Friday, 28 January 2022

PHOTOS: Snowy Riversides and Magical Mountains of Croatia in January 2022

January 28, 2022 – The snowy riversides and magical mountains of Croatia in January 2022 show a spectacular and all-natural winter wonderland.

Snow finally stuck to the streets of central Zagreb for a couple of days this week. Early morning temperatures dropped to the lowest yet of this winter. Despite the chill, clear skies and sunshine days were enough to see the snow soon melt away.

But, far from the city, the snowy riversides and magical mountains of Croatia in January 2022 have kept their white blanket for longer. These all-natural landscapes look epic after the snowfall. For winter walkers and climbers – or even just lovers of photography – these images are way more spectacular than the bright lights and theatre of the Advent season.

Let's take a closer look at the winter wonderland of snowy riversides and magical mountains of Croatia in January 2022.
Gorski Kotar
Delnice, Lokve, Fužine, Stara Sušica, Ravna Gora

261435205_280374700697029_6373214118916472871_n.jpg© Turistička zajednica Gorskog kotara

Delnice2345678.jpg© Turistička zajednica Gorskog kotara

Vladimir_Franolić.jpgFrom above, Dvorac Stara Sušica © Vladimir Franolić

GorskiBranko_Lautar_Višnja_Bolf.jpg© Branko Lautar & Višnja Bolf

Gorski_Fužine_Jezero_Bajer_Marino_Kirinčić.jpgJezero Bajer near Fužine © Marino Kirinčić

GorskiGorskiBranko_Lautar_Višnja_Bolfrtghbn.jpg© Branko Lautar & Višnja Bolf

Japlenški_vrh_Forest_Park_Delnicedfghjmn.jpg© Turistička zajednica Gorskog kotara

GorskiBranko_Lautar_Višnja_Bolfsdfghjmn.jpgAnother view of Dvorac Stara Sušica © Branko Lautar & Višnja Bolf

Risnjak National Park and Snježnik Hrvatski

Risnjak.jpg© Risnjak National Park

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentil.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentildfgbhn.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentildfghbn.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentilfgt.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentilftgyh.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentilgfyhn.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Snježnik_hrvatskiĆuća-Žentilrftgvb.jpgSnježnik hrvatski © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

For more about Risnjak National Park, look here

Velebit
Northern Velebit National Park

VelebitNPDejan_Delač.jpg© Dejan Delač

VelebitNPDejan_Delač4rtgh.jpg© Dejan Delač

VelebitNPVedran_Katalinić.jpg© Vedran Katalinić

For more about Northern Velebit National Park, look here

Velebit Nature Park

Ljubičko_BrdoIvan_Cuca-Zentilxdfghnm.jpgLjubičko Brdo © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Ljubičko_BrdoIvan_Cuca-Zentilrtyh.jpgLjubičko Brdo © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Ljubičko_BrdoIvan_Cuca-Zentildrtyhgbn.jpgLjubičko Brdo © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Ljubičko_BrdoIvan_Cuca-Zentil.jpgLjubičko Brdo © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Ljubičko_BrdoIvan_Cuca-Zentilrf.jpgLjubičko Brdo © Ivan Ćuća-Žentil

Paklenica National Park

PaklenicaMario_Jurina.jpg© Mario Jurina

BojinacPaklenicIvanCoric.jpgBojinac © Ivan Coric Photography

BojinacPaklenicIvanCoricedfgvb.jpgBojinac © Ivan Coric Photography

For more about Paklenica National Park, look here

Kloštar Podravski, Podravina and Koprivnica-Križevci County

IvanN.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanN4rfghjn.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanN1234.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanNdfghjmk.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanNt5yhj.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanNtghb.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanNtyuhjnjk.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanNtgh.jpg© Ivan Nemet

IvanNsdfghjkm.jpg© Ivan Nemet

For more about the Drava river in Koprivnica-Križevci County look here. For more about the area of Podravina containing Kloštar Podravski and Đurđevac, look here

Slavonski Brod

BrodMirna_Šikić.jpg© Mirna Šikić

Oriovac_na_ribnjacima_Slavonski_BrodAntun_Lukšić.jpgThe wetlands and ponds in Oriovac near Slavonski Brod are not only home to fish - over 50 species of birds visit these waters © Antun Lukšić

