and beetroot risotto with sour cream, pomegranate and apple. Marenda of Konoba Joskan in Omiš © Marc Rowlands

Sports, activity and recreation

242223445_6222414447829287_952918838844562246_n.jpgCycling in Šibenik © Marc Rowlands

Now the temperature have grown more gentle, it's the perfect time to get sporty or active in Croatia. Why not try cycling and hiking in and around Šibenik? Or how about golfing in Zagreb? Inland Dalmatia is a great place for quad biking. Try it in Drniš, Knin, near Vrlika or in Imotski. If you want to try a range of activities and sports, then maybe head for Omiš. You can try canyoning, white water rafting, diving, mountain biking, hiking and a thrilling zip line in Omiš.

Peace, quiet, relaxation

IMG_3328defcvbnjuhgfcv.JPGThe peaceful beach at Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje, pictured in late September 2021 © Marc Rowlands

The kids are mostly back at school, the students have finished partying and are returned to university. Right now, Croatia's campsites, beaches and lunchtime restaurants are quiet and chilled. Romantic couples walk undisturbed across the sands or sip wine as they watch the sunset. The only sound you often hear is the lapping of the waves against the shore.

Idyllic camping

IMG_3321edrfghjnk.JPGRelaxing and peaceful, individual terraces of each glamping unit in Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje © Marc Rowlands

If you want to get up close to nature, camping in Croatia is one of the best ways to do this. And, right now, the country's campsites are at their best. Incredibly peaceful and way under full capacity, there are no more children, families or teenagers. You can bring your own mobile home or even tent – it's cool enough to sleep under canvas now (tents are too hot during the height of a Croatian summer).

241130404_6149405168463549_8737034291319710149_n.jpgUnforgettable sunset views at Camping Rožac, Trogir © Marc Rowlands

Looking for a brilliant Croatian campsite for late September / early October 2021? Camping Rožac, Trogir here has incredible sunset views, whereas the beach at nearby Camping Labadusa here on Čiovo island's other side is a faultless slice of paradise. Further south, the glamping offer of Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje here is also among the finest in Croatia. All three sites are nestled under strongly scented pine trees, just metres from the shore.

IMG_2401dfvgbhnjkiuyhgb.JPGIncredible paradise beach at Camping Labadusa on the island of Čiovo © Marc Rowlands

Discover some of Europe's greatest white and sparkling wine in continental Croatia

AnyConv.com__IMG_2044fgvbnmjnhg.jpgVineyards of Koprivnica-Križevci County winemakers © Marc Rowlands

Been to the Croatian coast before? Then no doubt you've tried some of Dalmatia's famous red wines. Unlike other places, where white wines usually accompany the lighter seafood, pasta and fish dishes of the seaside and summer, on the Croatian coast it's the red wines that rule. Big, gutsy red wines like Plavac mali and Syrah are found by the Croatian Adriatic.

IMG_1802wsdfgh.JPGWinemakers of Koprivnica-Križevci County © Marc Rowlands

Less well known are Croatian white wines Even more hidden are Croatia's sparkling wines. Because, if you want to find them, you have to move away from the sea and come inland. For the best sparkling wines, look to Zagreb County.

IMG_2122.JPGWinemakers of south Koprivnica-Križevci County © Marc Rowlands

For brilliant white wines, there's a thick strip of continental Croatia you simply must get to know. Its north is the Drava river and the sandy soil runs along its length from Koprivnica and Đurđevac to the start of Baranja. Up into the hills of Baranja and to the border with Hungary the vineyards stretch. To the east, Aljmas and Erdut, to the south Ilok, then west through Kutjevo and back to Zagreb County. Now is the time of the newest wines, of harvest celebrations. Now is the best time to walk the wine roads and trails of this massive white wine super-region.

It's the perfect time for a city break

AnyConv.com__ETugIXoWoAA2NmI_1.jpgVisit Croatia now: Zagreb © Alan Grubelić

Nobody wants to be trapped in a bustling city in summertime's 40-degree heat. The high temperatures never subside. The concrete retains it. When things really heat up in Croatia, you need the cooler mountain air or the sea, which at night absorbs the heat of the day. But, right now is the perfect time to go exploring Croatia's bigger cities.

Why not try Osijek, with its kilometres of cycle routes and parks, epic riverside promenades and the best-preserved complex of baroque buildings in Croatia? Certainly, Osijek's Tvrda and its Secession architecture should be seen by everyone once.

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Or, how about Zagreb, the country's social, cultural and economic capital? There are different happenings in Zagreb streets and parks almost every day. And the atmosphere is second to none.

In Istria, you can linger for much longer on the Roman Forum at this time of year. No need now for running urgently between shadows. You can instead afford to take your time as you wander around the epic Roman architecture here. You'll find more unmissable Roman architecture in Croatia's second city of Split, by way of Diocletian's Palace.

A packed events calendar

_MG_9181fgvbnh.JPGEvents of Zagreb parks 2021, captured by © Marc Rowlands

Croatia's event calendar explodes at this time of year. In Zagreb and Dubrovnik, famous music festivals fill the parks and streets. Elsewhere, this is one of the most important times of the year for food and drink festivals...

Harvest time

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It's harvest time, and when the local produce is collected from the trees or fields, usually there's an accompanying celebration. The party always extends well beyond championing the local produce. These are some of the best events in Croatia – accessible to all ages and appealing especially to gastro fans.

For example, Ivanić-Grad's pumpkin festival - Bučijada - always has a great music and entertainment programme attached. Held on October 1, 2 and 3 in 2021, it draws folks from far and wide to the pretty Zagreb County town. You won't have to look hard to find fun events like this all across Croatia at this time of year, celebrating everything from walnuts and almonds to grapes, olives and mushrooms.

Budget flights are still available

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Not only are budget flights still available, but the summertime routes to all Croatian airports are also still in play. Everywhere in Croatia is easily accessible right now. And for very little cost.

Last minute deals and inexpensive accommodation

AnyConv.com__IMG_3340edrfghjnmkjhgfd.jpgPrivate pool of the 4-star Boutique Hotel Noemia, Baška Voda © Marc Rowlands

It's no secret that prices plummet on Croatia's coast at this time of year. Smart operators do their best to extend the season by dropping prices. You can pick up incredible deals at this time of year everywhere from restaurant dining to luxury resorts, villas, apartments and hotels with full or half board.

Sailing in Croatia

AnyConv.com__IMG_3354ertyhujhgfd.jpgA regular visitor to Brela, Baska Voda and Split returned again in September 2021 © Marc Rowlands

The season for sailing Croatia is nowhere near as short as that enjoyed by most sunbathers. You only need look at the daily newspapers to read about the latest luxury yacht to sail into Croatian Adriatic waters. But, you don't need to be a Russian oligarch to enjoy the beautiful bays, beaches and islands of Croatia. Charter yachts in Croatia can be found at reasonable rates – especially in late September and early October!

