Friday, 1 July 2022

Fjaka: A State of Mind that Comes Alive During Croatian Summertime

July 1, 2022 - “A sublime state in which a human aspires for nothing” may seem like a luxury afforded by the privileged, but Croatians in Dalmatia wholeheartedly conclude that the pleasure derived from il dolce far niente – famously known from the ‘Eat Pray Love’ book-to-film adaptation – can be found everywhere from remote farms and vineyards to crowded touristic sites! A look at 'fjaka' in Croatia. 

 

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Photo: Romulic & Stojcic

 

Fjaka is known to be embraced by many during the appearance of the great summer heat, as the mind, soul, and body slow down exceptionally during the oppressive temperatures. Therefore, the Mediterranean sun is known to have brought the term “fjaka” to life – marking the renowned origin of Croatia's national and cultural heritage.

Split, the largest and most beloved city in Dalmatia, is known to be the hub for fjaka and the amount of energy it saps away from the body. Situated on a peninsula in the Adriatic Sea, the vibrant port city is home to many phrases, one of them being “Ajme, judi, ufatila me fjaka!” (“Alas, my friends, jaka has caught me!”). And although many appreciate this state of mind, others may not feel so open to it.

 

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Photo: Romulic & Stojcic

 

In comparison to the lifestyle seen in metropolitan areas, which is driven by busy schedules and the uncomfortable feeling of unproductive afternoons spent basking in the sun, the culture that is ingrained in the Croatian psyche can be viewed as ‘lazy’. However, it should be argued that it is quite the opposite! The philosophy that is adopted by Croats allows them to know how to enjoy themselves and ultimately not get burnt out from the regular, strenuous working days that many of us face.

While naturally, it is impossible to be doing Fjaka all the time, we should all consider allowing it to wash over us like the peaceful Mediterranean breeze once in a while. Grow to appreciate the slower Dalmatian pace and the relaxed attitude to taking things one day at a time!

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 25 February 2022

Summer Accommodation in Croatia: 10 Booking Tips for the Upcoming Season

February 24, 2022 - Thinking of spending your long-awaited vacations on the Adriatic coast? Before renting your summer accommodation in Croatia, we recommend you take a look at some tips that can improve the quality of your stay.

When it comes to booking summer accommodation in Croatia, the custom in recent years was to check availability well in advance, due to the huge demand in the tourist season. This, however, changed radically in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, with Croatia seeing an increase in both cancellations and last-minute bookings. But the good news is that it looks like this year could mimic the booking habits of previous years, and early bookings are already showing up along the Croatian coast.

Vaccination against the coronavirus has reduced mortality in many countries around the world, and the epidemiological situation has improved compared to the previous two years. This seems to have encouraged many governments to relax measures and restrictions to combat the spread of the virus, and consequently many airlines to restore commercial flights and availability of summer accommodation in Croatia.

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Makarska, in the county of Split-Dalmatia (Photo: Mario Romulić)

Everything seems to indicate that you're ready to go to start planning your summer vacations! But what do you have to keep in mind before booking your summer accommodation in Croatia? Well, many things. Remember that the demand for the summer season is very high, so time will be an important factor, and you will also want to take into account other details considering that the pandemic is not over yet, and you will not want to risk your days of relaxation in Croatia.

1. Choosing your destination

Island? Beach? Countryside? Ancient Roman cities or fortresses? The Croatian coast definitely has something for everyone. Although it is true that Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar, or Rovinj are the best positioned when it comes to attracting tourists in the summer, there are places that will really surprise you.

The Istrian peninsula proved its tourist strength in the toughest years of the pandemic, achieving very good results in the off-season, such as at Easter. Likewise, they achieved impressive numbers comparable to those of 2019 in the summer. This is because the Istrian peninsula is located on the northern coast of Croatia, making it very accessible by land. If the beach is your thing, check out cities like Umag, Novigrad, Poreč, or Pula. But if you feel the need to connect more with nature or the countryside, give picturesque places like Motovun, Pazin, or Labin a try. Wherever you decide to go, if you are coming from Europe, consider traveling by car or bus. You'll find plenty of five-star hotels, impressive villas, and endless camping spots.

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The Old Town of Krk, on the Kvarner island of Krk (Photo: Mario Romulić)

But the coast is full of alternatives for summer accommodation in Croatia. Close to Istria, consider the magical town of Opatija in the Kvarner Bay, or its islands: Krk, Cres, Lošinj, Mali Lošinj, or Rab. Many aim to the Dalmatian Islands, but the ones mentioned above are gems that cannot be overlooked.

Similarly, if you want to add a bit of culture and history to your summer vacation in Croatia, Zadar and Šibenik are cities with a lot to tell through their streets, churches, and fortresses, as well as getting you closer to paradisiacal islands and beaches.

What a dream it is to be able to go to Hvar, but we really encourage you to include in your plans other islands of Split as possible alternatives, such as Brač or Vis, or perhaps the islands of Dubrovnik, such as Korčula or Lastovo. All equally fantastic!

If you are not quite sure which destinations to choose from on the Croatian coast, or what they have to offer you, our Total Croatia guides have all the information you need in order to choose the perfect place to spend your vacations.

Once you are sure about your destination, you will notice at this time of year that there is the availability of accommodation of all kinds: hotels, hostels, apartments, villas, houses, flats, and much more. Check out sites like Booking.com to see what types of accommodation you can find along Croatia's Adriatic coast.

