Monday, 18 April 2022

WRC Croatia Rally 2022: Zagreb Fair to Become Center of Motorsport World

April 18, 2022 - Easter weekend marked the peak of preparations for the World Rally Championship - WRC Croatia Rally 2022, the largest sporting spectacle and one of the most-watched sporting events in the world, which will take place from April 21-24, 2022

About 250 trucks will equip the competitors and the Service Park. In addition, more than 300 people will stretch and install over 6 km of cables, 7 km of fences, and over 800 m of water installations. The expected total electricity consumption will be about 1.2 MWh, which is needed to turn the Zagreb Fair into a Fan Zone of the WRC Croatia Rally 2022 Service Park, the center of the motorsport world next week.

The organizers are aware of their significant impact not only on economic activity and consumption but also on the environment, so this year with the help of scientists from the Faculty of Transport Sciences and the Hrvoje Požar Energy Institute, they will find ways to maximize their efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

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As the organizers of this year's WRC Croatia Rally announced, visitors can expect rich content along the track and in the Fan Zones. The largest Fan Zone Service Park (Zagreb Fair) will be the first to start operating on Tuesday, April 19, and will be open for six days until April 24, when the final party is expected in the evening. There, visitors will be able to see a real small town built by the teams of the best rally drivers of today, cars and service areas of top competitors, and observe their final preparations and maintenance of cars during the competition. As part of the accompanying program, motorsports fans will be able to buy Croatia Rally souvenirs and swag from the top teams and the WRC, enjoy the food offered, DJs, and famous music performers, and try their skills on game consoles and simulators. In addition, drivers participating in the Croatia Rally 2022 will sign autographs on Tuesday, April 19, and Wednesday, April 20, and hold Meet the Crews on Thursday, April 21, Friday, April 22, and Saturday, April 23, during which they will give statements on the big stage for the audience. You can download the detailed program via the link https://rally-croatia.com/hr/gledatelji/sluzbeni-program.

Tickets for all six Fan Zones with the best views of the most beautiful passages are on sale via ulaznice.hr/web/. In all Fan Zones, visitors can expect a rich food offer and varied all-day entertainment with sports, watching the entire race on large video walls with comments and explanations from the program's host. A complete four-day package that includes accommodation for €215 and up can be purchased through the Btravel agency: https://www.btravel.pro/en/wrc/.

Due to the limited number of parking spaces at the locations and possible crowds that could affect the race and the organizers' efforts to minimize their impact on the environment, the organizers ask visitors to connect with friends, relatives, and acquaintances wherever possible. They arrive at the location together, at least 3 hours before the start of the competition. Access to speed tests from both directions, start and finish, will not be possible even on foot in the last 30 minutes before the start of the speed test.

About the WRC Croatia Rally
WRC Croatia Rally will be held from April 21-24 at 20 attractive special stages through five Croatian counties - Zagreb, Karlovac, Krapina-Zagorje, Primorje-Gorski Kotar, and Varaždin. The ceremonial start and finish and the driver's park will be located in Zagreb. This year, a record number of spectators is expected at a sporting event in the country. Namely, according to the organizers, special fan zones and the track will be followed by more than 350,000 people, whose arrival is expected from Europe and many countries. At the competition in April, fans of octane attractions will be able to see the revolutionary new generation of hybrid Rally1 vehicles, first presented at the beginning of the season. Thanks to the excellent organization of the race and its features, including environmental protection, Croatia has been mentioned many times as a real surprise in the WRC calendar. The event is supported by numerous partners, local governments, tourist boards, and other institutions, including the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the City of Zagreb.

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

Thursday, 31 March 2022

New Public Services for Zagreb County Bus Transport Presented

March the 31st, 2022 - A set of brand new public services for Zagreb County bus transport have been presented, with the actual needs of the wider county's inhabitants properly taken into account when it comes to public transport.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, along with the representatives of Zagreb County, the Municipality of Kravarsko and the Coordination of Internal Public Regular Road Passenger Transport at the Croatian Employers' Association (HUP), some new public services for Zagreb County bus transport was presented.

It is a model that enables the introduction of new and the renewal of some old bus lines with the aim of providing better transport connections and ensuring more mobility of the local population. Despite the secured budget funds of the state, Zagreb County is the first county in Croatia to provide its resident population with a larger number of lines and departures and ensure the better connectivity of more rural areas. According to the representatives of the local community, as well as the bus carriers themselves, this model is crucial for the survival of smaller rural areas that are threatened by an ongoing demographic catastrophe. Kravarsko is, as they point out, an example of how public transport can offer momentum and provide a spring in the step for a population that faced a devastating earthquake two years ago.

