Friday, 24 March 2023

Success of Pozega-Slavonia County Proof that Planned Tourism Works

March 25, 2023 - Last year, a record increase in the number of overnight stays was recorded in the Pozega-Slavonia county, and the growth trend continues this year as well. New tourist apartments are being opened, and hotels built.

As Poslovni writes, the Pozega-Slavonia County is a hit among domestic and foreign guests, as confirmed by the excellent tourism results for last year. The county recorded the largest increase in the number of overnight stays, by more than 40 percent compared to the reference, in all of Croatia record 2019.

Most importantly, tourist numbers in Pozega-Slavonia County have been continuously growing. The county has for the past six years recorded double-digit growth every year, and it was chosen to host the recently held coordination of the Croatian Tourist Board with county tourist boards.

Kutjevo, the most famous wine town in Croatia, was chosen for the largest meeting of the system of tourist boards - attended by the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Brnjac, the director of the Croatian Tourist Board Kristjan Staničić, the prefect of the Pozega-Slavonia County Antonija Jozić, as well as the director of the Pozega-Slavonia County Tourist Board Maja Jakobović.

Hotels and villas are opening, the tourist offer is expanding

The great interest of tourists in the Golden Slavonia destination, which covers the entire area of Pozega-Slavonia County, has influenced investors, so some of the largest investments in tourism in the continental part of Croatia are taking place right here. For example, the construction of the Shhhuma hotel in Velika, the spa heart of Slavonia, is expected soon, and the first diffused hotel in this area, Zlatni Lug, will open in the picturesque suburbs of Pozega. Among the valuable investments are the tourist villas in Lipik, the luxurious mountain village Zvečevo na Papuk with a respectable number of villas of the highest category, the recently opened Bećarca Museum in Pleternica...

In parallel with the increase in the number of overnight stays, the number and quality of the accommodation offer is also increasing, having doubled in the last six years. Despite the fact that new accommodation facilities keep popping up, demand has continuously been higher than supply throughout Slavonia.

"Although tourism is not the primary economic goal of these regions, but an excellent addition to the quality offer, the expansion of tourist traffic will continue this year as well. In the strategic development of the destination based on the guidelines of the Sustainable Tourism Strategy of the Republic of Croatia until 2030, which focuses on green transformation and quality, we are continuing with last year's successful projects, but also launching new ones," points out Maja Jakobović, director of Pozega-Slavonia County Tourist Board.

Last year, the County Tourist Board presented an original shift in eno-gastronomy through the direct improvement of the destination's quality with the Zlatna Slavonija Eno&Gastro project, which tourism experts described as an excellent example of how to strategically develop a destination.

"And in 2023, we will continue with new challenges in the eno-gastro offer and we will not stop only at the food and drink offer. Among our new projects is the Zlatna Slavonija Outdoor, which will highlight and promote all the activities that this "hilly" part of Slavonia offers. The destination brand Zlatna Slavonija will be present through all the activities this year, and we will tie our slogan to all the sub-brands in order to complete the story", says the director of Pozega-Slavonia County Tourist Board, inviting travel lovers to explore and experience the natural beauty, cultural sights and the ultimate wine and gourmet experience of Golden Slavonia.

This Slavonian county is confirmation that systematic, multi-year and quality-oriented work definitely produces results.

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

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Manuel Strlek Goes to Slavonia, Signs With RK Nexe: "We'll be Top Cro Team!"

March 14, 2023, Nasice - A new reinforcement of RK Nexe has been presented: Croatia national team's Manuel Strlek is going to Slavonia. He will join the Nasice team next season and spend the next three years there.


Photo: Slobodan Kadic

Manuel Strlek is transferring to Nexe from Veszprem in Hungary. Alongside this European handball giant, he defended the colors of RK PPD Zagreb and Kielce from Poland. For the first time in Croatia, the signing of the contract was organized with the fans present, hundreds of whom gathered in the hall of Kralj Tomislav Elementary School in Nasice. They did not hide their enthusiasm for the reinforcement, which gives realistic prospects for RK Nexe to remain at the top of Croatian and European handball, perhaps more.


Photo: Slobodan Kadic

"I have been following what Nexe is doing in European and domestic competitions for a long time, and I knew that it was a serious and brilliantly organized sports team. But when the club leaders presented their development plans to me, I was delighted and didn't have much doubt. I am happy that after Veszprem, I will again play in a place that lives for handball, as evidenced by the many fans who came to greet me and are the best confirmation that I made a good decision. Thank you to everyone from RK Nexe for welcoming me the way only Slavonians know how, with big hearts and smiles. I promise that I will repay them all with quality matches and that we will raise the club's already high ambitions and fight for the very top in domestic and European competitions", said Manuel Strlek.


Photo: Slobodan Kadic

Even Josip Ergovic, president of RK Nexe, did not hide his enthusiasm.