2. Choosing your ideal summer accommodation in Croatia

Croatia can boast not only countless tourist destinations but also various types of accommodation for you. From studio apartments to villas, from five-star hotels to eco-lodges, from beachfront homes to camping sites... it's hard to make a decision when it comes to the summer accommodation in Croatia that suits best your needs. Clearly, you will have to take into account many things before making a decision:

  • Your budget

If money is not an issue, you won't want to take your eyes off the luxurious hotels found in places like Istria, Dubrovnik, or Hvar. But if you're leaning toward a budget travel plan, you'll notice plenty of high-quality apartments and hotels that fit your budget.

  • When are you planning to stay

Although the high season is considered to be from June to August, prices may vary per week and for various reasons. July and the first weeks of August are usually the busiest and don't be surprised if at some point you find that there is no more availability. Many tourists find a great opportunity to find their summer accommodation in Croatia in June or even dare to arrive a little earlier, in May, or a little later, in September. In both cases, the weather is fantastic and there are plenty of things to do!

  • How many days do you plan to stay

If you opt for a short stay, like a weekend for example, perhaps you can afford to book a hotel, and thus you will not have to worry much about the cleanliness of your room while you go out to discover the beaches and historical sites. Although it is true that booking a small apartment is also a good idea, since you can focus most of your budget on activities or tours, this is a more attractive alternative for those planning a trip of three or more nights.

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Valamar's Marea Suites in Poreč, Istria (Image: Valamar Hotels)

Bonus Tip: Keep in mind that some properties only accept bookings of two or more nights. On the coast, it is popular for guests to book just one night, allowing them to visit a different destination per day.

  • How many people are traveling with you

The number of people traveling with you will filter your booking possibilities. Some apartments, as spacious as they are, have only a double bed, and there are even properties that offer couples-only rates. If you are traveling with an extended family or a large group of friends, you may even consider renting a villa or house, and splitting the budget among your family or friends.

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Luxury Apartments Illyria inside Diocletian's Palace in Split (Booking.com)

  • Your chosen destination

Depending on the destination you have chosen for your vacation, some properties may be worth more than others. If you are visiting historic cities like Rovinj, Pula, Zadar, Šibenik, Trogir, Split, or Dubrovnik, you may find more gratification in staying inside their old towns and transporting yourself back in time. On paradisiacal islands such as Vis, Lastovo or Krk, as well as on wonderful rivieras such as Opatija, Makarska or Brela, you will feel that a house or apartment facing the sea exceeds your expectations.

  • What kind of trip have you planned?

Not all vacations are the same. While some seek all the comforts and services that characterize a luxury trip, others rather aspire to reconnect with Croatia's natural wonders in a more authentic way. Similarly, while the Croatian coast is best known for its festivals, raves, and parties; many seek authentic experiences and get closer to the culture and traditions of the place they visit. Keep in mind what kind of trip you want to plan, because if your thing is comfort and relaxation, you have a large number of alternatives for luxury hotels and apartments of the highest quality. Make sure your summer accommodation in Croatia matches your vacation style!

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Solaris Camping Beach Resort in Šibenik (Image: JetCamp)

On the contrary, if you are looking for an authentic experience on the Croatian coast, check out the camping sites or the now popular eco-lodges, which will help you reconnect with nature and the environment.

3. Use your phone to make reservations

While it is true that it is easier to organize everything on your laptop when planning your next trip, you should seriously consider switching to your phone when looking for the summer accommodation in Croatia that suits best your needs. Sites like Booking.com offer something called the Mobile Rate, a discounted rate for those who book through their mobile website or app. Some properties, through this special rate, can get discounts of up to 20%, so we highly recommend doing your search from your smartphone!

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4. Compare prices

Although it sounds incredible, many properties still do not update their prices for the summer season. Just as it may be to your advantage to find strangely low prices, it may also be the case that you made a reservation with one price and, after checking the availability of that same property on other dates, the prices are lower. Therefore, compare the prices of similar properties in the same location well, so that you have an idea of what the real prices may be.

Also, if your dream is to visit the old walls of Dubrovnik or the old town in Hvar, the high demand and prices might scare you a bit. If you look for alternatives, you will realize that there is an immeasurable number of destinations that can offer you the same experience and for less stratospheric prices.

5. Look for available discounts or offers

It is correct to say, as already mentioned at the beginning of this article, that the current epidemiological situation promises better prospects for the tourist season in Croatia compared to the last two years. Not for that, however, it is reasonable to ignore the still present coronavirus and its variants, and consequently the unpredictable way in which other governments decide to handle the situation.

Therefore, property owners and managers in Croatia do not take it for granted that reservations will take care of themselves, but that an additional effort must be made to attract more and more tourists. Booking.com, for example, offers a wide range of package deals and discounts aimed at various types of potential guests.

One of the most popular is the Genius program, which connects properties and guests. To be part of the program, as a property, it is necessary to meet a series of requirements such as an excellent rating and to belong to the program as a guest, it is necessary to successfully complete a series of reservations in a certain period of time. The reward? Properties in the Genius program generate greater visibility on the platform, and Genius guests can enjoy incredible discounts on their rates.

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But in addition to Genius, there are offers that target guests from a certain country, discounts for couples, discounts for last-minute reservations, etc. When looking for your summer accommodation in Croatia, pay close attention to the offers and discounts that may appear!

