Friday, 10 June 2022

5th Day of International Meeting of Travel Influencers Explores Inland Dalmatia

PR TEXT - June 10, 2022 - After visiting the best of the Mediterranean, including the heavenly Biokovo Skywalk and the WTA tournament in Makarska, tasting wine on Brač and Hvar, and enjoying the view of Zlatni Rat, the Hvar Historical Theater, and the Pakleni Islands, the digital creators got to peek into Inland Dalmatia during the International Meeting of Travel Influencers.

Recall, this is a unique project of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board and the editor of the Croatian Hotspots magazine, Maja Zlokić, which thus entered its spectacular finale.

Inland Dalmatia is great for active holidays and sightseeing, and was there a better city to start this adventure than the heroic Sinj? Nothing speaks of Sinj as eloquently as the Sinjska Alka Museum. The guests enjoyed a museum tour with many uniforms, equipment, weapons used by the Sinj Alkars, Alkar statutes, and digital displays. Of particular delight were the life-size display of the Alkar procession and the replay of the 1715 Battle of Sinj, where the influencer group could experience the glorious battle in a multimedia environment.



However, the real euphoria arose during the visit to the Sinj Hippodrome, when the cameras of the digital creators did not stop clicking during the encounter with beautiful horses, which many wanted to pet and feed. The beauties of Sinj have taken over Instagram stories and posts, and the group gained a great insight into the Sinj tradition, from ancient times related to horse breeding and training, as indicated by three centuries of the Alka and many domestic and international horse tournaments.


The real hit on Wednesday was the mystical blue-green eye - the source of the Cetina. It is a photogenic location that Instagram has adored for a long time because of its stunning turquoise colors, but also incredibly picturesque ambiance, which contributes to the proximity of nearby sacral buildings, which seem to obscure this unusual natural phenomenon - the Church of the Holy Salvation.


There was also content for culture lovers, and the favorite photo of the source is from a bird's eye view. Many of the influencers, such as Goran Jović - one of the ambassadors of this project, and his wife, photo & travel blogger Diana Loos, already have an affinity for beautiful photography and were delighted by this ambiance, just like the beauties of Imotski - the Blue and Red Lake. Stories have been told about them since ancient times, and one of the most impressive moments related to these top Imotski attractions is when the Blue Lake dries up and becomes a football field! Playing football at the bottom of the lake is a real treat, and photos of this event will travel worldwide!


Slightly sad about the last day of the meeting, but at the same time overjoyed about the great experience, quality content, and unparalleled inspiration, the influencers promised Central Dalmatia one thing - this parting is only for a short time.

All photos by Goran Jovic

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

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

International Meeting of Travel Influencers Heads to Hvar and Brač (PHOTOS)

PR TEXT - June 8, 2022 - The International Meeting of Travel Influencers, organized by the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board and editor of Croatian Hotspots magazine Maja Zlokić, entered its third and fourth day. After Split and Makarska, the content team moved to the islands of Brač and Hvar.

The visit to Brač began with the emblematic Bol and Zlatni Rat beach, whose views under the slogan 'Symbol of the Adriatic' have long represented domestic tourism in the world. Elevated to the next level with a magnificent bird's eye view, the influencers formed a heart with their bodies to be photographed on the recognizable horn of Zlatni Rat, which changes shape and position depending on the wind. 


Wine tasting and bites at the famous Bol winery "Stina, where wooden barrels hold the finest varieties of award-winning Stina wine.


After tasting plavac, opolo, and prošek, the influencers left for Hvar. The mayor of Hvar, Rikardo Novak, and the head of the Department of Culture, Katija Vučetić, welcomed them on Croatia's sunniest island, showing them some of the most precious gems of their culture, such as the famous Arsenal and the Hvar Historical Theater. They used their expert eye to convey the beauty of the interiors. Complemented by a musical background, they managed to peek inside, dominated by red velvet and gold. The influencers pointed out that wherever they are photographed, they must indicate the location to inform their followers of where they are, which facilities to visit, where to drink the best coffee, and eat well, which is the driving force of this project. 


At sunset, they went to the Hvar Fortress Fortica. Apart from the magical ambiance, the group was delighted by Tommy catering and Plančić winery. In addition to the famous Plavac mali, everyone enjoyed their rosé, which every wine lover noticed for its intoxicating notes of peach, plum, watermelon, and wild strawberries!


After overnighting in Hvar town, the next destination was the Pakleni Islands. While sailing, Instagram stories lit up with beautiful sea views. The influencer couple from Poland, known as Crolovepl, published a beautiful shot of sea foam on the surface, and their compatriot Anna Wizental enthusiastically posted a photo of the enchanting turquoise sea, which shows a white sandy bottom. The group sailed, partied, and feasted, and when "Makeba" came on the playlist, the digital divas gave up sunbathing and danced to irresistible African and French rhythms. This exciting musical melange, a favorite background on Instagram Reels for months, could easily be the official soundtrack of this gathering where the essence is getting to know different cultures, dynamism, creativity, and positivity.


