Monday, 21 February 2022

Zagreb to Dubrovnik: the Ultimate 10-day Road Trip Itinerary

21 February 2022 - It’s never the wrong time to start planning the perfect getaway to the paradise that is Croatia. We decided to give you a hand in planning the perfect 10-day road trip from Zagreb to Dubrovnik (plus some bonus island time!) that showcases the best the country has to offer.

The best way to discover Croatia is by car, giving you the freedom to go off the beaten path and chart your own adventure around the country, all the way from Zagreb to Dubrovnik.

Before we jump into it, do be aware that most car rentals in Croatia are manual transmissions! Automatic cars are available for rent, though mostly by larger rental companies like Sixt, and are more expensive.

If you’re not a confident driver, no need to worry, there are plenty of private bus companies that run daily trips to most cities and tourist attractions during the high season (June - September). In larger cities such as Zagreb and Split, bus schedules are also available online. Transfers between major ports and the islands are also regularly serviced by ferries and catamarans.

Day 1: Zagreb

Welcome to Zagreb, the capital and largest city of Croatia! Nicknamed the city of museums, Zagreb is home to over a dozen award-winning museums such as the Archeological Museum, with over 450,000 artifacts and monuments.

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The gorgeous buildings of Upper Town in Zagreb. Visit Zagreb/Facebook.

Cultural landmarks of the city include Ban Jelačić Square which has existed since the 17th century, the Zagreb Cathedral, or the magnificent Croatian National Theater whose unveiling ceremony was attended by Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I. So, make sure you squeeze in some time for a walking tour to absorb the sights of Zagreb’s Old Town.

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Evenings on Tkalčićeva Street, Zagreb. Visit Zagreb/Facebook.

Hungry? Head to Dolac market, Zagreb's main open-air farmers market to pick up some fresh, seasonal produce and souvenirs. You can also choose to end your day with a tasty meal and local wine from any of the excellent restaurants, bars, and cafes along Tkalčićeva Street.

Day 2: Rovinj

After a bustling day in Zagreb, the enchanting city of Rovinj is a splendid change of pace. Perfectly situated on the Istrian peninsula, the city boasts a rich heritage, from being settled by Venetian tribes, to becoming part of the Byzantine and Frankish Empires, all reflected in the diversity of the city’s architecture, art, and culture.

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This stunning setting has been a popular film setting for movies such as "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard". Rovinj Tourist Board/Facebook.

Stroll along the beautiful cobbled streets and narrow alleys of Rovinj Old Town and make your way towards St. Euphemia Cathedral. Along the way, you should pass by Grisia Street, lined with souvenir stalls and galleries with the most unique pieces to add to your collection.
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The charming, picturesque streets of Rovinj's Old Town. Rovinj Tourist Board/Facebook.

If you have time to spare, take a day trip to Sveta Katarina, a small picturesque island that’s a mere 10-minute water taxi ride from the pier. Spend the afternoon taking a dip in the aquamarine waters of the bay, or hike on one of the numerous trails dotted around the island, or both!

Alternatively, sit back and relax on some of the most beautiful beaches in Istria such as Amarin, Borik, or Valdaliso Beach.

Day 3: Pula

Before leaving the Istrian Coast, make Pula the next stop on your road trip. Serving as the capital of Istria, Pula was the main military port for the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy at the height of its military glory. Today, remnants of these times are reflected in the city’s breathtaking landscape.

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The Pula Arena frequently hosts concerts and festivals throughout the year. Pula Plus/Facebook.

The famous Pula Arena, one of the most well preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world, is a must-see! Another not to be missed landmark is the Temple of Augustus, a monument dedicated to the first Roman emperor in honor of his rule.

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The unique shape of Fort Puna Christo. Pula Plus/Facebook.

Also check out the impressive Fort Punta Christo, which includes an underground section to explore and a well-stocked rooftop bar for refreshments after. You can also enjoy magnificent 360-degree views of Pula from the Venetian Fortress (Kaštel) which also houses the Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria.

Day 4: Plitvice National Park

Although Croatia boasts some of the best coastlines in the world, Plitvice Lakes National Park consistently appears in the top must-see places to visit in Croatia, and for good reason! This UNESCO World Heritage Site holds the title as the oldest and largest national park in Croatia, famous for its gorgeous turquoise lakes. Well worth the detour inland.

plitvice_lakes_national_park_facebook_small.jpgThe main walkway of Plitvice Lakes National Park. Plitvice Lakes National Park/Facebook.

Be aware that the park can get very crowded during the season! To avoid this, just be prepared to visit early (7-8am), or better still, stop by during off-peak seasons where the park transforms into the perfect winter wonderland.

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Plitvice Lakes National Park/Facebook.

Day 5: Zadar

After a day in the lush forests, take a scenic drive back to the Dalmatian coast and spend a day in the charming city of Zadar, the oldest continuously inhabited Croatian city. Today, cozy cafes and art galleries are seamlessly woven into remains from the times of Julius Caesar and Emperor Augustus.

Enjoy a relaxing stroll through Old Town and admire the historical architecture including the Church of St. Donatus, the Landward Gate, the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, and the Roman Forum.

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Ruins in the Old Town of Zadar. Zadar Region/Facebook

Along the way, catch the famous Sea Organ, and a sunset so beautiful, it even captivated Alfred Hitchcock! Just after sunset, take in the light show at the Sun Salutation, an installation created by Nikola Bašić, the same artist who designed the sea organ.

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The Landward Gate, Zadar. Zadar Region/Facebook

If you have some time in between, head to Pag Island to try some of the famous Paski Cheese or to Nin, home to Queen’s Beach, the longest sandy beach in Croatia. Other gorgeous beaches along the coast of Zadar include Kolovare and Borik.

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Award-winning sheep's cheese from Pag Island. Pag Tourist Board/Facebook.

Day 6: Split

Welcome to Split, the largest city in Dalmatia, and second-largest in all of Croatia. The city was founded as the Greek colony of Aspálathos between the 3rd and 2nd century BC.

It was later where Diocletian's Palace was built for the Roman emperor in AD 305. The palace also houses the Peristil, or the main square, another great place to enjoy some coffee and people-watch in addition to the Riva promenade.

