Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Croatian Brand Wine Grus Goes From Strength to Strength

May the 30th, 2023 - The Croatian brand Wine Grus has gone from strength to strength, leaving the world of relative obscurity to becoming extremely well known in international circles and for all sorts of different occasions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian brand Wine Grus is consumed as part of all sorts of celebrations, important anniversaries are celebrated with it, and both kisses and tears are shed with it. Those flavours stay in the memory for a long time, according to brandy and rakija lovers.

While lovers of a drop of two of stong alcohol say that, confirmation of it certainly comes in the form of the same being said by the jury of the world's most prestigious competition for spirits, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, which recently awarded double gold and silver to the Croatian beand Wise Grus' Lozovaci Barique and the much loved Sljivovica. This competition is otherwise considered the most important in the spirits category, it has been being held for 23 years now, and the evaluation criteria are extremely stringent and high.

All of the above would not be unusual if it were not for the fact that this small Daruvar distillery's products won two gold medals in Frankfurt for its Dunjevac and Lozovac shortly after entering the market. It wouldn't be strange either if it hadn't earned recognition for being the best Croatian distillery presented in Frankfurt so soon after emerging. After only eight months of presence on the market, the distillery's shelves already boast a total of six awards, double gold in San Francisco and one silver, an award in Zagreb and two awards in Frankfurt.

Although it is a debut distillery, it has actually entered higher society with great strides. There are many plans for this new Croatian brand, and they're not even aware of the importance of these prestigious awards, because the team working there simply does what it loves. Where they will end up in the future remains to be seen, but judging by the "fiery" start they've enjoyed, there are still many challenges and a lot of recognition ahead of them.

They believe that their success will encourage other brandy producers in the Republic of Croatia to make every effort to activate the thriving domestic spirits market and become recognisable both in Europe and indeed in other countries around the world.

For more, check out our business section.

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

First Croatian Infobip Shift Conference in USA Ends in Success!

May the 30th, 2023 - The very first Croatian Infobip Shift conference across the pond in the US city of Miami has ended in success. This utterly remarkable domestic company has taken not only Croatia and the immediate region by storm, but the rest of the continent as well. It seems the United States of America is its next conquest for recognition.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the first Croatian Infobip Shift conference programme to take to US shores was opened by the talented and ever-innovative Silvio Kutic, the co-founder and executive director of Infobip.

The American Shift conference hosted an extremely diverse developer audience, and speakers from some of today's most prominent technology companies, as well as many of Infobip's North American partners. All of those involved in the organisation of the conference have confirmed a return to the US next year as well.

"The Croatian Infobip Shift conference here in Miami represents a significant step forward for Infobip on the American market, which is very important for us. Holding the conference on two continents in one year and the level of expressed interest from the audience have well and truly confirmed to us that the developer community recognises the quality of the conference", said Silvio Kutic.

Thematically speaking, the conference covered a wide range of topics of interest to the wider developer public, and will no doubt do exceptionally well in further positioning the truly innovative Croatian company Infobip on the demanding American market.

For more on Croatian companies, innovation and entrepreneurs, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 29 May 2023

Kali Balsamic Fig Vinegar Wins Golden Basket for Best Croatian Product in 2022

May the 29th, 2023 - The Kali - Return to Tradition from Medveja won the most votes of the expert jury and won the flattering title of the best Croatian product in 2022 for its delicious Kali balsamic fig vinegar.

Kraš’s Dorina and Argeta from the Atlantic Group portfolio might well have also it to the finals, but Kali balsamic fig vinegar took the prize home for this great achievemen, which is absolutely fantastic news for small domestic producers.

Kali Medveja pic 1a Facebook Kali Medveja

Kali Medveja – Return to Tradition deals with the production of food delicacies based on traditional recipes. “In David's fight with Goliath, Kali - Return to tradition with Kraš’s Dorina and Atlantic’s Argeta, we opened the door for all small producer families to turn their dreams into reality,” said Ante Bistre, Kali’s owner.