The Pakleni Islands also played the host of a great lunch in an ambiance that reminded many of sumptuous Greek restaurants. Seeing the beautiful interior in natural materials, bright wood colors, and cute swings, the influencers were happy with their aperitifs - fine white wines and cocktails with decorative flower petals.

The final day took off to the intriguing Inland Dalmatia, a visit to Sinj and the Sinjska Alka Museum, the Kamičak fortress, and the enigmatic gems of the Imotski region - the Red and Blue Lakes! 

All photos by Goran Jovic

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


Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Horvat Čagalj: Thousands Virtually Explored Central Dalmatia through Travel Influencers

PR TEXT - June 7, 2022 - The unique international meeting of travel influencers, an innovative project organized by the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board and led by the director Joško Stella and Croatian Hotspots magazine editor, Maja Zlokić, has come to an end. Local influencer Horvat Čagalj shares his thoughts. 

About thirty influencers from Croatia and all over the world - from Italy, Poland, and Great Britain, all the way to Brazil and Korea, enjoyed events as part of the 1st International Meeting of Travel Influencers in Split-Dalmatia county. They visited Dalmatia and discovered the best the County has to offer. They returned from the trip full of impressions, reports Dalmatinski Portal

The first among them is Horvat Čagalj, whose social networks are full of content. A two-time participant in Big Brother and a law graduate, Čagalj spontaneously became an influencer, and over 28,000 people follow his Instagram profile.

"I think that nowadays, organizing an international meeting of influencers is an excellent move made by the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your great hospitality. I think this is the easiest, and I would dare say the most efficient and cheapest way to promote a destination. To host such a large number of influencers in one place, who shared content about the county on their profiles for days, certainly reached a large audience. Thousands of people have 'virtually stayed' in Central Dalmatia. Among them is certainly many of them who will want to visit the places we visited after posting. They got first-hand impressions and useful information about a destination through stories and posts. In addition, the efficiency of posting on social networks is great," says Horvat Čagalj, who gained some new friendships at the 1st International Meeting of Travel Influencers.

"There were a few already famous people, but I still made a lot of acquaintances, mainly from Poland, and a few local influencers that I had not had the opportunity to meet before."

As it is popularly said, Central Dalmatia lit up social networks, and how could it not when the organizers prepared an exciting program. Their stay began in Split, continued at the Klis Fortress with the historical Kliška Uskoks. On the second day, the influencers were received by the County prefect Blaženko Boban. They also visited the popular Biokovo Skywalk and the WTA tournament in Makarska. On the third day, they visited the islands, enjoyed the beautiful Zlatni Rat in Bol, and wine tasting at the popular Stina winery. They also visited the Hvar Theater and Arsenal, and spent the same evening socializing at sunset on the Hvar Fortress. On the fourth day, they visited the magical Pakleni Islands and Inland Dalmatia - Sinj, the Sinjska Alka Museum, and the Red and Blue Lakes.

"Each place has its own story, everything was magical and superbly presented. Klis was interesting to me because of the popular Game of Thrones series and the history with the Turks. The Skywalk on Biokovo cannot leave anyone indifferent, and I have not visited it before, so I especially enjoyed it. Also, for the first time, I visited the oldest theater on Hvar, which has been renovated. It is always nice to discover some new beauties and cultural sights in our country," said Horvat, who often travels and discovers new destinations. He also admitted the shortcomings of Croatian tourism.

"We have so many advantages over other destinations, and sometimes we are not aware of that because we live there. I think the biggest drawback is that we don't have a lot of direct flights to many destinations, so the most beautiful destinations are still too expensive for us. There are also shortcomings of insufficiently trained and professional people in tourism."

Horvat praised the idea of the organizers for the interesting conference and round table on 'The impact of influencers on the tourism industry'.

"We certainly exchanged useful information, primarily which agencies to work with, which destinations are most interesting, how to reduce travel costs, what to look out for when it comes to safety, and how to take a good photo. It would certainly be useful to have more such and similar conferences," concluded the local influencer.

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


Monday, 30 May 2022

Split-Dalmatia County Overnights at 80% of 2019, High Demand at Split Airport

May 30, 2022 - Split-Dalmatia County overnights and Split Airport flight traffic have hit 80% of the record 2019!

"We are only at the end of May and in the middle of an extended weekend. Nevertheless, all tourist indicators tell us that from the beginning of the year to the end of May, we are at around 80% of traffic in terms of overnight stays compared to 2019," said Joško Stella, director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board for HRT.

