Wednesday, 22 June 2022

From Zagreb to Split Taking the Magical Old Highway

June 22, 2022 - If you are traveling from Zagreb to Split, or vice versa, you will most likely take highways E71 and E65 to get to your destination as quickly as possible. If you are not in a hurry, the old highway passing through Drniš, Knin, and Lika will surprise you.

I went to Zagreb recently, and contrary to my usual practices, I decided to bet on BlaBlaCar to travel to the Croatian capital. For those not very familiar with this application, you can choose a place of origin and destination and see which drivers (people like you or me) travel the same route and can give you a lift for a fee. I remember that a few hours before I met the driver in Split, she called me to ask if I had to get to Zagreb fast or if we could take the old highway that passed through Drniš. I didn't think much about it, but it was true that I wasn't in a hurry.

I am one of those people who say yes without thinking much, and sometimes that works against me. On this occasion, I want to thank my brain for being that way, since I discovered a way to travel through Croatia that will always remain in my memory, and that I will surely try to repeat more often.


The beginning of the route is quite similar if your plan is to get to Dugopolje to take the E65 highway, only this time you will have to take the highway junction at Klis-Grlo, and you will now be on the D56 road in the direction of Drniš. Unlike the fast highways to Zagreb, this route can take between 5 and 5 hours and thirty minutes by car, almost an hour more. It's worth it? If you really have to get to Zagreb, or to Split, as soon as possible, there is not much I can tell you. But if you have time to spare, there are plenty of things you should consider that will surely encourage you to try something new. I mean, yes. There's nothing like the feeling of speed, but don't you sometimes get bored with your foot on the accelerator at a constant speed watching cars and trucks go by? I'm not saying the views aren't spectacular, because they are. What I'm trying to say is that there comes a point where you're no longer excited or surprised. Sometimes daring helps you discover new places and landscapes.

Here are some of the places you will see along the way:


After crossing the picturesque valley behind Klis and crossing into the Sibenik-Knin region, you will find yourself in the village of Drniš, located halfway between the city of Šibenik and Knin. The valleys that anticipate and surround it will make you stop several times to carefully appreciate its beauty. There are many reasons why you should discover Drniš. Because it is a town with a rich tradition of culture and food, not least Croatia's most-distinct prosciutto (Drniš pršut). Additionally, it is the birthplace of Croatia's most famous sculptor, the world-renowned Ivan Meštrović.


Image: Drniš Tourist Board


In Drniš, you will change the D56 road to the D33 in the direction of the historic town of Knin, which is almost half an hour away by car. If you start to feel like it's time to grab a coffee, grab a bite to eat, or even go to the bathroom, this is a good time. Personally, I would tell you to hold on a little longer because the next place to visit may be worth the wait. You can also walk through the streets of Knin, full of history that goes back hundreds of years and is mixed with a very recent one.


Photo: Mario Romulić

Macola Restaurant

Have you stopped at the Macola restaurant on the E65 highway? If the name doesn't ring a bell, you'll remember it for its stuffed bears and boars inside. It is very likely that you have stopped there on the way to have a coffee or something to eat. Although it is not exactly a destination, you might like to know that the original Macola is located on the D1 road, an hour and a half from Knin, and already in the county of Lika-Senj. Before the E65 existed, this was one of the most popular rest and refreshment points among travelers. My suggestion? A coffee and a walnut or apple strudel are a must.


Photo: Jose Alfonso Cussianovich


I know that while you are not in a rush, you also do not have enough time to explore Plitvice Lakes National Park, the largest and oldest national park in Croatia. Perhaps you may find it interesting that two of the entrances to the national park are on the D1 road. You will definitely have to visit the Plitvice Lakes at some point, but for now, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful greenery that accompanies this part of the road, something that you will not be able to see on the E71 highway. If you are interested in visiting the Plitvice Lakes National Park, have you taken a look at the contest that we have organized in collaboration with the Park? You can win two tickets to visit it!


Image: Plitvice Lakes National Park


It is difficult to get to Zagreb or Split via the same old motorway, as at some point you will have to return to the fast one either in Karlovac or in Dugopolje. However, that doesn't mean that was all you could see. Be it the first or last of your stops, you have to check out the magical, fairytale town of Slunj. If you have the time, visit it! And if not, from the same road you will be able to see it in the distance and feel that you are going through a location described by J.R.R. Tolkien!


Image: Slunj Tourist Board

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

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

CRO Race 2nd Stage: Olav Kooij Winner from from Slunj to Otočac

September 29, 2021 - Dutchman Olav Kooij, a member of the Jumbo-Visma team, won the CRO Race 2nd stage from Slunj to Otočac (187 kilometers) and took the lead in the overall standings.