The mayor of Kravarsko, Vlado Kolarec, stated that residents of the area over which he governs have been using the new services of the Zagreb County bus transport offer for three months now.

"The public bus transport service is necessary for the long-term perspective of our municipality. Our locals are better connected, they're mobile, they can stay in their homes where they grew up. I'm glad to see the positive changes that public transport has brought with it,'' said the Mayor, praising the cooperation with the county and local bus carriers who showed unwavering readiness to help during the height of the coronavirus crisis.

A new Zagreb County bus transport timetable which meets the real needs of the local population

In Kravarsko, the population uses Autoturist buses from Samobor, whose procurator is Franjo Grguric: "Locals rely heavily on our buses because there's been no alternative transport for them to use. Several times, after the announcement of the abolition of certain lines, we received desperate calls from people who quite simply could no longer go to work or provide education for their kids. We want to continue to unite Croatia, so thank you to Zagreb County for recognising this need. I hope that others will follow that example."

"Better and more accessible public transport services, especially in rural areas, is the reason why we were the first in Croatia to sign almost 90 million kuna worth of two-year contracts with our bus carriers," said Zagreb County Deputy Prefect Damir Tomljenovic, who added that their lines are constantly growing and that the Zagreb County bus transport system's timetable will continue to be adjusted to meet the real needs of the population.

All of the legal preconditions have been provided for the implementation of this public service model in Croatia, as have the necessary financial resources - 428 million kuna per year from the state budget. It is a model that operates very well across almost all EU countries and systematically solves the problem of both bus carriers and people.

Hrvoje Mestrovic, President of HUP-Coordination of Public Line Passenger Transport, pointed out that bus carriers continue to be in a crisis situation, and rising fuel prices, inflation and the pandemic are endangering the work of the transport sector as a whole. This public service model, Mestrovic explained, therefore helps the local population, but also the bus carriers themselves, to continue performing activities which are of wider social interest.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Best Zagreb County Gault & Millau Chefs Presented at Korak Winery

February 15, 2022 - The best Zagreb County Gault & Millau chefs were presented today at Korak Winery to promote the first "2022 Gault & Millau Zagreb and surroundings" guide.

The promotion of the first "2022 Gault & Millau Zagreb and surroundings" gastro guide organized by the Zagreb County Tourist Board was held today at the Korak Winery. Gault & Millau encourages sustainable tourism, i.e., that small food and wine producers and restaurants remain dedicated to the food and dishes of their region. Zagreb County has a rich tradition in gastronomy because it has several products with a mark of origin. Although it is the destiny of every good dish to disappear soon after being prepared, these dishes have the status of a cultural asset precisely because of carefully preserved recipes and a skill passed down from generation to generation as part of a unique local heritage.

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"Today, we are grateful to our caterers who, thanks to their dedicated work, are included in the guide, and these yellow chef's caps are a guarantee of proven quality for tourists. Zagreb County is also home to the black truffle, which excellent chefs use and compose with our indigenous cuisine. Food and culture are deeply ingrained in the national identity of Zagreb County. Even the simplest dishes cooked by our grandmothers are real gastronomic specialties because they are prepared from authentic ingredients from family farms. This unique story "from the field to the table" is significant," said the Zagreb County Tourist Board director, Ivana Alilović. She added that they are incredibly proud to have participated in preparing the world gastronomic guide Gault & Millau Croatia in cooperation with the Zagreb Tourist Board to present a part of the authentic gastronomic scene. "I thank Gaul & Millau for believing in the strength and quality of our County's gastronomy."

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Zagreb County and the City of Zagreb are top gastro destinations with great wealth. The quality of the food is exceptional, so the idea of expanding the next guide to include family farms and wineries in addition to restaurants will be considered.

"The gastronomic scene of Zagreb and its surroundings has developed especially in recent years, and the city has received many new restaurants with a rich and diverse offer. Certainly, some of them deserve a place in the guide, but they could not be included in this year's print edition due to the limited number. However, they will be presented on the GM website, where the guide's content for the whole of Croatia is available, and it records 2.5 million users and 6 million views a year. The printed edition of Gault & Millau Croatia 2022 for Croatia will be published on April 5. Therefore, the special edition for Zagreb and its surroundings is a real announcement of what awaits us then," said Ingrid Badurina Danielsson, Gault & Millau director for Croatia.

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As part of the promotion, awards were given to the best chefs in Zagreb County.