Volunteering

IMG_20210915_165305139_HDR.jpg2021 volunteer divers at Calypso Diving in Omiš © Marc Rowlands

Late summer, early autumn and spring are the best time to come volunteer in Croatia. In late summer and early autumn, it's the Adriatic that needs a little love. Volunteer divers undertake ecological missions to clean the seabed around the coast. It's surprising just how much trash falls into the seas after a summer season.

IMG_2818edcvbnhgf.JPGExperienced divers, pictured in 2021 at Trogir Diving Centre © Marc Rowlands

If you're a qualified diver, why not come and help out? Try Trogir Diving Centre here, the oldest diving school in Croatia. Or try Calypso Diving in Omiš here. There, you don't even need to be qualified - beginners can learn from scratch and earn their first diving certificates in return for their volunteering!

242151424_6227553893982009_4396189167021449696_n.jpgVolunteer divers at Calypso Diving in Omiš, 2021 © Marc Rowlands

It's the best time to explore Croatia's National Parks and Nature Parks

241316764_6170947642975968_6841343418900551668_n.jpgThe famous Skywalk of Biokovo Nature Park on the Makarska riviera in Dalmatia, 2021 © Marc Rowlands

In the preserved and protected wilderness of Croatian National Parks and Nature Parks, there's sometimes very little shelter from the sun. They can be tough to explore at the height of summer. Mountainous parks like Paklenica, Velebit and Biokovo have incredible hiking trails that are best enjoyed at this time.

241631995_6170951239642275_3522302139938915487_n.jpgBiokovo Nature Park peaks in 2021 © Marc Rowlands

Elsewhere, you can trace the waterways and waterfalls of Krka National Park, Kopački rit, Plitvice lakes and Žumberak-Samoborsko gorje in relative calm right now. No long lines of queueing tourists spoiling your photos. The island parks like Mljet, Kornati and Brijuni are all the more idyllic when there's nobody else around.

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There are much worse places you could be working remotely

Working.JPGVisit Croatia now: September October 2021 © Marc Rowlands

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

PHOTOS: Beautiful Locations of Active Šibenik's Sports and Recreation

September 22, 2021 – From cycling and kayaking to hiking and an epic zip line, see the fantastic natural landscape that holds active Šibenik's thrilling offer.

When temperatures ease off, the Croatian coast welcomes a whole different type of guest. Spring, Autumn and Winter is the favourite time for sports enthusiasts and fitness fans to visit. And, few places on the Mediterranean have an offer complete like active Šibenik.

Outside of the peak season, the stunning nature that surrounds Šibenik is free from the bustle of visitors. Cyclists and runners speed by unobstructed. Maybe they'll pass a couple of hikers enjoying the same trails and spectacular views?

St_Nicholas_Fortress.jpgSt Anthony's channel, St Nicholas Fortress and the cycle and walking path that reaches it via an island © Šibenik Tourist Board

In the evenings, during their rest time, active Šibenik's guests have the city's best hotels, restaurants and charming Old Town almost to themselves. They share the cafe, bar and restaurant terraces only with Šibenik residents, relaxing once more now the city is returned to them.

Key to Šibenik's year-round appeal for fitness and sport fans is the city's unique landscape. No place in Croatia has natural assets like Šibenik. It is surrounded on all sides by a remarkable and startlingly varied topography.

Firstly, between Šibenik city harbour and the open Adriatic is a long waterway – St. Anthony's Channel. It is bordered on either side by two huge stretches of wild nature. Then, at the rear of the town, elevated up from sea level and next to Barone Fortress, the area of Šubićevac. Here, the entrance to the vast Šubićevac Forest Park, much of it an untamed, natural landscape. Thirdly, the vast Krka National Park, which lies just 10 kilometres north-east of Šibenik

Active Šibenik: St Anthony's Channel

SibenikfromAnthony2.JPGSailboats and speed boats sharing St Anthony's channel © Marc Rowlands

An epic 2000 metre long waterway, St Anthony's Channel is both a gateway to the open sea and the entrance to the city for anyone sailing into Šibenik. It is 140 – 220 metres wide and is bordered on each side by near untouched Dalmatian nature. On one side, sheer cliffs for one wall of the channel. At the top, dense pine forests, walking, hiking and cycling trails. Also, the famous recreation site of Martinska.

cyclepathsib.JPGCycle paths of Šibenik © Marc Rowlands

On the opposite side of the channel, a very different layout of the land. Here, the pines are much lower and closer to the channel. Between the two, idyllic beaches - the best in Šibenik – line a pathway designated for running, walking and cycling. Those on bicycles drop down from small hills on the interior. After following the path at the side of the water, their ultimate reward is the spectacular St Nicholas' Fortress. On both sides of St Anthony's Channel you'll see incredible views of Šibenik, its harbour and the side opposite.

_MG_9430rygujtkr45.JPGCycling across a section of St Anthony's channel © Marc Rowlands

For those who prefer recreation on the water, St Anthony's Channel is perfect to explore by kayak. It's also one of the easiest ways to discover all of Šibenik's best beaches. Sticking close to the pine-sheltered coast, beautiful sailboats pass you in the centre of the channel, on their way to or from the city.

Active Šibenik: Šubićevac Forest Park

2019-07-24_1627_1.jpgView over Šibenik, with Šubićevac Forest Park at the rear of the city © Šibenik Tourist Board

To visitors, Šubićevac Forest Park is the least famous of all Šibenik's recreational areas. A huge stretch of forestland, much loved by city residents, it rises above the city near Barone Fortress. The section of forest closest to the Šubićevac is designated as a city park. Within this part, you'll find a children's playground, specially designed to be accessible to all, including children with special needs.

jusosibenik3.jpgEasily accessible section of Šubićevac Forest Park © Javna ustanova Športski objekti Šibenik

Throughout this section, designated paths for cycling and walking. Running to the southeast, a much larger area of near untouched forest. Here, a wilderness ripe for runners or hikers to explore. It's worth seeking out the tiny Church of St Michael here.

jusosibenik2.jpgPaths through forest wilderness © Javna ustanova Športski objekti Šibenik

Residents say the very best views of Šibenik come from Šubićevac Forest Park. Certainly, they are breathtaking.

jusosibenik1.jpgThe best views over the city? It's a tough one to call - Šibenik has many contenders © Javna ustanova Športski objekti Šibenik

Active Šibenik: Krka National Park

otok-visovac.jpgIsland in Krka National Park © Šibenik Tourist Board

A series of wide pools, fed by cascading waterfalls, Krka is one of Croatia’s best known and most spectacular National Parks. Famous water features like the unforgettable Skradinski Buk dominate the park's postcard images. You'll find it near the park's most southerly entrance, very close to Šibenik. But, beyond this eye-catching introduction lies a further 109 square kilometers of spectacular National Park to discover. The best way to experience it is by walking, hiking or cycling.

vidikovacgoris02jpg.jpgCountless captivating viewpoints © Krka National Park

Hiking and walking trails of Krka National Park

lozovac01jpg.jpgWalking and hiking trails © Krka National Park

The park's hiking and walking trails give you the most thrilling views of this epic landscape and its wealth of flora and fauna. At the side of the trails, educational panels detailing the plants and animals you pass.

kljucica05jpg.jpgEpic landscape © Krka National Park

There are three circular trails: Skradinski buk (1900 m), Roški Slap (1360 m) and Krka Monastery (2100 m). A walking/cycling trail also leads to Skradinski buk from the Skradin bridge (3400 m), while from Lozovac, it is possible to take a forest trail (875 m) down to the park's longest waterfall.

roskislap10jpg.jpgWalking over waterfalls © Krka National Park

The shortest trail is 300 m long and leads to Bilušića buk, while the longest trail is Stinice-Roški slap-Oziđana pećina and covers 8.5 kilometres. In total, there are 7 spectacular waterfalls to find as the river Krka descends through the park.

