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

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

Friday, 14 January 2022

Đurina Hiža Produces First Croatian Free-Range Wagyu Beef

January 14, 2022 - Nikola Božić of restaurants Đurina Hiža and Reshetka is the first to produce Croatian wagyu beef, which will be served at two dinners in February. 

Plava Kamenica first spoke to the owner of Đurina Hiža and Reshetka, Nikola Božić, at the Zagreb Burger Festival in the autumn of 2020 about his pioneering project - breeding of the first herd of Croatian wagyu cattle. 

A year later, the Đurina Hiža restaurant in Varaždinske Toplice, one of Croatia's most respected meat addresses, will present its first dishes with the first Croatian wagyu at two dinners in February.

With Davorin Štetner and in cooperation with the Jastrebarsko veterinary station, Božić started breeding wagyu-holstein cattle in Žumberak Nature Park at 750 meters above sea level in Tihočaj. Until now, this crossbreed could only be heard about as a curiosity from Japan.

"This farm is the result of two of my desires, which I have been working on for years," Nikola Božić said to Plava Kamenica then. "I have been dissatisfied with the general quality of meat available in Croatia for a long time, and it became clear to me that sooner or later, I will have to start breeding to get the quality I want to work with," Božić said, adding that his other motive was smarter cattle breeding.

“I have been dealing with meat for years; I have visited many places in Croatia and, with some exceptions, but I think that the general level of breeding is very poor. When I saw the conditions in which cows live on some farms, I began to understand vegans," says Božić. He found out that there were wagyu and holstein hybrids in Croatia at the fair in Gudovac, and he found them in Međimurje.

Crossbreeding holstein cows and bulls that produce wagyu beef has been widespread in Japan and Australia for years. Wagyu beef is known for its almost perfect marbling, an intramuscular fat that is impossible to imitate, but cattle have a mild and timid nature. By crossbreeding with Holstein, they get characteristics to adapt more easily to breeding in European and American climates. Although it does not achieve the highest Japanese quality levels, wagyu from Western breeding is becoming increasingly popular due to its availability and delicious meat. Spaniards came the furthest with a marbling of 6/12 and the Americans with 9/12, which is phenomenal. 

Nikola Božić is one of the fiercest examples of the endurance of the Croatian restaurant industry. The pandemic seriously threatened the business of Đurina Hiža and street food brand Reshetka. Still, Božić was one of the first to launch nationwide delivery during the lockdown, which resulted in the new brand Deda ide po veti and new meat product lines such as Low & Slow. With the restaurant reopening, everything they risked and did during the pandemic began to return to Đurina Hiža, says Božić. 

The first dinner dedicated to Croatian wagyu beef, announced for February 18, is sold out; the second will be held on February 25 for a maximum of 25 guests. There will be wagyu burgers and steaks on the menu, and if you don’t get a place at this wagyu dinner, you can buy it and try to prepare it yourself!

Đurina Hiža
Varaždinska 70, Varaždinske Toplice

Friday, February 18 and Friday, February 25, 2022


The number of places is limited to 20 to 25

Reservations: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 098/9562435

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

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.

Žumberačka_polja.jpg© J. Škof

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.

Mlin.jpg© J. Škof

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.

Miroslav2.JPG© Miroslav Vajdić

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.

Miroslav3.JPG© Miroslav Vajdić

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.

Miroslav.JPG© Miroslav Vajdić

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

Staza_na_Žumberku.jpg© J. Škof

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.


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

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Exploring Zagreb County: Nomading in Samobor and Tihocaj, Zumberak Nature Park

June 29. 2021 - Zagreb is much more than a city, as participants of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week found out on the last day on aa tour of the county to Samobor and Tihocaj in Zumberak Nature Park. 

After a stimulating and intense week of keynote speeches, panel discussions, networking and socialising, the final day of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week on Sunday took participants out of the city to explore Zagreb County. 

The day, organised by the Zagreb County Tourist Board, is a continuation of the successful partnership with the Zagreb City Tourist Board on the Around Zagreb project, an attempt to showcase the natural, cultural and adventure options available in the county a short distance from the city.  


The intense heat necessitated a shorter day, but where better to start than historic Samobor, a delightfully charming old town a short drive west of Zagreb. And for all its historic charms, it was the natural ones that were the biggest initial attraction - the cooling air and spectacular nature along the river were a delight. 