Restaurant Trajbar Team with chef Vlasta Šander won 13 points and two toques. The following were evaluated with 13.5 points and two toques: Restaurant Mon Ami with chef Goran Marko Beus, Restaurant Karlo with chef Karlo Navoj and Restaurant Gabreku with chef Ana Perić. The most significant recognition as the highest-rated restaurant with 16 points and three toques went to Restaurant Korak and chef Bernard Korak.

"Our restaurant nurtures tradition and cuisine not only as an offer but also as a culture of living and creating unique stories and combining our rich heritage and knowledge results in authentic gastronomic experiences recognized by Gault & Millau. This recognition is a great incentive to our work and effort. We have made a big step forward since last year, and I hope that we will continue to do so," said chef Bernard Korak.

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After five years in Croatia, Gault & Millau has published its first specialized edition for Zagreb and its surroundings, which is also the announcement of Gault & Millau Croatia 2022, which will be released in early April. The City of Zagreb and Zagreb County thus received their edition of this prestigious gastronomic guide. In addition, for the first time in history, a bilingual (Croatian-English) edition of the guide was published, translated by Morana Zibar. The guide contains reviews and photos of 100 restaurants, taverns, snack bars, POP bars, and pastry shops in Zagreb and the surrounding area. This wide range of catering listings is based on GM's motto, "luxury is in quality, not price."

Gault & Millau is a French restaurant guide founded by two critics, Henri Gault and Christian Millau, in 1965. Gault & Millau rates on a scale of 1 to 20, with 20 being the highest. Points are awarded based on the quality of the food, along with comments on the restaurant's service, price, or atmosphere. Based on this rating, high-ranking restaurants can display one to four toques.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Zagreb and Zagreb County Gault & Millau Guide Released for First Time

February 8, 2022 - The Zagreb and Zagreb County Gault & Millau guide has been released for the first time at the initiative of the Zagreb Tourist Board and in cooperation with the Zagreb County Tourist Board.

At the initiative of the Zagreb Tourist Board (TZGZ) and in cooperation with the Zagreb County Tourist Board (TZZŽ), Zagreb and its surroundings received their own edition of one of the most relevant gastronomic guides in the world - Gault & Millau (GM). Thus, for the first time in history, a bilingual (Croatian / English) edition of the guide was published, containing reviews and photos of 100 restaurants, taverns, snack bars, POP bars, and patisseries in Zagreb and the surrounding area, reports Novi List.

The guide was promoted with an awards ceremony for the chefs of the best restaurants in Zagreb. As a result, the Atrium by Filho, Le Bistro, Baltazar, Balon, Tač, Dubravkin put, Bistro Apetit by Marin Rendić, Noel, ManO2, and ManO can be proud of three characteristic chef's hats which suggest they run a high-quality kitchen.

Four caps, or a very high-quality kitchen, was awarded to Zinfandel’s at Esplanade, receiving a 17 out of a possible 20, while at the very top with a respectable 17.5 points is NAV and chef Tvrtko Šakota.

This is the assessment of GM inspectors who visit restaurants undercover, pay for their meals properly and evaluate everything according to GM rules. Šokota of NAV also thanked everyone, primarily colleagues, because, as he said, this is a job that must be loved to do, even at a high level.

"Congratulations to all our caterers who are deservedly included in the first edition of Zagreb, which further valorizes the gastronomic offer of our city. Special congratulations to the 11 award-winning Zagreb chefs, and I believe that their GM ratings and awards will incentivize them to continue striving for excellence in creating the overall gastronomic experience.

Namely, this type of experience is one of the most important motives for the arrival of our guests in Zagreb and its surroundings and the reason for choosing an individual restaurant," said Martina Bienenfeld, director of the Tourist Board.

The Deputy Mayor of the City of Zagreb, Luka Korleat, pointed out that this small but large book shows the Zagreb gastronomic scene in all its diversity.

GM's director for Croatia, Ingrid Badurina Danielsson, pointed out that there are certainly more restaurants that deserve a place in the guide. Still, due to the limited number, they could not be included in this year's selection of the print edition.

"However, they will be presented on the GM website, where the content of the guide for the whole of Croatia is available, and annually records as many as 2.5 million users and six million views," said Badurina Danielsson, noting that the print edition of Gault & Millau Croatia 2022 for the whole Croatia will be published on April 5, 2022.

Gault & Millau was launched in 1965 in France, and today the guide is published in about twenty countries. The yellow labels guarantee quality as GM's motto is "luxury is in quality, not price".

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

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

Monday, 17 January 2022

Zagreb County Celebrates Successful 2021 Visitor Numbers

January 17, 2022 – Perhaps it's the perfect balance of nature, culture and close proximity to the buzzing, big city? Zagreb County celebrates successful 2021 visitor numbers, despite the ongoing global challenges.