"We are proud of this sensational reinforcement, which ensures the continuity of top handball in Nasice. After Jelinic left, we decided on this, the biggest return transfer in Croatian handball history. We want Manuel Strlek to feel at home here and delight our loyal fans at matches, just like we did today at the contract signing. He is a top handball player, a member of the Croatian national team who defended the colours of the strongest European teams and justifies our high handball ambitions. That's why we decided to have a slightly bigger celebration after signing the contract, for Manuel to get to know Nasice and our great love for RK Nexe and handball. RK Nexe will win the title of Croatian champion during Manuel Strlek's contract", said Ergovic, stressing that Nexe, as the 16th best club in Europe, will have more transfers for the next season.


Photo: Slobodan Kadic

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

Friday, 3 March 2023

Sunflower Award: Slavonia and Baranja for Your Ultimate, Authentic Croatian Holiday

March 3, 2023 - The Adriatic is undeniably beautiful; Istria is a fragrant, colourful heaven on Earth, but trust us, and head on east to Slavonia and Baranja for the Croatian holiday you didn't know you needed. The food, the wine, the rivers and forests, the cycling and adventuring, the tradition and culture - it's got it all. And that is recognised in various ways, most recently in the form of the Sunflower Award of the Croatian Association for Tourism and Rural Development of the "Selo" Members Club.

As SiB writes, the awards ceremony was dominated by winners from the Osijek-Baranja county. For example, the Municipality of Kneževi Vinogradi won the Grand Golden Sunflower championship title as the best Croatian wine destination.

"This truly honorable award is the result of many years of joint work of winemakers and winegrowers from our area, associations that organise events, and the support provided by the Municipality of Kneževi Vinogradi. This is an incentive for us to continue working on the quality of our wine destination, which is recognised not only by the profession but also by an increasing number of visitors," said the head of the Municipality of Kneževi Vinogradi, Vedran Kramarić.


Steve Tsentserensky

In addition to the championship title of the Great Golden Sunflower of the Municipality of Kneževi Vinogradi, there were five other winners from Osijek-Baranja County. The Tourist Board of Osijek-Baranja County received the gold award in the category of rural tourism projects for the wine tourism development project Land of Wine. The gold award in the category of traditional (rural) gastronomy was awarded to the restaurant Čingi Lingi Čarda in Bilje. With good reason, the gold award in the category of rural tourism projects was awarded to the Presentation and Education Centre Tikveš in Kopački Rit. The gold award in the category of projects/holders of protected and marketing trademarks was awarded to the House of the Baranja Kulen in Beli Manastir, while the bronze award in the category of traditional (modern) households went to Villa Edl Elegant in Aljmaš.


Aljmaš - Steve Tsentserensky

The Sunflower Awards for rural tourism in Croatia is a project that once a year evaluates and presents traditional content, preserves authenticity, and connects participants in rural tourism. It is awarded in eight categories.

"I am proud that from the very beginnings and creation of rural tourism in our country, I have been supporting and advising people who are just starting in this segment of tourism," said the president of the Croatian Association for Tourism and Rural Development of the "Selo" Members Club, Dijana Katica, who has been organising the largest and most significant event in rural tourism for the last ten years.

In recent years, Osijek-Baranja county has seen continuous growth in the number of visitors and overnight stays, thus becoming one of the most attractive continental destinations. Through the HeadOnEast project, which brands the County as a tourist destination, and the event of the same name, which last year became the most significant event in Osijek-Baranja County due to the number of visitors, additional preconditions have been created for an even stronger development of the tourist offer. This is supported by this year's prestigious title of the global travel platform, which declared Osijek-Baranja County the most welcoming region.

"The friendliness and hospitality of the Osijek-Baranja County will also be shown at the next Sunflower rural tourism award ceremony, which we will host in our county at the end of this year. It will be an opportunity to show all our tourist potential, natural beauties, rivers, the Kopački Rit nature park, castles, endless vineyards, and a rich local wine and gastronomic offer," said prefect Ivan Anušić.


Kopački Rit Nature Park

The Vukovar-Srijem County received several awards as well. 

Adrenaline park Bosut Rokovci-Andrijaševc won the gold award in the category of active tourist facilities in rural areas. It is a precious reward for dedicated work and development of outdoor activities, but also teamwork to solidify Andrijaševci and the Vukovar-Srijem County as a top destination of Croatian continental tourism, writes

The silver award in the category of traditional (rural) households went to the Šokačka Lady Holiday House in Županja, while another silver award in the category rural tourism projects went to Županja for the event Šokačko Sijelo. The bronze award in the category of rural tourism projects was awarded to Stanarski Susreti event of the Association "Šokadija Babina Greda".