For more about Slavonski Brod, look here

Žumberak-Samoborsko gorje Nature Park

ZumerakSvetiGeraDomagoj_Novosel.jpgThe high peak of Sveti Gera, on the western edge of Žumberak-Samoborsko gorje Nature Park © Domagoj Novosel

The author would like to thank each of the photographers who kindly loaned their work to him for this article

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Croatian Festive Tourism Results Give Hope as Zagreb Continues to Lead

January the 11th, 2022 - Croatian festive tourism results are allowing for the thought that this summer season could be the comeback for what we've missed over the last couple of pandemic-dominated tourist seasons, despite how remarkably well summer 2021 turned out. Zagreb, famous for its Advent in Zagreb offer, is still in the lead when it comes to winter tourism.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, although the situation with the coronavirus pandemic in Croatia and the immediate region isn't exactly encouraging at this moment in time, in December and during the winter festive period, the positive trend for Croatian festive tourism results continued, even in Zagreb, which was all but empty and rather sad looking during the last Advent in Zagreb.

As the Croatian Tourist Board (CNTB) reported on Friday, the Christmas and New Year period brought Croatia three times more tourist traffic than it did the year before, although this is a quarter less than before the pandemic. From December the 24th, 2021 to January the 6th, the country welcomed 144,000 arrivals of people who realised an impressive 424,000 overnight stays, which is three times more arrivals with 190 percent more overnight stays than we saw last winter.

Istria, Kvarner and Split

Most overnight stays realised down on the coast took place in Istria, Kvarner and in Split-Dalmatia County, while on the continent most were recorded in the City of Zagreb, which also had best Croatian festive tourism results in terms of traffic. Behind Zagreb are Opatija, Rovinj, Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar.

Most of these overnight stays were realised by domestic guests, followed by Austrians, Slovenes and Germans. In that period alone, Zagreb was visited by about 30,000 tourists who realised 72,500 overnight stays, while back in December, Zagreb recorded a turnover of 74,000 arrivals and 161,000 overnight stays, equal to an encouraging 2.5 times more than one year ago.

It has also since been found out that half of these Croatian festive tourism results (in regard to traffic) were realised in Croatian hotels, with about 92,000 arrivals and 221,000 overnight stays, while there were 104,000 overnight stays in household/private/family facilities.

"These results allow for a dose of optimism and confirm Croatia's market position as a high quality and well-prepared destination. Numerous Croatian cities such as Opatija, Dubrovnik, Split, Osijek and Zagreb prepared interesting content that could be enjoyed in compliance with all of the current epidemiological measures against the spread of coronavirus,'' said the director of the CNTB, Kristjan Stanicic.

Minister of Tourism Nikolina Brnjac also considers this an optimistic beginning of a brand new year, adding that the Croatian festive tourism results will contribute to the overall positive impact of tourism on final revenues.

According to the Zagreb Tourist Board, Zagreb's many hoteliers were sold out for New Year's Eve, and the Snow Queen Trophy took care of bookings for the following days. Private accommodation in Zagreb is also beginning to recover from the damage caused by the pandemic, which is best felt by enterprises who had developed sustainable business practices even before the pandemic struck in early 2020.

An example of that is the company Irundo, which is currently renting out about 15 buildings all over Zagreb, along with apartments in Rovinj and down in Dubrovnik, but is already starting to expand its portfolio, which had been reduced in the public health crisis.

A late start

''The 2021 tourist season started late, but last year was much more successful for us than the previous one was, we had a growth of 100 percent, and we expect the same growth in 2022, with the expansion of the portfolio. Partly due to the return of tourist traffic and demand, but mostly because owners and investors saw that we successfully overcame even the most difficult year, so people who come to Irundo want us to take over their facilities and manage them. We're hiring two more workers who will deal with these acquisitions and we're very optimistic about this year,'' said Igor Kordic, the co-owner of Irundo, which, especially in this crisis, has strengthened the consulting part of their business.

For more, check out our travel section.