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Enjoy a drink inside the walls of the Diocletian's Palace, Split. Visit Split/Facebook

While exploring the Old Town, stop by the Green Market, the largest farmer’s market in Split, to pick up some fresh, organic produce. Turn the corner and it is difficult to miss the 8.5-meter statue of Gregory of Nin, sculpted by world-renowned artist Ivan Meštrović. Rubbing the statue’s toe is said to bring good luck, so much so that it has been worn smooth by visitors over the years.

You can also squeeze in a light hike up Marjan Hill, also known as the “lungs of Split”. Its summit is an ideal place for a picnic, offering marvelous views of the harbor and neighboring islands.

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The crystal clear waters of Bačvice beach. Visit Split/Facebook

Fancy another beach day? Bačvice beach is a popular hangout spot in the center of Split. Relax at one of the many cafe bars and watch the locals play picigin, a traditional ball game. Rumor has it this beach is also where the sport originates from.

Day 7: Krka/Omiš/Trogir

Don't be too quick to leave Split. From here, there are several options for day tours to surrounding attractions.
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Some of the most stunning waterfalls in Croatia can be found at Krka National Park. Krka Nationa Park/Facebook

For nature lovers, Krka National Park is another national park about an hour’s drive from Split. Spend a day walking along well-maintained trails that wind along some of the most stunning waterfalls in the country. Again, make sure you get there early to avoid the crowds!

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Try white water rafting in Omiš. Tourist Board Omiš/Facebook

For those craving more action, head to the picturesque town of Omiš which offers one of the most dramatic scenes on the coast. The city is nestled in a canyon surrounded by gray, craggy mountains, contrasting the peacock blue waters where the Cetina River meets the Adriatic Sea. Omiš offers white water rafting, free climbing, ziplining, abseiling, and canyoning, amongst other activities for visitors seeking a bit of a thrill on their vacation.

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Just one of the many well-preserved remains scattered around Trogir's Old Town. Visit Trogir/Facebook

For the history buff, head to Trogir which has the best-preserved Romanesque-Gothic complex in all of Central Europe. Take a walk around the Old Town, surrounded by walls comprising a series of dwellings and palaces from the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods.

Day 8: Hvar

With over 1,000 islands, it wouldn’t be a complete trip to Croatia without doing some island hopping. From Split, take the 1-hour ferry ride over to Hvar. Its beauty and vibrant nightlife have made it a regular vacation spot for the likes of celebrities such as George Clooney and Beyonce.

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Hvar is one of the longest and sunniest islands in Croatia. Hvar Tourist Board/Facebook

Start by wandering around St. Stephen’s Square, the largest square in Croatia and don’t miss the Cathedral of St. Stephen and the Hvar public theater. For the best view, climb to the top of the Španjola Fortress to get an unobstructed view overlooking Hvar Town and nearby Pakleni Islands. You can even rent a small boat (no license required) to explore these islands on your own!

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The view from the top of the Španjola Fortress is unparalleled on the island. Hvar Tourist Board/Facebook

Once you’ve taken in all these sights, enjoy another relaxing beach day at one of the many pristine beaches such as Malo Zaraće, Dubovica, or Pokonji Dol.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for another day trip, book a tour with one of the local travel agencies to the Blue Caves on Biševo and marvel at its clear, iridescent blue waters.

Day 9: Korčula

After the buzz of Hvar, take the ferry to the tranquil town of Vela Luka on the island of Korčula, the birthplace of famed explorer Marco Polo and home to some of the best Croatian wines.

From Vela Luka, take a scenic drive towards the town of Korčula, also known as “little Dubrovnik”. Along the way, stop by the numerous family-run vineyards that welcome visitors for wine and cheese tastings.

Grk is a white wine variety grown almost exclusively on Korčula, other white wines such as Pošip and Rukatac are also premier Croatian wines, often served on celebratory occasions. For fans of red wine, do grab a bottle or 2 of Plavac Mali.

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Vineyards of Korčula island. Visit Korčula/Facebook

In Korčula, walk off the afternoon’s indulgences exploring the streets of the Old Town with its architectural influences by the Venetian Renaissance, before capping off the night with a meal and more wine at any of its superb restaurants.

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Korčula town. Visit Korčula/Facebook

Day 10: Dubrovnik

There’s no better way to end the trip than with Dubrovnik. And yes, there is no shortage of Game of Thrones tours to indulge your senses, but there is so much more to this medieval city than where Cersei Lannister did her walk of shame.

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The beautiful Saint Blaise's Church in Dubrovnik was built during the 10th century. Dubrovnik Tourist Board/Facebook

Talk a walk along the city walls and through Stradun, Dubrovnik’s main street. From here, you can also catch Onofrio’s Large Fountain that used to supply Dubrovnik with fresh water during the Middle Ages and other impressive structures including the Clock Tower, Saint Blaise's Church, Saint Ignatius Church, Cathedral of the Assumption, and the Franciscan Monastery.

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The view from beyond the walls of Dubrovnik looking upon Fort Lovrijenac. Dubrovnik Tourist Board/Facebook

Watch the sunsets and reminisce on your amazing road trip through the country at one of the cliff bars along the city walls, before capping it all off with an exquisite meal at one of the many Michelin-starred or recommended restaurants Dubrovnik has to offer.

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Nothing like a luscious meal to top off a fantastic experience road-tripping in Croatia. Dubrovnik Tourist Board/Facebook

And that’s all folks, you’ve done it! Croatia in 10 days! Bear in mind, this is merely the appetizer of what Croatia has to offer. Customize this guide to better suit your tastes and pace and remember, don’t hesitate to ask the locals in order to unlock the best secrets each location has to offer.

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

Saturday, 5 February 2022

‘Besides, the Food Is Very Good’: Impressions of Croatia in Travel Journals of Yore (II)

February 5, 2022 - In the second part of the feature exploring impressions of Croatia found in old travel journals, we're retracing the steps of several foreign visitors in Dalmatia. 

If you haven't read the first part, please head here to meet our protagonists, fearless adventurers and diligent reviewers, and see what they thought of Istria. We’re picking up where we left off, with all of our esteemed travellers heading further south.

First up, Zadar, the main Venetian base on the Croatian coast back in the day and thus an obligatory stop on every tour of the Adriatic. Very well defined in this succinct statement by archaeologist Jacob Spon who travelled in Dalmatia in 1675:

It’s the capital and one of the best places that the Republic owns in Dalmatia.