Steve Tsentserensky

"We are also extremely proud of the winners from the area of Vukovar-Srijem County and send our most sincere congratulations to all winners in all categories. Special thanks to Mrs. Dijana Katica for years of work in recognising, motivating, educating, and promoting all stakeholders in the development of rural tourism in Croatia. Let's continue to be loyal to all the tourist values of Croatia and persistent in their development for the permanent benefit of our valuable citizens and our irresistibly beautiful and immeasurably rich homeland", said Majda Jakša, director of the Tourist Board of Vukovar-Srijem County.

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

Friday, 17 February 2023

Meet Hrvoje Juric, a Slavonian Cycling to Europe's Northernmost Point

February 17, 2023 – One of the most rewarding parts of writing on TCN is the people we meet and the stories we hear. It’s all that much better when they come from eastern Croatia and are living proof that Slavonia really is full of life, 365. We are excited to finally publish one of our favourite interviews, featuring one man, one bicycle, and two dogs. Hrvoje Juric has cycled the world, written a book, and helped trace cycling and hiking trails in Croatia. He has done many other amazing things, and now he is on a 2,300-kilometre journey to reach Europe’s most northerly point. On an electric bicycle. In the winter.


Tell us about yourself.

My name is Hrvoje Juric, I am 36 years old, and I come from Vrbica, a small village between Đakovo, Vinkovci, and Osijek. I am a wasn’t-meant-to-be economist, and I have been travelling since 2011. Then, completely inexperienced and with very few funds, I set out on my first trip, from Vrbica to Pula and back. I traveled by bicycle, and it all happened quite spontaneously. The bike was the only means of transportation I had, and it was also the cheapest way to travel. I liked this way of travelling, and I felt like I was living life to the fullest, so I kept doing it. The following year, I went on a trip around Europe, about which I wrote the travel novel "Marijanov put" (Marijan’s Journey). After that came the first journey to Nordkapp, a journey of 5,000 kilometres to the northernmost point of Europe. It was followed by a trip through the Alps, then one from London to Istanbul, and then one around Croatia. Later I realised that all these trips and experiences led to one thing - a trip around the world.

Tell us about the area where you come from.

Vrbica is a small village in the Đakovo area, in the municipality of Semeljci, and it is a plain. I often jokingly say that the overpass over the highway is the highest mountain we have. I grew up there, my friends and family are there, and I lived there until recently. As a lot has happened in the last couple of years, and now only on paper am I still in Vrbica.


Tell us about your lifestyle, what you do, and what inspired it.

This year I changed my life drastically when I sold the house where I grew up and lived for 36 years. I didn't do it out of necessity, in the sense that I needed the money. I did it because everything simply led to that. Since I started travelling, with my first trip, I realised that this way of life would not be easy, but compared to everything else, it is ideal for me. There is a lot that I had to adapt to, and yet somehow, I remained myself. Of course, this shaped me, but I think I kept the direction I wanted my life to go.

What did it require to take the plunge and pursue your passion?

I think the main reason was dissatisfaction with the direction my life was going. When you know that you are not made for what you do and work takes up a large part of your time in this world, it is necessary to change things. By chance, it was my job; it could have been something else. I would dare to say that if you want to change yourself, if you want to follow your passion, or even just figure out what the hell you want in life, you will encounter a very unpredictable time full of trials and difficult moments. Emotional, financial, it doesn't matter in what sense. For me, that included spending more time travelling hungry than on a full stomach, but I knew that I must not give up on my dreams. Along the way, I lost some people, some literally, in the sense that they passed away (parents, which was a big and heavy burden for me), and some simply distanced themselves from me. It doesn't even matter if it's my fault, theirs, or both. Such situations build a person and often what we become is not a beautiful picture, but I think that everyone deserves a second chance if they are honest and if they learn from their (mis)deeds.


What keeps you going?

Desire for research, learning, progress. Every time I come to a new place or return to a place I haven't been in years, I absorb everything like a little child. It’s all new to me: new smells, new sights, new people and their characteristics. This desire to explore others to get to know myself, I think is one of the main motives.

What were your favorite projects?

The trip around the world was unique, and the preparations for that lasted about three years. I can hardly compare that trip to anything else, but I had a great experience and a lesson out of it. The Slavonia hiking trail, where Ena, Max, and I hiked all 300 kilometres and visited all 35 checkpoints, was another one of my favourite projects. It is also the first project we did together. The Slavonia hiking trail offers a lot, especially to hikers who are beginners on long routes.


What is your current project?

I am currently on the "Giant World Tour: Norway" project, which is a continuation of the "Giant World Tour", a trip around the world by electric bicycle that I did in 2019 and thus became the first person to travel around the world on an electric bicycle. The idea with this series is to test Giant electric bikes in different, dare I say, extreme conditions. To prepare for the project, I found an apartment in Gorski Kotar and spent two months preparing for the conditions in the north. Hiking, cycling, and spending time in the fresh air and in the rain were all part of the preparations. We travelled to Oslo in a Dacia Duster, which had my bicycle and all the equipment needed for the trip, including a trailer for Ena and Max. I departed from Oslo in early February. I don't have a specific time in which I plan to finish the 2,300 kilometres to Nordkapp, but roughly 35 days should be enough. After the trip, Tin Borovšćak and I will work on a documentary film (filming has already started). Along with the film, a photo book will be released that I will promote around Europe, with an emphasis on Croatia and Norway.