Cycling routes of Krka National Park

vidikovac.jpegBreathtaking views on the cycling and walking routes © Krka National Park

Bicycling through Krka National Park is a journey of endless enjoyment. If your perfect cycling route offers stunning landscapes, then this is the place for you. But, if you're curious to learn about the park's cultural and historical heritage, then cycling also helps you unlock these park secrets.

mostrokislap.jpgCycling © Krka National Park

No less than fourteen cycling routes crisscross the park. They are divided into three types:

Road route - perfect for racing bikes and dedicated cyclists

Trekking & family route - a mixture of paved roads and gravel paths, perfect for city bikes, mountain bikes, families with children and cyclists of any age and ability.

Mountain biking route – a mixture of gravel paths and unarranged forest paths, with sharp ascents and descents, designed for mountain bike enthusiasts in good physical condition and with advanced cycling skills.

tonkaijaskradin.jpegCycling above Skradin © Krka National Park

Šibenik zipline

On the northeast corner of the park, stretching across an epic canyon, one of Croatia's most thrilling ziplines. Flying from cliffs hundreds of metres above, so vast is the canyon that you can barely see the thrillseekers at the end of the first line. And, after that, there are still another two to go!

For more information and/or booking any of these activities, visit/contact Šibenik Tourist Board here

For more on great things to do in Šibenik, be sure to check Total Croatia News's dedicated pages here

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.

21868215_10156015116624410_555677073_o.jpgOmiš © Senka Vlahović

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

201251368_4090729184298801_2977464117068100083_n.jpgBrela © Vice Rudan Photography

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.

146254804_3715045301867193_3511865349649961953_n.jpgBrela © Vice Rudan Photography

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

206836234_4119940851377634_8129877583474515472_n.jpgMakarska © Vice Rudan Photography

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.

236899549_4251621594876225_9066465384493055383_n.jpgMakarska © Vice Rudan Photography

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

238640369_4621303521236055_2517203873394563661_n.jpgSeptember holidays in Croatia: Primošten © Jeremiasz Gadek

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).

236335331_3062014214034876_6848389841683692665_n.jpgAs shown above, beautiful Jezera @druckerroman

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

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

48 Hours in Šibenik: Fortress, Museum, Krka National Park with Šibenik Card

August 4, 2021 – Allowing free entrance to the city's best sights, plus discounts on everything from restaurants, activities, accommodation and a National Park, you can unlock the UNESCO city for less with Šibenik Card.

No fewer than 200 of Croatia's islands lie off the coast of Šibenik city and the wider Šibenik-Knin County. These are some of the very best waters for sailing in Croatia. Also, less than half an hour away, one of the most famous music festival sites in Europe (not to mention one of the best open-air nightclubs in the world).

Thousands of visitors pass within striking distance of Šibenik. Everyone has heard of the famous city – its famous fortresses, its Michelin-starred restaurant (Pelegrini), its Old Town, its UNESCO cathedral and its well-known events. There are countless reasons why anyone on holiday nearby should definitely make a stop in Šibenik. And, now there's one more.

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Šibenik Card is a VIP passport to the city's best attractions. From the city's UNESCO Heritage Sites and Fortresses to Museums and boat trips, you'll get free entrance to many of the city's must-see destinations with Šibenik Card. Even greater is the discount offer that Šibenik Card also carries. Bargain price visits to Krka National Park, activities like canoeing, kayaking and cycling, restaurants even accommodation are included in the Šibenik Card discount scheme.

In fact, there are so many great things to see and do in Šibenik, you'd be well advised to set aside a long weekend or at least 48 hours if you want to truly discover this magical, reinvented city. Here's a suggested itinerary for two days in the city and how you can make the tour with the Šibenik card.

Šibenik Card: Day 1

8am: Cycling / Kayaking / Windsurfing in Šibenik

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There are several great activities you can do if you want to get to know the geography of Šibenik. Kayaking will let you see the shoreline from close up. Windsurfing gives a wider perspective on the channel, not that you'll have much time for idly spectating on this thrilling ride. Taking a cycling tour between the city and either of the peninsula's between the centre and the open Adriatic is seriously one of the very best things to do in Šibenik. Amazing!

If you're visiting in summer, plan such activities for early in the morning, or late in the afternoon. Certainly, you can do activities during the strongest hours of summer sunshine in Šibenik – just make sure to apply generous amounts of high factor sunblock (a hat is also a good idea!). Alternatively, why not visit Šibenik for a long weekend in May, September or October. These months hold perfect warm, sunny days in which you can enjoy the great outdoors all day.

You receive 20% discount on all these activities with your Šibenik Card.

10.30am: Circle Boat Line / St. Nicholas Fortress

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After getting your blood circulating first thing in the morning, you deserve to sit back, relax and let someone else do the work. There are few better ways to do this in Šibenik than on a boat. Why not take the Circle boat line? It's completely free with your Šibenik Card and it will allow you to cross all of the key points of the city's waterfront without ever going near a road. You can get on and off as many times as you like with your Šibenik card.

Alternatively, if you want to get acquainted with one of Šibenik's two UNESCO Heritage Sites, why not take the boat tour to St. Nicholas Fortress? You'll never have seen anything like it before. The photos are impressive enough, but they really don't depict the full offer. Not only are the fortress guides among the best in the city, but also there's a fascinating augmented reality aspect awaiting when you arrive.

You receive 20% discount on a guided tour of St. Nicholas Fortress with your Šibenik Card, including return boat trip from the city centre and down St. Anthony's channel.

1pm: Lunch

Some of Šibenik's best bars and restaurants offer generous discounts from your bill on the Šibenik Card, including;

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Restoran Mendula, Ul. kralja Tomislava 15 A

SHE bio bistro, Zlarinski pro. 2

Bistro i kavana Pucalina, Ulica kralja Tomislava 9

-15%

Bistro Luce & Brigita, Obala dr. Franje Tuđmana 10A

-10%

Restoran Stari Grad, Obala dr. Franje Tuđmana 7

Restoran Pjat, Trg Pavla Šubića I 3

Pub & Wine bar Scala, Put Gimnazije 5

Restoran Peškarija, Obala palih omladinaca 10A

Restoran Stari Grad, Obala dr. Franje Tuđmana

2.30pm: Šibenik City Museum

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Perhaps one of the most understated parts of the city offer, Šibenik City Museum holds fascinating exhibits of pottery, tools and architecture. You can trace the history of the peoples, culture and even the cuisine of those who've lived in the Šibenik area for millennia.