He also liked the cathedral and excellent paintings of Titian and Palma displayed in the churches of Zadar, but I’ll spare you the rest of the paragraph as it’s not more than a list of artworks.

Dalmatia_Zadar_Katedrala_sv_Stosije_6.jpgZadar cathedral by Romulic

A few thoughts on Zadar by Noé Bianchi who visited in the 1770s, in his trademark enumeration style:

The city has six gates, a great Arsenal, and many ships and boats. It is a beautiful port, and a place to live in abundance; its territory spans over thirty miles on the mainland, with many castles, islands, and more than four hundred reefs. There are large pastures with plenty of livestock, and an abundance of all sorts of fish; they dress pompously, are very devoted to arms, but above all to humanist studies; they have many schoolmasters, and a lot of merchants.

Let’s hope it was the people of Zadar who dressed pompously and not the fish. Thankfully, we have a new character in our story: countess de La Morinière de La Rochecantin who offers her view of the locals, having visited Zadar in 1907:

The men are not handsome at all; their eyes are hard, their facial features sharp. The women, on the other hand, have a beautiful smile and something seductive under those colourful scarves with which they cover their heads.

Sorry, men of Zadar.

Dalmatia_Zadar0003-min.jpgZadar by Romulic

***

On we go to Trogir, where the countess notes the following:

The inhabitants are largely similar to those of the Illyrian islands, but this lot is more gentle. They live here in a small Provence. Tamarisk trees and pines, through which a soft wind whistles as if in song, line the narrow paths that run along the shore.

This morning, the water glistens with opal reflections, the air is gentle and warm, but it’s enough for the sky to get veiled in clouds for a feeling of melancholy to take hold of us. In these countries where the sun is king, it alone gives life to beings and things: aromatic plants, trees with pale foliage; the flora of such ardent regions only comes alive and reveals all its splendour and perfumes in the light and under the scorch of the sparkling star.

DRAZ5098.jpgTrogir by Mario Romulic

Spon on the other hand has a less poetic approach and seems to be excited about Trogir mostly due to it being the birthplace of Ivan Lučić Lucius, a Croatian historian of international renown.

Lucius is known as the father of Croatian historiography owing to his work 'On the Kingdom of Dalmatia and Croatia', in which he gives a comprehensive account of Dalmatia’s history from the Roman times to the end of the 15th century. Seemingly enough to merit admiration from monsieur Spon who, as we’ve learned, wasn’t easily impressed:

This monsieur Lucius is a nobleman from this country whom I had the honour to meet in Rome, where he is now residing. His homeland is indebted to him for having pulled it from the shadows of antiquity with the historic account he made.

_L6O5038.jpgTrogir by Mario Romulic 

Immediately upon arrival, Spon and his party are struck by one of the worst troubles that can happen on a trip: no place to stay!

We had arrived in Trogir at dinner time and were looking for lodging, when we were told that we had to make our own arrangements for dinner, and that it wasn’t customary in that land to deal in hospitality [accommodation].

Naturally, as they were starving at that point, they weren’t exactly happy to hear this, but they got lucky shortly thereafter and found a place in town that sold wine. They were soon ushered into a nearby building that turned out to be none other than Lucius’s palace. This one:

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We were surprised to see this house, which is quite beautiful and has a view of the sea, empty and as if deserted, and we were even more surprised when we were told it was the house of this monsieur Lucius whom I just talked about. It has been more than twenty five years since he left it, all because of the incivility of a General of Dalmatia who, having arrived in Trogir, let [Lucius] know he wanted to lodge in his house. The nobleman was getting ready to receive him, and left for himself only a mediocre apartment. But the general immediately sent his people to take all the furniture outside. This impudence annoyed [Lucius] so much, he left the country immediately and never wanted to return.

Loving the gossip. Any thoughts on the sights, though?

The cathedral isn’t ugly. There are some statues in the church, made by a fairly good hand.

Today, the historic centre of Trogir, including the cathedral of St Lawrence, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Dalmatia_Trogir0032-min.jpgTrogir by Mario Romulic

We have another appearance by Alberto Fortis who shares a warning: don’t get scammed on your travels! After two pages of musings on marble and its various properties, he says:

As I searched in vain around Trogir to find the famed marble, someone showed up who wanted to abuse my lack of guile by presenting me with a piece of Carrara marble as if it were taken from the nearby hill of St Elijah, where you can find old quarries whose marble isn’t rough at all, but is still far from the refined marble of Carrara.

No one's taking Fortis for a fool!

A traveller must always keep their guard up, as I have, before they draw conclusions based on other people’s claims. I.e., they should go directly to the site in question or at least threaten to do so in spite of all difficulties; that is how you uncover lies.

A marble-related crisis isn’t a situation a lot of us are likely to find ourselves in these days, but fine advice nonetheless.

DRAZ5185-min.jpgThe portal of Trogir cathedral by Mario Romulic

He adds a few favourable impressions of Čiovo island:

The island’s climate is truly very pleasant, the air perfect, oil, grapes and fruit excellent, the sea rich in fish, the port spacious and shielded. And its surface isn’t so small that a nobleman couldn’t comfortably walk or ride around it.

Good to know.

***

Before we go on to Split, a note on the hinterland by Marcotti, an Italian writer visiting in the late 1890s:

Those who want to be more in control of their time while travelling in the Dalmatian hinterland will prefer to travel by horse, but will have to get accustomed to a common lack of comfort in regards to accommodation and food: pecorino cheese, stale bread; plum brandy to drink. Corn polenta, ham, roasted lamb, smoked mutton and wine are items of luxury.

***

I believe we’re all familiar enough with the splendour of the Diocletian’s palace in Split to skip the lengthy elegies about its magnificence. Instead, let’s see a few impressions of the town in general, starting with Marcotti:

The market is especially crowded on Monday and Thursday mornings. It is interesting to see how peasants and people from the outskirts of town are dressed: bright colours (blue, red and black), large pieces of jewellery, filigree, gold and silver buttons, chains, medals. Compared with the Morlach women, the women of Kaštela stand out with their elegance.