Favourite moments and hardest moments of your travels.

I would put it this way - my favourite part of travelling is when I meet people, specifically people with whom I can share my thoughts. Regardless of whether they agree with me, or if we have the same or different views on life. When we "click". Be they in Russia, Norway, or Australia. It is because of people that a certain country is the way it is; they directed their country towards exactly where it is right now by living and working there. Through other stories, I learned a lot, mostly about myself. How to remove prejudices and embrace differences.

The most difficult moments, and there were some, were mostly related to lack of money and the inability to afford a decent meal or a meal at all. As I have already stated, the first couple of years were really difficult, had a couple of friends not helped me, I might have given up. Then, just as things were starting to get better, family tragedies happened. First my father died, and then a couple of years later, my mother. They had just turned 53 years old. It left a big mark on me, and at some moments, I didn't know what would happen to me. All those difficult life moments shook me up but also forced me to sort out my life and move on.

Tell us about your furry sidekicks.

Ena and Max, or as Twitter nicknamed them, Niprije (long story...) are a very important part of this slightly different family. I often like to say we are a pack because, frankly, we're not far from it. I adopted Ena a little over five years ago when she was 10 months old. She was quite scared, especially of new people. My friend Adela took her off the street, an association that takes care of abandoned border collies cleaned her of parasites and sterilised her, and then I showed up. At first, of course, she didn’t trust me, but very quickly, she stretched out on her back and seemed to want to say - ok, let's go! I didn't have much experience with dogs, and thanks to friends who have dogs, as well as daily walks, Ena and I learned about each other. So much so, that after travelling around the world, I decided that I no longer wanted to do projects without her.


So, we set off on "Via Adriatica Bike", where I traced the cycling version of the "Via Adriatica Trail", a long hiking trail that connects the two most distant land points in Croatia - Prevlaka and Cape Kamenjak. It was on that wonderful trip, which was the first project after the round-the-world trip and my, i.e., our new beginning, that we met Max. On the penultimate day of the trip, we went down to Plomin harbor and literally recorded their first meeting with my camera. That moment, the way they jumped around each other, you can still see happening daily. It's as if they just met. It's fascinating to me how everything came together, how the two of them bonded. Max was the cherry on top and the last piece of the puzzle of the whole picture that you can see today.


We know that you are a promoter of Slavonia. What is life like there, what is the situation in tourism, and why should everyone visit at least once?

Slavonia is still an unspoiled pearl of continental Croatia, and in the last few years, I must say that tourism is starting to happen to us. Especially during and just after the pandemic, people turned to nature a lot more. Of course, not all of them kept that lifestyle, but still, many of them realised that life offers more than shopping malls and that it is smarter and healthier for them and their children to stay in the mountains, hills, in nature in general on the weekends and every other free moment. That's how the Jankovac trail became super popular, but Slavonia has a lot more to offer. I think that the Slavonia Hiking Trail, the first mountain ring trail in Croatia (from 1957), is not sufficiently "used" and that it should be the flagship of tourism and the development of outdoor activities in Slavonia.


I am also thankful to the Slavonia cluster, the association of county tourist boards, with whom I laid out a cycling route that connects all five counties, and largely follows the Slavonia Hiking Trail. This means that outdoor enthusiasts can use the "bike and hike" activity – cycle a part of the trail, then store their bicycle in a lodging, hike, for example, the Ivačka Glava peak (one of the most beautiful viewpoints on Papuk), then reward themselves with an excellent lunch in the mountain lodge before finishing the trail. This is just the foundation, but an important and healthy foundation on which other activities can be built on.

Many thanks to Hrvoje for sharing his inspiring story, and we wish him the best of luck in all his endeavors! Check out TCN's Instagram for updates, and stay tuned for part 2 coming somewhere in the middle of Hrvoje’s northern journey.

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

Thursday, 9 February 2023 Declares Osijek-Baranja the Most Welcoming Croatian Region

February 9, 2023 - The world's leading online travel company,, declared Osijek-Baranja county the most welcoming tourist region in Croatia, the county administration reported on Wednesday.

As Poslovni writes, traditionally, hands out the "Traveller Review Awards" at the beginning of the year. Even though it found itself among the most prestigious destinations for the first time, the users of the online platform have declared Osijek-Baranja County the most welcoming region in Croatia, according to the office of Prefect Ivan Anušić.

They emphasize that this is a confirmation of the hospitality of Slavonia and Baranja and that the county contributes to the development of the continental tourist destination through a series of development grants and the organization of numerous events, which raise the level of the offer.

