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!

 

Monday, 29 November 2021

GoWine Gourmet Tourism Project Presents Zagreb County Wine Roads

November 29, 2021 - The first phase of the Gourmet tourism project - GoWine - was presented in Samobor. It includes the tourist boards of Jastrebarsko, Samobor, and Sveti Ivan Zelina with the approval of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the support of the Zagreb County Tourist Board.

In the first phase of the Gourmet tourism project GoWine, a map of wine roads was made in a circulation of 5,000 copies, followed by the website www.gowine.hr, the corresponding logo, and an application for an interactive virtual walkthrough of the wine roads. This is the result of several tourist boards carrying out activities together to develop a tourist product and promote the destination, reports HRTurizam.

The GoWine website and an interactive map provide an overview of all members of the three wine roads from Zagreb County, the availability of their direct contacts, and navigation to each of the wineries.

"Zagreb and Zagreb County form a space through which a large number of visitors, businesses, and tourists pass during one year, and the local population often chooses Zagreb County wine roads for their weekend destination. Therefore, Martina Paladina, director of the Samobor Tourist Board, Petra Masnec, director of the Tourist Board of Jastrebarsko, and my little tourist board decided to produce an interactive tool that would allow you to quickly find the desired location and a unified and complete list of destinations. Therefore, in the first phase of the project, we dedicated ourselves to the wine roads of our county, followed by accommodation and catering facilities and rural households," said the director of the Sveti Ivan Zelina Tourist Board and project coordinator Marinka Zubčić Mubrin, adding that the project established a basis for integrated gourmet tourism management to create a recognizable tourist destination product that they believe will be an excellent boost to the competitiveness of Zagreb County tourism.

Reducing the fragmentation of information and a more extensive overview of the gourmet offer of this area makes the decision easier for visitors. In addition, it opens new business opportunities for winemakers and other tourist activities.

Thus, domestic and foreign wine tourists, residents of Bregova Hrvatska, and all other passers-by who want to explore the wine roads of Zagreb County now have a new tool that makes it easier for them to find and travel to their favorite wine destinations.

The interactive virtual walk and web application are done by Otokar Crnalić from the 360 Provideo agency. The logo and wine list were created by Marko Jovanovac from the Symbol agency, while the GoWine website was made by Goran Kukočevac from Getim.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Days of Traditional Croatian Flavors Begin in Zagreb County!

November 16, 2021 - The Days of Traditional Croatian Flavors began on November 15, jointly organized by 11 county tourist boards in cooperation with local restaurants and under the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. A press conference was held in Zagreb at the Zagreb County Tourist Board to present the culinary event officially. 

In the next 14 days, lovers of good food will be able to enjoy local dishes made from traditional ingredients and traditional recipes in 108 restaurants. Each facility will offer two menus of three courses at prices starting from 95 kn, 125 kn, or 195 kn. A list of all restaurants participating in the event can be found at www.okusi.hr.

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Twelve facilities are participating from the Zagreb County area, and carry the Zagreb Region Traditional Flavors standard. During this period, guests will be able to enjoy the traditional gastronomic specialties of the Zagreb region in the following facilities: Bistro Babriga (Velika Gorica), Ekopark Krašograd (Pisarovina), Hotel Bunčić (Vrbovec), Hotel Princess (Jastrebarsko), Restaurant Ivančić (Jastrebarsko), Izletište Suhina (Sveta Nedelja), Restaurant Samoborska klet (Samobor), Rural tourism Kezele (Ivanić-Grad), Rural household Stara preša (Šenkovec), Excursion site Vina Kos-Jurišić (Sveti Ivan Zelina), Restaurant Mon Ami (Velika Gorica) and Vinogradarska kuća Braje (Jastrebarsko).

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The Zagreb County Tourist Board continues with a series of promotional activities emphasizing the use of photographs as a means of communicating on social networks.

"Local gastronomy, with its flavors and aromas, as part of the culture, heritage, customs and everyday life of the people, is increasingly prominent in the world as an unavoidable component of the tourist offer. As a value and a new quality that provides experiences of something that is different. And what is different, no doubt, is what is local, original, and traditional. With this project, we all want to influence the preservation and promotion of identity and tradition and the image of our authentic, green and sustainable destination in general," said the director of the Zagreb County Tourist Board, Ivana Alilović.