The countess gets philosophical:

A rosy and curly child, with a serious expression of a grown man, leads us through narrow streets in the ruins of the palace. There is something moving about this loyalty that leads men to live where their ancestors lived, be it within the crumbling walls of an ancient palace or next to a dormant crater that will sooner or later sow devastation and death around it.

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And Spon was surprisingly won over by Split, having spent ten days not doing much other than sampling the local cuisine:

The time we spent in Split did not last us long, because we discovered something new every day and besides, the food was very good. The only downside was accommodation which was not very convenient, as we found but four bare walls.

Partridge only costs five sols there, and hare doesn’t cost much more. There is meat at the butcher’s for one sol a pound, and turtles the size of two fists for four or five sols. But more often than not we preferred to abstain from meat and eat those little trouts from Salona, of which Emperor Diocletian was so fond, that for fear of running out of them he had an express conduit made which brought them to his palace.

3S8C4077-min.jpgSplit by Mario Romulic

All of our brave travellers then went to see Klis. Marcotti offers some practical information:

From Split via Klis (2 hours) to Sinj (5 hours), superb road, but the postal service only operates twice a week. A permit from the commander’s office in Split is needed to visit the Klis fortress; it is not granted to ladies.

Rude.

It would take long to recall the whole of its glorious military history, he says about the fortress, then recalls it anyway. A history lesson later, he goes on to say:

The road, the gates, the barracks, they’re all modern; but the walls, the towers, the ramparts, all retain the picturesque charm of ancient military gear: the mosque was transformed into a warehouse. And there’s a beautiful view to boot. In the village, nestled on terraces below the fort, are several taverns.

Klis_Fortress_at_sunset.jpgKliss fortress

Countess Rochecantin:

The citadel of Klis, truly an eagle's nest which proudly dominates the valley. The rock it’s built on is surrounded by peaks which would seem inaccessible, if it wasn’t for little pockets of greenery bearing witness to the patient conquest of man over this rugged nature.

And then there’s Spon, bless his heart:

There’s a lack of water and it gets terribly cold in winter. I imagine it’s a harsh penance for a Venetian nobleman to serve here as an officer for two years. 2/10

1080px-HR-Festung-Klis-07.jpgKliss fortress

Marcotti offers a few pointers for towns and islands in the area:

At the mouth of the river Cetina, between Mount Biokovo and the sea is Omiš, a formidable ancient pirate nest. Ruins of the Mirabela and one other castle: excellent wines, pink muscat, even some dessert sparkling wines.

The man truly tells us what we want to know the most. 

Šolta isn’t big: its chief town Grohote only has 1200 inhabitants. It’s been renowned for its honey since ancient times; the bees only suckle on rosemary.

Brač is the most important Dalmatian island, in terms of size, population and wealth. They produce vugava, an excellent prošek wine. (...) In the village Pučišće are quarries where stone was sourced for Diocletian’s grand construction in Split.

_D3A5295-min.jpgHvar town by Mario Romulic 

Hvar: shielded from bura wind by the island’s hills, and from sirocco wind by Pakleni islands, it enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a very favourable climate. Cypress, agave, carob and palm trees thrive there magnificently.

A particular thought stands out in this paragraph. At the time of his visit in the late 19th century, organised tourism was already in development in Croatia, notably in two destinations both mentioned here.  Marcotti says:

If direct lines by sea between Italy and Dalmatia were properly established, Hvar town would be a highly recommendable winter destination for the Adriatic regions of the Kingdom, incomparably preferable to Opatija.

According to Spon, Hvar town was an inviting place even two hundred years earlier:

The people of the island, who are three or four thousand in number, have all withdrawn to the town of the same name so they can watch foreigners occasionally dock in their port. So they could receive them with more dignity, they have made there a beautiful pier of marble and stone blocks which lines the semi-circular port.

There is very good bread and very good wine, and plenty of sardines to whet the appetite, with which they also supply Italy and Greece.

Croatia_Islands_Vis_Komiza_0001-min_1.jpgKomiža on Vis island by Mario Romulic

Vis: The island’s vegetation has a distinct southern character, with almond trees, figs, and palm trees. Some excellent wines are the opollo, the Margherita, the prosecco, the gripola, as well as vinegar and brandy. Sardines are abundant in Komiža; anchovies, mackerel, sea bream and snapper are found in all the waters around the island. The suckling lambs are delicious owing to the aromatic pastures of rosemary.

Spon also visited Vis island, but wasn't impressed with the sights:

I won't talk about the fortress, it's just a crow's nest that could be knocked down with ease from the nearby rocks. In the whole garrison there is but one simple soldier who performs the roles of Captain, Sargent and Porter, much like that of Plautus.

He goes to Korčula next, where he learns about jackals:

As this island is covered in woods, it is a haven for several wild beasts. Among them is a certain animal which I am told is built like a dog, but has the cry of a cat or a peacock. If one lights a fire at night near these woods, one can hear a great number of them shrieking and chanting their rabid song, such that those who have never heard them before mistake them for people yelling. It is also said that they dig up the dead to feed on them, and they are good for naught else, but to make some horrid furs out of them.

 

Next up: Dubrovnik, plus a few places we missed on our way south!

 

Sources for part II:

Jacob Spon, Voyage de l'Italie, de Dalmatie, de Grece, et du Levant, Fait és années 1675. & 1676., Tome I (Antoine Cellier le fils, Lyon, 1678)         

Noé Bianchi, Viaggio da Venezia al S. sepolcro, et al monte Sinai (Remondini, Bassano, 1770) 

Giuseppe Marcotti, L’Adriatico Orientale, da Venezia a Corfu (1899)

Alberto Fortis, Viaggio a Dalmazia, 1774 (Croatian edition: Put po Dalmaciji, Globus, Zagreb, 1984)                                  

Comtesse de La Morinière de La Rochecantin, Croisière en Adriatique et en Méditerranée (1907)

 

Quotes translated from Croatian, Italian and French by the author of the article.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

UNESCO Recognizes Trogir Brand Strategy as Positive Cultural Tourism Example

November 17, 2021 - The Trogir brand strategy 'Marked by Masters,' officially presented in November 2019, has been recognized by UNESCO as a positive cultural tourism example. 

At the end of 2019, the city of Trogir made a big step forward by presenting a new branding strategy, slogan, and visual identity, which was complemented by signage in the city, promotional materials, and a new website, jointly created by the city and the tourist board, reports HRTurizam.