Free admission with Šibenik Card.

3.15pm: Civitas Sacra Museum

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This cool and interactive museum tells the tale of the long and revolutionary construction of Šibenik's St. James Cathedral. Still very much a focal point of the city's Catholic worship, this museum is the best place to learn about the cathedral without intruding on solemn worship and attendance. It's the perfect place to visit in preparation for seeing the real thing up close.

Free admission with Šibenik Card.

4pm: St. James Cathedral

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A UNESCO World Heritage site, Cathedral of St. James is a Renaissance masterpiece that took a century to build. On its facade are 71 different sculpted faces, said to be former residents of the town or contributors to the building. Try to look at as many as you can. You might be very surprised to see how some of Šibenik's former residents looked! After you've taken in the brilliant white exterior, prepare your senses for the celebration of colour inside.

Free admission with Šibenik Card.

5.30pm: Šibenik Old Town

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One of the greatest pleasures of a visit to Šibenik is an unhurried walk around its Old Town. It is an incredibly atmospheric place, with countless unique winding alleys and stone stairways. Keep a look out for some fascinating architecture on your journey.

Unlike some ancient architecture in Croatia, the walls of Šibenik Old Town are completely free to walk around.

7pm: St Michael's Fortress

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The first of Šibenik's fortresses to be renovated, St Michael's Fortress is one of the most iconic buildings in the city. Few pieces of architecture represent Šibenik better than this. Inside the fortress, you'll walk through floor-to-ceiling displays and find out about the former life of the fortress and its residents. From the roof, you'll enjoy spectacular views of the entire city, the Old Town and St. Anthony's channel. In the height of summer, this view is best enjoyed in the morning - before it becomes too hot - or at sunset. Unforgettable, as is catching a music, dance or culture event in 1000-seat theatre that now sits atop St Michael's.

Free admission with Šibenik Card.

8.00pm: Šibenik events

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Throughout the whole year, Šibenik is alive with events. Depending on when you visit, you might find gastro festivals and cultural discussions in city parks, Children's processions through winding stone streets, dance festivals on public squares, incredible traditional and classical music performances and animation films projected on large screens in the heart of the city. Locals and visitors alike gather on the streets to enjoy. This is a city where some of the best culture takes place outside. And you're warmly invited to join in.

Šibenik's street events are all completely free.

9.00pm: Dinner

Dinner discounts are the same as those at lunch within restaurants accepting the Šibenik Card (see above).

11pm: A great night's sleep

You can get discounts at some of the city's very best accommodation offers with , including rooms to suit every budget or necessity. They include;

Amadria Park Resort 4* – 10% discount with Šibenik Card

Superior City Hotel Bellevue 4* – 15% discount with Šibenik Card

Heritage Hotel Life Palace 4* – 15% discount with Šibenik Card

D-Resort Šibenik 4* – 15% regular rooms, 20% accessible rooms

Hostel Scala – 10% discount with Šibenik Card

Šibenik Card: Day 2

8am: Krka National Park

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7 magical waterfalls, boat rides to island monasteries, Neolithic caves, Roman heritage, an eco-ethno village, freshwater swimming, traditional cuisine, wildlife, spectacular nature, hiking and cycling trails. You could spend a week exploring Krka National Park and not get tired of the landscape or its offer. Unmissable.

20% discount at each of the Krka National Park entrances, throughout the whole year, with Šibenik Card.

1.30pm: Lunch

Back to the city for lunch in one of the restaurants accepting Šibenik Card.

3pm: Aquarium and Terrarium

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Discover the world of Adriatic fish and plants as well as some tropical varieties. This is the perfect place to escape the heat of a midsummer afternoon.

Free with Šibenik Card

4pm: Šibenik Zip Line

Race across the spectacular scenery of the Cikola River Canyon, on the edge of Krka National Park, on Šibenik Zip Line. You'll run along a course of three separate lines, suspended hundreds of metres above the canyon floor. Thrillseekers will not be disappointed.

20% discount with Šibenik Card

5.30pm: Shopping in Šibenik

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Searching for souvenirs from your time in Croatia? Looking to take back home something unique, handcrafted or locally designed? Want to pick up some nice new sunglasses for the rest of your holiday? There's nowhere better than the big city for shopping. A wide range of city stores and services offer discount with Šibenik Card. They include

Optika Glavadanovic –20%

Deni Design –20%

Gallery Juraj Dalmatinac –20%

Souvenir Shop Skrinjica –20%

Lana Art Gallery –20%

8.00pm: Barone Fortress

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The most recently renovated of all Šibenik's fortresses (although, there's one more on the way!), Barone Fortress is unique in several ways. Firstly, it currently holds the most advanced augmented reality section of all the city fortresses. These vividly unlock the history of the building and the city. Secondly, this is the highest and furthest back of all the forts. As a result, the views you get from Barone are breathtaking, not least the sunset. Enjoy it with a glass of wine from the cool bar you'll find on the fortress top.

Free entrance with Šibenik Card

9.30pm: Dinner

Back to the city centre for dinner in one of the restaurants accepting Šibenik Card.

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11pm: Romantic walk by moonlight along Šibenik waterfront, the perfect end to 48 hours in Šibenik.

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You can buy Šibenik Card at:

Slaptours/Avalon Agency, Obala hrvatske mornarice 1, Šibenik.

Civitas Sacra, Interpretation Centre of the Cathedral of St. James, Kralja Tomislava 10, Šibenik.

Amadria Park Šibenik.

Souvenir shops in Amadria Park hotels.

Šibenik Tourist Board office, Tourist Information Center, Fausta Vrančića 18, or Obala palih omladinaca 3, Šibenik.

Vinoplod Winery Shop, Velimira Škorpika 2, Šibenik.

CoWorking space – Trokut Šibenik, Velimira Škorpika 7, Šibenik.

Or you can download a digital version to most phones here

Single card: 140 kn (approximately 19 €)

Family card - 2 adults, any number of children: 340 kn (approximately 45 €)

All photos © Šibenik Tourist Board or Marc Rowlands

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Šibenik Features in Season 6 of Below Deck Mediterranean!

June 30th, 2021 - The most-watched American reality series Below Deck Mediterranean, which was filmed last year in Croatia in the Šibenik area, started showing on popular cable television Bravo TV, said Iva Bahunek, head of the Croatian Tourist Board in Los Angeles.