After tourism in 2020 was almost totally nixed, 2021 will be remembered as the year things began moving again. Certainly, that can be said for Zagreb County, who are celebrating after releasing relatively successful visitor numbers for the year.

According to data from the eVisitor system, in Zagreb County in 2021 there were 87.5 per cent more tourist arrivals and 49 per cent more overnight stays compared to 2020.

In 2021, 59 per cent more domestic tourists visited the county and accounted for 9 per cent more overnight stays. Foreign visitor numbers were up a huge 110 per cent on 2020 and their tally of overnight stays was up 91 per cent on the previous year.

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In total, 2021's numbers accounted for 58 per cent of the arrivals and 69 per cent of overnight stays that occurred within the record year of 2019.

Most foreign tourists to Zagreb County in 2021 were from Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, the United States, France and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Looking at what sort of accommodation visitors chose, most overnight stays were taken in hotels (40 per cent). Household facilities like holiday homes accounted for 25 per cent, accommodation linked to a catering facility stood at 19 per cent and 10 per cent of visitors camped overnight.

The Zagreb County destinations most popular with visitors were Velika Gorica, Sveta Nedelja, Samobor, Jastrebarsko and Ivanić-Grad.

"Considering that 2021 was also marked by the coronavirus pandemic, I think that we can be very satisfied with the achieved tourist results,” commented Zagreb County Tourist Board director Ivana Alilović. “Tourist staff have made great efforts so that domestic and foreign guests can enjoy the diverse offer of our destination while feeling safe. And the Tourist Board of Zagreb County, through various campaigns, systematically worked to promote and attract tourists to the Green Ring of Zagreb."

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The director added that the tourism sector had once again shown that it is adaptable and innovative and that the best results are achieved through synergies. She also noted the growing interest in holiday homes that offer security, excellent service and an authentic experience.

Last year, Zagreb County awarded one million kuna in non-refundable grants to entrepreneurs in tourism. The aim was an increase in quality of service and of facilities. As well as the building of new facilities, monies were directed towards the renovation and equipping of existing facilities, with focus given to additions such as swimming pools, wellness and other recreational, sports and entertainment content.

For more news about Zagreb County tourism, bookmark Total Croatia News pages here.

All images courtesy Turistička zajednica Zagrebačke županije

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Get a Taste of Zagreb County Jastrebarsko on Wine Country Getaway

January 12, 2022 – Celebrated Croatian-American Chef Richard Gruica has a big enthusiasm for local wine and food. This Saturday he'll lead curious gastronauts through a culinary tour of Zagreb County Jastrebarsko on Wine Country Getaway.

These days, it's easier than ever to find great local food in Croatia's capital. But, if you're searching for authentic Zagreb dishes, what you'll actually find is a cuisine of shared provenance.

For the most part, Zagreb food is actually the traditional menu of Zagreb County and Zagorje. These largely rural areas supply the homes, hotels and restaurants of Zagreb with much of their best food and wine.

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In villages and towns surrounding Zagreb, traditional skills are used to get the very best from the land. Often, this know how has been passed down over many generations.

Croatian-American chef Richard Gruica has a big enthusiasm for local wine and food. Splitting his time between the US and Zagreb, there's actually nothing better he likes than setting off on a voyage of culinary discovery in Zagreb County. Thankfully, there's lots to explore.

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This Saturday, 15th January, Richard is sharing some of the secrets he's found in Zagreb County Jastrebarsko on Wine Country Getaway. He'll take a small group from Zagreb to one of Croatia's premium wine-growing regions. There, you'll try some of the best wines made in continental Croatia, while learning about indigenous grapes and traditional methods. After sampling the wines, you'll be treated to a meal of traditional local food, with wine paired to the dishes.

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Richard's Wine Country Getaway will visit Plešivica, Jastrebarsko, the Samobor Hills, and the southern part of the Žumberak mountains. The tour will visit the estate of a renowned local winemaker. You'll also drop in on a traditional copper – he's the only one in this region still making wooden barrels in the traditional way. After taking in the tradition, you'll head into the hills to enjoy a traditional lunch in a rustic wooden hillside tavern. Richard's tour will conclude with a trip into town for a famous dessert.