Kooij, who was second in the first stage on Tuesday in Varaždin, positioned himself much better before the final sprint, broke out at the head of the main group about 100 meters before the finish line and won over Israeli Itamar Einhorn (Israel Start-Up Nation) in 2nd and Australian Caden Groves (Team Bikeexchange) in 3rd, reports HRT.

"Today's stage was much more demanding than yesterday's, but it suited me. In the continuation of the race, even more demanding exams await us, but I am ready," said only 19-year-old Kooij, who likes racing in Croatia.

The young Dutchman has already achieved two victories in Croatia, in GP Umag and GP Poreč in the early spring of 2020. 

Kooij also took the lead in the blue T-shirt standings for the best sprinter in the CRO Race.

In the 2nd stage, the fight to escape lasted a bit longer than in the first, but shortly after the start in Slunj, six cyclists stood out from the leading group - Poles Marcin Budzinski (HRE Mazowsze Serce Polski) and Mateusz Grabis (Voster ATS Team), Belgian Laurens Huys (Bingoal Pauwels Saucers WB), Slovenian Boštjan Murn (Adria Mobil), German Dominik Roeber (P & S Metalltechnik) and Austrian Manuel Bosch (Felbermayr Simplon Wels).

At the first passing goal in Plitvice Lakes, Budzinski was first in front of Grabis and Roeber. In the first ascent of the day towards Varičaci, two Kern Pharma drivers, Spaniard Jaime Castrillo and Russian Sava Novikov, stood out from the peloton. The duo quickly reached the top six, but Budzinski was ahead of Castrillo and Roeber.

The maximum advantage the eight cyclists had over the leading group was a little more than four minutes, but already during the descent towards Otočac and the first passage through the finish line, it dropped to three and a half minutes. During the first passage through the finish line in Otočac, Grabis was first in front of Castrillo and Roeber. On the most challenging climb of the day, Castrillo stood out from the leading group, who won the mountain finish in Kuterevo and thus took the lead in the overall standings for best climber. He will wear a green shirt in the third stage on Thursday.

Castrillo remained alone in the lead until about 20 kilometers before the finish and won the passing goal in Perušić. 

The third stage from Primošten to Makarska (167 kilometers long) is scheduled for Thursday.


September 30, 3rd stage: Primošten - Makarska (167km)

October 1, 4th stage: Zadar - Crikvenica (197km)

October 2, 5th stage: Rabac / Labin - Opatija (137.5km)

October 3, 6th stage: Samobor - Zagreb (156.5km)

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

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 7 May 2021

DEFENDER-Europe-21: Zadar Doing Its Part in Large NATO Exercise

May 7, 2021 - As part of NATO, Croatia participates in a large military exercise called DEFENDER-Europe-21, and UK and US navy ships arrived in Zadar with valuable equipment to be distributed among training areas in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Large-scale, multinational, and army-lead, DEFENDER-Europe is a joint exercise designed to build readiness and interoperability between the U.S., NATO, and partner militaries. This year's edition DEFENDER-Europe-21, as reported by U.S. Army Europe and Africa website, focuses on „Building operational readiness and interoperability with a greater number of NATO allies and partners over a wider area of operations is defensive in nature and focused on responding to the crisis if necessary“, and also shows that „the U.S. commitment to NATO is ironclad.“

The exercise also includes strict COVID prevention and mitigation measures, such as pre-deployment COVID testing and quarantining and the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy show significant involvement and will utilize key ground and maritime routes bridging Europe, Asia, and Africa – continues the website.

„Exercises new high-end capabilities such the new U.S. Army Security Force Assistance Brigades, air, and missile defense assets and the recently reactivated V Corps and demonstrates our ability to serve as a strategic security partner in the western Balkans and the Black Sea regions while sustaining our abilities in northern Europe, the Caucasus, Ukraine, and Africa“, adds the exercise goals the official U.S. Army website.

Apart from the U.S., Approximately 28,000 multinational forces from 26 nations conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in 12 countries, and as a NATO member, Croatia has not been left out of the drill.


U.S. Naval Ship Yuma arrives in Zadar, Croatia © Sgt. Alexandra Shea

As part of the exercise, U.S. Naval Ship Yuma and U.K. Vessel Hurst Point off-loaded more than 300 pieces of military equipment in Zadar, Croatia’s Gazenica port, after ferrying it from Durres in Albania. The delivery started on Tuesday, May 4, and it was concluded on Friday. The journey of the equipment started back on March 24 at the Port of Jacksonville in Florida. The local U.S. National Guard units were shipping the equipment for three days onto USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR 300) after which, the ship stopped by Portsmouth in Virginia for the final pieces of equipment before heading towards Durres in Albania. In Durres, the smaller vessels took the equipment and finally loaded it to Yuma, and Hurst Point, which brought it to the gem of Northern Dalmatia, Zadar.