The director of the Osijek-Baranja county tourist board, Ivana Jurić, said that she sees the recognition of one of the largest platforms for booking tourist services,, as praise for the efforts made so far in the development of continental tourism.

The most important thing in tourism is people, and tourism is made up of those who create products and provide services and thus testify to the authenticity of the places they live in and their products, Jurić assessed.

She reminds that last year the county achieved 2.6 percent more overnight stays compared to the record year 2019, which is an indicator of the tourist offer of the Croatian east becoming more recognizable.

She reported that at the recent tourist fair "Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show," which took place from February 2 to 5, 2023, in London, the offer of destinations from the tourist boards of five Slavonian counties was jointly presented.

We presented the offer of Slavonia to the British market. With culture and enogastronomy as the main motives of the trip, information was sought on the offer related to natural heritage, walking, cycling, and accommodation, said Jurić.

Deputy Mayor Mato Lukić said that it is known that tourists who come to Slavonia and Baranja often emphasize warmth and hospitality and that the recognition of the platform is another confirmation that local tourism workers are doing a good job.

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

Monday, 6 February 2023

Vukovar Water Tower Had Over 111 Thousand Visitors in 2022

February 6, 2023 - The Vukovar water tower had 111,133 visitors last year and 210,128 since its opening on October 30, 2020, as stated today at a press conference.

According to the Vukovar mayor Ivan Penava, the water tower generated an income of HRK 5.7 million and a profit of HRK 2.5 million in 2022, writes Index.

23 people employed at the water tower

"Today, it employs 23 people, and the achieved business results show that the direction of its renovation was a good choice, not only in a symbolic sense but also from the aspect of the tourist attractiveness of Vukovar, as well as the Croatian Danube region. This includes the profitability and business of private, accommodation, and hospitality facilities in the area of Vukovar and its surroundings", said Penava and thanked everyone who participated in any way in its reconstruction.

He announced further investments, recalling that public procurement for a new souvenir shop worth three million kuna was carried out. "I am sure that the Vukovar water tower will continue to delight its visitors in the future, and their good reactions are an excellent indicator of the value of our vision," said Penava.

Director of the Vukovar water tower, Mirela Janković, said that the number of visits in 2022 compared to 2021 was 30 percent higher, and revenues grew by 20 percent.

New content

"Given that our visitors keep coming back again and again, we try to introduce new content, so we set up boards with QR codes where all visitors can see how the Water Tower looked before the renovation. Also, two projects are underway - the ERASMUS + project and an augmented reality project," said Janković and added that for those who cannot visit them, "there is the possibility of a virtual tour."

She reminded that from February 1 this year, the citizens of Vukovar can buy an annual ticket and use it ten times a year.

The restoration of the Water Tower began in 2017, and more than 7,000 Croats from the diaspora, Croatian citizens, and numerous Croatian cities, municipalities, counties, and companies joined the campaign to collect donor funds for the restoration. The renovation cost HRK 46 million, of which HRK 39 million was collected through donations.

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

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

WineOS Osijek Wine Festival Goes from Strength to Strength

January 20, 2023 - And you thought Croatia was dead in January? Head on East to WineOS and the Osijek Wine Festival, which was a great success in its 8th edition.

Croatia in January.

Advent in over, the summer is far away, everything is closed. 

Now imagine Slavonia in January. Even worse, right?

You couldn't be further from the truth. One of the early season fixed highlights in my calendar each year now is a weekend in Osijek in mid-January. I first went to the WineOS Osijek Wine Festival seven years ago, a very local affair with just a few producers. 

The organisers have worked very hard to expand the event, while maintaining the quality. In addition to the many wines to try, there are outstanding workshops of both days, as well as an excellent after party both nights - this year hosted at Peppermint. More details in the press release below, as I will confess that my judgment got a little cloudier as the days went on. 

Two highlights for me were learning about the wines of Vina Papak in Ilok, officially the easternmost winery in Croatia - for years I thought that Ilocki Podrum was the only name in town there.

And the black Slavonian pig kulen from former Croatian national footballer, Domagoj Vida (I met it last year) was absolutely sensational. 

Much more below, and I heartily recommend you look out for the dates in 2024 - an excellent event powered by fine wines and true Slavonian hospitality. 

You can follow the official WineOS website here.



The previous weekend, on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th January, the eighth international fair of wine, delicacies and pleasant living WineOS was held in the Gradski vrt hall. According to announcements, it was the largest WineOS ever, where over 115 producers of wine, spirits, desserts, cured meats and other delicacies presented themselves.

During the two days of the fair and three days of workshops, almost 3,500 people passed through the hall: exhibitors, visitors, business guests and everyone who worked hard to make this event look spectacular. On both exhibition days, there was a big crowd in the hall in front of each exhibitor and the stage where Saša Vojnović from the Lug Hotel restaurant, Nebojša Rajković from the Čingi Lingi čarda restaurant and the famous gastronomic educator from Split Željko Neven Bremec demonstrated their culinary skills.