"If we looked at 2021, we have three times more overnights than last year. So we have excellent bookings for the peak season," he pointed out.

As for guests, domestic tourists make up about 10% in Split-Dalmatia County, and the increase in prices will affect this.

"We hope that prices will not rise too much," Stella said.

Stella added that they had made a master plan for tourism development, and their main goal is sustainable tourism with the help of the local population. They have already taken some actions, and they know how much they can burden local tourism during July and August.

Stella concluded that he expects to get very close to the 2019 results, but it is more critical for them to take care of tourism sustainability.

The head of the Passenger Reception and Dispatch Service of Split Airport, Mate Melvan, was a guest on Dnevnik N1 on Sunday. 

He pointed out that they are delighted with the traffic this extended weekend, after which there are about 140 aircraft and approximately 34,000 passengers.

"Compared to previous years, we are now at about 80 percent compared to 2019, and the goal is to reach 2019. However, compared to last year, we are significantly in the black; it is best to forget," Mate Melvan told N1.

Commenting on the impact of inflation and the war in Ukraine on price growth, he added: “Airlines are under pressure due to the crisis, but it is not affecting high demand so far, and we are looking forward to it. Figures show that we could reach the 2019 figures in July and August. 45 to 50 airlines have announced flights. It turns out that the demand for Split is growing."

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

Saturday, 30 April 2022

Great Demand for Inland Dalmatia Tourism, Says Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board

April 30, 2022 - Inland Dalmatia tourism is a hit, says Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board director Joško Stella. 

Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board director, Joško Stella, is running for a new term at the helm of the tourist board. After presenting the Tourism 3.0 project, Dalmatinski Portal spoke to Stella about the results of his work, expectations from this season, and trends in tourism. 

Which parts of Split-Dalmatia County have made the biggest step since you became the head of the Tourist Board?

"Split Riviera and Makarska Riviera make the largest traffic as clusters in Split-Dalmatia County, and we also know that the city of Split has made a big step forward in tourism in the last five years. As for Inland Dalmatia, I would especially like to point out the area of Imotski where a large number of villas with swimming pools were built."

Many villas with swimming pools have been built in Inland Dalmatia in recent years. But is the demand still growing?

"There is a great demand for Inland Dalmatia and villas with swimming pools located in the hinterland, coast, and islands."

Did the pandemic affect the number of apartments in Split?

"The number of apartments in Split has decreased."

The world is changing fast, and so is tourism. What is the current trend that the general public may not be aware of?

"The current trend in the world is a return to nature, outdoor activities, exercise, walking, cycling, and general recreational sports. However, I would add that the growing trend is healthy food and quality nutrition where our Mediterranean cuisine has a great chance to grow as a brand."

The tourist board has been pushing cycling tourism in the county. What are the results?

"We have been systematically developing cycling tourism in the county since 2013. The result is over 3000 km of trails, over 200 'bed and bike' apartments, 50 bike hotels, and ten bike camps. In addition, the result is an increasing number of smaller and larger bicycle races and a growing number of organized groups of cyclists coming to our county."

Will this season break the 2019 record?

"From the beginning of the year to April 27, we have 2.8 times more overnight stays than last year, and if we compare with the same period in 2019, we are at 88 percent of overnight stays from pre-pandemic, record, 2019. So we are certainly expecting a better year than 2021, and we are expecting figures close to 2019, Of course, unless there are some unforeseen circumstances."

The City of Vienna recently launched a €2 million financial incentive program for film and television productions called 'Vienna Film Incentive.' The program should contribute to the growth of the economy and tourism and increase the attractiveness of Vienna as a tourist destination, and is expected to last until the end of 2023. The filming of Game of Thrones has contributed to popularizing Dalmatia. What can be done institutionally to make this industry more regularly choose our area?

"Split-Dalmatia County and the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board are actively working to establish a film office that would promote film tourism and locations in the destination for future filming. Back in 2015, we released a map of locations for Game of Thrones in several languages ​​and presented it at the Barcelona fair, where we co-financed a copy of the original throne from the film. In the following years, we actively brought in journalists related to the filming of Mama Mia and Game of Thrones."

The season is already visible and is slightly longer, lasting more than two months. So what else can be done?

"7-8 years ago, it started at the end of April, and now at the end of March. The flights ended in early October and now end later that month. With the development of particular forms of tourism such as enogastronomy, cultural and active tourism, we are already extending the tourist season. It is a process that has been going on for years, but progress is already visible."

The arrival of guests is related to the number of flights and the price. What can be done to increase the number of flights and make them more affordable?

"In 2022, in cooperation with the CNTB and the Split Tourist Board, we co-financed eight airlines. We agree with Croatia Airlines for additional routes in the winter flight schedule and are negotiating additional routes and flights."