6. Look for properties with flexible cancellation policies

The last thing you want to happen is that, shortly before you travel, you encounter an outbreak of a new variant of the coronavirus that forces the government of your country to reinforce epidemiological measures and conditions your trip. In previous years, many guests had to cancel their trips because, within the new measures, they had to self-isolate when arriving in a country, or when returning back to their own. One of the harshest consequences for many was having to assimilate the loss not only of the trip and the reservation but also of the money spent, since the property or room you reserved did not have a flexible cancellation policy.

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We recommend that you carefully review the cancellation policies of the properties you are looking for. Before, many offered free cancellation 7 days before arrival, or even up to a day before. However, considering the improvement in the epidemiological situation, the largest number of properties have a 15-day cancellation policy, in order to have enough time to find other reservations. Also take a look at properties that allow you to pay only a fraction of the reservation, or even others that allow you to pay in cash on arrival.

7. Read the reviews

We wish we could say that everything is perfect when it comes to planning a trip to Croatia, but there will always be a margin of error. You have already defined the destination of your trip, the property that most attracts your attention offers a great rate (with discounts included), has a very good rating, and the photos make you dream of being there now.

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The last thing you know, you realize on arrival that the apartment wasn't as easy to find as it claimed to be, it's not very clean, or some of the facilities don't work as they should. Despite all this, many properties manage to (unbelievably) retain a rating of 8 or 9. So, to avoid a bad experience on that trip you dreamed of, take some time to read the reviews of the property or hotel. Also keep in mind that not all previous guests are seasoned travelers, and some of their reviews may be a bit harsh. For example, some demand elevators, when they forget that they are reserving an apartment inside a 4th-century Roman palace. You be the judge!

8. Check carefully for services and facilities

In addition to verifying the quality of the property or hotel from which you plan to reserve an apartment or room through the experience of other guests, be sure to carefully review the list of facilities, services, characteristics, and rules of the property. While it is true that some places are not very specific with their information, it may be that you are the one who forgot to check the details.

For example, if you are traveling with an elderly person or with a newborn in a stroller, you will want to make sure that the place is properly accessible for everyone. It also may not include certain things like cooking pots in the kitchen, a hairdryer in the bathroom, or a washing machine. Or maybe the property is non-smoking and doesn't have a terrace either, so you'll need to smoke outside. All of this is easy to verify if you take the time to read all the property information, or even if you contact the owner or manager before booking your summer accommodation in Croatia.

9. Use the map to accurately locate your accommodation

Sometimes it is not enough to know what city, neighborhood, or street the apartment you rented is located on. It is better to make sure now before you realize that the airport is very far from the apartment, and the transfer options to the city or town are limited. Before you know it, the apartment is located in a secret passage inside Diocletian's Palace in Split, and there is no host to guide you to the right place. Check well on Google Maps or contact the owner or manager, and you will find the best recommendations so you don't get lost. Otherwise, you will rent a car only to find out later that the property you booked does not have its own parking, and the nearest parking lot has no space left!

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Dubrovnik (Screenshot/Booking.com)

Through its map, Booking.com also offers an alternative view of the different properties you can book. In it, you can see the prices of each property and its location in the destination of your interest. This way, you can compare prices in an exact location, or even make sure you book something close to the sea.

10. Book now!

We know that, at the end of the day, what will define your experience in Croatia will be the places you discover, the food you taste, and the memories you take with you. But summer is just around the corner, and every hour you're undecided is a property or room booked by someone else. No pressure! We want you to make the best possible decision so that your next trip to Croatia is an unforgettable experience. That is why we have compiled the above list of recommendations. However, don't be over-calculating, because not only may it be too late, but there are also current offers that you won't find again soon! Good luck finding your ideal summer accommodation in Croatia!

For more on flights to Croatia and other travel announcements, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

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

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Summer in Croatia Through the Lens of Croatian Photographer Timotej Gošev

November 20, 2021 - ''I want people to look at my photographs, and simply desire to be right there in the place their eyes are seeing'', says Timotej Gošev, better known as Timotej on Instagram, inviting thousands of people every day to experience the Adriatic summer through his photographs. Total Croatia News managed to interview the photographer with Varaždin roots.

In what ways can photography positively impact the promotion of tourism in Croatia? The question may sound simple to answer, but nowadays photography can be manipulated in such a way that the first impression of a tourist upon arriving at his destination is one of disappointment. It happens in many parts of the world. The use of visual content, to be used responsibly and strategically, can be essential to make Croatia known around the world.

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Krivica Cove and beach, Lošinj (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Now I live in Croatia, but for 24 years of my life, my only reference was what I saw on the internet and on social networks. Now that I have spent two summers here, I can attest that Croatia has the advantage of meeting the expectations of those who came with a preconceived image in their heads. Those turquoise and transparent waters that you see in photos and videos, they are like that! But the Adriatic coast of Croatia is very extensive, and to it, we must add its more than 700 islands. Imagine the number of remote and wonderful places along almost 6000 kilometers of coastline that must exist to fulfill your fantasy of an Adriatic summer. Well, a Croatian photographer is dedicated to exploring, capturing, and sharing the magic of these places with his thousands of followers.

If you have looked for photos of Croatia to corroborate what everyone is surely saying about it, chances are that you have come across Timotej's photos. Also, if you have seen one of his photos, it is most likely that you have already bought your air ticket to spend the following summer in the Adriatic.