"Record numbers, great interest in participation, reactions of the exhibitors and the audience are confirmation that we succeeded in surpassing previous editions. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the organization and realization of the biggest January public event in Osijek; Osijek-Baranja County, the City of Osijek and the Vinita wine shop as co-organizers, the tourist associations of Osijek-Baranja County and the City of Osijek, the Osijek Fair as a sponsor, and our partners from the Catering and Tourism School. Without their help and engagement, this event could not have been realized", said the president of the organizing committee of the fair and the president of the association Dekanter Boris Ocić.


"Eight years after the first edition of the fair, WineOS truly became what we wanted - one of the biggest wine events in Croatia and the region. Osijek is increasingly recognized as a wine tourist destination, a city of hedonism and good food, and a place where guests from other parts of Croatia like to come and stay more and more. We will continue in the same direction, we will offer something new every year and we will not rest on our laurels. We want to progress even more", said WineOS founder and CEO Vinko Ručević.


"The reactions of the exhibitors and the audience, the praise that comes from all sides, the words of praise sent to us by the media, guests, and guests are really pleasing. However, the most important thing is that we have permanent partners who are of great help to us, but also the fact that our exhibitors get better and better jobs precisely thanks to the contacts made on WineOS. We want to continue in this direction and offer everyone an even better and more attractive WineOS next year and provide an opportunity for exhibitors and business visitors to do even more work. And we will do all this with another big step forward that we are planning for 2024. However, we will say more about that in a few months", concluded the executive director of the fair, Denis Despot.


Finally, here are some concrete figures. The 1,900 square meters of the Gradski vrt hall housed 97 exhibition spaces where over 115 exhibitors from Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina presented themselves. More than 2,800 guests, invitees, business visitors, protocol representatives and journalists passed through the hall, totaling almost 3,500 people with the organizers and exhibitors. Visitors tried more than 500 different wines and spirits in almost 3,000 glasses, about 2,500 liters of water were drunk, a ton of ice was consumed, and workshop participants had the opportunity to taste about eighty different wines, many of which you can no longer buy even in wineries.

All this is a lure for guests to visit WineOS next year as well, and while they wait they will be able to enjoy the many wine events in Osijek and the surrounding area that await us in 2023. At the end, the organizers send another big thank you to everyone with a message - see you in 2024 at the ninth WineOS!
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Thursday, 12 January 2023

All Wine Roads Lead to Slavonia: WineOS, 8th Osijek Wine Festival

January 12, 2023 - The 8th edition of WineOS, the Osijek Wine Festival kicks off later today, an event being attended by TCN.

Osijek in January. Slavonian hospitality at its finest. Why aren't you here?

All roads lead to Slavonia this weekend, as the 8th edition of WineOS Osijek Wine Festival takes place - a wonderful mix of fine Slavonian (and other wines), Slavonian hospitality, and the heart of a Slavonian winter. 

As with last year, it promises to be a fine event of quality wine and good company, which I will be visiting in the company of the one and only legendary Ribafish. I only hope he behaves a little better this year... 

More information about the event from Vinoteka Vinita, translated below.

At the beginning of the new year, 2023, a new, eighth edition of the famous Osijek fair of wine, delicacies and hedonism is being organized. On January 13 and 14 (Friday and Saturday), the eighth wine and delicacy fair - WineOS will be held in the Gradski vrt hall, at Kneza Trpimira 23, Osijek.

Both days offer moments of pleasant living, top wines and delicacies from the east of Croatia, and the opportunity to meet numerous guests from other Croatian regions and abroad in almost 1,900 square meters of exhibition space.

Also, guests will have the opportunity to visit around 90 exhibition stands where more than a hundred producers will be presented, and those interested will be able to attend educational workshops that will repeatedly offer unusual stories and rarely available wines.

Tickets for the fair can be purchased at the price of 20 euros per day at the Vinita Wine Cellar and on the day of the fair at the entrance to the hall. Tickets for the workshops will be purchased exclusively in advance.

The workshop schedule follows below:

Thursday, January 12, 2023 - Hotel Osijek, Hall Kesten, 3:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

3:00 p.m. – Belje – time machine to the wine past - entrance fee HRK 200

4:30 p.m. - Klaudio Jurčić - My friendships with winemakers - entrance fee HRK 150

18:00 - Kopar, the vertical of the best Hungarian black Attila Gere - entrance HRK 200

Friday, January 13, 2023 - City Garden Sports Hall, VIP lounge, 1:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

1:00 p.m. – All Kozlović's Malvasias - entrance fee HRK 150

2:30 p.m. – Uroboros, a wine that pushes the boundaries of what is possible - entrance fee HRK 150

16:00 - Omnibus Lector - chardonnay for the best wine psychotherapy - entrance fee HRK 150