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

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Discovering Authentic Croatia's Secrets With Seoski Tourism

November 4, 2021 – Village tourism or countryside tourism - Seoski tourism in Croatia - offers authentic, traditional experiences. Aleksandra Kuratko, secretary of Udruga ruralnog turizma Hrvatske (Croatian Rural Tourism Association) tells us more about it, and their work to help facilitate it

Croatia's visitor offer is evolving and expanding. There are exciting aspects of authentic Croatia to be discovered. Away from the beach, villages inland often look remarkably similar to how they did one hundred years ago. There, crops are grown and produce made in ways passed down through generations of families. And, in some lucky instances, these family farmers are willing to open their doors, invite you inside and show you how they live.

25_-_Pelje_ac_-_Bread_under_bell_at_Agroturizam_Antunovi_.jpgBread from the peka at Agroturizam Antunović on Pelješac

Seoski Tourism – translated as either village tourism or countryside tourism – is just that. Family farms that offer hospitality. These are some of the most homely and most welcoming accommodation experiences you can have in Croatia. Offering sights and sounds, tastes and flavours that you can't find anywhere else, visits or stays in Seoski Tourism places have long been loved by locals for weekend breaks or holidays outside peak summer. But, increasingly, these authentic Croatia experiences are being discovered by international visitors.

14_-_Moslavina_-_Goats_at_Kezele_family_farm.jpgMoslavina goats at Kezele family farm © Davor Konjikušić

One institution trying to facilitate the growth in interest is Udruga ruralnog turizma Hrvatske - Croatian Rural Tourism Association. Since it was formed in 2016, they have tried to bring together Croatia's family farm hosts, to promote them and educate them, and to build bridges between these independents and tourist boards, tourist agencies, educators and even the wider world outside Croatia.

16_-_Moslavina_-_renewed_traditional_house_at_Kezelefamily_farm.jpgSeoski turizam Kezele in Šumećani, on the border of Zagreb County and Bjelovar Bilogora County © Davor Konjikušić

Based in Ivanić-Grad, Zagreb County, the Croatian Rural Tourism Association is currently touring the length and breadth of the country, holding workshops with as many Seoski Tourism family farms that will come. And if the farmwork doesn't allow them free time, then they can attend Croatian Rural Tourism Association workshops online.

On the eve of the association's online Seoski Tourism workshops for Central Croatia and Slavonia, TCN interviewed Aleksandra Kuratko, secretary of Udruga ruralnog turizma Hrvatske, to find out more about Seoski Tourism in Croatia.

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My name is Aleksandra Kuratko and I am secretary of Udruga ruralnog turizma Hrvatske. As an association, we are 5 years old.

We have 35 members, most of whom are service providers in what we call Seoski Tourism. We also have several tourist boards and two educational institutions as members.

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Seoski tourism is not quite the same as rural tourism, because rural tourism is many different types of tourism that happen in rural areas. Seoski tourism - which you might translate as village tourism - is quite specific. We assemble people who work in agriculture and who, at the same time, are also offering hospitality. In English, you might call them Farm Stays. Or Agro-tourism – a merging of agriculture and tourism.

28_-_Pelje_ac_-_fresh_vegetables_from_Agroturizam_Antunovi_.jpgFresh vegetables at Agroturizam Antunović on Pelješac

People who work on agricultural estates often take care of local cultural heritage. For example, they might maintain and renew traditional wooden or stone houses. Many also have etno collections, in which they preserve different objects from their region. Some of these objects might have been used in agriculture and households hundreds of years ago. So, they are preserving the cultural heritage of Croatian villages. This is what we call material cultural heritage. But, there's another kind.

Ethno0017.jpgCultural heritage preserved in one Slavonian village © Mario Romulić

Non-material cultural heritage is also a part. That might be preserving old recipes of traditional, regionally-specific dishes. Or, it might be showcasing the songs and dance of local music.

We are currently running a project which is supported by the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sports in which we hold 37 Seoski Tourism workshops in the field all over Croatia. There will also be around 15 online workshops. The workshops are aimed at colleagues who currently operate in Seoski Tourism – they work in agriculture and offer hospitality. Also invited are local tourist boards and local action groups.

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So far, we conducted 20 workshops in the regions of Central Croatia, Slavonia and Baranja, and Podunavlje. From next week until the end of the year, we will conduct the workshops in Istria, Kvarner, Lika and Dalmatia. Some service providers were not able to attend earlier workshops, because of work commitments of Covid. So, we decided to also offer access to the workshops online. Tomorrow is our first online workshop for Central Croatia and on Friday it's the online workshop for Slavonia.