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Richard's tour of Zagreb County Jastrebarsko on Wine Country Getaway includes

• Transportation

• Cooperage visit and tour

• Wine tasting and tour

• Gourmet lunch with appetizer, choice of entrée and paired wine

• Dessert

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All guests will be picked up in front of Hotel Academia (Ul. Ivana Tkalčića 88) at 11am on Saturday 15th January. You'll return to Zagreb at approximately 7.30pm. The cost for Zagreb County Jastrebarsko on Wine Country Getaway is 500 Kn or 75 USD. You can book your place and get more information here.

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Sunday, 9 January 2022

Around Zagreb: Meet the Top 12 Gault & Millau Restaurants in Zagreb County

January 9, 2022 - Looking for a great dining experience on a day trip outside Zagreb? Gault & Millau has published its first top 100 restaurants guide for Zagreb and Zagreb County. 

One of the joys of moving to Zagreb last year was being in a better position to explore Zagreb County. I had no idea that there was so much to see and explore, and the excellent Around Zagreb website has been a great resource for ideas for family day trips from the capital. 

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(Zagreb County Tourist Board Director, Ivana Alilovic, with the new Gault & Millau guide at the Zagreb County press conference)

There is another excellent resource, which has just been published - the Gault & Millau Croatia 2022 guide to the top 100 restaurants and POP (street food, canines, wine bars, and pastry shops) for Zagreb and its surroundings. While the majority of the entries are for the capital itself, there is a comprehensive and very diverse section of the best places to eat in Zagreb County. There are so many fabulous authentic experiences a short drive from the capital, and now a guide to the best places to combine a day in nature with a fantastic culinary experience. But if you are planning to go at the weekend, make sure you book in advance. I have been stunned by how full of life the restaurants and cafes of Zagreb County have been on our weekend visits. 

Here are the top 12 restaurants in Zagreb County, according to what sounds like some fun and very comprehensive research by Gault & Millau Croatia - you can find out more about the guide and how to order it (price 99 kuna) on their official website

1. Korak Family Estate, Jastrebarsko - 16/20

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Haute cuisine is usually associated with cities, so exceptions like the restaurant at the Korak family wine estate are rare. This gastronomic oasis is part of the family winery in Plesivica, in the heart of the smallest wine region in Croatia. The view of the hills and vineyards, the terrace in the shade of the old linden trees, the soft breeze, and fine dining combined with their wines - this is Korak. Chef Bernard Korak has elevated the gastronomic offer of this region to new heights. There are no a la carte dishes at the restaurant; you can only find eight and five-course tasting menus, with or without wine pairing, so for lunch you need to set aside about four hours. More info in the guidebook.

www.korakwinery,com/hr/o-imanju 

2. Gabreku 1929, Samobor - 13.5/20

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This place has a cult status among many Zagreb residents and is synonymous with the Sunday lunch in nature. Since 1929, Gabrek has been an oasis of traditional cuisine of continental Croatia. It is surrounded by the picturesque walls of the Old Town, by St. Michael's Church, and by the Gradna creek. Their homemade food is honest and tasty, and they have always presented themselves as a tavern serving good food; some dishes have been on the menu for over nine decades. Here you can try entrails specialities: fried brains, sweetbreads, and tripe, and in winter, you can warm yourself up with either some blood sausage or Samobor garlic sausages with sauerkraut and restani krumpir (boiled then fried potatoes with onions) served with mustard and horseradish. More info in the guidebook. 

www.gabrek.hr  

3. Karlo, Jastrebarsko - 13.5/20

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Lunch at Karlo is definitely a good incentive to visit Plesivica, especially the part between Klinca Sela and Jaska, where the long and winding Plesivica wine road is located. On that road there is a lovely wooden house with an almost unreal, picture-postcard view. There you can enjoy homemade dishes prepared on a highly professional level (which is what all rustic cuisine should be like). The hand-written one-page menu includes several soups and meat dishes as well as two desserts, and it changes seasonally depending on ingredients. More info in the guidebook. 

https://www.facebook.com/Restoran-Karlo-Ple%C5%A1ivica-349403015176262 

4. Mon Ami, Velika Gorica - 13.5/20

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One of the most famous seafood restaurants in the Zagreb region is located on the main road to Velika Gorica, in the heart of Turopolje. It is always full, so be sure to book a table. The space is divided into sections, there is a separate hall for smaller gatherings, and the interior is decorated in a classic restaurant style. Here you will always find fresh wild white fish and seafood. They also offer the black Turopolje truffle but we did not try it. The menu is special, like those in Asia, with large colour photos of each individual dish - everyone knows what they are going to get so there can be no complaints later! More info in the guidebook.