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Croatian Festive Tourism Numbers Allows for Dose of Optimism

January the 8th, 2022 - Croatian festive tourism numbers have allowed the country a little optimism for what might be to come this tourist season when the warmer months roll around. Let's have a look at the numbers.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian festive tourism numbers are promising, as they signal that Croatia had three times more tourist traffic than it did the year before, but it is still a quarter less than before the pandemic, according to statistics released by the Croatian National Tourist Board. In the period from December the 24th, 2021 to January the 6th, 2022, we had 144 thousand arrivals and 424 thousand overnight stays, which is 190 percent more in overnight stays than last winter.

Most overnight stays on the coast were realised in Istria, Kvarner and in Split-Dalmatia County, while on the continent most overnight stays were realised in Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje and Medjimurje counties. Looking at individual destinations, most overnight stays were in Zagreb, Opatija, Rovinj, Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar, while most overnight stays, looking at markets, were realised by domestic guests, followed by the Austrians, Slovenes and Germans.

"The Croatian festive tourism numbers are optimistic and confirm the market position of our country as a quality and well-prepared destination. Numerous Croatian cities such as Opatija, Dubrovnik, Split, Osijek or Zagreb had prepared interesting content that could be enjoyed in compliance with all of the current epidemiological measures,'' said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Stanicic. The CNTB has a target of 90 percent of guests from pre-pandemic 2019 for this year.

Observing the tourist traffic down on the coast, during the Christmas and New Year period in the Adriatic counties there were 91 thousand arrivals and 298 thousand overnight stays, while on the continent, together with the City of Zagreb, there were 54 thousand arrivals and 126 thousand overnight stays.

"Over the Christmas and New Year period, we've recorded excellent results, which will certainly contribute to the overall positive impact of tourism on final revenues in 2021, as well as on the entire Croatian economy. This year, our focus is on a year-round, sustainable tourist offer, but also to maintain the image of a safe destination that we built last year. That is why it's crucial to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, because the 2022 tourist year will also take place in the circumstances of a pandemic and I'd like to appeal for the additional responsibility of the entire tourism sector,'' concluded Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Croatia Airlines Advent Calendar Offers Special Discounts and Prizes

December 2, 2021 - As part of the campaign prior to the Christmas celebrations, users who access the Croatia Airlines Advent calendar will find daily special offers, discounts, and prizes, some that include up to 50% discount on flight tickets with the national company.

Although the greatest availability and demand for flights to or from Croatia occurs in the summer, December is a month where air traffic is justified under the pretext of reuniting with family and friends during the Christmas holidays. This year's Croatia Airlines Advent calendar presents special prizes to users of its services every day until Christmas Eve, reports Turističke Priče.

croatia-airlines-advent-calendar-2.jpg

In the month of giving, it is enough to visit the LINK where a special one-day Advent offer will be opened every day. By opening the Croatian Airlines Advent calendar window, all travel lovers can discover many surprises and gifts, including discounts (up to 50%) for purchasing airline tickets on selected domestic and international flights of Croatia Airlines, upgrades from economy to business class, Economy Comfort seats and many other benefits. The offer of the day will be announced every day at 9 am.

Today's offer of the day will be interesting for all those who decide to travel by plane from Osijek to Munich. Namely, if you decide to buy a plane ticket today, you will receive a 50% discount on the Osijek - Munich route, and the discount is applicable to all passengers in one reservation.

The Advent calendar offers travelers from Croatia and abroad the possibility of cheaper travel and additional quality of service, while at the same time an excellent opportunity to choose a valuable gift in the month of giving that can be shared with family members, friends or simply choose a gift for yourself.

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

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

Monday, 29 November 2021

HTZ Launches New Promotional Campaign "Croatia: Winter Wonderland"

ZAGREB, 29 Nov 2021 - The Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) has launched a new campaign, called Croatia - Winter Wonderland," to promote the winter beauties of Croatian destinations and tourism-oriented products such as local cuisines and wines, culture and wellness, the HTZ announced on Monday.

The campaign will run until 10 January 2022 and will cover 14 foreign markets, namely Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Belgium, Sweden, and Norway. It will be conducted via social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Pinterest, using the tags #CroatiaWinterWonderland and #MagicalCroatia.