"The show will last at least 16 weeks, which is the perfect time period for additional promotion of Croatia. Namely, this is the period when Americans most often book their trips for next year, and an additional benefit is the fact that this series is shown in other countries as well. The production team assessed that of all the seasons so far, the most attractive and most interesting is the season filmed in Croatia, which is even more pleasing," Bahunek pointed out, adding that this was the first Hollywood production to be filmed entirely and without interruption over the past year outside the U.S. during the global pandemic.

HTZ reports that this popular American reality show is broadcast on the Bravo TV network, one of the most-watched American cable televisions, which in 2020 recorded a large increase in "on-demand viewing", with 427 million, as well as 222 million "live broadcasts". The concept of the series includes following the professional and private lives of the crew and their guests on mega yachts, and so far a total of 15 seasons of this reality series have been filmed, consisting of three separate units: Below Deck, which is filmed in tropical destinations, then Below Deck Mediterranean, which is filmed in the Mediterranean, and the latest variant of the Below Deck Sailing Yacht, which, unlike other variants of the series, is filmed on large sailboats.

Many American viewers of Bravo TV, before the start of the Below Deck Mediterranean broadcast, were able to enjoy the beauties of Croatia, more precisely of Split through the broadcast of the Below Deck Sailing Yacht 2 franchise.

And even cooler news? 

Most of the Below Deck Mediterranean Season 6 crew visited the Break Time shop in Split, shortly after filming for the season ended in Šibenik!

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"We got to hang out with them a bit in our VIP area upstairs and we are now so excited to find out what adventures they had aboard M/Y Lady Michelle together, in the weeks before they came to Split," said Break Time. You can read more about it here!

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

To follow the latest travel updates, follow TCN's dedicated page

Friday, 28 May 2021

In Love With the Frozen Moment: Meet Tonka Lokas From Šibenik

May 28, 2021 - Sometimes, the best way to learn, discover or connect with a Croatian city is through photography. And not just with drones, but also from a more humane and honest point of view. A great example is through the eyes and lens of Tonka Lokas, a talented and promising 23-year-old photographer from Šibenik. 

Sometimes I wish I could brag about a past where, as a child, I discovered through a game or a hobby something that would eventually develop into a passion or professional interest. This is the case of many painters who began by scribbling on the walls, singers who won first places in school competitions, or novelists who wrote letters to their college sweethearts. But that wasn’t my case.

In an unsafe city, I grew up within four walls for protection. Don't get me wrong, all my childhood memories were fond and I constantly look back to make sure of it. How? Surely the box full of photographs that are at my parent’s house plays an important role there. Photography, in general. But you will see later that I am not the best one to explain why.

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I say this because I believe that being in contact, from a very young age, with everything that surrounds you and moves, is stimulating. See how people interact in the street, how the other children play in the park, listen to what a couple of old men are talking on a bench, wander through the market stands on a Sunday morning... a lot to deconstruct in our little heads. But again, that wasn’t my case.

I’ve been living in Croatia for less than two years, and photography has helped me connect with a country that I am still trying to decipher and get to know better. And like me, every day I saw dozens of tourists or foreign students walking through the streets of Rijeka, Split, and Zagreb with a camera under their arms, capturing moments, people, expressions, scenes... it helps us to interpret what is around us, and later it facilitates the communication process with those we love.

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But I also thought that it would be incredible to be able to learn more about a country or a city through the eyes of a person who grew up next to that place. And that’s the story of Tonka Lokas, from Šibenik.

A few months ago, I decided to share my photos on my Instagram account. I did not generate the impact that I expected, but I felt curious about learning more from the people who started following me. Especially those based in Croatia, hoping that through their pictures I could learn more about this country and maybe find some inspiration. And that’s how I discovered Tonka Lokas, a 23-year-old nurse, born and raised in the historical Dalmatian city of Šibenik, and her unique way of observing her city through a lens.

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Tonka Lokas, from Šibenik

I immediately felt captivated with her photographs, since it is exactly the perspective with which I like to observe what happens in the street every day. It is true that on many occasions we involuntarily criticize everything that doesn’t suit our artistic preferences, but I think that as far as sitting and reflecting if a photograph is good or not, I prefer to think that each one of them serves a purpose. Even if that purpose is to get more likes.

And it is that, in recent years, most of the photographs that I see about Croatia are those taken from the point of view of a bird with a drone. And that’s fine! But it’s just one way to see it. I felt, honestly, that people were ignored. And this is not just in Croatia, but I believe it’s happening all around the world. Tourism? Sure. That’s the purpose, of course. There's so much to enjoy and discover through our own eyesight. Let’s never forget about the richness of the human factor within the culture. In this particular case, I saw a purpose to tell certain stories that we tend to ignore or pay no attention to when we walk from one place to another in our town or city.

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I was pleased to meet a different set of eyes. Ones that observed humanity, emotions, stories, relationships… Almost as if the photographs were taken with them, with each blink. A personal observation through the ancient streets of Šibenik, those that Tonka has been walking since she was very little and that now she photographs with her camera. It seemed to me like an incredible opportunity to learn more about her amazing life story and the city of Šibenik through her words, but especially, through her lens.

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Tonka lives in a little apartment with her boyfriend Božo, their baby girl named Marica, and many, many cacti, which in fact she loves a lot. I was surprised to learn that Tonka did not study or is currently studying photography, as I had initially thought. Instead, she graduated from medical school, majoring as a nurse. However, photography has indeed been part of her life as she grew up.

What memories do you have from your childhood? Is there any connection between it and your photography? Are they any photographers in your family?

My childhood was filled with games and fun, especially because of the international children’s festival that takes place in my city every year. I discovered photography while attending one of the festival's workshops. My family had a little digital Sony camera and I always played with it. That workshop helped me to learn how to use the camera properly, at least as much as I managed to learn at the age of 10. And so began the love of the frozen moment. There were no professional photographers in my family, but my uncle was our family photographer and because of him we have a lot of childhood pictures.

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Are you studying, or did you study photography?

I am not studying photography, but I plan to go to Zagreb for a photography course this fall, so I will see what opportunities will open up for me after that.

When did you first realize that photography was your passion?

I think I became aware of that in high school because that’s when I got a little Lumix camera from an old photographer. Exploring all the buttons and settings made me happy and I learned something new every day. I was constantly annoying my friends by taking their pictures, but I have to thank them for putting up with all my ideas and supporting me in the beginning.

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It is well said that photographers are artists just like a painter, an actor, or a composer. But why did you choose photography? How does it help you express what you see and feel?

Art is something that makes us alive. For me, any expression of thoughts and feelings is art. As a child, I loved to look at photos and ask my parents to tell me what happened and what they talked about on the day it was taken. The background story of the photo is still my main concern/topic while talking about photography.  

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How would you describe your photos? What are you trying to tell the world through them?