The tourist board does a lot of education throughout the county. What are the reactions?

"In 2022 alone, we already had 15 trainings for private renters and four trainings for agencies where I would like to point out that we brought Rob Holmes from the USA and Victoria Smith from the UK. There are currently five trainings for EU funds in tourism. Attendance at most trainings is excellent. I would also like to point out that we have co-financed nine trainings for our local tourist boards.

Since 2012, we have been the first in Croatia with organized free trainings for private renters, and we are known to have the most free trainings of all county tourist boards in Croatia. The result of all this is that over 8,000 people and over a thousand more from the entire sector went directly through our trainings for private renters, thus raising the level of knowledge and competitiveness of tourism in our county."

What else makes the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board stand out?

"We, as the County Tourist Board, are leaders in the field of education and cooperation with private landlords (education, conferences, web pages, co-financing the Apartment Plus magazine, and cooperating with Landlord Counseling). In addition, we have exceptional cooperation with agencies in our area (DMK competition, cooperation with UHPA / education). We also highlight projects: 1. Marketing through social networks (Facebook and YouTube), 2. Development of cycling tourism (trail design, promotional materials, fairs, and races), 3. Development of themed hiking trails (the only tourist base in Croatia if not in Europe that has Google StreetView for all themed trails, special website, and printed materials), 4. Sustainable development and strategic planning, The only tourist board with a Capacity Study, 5. The first tourist board in Croatia to implement the Economic effects of tourism, 6. Cooperation with local tourist boards (joint advertising, special calls for tenders, co-financing trainings, and arranging destinations)."

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

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

DalmatiaNFT: Split-Dalmatia County Officially Steps into Metaverse

April 20, 2022 - The Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board has launched the Tourism 3.0 project, integrating the tourism sector into the Metaverse with DalmatiaNFT.

The Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board will hold a ceremonial presentation on the project Tourism 3.0 - a revolution in applying augmented reality technologies in presenting the tourist offer of the destination. The presentation is scheduled for April 21, 2022, at 10:00 am at the President Hotel in Solin, and at the event itself, guests will step into new ways of social interactions of the future.

In a world that is constantly evolving and changing for all individuals and structures of society, there are changes in the preferences and interests of tourists. Knowledge and innovation are becoming a key source of sustainable competitive advantage. It is essential to keep up with technology and use all the power of today's communication channels.


Only dynamic organizations which can assess the needs of their stakeholders and respond effectively to those needs will be able to outperform their competitors and maintain their long-term prosperity.

For this reason, the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board has launched the Tourism 3.0 project, whose name symbolically represents the integration of the tourism sector into the third phase of technology evolution and the virtual Metaverse world.

This project outcome will be achieved by implementing a hyper-relevant system for the distribution of NFTs (Non-fungible Tokens) in the tourist offer of Central Dalmatia within the concept of a virtual world called Metaverse.

Virtual reality is part of a new reality in tourism - an embodied internet in which you are the creators of experiences, not just observers.

As one of the answers to the crisis, digitalization in tourism means introducing new technologies such as virtual reality (VR). Virtual reality will be necessary as a promoter and in the preparation of travel, the conservation of resources, and the protection of cultural and natural assets.

"We recognize the portrait of the future traveler who seeks safety and untouchable access and feels a responsibility to destinations. However, we are all aware that a huge effort is still ahead of us, that tourism relies on trust and a reliable relationship between people. Therefore, we strive for a new tourism vision, responsible, transformative and sustainable, fully dedicated to our new tourists. Tourism 3.0 and the DalmatiaNFT system build a relationship between tourists and hosts at the destination based on the inclusion of guests and the creation of tourist facilities," said director Joško Stella.


"The project will be implemented through 4 phases. In the project's first phase, a media conference will be organized to acquaint the public with the project and demonstrate its capacity and scope. After that, we will launch a prize NFT fund, including all destinations and attractions in the county; we will also organize workshops for local tourist boards and tourism staff. Expanding the scope of the system is an imperative of the project. With this project, Split-Dalmatia County could, in a very short time, position itself as a leader in technological innovations in tourism, educating new experts, innovative interpretation of cultural heritage, and augmented reality technologies that allow guests a more intense experience of tangible and intangible heritage.

Our identity is becoming more and more online every day. So it was logical to think about how these trends are introduced into tourism, how tourists move into this digital identity, how we create a space around us that we take with us in this Metaverse," Joško Stella added.

In recent months, large technology companies have been buzzing about the possibilities that Metaverse and NFT technology can provide.

Everyone is talking about the Metaverse, there are many theories, and one thing everyone agrees on is that the Metaverse is coming and will revolutionize the internet.