Kali Medveja pic 3 Facebook Ante Bistre

The golden basket for the best retailer in 2022 was won by Konzum and Studenac, the company Cromaris is the manufacturer of the year, and the best small retailer is Kredenca from Zagreb, the Ja Trgovac portal reported on Friday. The Golden Basket, an annual award for the best achievements in retail and the consumer goods industry, was awarded by the magazine and portal Ja Trgovac.

All categories of awards, as stated in the press release from the award ceremony, relate to achievements in the business year 2022. The winners were chosen by an expert jury made up of members from the market research agencies NIQ, GfK, Ipsos, Hendal, Focus and Valicon, the Deloitte consulting firm, the Zagreb Institute of Economics, the University of Zagreb Faculty of Economics, sector institutions (HGK, HUP, HOK), Croatia association for consumer protection, Trade Union of Croatia and Ja Trgovac magazine.

Kali Medveja Povratak tradiciji nagrade

 Photos: Kali Medveja & Golden Basket

For more, check out our Made in Croatia section.

Monday, 29 May 2023

Moj ZET App Finally Drags Zagreb Public Transport into 21st Century

May the 29th, 2023 - A big change has finally been brought in when it comes to the Zagreb public transport network, and the launch of the long awaited Moj ZET app (My ZET) has dragged the ticket purchasing process into the 21st century.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, have you recently noticed the stickers placed in Zagreb's public transport vehicles? The new QR codes on the doors of buses and trams didn't end up being stuck there by accident, and it was actually the sign that the official Moj ZET app was finally on its way to passengers who had until now had to purchase tickets either on board or at iNovine or Tisak kiosks. The new Moj ZET app was officially presented today.

It was tested out by Vecernji list journalists, and here's what passengers using public transport in the capital will be able to do with the Moj ZET app as of today.

To get started, the application must be downloaded for free from the Google Playstore (Android) or the App Store (iOS). For easier use of the application, it's necessary to enable the application to use the location. The location-based app offers tickets that can be purchased in the area where the traveller is currently located.

In order to receive warnings about the imminent expiration of an active ticket, the Moj ZET application must be enabled to send the phone notifications. In addition to that, the application is available in both Croatian and English. In addition to buying tickets, traffic notifications about traffic diversions, ongoing works, temporary issues and other changes can be checked in the application.

After downloading the Moj ZET app, and in order to buy an individual ticket for use in a ZET vehicle, you'll need to top up your eWallet funds with a top up of at least one euro, while the maximum amount you can have on your account at anyone one time is 50 euros.

The new Moj ZET application will display all available maps for the area you're in on the screen (so again, turn your location on!). Selecting the desired map starts the process of reading the QR code. If a controller wants to make sure you've purchased and hold a valid ticket at the time of your travel, go to the Maps menu, in the upper left corner, and select the controller icon. A QR code will be displayed on the screen, which the controller will then read and verify with his device.

For more, check out our news section.

Monday, 29 May 2023

Dunja Mazzocco Drvar: Climate Change May Turn Croatia into a Desert

May the 29th, 2023 - Could the territory of the Republic of Croatia and its immediate surroundings become an arid, hostile semi-desert in the future as a result of climate change? Dunja Mazzocco Drvar of the Directorate for Climate Activities at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development believes so.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Dunja Mazzocco Drvar, the director of the Directorate for Climate Activities at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, recently commented on what awaits the Republic of Croatia in the future when it comes to the ever-pressing threat of climate change.

"We're moving more and more quickly towards Croatia becoming a semi-arid, semi-desert area, because it's located in the Mediterranean which is an area that particularly feels climate changes when they occur, and generally much more strongly than the global average.

Droughts have already become a very big problem here. We have a situation in which 30 percent of our damages caused by climate and weather extremes are due to droughts, which shows that this is the form the weather disaster with which we already have the most problems.

Immediately after the drought comes the flood. This is what is the key when it comes to climate change, these strong extremes, we've had the opportunity to see what these floods can be like and we can now clearly see that we will have more and more problems with them going forward. After a year that's been extremely dry like last year, it isn't at all surprising that one like this will follow that is extremely rainy," explained Dunja Mazzoco Drvar for N1, referencing the droughts of 2022 and the terrible situation much of the country and nearby Italy has suffered recently owing to very high water levels and flooding.