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Lopud Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Croatia will always stand out for its history, and its stories. But being someone who has lived most of his life on another continent, I am aware of the visual impact that Croatia has on other countries in the world. Especially in these times, many friends shared with me photos or videos that they found on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, or Twitter, and they could not believe that such a place existed, and especially in Europe. When it comes to paradise islands and turquoise waters, many think of Hawaii, the Caribbean, or the islands of Melanesia. But Croatia has already positioned itself as an alternative Eden, and one that combines dream destinations and a calendar packed with cultural activities.

I find it impressive that a photo is able to motivate someone to book airfare and accommodation. I think this reinforces the idea that the world is there to be explored, and that Croatia is one of those must-see destinations in it. But for this to work as it has been working in recent years, it is necessary that all the tourism promotion forces in the country aim towards the same objective. There is the National Tourism Board, the local Tourism Boards, and why not, talented Croatian citizens who use their platforms and content to highlight their country in a showcase.

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Kamenjak, Istria (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

One such person is precisely the famous Croatian photographer Timotej Gošev, who's approaching his mid-thirties, and currently living in Berkshire, England. He's the owner of the @timotej Instagram account which has become one of the largest social media accounts in the world by sharing travel photography and recommendations from only around Croatia. With almost 100 thousand followers on Instagram, his pictures often go viral and are reposted and shared by some of the biggest media groups such as Forbes, Conde Nast, as well as the biggest re-sharing travel accounts on Instagram such as Earthpix, Travel & Leisure, Wonderful Places & Beautiful Destinations. If you haven't seen his photography yet, be sure to check his Instagram first. He also has an impressive guide to his top 30 favorite beaches in Croatia, you can check it here.

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Dubrovnik (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Timotej shares with Total Croatia News about his special connection to his country, his photography, tourism in Croatia, his future projects, and much more.

The vast majority of your followers and all of those who have come across your photographs on social media already know you for the quality of your work and your captivating images. But few know about your personal side and your history with Croatia. How does this connection with Croatia begin? Were you born and raised in Croatia?

It’s true. A lot of people see my photographs on Instagram, and just by looking at them can say this looks like one of Timotej’s photographs. However, very few people know me personally. Remember, I am a photographer sharing photos from around Croatia, through social media, to the world. I am not another influencer showcasing my life and hoping to influence you to be like me. My goal is to inspire people through my photography to visit and fall in love with Croatia.

It’s also very amusing to me, how so many people are surprised that I’m from Croatia. Even Croatians often assume I’m from somewhere else. I was introduced to Nina Badrić for example, and she knew of my photography but thought I was a Slovenian photographer. I think it’s purely because my name, Timotej (pronounced ‘Timo-tey’ in English), is not so common in Croatia. Think about it, most boys in Croatia are named after the first four books of the New Testament Bible. Ivan (John), Marko (Mark), Luka (Luke), Matej (Matthew). My mum wanted to be a little bit more original with her Biblical name choice, so she looked further down the list until she came to Timotej (Timothy). Simple and straightforward explanation.

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Croatian figs (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

My parents came to study in England after finishing their high school and army service in Varazdin, so I was born in the UK. But a few years later we moved back, so my younger brother was born in Varaždin. After a few years, my parents realized they could make a better life for our family back in England. So, once again, we moved back. Thankfully Croatia is just a drive and short flight away from England, so I was lucky enough to visit very often growing up. I can speak, read, and write Croatian too. I believe an Instagram account like mine, can only really belong to a Croatian, in love with his country.

Nowadays, when one associates the words ''travel photography'' and ''Croatia'', one of the first things that come to mind for a lot of people is ''Timotej''. How did you get started in photography and how has the learning process been so far? Is there another type of photography that you like equally?

I’ve been into photography for as long as I can remember. Cameras and lenses, all the gear, simply fascinates me. So does the quest to snap a perfect picture. As a child, I always wanted to press the camera’s shutter button and shoot everything. This wasn’t possible, as it was still the time of film cameras, and film roll was precious, so parents couldn’t let me waste it taking fifty pictures of nothing. So you can imagine my joy when digital cameras came into existence with memory cards.

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Brseč, Primorsko-Goranska (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

As far as learning goes, when you figure out how to work a camera/lens, the shooting settings, and how light affects the scene being shot, everything comes down to one’s eye for a good picture. Personally, for me, the learning these days mostly centers around training my eyes even more. If you take 50 shots, 1 can easily turn out perfect. But the goal is to be able to take 1 shot and make it perfect first time. Sometimes this means learning to be patient. Waiting. It can also mean making a bigger effort to find a unique vantage point. Doing research to find out what has already been shot where you are shooting.

I love beachscape photography as you all know, and architectural too. I also love to shoot macro shots. I really want to do more wildlife and food photography in the future.

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Restaurant Mandrač, Lopud Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

What inspires you to be a travel photographer and how has that changed in recent years?

I’m in love with the Croatian coast and the Adriatic Sea. Its beauty simply inspires me to capture it with my cameras. I am lucky and blessed to be able to call such a place, my country. I want to see and explore as many spots along the coast, and visit as many islands as my lifetime allows me too. Each place is its own world. People today are so obsessed with seeing as many countries as possible, but few have had the pleasure of truly knowing, exploring, and enjoying theirs. I love going back to a place I’ve already visited, to see how it’s changing, developing, and evolving. I am constantly inspired by the big and little changes happening everywhere. The way I see it is, that there is a lifetime of exploration for me and capturing moments with my camera. There is no getting bored.