These workshops are interactive discussions between our association, service providers and all other stakeholders. We discuss the legislative framework, which can be extremely complex. We talk about new trends in tourism for the post-pandemic era. We also discuss the importance of integrating cultural heritage in digital promotion.

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For the legislative framework, we have initiated the formation of a working group for the development of Seoski Tourism, which is now operating in the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sports. So, at the workshops, we ask if anyone is having issues. We collect the responses and address them in the working group.

Part of the workshop is the presentation of a new web application of Seoski Tourism, which we have developed with Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sports. It has two purposes. One is to create a digital catalogue of Croatian Seoski Tourism. You can see region by region some of the Seoski Tourism options – currently around 40, those who have already enrolled.

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A version of the app is currently available on the website of the National Tourist Board. But, they are building a new website. The forthcoming version of the catalogue will likely be more user-friendly with many more functions and options. On the new website, Croatia's Seoski Tourism options will be detailed in many different languages. It should be a great resource not only for tourists but for travel agencies, journalists like you and for educational institutions. That's the reason we are devoting time in our workshops to encourage Seoski Tourism providers to enroll. We are just at the beginning of the process.

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The second purpose of the app is to collect information about the service providers. This info will be used by our working group when defining a Croatian model of Seoski Tourism. So far, we have taken examples from Slovenia, Italy and other countries that are successful with Seoski Tourism. But, these models were entered into our legislative system without fully considering our distinct business and cultural environments. That is now about to change.

We are very happy that, following many years of partially successful advocacy, there is now political will at a ministerial level to really shape things up, to change the laws and regulations in order to facilitate Seoski Tourism. We want to encourage more Seoski Tourism, not to have people from agriculture being turned away because of the difficulty of the process and bureaucracy.

22_-_Istria_-_Medieval_theme_park_San_Michael.jpgMedieval Theme Park San Michael © Silvia Otočan

You said part of the workshops will focus on new trends. What are some of these?

Research has been done by a working group that is developing a new tourism strategy for Croatia. It's called Strategy for Sustainable Tourism to 2030. Under the auspices of this group, a number of research fields have been analysed.

The collected data shows that a huge percentage of tourists are now more inclined to eat locally grown and healthy food. They want to spend their time on estates that are run in accordance with ecological principles. So, they really care about issues like how waste is disposed of etc. They also pay a lot of attention to culture. They are curious to learn exactly how we are living, how we are working and how we produce things. They want to learn about our society and culture. And, importantly, they really care about how they spend their money. Above all, they want to spend money in areas that can help support local communities.

17_-_Prigorje_-_Breakfast_at_Rakić_Family_Farm.jpgPrigorje Breakfast at Rakić Family Farm

For us, this is really important. Because Seoski Tourism answers these demands to an incredibly high level. We do produce local, healthy food. Not only on the agricultural estates where you can experience Seoski Tourism, but also from their neighbours who just do agriculture. We are concerned with ecology, we protect cultural heritage and the money spent in Seoski Tourism stays in local communities, where it has very beneficial effects.

In the digital promotion part of the workshops we are trying to persuade people about the importance of their online presence. Basically, these days, if you're not online, it's almost like you don't exist. So, we try to explain the importance of having good-quality photos, short videos and a regular online presence.

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That's interesting. In some cases, it might be like two different worlds colliding - people who work in a traditional industry and a traditional environment having to adapt to a very modern way of operating. There's also another potential collision when providers learn of the expectations within modern tourism. Because these people can no longer just work in agriculture. To operate in Seoski Tourism, you're also very much expected to also be a host.

Yes. All of our current service providers who are successful within Seoski Tourism are also great hosts. It's essential. You can see it in almost all of the reviews for this kind of tourism. Guests come for the food and drinks and surroundings, yes. But, what they value the most, what they remember the most, is the host part of the experience. On the estates of Croatian Seoski Tourism, guests are welcomed like family. Across all of Croatian tourism we are expected to be good hosts. It's part of our reputation and the reason why many people come here from all over the world. In Seoski Tourism, it is vital we live up to those expectations.

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Another aspect of this, which is a more recently-observed element, is that visitors often want an insight into the actual lives, even the personalities of their hosts. They want not only to taste the homemade sausages you make, but they also want to know how you do it, where you do it, how you learned to do that. When they go to Spain, they want to know how the people there make their wine. And, when they come to Croatia, they want to learn how we do it here.