Facebook founder Zuckerberg claims that this technology will rule the world in five years. Although we will use 2D applications in this world as they now dominate the market, significant efforts will be focused on developing ideas of augmented and virtual reality - everything from digital entertainment to virtual travel.

"With this project, we will show what is possible with this technology in tourism. NFTs are laying the groundwork for a real, verifiable, virtual world," Stella added.

Sustainable interest has shown that NFTs are not a phase or a whim. Just as crypto and blockchain are becoming the core technology shaping the unwritten future, so are NFTs. Users can use NFTs for art, travel, clothing, and even attend live events with friends online.

For more on travel to Croatia, check out our dedicated travel section.


Wednesday, 30 March 2022

First Split Winter Tourism Committee Meeting held at HGK to Discuss Winter Flights

March 30, 2022 - The first official Split Winter Tourism Committee meeting was held on Tuesday at the County Chamber of Commerce in Split. 

This meeting was attended by Joško Stella (Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board), Joze Tomaš and Nataša Bušić (HGK), Pero Bilas (Split Airport), Arnoud Zaalberg (GM of Le Meridien Lav), Mario Šerić (MarCon), Jelena Tabak (Split Caterers Association), Maria Mustapić (Split caterers and hostels), Jasmina Kruščić (Split caterers), and Daniela Rogulj (TCN). 

This meeting was held specifically on the issue of bringing winter flights to Split, with two proposals presented to kick off the discussion.  

Initiative proposal

- Most logical - talk to airlines with a strong presence in the right markets

- Increase expectation

- Last weekend of October - first weekend after 3 Kings - January 6

- Extends season by 10 weeks

- Many people travel at this time already

- This period is beneficial for the private sector

- Gives time to create concrete products - events, conferences, city breaks, etc.

- Suggestion - connection with London - 2 airlines - British Airways and Easyjet

- Why? BA is a member of the Oneworld Alliance - gives us access to overseas customers - partner is American Airlines - 80% of the overseas market covered + the local market 

- The majority of the overseas market is covered if we have British Airways (OneWorld Alliance) in addition to Croatia Airlines 

- easyJet covers local British and Croatian market

- 6 flights - 3x week total

- 256 planes in BA fleet - 30 Airbus 319 with 144 seats, 67 Airbus 320 - 180 seats, 17 Airbus 320 neo with 180 seats

- Easyjet - 310 planes - 87 A319 or 320 with 156 seats, 167 A320 with 186 seats, 41 A320 neo wiith 186 sets 

- British Airways load factor - November 2018 - 80.6%, 2019 - 83.6%, December 2018 - 80.4%, 2019 -  83.7%

- easyJet load factor - November 2018 - 89.2%, 2019 - 90.8%, December 2018 - 89.2%, 2019 - 91.3% 

- 6-weekly flights - 3x each airline - 30 flights a month - 8,800 passengers each way - 10% locals (-800) - 2-3 overnights - 17-18k guest overnights total - growth of 12/13% in Greater Split area

- Private sector to promote and create offers, public to give support

- Promotion directed to the British market

- BA used to fly to Split in the winter of 2006-2007

- Find out why BA does poorly in Dubrovnik in winter

- London is only one example of a destination (i.e., we could do the same for Amsterdam or Paris)

County Tourist Board proposal

- Push shoulder season like the last 10 years

- Flights started in May-late September

- Shoulder season really broadened since 2019 

- Tourist boards propose to give 136k euros to airlines - HTZ must accept it

- The tourist board will get info on airlines with the most passengers during the year, out of these, which fly the most in April in October

- Let's meet with easyJet, Eurowings, and Ryanair and see if they'll fly 2 weeks before the summer flight schedule/2 weeks after (4 weeks total - March & November)

Hotel perspective

- Anyone can do business in the summer

- The difference for Le Meridien / Radisson, etc. is group business - their year is made if they have a good April / May / June - October / November

- Split is an excellent congress destination

- We rely too much on private accommodation, County approach continues this trend

- Initiative approach covers and gives more to everyone

- We need stability with flights for MICE markets

What is realistic?