She also commented on Croatia's climate ambitions and aims, and says that most of the work is currently being done on the adoption of new European Union legislation.

"We'll soon be done with that, now, one by one, these regulations are being passed, and then the next step will be the introduction of these new regulations into the new European climate package Fit for 55 into Croatian national legislation. This will then mean that not only laws and regulations must be passed, but that some kind of implementation mechanisms should also be set up, and we have a long way to go to achieve what we set out to do with the European Green Plan, to turn it into a real action, that is, to legislate it," she concluded.

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

Monday, 29 May 2023

Croatian Cinemas Record Increasing Number of Post-Pandemic Visitors

May the 29th, 2023 - Film lovers have begun returning to Croatian cinemas in gradually greater numbers in the post-pandemic period, but we're still nowhere near the numbers of cinema-goers we once saw before the coronavirus pandemic struck back at the beginning of 2020.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, for the second year in a row, people have gradually been returning to Croatian cinemas in greater numbers and more and more films are being watched, but those numbers still haven't reached the levels they were at before the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Croatian cinemas were of course closed due to epidemiological measures in force at the time which prohibited, among other things, the gathering of larger numbers of people indoors. According to the CBS data, compared to 2021, last year, the number of films shown increased by 9 percent, and the number of visitors to Croatian cinemas by 22 percent, while compared to the pre-pandemic results, the number of screenings almost reached the levels we saw back in 2019.

In accordance with the return of viewers to Croatian cinemas, income from ticket sales also increased by 25 percent. The biggest growth of all was recorded by concerts, plays and other alternative events, which increased by 138 percent compared to 2021, but they have the smallest share in the entire structure.

The number of Croatian cinemas has also increased, and the country is currently richer for three more than it was back in 2022. It's also interesting to note that the City of Zagreb isn't home to the largest number of Croatian cinemas. There are twice as many cinemas in Split-Dalmatia County, 16 of them in total, and 9 in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.

However, Zagreb still has the largest number of movie theatres with the largest number of visitors. Of the 189 cinemas across the Republic of Croatia, 52 of them are located in Zagreb, 34 are in Split-Dalmatia County, and 20 can be found in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, and the ratio of the number of films shown and viewers of them in those cinemas is similar. A total of 181.6 thousand films were shown last year, with 3,159 viewers, and of these, the most films shown (67.5 thousand) and viewers (1.4 million) were in Zagreb's cinemas. Four Croatian counties - Krapina-Zagorje, Koprivnica-Krizevci, Pozega-Slavonia and Brod-Posavina - all have at least one theatre hall each, with Krapina-Zagorje having the smallest number of films screened.

Most Croatian cinemas boast between 200 and 300 seats, and only one has more than two thousand in total. It's also worth noting that 508 people were employed in various Croatian cinemas, almost all of them on full-time contracts, and from the sale of tickets last year, Croatian cinemas earned a total of 111.2 million kuna gross, while alternative content brought them 1.7 million kuna kuna.

Back in pre-pandemic 2019, there was actually a record number of viewers recorded visiting Croatian cinemas, higher than in the previously record year of 1994, a total of 5.03 million of them, but as a result of the global public health crisis, that number fell to 1.5 million.

For more, check out our news section.

Sunday, 28 May 2023

Maksim Mrvica North American Tour Concluded in New York City

May the 28th, 2023 - The Maksim Mrvica North American tour concluded in New York City on Saturday. This was otherwise the first North American tour by the renowned Croatian classical crossover pianist who enjoys international recognition.

New Yorkers, including a lot of Croatian Americans and their friends, enjoyed an evening of unforgettable music as virtuoso pianist repeatedly caused stormy ovations from the cheering audience. New York concert took place in the United Palace, which is Manhattan’s 4th largest theatre featuring a distinctly unique fusion of decorative styles and symbolic motifs.

Pic 3 by Srecko Mavrek min min

Maksim, who has made a famous name and reputation over the last two decades with his curated collection of crossover performances, started his North American tour on May 17th in Vancouver, followed by concerts on May 19th in Toronto, May 23rd in Seattle, and May 25th in Chicago.