So, all in all, those of us in Seoski Tourism are really busy. We are in agriculture, yes, but we are also in tourism and we are also online. With this more recently-observed aspect, we will need to try and devote even more time to our hosting. It can be difficult to balance the demands on your time. But, in our workshops, we are trying to persuade people to talk more about themselves, their lives, their cultural heritage. And, if there isn't time to do everything themselves, then to involve different and often younger generations of the family. Sometimes within the hosting or alternatively just with the online promotion and presence.

15_-_Moslavina_-_Kezele_family_farm_ethno_collection.jpgKezele family farm ethno collection © Davor Konjikušić

I've visited some family farms that were right at the start of their journey with Seoski Tourism and they seemed surprised that I was at all interested in what they do and how they do it. I think maybe they thought I was a bit crazy.

Yes, that is a response we sometimes also see at first. I think it's because our generation takes a lot of things for granted. We sometimes think that what we do is just what we do. We are not so good at showcasing it. “Why would I show someone how I make my cheese? I make my cheese like my grandmother used to make it” But, for those who open their doors to Seoski Tourism, inquiries about how they do what they do are only increasing. So, they seem to appreciate how we advise them in the workshops.

5_-_Me_imurje_-_Picnic_by_Me_imurski_dvori_restaurant.jpgPicnic by Restaurant Međimurski dvori © Igor Nobilo

We are trying to let our producers know that Seoski Tourism is not just a platform to sell their produce and an overnight stay, but it's a full experience they can sell. There are agricultural farms in Austria that are established in tourism that you must pay only to visit. Of course, that doesn't happen currently anywhere in Croatia, even though some of our Seoski Tourism estates have sections that look like museums.

Some of these aspects are very new. And the feedback is great. I truly believe there are hidden treasures to be discovered in some Croatian villages. We are here to tell that story.

IMG_0239fghj.jpgSelection of food from a Slavonian village © Mario Romulić

What is so rewarding about Croatian Seoski Tourism that international visitors would want to go to a traditional farm in some inland village instead of lying on the beach in Dalmatia for 14 days?

People come because they really want to see a different side of Croatia. And, there are many different aspects of Croatia to discover – not just Seoski Tourism, but also National Parks and Nature Parks. All of our current trends show us that more and more tourists are willing to come inland from the coast or to explore a different part of Croatia – inland Istria, for example, or continental Croatia.

20_-_Karlovac_-_Kamačnik_river_canyon.jpgKamačnik river canyon © Aleksandra Kuratko Pani

They really want to try authentic, local food. They want to eat healthy, to know what they are eating and how it is made. And, they want to experience flavours that are different from the usual ones they get from the supermarket.

6_-_Me_imurje_-_Traditional_Me_imurje_table_at_etno_restaurant_Me_imurski_dvori.jpgTraditional Međimurje table at Etno restaurant Međimurski dvori

Also, I would say that with Seoski Tourism, people get to know better an authentic version of Croatia and its culture. It's a story we hear very often from our members. Some of them are visited by large groups from cruisers. These are people who might be on a cruise on the Adriatic and who journey inland for a day trip. Or, it might be a group who are cruising the Danube and disembark to visit a family farm in Slavonia, Baranja or Srijem.

24_-__ibenik_-_Drnis_prosciutto_Ivana_Kalpi__Agroturizam_Kalpi_.jpgProsciutto from Drniš at Agrotourism Kalpić © Ivana Kalpić

When they visit farming estates on day trips, it's very often a huge 'wow' moment for them. For many, in their minds, Croatia is simply sun and sea. And that's not entirely their fault. We, as a country, have done very little until now to promote alternative sides of Croatia. The visitors experience these wow moments because of the hospitality they receive and because of the tangible aspect of the visit. This is a modern aspect – people want to touch things, know how things feel, taste, smell. They want to ride on horses or feed them. Or take part in cultural activities. These parts of a visit to Seoski Tourism are very difficult to experience anywhere else.

img_0261.jpg__648x432_q85_subsampling-2.jpg(left) Ivana Alilović, director of Zagreb County Tourist Board (right) Aleksandra Kuratko, secretary of Udruga ruralnog turizma Hrvatske (Croatian Rural Tourism Association) © Zagreb County

Udruga ruralnog turizma Hrvatske's online Seoski Tourism workshops begin today and their physical workshops continue next week in Istria.