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How do you manage to balance your time between the UK and Croatia? Has Brexit affected in any way the way you travel between the two countries?

I like to be in Croatia during the summer, so I can enjoy the sea and beaches. It’s where I experience the most joy. Since I got my driving license, I have been planning my life in a way so I could spend the maximum possible time in Croatia every summer. To my surprise, neither Brexit nor Covid19 has affected my travels to Croatia. I have dual nationality. Croatian and British passports and therefore was legally allowed to travel to go to either home. With negative PCR test results, I drove England to Croatia three times during the pandemic. When you have a registered photography business in the UK, going to Croatia to shoot photos is a legitimate and valid reason to travel for work too.

How would you describe the personal style behind your photography? And how about your visual style?

I want people to look at my photographs, and simply desire to be right there in the place their eyes are seeing. To imagine themselves living the moment being shown. My photos need to mentally seduce and show the essence of an Adriatic summer experience in Croatia. People think my visual style is really unique, but it’s a classic beachscape visual style used in travel magazines and by some of the world’s most known beachscape photographers for decades.

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Sveta Nedjelja beach, Hvar (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

It is a beautiful summer day in Croatia, how does Timotej spend it from start to finish?

I like to wake up early. No need for coffee. I really believe in seizing the daytime. I want to be the first on the beach. Put my towel in the best spot, and go for a morning swim to truly wake up. Love soaking in the early morning sun too. Around 9 am, it’s time for a light breakfast, and then back to the beach where I’ll stay until lunchtime being as active as possible. I prefer to stay in apartments, so for lunch, it’s usually time to cook something, rather than eat out. After lunch, it’s back to the sea/beach until sunset. The afternoon is usually about exploration. Then shower, dress up a bit and go to town for dinner and some ice cream. I always end up chilling on apartment terraces late into the night, always in good company getting into deep conversations.

It has happened to me on several occasions that I have decided to put my camera aside so as not to miss the experience. How do you manage to consistently create content and live in the moment at the same time? Do you have any advice for other travel photographers?

It’s actually very simple for me. When I go to a place in Croatia, I am not going there to take a picture. I am going there to enjoy the experience and moment of being in a place which brings me total joy. I live the moments fully with my camera at home, or in my backpack. After I enjoyed the place, explored it, I come back with/take out a camera. Also, I don’t live from making social media content and I don’t have any pressure to create content. My advice to travel photographers is that when you decide to shoot a place, make a decision to spend at least 1 week there. Don’t follow the content creator crowd, and a lot of Croatian photographers, are doing this, in that they go to a spot for a few hours with the purpose of taking a photo and then off to the next location.

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Brela, Dalmatia (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

A photographer was telling me how they photographed every nice spot on Korcula Island in 1 day. Don’t make this same mistake. The world’s most famous beachscape photographers, when shooting a particular area, commit to spending a whole summer season there, chasing the billion-dollar shot, as we say. I can’t commit to a whole summer in one spot yet either, but everyone can do 3-7 days. 1 to enjoy without smartphones and cameras at least.

It could be said that you lean more towards photography of landscapes and places, but would you like to also venture into a type of travel photography where you can also highlight the Croatian people, their traditions, and their customs?

My focus is the Ljeto (Summer) in Croatia. The goal is to photograph and show the summertime experience. Naturally, there is a lot of landscape shots. But if you have been following me for a while you also see the entire summer experience. If I go into town at night and see a cultural dance, or traditional outfits, if I like what I see, I will photograph it. But right now, the priority is to show beaches and nature, accommodation, and things one can experience when visiting Croatia in the summer. I am showing what my audience wants to see.

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Town of Rab (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

However, if Drago Sopta retires, I would gladly like to venture off and take over as the photographer of the Croatian National Football team and take pictures of the guys playing football. I believe in myself as a photographer, and my ability to shoot in a variety of styles.

It is said that there is an excessive amount of drone images to visually promote Croatia and that they do not accurately reflect the possible experience of a tourist (for example Izvor Cetina or the Croatian islands from above). But you manage to combine both images with a drone as well as those from a personal point of view. How can both promote tourism in Croatia?

Look, Zlatni Rat Beach shot with a drone, from above, looks like one of the most beautiful spots in this world. It’s unreal. Then you come there, stand on the beach, and you can’t really see it from the vantage point the drone did. So you now have two options. The first is to get upset, choose to be negative, and leave disappointed, as many do. Or you can think about it, and say to yourself, I’m standing on this magical beach full of shape-shifting pebbles, surrounded by perfect water, and enjoy the beach all day. Every destination spot in the world that looks good from above is excessively photographed with drones. Those saying it doesn’t accurately reflect the tourist experience are a very small minority, and they are there for the wrong reason in my opinion. I believe you need both to give the true picture to someone. Let them know what it looks like from above and below. Balance is key. I like to show how it looks from ground level and from the sky.

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Otok Vrnik (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Many content creators avoid bringing discussion topics to their feed to avoid losing followers or getting into disputes with them. But in addition to visually promoting Croatia, you also take the time to raise awareness about caring for the environment, such as animal rights and the situation about smoking in Croatia. Is it necessary for content creators to be ambivalent in that regard? What responsibilities should someone with so many followers and a lot of reach assume?