With a crossover show, 'The Collection' showcased the greatest hits of all time by Coldplay, John Legend, and Queen, themes from movies like Godfather, Pirates of the Caribbean, Game of Thrones, some classical masterpieces by Liszt and Chopin along with the biggest pieces from his previous ten albums like Flight of the Bumblebee, Exodus and many more. Maksim performed with his full band and brought to North American audience a dazzling, overwhelming performance.

Pic 1 by Srecko Mavrek min

After a pause of almost 3 years, he started the world tour ‘The Collection’, which began in Australia in September last year, followed by tours in Asia, Europe, and in North America. It’s been more than 20 years since he started to play crossover music. During these years he has recorded 10 studio albums and with this tour ‘The Collection’ he has chosen some of his most popular and famous pieces to perform together with the band, all around the world. When performing crossover shows, he uses the opportunity to play one or two pieces from his classical repertoire. For this tour, Maksim has chosen Liszt Ballade No.2.

Pic 2 by Srecko Mavrek min

Maksim was born in Šibenik, Croatia, and has received numerous accolades for his music, including an MTV Award and a double-platinum album. He is currently in the process of recording a new album. He has already recorded a new song and now work on choosing and recording some new pieces for his next album, which is expected to be released by the mid of 2024.


Sunday, 28 May 2023

Mate Rimac Reveals World's First Bugatti Residences Project

May 29, 2023 - Known for their unwavering and uncompromising commitment towards excellence, Bugatti and Binghatti – two visionary brands – have unveiled their first collaboration: Bugatti Residences, a ground-breaking real estate development in the heart of Dubai. The project was revealed at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai on May 24th, 2023 by Mate Rimac, CEO of Bugatti Rimac, and Muhammad BinGhatti, CEO of Binghatti.


Bugatti Residences by Binghatti – the first-ever Bugatti Residences in the world – is located in the prime area of the Business Bay in Dubai, states the official press release. The collaboration between the two revered brands aims to depict synergies that achieve unparalleled excellence. Drawing upon the rich and diverse creative heritage of both brands, the Bugatti and Binghatti collaboration project has at its nucleus a meticulously designed structure featuring a distinctive façade complemented by intricately designed interiors. With its serene undertones, the hyper-form will juxtapose the city’s bustling energy – a retreat in the heart of the metropolis.


The design of Bugatti Residences reflects the iconic brand elements and luxury design innovations of Bugatti, merging these values cohesively with Binghatti’s expertise in creating a phenomenal architectural masterpiece. Bugatti Residences will feature a collection of 171 Riviera Mansions and 11 Sky Mansion Penthouses, each of them being absolutely unique with bespoke curated layouts. The first Bugatti residence is also designed with peerless luxurious amenities, including a Riviera-inspired beach, private pool, jacuzzi spa, fitness club, chef’s table, private valet, private members club and two garage-to-penthouse car lifts. The residence also features a host of high-end and tailored services dedicated to its residents, including bespoke chauffeur and concierge services.


Unmatched craftsmanship and exquisite finishes that set a new standard for opulence will be at the heart of the living spaces curated for Bugatti Residences, ensuring that the “Art of Living” is reimagined for a contemporary defining era. Both penthouses and mansions offer spacious living areas adorned with the finest material selection the world has to offer. The Bugatti Residences carry a seamless blend of comfort, functionality and elegance that reflect Bugatti and Binghatti’s pre-eminence in design.


The two brands have integrated the distinctive flair of the French Riviera into every aspect of the development. Starting from the very moment of setting foot within the residences, a sense of exuberance takes hold, transporting residents to the inspiring region that has long captured the hearts of connoisseurs of refined living. In the same way that Bugatti has translated the beauty and sophistication of French luxury into the design of its hyper sports cars, Bugatti Residences brings the breeze and feel of the French Riviera into this private oasis. In its organically sculpted design, Bugatti Residences by Binghatti manifests the beauty of the Riviera’s spirit and flair.