If you'd like to read more about rural tourism in Croatia, then look here

Friday, 22 October 2021

Interview: Wild Mushroom Hunting in Zagreb County in Autumn

October 22, 2021 – There's a riot of colour in the branches of trees right now. What better time to go mushroom hunting in Zagreb County?

Autumn in Croatia is the perfect time to explore nature. The country's mountainous regions are currently being enjoyed by walkers and hikers. In less hilly regions, people take to walking the forests and riversides. There, an eruption of colour as the trees respond to the season – red, orange, yellow, purple, brown. Autumn's colours are epic. But, they're not around forever. Catch them while you can.

One resident who is sure to take in the full range of autumn's splendor is Hrvoje Banaj. An outdoor enthusiast from near Zagreb, at weekends, he can be found exploring the forests and mountain of Medvednica, or somewhere else around Zagreb County. He's been walking the woods since he was a child, accompanied by his father, who taught Hrvoje about mushrooms.

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You can collect wild mushrooms across much of Croatia. But, Hrvoje thinks mushroom hunting in Zagreb County is particularly good. Certainly, you can find a surprising bounty in the woods of Zagreb County, as TCN found out last year on a truffle hunting trip.

There are groups of wild mushroom enthusiasts in Croatia. Also, you can find some expert forest guides who know about identifying edible mushrooms in the wild. However, it's not incredibly common to come across someone in Croatia who has that knowledge and who speaks English. Therefore, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to speak with Hrvoje to ask him a little about his experience of mushroom hunting in Zagreb County.

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My name is Hrvoje. I grew up in Zaprešić and I still live there. I attended university in Zagreb, where I studied German language and literature and phonetics. Also, my first course was organ playing. I'm a concert organist.

I've been hunting mushrooms since I was 5 or 6 years old. A very early age. My father was a lifelong forest engineer. So, it was a normal part of his work to go into the woods at all times of year, and discover what was there. For him too, mushrooms were a focus of interest.

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He'd been going into the woods since he was 13 or 14 and learned about the different kinds of mushrooms from several older, experienced people. As an adult, he bought two detailed books about mushrooms which he learned from additionally. Of course, I read them too. There was no internet back then. We still have those books.

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My dad's work was all around Zagreb and Zagreb County. Often, he would take me with him. He has been retired for a few years now. He no longer has the passion for it as he had had back in the years when he worked. But, I still go mushroom hunting in Zagreb County and I love it.

You can find lots of different kinds of mushrooms all over Croatia. I've explored the woods and picked mushrooms across much of the inland of the country.

In Zagreb County, the edible mushrooms I've personally seen are; Morels, Chicken of the Woods and all kinds of Porcini mushrooms. Also, Hedgehog mushroom – one of my favourites to eat - and all kinds of Puffballs. I saw a Giant Polypore recently too, while I was walking on Sljeme.

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You find Chanterelles and Parasol mushrooms here, sometimes in large numbers. Horn of Plenty and Horse mushroom you also see a lot. Several types of Russula mushrooms grow here. I've never seen a St George's mushroom here. But, I saw and ate them in Slavonia. My father has roots there, so I've visited a lot.

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Although autumn is usually associated with mushroom picking, that's actually a widespread misperception. It's true that some of the more popular and well-known wild mushrooms are most common in autumn. That's probably where this thinking comes from.

Actually, mushrooms grow all year round in Croatia. Some kinds you only usually see in the springtime. Similarly, many people believe that you have to go into forests to find mushrooms. But, some edible mushrooms in Croatia actually prefer to live in direct sunlight and you can find them at the sides of fields.

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If you want to go truffle or wild mushroom hunting in Zagreb County, it's best to go with a guide. You can find out more about guides and groups from Zagreb County Tourist Board here.

You can see all the different types of edible mushrooms that grow in the wild in Croatia here.

All photos used were taken in Zagreb County and come from the private collection of Hrvoje Banaj, unless otherwise accredited

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Via Vino: Zagreb Wineries Meet Autumn Art, Music, Food & Cinema

October 6, 2021 - Just a short drive from the Zagreb is part of Croatia's fantastic wine story. A new autumn initiative from the Zagreb County Tourist Board brings art, music, food and cinema to Zagreb's vineyards. Meet Via Vino. 