Thus, Trogir became the first destination on the coast and the first city in Croatia, which began branding at such a serious and professional level. The project is called Marked by Masters, and you can read more about it on TCN HERE.

The Trogir brand strategy was recognized as a positive practice by UNESCO. Namely, on its official website, UNESCO writes about the Trogir branding project in the context of its importance for the sustainable development of the destination. "The new branding strategy of the city based on cultural values and community participation aims to increase the attractiveness of Trogir as a destination for cultural tourism," says UNESCO.

 

This is further confirmation of the value and importance of the project started two years ago, which will be intensively developed in the next five to ten years. It is necessary to fully implement it according to the experience of international cities, said the city of Trogir, adding that they are excited that UNESCO has confirmed their work by sharing the case study for the City of Trogir, authored by the Fabular agency.

"In the Middle Ages, world-class masters worked in Trogir, such as masters Radovan, Nikola Firentinski, Muscardel, Andrea Alessi, and Duknović, creating masterpieces, but also leaving smaller, detailed traces in the old town. The challenge was to unite the city's masters with "medieval graffiti" and games carved into the stone, like chess and merel, which we did by creating a story that called for discovering the traces of masters in every corner of this beautiful city."

According to UNESCO, if the project is fully implemented in accordance with the described plans, the initiative could contribute to sustainable development and the UNWTO (Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals) sustainable development goals. Trogir has been on the UNESCO list since 1997. 

Follow our dedicated travel page for more information on Trogir, Marked by Masters, and much more.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

750th Anniversary of First Mention of Trogir Pharmacy, Oldest in Croatia, Marked

ZAGREB, 31 Oct, 2021 - The Split School of Medicine on Tuesday officially marked the 750th anniversary of the first mention of the Trogir apothecary and the beginning of pharmacy in Croatia.

The executive director of the Croatian Pharmaceutical Society (HFD), Maja Jakševac Mikša, said that pharmacy started to develop very early in Dalmatia, noting that the HFD was almost certain that there had been apothecaries in the area of Trogir even before 1271 but there were no written documents about it.

"The document we have concerns the sale of the apothecary but it is unlikely that someone founded an apothecary and sold it right away, so we can say that the apothecary had existed for about ten years before the year in question, and then pharmacies started emerging from Zadar to Dubrovnik. We have the most information on the pharmacy of the Friars Minor in Dubrovnik because it has continued operating to this day, which is a unique case in the world," said Jakševac Mikša.

The head of the Trogir Town Museum, Fani Celio Cega, said that the small town of Trogir had its pharmacy in 1271 when the first pharmacy was opened in Cologne.

"The Trogir pharmacy was unfortunately not preserved because it was located in a block of houses that no longer exists... unlike the Dubrovnik pharmacy, which was established later," said Celio Cega.

The original legal document on the Trogir pharmacy, dated 29 October 1271, is kept in Trogir. That date is considered the beginning of development of pharmacy in Croatia. Pharmacy in Croatia, notably in the area of Dalmatia, started developing very early, in parallel with its development in Europe, where the first pharmacies emerged already in the 12th century and pharmacy blossomed in the 13th century.

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Wednesday, 4 August 2021

President Zoran Milanović Visits Wildfire Sites at Seget Gornji

ZAGREB, 4 Aug, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović, accompanied by Chief Firefighting Commander Slavko Tucaković, visited on Wednesday by helicopter locations devastated by wildfires at Seget Gornji, inland from the southern coastal town of Trogir, the President's Office said in a press release.

Before visiting the fire sites, Milanović discussed the situation at wildfire locations at Seget Gornji and in Mirlović in Šibenik-Knin County with local firefighting officials.

Firefighting representatives briefed the president about the efforts firefighters had made so far, and the assistance provided by the Croatian Army.

The president thanked the firemen and all those who helped put out the wildfires.

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Monday, 2 August 2021

Fire in Seget Gornji Prevents Planes From Landing at Split Airport

Updated article on the morning of August 3.

August 2, 2021 - A fire in Seget Gornji, in the hills of Trogir, broke out in the morning. Although the houses in the neighborhood are not in danger, the smoke is affecting the air traffic of the Split airport.

A large fire in Seget Gornji broke out around 10.30 am, reports 24sata. It blazed along the road. As we find out, the fire is spreading carried by the wind, but the houses are not endangered for now. All available forces from the fire brigades from Solin, Vranjica, Kaštela, Trogir and Seget Vranjica are on the ground. Police regulate traffic on DC 58 and drive alternately in one lane so that firefighters can use the other lane unhindered. The Split-Dalmatia Police Department appeals to drivers to be careful. Two canadairs are helping the firefighters in the field, and two 'air tractors' are expected to arrive at any moment.

''There are over 100 firefighters and 25 vehicles on the field, and help to firefighters on the field is still arriving. Two canadairs are also helping with the extinguishing. Maquis and low vegetation are burning, and the fire is spreading in the southeast direction'', the county fire commander, Ivan Kovačević, told 24sata.

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(Photo: 24sata reader)

As we have learned from Pero Bilas, the assistant director of Split Airport, due to the fire near the airport, several planes were sent to alternative runways, points out Dalmatinski Portal. Resnik, says Bilas, was not closed, but there was a disturbance in air traffic. Despite the efforts of all fire brigade units present in the area to control the fire, the smoke continues to be a problem.

''There will be a delay in landing and then taking off. The planes take off from the Split airport'', says Bilas.

Canadairs are constantly flying over because it is the shortest way to the fire.

More will follow...

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Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Sportyn App Activates New Challenge Feature at Dalmatinko Cup - And Rakitić's Autographed Cleats are Up for Grabs

June 23, 2021 - The Sportyn app will activate its new Challenge feature at the international youth football tournament Dalmatinko Cup this week, where the best footballing skills presented via the Sportyn application will receive the grand prize from Croatian football star Ivan Rakitić! 

Organized by the Dalmatinko Association, Dalmatinko Cup is one of the largest international youth football tournaments in Croatia. It is also the first youth football tournament with competition for both boys and girls in its program.

Guided by three components - sports, tourism, and social responsibility, the organizers endeavor to allow the youngest footballers to socialize through sports competitions with peers from other areas, all while promoting Dalmatian tourism, healthy living, and helping those in need. 