I always speak my mind. From day one on Instagram. I have my opinions, and my account is a space where I can share them as well as my photography. I don’t expect everyone to agree with them and that’s okay. Does Croatia have a smoking problem? Yes. Have tourists noticed it? Yes. Is it destroying our beaches? Yes. A lot of what I highlight are facts and truth. Common sense. It’s already been said by others, and it’s very much connected to keeping Croatia’s land beautiful and not destroying it. I don’t live from Instagram, so if I lost all my followers tomorrow, it does not affect me in any way. As for disputes, occasionally some arise, but surprisingly not a lot. I think the things which I’m highlighting are things the overwhelming majority of my followers agree with me on. We all want to keep Croatia clean and beautiful for generation after generation.

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One Table Restaurant, Hvar Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Regarding the promotion of tourism in Croatia, what aspects and efforts made by the national and local tourist boards in the last two years can you highlight?

I don’t see anything the National Tourist Board does, and as the majority of the tourist sector in Croatia, see them as irrelevant, and a waste of taxpayers’ money. The Local Tourist Boards, on the other hand, are great. I’ve had the chance to work with a lot of them now. It’s hard to keep everyone happy, but they are doing their best. I can say and see they are finally embracing social media, and valuing its importance more than ever. Making sure they have a strong social media presence, as well as using people like me, and other Croatian photographers to showcase their tourist regions to the world.

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Žitna Beach, Korčula Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

In what aspects do you think the promotion of tourism in Croatia should improve? Is there something you can criticize?

The biggest issue I noticed is the relationship between the local tourist boards, and the locals working in the tourist sector. It seems everyone is against the tourist boards and everything they do, with only a small minority pleased. I’ve been to places, and I like to talk to locals, and the moment they find out I’m involved with the local tourist board, they don’t want anything to do with me! Why? Well for starters Local Tourist boards should have nothing to do with political elections and political parties. The tourist boards should exist to serve the tourist, those offering tourist services, and they should be neutral. Also too many tourist board employees, naturally have friends working in the tourist sector and thus drive tourists to only use their services. I think you can guess what kind of issues that can create. The tourist boards should be the pride of the local tourism sector. A fair helping hand, letting the tourists know all their possibilities. Show them all the options on offer, and let them choose which to go with. I also really think it’s time for an official tourist app, where everyone in the tourist sector can list their tourist offers for free. Create it with taxpayer money. Tourists can use the app to find out and search for everything. Beach information. Boat rentals. Taxi numbers. Available accommodation. In 2021, one shouldn’t have to go to a tourist office for information anymore.

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Badija Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev) 

In what ways can photographic content contribute to effective tourism promotion in Croatia? How important is it?

People travel to different places in the world for different reasons. Everyone is looking for something specific. An image they have seen either in a photo or video usually serves as the primary mental motivation for doing so. They want to see that image with their own eyes. I have always argued that people come to Croatia first and foremost for the natural beauty of the sea and beaches. The old towns. Natural parks. I loved our old tourist slogan, the Mediterranean as it once was. So, before booking a flight or hotel, people want to know what the particular area they are potentially going to visit has on offer. I have been the first Croatian photographer to share certain places in Croatia on Instagram for the very first time, and the response was, we had no idea this place existed.

I’ll give you a personal example. I grew up spending summers around Zadar. Since I was a kid. Only recently as an adult, I discovered one of the most beautiful spots in Croatia. Vrsi, right by Zadar. I never saw this spot advertised anywhere. So I never went there. Some beaches like Zlatni Rat were advertised everywhere, so normally, I went there, and it was crazy crowded. By showing a little bit of every place, you are now giving people the choice to go to so many places.

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Stiniva Cove, Vis Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

If you could describe Croatia to your followers as an ideal travel destination, based on five unique aspects, which ones would you choose?

1. Raw natural beauty everywhere. 2. The crystal clear blue water. 3. Safety. We are an extremely safe country for tourists throughout the day and night. One of the lowest crime rates in the world I believe. 4. Quality of food and drink. 5. There’s something for everyone.

Is there anything in particular in Croatia that catches your attention and would you like to investigate further? I have seen that at some point you inquired about the history of abandoned stone houses on the Croatian coast and islands. It is really a fascinating subject.

The abandoned stone houses are a sad story. I really hope the property ownership laws change soon. They are killing Croatia. A lot of people say it’s impossible. But I believe there’s an easy fix to it if you apply common sense. Pass a law, that every property in Croatia within 2-3 years has to have one owner owning 100% of it. No more multiple owners, owning small percentages. If some owners can’t agree on a deal between themselves, it goes to auction among all the owners, and the highest bidder gets the property. Why hasn’t this happened? I hear lawyers in Zagreb make a killing on these property disputes. I also think Croatia has a serious waste management problem. Especially on the islands. I’ve heard shocking accounts from those who live on the islands about what really happens with the waste tourism generates. I think the situation is worse than many believe. And if that’s really true, we need to do something about it. I truly believe the world sees Croatia as a clean country where natural beauty can be seen in abundance which is its biggest selling point. The land is really ‘Lijepa Naša’ and it needs to stay that way.

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Otok Vrnik (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Connected with this issue are the party sailing trips such as The Yacht Week. Everywhere they go, they leave so much rubbish behind it's unreal. In the sea. I’ve seen it. Again and again. All the locals I meet in the entire tourism sector as well as those simply living in the spots The Yacht Week comes by, wants these party sailing holidays banned. It’s beyond me how this hasn’t happened yet. Whoever is giving them the green light to continue summer after summer needs to be put in the spotlight.