www.monami.hr

5. Restoran Potkova (Trajbar), Zapresic - 13/20

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If you want to end your outing in nature by having lunch in some well-maintained surroundings, then the Trajbar equestrian club, about 3 km from the centre of Zapresic, is a very good choice. The estate spans 110,000 m2 and includes the forest, equestrian trail, and the enclosed winter riding hall 3,000 m2 in size. The road signs that lead you to Trajbar are good, there is enough parking space, but at weekends it is always very busy as it is popular for large celebrations under a tent. In the indoor area, there are several restaurant halls, while the glass-panelled cafe terrace offers a great view of the huge courtyard, gazebo, and horse riders. Potkova's menu is not large, but it is well-balanced; it follows the seasonal availability of local ingredients, More info in the guidebook.

www.trajbar.hr/vjencanja/restoran-potkova 

6. Cowboy Western Rancha, Markusevac Turopljski - 12.5/20

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This huge complex on the wooded slopes of Vukomericke Gorice, about 20 km from the centre of Zagreb, is a popular place for an outing. From the terrace of the beautifully maintained wooden hacienda, there is a view of the ranch with horses for recreational riding, but for children, they also offer riding in horse parades, and their delighted parents can record them with their mobile phones. In fine weather, visitors can enjoy a walk, recline in wooden armchairs in the meadow, and have a look at various cowboy iconography arranged around the estate. The interior of the restaurant includes two halls, which can comfortably accommodate about 100 guests, and is entirely made of wood. More info in the guidebook.

www.cowboy.com.hr   

7. Gostionica Kod Spilje, Otrusevec - 12.5/20

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Kod Spilje, a tavern opposite Grgos Cave - one of the most famous sites of the Samobor region - has been a beloved destination for the inhabitants of Zagreb, Samobor and Slovenia for years. Many people happily come back, as they know they can rely on them for good food. Standard starters include cooked ham, Samobor salami, cottage cheese and sour cream, homemade pork cracklings, tlacenica, and baked strukli (sweet or savoury dough with cottage cheese filling either baked or boiled). Don't miss their generous porcini mushroom soup. More info in the guidebook.

www.gostionica-kodspilje.hr  

8. Zeleni Papar, Samobor - 12.5/20

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Although the interior is very spacious, with large tables spaced comfortably apart, the main advantage of Zeleni Papar is its terrace. Surrounded by the greenery of Perivoj, a Samobor neighbourhood of predominantly family houses with gardens, the terrace resembles a small arboretum, in which low shrubbery, stone garden areas with flowers, and trees function as natural dividers between tables. It is possible to sit outside as long as the weather conditions allow. The restaurant, which is about 20 km from Zagreb, can be reached exclusively by car (you are going to need a satnav as there are no signs along the way) and there is a gravel parking area. The interior looks like a dining room in someone's home, adorned by numerous household items such as Biedermeier commodes, old radio, bakelite telephone, desk lamps, paintings, a piano... - all to make guests feel as if they really are visiting someone they know. More info in the guidebook.

www.zelenipapar.hr 

9. Ampelos Hotel Princess - 12/20

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Halfway between the urban and the rural, the city bustle and the peace provided by nature, halfway between Zagreb and Karlovac - there is the Jaska region, one of the best-preserved parts of nature in Zagreb County. In this picturesque area, at the foot of the southern part of Plesivica, Hotel Princess was built together with its gastronomic oasis - Ampelos restaurant. The menu is clearly divided into international and local dishes, such as Plesevica copanjak (a savoury cake made of shortcrust pastry filled with spinach, Swiss chard and/or nettles), strukli (sweet or savoury dough with cottage cheese filling - either baked or boiled), stuffed with bacon, cheese and mushrooms, homemade potato cream soup with goat cheese and bacon, Jaska skewer... More info in the guidebook.

www.princess.hr/gastronomija/restoran-ampelos  

10. Baraz, Etno-Farma Mirnovec, Samobor - 12/20

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The Mirnovec family farm started very ambitiously, with plans to become one of the most visited places in the Samobor area. Hiring Tomislav Spicek, a culinary star, to run their Baraz restaurant menu is just one of the steps towards success. The 17-acre property is located about 20 km from Zagreb, just before Samobor, and it is perfectly landscaped with large, beautiful lawns, playgrounds, and an equestrian club. The most interesting attractions are the wooden houses brought to the farm from different parts of Croatia, some covered in red tiles, and some with authentic thatched roofs. One of these houses Baraz, 'the tavern and tasting room', where chef Spicek has recently created the menu. More info in the guidebook.