One of the things that visitors to Zagreb often comment on is just how accessible it is.With its abundant parks, it is a great city to walk in. 

Those who are a little more adventurous are discovering just how accessible - and fascinating - the region around Zagreb is. The launch of the Around Zagreb initiative last year, bringing the very best of the city of Zagreb, Zagreb County, and now also Zagorje, has added a new dimension to Zagreb tourism.  

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The Zagreb County Tourist Board has been particularly active in recent times promoting the authentic treasures of the region, as well as helping to bring the indigenous products of its producers to the market. One small example of this is the development of the Zagreb truffle hunt, something that perhaps even many locals are not aware of. Local producers are bying into the brand of authentic Zagreb County and its local products, and one can now enjoy Zagreb truffles in strukli, as well as pralines. And the latest Zagreb truffle delicacy was unveiled at the Via Vino press conference this morning - ajvar with black truffles. 

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A new initiative called Via Vino has been launched by the Zagreb County Tourist Board, which was unveiled at a press conference in their office in Zagreb this morning, complete with new promotional video of the wine roads of Zagreb County. The Croatian capital is blessed with several wine regions surrounding the city on all sides - Sveta Ivana Zelina, Samobor, Jastrebarsko, Ivanic-Grad, and Zapresic. 

From October 15 to November 15, the wineries of Zagreb County will be welcoming visitors to experience their wines, while also combining that experience with some signature events combining art, food, wine and music. 

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Via Vinaria takes place every Friday and Saturday within the month, when more than 50 wineries in Zagreb County will open their cellar doors for wine tasting. A great day out from the city, and a chance to enjoy the county's alluring nature while sampling its finest wines. 

Looking to catch the latest Bond movie in some style?  Via KINO is the place to be on October 15 at the Braje vineyard in Plesivica, where chestnuts and Portugiesac will accompany 007's final mission. Additional sustenance will be provided by Marin Medak and his Food Truck.

Via KINO will take place on October 23rd. in the central park of Velika Gorica. Although this is not a wine region, the screening of the film will feature an exhibition of photographs of winemakers, accompanied by homemade spirits by Brigljević distillates and gin. As this area is known for truffle hunting, you will have the opportunity to taste truffles in typically continental dishes.

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Via VINO will also enrich the Via ART event, which takes you along the picturesque Samobor road of pleasures, with recognizable wines, selected delicacies and an exhibition in the vineyard! It takes place on November 6 and follows the well-known feast of St. Martin, patron saint of winemakers. Take a look at the exhibition of photographs of winemakers from Zagreb County in the Samobor Museum.

Have you ever experienced a classical music concert in a vineyard? A good wine is like a good concert, it lasts a short time, but it is remembered for a lifetime. It’s new in every sip and changes with each new note. Therefore Via NOTE on October 16 brings concerts to the fairytale environment of the falling slopes of the vineyards of the Schwartz manor in Nespeš, in Sv. Zelini. The atmosphere will be enriched by the offer of dishes from Food Truck by Marin Medak, as well as a selection of wines from the Litterarii winery.

"We all already know that Zagreb County is the green living room of Zagreb. It offers sustainable tourism, numerous outdoor facilities but also an unforgettable eno-gastronomic experience, 365 days a year," said the director of the Zagreb County Tourist Board Ivana Alilović.

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"As a year-round destination, it offers new facilities every season. Thus, our wine roads and events related to eno-gastronomic content are currently very attractive. The rich gastronomic offer and the increasingly strong development and branding of wine roads - from Plešivica to Zelina and Ivanić-Grad as the home of škrlet - are one of the strongest assets for the tourist and economic development of Zagreb County.

"We are proud that for the first time the Zagreb County Tourist Board is conducting such a large destination campaign in which over 60 key entities in the area of ​​the Zagreb County wine scene are participating. For us, this is a big step towards positioning the entire Zagreb County as an authentic boutique destination." 

For visits to wineries it is necessary to make an appointment in advance.

Admission to the events is limited, and for those who do not have a Covid passport at the entrance, a Covid test will be organized which is included in the ticket price.

The Via VINO event is organized by the Zagreb County Tourist Board, who you can contact for more information.

Learn more about the direction of tourism in Zagreb County in this TCN interview with Zagreb County Tourist Board director Ivana Alilović.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Žumberak Samobor Protected by Zagreb County TZ via Sustainable Tourism

September 5, 2021 – In a series of spectacular new photos, we see this vast, beautiful park and learn of Zagreb County Tourist Board's efforts to balance preserving nature, improving the park's visitor offer and implementing development necessary for the quality of life of the local population, via sustainable tourism and the EU-sponsored Pronacul project.