My first solo exhibition was called ”Notice”. I could even say that this title is my motto in photography. I want to show people what they miss while staring at cell phones or walk with their heads down. I want to convey the emotion of people who know how to be both happy and sad but are equally beautiful. Every person has a different smile, wrinkles, worries... Every person tells their story, although I don't know the life stories of all these people, I like to imagine myself and I give that freedom to everyone who looks at my photos. You don't have to be a child to be able to fantasize.

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Most photographers that are from, and those who come to Croatia, see it as the ideal place for landscape pictures, sunsets, drone photography… but you seem to be more interested in people. How come?

Croatia is a beautiful country and it sure does get photographed a lot nowadays. I don't mind seeing other people's photos of nature, sunsets, landscapes... but when I find myself in nature I enjoy it as intended, without a camera. Ok, occasionally I capture a sunset or two.

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Your pictures are mostly from Šibenik. What makes it different from other Croatian cities?

Šibenik is my small town, full of great and creative people and artists. I know it's every stone and street and I love it's every single corner. I grew up there and I plan to stay there. 

 ''Every person tells their story, although I don't know the life stories of all these people, I like to imagine myself and I give that freedom to everyone who looks at my photos. You don't have to be a child to be able to fantasize''.

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Being a photographer, where do you see yourself in 10 years? Would you like to work as an independent photographer, work for a magazine, agency…?

In 10 years from now? I dream of having a space dedicated to teaching young people and children about photography and doing workshops. I'm afraid that true photography fades slightly due to technology and high-end cameras on mobile phones. It's all great, don't get me wrong, but we take it as given, and I like to see it as something more. That's what I'd like to show to those younger generations; a love of cameras and developed photographs.

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Nowadays, we see that most pictures shared through social media stand out for their bright and saturated colors. Why are you choosing the black and white format?

For me, black and white photography has a soul. And it all revolves around the imagination and emotion I want to convey. Talking about street photography, where everything is full of colors, we can say it's difficult for photo viewers to dig the emotion I experienced taking that photo. People are easily attracted to color, and maybe I’m just in love with a colorless world where we’re all equal.

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How is a day in your life? Do you prepare yourself exclusively to take photos when going out? Or do you wear your camera as an accessory and it happens spontaneously?

I always carry a camera on my shoulder. I stop in one place, look around and catch spontaneity in people. We are most honest when we do not know that someone is taking our picture.

Who are your main photography references?

I strongly rely on a feeling while taking photos, so I can't say I look up to anyone in particular. But some of my favorite photographers are Bruce Gilden, Lee Friedlander, and Diana Arbus.

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What are your short-term plans as a Croatian photographer? Are you currently working on a project? Are you planning on traveling?

My next plan is to realize an exhibition that I have been thinking of for quite some time. And of course, to learn, work and thrive in the photographic world. I love to travel, but because of the Covid situation, we all have to be a little more patient.

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Besides photography, how would you describe your life in Croatia? What else do you like to do?

Life in Croatia is beautiful and relaxed. As young people, we have a lot of options to travel. My boyfriend and I travel a lot. Lately, it's mostly around Croatia, let's say once a month. Our goal is to visit as many islands as possible and of course the entire Dalmatian coast. We are Dalmatians and winter is not very dear to us, so we haven't started touring eastern Croatia yet. 

I work as an emergency ambulance nurse and I love my job very much. As hard as the job is, at the end of the day it’s nice to know you’ve helped someone! 

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I believe that photographers like Tonka Lokas are living proof that documentary photography or street photography can still tell us thousands of stories every day in a city. I could not count the times that I have made excuses to believe that it is impossible: I do not have the camera I need, I should buy more lenses, due to the pandemic I do not know what photos I could take, maybe this city is not interesting enough... but the Images of this young photographer from Sibenik revive an inspiring phrase that I often hear from time to time: ''If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff''. Sometimes that's all it takes: paying attention.

If you want to see and learn more about Tonka’s amazing photography work and upcoming projects, you can do so by following her on her Instagram account.

You can learn more about what Šibenik can offer you on your next trip in Total Croatia’s Šibenik on a page, HERE. Total Croatia’s articles are now available in your language!

For more on art and culture in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated lifestyle page.

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Unique and UNESCO: The Fascinating and Futuristic Fortresses of Šibenik

May 12, 2021 – Using vivid modern techniques like 3D mapping and augmented reality, each of the Fortresses of Šibenik is unique. Here, we take a closer look at these fascinating, must-visit venues.

The city of Šibenik is surrounded by some of the most distinctive waters in Dalmatia. To the city's northeast, the great Krka river drops over gushing waterfalls, meeting Cikola river in the epic Krka National Park. Thereafter, it flows first into Lake Prokljan, then the bay of Šibenik. Around the water's edge in Šibenik, people enjoying in bars and restaurants. Or, in warmer months, sunbathing and swimming in the sea.

in_the_Channel_of_St._Ante.jpgThe Channel of St. Ante, with the City of Šibenik in the background and St. Nikola's Fortress in the foreground @ TZ Šibenik.

And yet, these special waters are not the only thing that makes Šibenik unique. There's much more to this city than just the sea. Not least, the unique Fortresses of Šibenik.

Actually, it's not that unusual to find a fortress, castle or fortifications in Croatian cities. After all, for several hundred years, this was the frontline of European defense against the invading Ottoman empire. However, Šibenik is unique within the entire Balkan region to have not one, but four fortresses from that era. Not only are they very well preserved, but also they have been completely renovated and thoroughly modernized.

Surprising multimedia and fascinating digital content now combine with fantastic views and unique architecture to draw visitors to the Fortresses of Šibenik. Subsequently, the four Fortresses of Šibenik now make up an unmissable part of any visit to the city.

Fortresses of Šibenik: St. Michael's Fortress


REFoto_izvor_Tvrava_kulture_6.jpgFortresses of Šibenik: St. Michael's Fortress @ TZ Šibenik.

The oldest of the four fortresses of Šibenik, iconic St. Michael's is today known as one of the most prestigious open-air concert stages on this side of the Adriatic. But, it also a place where you can learn fascinating history via spectacular modern technology. Deep within the fortress, 3D mapping techniques make 15th-century water tanks spring to life. This vivid display will transport you through centuries of exciting Šibenik history, including the story of St. Michael and the dragon.

Foto_izvor_Tvrava_kulture_3.jpgVivid multimedia trails through the Fortresses of Šibenik @ TZ Šibenik.

Fortresses of Šibenik: Barone Fortress


reFoto_izvor_Tvrava_kulture_14.jpgBarone Fortress @ TZ Šibenik.

The latest of the four Fortresses of Šibenik to be renovated, in Barone Fortress you get a whole new dimension of reality. Actually, Barone Fortress successfully repelled the fiercest attacks of the Ottomans in the 17th century and therefore changed the course of history in this area. Via augmented reality (AR), you can relive the sights and sounds of these key moments in European history. After the thrill of experiencing the battles, you'd be well advised to take a breather on the Barone Bar’s terrace. There, you can enjoy views of the entire city, while any younger visitors can have fun on the children’s playground.