Split Airport perspective 

- Airbus 320 is costly for return flights

- London is the biggest hub in the world but Britain is now a 3rd country, and Croatia is joining Schengen

- When Croatia joined the EU in 2013, traffic doubled - 1.5 million to 3 million passengers

- This will be a huge change when we join Schengen - it’ll be one big domestic flight

- Not sure what the best way is - to focus on one airline or several

- Croatia Airlines announced their summer flight schedule with 21 international destinations in total - 18 from Split Airport - 15 from Zagreb - 7 or so from Dubrovnik

- Croatia Airlines has been hugely impacted by Ryanair - but maybe this was a good thing

- Croatia Airlines did a study that revealed they shouldn’t stay in Zagreb but move to the coast

- Croatia Airlines will likely speak to Split Airport

- Potential Zurich flights planned 2-3 times a week

- Croatia Airlines is Split’s second-biggest airline - 17% of all traffic when looking at a total of 50 airlines

- Croatia Airlines is 80% of all traffic at Split Airport in winter

- Let's work on a Croatia Airlines winter flight and use it as an example for other airlines

Key takeaways

- Common goal of the private sector is to extend the season in November and December 

- Understanding and willingness to help expressed by Split Airport

- Assumed strategic shift of interests by Croatia Airlines from Zagreb towards Split

- Possibility to negotiate with Croatia Airlines to extend the season by introducing direct winter flights to Zurich as well as winter flights to other destinations

- County to meet with Croatia Airlines next week, Split hoteliers to get together to work on aligned offseason packages

For more, check out our travel section.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Eco-village Vrsine and Inland Marina: Holidays in All-Natural Dalmatia

December 7, 2021 – How one small community preserves the authentic sights, scents, sounds and flavours of traditional Dalmatia by offering sustainable, all-natural holidays in the hinterland. Meet Eco-village Vrsine and inland Marina.

Everything best about a holiday in Dalmatia is a gift of nature. Whether it's the sunshine-filled days, the crystal clear seas, the fresh food on your plate or the scent of lavender, pines and herbs. These are the memories of Dalmatia that last. Timeless, inimitable, unique.

And yet, in our rush to experience Dalmatia, often we risk losing sight of these fundamental reasons for being here. Holidays in this part of Croatia are often sold by the sleek design of modern apartments, fully air-conditioned hotels and luxury villas. Here, you can choose from 50 different breakfast options and food from all around the world.

But, for those yearning to experience traditional, authentic Dalmatia, the solution is often very simple – step into the hinterland. There, you'll quite often find Dalmatia as it always was, and as it should be.

IvoPervan.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina © Ivo Pervan

That's certainly the case in the small Dalmatian municipality of Marina. Lying less than 10km to the west of Trogir, less than 40km from Split, Marina is not without a classic Dalmatian coastline. In fact, it has a generous stretch of great beaches around Poljica Bay. But, that's just a tiny taste of what's on offer here.

Just a short distance north, up into low lying hills, are villages that hold the true sights, sounds, flavours and scents of Dalmatia. It is a natural landscape, marked by telltale signs of agriculture – rows of vines or olive trees, dry stone walls. Of course, in these times, not everyone here still works in farming. But, many do. And, those who don't still live in harmony with this environment. They might not plough the fields or grow their own food, but everyone in Eco-village Vrsine and many in inland Marina live at one with nature. And, that's how they market themselves as a destination. This is what's on offer just a few minutes back from the sea.

Eco-village Vrsine and Inland Marina

ivopervan3.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina © Ivo Pervan

Learn the A to Z of Mediterranean olive oil at OPG Šalov (Šalov Family Farm)

olives.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina: OPG Šalov

The abundance of sunlight and gently rolling slopes make this part of the Dalmatian hinterland perfect for olive groves. Three generations of the Šalov family live and work on the Šalov family farm, looking after their 650 olive trees. Some of them are over 200 years old and the family has deliberately diversified to include 50 different varieties of olives from across the Mediterranean.


This is the opposite of intensive farming, a sustainable endeavour that much reduces the farm's footprint on the environment.


You can visit the farm to learn about olive trees and how the family make their award-winning olive oil. Of course, you get to try the finished product and in October and November, you can even help out with the olive picking – it's all done by hand.

You can learn more about OPG Šalov here

See superfoods in miniature at Jakus Family Farm

jakus_4.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina: Jakus Family Farm

Usually, you don't see very much of the produce from Vesna Jakus's family farm. Well, the microgreens, herbs and edible flowers she grows are very small. And also, they're in high demand.


You'll see leaves and flowers from Jakus Family Farm on plates at some of the fanciest hotels and finest restaurants in Dalmatia. They're full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and flavour, making them a chef's favourite.


Vesna grows everything using only organic and GMO-free seeds and all-natural methods. She doesn't use energy-burning lamps. Instead, her greenhouse harnesses sunlight, retaining the heat of the day so the microgreens stay warm at night – even in winter. Some of the varieties she grows are green pea, red beets, mangold, red radish, beans, adzuki beans, sunflower and basil, all of them fed by the rainwater she collects.


You can learn more about these natural growing methods by visiting Jakus Family Farm and you can see more of what Vesna does here.