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For residents of Zagreb County, City of Zagreb and their visitors, the most convenient thing about Žumberak Samobor Mountains Nature Park is that it's right on your doorstep. Less than 90 minutes drive to the west of the Croatian capital, it's an easy escape into a spectacular natural landscape; epic, rolling hills, gushing waterfalls and streams beside which historic water mills lie.

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It's the perfect place to go to free yourself of the noise, pressure and stress of life in the city. Particularly if you love hiking or cycling. There are 300 kilometres of cycling routes and 350 kilometres of hiking trails through Žumberak Samobor Mountains Nature Park. That's plenty to explore.

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In total, a vast 342m2 of beautiful rural landscape is protected as a Nature Park. Partly, what makes Žumberak Samobor Mountains area so charming is that it is a topography that has been moulded by its inhabitants. Their agricultural efforts can be traced in the lines of fields, the dry stone walls, the crops, animals and produce found here. Their piety is the reason for the rich wealth of historic sacral buildings you can visit in the park.

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But, this is an area that has undergone extreme population decline over recent decades. In fact, the park area is one of the least densely populated places in Croatia. The agricultural endeavours that helped shaped this pretty place are nowhere near as popular as they once were. However, the park is still inhabited. Traditional life can still be seen in Žumberak Samobor Mountains.

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One of the best ways to preserve this beautiful Nature Park, the lifestyles and endeavours of those who live there, is to receive visitors. Visiting such thrilling epic nature is so rewarding in itself, its strange to think that just be being there you're helping to preserve it.

Pronacul: Balancing Tourism, Development and Preservation of Nature

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Žumberak Samobor Mountains Nature Park and Zagreb County Tourist Board have long been working to balance 1) the preservation of the protected area, 2) increasing and improving the park's visitor offer and 3) implementing development necessary for the quality of life of the local population.

It is to that end that Zagreb County Tourism Board have submitted Žumberak Samobor Mountains Nature Park to join the EU-sponsored Pronacul project. Joining partners in Slovenia, Italy, Greece, Serbia and Bosnia in the scheme, Pronacul's key aim is the promotion of natural and cultural heritage and the development of sustainable tourism in protected areas. The total value of the project is 1.770.348,98 EUR.

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For more ideas of great places to visit and great things to do in Zagreb County, be sure to read our dedicated pages here

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Zagreb County Employment Rate Rises by 3.3 Percent

August the 4th, 2021 - The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has threatened jobs like never before, with countries which rely very heavily on tourism suffering unimaginable uncertainty. Croatia is one of them. Things are slowly recovering however, and the Zagreb County employment rate has risen.

Economic issues in Croatia weren't ''born'' when the pandemic struck the globe, but they were certainly made exponentially worse with intermittent lockdowns and issues with transport, travel and tourism. While the Zagreb County employment rate perhaps isn't the one you'd expect to see much growth in comparison to the coast, things are looking up.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, with the highest total revenue of 6.1 billion kuna in 2020 and the largest number of employees - 2,377, Lidl Hrvatska (Croatia) from Velika Gorica neat the City of Zagreb maintained its dominant role among leading companies based in Zagreb County.

The largest exporter was the company Hospira Zagreb from Prigorje Brdovecki (809.5 million kuna), according to Fina, which, for the pandemic-dominated year of 2020, shows a good picture of Zagreb County's economy in which 9258 enterprises had their headquarters last year. With its 63,044 employees, there is a 3.3 percent increase in Zagreb County employment levels.

The average monthly net salary for Zagreb County employees amounted to 6,144 kuna, which is 2.7 percent higher than it was back in 2019 and 2.9 percent higher than the average for that category at the Croatian level.

According to the processed AFS for 2020, companies operating in this continental Croatian county achieved 56.9 billion kuna of total revenues (0.1 percent more than back in 2019).

Compared to other counties, Zagreb County is highly ranked according to a number of indicators: it is in fifth place according to the number of companies headquartered there, third according to the number of employees, second according to total revenues and realised net profit, and number one according to the indicator of labour productivity measured by net profit and the number of employees, making it the country's best in that regard at the moment.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Successful Tourist Board Synergy: Around Zagreb Promotes Capital and Surroundings

June 22, 2021 - The Zagreb Tourist Board and the Zagreb County Tourist Board are again cooperating in promoting Zagreb and its surroundings through a unique destination campaign - Near the city, Near the heart / Around Zagreb. 