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Dalmatinko Cup

“The Dalmatinko Cup was created in 2016 after I visited many football tournaments with my eldest son and saw that the vast majority of them are reduced to just playing football. My desire was to provide children with much more than that - I wanted children to enjoy sports, socialize, and accept tolerance and equality to become better people.

I wanted to create a project that will give children from all over the world, coaches, and parents the opportunity to get to know Croatia's beauties, culture, and heritage. So we created a synergy of sports, social responsibility, and tourism, and then difficultly, created friendships and partnerships with many clubs. Over time, the story of the Dalmatinko Cup, a top organization, children's development, and the values ​​we promote, has led us to today, and we now cooperate with clubs from 23 countries. As a result, Dalmatinko Cup is one of the largest sports projects in Europe,”  said Dalmatinko Cup organizer Domagoj Bojčić. 

Dalmatinko Cup organizers strive to be active participants in society and community development, promoting sportsmanship, fair play, tolerance, and quality of life. They thus hope to engage in long-term cooperation with international sports teams, the local community, and the local economy. 

“The goals of the Dalmatinko Cup are to promote tolerance, gender equality, fair play, and equal opportunities for all children. Our slogan is ‘More than football,’ and in addition to the exceptional sporting quality of the tournament, we offer all participants a whole range of additional facilities, tours, excursions, and the feeling of playing the World Cup. Furthermore, Dalmatinko Cup is the only tournament in Southeastern Europe in which both boys and girls participate. We have 7 men's and 3 women's categories, and many looked at me in amazement when I decided to create a tournament for children of both genders. We are proud of this achievement.

Horizontal goals have imposed themselves. The development of sports tourism in Croatia has been a priority for us from the beginning because this tourist niche has huge potential. We have a beautiful country, a God-given climate, and top sports results, and we have to do everything to take advantage of such comparative advantages and create a real tourism product. The Dalmatian cup gives just that.

Another horizontal goal is to foster social responsibility and an awareness that we must take care of others. We have to teach children the right values, after all, 99% of them will not be professional athletes, but our task is to create better people. Also, altruism, volunteering, and the desire for the community in which we live to be of better quality must be our priorities,” added Bojčić. 

In 6 years, the Dalmatinko Cup has gathered over 15,000 athletes from 23 countries. While the COVID-19 pandemic has set limitations in holding this year's tournament, it could not stop the organizers from letting the kids play, all while following epidemiological measures, of course. 

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Dalmatinko Cup

Despite the pandemic, this year’s tournament boasts 170 teams from 11 countries. 

“We will have about 12,000 overnight stays, and our guests will stay for a few days after the tournament is over. The promotion of Croatia through the Dalmatinko Cup is fantastic, and the strength and quality of the tournament is at the very top of Europe,” said Bojčić. 

Thus, from June 24 to 27, Dalmatinko Cup will be held in Kaštel Gomilica (NK GOŠK), Trogir (NK TROGIR), Solin/Vranjic (NK Omladinac), and Split (HNK Hajduk), including around 2,000 participants from Croatia and abroad, in under 8 to under 17 age groups! The opening ceremony will kick off the tournament on the evening of June 24 in Marina Kaštela. 

But the beauty of the Dalmatinko Cup is that the football competition is only part of it. 

The Dalmatinko Association prides itself in a completely new sports marketing model, which can be seen in the unique offer outside of football. The tournament not only encourages participants to explore the region with organized excursions to Split, Poljud Stadium, or in the museum town of Trogir, but they can even take part in an unforgettable ride at sea on the Plurato Sailfin electric hydrofoil board, suitable for both beginners and experienced watersport enthusiasts. 

However, the standout activity at this year's Dalmatinko Cup is presented by Sportyn, an AI video-sharing app to empower all athletes, designed to change the future of player promotion, developing funding, and sports recruitment. 

 

New on the app market, Sportyn was launched by a team of innovators, pro athletes, and entrepreneurs and has even joined forces with former FC Barcelona player and Croatia national team member Ivan Rakitić.  

Doing for sport what LinkedIn does for business, Sportyn harnesses the power of vertical integration in social media to level the playing field of sporting opportunity for 2 billion people, and it's activating its new Challenge feature at the Dalmatinko Cup.

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So, what is the Sportyn Challenge feature all about? 

Across 4 days on these 4 Dalmatian football fields, Sportyn promoters will encourage all attendees to become a part of the Sportyn worldwide sporting community by downloading this application for free. Sportyn promoters will show players and attendees how they can participate in Sportyn challenges to win attractive prizes at the tournament.

Two unique challenges will be presented at the Dalmatinko Cup, where players will demonstrate their football skills and tricks, namely, through ball precision and football techniques to a global audience. 

Daily winners will be selected by the number of views, ratings, shares, comments, and others generated by their Challenge video within the Sportyn app, with daily winners awarded and the MVP player of the tournament named based on an all-time high score! In addition, the MVP will get to take home the grand prize - brand new football cleats signed by Ivan Rakitić! 

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“Sportyn is happy to be a part of the Dalmatinko Cup, a sports tournament that shares our same values. We work hard to empower athletes and strive to find ways to support and promote sports and athletes. We hope that all participants will download the Sportyn application to promote Dalmatinko Cup and become a part of the world's fastest-growing sporting community,” said Sportyn founder & CEO Ivan Ilečić.

Sportyn will also host a meet & greet with Croatian football greats, including Stipe Pletikosa, Robert Jarni, and Mile Rapaić! 

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The Dalmatinko Cup closing ceremony and awards will take place after the tournament’s last game. Held at NK Trogir, team and individual awards will be enhanced by 2 acapella singing groups, brass music, and entertainment for all ages. 

The matches of the tournament are broadcast live, with the images of Dalmatinka and Dalmatia reaching all over the world. 

“The final, which takes place in Trogir at perhaps the most beautiful stadium in the world, which is literally on the sea and between two towers, is something to experience first hand,” concluded Bojčić. 

All will have a fab footballing time!

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Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Illegal Construction on Čiovo Stopped in Just Two Days!

June 8, 2021 - Illegal construction on Čiovo near Trogir was stopped in just two days, a rare occurrence in The Beautiful Croatia. 