The main attraction and centre of life, however, is the delightful main square of Samobor, which is an excellent event venue. The Samobor Jazz Festival is currently taking place for a month. 


And if there is one thing you must try when in Samobor, it is the famous Kremsnita, a deliciously light dessert for which the town is rightly famous. The visiting digital nomads needed no second invitiation. 

To learn more about Samobor, check out the Total Croatia guide, Samobor in a Page


The main attraction of the day, however, was a little higher up - the Green Hills eco-village in Tihocaj in Zumberak Nature Park. Tihocaj is home to, among other things, the first free-range wagju cows in Croatia. A village which has not seen cows for 40 years now has 7 black Japanese residents.


This unusual story is thanks to Nikola Bozic, the pioneering owner of one of Croatia's premier meat restaurants - Djurina Hiza in Varazdinske Topilce - who bought the cows in appalling conditions and brought them to the natural paradise of Zumberak Nature Park, leaving them free to roam in 20,000 m2 of pristine nature. You can learn more about their journey from Medjimurje to their new home in this TCN feature story on that journey - it was quite a day. Medjimurje to Zumberak: Transporting Croatia's 1st Free-Range Wagyu Cows.

Tihocaj has obviously been relaxing for Dougal the bull and his three female companions, for each has given birth to a calf within the first year. 


The only resident of Tihocaj today is Mare Gvozdanovic, who is 95. Mare has lived in Tihocaj for 50 years, and when she arrived, there were 150 people in the area, with plenty of children. The very remote spot is a divine spot, but far from local amenities. Mare lost her husband 4 years ago and now busies herself in the village, looking after her vegetable and talking to her Japanese four-legged neighbours, while enjoy the spectacular views and clean air. 


She will not be alone for long, for Tihocaj is home to one of the most interesting projects I have some across in Croatia. Local boy and serial entrepreneur, Davorin Stetner, our co-host - along with Ivana Alilovic, Director of the Zagreb County Tourist Board (seen with TCN above), has been buying the land and property in and around the village, while also creating an eco-farm. 


But this is no ordinary eco-farm, for it comes with its own helipad, high-speed Internet and (soon) swimming pool. The properties are being refurbished authentically, a wine cellar built, and there are no neighbours for miles. 


Perfect conditions, perhaps, for digital nomads wanting to work remotely in total peace, but connected to the world on their terms. There were plenty of murmurs of appreciation from the visiting nomads. 


Stetner organised a wine tasting and barbecue for his guest, with music in the background. Private parties in total isolation.There have already been several helicopter visits and VIP guests. Tihocaj is very much a work in progress, but it is scheduled to open for bookings next year. 


As excellent day to end a truly excellent week. The engagement from all the stakeholders was outstanding, and Zagreb truly shone. I was very pleasantly surprised at just how much the visiting digital nomads enjoyed the city. How digital nomad friendly is Zagreb? It seems from following the participants of Zagreb Digital Nomad Week 2021 that the answer is VERY!

Dean Kuchel of Digital Nomad World put it very well when asked what Zagreb is missing in this video interview

"The only thing missing in Zagreb is more digital nomads."

To learn more about the charms of Zagreb County, click here.

More on Zagreb Digital Nomad Week.

For more news and features on digital nomads in Croatia, visit the dedicated TCN section

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Croatia's Foreign Entrepreneurs - Meet René, from Holland to Zumberak

We wish to write this series to share the stories of expats (or returned Croatian heritage) who chose to move to Croatia and start a life here, particularly those with an entrepreneurial spirit who have successfully started a business in Croatia (an achievement in itself) and are finding success in their new homes. By doing this we believe we might debunk the myths that: EVERYONE is leaving Croatia, and that there are no opportunities here.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

"Millennia of Culinary Art" Workshop to Take Place in Žumberak

A workshop on pre-historic, Roman, Medieval and traditional Žumberak cuisine will take place at Budinjak Archaeological park, September 9 and 10.

Friday, 13 January 2017

From the Netherlands to Nature Park Žumberak: Meet Humanitarian and Photographer René Pronk

René Pronk and his family moved to Croatia via the Netherlands almost four years ago, settling in to the area of Nature Park Žumberak and Samoborsko gorje (Samobors’s surrounding hills). A humanitarian, photograher, and facilitator of good for Nature Park Žumberak, here is René's story.