„This process is called Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore, a method used to ensure swift delivery of supplies and equipment in a variety of port situations“, explained the press release.

U.S._equipment_leaves_for_training_area-c-Sgt._Joshua_Oh.jpgU.S. equipment leaves for training area © Sgt. Joshua Oh 

While many would probably stop at Zadar and chill for a lovely holiday, the equipment, however, will continue its journey. Part of the equipment will remain in Croatia, but it will be transferred to Slunj, home of the Main Training Area, and the rest goes to training areas scattered in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In BiH, the drills and maneuvers for which the equipment will be used are under the umbrella of the linked exercise named "Immediate Response 21” which will culminate in a joint, multinational live-fire demonstration called “Croatian Rampart 1991-2021” at the end of May. Not just as a test of possibility in the „God-forbid-we-are-attacked“ scenario, Croatian Rampart 1991-2021“ also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Croatia Armed Forces.

The Main Training Area in Slunj, Croatia and training areas throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina to be used in drills and maneuvers alongside members of the Croatian Armed Forces, under the umbrella of the linked exercise named "Immediate Response 21.” The exercise culminates in a joint, multinational live-fire demonstration called “Croatian Rampart 1991-2021” - which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Croatian Armed Forces at the end of May.


British Major Dan Cornwell talking to Croatian press, screenshot / Defense Flash News

British Major Dan Cornwell told the Croatian press that the idea of being in Zadar is that Croatian, U.K., and U.S. forces operate together in loading U.S. equipment and personnel.

„We've done this before, on exercise last year in Germany, and I can say, it's a lot better down here in the south, it's absolutely amazing to be here in Croatia to do this alongside Croatian Armed Forces where we can better understand how we operate differently, how we operate similarly and equally building up our interoperability and our ability to operate better in the future“, said Maj. Cornwell, indicating that perhaps he can find Zadar, like many others, as a great holiday destination and not just the line of duty.

Learn more about Zadar on our TC page.

For more about the army in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Construction of Army Field Hospital and Troop Accommodation Facility Begins at Slunj

ZAGREB, November 25, 2020 - The foundation stone was laid for a Role 1 field hospital on the Croatian army's training ground at Slunj on Wednesday, and work began on a building for the occasional accommodation of up to 200 personnel, which is financed by the United States government with $1.7 million.

The work will be carried out by the Croatian Army Engineers Corps and US engineers.

The event was attended by the State Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, Zdravko Jakop, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, Lt. Gen. Sinisa Jurkovic, and the US Ambassador to Croatia, Robert Kohorst.

Ambassador Kohorst said that the US was Croatia's most important strategic partner in defence and security and that their defence cooperation was a very important part of the overall cooperation between the two countries.

The construction of the two facilities will improve the living and security conditions during training, and the project is part of the successful cooperation between the US and Croatia, Lt. Gen. Jurkovic said.

Jurkovic thanked the American friends for the donation, saying that it was the result of cooperation at all levels. He particularly praised Ambassador Kohorst for his contribution.

Jakop said that the two facilities would increase the quality of life and work at Slunj, the largest military training ground in Croatia, adding that the cooperation with the US had increased the level of troop readiness and complementarity.

US ambassador hopes Croatia will opt for F-16 aircraft

Kohorst said that the US had invested $700 million in Croatia through defence cooperation over the last 10 years. He said that Croatia and the US were successfully working together both politically and militarily, as well as in humanitarian work.

The US ambassador said he was confident that the cooperation would continue, expressing a wish that in buying fighter jets for its Air Force Croatia would choose the US offer of F-16 aircraft.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Thirteen Foreigners, Presumably Migrants, Found at Slunj Military Range

ZAGREB, Aug 29, 2020 - Thirteen foreign citizens have been found and identified at the Eugen Kvaternik Military Range in the central Croatian town of Slunj, and they have been handed over to police for further action, Croatia's Defence Ministry (MORH) said on Saturday.

A group of thirteen foreign citizens who had illegally crossed the Croatian border was identified and detained at the Eugen Kvaternik Military Range on Friday at about 6.30 pm.

The group then reported that a female child aged 12 had gone missing from the group, the ministry's press release said.

Since the disappearance was reported, members of the Croatian Armed Forces have been intensively searching for the missing girl around the Eugen Kvaternik Military Range.