260735756_10160105596071929_2420235800485099830_n.png

Croatia Full of Life on Facebook (Photo: Zoran Filipović)

"The promotional campaigns we conducted this year have positioned our country as a high-quality, safe, and well-prepared destination. That we were very successful in this was confirmed by the European Travel Commission, which highlighted that the Croatian National Tourist Board was the most active European tourist organization on the portal and social networks Visit Europe during its autumn campaign, and as such, a great example to tourist organizations in other countries," HTZ director Kristjan Staničić said.

The winter campaign will also focus on the Christmas markets in Croatia and will include traditional recipes and customs, and the best locations for taking winter photos.

If epidemiological conditions in the country and in the key markets allow, the HTZ will organize a trip for international influencers to Rab island, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Zagreb, and Dubrovnik to experience the winter magic in these places for themselves.

For more travel news, click here.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Team 45 Degrees Sailing Takes on Peškafondo 2021

Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - After a COVID-19 instigated break last year, the much-acclaimed Peškafondo 2021 was back to celebrate its 10th year as an international fishing and tourism event. 

365 GARIFUL HVAR

Organised by the “365 Gariful Hvar” association, 48 teams entered and competed in the waters of Hvar. Each team was comprised of four members, and registration was 500 kuna for each member. There was also an ongoing opportunity to donate in order to partake of the non-fishing festivities, money that will go to a local charity as chosen by the “365 Gariful Hvar” association. Read more here where Ivan Gospodnetić, owner of the much famed Gariful restaurant, talks to Paul Bradbury about why he started this festival in the first place and how he has watched it grow and evolve over the years.

KICK START CELEBRATIONS

Not having any idea what to expect, we were invited by Ivan via Paul to join in on the festivities and boarded the catamaran to Hvar town on Friday. The program officially started at 1 pm so we decided to catch the 10 am ferry to give us plenty of time to get settled before festivities kicked off. Little did we realise that the Šibenik Klapa group were on the same ferry, and they started things off early, pulling out their instruments and playing for all of us on the ferry. What a great way to kick off the weekend! 
 DSC5190

THE SQUID GAMES BEGIN

As the ferry pulled alongside the Hvar Riva, they continued to play as they disembarked the boat, being welcomed warmly by everyone already gathered and set up outside Gariful restaurant. Peškafondo and Big Game Fishing 2021 was off to a great start. Teams began to gather at the tables set up outside the restaurant, everyone was registering, getting their t-shirts, having a warm hearty lunch. The trumpet signaled at 3 pm and was the sign for all of the fishing boats and their teams to head out in search of the desired squid. They would disperse in the waters around Hvar and Pakleni islands and put their lines down hoping for a bountiful catch. 

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DAY ONE CELEBRATIONS

At 8 pm the boats returned amidst live music and the buzz of dinner beginning, and the catches were weighed and measured in full sight of everyone in attendance. Most teams were pretty successful and it was a great atmosphere for everyone to warm up and wind down after the hours spent out on the boat. The wine and beer were flowing, and the celebrations continued into the night. 

DAY TWO BEGINS

The next morning at about 8 am, the big game fishing boats departed the Hvar Riva and spent all day out fishing, in pursuit of the elusive big catch! After another very colourful departure of the squid fishers at 3 pm again, they spent another afternoon out to catch as many squids as they could find. It was a much harder day out, as rain impeded the time out for many, especially those in boats without shelter. Fishing is certainly a sport that is at the mercy of the weather 

RAIN, RAIN, RAIN

The rain continued as the days' catches were weighed and measured, and it certainly did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd that came out to support their friends and family members. A very wet award ceremony ensued, and it was great to see mixed teams, kids, and families having participated, as everyone came up to receive their prize and/or trophy. 

And then the final party began.  With the help of more delicious food, drinks, and live music, the vibrant and dynamic festivities continued into the night. An apt way to end the adult portion of a fantastic weekend celebrating the much-esteemed squid, in the quintessentially Dalmatian manner of celebration.
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SHOUT OUTS FOR THIS EVENT

We had a couple of take-aways and shoutouts from this event.