https://www.facebook.com/EtnoFarmaMirnovec

11. Taverna 1860, Donja Zelina - 12/20

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Old brick walls, dim lighting, wood and wrought iron furniture, window niches filled with wine bottles, and an old radio on the shelf - all this gives the basement restaurant its feeling of warmth and intimacy, making you feel you are in a large country house living room. What adds to this feeling are the custom-made ceramic plates and platters; which completely match the dishes served. The board at the entrance to this well-frequented restaurant displays the information about the daily lunch offer, and whatever you offer, it will be fresh, made of quality ingredients from local producers. Depending on the day, you can try some old classic homemade dishes: meat stew with dumplings, meat and wine stew, or pork knuckle, homemade roast sausages and blood sausages with sour cabbage and restani krumpir (boiled and then fried potatoes with onions), all delicious and affordably priced. More info in the guidebook.

www.facebook.com/Taverna-1860-114220496955337  

12. Vina Kos - Jurisic, Donja Zelina - 12/20

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On the Zelina wine road, in a place called Nespes, first there were the Kos-Jurisic family's vineyards and winery, and then good wine was followed by good food. At their winery, you could always taste their varieties of Pinot gris, Kerner (a cross between Trollinger and Riesling), Chardonnay, Kraljevina,(one of the oldest indigenous white grape varieties in Croatia), and Riseling - at first, the wines were accompanied by cheese and charcuterie platters, and later they ventured into more serious cooking. Recently, they have started offering picnics at the vineyard; the idea was that guests choose one of four baskets full of homemade delicacies and then, with someone dear to their heart, sit on a blanket between the vines and enjoy the tasty bites and fresh air. Once the weather is no longer nice, it is too cold to sit on the ground, but the baskets - Spekec, Picek, Pajcek, and Grincajg, priced between 250 and 350 kuna, are still available at weekends. More info in the guidebook.

www.vina-kos-jurisic.hr

Learn more about the gastronomy and tourist offer of Zagreb County on the official tourist board website.

 

 

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Traditional Turopolje Podgutnica and Poculica Become Wearable Souvenirs

January 4, 2022 - Traditional Turopolje podgutnica and poculica have been given a new role as wearable and modern fashion souvenirs!

This Croatian product was created on the Zagreb County Tourist Board initiative and combines tradition and modern trends to create a memory of the Turopolje region and daily fashion. The new souvenir was presented at the Velika Gorica Visitor Center by the Director of the Zagreb County Tourist Board Ivana Alilović, Mayor of Velika Gorica Krešimir Ačkar, prefect of the Noble Municipality of Turopolje Juraj pl. Odrčić, and representative of the Borboleta brand Sandra Šeparović.

"The souvenir introduces travelers to the local tradition and heritage, and emotionally connects them to unique experiences, sending messages about the beauty of the destination, legends, and lifestyle of the local community. The cooperation between the Zagreb County Tourist Board and the private sector has resulted in an authentic and original design that achieves a high level of recognition. On the other hand, the local population can identify with such a souvenir. As such, podgutnica and poculica were the best promoters of Turopolje because imbued with the creative idea of the Zagreb County Tourist Board, they are a souvenir which, in addition to a cool wearable product, also has a special packaging that reminds you of the destination," said Ivana Alilović.

The bracelet with the motif of a podgutnica and poculica was realized by the Croatian brand Borboleta, known for its numerous collaborations that promote Croatian tradition in the world. The presentation was also attended by the Mayor of Velika Gorica Krešimir Ačkar, under whose auspices the project "Turopolje through objects of memory" was created.

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Marko Čolić

"The Croatian origin of the tie is known worldwide today. Therefore, what we want in Velika Gorica and Turopolje is to present to all our visitors the link of Turopolje podgutnica and tie both through various events and symbolic features placed at the entrances to Velika Gorica," said Mayor Krešimir Ačkar.

The presentation was led by the Croatian actress Nataša Janjić, who will undoubtedly wear a new bracelet with a motif on her arm.

"I am looking forward to Croatian products that are wearable, and I always prefer to choose them as part of my fashion combination. I support such promotions because I believe that we should preserve our tradition, but also present it to the world in the most beautiful form, such as bracelets, i.e., the souvenirs that we presented today in Velika Gorica."

Poculica covered the heads of married women, and as a visible sign of her status, the ancient custom has been preserved to this day. Immediately after the wedding, the bride's braids were wrapped around the nape of the neck, and her hair was covered with poculica.

Podgutnica is a scarf or decorated ribbon tied under the neck. It is a decorative accessory on today's Turopolje folk costumes and part of the Turopolje Bandera uniforms. Podgutnica arose from the pride of Turopolje, the love of the Bandera man and his chosen one, and the longing of the soldiers for their beloved home. The nobles of Turopolje protected their region and Croatia, but they also had an obligation to participate in military campaigns for the kingdom. From the responsibility of the Noble Municipality of Turopolje to respond to the king's call to war, the Turopolje Bandera was born.