REEEFoto_izvor_Tvrava_kulture_4.jpgVivid multimedia trails through the Fortresses of Šibenik @ TZ Šibenik.

Fortresses of Šibenik: St. Nikola's Fortress


REPHOTO_2.jpgFortresses of Šibenik: The UNESCO-protected St. Nikola's Fortress @ TZ Šibenik.

Within the Fortresses of Šibenik, St. Nicholas is unique. Not only is it the only one that sits on its own island within the sea, but also is a unique Renaissance-style Venetian fortification. As such, it is protected as a UNESCO monument of world architectural heritage.

The fortress was built on the island of Ljuljevac, in the Channel of St. Ante, where the waters of Šibenik bay meet the Adriatic. Owing to its protected status, the best way to access the fortress is on an official tour. Lasting around two hours, the tour takes you from Šibenik down the channel by boat. After arriving at the fortress, you're guided rounded the structure on a tour detailing the architectural highlights and history.

NickySibenik_Aerial_100.jpgFortresses of Šibenik: The UNESCO-protected St. Nikola's Fortress @ TZ Šibenik.

Fortresses of Šibenik: St. John's Fortress


johntvrdavasvivan04.jpgSt. John's Fortress @ TZ Šibenik.

The medieval church of St. John the Baptist that once stood on a hill, north of Šibenik's historical centre, dates to at least 1444. It is around this church that St. John's Fortress rose up. Naturally, it's also where the name comes from. In early 1646, when it was speedily built, alongside its peers, it helped save the city from the Ottomans. Later, it continued to be used by resident armies all the way up until the times of Yugoslavia. Today, St. John's is the last of the Fortresses of Šibenik to be undergoing reconstruction. Its completion is imminent and its official reopening is planned for September 2021.

Three of the Fortresses of Šibenik are included in the pan-European Fortresses of FORTITUDE project, which links significant sites in Croatia to some in Montenegro and Bosnia. If you want to know more about that project - and learn a little more about the history of some Šibenik fortresses, then look here.

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, 30 November 2020

PHOTOS: The Seven Fantastic Fortresses of FORTITUDE

November 30, 2020 - Fortress of Culture Šibenik has this year begun leading a cross-border heritage project involving seven of the most incredible historic forts on the Balkan peninsula. FORTITUDE joins together three Šibenik strongholds with fortresses in Karlovac (Croatia), Bar and Herceg Novi (Montenegro) and Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Here, we take a look at the adventurous project and each of its seven fortresses

Last week in Šibenik, a meeting was held to discuss how seven historic forts should be linked thematically in the EU-sponsored FORTITUDE project. Over 1.6 Million Euros is being put into the project, of which 85 percent is co-financed by the EU's Interreg IPA CBC Croatia - Bosnia and Herzegovina - Montenegro.

FORTITUDE is being led by Fortress of Culture Šibenik, under which the city's St. Michael's Fortress, Barone Fortress and St. John's Fortress will be run. They join with Old Town of Dubovac in Karlovac (Croatia), Forte Mare, Herceg Novi and the Old City of Bar (Montenegro) and Kastel Fortress, Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in the FORTITUDE project, which aims to strengthen and diversify the cross-border culture and tourist offer, as well as develop high quality and sustainable management of these cultural assets.

Though running from 1st March 2020 - 28th February 2022, FORTITUDE will leave permanent links between these incredible, historic places, not least the annual Fortress Night and the sharing of cultural programmes such as exhibitions, festivals or even entertainers.

As Total Croatia News has just shone the spotlight on The 21 Most Incredible Croatia Castles To See Year-Round, we thought it only fair to pay attention to the seven fantastic forts of FORTITUDE

St. Michael's Fortress, Šibenik (Croatia)
Kaštel_s_TanajeDobarSkroz.jpg© Dobar Skroz

The oldest of the three fortresses in Šibenik's contribution to the FORTIFICATION project, St. Michael's is also the most famous, not least for its historical importance, its prominence in the city skyline and its beloved standing as a cultural event space of international repute. Medieval Croatian kings Petar Krešimir IV (in 1066), Zvonimir (in 1078), and Stjepan II (in 1080) all made official and lasting visits here. They probably enjoyed seeing the incredible building upon approach to the city, and the incredible views offered from its walls, in much the same way we do today. Several islands of the Šibenik archipelago and the medieval town form the vista from the top.

tvrdava-sv-mihovila-sibenik-2fortressofculture.jpg© Fortress of Culture Šibenik

Most of St. Michael's preserved ramparts and fortress bastions date from the late Middle Ages and Early Modern Age, but this original settlement can be dated back to the Iron Age. Named after St Michael's church which once lay within its walls, some estimate the church to date as far back as the 8th century (its first official mention is the 12th/13th century). Sadly, the church, along with a large part of St. Michael's Fort, was destroyed in 1663 when lightning hit the store of gunpowder necessarily kept there for its defence. St. Michael's Fortress has been rebuilt many times since it was first founded and a great multimedia museum inside will guide you through its history. Afterward, take advantage of the sun-sheltered bar.

Tvrđava-sv.-Mihovila-Šibenik-(6)_JU_Tvrdava_kultre_Sibenik_2.jpgSt. Michael's Fortress is a host venue to internationally renowned music stars and festivals © Fortress of Culture Šibenik

Barone Fortress, Šibenik (Croatia)
LadyIvyBarone_izgradnja-43.jpegBarone Fortress © Lady Ivy

Named after the defender under whose control it lay upon its 1646 build, Baron Christoph von Degenfeld, modern attempts to more Croatian-ise this fortification as Šubićevac - using the name of a local medieval family - are largely observed only domestically. The fortress was given a more modern rebuild in 1659 – at the time it was so badly needed, its walls had probably been hurriedly built in the same way as those of a shepherd's grazing plot. The northern facade of the fortress was the part used to repel the invaders and is marked by two bastions that extend outwards, allowing returning fire to be issued in multiple directions. These bastions were reinforced with mounds and contained all of the artillery for the fight. The fortress was renovated and reopened in 2016 and today uses multimedia tools to guide visitors through its history and that of the town of Šibenik. There are great views of Šibenik and St. Michael's Fortress from the walls.

View_of_St._Michael_Fortress_from_Barone.jpegView of St. Michael's Fortress from Barone Fortress © Zvone00

St. John's Fortress, Šibenik (Croatia)
AnyConv.com__Tanaja_s_Baronea.jpegSt. John's Fortress © DobarSkroz

The medieval church of St. John the Baptist that stood on a hill, north of Šibenik's historical centre, dates to at least 1444. It is around this church that St. John's Fortress rose up. Naturally, it's also where the name comes from. In early 1646, when it was speedily built, its contemporary construction helped save the entire town. The population vastly outnumbered and the fortress not even complete, between late 1646 and the end of 1647, St. John's Fortress served as the main - and successful – defence against the largest invading army to have been seen in Dalmatia since Roman times. After the Yugoslavian army stopped using it, St. John's Fortress became somewhat neglected – locals enjoying to visit on a wild walk with incredibly rewarding views. It has lagged behind the city's other such assets in its state of repair, but incredible effort to address such neglect has been undertaken in recent years and the revitalised St. John's Fortress is set to open in 2021.