AMAZING FOOD

Oh my goodness the food. Warming, fill-your-boots, hearty, nourishing food for a large crowd of people is one thing that Croatians really excel at. And all teams gathered by 365 Gariful Hvar Association totally went above and beyond to ensure that not only did the food taste good, it tasted amazing and it also showcased specific Croatian traditional dishes from a couple of different regions. Like arambaši from Sinj and the famous Skradin risotto! As well as demonstrating how heart-warming and relevant traditional cuisine still is in the setting of modern events and festivities. 

Huge vats of slow-cooked meats and seafood wafted incredible smells that led you down the Riva. All chefs were engaging and got involved in the fun, all while they were cooking and serving. They took time out to talk to us and show us what they were cooking. They helped to make the atmosphere bright and warm, despite the persistent rain! 

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LACK OF RUBBISH

We were also very impressed by the lack of rubbish and the major lack of single-use plastic. Serving plates and utensils were paper and wood, cups were washable and reusable. And the staff working the event were fast, efficient and effective. There was no chance for any rubbish to blow onto the ground or into the sea because it was cleared away so fast. Full carafes of wine and bottles of sparkling water were brought to your table before you even realised that the existing bottles were running low. It was an incredibly clean, well-organised environment, which is an awesome achievement in normal circumstances and especially so given the incessant wet weather.

HIGH ENERGY ATMOSPHERE

The music was great. Even though it was all in Croatian, based on the enthusiasm from everyone else around us, they were clearly playing popular and classic Croatian songs. And we loved the variety. From the homespun acoustic style of the Šibenik Klapa to the powerful seasoned performance of Indira Vladić (Levak), it was all upbeat, enormously engaging, and great fun to be in the midst of.

The atmosphere was just great. The various elements, the music, the food, the staff, the logistics going on throughout the weekend, they all added up to a really enjoyable, wholesome event. 

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ALL-INCLUSIVE

We also loved the fact that you don’t have to be out on a fishing boat to enjoy this event. In addition to the 500 kuna fee to register as a member of a team on a fishing boat, you could also donate and participate in the on-land parts of the event. Which were aplenty! Everyone felt included no matter your age, nationality, or fishing and squid catching skills, or total lack of! This was especially true on Sunday, which was Kids Day. Complete with bouncy castles, balloons, games, and activities, thank goodness the sun came out to shine down upon what felt like the whole of Hvar and their kids! The sound of delight, laughter, and joy filled the main square of Hvar. 

Given that we were non-Croatian-speaking foreigners who knew very little about the event and pretty much knew no one at this event, we felt very welcome and included. We had the opportunity to meet some of the fishermen, many of whom also work in the marine tourism industry. We enjoyed chatting with the chefs as they described what they were cooking for us. As well as making some awesome connections with individuals from other areas of Croatia, like Monika from Sinj (see her article here).

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All in all, this was an event that we have heard nothing about during our five-year stay in Croatia. And now we have been, we can’t stop talking about it!

I think Ivan from Restaurant Gariful put it well when he said “I can't describe the happiness I feel knowing Peškafondo is no longer just about Hvar, it's becoming something that can be about all of Croatia.”

If you’re looking for an “authentic” experience in 2022 or beyond, this is one event you really need to check out. We highly recommend this event to any foreigners and Digital Nomads who find themselves in Croatia once the summer crowds have gone and are looking for real local events to take part in. This is all of those things in spades. 

If you have questions on anything sailing in Croatia, feel free to ask below in the comments or check out Total Croatia, Sailing in Croatia: Your One-Stop-Shop for everything sailing.

If you’re looking for a little more history around this event read Paul Bradbury’s interview with Ivan ‘Gariful’ Gospodnetić here: Celebrating 10 year of Peškafondo.

For more on the programme and reflections on the last ten years of Peskafondo, read Squid Games on Hvar.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Croatian Winter Tourism Traffic Falls 9 Percent, One Agency Satisfied

January the 16th, 2021 - The ongoing coronavirus pandemic dealt the tourism industry across the world a heavy blow throughout 2020, and in Croatia, which relies heavily on tourism, that blow will be difficult to come back from for some time yet. Croatian winter tourism is the sector being affected currently, but one agency has little to complain about...