Reconnect with You at a holistic wellness and Yoga retreat

sylvia.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina: Holistic Wellness and Yoga

Brazilian Yoga and wellness instructor Sylvia Nunes left behind a high flying city career in order to move to Vrsine, where she lives with her partner Mario. But, before the move, a lot of thought went into the relocation and the repurposing of her life.


First, she visited ecovillages around the world and learned how they combined community, sustainability and wellness. The result is the holistic wellness programme that visitors can experience when staying in Eco-village Vrsine with Sylvia.

Held during the spring and autumn seasons, guests at Sylvia's retreats will experience many aspects of the life of the village. They'll connect with the community and the nature that sustains its members. Visitors might take part in tree planting/reforestation programmes and other ecological projects locally. Before every day's endeavours, there are guided yoga sessions held in the peace and calm of the village's nature.

Discover the scents, flavours and wellness properties of Dalmatia's traditional herbs at Rozga Family Herb Farm

Rozga.jpgBlizna Gornja in inland Marina: Rozga Family Herb Farm

If your Dalmatia stay keeps you in restaurants on the coast, you might not encounter many of Dalmatia's herbs. Maybe some rosemary or parsley on your plate, or the scent of lavender from nearby? But, if you travel further back from the shore, up into the foothills around the village of Blizna Gornja, many secrets will be revealed.


Here, herbalist Mira Rozga keeps ancient and localised wisdom alive. Her herb garden sits on the slopes of hinterland hills and in it grow many different kinds of Mediterranean herbs. These are put to use not only as flavourings in food but also in cosmetics and in health, medicine and wellness products.


You can get to know the scents of Dalmatian herbs by walking around the 30 different varieties grown in the Rozga family herb garden. And, you can learn their secret properties from Mira herself. For more information, look here.

Treat yourself to a luxurious but traditional rural stay at Eco Villa Home Sweet Home

eco-villa-Home-sweet-home-Vrsine-1.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina: Eco Villa Home Sweet Home

If you want to take your time in enjoying Eco Village Vrsine and the surrounding villages, a longer stay is advised. And there are few more luxurious choices for doing so than in this traditional stone house, renovated with the specific ethos of the eco-village in mind.


Eco Villa Home Sweet Home preserves the original architecture of a centuries-old Dalmatian stone house. But, it enhances its fit into today's environment by using modern innovation. Power comes from strips of solar panelling atop the roof, there's an extensive organic garden, furnishings made by local artisans, enough WiFi to work remotely and a pool.

The villa is available to rent year-round and you can find out more here.

Immerse yourself in nature on a camping stay at Robinson Glamping Camp Marta

Robinzonski_glamping_kamp_Marta2.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina: Robinson Glamping Camp Marta

Holiday accommodation often feels far removed from traditional and the natural environment. At Robinson Glamping Camp Marta it's the opposite.


You'll fall asleep every night surrounded by the scent of lavender and herbs. When you wake in the morning, your first sight is the olive grove in which your glamping hut is placed.


The huts themselves are made from all-natural materials – the huts are made of wood, then sheltered from the sun by a canvas tent. The whole 12,500 m2 plot is surrounded by traditional drystone walls and there's a covered picnic area and generous pool too.

Find out more here.

Taste the full and delicious flavours of traditional Dalmatian food at Konoba Donja Banda

Konoba_Donja_Banda.jpgEco-village Vrsine and inland Marina: Konoba Donja Banda

One of the greatest secrets to learn of a holiday in Dalmatia – but rarely one of the first – is that quite often, the further from the shore you travel, the better the food will be.

Konoba_Donja_Banda4.jpgPeka at Konoba Donja Banda

You'll find the flavour, range, portion size, authenticity, cost, and quality of ingredients and cooking all improve greatly when you venture inland. Whether that's a trip up into nearby foothills or a trek to a village, town or city restaurant of the true Dalmatian hinterland, you'll discover evidence of this time after time. Taverns have to work that much harder for a reputation when the sea view doesn't sell the meal.


Nowhere is that more true than Tavern Donja Banda, where Roberto Nedeljko maintains the traditional cuisine Vrsine and its surroundings. All of their ingredients are sourced locally, including the olive oil and all of the wines. Indeed, many of their vegetables and herbs come from their own organic garden. Want to try traditional Dalmatian 'peka' – food cooked under a hot metal 'bell'? This is one of the best places in the area.


You can learn more about the tavern here.

You can find out more about holidays in Eco-village Vrsine and inland Marina by visiting Marina tourist board website here. For more great Croatia holiday ideas, bookmark Total Croatia News travel pages here.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Faithful Czech, German, and Polish Tourists Saving the 2021 Tourist Season in Split

July 24, 2021 - The 2021 tourist season in Split is in full swing, with 14,000 tourists currently in the Dalmatian capital. 