It seems that the efficiency of the state authorities' reaction to the devastation and construction without a permit on the maritime domain is finally visible, as illegal construction on Čiovo Island was stopped in just two days! 

Namely, construction without "paperwork" in Arbanija was stopped in what seems like record time, and, as Slobodna Dalmacija finds out, Polish citizens were in focus. 

The disputed interventions were reported to the county application "Pomorsko je dobro". Everything was forwarded to the inspection of the Ministry of the Sea, then to the State Attorney's Office, the Construction Inspection, and the Port Authority. 

The foreigners obviously understood and were convinced by numerous examples that there is not much order in the country and began demolishing and building without a permit and occupying the beaches.

"Massive works are taking place without a permit at the address Cesta domovinske zahvalnosti 101 in Arbanija. We checked in the Administrative Department for Urbanism and Physical Planning in Trogir that investors do not have a permit for works of this scope, nor do they have a registered construction site. It is an extension of a large annex in front of the existing building, on an area of ​​more than 120 square meters, on the beach not a meter and a half from the sea, spreading to the area of ​​maritime property - the beach!

Along the way, they entered someone else's property by tearing down someone else's wall, totally exposing the backyard of neighbors living in Germany. They thus exposed their belongings in the yard to possible theft because they tore down the wall and protective fence, without permission, and with an explicit written ban on demolishing that wall by the owner of the neighboring plot," reads the letter of concerned citizens, who add this :

"The current owners and contractors are Poles, who have only recently bought a house, the new owner of the house is a company from the Czech Republic, with one employee! The owner is the company "New generation sicars and service". They came to Croatia without any respect for our country, our regulations, laws, and inhabitants. We have forwarded the reports to everyone and we ask you for supervision and investigation in order to protect the maritime domain and prevent devastation and unauthorized changes to the maritime domain."

The County Department of Maritime Affairs and Tourism, headed by the elected Deputy Mayor Stipe Čogelj, in cooperation with the Mayor of Trogir, Ante Bilić, sent a municipal warden to the scene.

"We were on the field, made a report and stopped the works and fenced the construction site with tape. The owner of the property is a company from Poland, and the work was also done by Poles, alleged friends of the owner, who disappeared from the construction site as soon as we showed up. They do not have the necessary permits and papers for the buildings where the works were found, while the house as a separate unit is legalized. The pool should not even be located there because the boundary of the maritime domain has not been determined. They submitted additional documents to us, but none of that covers the works, so we are sending a construction inspection," said the city administration of Trogir.

Fortunately, not only was this taken care of but everything was brought to an even larger institution - the Ministry of the Sea, so the employees of the Port Authority of Split were ordered from the relevant headquarters to go out on the field:

"Please, on the basis of the application, perform an inspection, suspend further construction on the maritime domain, and prohibit the use and economic use, place an official prohibition sign, all in accordance with Article 43 of the Port Authorities Act!

All institutions, from the local, regional, and state level, reacted efficiently and quickly, with united forces, and now, after the ban on the works, we are waiting for the famous one - the return to its original state!

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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

City of Trogir Third in Croatia to Introduce Full Budget Transparency

February 9, 2021 – By introducing an interactive mobile application for full budget transparency, the City of Trogir will soon join the Croatian cities of Split and Bjelovar and the municipality of Omišalj and become one of the most transparent local governments in Croatia.

Together with the Science and Society Synergy Institute, the City of Trogir signed an agreement to introduce the city budget's full transparency. The contract represents the first phase of a project to create a simple and visually attractive application that would give citizens a different budget view.

With the application, citizens would have an insight into ongoing or planned projects, the performance of previous budgets and the budget for next year, or the supplementary budget for the current year. The application would provide an overview of the current budget. At the same time, additional options will compare the plan with the performance and a comparison with previous years' budgets.

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Trogir / Photo: Romulić and Stojčić

Trogir to become the most desirable small town on the coast

The City of Trogir wants to bring concrete budget items closer to the citizens through clear and simple numerical indicators and through aggregate indicators that are difficult to understand. They want to educate and sensitize citizens for certain types of strategically important projects. In other words, citizens would get an insight into what exactly their money is spent on.

"Through this project, we continue to introduce smart practices. The goal is to show how city money is managed and involve citizens in the City Administration's work as much as possible. So far, we have done this through participatory budgeting, 'And you are asked!', a project through which citizens themselves directly decide on spending part of the budget money. Last year, the Institute of Public Finance gave us grade five for transparency for the first time. We have also published an online register of city property, and with this application, we are going a step further," said Mayor of Trogir Ante Bilić.

The average assessment of Croatian cities' transparency for 2020 is 4.5, compared to the previous 2019 when it was 4.3. In 2019, Trogir received a grade of 4, and in 2020, thanks to the publication of all five city documents required for insight into transparency, a rate of 5. The number of Croatian cities of excellence increased from 65 in 2019 to as many as 87 in 2020, a positive trend.

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Budget transparency of Croatian cities and municipalities / Institute of Public Finance

"Budget transparency is our obligation and one part of the smart city strategy we will develop this year. This is a necessary level of development planning by which we want to make Trogir the most desirable small town on the coast in every sense. Precisely such projects by which we raise democratic standards are a guarantee that we will never end up in the problems we were in three years ago," said Bilić.

Striving for complete city transparency

This interactive visualization of the budget will be available to citizens in two months. It will be implemented by the Science and Society Synergy Institute based in Čakovec, headed by Vuk Vuković.

"The application we will create for Trogir offers an in-depth and visually attractive presentation of all revenues and expenditures up to the fourth level of the budget, according to the functional and economic classification. This data, the functional classification up to the fourth level of spending, has not been given to city councilors at budget hearings who receive budget expenditures up to a maximum of the third level. For example, the fourth level means that you can enter within each city's budget user – kindergartens, schools, museums, libraries – and see who spent how much on salaries, maintenance, what they bought, etc. The third level gives only the total amount received by which user, without going into details. With this presentation, citizens have a more detailed insight into city spending than city politicians," Vuković explained.

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Ante Bilić and Vuk Vuković / Photo: Trogir.hr

Following an interactive budget guide, the next step will be a detailed overview of all budget accounts. Citizens would have an insight into each transaction from the budget, from public procurement to entertainment expenses. Then there will be complete transparency of the city towards users.