5:30 p.m. – Umčani - Small village of wine masterpieces - entrance fee HRK 150

Saturday, January 14, 2023 - City Garden Sports Hall, VIP lounge, 2:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

1:00 p.m. – Grgić Pošip, a wine that changed the attitude towards that variety - entrance fee HRK 150

2:30 p.m. – Sea Ego by Joze Galić - entrance fee HRK 150

4:00 p.m. – Maurer and Kadarka - from gravity and rock'n'roll to vineyards from 1880 - entrance fee HRK 150

5:30 p.m. – Why is Nuić's Trnjak the best red wine in Herzegovina? - entrance fee HRK 150

The daily ticket for all workshops is HRK 500 per day, and 20 tickets are available for each workshop. See you and cheers!

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Meet Slavonia 365, Full of Life - Iva and Mihovil of Castrum Gin

December 21, 2022 – Meet Slavonia 365, full of life. A year ago, TCN started Vukovar 365, the new series to show that there is life in the east of Croatia every day of the year. After Vukovar reigned the stage for a while, it is time to go beyond and tell more inspiring stories of Slavonia. For our exciting opener, meet Iva and Mihovil of Castrum Gin.

This young married couple worked in marketing and law in Zagreb, jobs they loved, but they decided to return and chase their dreams in their tiny home village of Kaptol near Požega. And they are doing so while sipping on some top-quality Slavonian gin. We spoke to them to find out how they do it, what inspired them to go gin instead of rakija, and why everyone should consider at least visiting Slavonia.

Introduce the people of Castrum and tell us about its visual identity.

We are Iva and Mihovil, a young married couple who started producing craft gin a year and a half ago in a small town at the foot of Papuk, Kaptol. Mihovil is a lawyer by profession, and I am an economist. Although we loved the jobs we did in Zagreb, we decided that we would prefer to live in a quieter place in the future. We both come from Slavonia, and Mihovil has been involved in the production of wine and brandy with his parents since he was a child, so distillation was a familiar concept to him before we ever decided to run a business with distillates.

Castrum is the name for two types of gins we produce - London dry gin and Barrel-aged gin. Its name was inspired by the medieval fortress that dominates Kaptol, whose shape is called a castrum. The shape of the fort is hexagonal with four associated towers, which we also used for the shape of our label. The logo mostly reminds people of lace, but it's actually a faler - an ornament from the horse bridles of Hallstatt warriors who lived above Kaptol in the early Iron Age. Falers were excavated precisely at the Kaptol-Čemernica archaeological site near our distillery.


What inspired you to produce gin and not a more traditional drink like rakija? Tell us about your journey.

Gin is a drink we have both loved for a very long time, and we have tried many different types and brands. As for gin as our first distillate choice, it was carefully chosen. When we started thinking two and a half years ago about doing something that would allow us to make a decent living in Slavonia, we knew we needed an idea that would set us apart somehow. The idea of gin was born - precisely because it would be a somewhat "logical" sequence if we started to produce rakija in Slavonia and moved back from the big city, but I'm sure the whole story then wouldn't have been half as interesting.

Some new products are coming, which and how will they be special?

We plan to produce two types of rakija, quince and viljemovka, but before that, we will market pelinkovac (bitter wormwood liqueur) with an interesting name. That one will also be interesting due to ingredients associated with Slavonia, which are not typical for pelinkovac itself. We have a great desire to age a real Slavonian whiskey as well.

You have a gin garden; how does that work? Where do your visitors usually come from?

Our entire distillery is housed in an extension of my husband's parents' home. Since we would also sell our gin there, we created a small cozy area in the basement with a table and six chairs where our guests can sit when they come to shop or for a tasting. At that time, we did not think that a larger group of people would want to visit; we predicted it in the distant future, but it came very quickly. Since we still need to design a larger space for tastings, we came up with the idea of a gin garden during summer. Then the entire lawn in our backyard is occupied by pallets and old things from our grandparents' houses - armchairs, sewing machines, old irons, etc. It is a unique experience in the evening since the whole setup is between apple and pear trees, where we hang fairy lights, which makes it beautiful in the summer evenings. The gin garden opens when the temperatures make spending time outdoors comfortable, usually from the end of May until mid-September. Visitors come to us from all parts of our beautiful country, mainly from Zagreb. We are glad our location is becoming a top choice for weekend trips. There are many tourists in summer, but their number increases significantly in autumn and spring.


How did the fact that you are located in the east of Croatia affect your business?

It had a favourable effect on us, probably because, by returning to Slavonia, we were able to place a very trendy drink on this market, which also quickly found its place under the sun due to its quality.

You are a marketing expert. It seems that Castrum and Slavonia are an inseparable duo. Tell us about this symbiosis.