Besides being a travel photographer, do you also consider yourself a travel journalist? Many content creators upload their photos or videos and that's it, but you like to include reflections, chronicles, and recommendations alongside your images. Is it something that you are interested in developing further in the future?

I grew up reading travel magazines like Conde Nast, and I currently collect travel-themed coffee table books full of pictures with text. There’s always a story behind what you see in a photograph and something to learn. I do consider myself an excellent writer in the English language. People have noticed this, and this past year, a few travel magazines and a national airline, asked me to write for them about Croatia, as well as showcase my photography to their readers. I hope more people will ask in the near future. It’s something I love doing.

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Čikat Bay, Lošinj Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

What does your Instagram profile look like on a summer day in Croatia? How do you usually interact with your followers or people who need help or recommendations?

During the summer the plan is to share 2-3 posts a day. The pictures being posted are usually what I photographed 1-2 days prior. Also, because we are in the summer season, many of my followers are currently in Croatia, or about to visit. This results in a crazy amount of questions. I used to answer every question without fail in previous years, but with an increasing number of followers, it’s impossible sadly. Remember I’m not getting paid to do this. It takes a lot of time. This summer I was receiving roughly 300-500 messages a day. A lot of people also don’t read the caption in my posts and then send messages, for example, asking what’s the name of the beach in the picture I just posted, without making an effort to read the caption where this has already been stated. This is very frustrating. However the questions generally are usually based on recent posts, so I try to answer a lot of them in one of the next posts or stories.

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Bol, Brač Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Besides photography, what other things do you spend your time on? Do you have any other interests or hobbies that are just as exciting?

Out of the summer season, I live in England, so when I’m not working, I really love to play sports. I play football, basketball, volleyball every week, competitively. Then there’s gym and lap swimming. I’ve always been into cooking too. So, always trying to master certain dishes and learn new ones. In the summertime, besides photography, it’s very much every activity connected to the water. I’m a big water sports lover. I love diving. I’m a very active individual. I love the company of friends too. I’m a very social extrovert that likes to laugh a lot.

What next projects do you have planned? What are the next steps in Timotej's life and career?

Oh, I have a lot of ideas. Some are already slowly turning into reality. I would love to see more art stores around the world selling my prints of beautiful beachscapes from around Croatia. At the moment it’s just a few in England. As well as being a good photographer, I also believe in my ability to capture video, so expect to see some epic short films soon. I’m also already working on my very own coffee table book taking you on a journey around Croatia’s coast and islands. I’m really excited for this. I have the photographs and text, and just need to find the right publisher to make the dream come true. Lastly, due to demand, I think I will slowly get into trip planning. So many people want me to plan their visit to Croatia. I’m honoured.

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Pritišćina beach, Vis Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Your talent as a photographer, and your Instagram account, have resulted in many collaborations over the last few years. What’s your favourite one so far? Is there one you would really love to do in the future?

It’s hard to pick a favourite. I love them all. This past summer I did a collaboration with Valamar Hotels. Had the chance to visit all their hotels across Croatia over a period of 6 weeks. It was amazing. Shooting the hotels, rooms, beaches in front of the hotels. The facilities. Loved every second. The sailing collaborations are always unforgettable too. What would I love to do? Shoot Villa Sheherezade in Dubrovnik. Or shoot a mega-yacht in Croatia. I dream big.

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Lopud Island (Photo: Timotej Gošev)

Finally, are you planning to ever move to Croatia permanently?

If you ask me, “Timotej, would you like to live in Croatia one day?” The answer is obviously going to be a definite yes, yes I would. However, I wouldn’t want to live there throughout the whole year. I can see myself living there between April and October. I’m the type of person who dreams of having multiple homes. At least two in two different countries. But in life, you should also never say never. If the right opportunity arises, who knows, I might end up living in Croatia all year long. Living there would give me the chance to photograph Croatia during all the seasons, and not just summer.

For everything you need to know before planning your next summer vacation in Croatia and all these magical destinations shown in this article, be sure to check Timotej's Instagram account and our new guide to everything Croatia, Total Croatia, here.

If you don't have Instagram, follow him on Facebook.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Monday, 23 August 2021

Showers, Winds, and Thunderstorms: Weather in Croatia Starts to Change This Week

August 23, 2021 - This year's very hot summer will be interrupted this week by a few days of rain and thunderstorms, perhaps marking the beginning of a slow transition to lower temperatures as the weather in Croatia begins to change.

Despite still feeling the high temperatures throughout the country, it could be said that intolerable heat waves are a thing of the past. During June, July, and the first weeks of August, both locals and tourists had to endure frequent temperatures between 34 and 38 °C. Now, recent forecasts indicate that the weather in Croatia will be milder, with temperatures hardly exceeding 30 °C.

Also, the nights begin to be cooler, the mornings colder, and the sky begins to darken a little earlier than before.

Although the high temperatures attracted both Croatians and foreigners to take a dip in the Adriatic, as well as in the lakes and rivers, it is worth mentioning that they brought with them difficulties such as fires along the Croatian coast.

As reported by 24sata.hr, gradual cloud cover from the northwest with occasional rain and showers, which may be more pronounced locally. In the east of the country and especially in Dalmatia most of the day is partly sunny and mostly dry.

On the mainland, a moderate, in some places moderate and strong north and northeast wind will blow from time to time. The moderate south wind in the northern and part of the central Adriatic will turn into a moderate and strong bora, under Velebit and with storm surges.