The Croatian police were immediately informed about this and they took over the foreign nationals and are also conducting an intensive search, MORH added.

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Thursday, 3 October 2019

CRO Race: Romanian Eduard-Michael Grosu Wins Stage Two in Zadar

October 3, 2019 - reports that Romanian cyclist Eduard-Michael Grosu, a member of the French Delko Marseille team, won the second stage of the CRO Race, which ran on Wednesday on the 183 km route from Slunj to Zadar. Grosu also took the overall lead in the stage.

Grosu also celebrated in Zadar last year. With a good knowledge of the final kilometers, he attacked a kilometer ahead of the finish line, quickly acquiring the 20-meter advantage he managed to keep to the finish. The second place went to Australian Alexander Edmondson from the Mitchelton-Scott team and third to the first stage winner Slovenian Marko Kump from Adria Mobil.

In the third stage, the blue t-shirt intended for the best sprinter will be worn by Kump, the green by Austrian Markus Wildauer (Tyrol KTM), and white by Kazakhstani Vadim Pronski (Astana).

The second stage of this year's CRO Race took cyclists through two national parks, Plitvice Lakes and Northern Velebit.

The town of Slunj justified its status as an extremely hospitable host at the start of the second stage. The numerous locals warmly greeted the cyclists in the center of the town before the start and wished them a happy journey. The beginning of the race was signaled by the mayor of Slunj, Jure Katić, and very soon after, five cyclists stood out from the leading group - Austrians Markus Wildauer (Tyrol KTM), Daniel Lehner (Felbermayr Simplon), Dominic Hrinkow (Hrinkow Advarics), Australian Benjamin Hill (Ljubljana Gusto Santic) and Dutchman Jens van den Dool (Metec-TKH).

The five quickly built up an advantage of over five and a half minutes and scored points after passing the first goal entering Plitvice Lakes National Park, and at Jezerce five kilometers later.

Unfortunately, adverse weather conditions followed the cyclists as they continued. After passing through the refreshment area in the middle of the stage, heavy rain began to fall, and the temperature dropped significantly. With the fall in temperature, the leaders of the group started to weaken. At the beginning of the second ascent of the day in the Velebit Nature Park, the peloton was just over two minutes ahead, led by the Slovenian team Adria Mobil. Delko Marseille and Vital Concept took the lead in the leading group, reducing the edge of the top five to just 47 seconds.

Fortunately, during the descent from Velebit to Maslenica, the weather subsided and the rain stopped.

Soon afterward, seven cyclists stood out from the leading group - Austrians Florian Kierner and Stephan Rabitsch (Felbermayr Simplon), Dutchmen Dylan Bouwans and Stef Krul (Metec-TKH), Frenchman Matthieu Jeannes (Illuminate), Polak Maciej Paterski (Wibatech Merx) and German Jonathan Dinkler (P&S Metalltechnik).

At no point was their advantage greater than a minute, so Kierner, Rabitsch and Dinkler soon gave up the run, while Bouwmans, Krul, Jeannes and Paterski persisted for the last six kilometers before the finish. The leading four were ahead by about 10 seconds. Eduard-Michael Grosu ultimately came out on top. 


1. Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rum/DMP) 4:24:39
2. Alexander Edmondson (Aus/MTS) +3
3. Marko Kump (Slo/ ADR)
4. Mattia Frapporti (Ita/ANS)
5. Matej Mohorič (Slo/TBM)
6. John Mandrysch (Njem/PUS)
7. Paolo Simion (Ita/BRD)
8. Timon Loderer (Njem/HAC)
9. Heinrich Haussler (Aus/TBM)
10. Bert de Backer (Bel/VCB) 

Overall Results 

1. Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rum/DMP) 8:51:52
2. Marko Kump (Slo/ ADR) +5
3. Alexander Edmondson (Aus/MTS) +13
4. Jevghenij Gidič (Kaz/AST) +13
5. Matej Mohorič (Slo/TBM) +14
6. Alexis Guerin (Fra/DMP) +17
7. Adam Yates (VB/MTS) +18
8. Arvid de Kleijn (Niz/MET) +19...

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Monday, 30 April 2018

Nordic Walking Routes to be Presented in Slunj Tomorrow

As a part of the celebrations of the International Worker's Day on May 1st, 2018, Tourist Board of the town of Slunj wants to invite you at 10am to Rastoke to present to the public the newest addition to their gamut of tourist attractions: 100 kilometers of routes for Nordic walking in and around Slunj!

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Deputy Mayor of Slunj, Plumber by Trade, Appointed as Director of Local Library

First a plumber, then an army officer, then a deputy mayor, now a library director. What a career!