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

Sunday, 28 May 2023

Inland Istria, Croatian Tourism's Greatest Success Story

May 28, 2023 - As the world talks of sustainable tourism, a quiet revolution in the olive groves, vineyards, and forests of inland Istria is showing how it is done. 

Back in 1998, in a forgotten tiny hillside village in northern Istria called Ipsi, close to the Slovenian border, local man Klaudio Ipsa made a decision which would start a revolution in tourism in the region.  A decision people laughed at, declaring him crazy. 

In this picturesque village of just 18 people, down from a previous 126 just a few years before, Ipsa decided to revive 100 olive trees, as well as plant another thousand and start producing high-quality extra virgin oil. 


(Ipsa oil and wine in Ipsi, where the Istrian Flos Olei journey began)

Back then, inland Istria was not well-known for tourism, the focus more on mass tourism on its coast, and many of the villages inland were somewhat abandoned, or at least severely depopulated. While many locals produced their own olive oil, it was not a region known for its quality extra virgin olive oil at all. 

Until a few years after the planting of those 1100 trees by Klaudio Ipsa. 

Fast forward five years, and the first harvest in 2003. Fast forward another two years to 2005, and the Ipsa extra virgin olive oil became the first in Istria to be included in the illustrious Flos Olei Guide, akin to a Michelin Guide for olive oil, and a publication which traditionally fawned over the quality of olive oil from the likes of neighbouring Italy. 


Other olive producers took note and - working with a team dedicated to raising the level of quality of Istrian quality in gastronomy - progress was swift. Only nine years after Ipsa's groundbreaking success, Istria was named as the best olive oil region in the world by the esteemed publication, with more than 10% of Istrian olive oil producers in the global top 500. An extraordinary achievement. In the latest, 2023 edition, there are 57 olive oil producers from Croatia in the world's top 500 - 56 of them from Istria, making up 11% of the global top 500. In third place is that man Klaudio Ipsa, with 98 points out of a hundred. 


(Scrambled egg and fresh truffles from the morning hunt with Miro Tartufi in Motovun)

Meanwhile, down the hill in Livade, just below the picturesque town of Motovun, and just a year after Ipsa planted those trees, inland Istria was about to cause waves on the global gourmet scene after another local, Giancarlo Zigante, went out with his dog one morning. 

His truffle-hunting dog, Diana. 

Truffles were a part of the Istrian scene but it was not a region recognised internationally for its truffles. Until Giancarlo came home on November 2, 1999, with what the Guinness Book of Records described as the world's biggest truffle, weighing an astonishing 1.31 kg. Istria's arrival on the global truffle map was assured, and the region has worked hard to develop truffle tourism - it is now one of the most recognisable brands of Istrian cuisine. 


(Roxanich Design Hotel, Restaurant and Winery, a quality addition to truffle-hunting territory in Motovun)

Four years before the truffle discovery, and immediately after the Homeland War, the first luxury tourism tour of Croatia from the USA was conducted by Wanda Radetti in 1995. Istria had its historic charm back then, she told me over dinner at Hotel Ambasador in Split recently, but the wine was terrible. It was a choice of red or white, and very little of it was memorable. 

About the same time - a year earlier in 1994 - Gianfranco Kozlovic, from a family wine-growing tradition dating back 200 years - decided that he wanted to focus on quality production. He was the first in Istria to introduce cold fermentation and the first harvests of commercial importance in 1994. Just three years later, at the Vinovita Fair in 1997, the Kozlovic Malvazija was named the best white wine in Croatia. The pioneer had delivered, others followed, and today the wines from the vineyards of inland Istria are much sought after. 

Olive oil, wine, truffles - three of the cornerstones of Istrian tourism today, and all three a mark of quality and excellence, and yet all three hardly featured less than thirty years ago. 


(San Canzian is one of the growing number of boutique hotels powering the luxury tourism revolution in inland Istria)

Full disclosure, I am an adopted Dalmatian

I have been to Istria many times on short trips over the last 20 years, but it is not a region I know as well as I should. Having bought a house and married on Hvar, I have Dalmatia in the blood - Paradise indeed. Perhaps it was through loyalty to Dalmatia, but for some reason I never really clicked with Istria, and I have been criticised over the years (rightly) for not featuring Istria enough on TCN. I decided to try and change all that and contacted the very proactive Istrian Tourist Board Director, Denis Ivosevic, to see if he was interested in helping me get to know his region a little better. 