Near the City, Near the Heart is a joint promotional campaign created to develop a year-round platform to promote the rich offer of the capital and its surroundings, reports HRTurizam.

In this sense, as a destination campaign, it addresses key markets, promoting the outdoors, greenery, and nature with a focus on health and sustainability, and raising awareness of Zagreb and its surroundings as a desirable environment and tourist destination.

This year's edition of the campaign introduces certain novelties, and they are presented in more detail by the director of the Tourist Board, Martina Bienenfeld: “The success of the campaign so far has prompted us to improve our platform and present it to key markets. So - with a refreshed visual and itineraries - we created a new section, 'Did you know?' which presents interesting things from our environment. We are now launching the campaign in the markets of Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Germany, and we will soon expand it through cooperation with Krapina-Zagorje County."

"The campaign will be conducted online through advertorials and banners for a month. Advertorials will be adapted linguistically for each individual market and will present a rich cultural offer, with a focus on living in greenery, recreation, and sustainable tourism, all through interesting stories that present the current offer of Zagreb and its ring," explains Darja Dragoje from TZGZ.

In the last two years, the cooperation between these two tourist boards has grown into a whole series of campaigns and concrete tourist products that the guests of the capital can enjoy. The profession also recognized the partnership cooperation of these tourist boards as an example of cooperation in the field that brings very concrete results to all stakeholders.

The Zagreb County Tourist Board director, Ivana Alilović, says: "Domestic and foreign tourists do not think about administrative borders, but about the content. Precisely for this reason, the cooperation between the tourist boards of Zagreb and Zagreb County was logical. I am delighted that the director of Binenfield recognized the great potential of Zagreb County because Zagreb and the ring together are stronger. We have combined urban and rural, and with health and cultural tourism, rich outdoor content, and authentic enogastro offer, we have made this destination even more attractive. The enogastro service will focus on the new campaign, which with new visuals tells a new story of a metropolis and its surroundings, which complement each other with quality and rounded tourist products. With such facilities, we extend the stay of guests in both destinations."

The entire offer is united on aroundzagreb.hr, and information is currently available in Croatian, English, German and Slovenian.

For more, follow our travel section.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Gorica Evenings Celebrates 45th Edition With An Outdoor Cultural Program

June 8, 2021 - After more than four decades of successfully organizing an enriching cultural program aimed at people of all ages, Gorica Evenings will celebrate its 45th edition in style with concerts, cinema, theater, art, and more in the open air from this Thursday 10 to June 20 in Velika Gorica.

For the 45th year in a row, the Gorica Evenings have enriched the tourist and cultural offer of Velika Gorica, but also of the Zagreb County in general. The traditional event is organized by the Velika Gorica Public Open University in cooperation with associations and other Velika Gorica organizations, reports Turističke Priče.

In addition to a diverse cultural program, Gorica evenings are a combination of open-air concerts, theater performances, open-air cinemas, children's programs, and more. This year's 45th edition of the event runs from 10 to 20 June at two locations in the center of Velika Gorica, in Dr. Franjo Tuđman and Stjepan Radić Square, brings a rich program for children and adults.

Interesting plays are intended for theater audiences and children, and the first is scheduled by Tonka Bontonka Scene Gorica. This play for children will also be the first event of the 45th Gorica Evenings. There are also lectures for art history lovers at the Galženica Gallery, as well as performances, which will be presented to the public by participants in the Drama Studio and Guitar Course of the Velika Gorica Public Open University.

The Gorica evenings will be enhanced by klapas, which will present their acapella singing repertoire. It will be at a meeting that will serve as an overture for the Omis Festival. The youngest will show their creativity at workshops for children.

Fans of the seventh art will come to theirs every Wednesday. Namely, Dr. Franjo Tuđman Park will host the Open-Air Summer Cinema, which will show Hollywood blockbusters, animated dubbed films, and comedies. Screenings are scheduled for 6 and 8 p.m.

The highlight of the Gorica evenings will be, as always, open-air concerts. In addition to Gorizia's Mungos and the already traditional VG Blues, Rock & Country festival, Klapa Kampanel and the popular Bosutski bećari will sing and play.

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

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