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the travel company Croatia Luxury rent, which rents out about 450 accommodation units in private accommodation across the country, is satisfied with the Croatian winter tourism traffic during the Christmas and New Year period, which is contrary to general expectations due to the partial lockdown.

Compared to last season, they had a drop in the number of reservations of only 9.3 percent compared to last season.

“In preparation for the sale of festive period reservations during October, November and the first half of December, the announcements and sales results were positive. Primarily because private accommodation offered security to guests in the form of isolation and non-exposure to possible infection. Based on that, the number of arrangements sold by mid-December was even slightly better than last year’s realisation in the same time period. Due to the introduction of anti-epidemic measures aimed at preventing the spread of the pandemic before the festive period, sales were completely stopped and 8 percent of the arrangements sold until that point were cancelled,'' revealed Josip Stulic, the company's founder when discussing Croatian winter tourism traffic.

The largest number of realised reservations were to Croatian guests and to a large extent to Croats with addresses in other EU countries. Arrangements sold during the festive period mostly covered the area of ​​Istria and Kvarner, while a smaller share was positioned in the central Adriatic with an emphasis on the Zadar area. The surprise came in the form of a significant increase in reservations of accommodation units in Gorski Kotar. The most popular destinations, as before, were Porec, Umag, Rovinj and Krk, and Pag, Delnice and Zadar, which recorded an increase of 7 percent compared to last year, mostly due to the increase in the number and level of quality of accommodation units in the area over the last couple of years.

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Friday, 15 January 2021

Advent Made Opatija One of the Top Croatian Destinations in December 2020

January 15, 2021 – Kvarner beauty Opatija was one of the top Croatian destinations in December 2020, taking second place in overnight hotel stays. The most beautiful Advent made Opatija a desirable winter destination.

Despite the dark cloud that reigned this winter, Opatija, with its attractive Advent program, still managed to shine as a beacon of hope. This December, the city was brighter than ever before, lit with more than 20 kilometers of lamps, over 10,000 decorations, and dozens of large decorations.

The story of the "Christmas miracle" in the cradle of Croatian tourism attracted many Opatija residents and visitors. As Opatija Tourist Board reports, in December 2020, Opatija was the best destination in Kvarner and the fourth in Croatia in terms of the overall number of overnight stays. Opatija is in second place in Croatia, right after the Croatian capital when it comes to overnight hotel stays.

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Source: Visit Opatija

The magic of the most beautiful and breathtaking Advent by the sea was recorded in thousands of photos and videos, with shots of romantic evening walks, friendly gatherings, and family happiness, which passed all over Croatia and the world.

However, in addition to the city guests, Opatija Advent's magical beauty was experienced by many "virtual" visitors. Namely, many digital attractions such as virtual walks, music cards, videos, and photos, made Opatija's Advent even more attractive, measuring hundreds of thousands of reviews.

Such a campaign attracted the interest of both Croatian and foreign media. It resulted in numerous publications, especially on the Italian, Austrian, Hungarian and Slovenian markets, with a total reach of several million people. Croatian media also accompanied Opatija's "Christmas fairy tale" with hymns, declaring it the most beautiful Advent in Croatia.

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Source: Visit Opatija

"This year, we confirmed that Advent in Opatija is one of the most important winter events in Croatia. The most beautiful Advent by the sea is the foundation on which we build the future of Opatija as a popular winter destination, which is in line with its tourist tradition. The city is becoming one of the most important Advent destinations in this part of Europe," said Suzi Petričić, director of the Opatija Tourist Board, the creator of Opatija's Advent attire.

Advent in Opatija is slowly coming to an end, and those who want to take the last opportunity to feel the magic of the most beautiful Advent by the sea can visit it until Sunday, January 17th. This year's edition of Advent in Opatija was recognized as a thread of optimism in these difficult circumstances and won countless hearts.

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The most beautiful Advent by the sea / Source: Visit Opatija

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Friday, 30 August 2019

Rijeka Company Already ''Carving Out'' Skating Rinks for Advent Joy

As Sergej Novosel Vuckovic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of August, 2019, although winter still seems somewhat far away, things are going full speed ahead at a Rijeka-based company to provide thousands of citizens and tourists across Croatia with one of their favourite activities for the advent period.