Bjelovar was the first to introduce transparency application

Thus, Trogir will be one of only three cities in Croatia and Southeast Europe with a completely transparent budget. A similar practice has been introduced by the Croatian cities of Bjelovar and Split and the municipality of Omišalj, which also introduced applications for insight into the city budget. The City of Bjelovar presented a similar application in February 2019. Vuković also helped them, making them the first most transparent city in Croatia, for which they were awarded that year.

"Bjelovar has thus embarked on a unique undertaking in Croatia and this part of Europe, which is to raise transparency to a level that has not been introduced in any public authority so far, to raise the quality of the City Administration's work and strengthen public confidence," said Vuković at the time, as reported from Bjelovar.

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Bjelovar Pavilion / Photo: Bjelovar.hr

Bjelovar's positive example was followed by the municipality of Omišalj, which introduced the transparency application at the end of March 2020. The largest Croatian city on the coast – Split – also decided to do so, and neighboring Trogir took over its practice.

Namely, the citizens' right to access information held by public authorities is guaranteed by the Republic of Croatia's Constitution. Therefore, in addition to the moral, the public authority also has a legal duty to provide information on public money spending. However, while in developed democracies such transparency is considered the standard and, for example, all individual transactions from the US federal budget of 1.5 billion dollars are available to the public through an interactive Internet search engine, in Croatia it has never existed before, nor are public authorities considered this possibility.

This trend seems to be changing in Croatia. The transparency of Croatian cities is presented in an interactive map of the Institute of Public Finance.

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Sunday, 7 February 2021

Plastic-Free Croatia: Croatian Cities and Islands Moving to Reduce Plastic Waste

February 7, 2021 - Dubrovnik, Trogir, Stari Grad on Hvar, and Sali on Dugi Otok will be the first in Croatia to reduce plastic waste and use alternative solutions by participating in projects implemented by the Split Association "Sunce" for Nature, Environment, and Sustainable Development, setting the pace for a plastic-free Croatia. 

Glas Istre reports that "Plastic Smart Cities Croatia" and "For Plastic Free Croatian Islands" aim to reduce plastic waste and use alternative solutions. They analyze the use of disposable plastics and waste plastic management in the local communities involved, develop and implement a "Plastic-Free Plan" with a participatory approach and workshops, as well as organize "plastic-free" public events, i.e., events and public forums aimed at raising awareness in the local population about the consequences of plastic pollution.

One of the important activities is implementing a national campaign to raise awareness of the impact of plastic pollution on the marine environment and available sustainable solutions in the island communities on Hvar and Dugi Otok. The Split Association for Nature, Environment and Sustainable Development "Sunce"is currently working on organizing workshops for networking partners and environmental organizations engaged in this topic.

It is in this project that the pioneer association "Sunce" began implementing the projects "Plastic Smart Cities Croatia" and "For Plastic Free Croatian Islands" to reduce the plastic footprint in various segments of social life in local communities by reducing the use of disposable plastic and encouraging the use of alternative solutions for plastic waste. One of their project goals is to raise the awareness of citizens and the public about plastic waste.

After the completion of the project, a final conference will be held aimed at disseminating the project results and encouraging the further reduction of plastic waste for representatives of local island authorities, national and international NGOs, local government units, representatives of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, tourism, relevant ministries, and other stakeholders, with the message "Reduce the use of disposable plastics and look for more sustainable solutions!", which the Sunce Split Association has been advocating for many years.

They remind that a new Law on Waste should be adopted in Croatia this year, which, among other things, contains some provisions of the EU Directive on reducing the impact of certain plastic products on the environment. At the end of last year, independently and in cooperation with other environmental protection associations in Croatia, they sent their comments on the Waste Act's draft proposal.

They add that the European organization "Seas at Risk," which brings together several associations dealing with protecting the marine environment, assessed last summer that the EU directive is an ambitious plan to dispose of ten non-reusable plastic items, and which can most often be found on beaches across Europe, but that its implementation into national legislation in most European countries has been halted.

The COVID-19 crisis has led to a dramatic increase in the use and the rejection of disposable plastic objects in nature.

"The Mediterranean Sea is one of the world's most polluted seas, and half of this enormous amount of waste comes from the mainland. With 400 kilotons of waste generated annually, Croatia ranks third in the region. Hence, it is imperative to take urgent measures and raise awareness to numerous visitors about the need for urgent action, i.e., reducing disposable plastic use.

Namely, tourism has been identified as one of the key actors, so part of the awareness campaign within the "Plastic Smart Cities" project is aimed at foreign and domestic tourists, the Sunce Split Association points out.

The EU directive on plastic waste was adopted in 2019 after a trialogue, i.e., negotiations between the European Parliament, the Commission, and the EU Council. This year, all EU countries must finally implement it. The Law on Waste in Croatia should be adopted by July 3 at the latest. Croatia should also throw out disposable plastic products, namely plastic q-tips, cutlery, plates, straws, drink sticks, and balloon holders.

After adopting the directive in the European Parliament, the then Croatian MEP Davor Škrlec from the Green Group said that the directive should be used to encourage change for us as a society to produce less garbage and become sustainable.

"If we do not change our attitude towards production, consumption, and waste, the human species will become consumable like a disposable coffee cup. This directive will help us abandon disposable plastics on the road to less consumption, better designed reusable products, more innovation, and a cleaner environment," Škrlec said then.

The directive also includes provisions for the disposal of cigarette butts, which are a significant polluter, the objectives of collecting beverage bottles, and the requirement to redesign beverage stoppers to connect them to bottles. The directive also includes national targets for reducing the consumption of plastic cups and food containers, and ultimately a total ban on oxo-degradable plastics often referred to as biodegradable but in reality fragmented into microplastics.

Disposable plastic products and fishing gear together account for 70 percent of Europe's marine litter, so it is expected that Europe's seas will be significantly cleaner by implementing the directive.

According to the Commission, the directive will bring many benefits for the environment and the economy. Environmental damage would be avoided, costing €22 billion by 2030, and saving consumers up to €6.5 billion, with an adjustment cost estimated at €3.2 billion for manufacturers.

At the end of last year, the Commission adopted new rules on the import and ban on exports of plastic waste to third countries that do not have the capacity to manage it in a sustainable way, which is one of the main points of the European Green Plan and EU Circular Action Plan.

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