AnyConv.com__Tanaja_sa_sv._Ane.jpegView of St. John's Fortress from St. Michael's © DobarSkroz

Old Town of Dubovac, Karlovac (Croatia)
karlovac-dubovac-optimizirano-za-web-ivo-biocina.jpg© Ivo Biocina / Visit Karlovac

The Old Town of Dubovac is one of the best-preserved and most beautiful monuments of medieval architecture in Croatia. Although the architectural style is a dead giveaway to such dating, you struggle to believe such a pristine building it really so old – not least because, as a defensive fortress, it has been attacked many times. This fortress is the ancestor of the entire city of Karlovac. Nobody is quite sure when construction of the original fortification was begun, but it was certainly standing by the 13th century. Its Renaissance appearance of today comes from a 15th-century reconstruction. The fortress stands 185 metres above sea level on the western side of Karlovac and overlooks the Kupa – one of the city's four rivers.

VisitKarlovacDub.jpg© Visit Karlovac

The fortress has a permanent museum in its main tower, which details the history and fascinating, notable ownerships. One of its best features is a map of the ancient terrain detailing all of the other castles and fortresses that once existing in the region along the same defensive line of which the Old Town of Dubovac was a part. The tower holds incredible views. The ground floor of the fortress has a brilliant restaurant 0 arguably the best standard of food that has ever been served within its walls (and that's saying something, considering the dignitaries who used to live here). The courtyard plays host to art & crafts, gastro and other social events – best of all, perhaps, the music concerts and cinema screenings which take place with the looming, citadel walls gifting an incredibly atmospheric backdrop.

1280px-Stari_grad_Dubovac_-_Karlovac_2Miro.jpg© Miroslav.vajdic

Forte Mare, Herceg Novi (Montenegro)
BigMareH.jpeg© TZ Herceg Novi

Forte Mare, meaning literally Sea Fortress, is appropriately named as it sits impressively on top of a rock which rises directly above the Adriatic. It was once the epicentre of life in the town today known as Herceg Novi, the modern town lying just to its north. Construction of the fortress began in 1382 under the first King of Bosnia, Stefan Tvrtko I Kotromanić, and was originally named Sveti Stefan (Saint Stephen). It acquired the name Herceg Novi some time between 1435–1483 and continued to grow as a town and structure until the 17th century and was restored in 1833.

HercegMare5a78f3015bd19286b33c65657114fc4_2_XL.jpg© TZ Herceg Novi

Rather than ever being forgotten, the fortress is an integral part of the town's tourist offer and cultural life. Visitors love to see the narrow passageways that lie within the fortress, particularly the one which stretches from the upper fortress all the way down to the sea. The views are also fantastic – lying right at the start of the incredible Bay of Kotor, you can see the southernmost part of Croatia from the top. In warmer months, the site hosts fantastic events like open-air cinema.

FortMare95a78f3015bd19286b33c65657114fc4_XL.jpgIn this photo, you can see the screen of the outdoor cinema on the top of Forte Mare © TZ Herceg Novi

Stari Grad Bar (Montenegro)
AnyConv.com__Stari_Bar.jpgThe construction of FORTITUDE stronghold of Stari Grad Bar was probably started in response to attacks by the Pannonian Avars © Bojana Smiljanić

The Old City of Bar and its fortress actually lie several kilometres inland from the modern coastal city called Bar and sits on the Londša hill, at the foot of Mount Rumija. The modern city was constructed on the site of the port which served Stari Grad Bar, the relocation necessitated by the 1979 Montenegro earthquake which destroyed Stari Grad Bar's aqueduct. Parts of the wonderfully-arched aqueduct can still be seen today, as can the old city walls which form the fortress of Stari Grad Bar.

1280px-Aquaduct_in_Stari_Bar.jpgThe aqueduct in Stari Grad Bar © Dudva

The original fortifications are guessed to come from the times that Roaman-Illyrian people sought an urban refuge from the attacks of the Pannonian Avars between 568 to 626. Such people inhabited Bar until at least the 14th century, being joined by Slavic people until the city was a mixture of Catholic and Orthodox peoples at the point the Ottomans arrived. The city had been known for its builders and stonemasons, as well as the agriculture of its surroundings, and the unique architecture of Stari Grad Bar today attests to that. Even some of the singular, modern dwellings that lie in the now repopulated town seem to fit in with the stonework of much earlier centuries perhaps, in some cases, as forgotten parts of the old city were borrowed and put to contemporary use. Medieval streets and palaces still stand in the town. It is a fascinating place to visit.

1620px-Ruins_Stari_Bar2_Montenegrochenyingphoto.jpgSome of the fortifications of the fascinating Stari Grad Bar, the southernmost inclusion in the FORTITUDE project © chenyingphoto

Kastel Fortress, Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
TomasDamjanovicBanjalukaNKD136_Kastel_tvrava_Banjaluka.jpegKastel Fortress in Banja Luka, the only fortification from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the FORTITUDE project © Tomas Damjanovic

Sat on a small hill on the banks of the Vrbas river, at the exact point where the more minor Crkvena river flows into it, Kastel Fortress is one of the oldest inhabited parts of Banja Luka and one of the city's key tourist attractions. The fortress itself is medieval, built by the Ottomans, but is situated on the site of Roman fortifications. Archaeological excavations have proven people lived on this exact tract of land from at least the 13th millennium BC. From the year 1553, Banja Luka served as the seat of the Ottoman ruler of the region. Shortly thereafter (1580), it became the capital of the newly-formed Bosnia Eyalet, the most westerly administrative district of the Ottoman Empire.

Bosanski_pasaluk_1600-_godine.pngThe Bosnia Eyalet, of which Banja Luka and the FORTITUDE Kastel was the capital. The Ottoman territory stretched throughout much of modern-day Croatia © Armin Šupuk

It held this status through the entirety of the Eyalet's strongest period until 1683. During this period, the Eyalet included much of modern-day Croatia including, at its peak, most of Dalmatia, right the way up to Lika. After then following a similar path to today's border with Bosnia, it again encroached into today's Croatia, just east of Sisak, engulfing all of Slavonia.

__7SaaKnei.jpegFORTITUDE inclusion Kastel lies on the Vrbas river © Saša Knežić

The Ottomans used this site as an arsenal, its development as a fortress taking place between 1595-1603. It was reconstructed to become the fortress we see today between 1712 –1714 and it is said that around 1785 the fortress held some 50 cannons. It was used as a military site up to after World War II. The Kastel covers an area of 26,610 m2 inside the fortress walls and about 21,390 m2 outside the ramparts and it is dedicated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

SaaKnei__2.jpeg Kastel Fortress in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina © Saša Knežić

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