The highest daily temperature from 23 °C in the western parts of the interior to 29 °C in the east, and in the Adriatic and in the interior of Dalmatia from 27 to 32 °C, is the forecast of the State Hydrometeorological Institute (DHMZ) for Monday.

Today, a yellow meteorological alarm was issued for almost the whole of Croatia, except for the extreme south, while an orange alarm was issued due to the strong wind in the Velebit Channel.

Tomorrow will be changeable with sunny periods. Occasional rain, showers, and thunderstorms, especially in Dalmatia, in the morning in Slavonia.

Wind mostly weak north, moderate in the Adriatic, in the northern part, and strong bura with storm gusts mainly at the foot of Velebit, and in the south and northwest. Lowest temperatures from 12 to 17, at sea between 19 and 24 °C. The highest daily is from 19 to 24 °C, on the Adriatic between 26 and 31 °C.

If you want to learn more about the weather in Croatia, be sure to check out Total Croatia's guide here.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Socially Distanced Summer in Croatia: Rules for Beaches Published

What will the beaches this summer in Croatia look like? If things don't change again, they'll look very different indeed...

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of May, 2020, the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) recently issued recommendations for swimming in the sea, swimming pools and in inland waters during the coronavirus epidemic, with the maximum number of people on the beaches limited to 15 on an area of ​​100 square metres, according to Dalmacija Danas.

"As far as swimming in the sea and freshwater bathing areas is concerned, the maximum number of persons who are allowed to be there at the same time will be determined according to the principle of 15 persons per 100 square metres of net area," reads the recommendations of the CNIPH.

In addition, all visitors and employees of various premises are being advised to adhere to the rules of physical distance of 1.5 metres this summer in Croatia, which includes keeping a distance even when swimming.

In addition to all of the above, at entrances to various locations where visitors who will be swimming and sunbathing will spend a significant amount of time, it is necessary to place information on all of the hygienic procedures in place, along with guidelines on proper behaviour and on protection measures valid in that particular location or area.

In sea and freshwater bathing areas, it is necessary to install dispensers with disinfectant at reasonable distances and in visible places. On top of that, the concessionaire should separate the deckchairs so as to ensure physical distance and provide a person/staff member who can actively supervise the prescribed measures.

Deckchairs should be disinfected several times a day this summer in Croatia, and every single time an individual leaves and is no longer using it, and before another guest comes and uses it.

"The cleaning and disinfection of sanitary facilities should be intensified every two hours (and more often if necessary), and the number of employees engaged in daily cleaning activities should be increased. At the same time, the use of sanitary facilities should be limited in accordance with the size of the premises and in accordance with all of the prescribed sanitary conditions,'' the instructions added.

"The recommendations of the CNIPH envisage a maximum capacity of ​​15 people per 100 m2 on beaches, which means 6.6 m2 per person on the beach, or a distance between 2 deck chairs of 1.5 metres. The average beach area in Split-Dalmatia County is 2432m2 (according to data from the regional programme for the management of sea beaches in Split-Dalmatia County), which would mean a capacity of a maximum of 365 bathers according to the aforementioned HZJZ standards.

If we convert people into deck chairs (not literally, of course), if the average deck chair takes up 15m2, that would mean a maximum of 162 deck chairs per beach.

For more on summer in Croatia in the coronavirus era, follow our lifestyle page.

Monday, 24 June 2019

New Summer Timetable for Split-Supetar Ferry Line in Favor of Car Passengers

June 24, 2019 - A new summer timetable has been announced for travelers on the Split-Supetar Jadrolinija ferry line this summer.

The first weekend of summer in Split brought some 112,000 travelers through the airport and ferry port, making it no surprise that we are well and truly into the season - and we have hit the ground running. 

Jelena Ivuljić from Jadrolinija said that from Friday to Sunday, around 65,000 passengers and about 12,000 vehicles traveled through the Split Ferry Port, and the most significant interest among travelers is Brač and Hvar.

“We have 12 regular lines for Brač, though on Friday we added one extra line and on Saturday two extra lines. We are learning from our experience so far, and on Sunday, we will have two extra lines. Apart from Brač, there is also pressure going to the island of Hvar, the Split-Starigrad line, as well as the catamaran line towards the town of Hvar,” Ivuljić said.

And this is just the beginning. 

As a way to ease some of the summer travel stress for locals and tourists, Mayor of Supetar Ivana Marković has announced a new timetable on the Split-Supetar route, which will take effect from Friday, June 28 and continue until September 1. 

Marković announced the news on her official Facebook page on Sunday, emphasizing that the schedule had been changed to give passengers traveling by car more time to load and unload their vehicle on and off the ferry.

“We will soon welcome a new timetable, which disrupts some of the classic times we have all adapted to. The schedule has been changed to give more time to load and unload vehicles on and off the ferry because, with the current timetable, it was not possible to ensure the timely departure of the ferry and caused additional crowding in the harbor and on the roads. The new timetable is only for two months, and then we will return to the old, well-known schedule. The crowds have begun, arm yourself with patience,” said mayor Marković. 

By the new schedule, the ferry from Split will travel every day at 5, 6.30, 8, 9.30, 10.30, 12, 13.30, 15, 15.45, 16.30, 18, 19.30, 21 and 23.59.

From Supetar, the ferry will depart at 5, 6.30, 8, 9.30, 11, 12, 13.30, 15, 16.30, 17.15, 18, 19.30, 20.45 and 22.45.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

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