Numbering 120 to 400 cavalry and infantry, they fought within the kingdom at their own expense and outside the borders at the king's expense. The war military journey of the Turopolje people began several centuries before 1526, and the battles against the Turks on the Mohacs field, where we find the oldest records of the wars of the Turopolje people. Bandera is most often found on the Turkish border, in the Military Frontier (15th-18th century), and during the 17th and 18th centuries on the Italian, German, French, and Czech battlefields. As part of the Croatian army, they were among the Croats who took part in the Thirty Years' War, and in the first part of the 17th century, they reached France.

Their handkerchief, which binds girls and women as a memory of home and a vow of love and fidelity, was noticed by the French and even King Louis XVI, who accepted it as a new fashion detail - a handkerchief tied in the Croatian way "a la Croate". Given the historical tradition of the necktie's origin, Turopolje's military role in European wars, and the prevalence of podgutnica in Turopolje, we have every right to believe that Turopolje is the cradle of the necktie.

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Monday, 13 December 2021

A Jolly Good Trip: Digital Nomads Discover Zagreb County

TCN joins a merry band of digital nomads on a tour of Zagreb County, discovering some of the fine things the region has to offer

Digital nomads residing in Zagreb got together to recap the year at the Zagreb Digital Nomad Jolly WrapUp event that took place last week.

After the opening night hangout and the panel that followed the next day, a merry band of digital nomads set off on tour of Zagreb County on Saturday, December 11th. Sure, Advent in Zagreb might be the star of the show, but there’s plenty to see and do around the Croatian capital: the plan for the day promised nice views, cake, dinner and wine. Of course we tagged along - to the bus we go!

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It took a whole five minutes for the sleepy crowd to perk up thanks to James who ingeniously brought along three bottles of rakija, all different kinds at that. Many thanks, kind sir! The goods were generously passed around the bus and we quickly got to chatting - it was looking out to be a jolly good trip indeed.

First stop - Medvedgrad, a 13th century castle perched on the southern slope of Medvednica mountain. The medieval fortress solemnly stands guard over the city of Zagreb, offering a spectacular view over the capital and its surroundings.

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Left to ruin for hundreds of years, the castle was restored a few decades ago, with the most recent addition being an educational visitor centre completed in 2020. By a stroke of luck, Medvedgrad suffered no damage in the devastating earthquakes that hit the area last year.

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The new visitor centre is a work of art - more on that coming soon in a separate feature. Housed in the south tower and two palaces, several sleek exhibits unveil the secrets of Medvedgrad: medieval history, legends and mysteries, nature and wildlife, all superbly presented through a series of interactive displays. We had loads of fun exploring the castle grounds and admired the winter landscape from the top of the tower. 

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On to Samobor, a charming little town located a 10 minute drive from the city of Zagreb. The town is known for the lively traditional carnival (Fašnik) that takes place in February, but also for its artisans and craftspeople manufacturing various goods and souvenirs such as the licitar hearts.

It was too cold a day for any ambitious sightseeing and we were perfectly happy to get acquainted with our destination in a different way: feasting on kremšnita, the iconic custard cream cake Samobor is famous for.

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We gathered at the Livadić cafe on the main square for a generous serving of kremšnita and coffee to warm up before the last leg of the tour.

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And what a finale it was: an early dinner and wine tasting at the Jagunić winery, a family-run establishment and part of the wine road on Plešivica hill. We got there just in time to see the sun set over the rolling hills - quite a scenic backdrop even in the middle of December, and I can only imagine how sublime the view gets in spring when the entire landscape is in bloom.

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It was evident how much love and care goes into everything the Jagunić family does, from grape growing and winemaking to hosting guests in their restaurant. We got a taste of the region’s traditional cuisine with a wonderful four course meal, each course paired with a different Jagunić wine.

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The family predominantly produces sparkling wines, as well as whites and amber orange wines. They’re made from several grape varieties grown in their own vineyards. As our host explained during his warm welcome speech, their approach to winemaking starts with the soil and ends at the table; they control every step of the process.

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Genuine hospitality and a superb eno-gastro experience. It’s a spot not to miss - pair it with a visit to Samobor or the nearby Jastrebarsko town and you have yourself a fantastic day trip. We certainly enjoyed discovering some of the fine things Zagreb County has to offer - thanks for having us, and until next time!

 

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