He was. Not only that, but Denis put together an excellent 6-day programme for us (more of which you can see shortly on my YouTube channel, Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert), most of which completely opened my eyes to what I genuinely think is the greatest achievement in Croatian tourism - the transformation of inland Istria into perhaps Croatia's top luxury and gourmet region. A claim that would have been laughable in the mid-1990s, when Denis and his team started their mission to transform the region into a quality tourism destination moving away from mass tourism and focusing on the quality of the local produce, its nature, and its cultural heritage. 


(One vision, one valley - Kozlovic)

I hadn't realised that Istrian tourism before the war was essentially mass tourism on the coast, and that many of the inland villages were completely dead. Driving through those picturesque rolling hills last week, past winery after winery, boutique hotels, thriving family farms, it is hard to imagine that it was apparently one of the poorer regions of Croatia before the war. Take away the quality wine, award-winning olive oil, record-breaking truffles, those luxury boutique hotels, and inland Istria must have been a different proposition. 

Denis and his team worked hard to persuade local producers that Istria was too small to compete with quantity, and that its best chance was to focus on quality, quality, quality. He was there to encourage Ipsa to take those initial steps, as well as Kozlovic and all those who followed. By focusing on quality, education, and best practices elsewhere, slowly the project to transform inland Istria started to take shape. 


(One vision, one valley - Kabola)

I was not long into my Istrian journey last week before I realised one thing - inland Istria was a region of individual passion fitting into a collective strategy to really develop the region on so many levels. One family, one valley, one vision, I felt myself saying on more than one occasion. An individual project with few to no neighbours, a quality addition to the general picture. Individual gourmet excellence, all with a unique flavour and character. 


(One vision, one valley - Roxanich)

And for several places we visited, there seemed to be a pattern. It started out with making wine or oil, was followed by oil or wine, then a restaurant, then a place to stay. Education, education, education. Quality, quality, quality. 


(The San Servolo beer spa for two - a beer bath for one, a rose petal for the other - with draught San Servolo on tap)

It was a wonderful week, where I spent much of the time admiring views of spectacular vistas, glass in hand, marvelling at the individual host of the moment. The incredible success of the San Servolo beer factory come restaurant, spa (and I DO recommend the beer spa), hotel, restaurant, mobile home complex, with a trattoria to come.


(One vision, one valley - Clai)

The fabulous wineries and views of Kabola and Kozlovic, followed by the magnificent Roxanich in Motovun. Boutique hotels such as Roxanich, San Rocco, and the discovery of the trip - Clai. 


(The only property in the view from the Clai winery - Istria's most luxurious rental - a small part of the garden)

It started as a visit to yet another excellent winery, with its own stunning view over the valley. Another case of one vision, one valley.  But then we were taken to see the rest of the project, which included the most expensive villa in Istria at 49,000 euro a week (sleeps 20), and a quite extraordinary dinner at a restaurant whose name did not seem that promising - Stara Skola, or Old School, in Krasica, which is being run by famous Swiss-Canadian chef, Priske Thuring. 


I will cover the food in a separate article - one of the best meals I have had in Croatia - but the story of Stara Skola in many ways symbolises the regeneration of inland Istria for me. The school itself closed down 33 years ago, a not atypical event in the rural parts of Croatia at the time (or since). Falling into disrepair, the school was bought as part of the Clai project, Thuring persuaded to come on board, and the school then reopened as a fine dining restaurant with a zero waste policy, meaning that Thuring's menus are VERY creative and changing daily. With a commitment to buying local, many of the former pupils are once more returning to school more than 30 years later - this time to deliver fresh produce from their gardens to the restaurant kitchen. The janitor all those years ago is once more working at the school, tending the garden and other chores.  