They are the only ones in the country and in Croatia's immediate region who actually make skating rinks, design and realise every conceivable idea of ​​their clients, and they're leaning more and more towards exports.

This Croatian company is the only ice rink creator in the entire country, namely, in this coastal city, the European Capital of Culture for next year, Arctic is developing a type of domestic business without which there is virtually no Advent joy. Since 2003, they have been consulting, manufacturing, renting and selling mobile and fixed ice skating rink equipment. And, just like with the majority of the ''best'' things - it was all a complete accident.

"It's all a product of spontaneity and the desire to provide something new and unprecedented in our city where we live and work. This is what we did by installing the first Croatian mobile ice rink sixteen years ago, and to this day, we're constantly happy to be making new mobile ice rinks in many cities across Croatia and the wider region,'' explained Denis Ventin.

Although their products are used practically only (or at least most of them) during the winter season, their summer in Rijeka was not passive, either. On the contrary, Ventin pointed out that their last few months have been quite busy indeed.

"In order for everything to function flawlessly, it's necessary to keep the equipment in good working order. We mainly deal with such operations during the spring and summer and this period is important for maintaining the quality of our rental equipment,'' stated the head of this Rijeka-based company, who is the only one in Croatia who can provide such complete services like these, from consulting to designing, manufacturing, renting and servicing equipment, all carried out entirely according to the needs of that particular client.

These, however, are usually public sector clients (read: municipalities, cities, etc), although they're also hired by those in the private sector. So, if you find yourself ''on the ice'' in a shopping mall or even at a hotel, you will know with certainty that the skating rink there was "made in Arctic".

Since several years ago, almost every city or a small town organises Advent festivities when winter rolls around, they always boast an ice skating rink, and accordingly, there is more and more work knocking at Arctic's door.

"So far, we've designed and installed more than 250 mobile skating rinks of various dimensions. The requirements of our clients are really different, often related to the size of the cities and municipalities and the population. Lately, a number of them have been looking for an ice skating rink with a skating track added to it, and then the performance of skating takes on a different dimension,'' noted Ventin.

With the famous ice skating rink as a symbol, the Croatian capital firmly earned its placed on the winter tourism map with Advent in Zagreb, repeatedly proclaimed the best in Europe.

This Rijeka company is naturally proud of what their ice rink in Zagreb has created.

"The Tomislavac Ice Park in Zagreb is our project, designed, engineered and executed with the knowledge of our experts, and we're certainly proud of its performance because it's still attractive enough and attracts the attention of many visitors even from beyond the borders of Croatia,'' Ventin said.

They have achieved export success in other European countries, for example in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands, where they carry out ice skating and ice park projects. In terms of overall quality, they're not far behind their European competition at all, having been selected in significant bids, including one in Sarajevo.

This Rijeka company's production capacity allows the production of smaller skating rinks, with an area of ​​up to 200 square metres, within just one working day.

"All the skating rinks are designed in offices in Rijeka where there are production facilities in which we make the components. The finished skating rinks are then transported from the warehouse directly to the client's location," describes Ventin, detailing the entire process.

The prices of the skating rinks are personalised for each client and depend on the length of use, the size and the amount of equipment installed. It requires people, and qualified ones, to create them, because "designing a rink is a process that requires, in addition to all of the necessary skills, extensive experience from numerous projects."

Currently, the company has thirteen employees with a range of educational achievements.

"Our design team includes multiple members, each in charge of a particular segment. The project manager is involved in the design, bringing the skating rink to life according to the client's wishes and presenting the idea to the client via 3D illustration. The employees go through certain stages of training in which they're narrowly focused and trained.

Some processes of training certain professions take one to two years. It's not easy to find employees with previous experience and knowledge in performing our highly specialised jobs. We're constantly monitoring the increase in the volume of work and the increased need for hiring and training new employees,'' Ventin pointed out, adding that despite a tough economy, Arctic is seeing continued business growth, with revenue and profits increasing.

"We have built a quality product recognised by many foreign customers and for which the demand is growing daily, which motivates us more and more," concluded Denis Ventin.

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