Ah, Slavonia without Castrum as a gin brand has indeed existed all this time, but a castrum has been standing there since the Middle Ages! During our brand design, we were guided by the idea that our entire product would tell a story - from the ingredients themselves to the connection with the location. I believe that to be very important, it gives personality to the brand, and people connect with it more easily. We produce gin in Slavonia, so we made sure to use ingredients that are characteristic of the area. In our gins, those are elderberry, black mulberry, and grapevine. By returning to Slavonia, we also wanted to work on promoting our destination. I think that by connecting branding with history, we have created a wonderful symbiosis that ultimately offers a tourist experience.

Tell us about tourism in that part of Slavonia - is there tourist potential, and why should everyone visit?

There is significant tourist potential here, and I am glad that this potential is being exploited more and more. Many people have visited our distillery from all parts of Croatia, as well as from abroad. We are happy to host ‘our’ people, who went to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and even Sweden to earn their living. They somehow get particularly emotional since they wish they could have stayed in their hometown and done something which would provide them with a good life.

There are many reasons why to visit Slavonia. Untouched nature is undoubtedly one of them. The forest park Jankovac is beautiful in all seasons; there are so many cycling and walking paths; our entire region is full of excellent wines and wineries that everyone should visit. There are also many educational places, and there is plenty of content for the youngest.

Having come back, we completed the story of the "return" of our entire team. We were eight enthusiasts who wanted to show our area to more people. We all lived outside Slavonia at one point, and some even on another continent. We designed the event "Ideš i piješ" (Drink as You Go), which works according to Wine and Walk principles. Participants walk 12 kilometers through Papuk and meet local winemakers and distillers. This year was the second in a row, and we can say that the interest is huge. Registration fees were sold out in just ten days, and our inbox was full of questions about whether other places would be open. Slowly but surely, Slavonia is finding its place on the must-visit map. I think that the pandemic also contributed to this. We were limited in terms of travel, so we turned to travel in our own country. At least something beautiful came of such an ugly crisis.


Where can we find you and your product, how long does delivery take? Are we late for Christmas shopping?

So far, we have yet to enter large retail chains, so our products can be found in smaller specialised stores. A list of them can be found on our website, through which our products can be ordered. Delivery takes 1-3 working days. Of course, that deadline could be extended these days by a day or two. As for being late for Christmas shopping, I think it's never too late for good presents!

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

Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Osijek Airport: Direct Connections to Six Destinations for Advent

December 20, 2022 - If you've always wanted to visit the east of Croatia but hesitated because it's been a bit far, your time might have just come. The Osijek airport is now directly connected to six destinations: Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Dubrovnik, Pula, and the Croatian Gastarbeiter mecca, Munich.

As writes, Advent is the right time to visit continental Croatia. And Osijek Airport provides direct flights to this Eastern Croatian metropolis from the Croatian cities. You can also visit Osijek by direct flight from the Bavarian capital of Munich. Osijek Advent was declared the best in Croatia in 2021, and this year it shines with the glow of thousands of lights. Take a walk along the path of holiday magic from the art nouveau European Avenue to the fairytale Fortress, where you will find an abundance of smells and tastes of Christmas.

A rich cultural and entertainment program at the Fortress

This year's Advent is a real opportunity for family quality time, where everyone can find something for themselves. The youngest will be able to enjoy fairy tales in the Great Winter Story Room, watch cartoons in the Christmas Cinema, and write letters to Santa Claus! Concerts, lectures, exhibitions in the Archaeological Museum, and gastronomic mornings have been prepared for the big ones. Celebrated chef Rene Bakalović will create New Slavonian cuisine for visitors, preparing the most delicious Slavonian dishes in a modern way.

The ice fairy tale of the ice rink at Sokol offers unforgettable moments to young and old lovers of winter joys, and after showing off your skating skills, you will have the opportunity to warm up with mulled wine or dance to Christmas hits. And if you are not of an adventurous spirit and enjoy walking around the city more, explore the hidden parts of the city whose every corner breathes holiday magic and a Christmas atmosphere.

The most beautiful view from 35 metres

An essential part of Advent this year is the "panoramic wheel" that will take you high above the city’s rooftops. The largest Ferris wheel in Croatia is located at the Baroque Fortress, where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city. The daytime ride places the fairy-tale city below your feet, and the night ride provides a view of thousands of lights. This year's Advent programme lasts until the 30th of December, and if you decide to spend the craziest night of the year on the streets of Osijek, the band Crvena Jabuka will count you down into the New Year on the central town square.

Visit the beautiful Baranja and the Danube region

Along with the Osijek Advent tour, you can visit the Vukovar Christmas market or the restored Eltz manor museum. After the New Year's celebration, you can enjoy the rich gastronomic offer of Baranja. Go on a tour of the wine cellars and enjoy traditional Baranja delicacies. The Slavonian metropolis has never been closer - visit Osijek and see why it won the title of the most successful continental city tourism destination! More information on the Osijek Airport website.

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


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