(Bursic in Vodnjan - a family prsut experience)

The quiet revolution of quality, celebrating local, and excellent service is spreading nicely all over inland Istria, and it is extending to other areas too. I have tasted a lot of prsut in my time here, but I have never been to a prsut tasting place as Bursic in Vodnjan, which has outstanding facilities in addition to the excellent prsut, such as a well-equipped kids' play area. And if you are looking for a fabulous and (I think) unique prust product, don't miss the pancetta chips. 


(Pancetta chips from Bursic in Vodnjan - just try them)

The hotels and restaurants are all buying local, helping small producers to develop their businesses, while also promoting them. It is a region that seems to be working in perfect harmony, developing an eco-system, which is increasingly interlinked. And all the hotels were full in May. Not only that, but guests were not rushing to the Adriatic, as one might expect, rather luxuriating in the nature, peace and quiet, as well as the traditions and culture of the hilltop towns around. 

And then the statistic that truly blew my mind from Denis - and hark back to where inland Istria was in terms of development 30 years ago.

"The average room rate on the Istrian coast is 85 euro a night, and the average occupancy is 90 days. 

"The average room rate in inland Istria is 290 euro a night, and the average occupancy is 120 days."

An incredible 3.5 times higher spend, and 33% longer stays. And all from a standing start compared to coastal tourism which is very well developed. 


As I wandered through the delightful old town of Motovun, my guide pointed out a photo at a local restaurant of Anthony Bourdain, who had dined there on his famous No Reservations visit back in around 2011. It seemed somehow apt that he too had come to discover a region about which he knew nothing but left waxing lyrical. 

Inland Istria is a phenomenal experience and a showcase example on how to work with what you have to develop a destination. An example of how a coordinated vision and the passion of individual visionaries working in tandem can produce stunning results. 

As a Dalmatian boy, colour me impressed.  

(Paul Bradbury visited inland Istria in May, 2023, as a guest of the Istrian Tourist Board.)


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Sunday, 28 May 2023

Explosion in Rijeka, Bombers Arrested, More Bombs Found. Motive Revealed?

May 28, 2023 - An early morning explotion in Rijeka and seemingly a campaign against supermarket chain, reports Index.hr. Two bombers have been arrested.  

Early this morning around 00:30, there was an explosion in Rijeka, and the police arrested two bombers, who are connected to a series of explosive devices placed in the area of Rijeka, the last of which went off last night. Last night's explosion occurred near the Plodina administration building in the Tower Center in Rijeka's Pećine.

There were no injured persons in the explosion.

Immediately before the activation of the explosive device at the Tower Center, around midnight, police officers of the Primorsko-Goranska Police Department found a German and a Croatian citizen in front of the shopping center in the Kostrena area, who had left an explosive device there. The mentioned persons were arrested and taken to the police station, the police announced.

The suspects also had a third device, and everything is connected to the explosion on May 21 in the area of the Vežica shopping center in Rijeka, when the glass on the door of the Plodine shopping center was damaged due to the activation of an unknown explosive device.

The investigation of the aforementioned events is ongoing, as well as a criminal investigation in order to establish all the facts and circumstances, announced the Primorsko-Gorasnka Police.

The motive for the bombings is pressure on Plodine?
Last night too, two bombers placed explosive devices in front of Plodine buildings. As reported by Jutarnji list, investigators believe that the bombs were placed as some kind of pressure on that company.

They also state that Rijeka's criminal investigators have been suspecting precisely this variant for some time, and that the arrest of two men last night right after they set up an explosive device near Plodin in Kostrena was no accident, but rather some kind of police ambush. Before the arrest in Kostrena, let's remind you, the duo planted an explosive device near the Tower center, which exploded a little later.

Namely, after the first explosion on May 21 in front of Plodina on Vežica, the police made a plan for covert surveillance of Plodina shopping centers in Rijeka, and last night around midnight their surveillance bore fruit.

Bozinović spoke up
Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović also took to Twitter.

"I congratulate the police on their professional and effective work in discovering and arresting persons linked to a series of explosive devices placed in the area of Rijeka. Their commitment to work is a guarantor of the safety of citizens and the protection of public order and peace," he wrote on Twitter.

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