"Currently, more than 14,000 tourists stay in Split, and according to the eVisitor system, 67,600 tourist arrivals and 254,000 tourist overnight stays have been realized in the Split area since the beginning of July, which is an increase of 94 percent in arrivals and 80 percent in overnight stays compared to 2020. The largest number of tourist overnights was realized from these main markets: Poland, Germany, France, and the USA, and from Croatia itself," said Tina Ćurković from the Split Tourist Board and explained that the number of tourists in Split is actually higher because of the midnight registration deadline for currently registered tourists in the eVisitor system, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

"Our statistics do not include guests from cruise ships or visitors who do not spend the night," says Tina Ćurković.

When looking at Split-Dalmatia County, things are also going better than expected in the most optimistic forecasts from the beginning of the year. However, it has become increasingly difficult to find free accommodation in Split and its surroundings in recent days, especially with private renters.

"The acceleration of the season is noticeable. Statistics also show this. The most numerous guests are Poles. From the beginning of the year to July 22, as many as 935,000 Polish tourists arrived in Croatia," reports Joško Stella, director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board.

He confirms that the Czechs are behind them, and there are also Germans and Slovenes. There are also a lot of local guests - about half a million.

"Tourists who come by car predominate, and this has been the case for the last ten years, and the only thing that has changed is their order, so sometimes we get the most Germans or Czechs, and this time its Poles. So we can say that Poles, Czechs, Germans, Slovenes are among our most loyal guests and that our season, at least for now, is going very well," Stella says satisfied.

Between 65 and 70 percent of traffic from the record and most prosperous 2019 has already been recorded. 

"Which, hand on heart, should not be a reference because it was exceptional by all criteria. Honestly, we all shot at the seams that year because of the overcrowding and could hardly wait for that season to end. So I would rather say that our measure is tourism that happened to us in 2016 or 2018, and if we compare ourselves with those seasons, then today's numbers of guests and overnight stays are close to the results achieved then," says Stella.

Americans and Brits have not arrived in large numbers yet. However, in recent years, they dominated when Ultra came to town. 

"The numbers have always been on the side of Poles, Czechs, Germans, Slovenes ... The Americans and the British prefer Split because they come by plane, and there is also Hvar, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, and Plitvice. There are indeed fewer guests from Asia. From South Korea, for example. Americans often came to us as cruise guests, and today there is much less of that," Stella adds.

Luckily, we are very well connected by motorways with the richest countries in Europe, which are practically our neighborhood, and our airports are great.

"Especially Split, which can be seen by the number of flights and guests, and that is our great advantage. In fact, if they managed to finish the season at this pace, they would calmly welcome autumn because the state, based on such tourist results, would still have the strength to encourage those whose business was threatened by the coronavirus pandemic," says Stella.

He also commented on the announced arrival of British tourists, whose government has lifted all epidemiological measures.

"The biggest problem for us is testing guests on their way home and prescribing mandatory quarantine. So, naturally, that discourages people from going on vacation. However, in the case of Britain, which has almost completely abolished epidemiological measures, logically things should not be asked of their tourists, which means that they could easily come to Croatia on holiday," Stella is optimistic.

He thinks that it would be more correct to measure the number of hospitalized and thus determine completely safe or less safe zones than to look at the total number of infected.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

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

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Little Croatia Park in Krakow Highlights Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Offer

June 30, 2021 - Little Croatia is a new park in Krakow dedicated to promoting Croatia! 

At the grand opening ceremony of Little Croatia on June 27, a park in Krakow that is entirely dedicated to the promotion of Croatia, the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board, which is the only tourist region that presented itself, took advantage of a special promotion of tourist opportunities and offers.

Namely, Polish guests in Croatia are always at the very top in terms of number, so the attractive opening of the 'Little Croatia' park in Krakow was an opportunity to remind them of the Central Dalmatia tourist offer.


At the promotional stand of the Croatian National Tourist Board and Split-Dalmatia County, in addition to the promotional material, special animators for children were hired who attracted them to the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board stand with games, drawings, and entertainment.


IMG-20210628-WA0004.jpegAs the Sunday opening of Little Croatia in Krakow was a kind of family picnic with many children, the picture book Dalmatiner returned home, in Polish, printed by the County Tourist Board, in which the most attractive tourist places of Central Dalmatia were presented with drawings and stories. 


"The Polish market is especially important for our County because Poles prefer to choose our region for their vacation. Although these are mostly car guests, it is important that Split is well connected by air with a number of Polish cities, because more and more new guests from that country are choosing a plane to arrive faster. According to all information from business partners, current bookings from Poland are very close to the 2019 figures. It is up to us to do everything to turn excellent reservations into arrivals, and the main prerequisite for that is a good epidemiological situation that we must preserve," said Joško Stella, director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board.

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

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