Friday, 13 December 2019

If you have been caught in Dubrovnik when numerous cruise ships arrive and thousands of passengers block the streets of the city this latest statistic might confuse you.

According to the latest data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS), the number of cruise ships on the Adriatic in July was 7.5 percent less than in the same month last year.

The DZS recorded 99 cruises in July and 335 in the first seven months of this year or 15.2 percent less, whilst the number of cruise passengers who came to Croatia was also less compared to the same period from last year (-13,1% or 467,000 passengers).

In the same period, cruise ships sojourned shorter on the Adriatic (737 days) or 20 percent less than last year.

The majority of foreign vessels on cruises in Croatia were under the flag of Bahamas (81), Malta (79), whilst cruise ships under the flags of other countries accounted for less than 50 percent.

In the period from January to July 2017, the most visited Croatian port was Dubrovnik with 267 recorded cruise ship visits followed by Split (107) and Korcula (69).

Observed by months, the data show that only February this year recorded 14.3 percent more cruise ships in comparison to the same month last year with only eight cruises, January recorded the same number of cruises as last year (4), whilst all other months registered less cruises in comparison to last year, which has not happened in recent years.

The biggest decline in the number of cruises this year was registered in May, which is traditionally the most crowded month of the year as far as cruise ships are concerned, with only 77 cruises or 24 percent less than last May.

Some analysts, who monitor passenger and general traffic in seaports, believe that this year’s drop in cruise ships arrivals in Croatia is partly related to Venice’s decision on limiting the number of visitors to the Italian city, in other words a domino effect. Earlier this year foreign media reported that this decision could affect the limitation of the number of cruise ships visiting Venice as well as lead to a smaller number of cruise ships on the whole Adriatic, including Croatia and Montenegro.

A touch of magic arrived in Dubrovnik yesterday as Rupert Grint, famous for his role as Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films, arrived in Dubrovnik for a quick vacation.

The English actor was spotted in a number of cafe and restaurants in the city as well as a popular cafe bar in Orebic. He seemed to be more than happy to pose with fans and sign autographs and looked like he was enjoying his time in the city.

Rupert Grint dubrovnik

Every week The Dubrovnik Times goes to new levels for your pleasure. This time it’s all about culinary pleasure. We have scoured the menus of Dubrovnik to bring you our favourites. And not only did we just research the menus we have gone that extra step and tasted the food in advance for you...its hard work but someone has to do it. This week I visited a new star on the Dubrovnik gastronomic scene – Steak House Župaho.

zupaho dubrovnik steakhouse

 “How would you rate that restaurant from one to ten,” I asked my dining companion. She puffed out her cheeks and answered without thinking “eleven.” Even though this restaurant is pretty much on my doorstep I haven’t really explored the menu as I should have. Isn’t it always the way when something is so close we will always find an excuse to go another day. Now I have been I can honestly say that Župaho is an absolute star. “I didn’t really expect this kind of menu,” I chatted with the waiter. It is madly creative, with influences from South America, Asia and beyond. It is just bursting with exotic and yet beautifully simple dishes. Empanadas, shrimp rolls, sogan dolma with veal...and those are just an example of the starters.

zupaho sauces


I have always thought that the key to good cuisine is passion. And the owner and head chef of Župaho has passion squared. The way that she pours and purrs over each item on the menu shows the love that she has towards serving the perfect meal. This is highlighted by the fact that around 80 percent of the guests are locals – remember that saying eat where the locals eat. To be categorised as a steak house the menu must contain 80 percent meat.

zupaho dubrovnik 2


How does this selection sound – Adobo duck, Kalbi beef, pork ribs in black treacle, lamb skewers marinated in whey, garlic and mint...I am getting peckish just thinking about the menu again. And the sauces, well this must be the most creative lists of sauces in Dubrovnik. “Our Mole Poblano sauce has 25 ingredients,” explained the owner as if she was talking about a loved one. This is her baby and she can be well proud of it. For dessert try the stout and whiskey cream brownies, heaven. Try Župaho today, tomorrow, this weekend it doesn’t matter when but DO try it.

Smokovijenac 61, 20207, Župa Dubrovačka
Phone: +385 20 688 936
Open from 8.00am to 11.00pm


A new mini film festival is in town! But for a change, not in Dubrovnik. “Unseen” will be held in Cavtat, around 15 kilometres away from Dubrovnik from September 27th until October 1st. The five day programme has a lot to offer.

You can see the full programme here. (

-Faced with the fact that Cavtat lives in the shadow of Dubrovnik as the cultural centre and with its lack of space dedicated to film projections, we have decided to challenge this status quo by opening the awareness of general public to audio-visual content, awarding space to national and regional authors and supporting artistic authorship as part of this project – it’s explained on the official page of this festival.

There will be Croatian, international film projections, as well as concerts. Also, at the end of every day there will be a workshop or open discussion for all that are interested – whether they are visitors of the festival or just people passing by.

-We wish to encourage discourse and reflection on: artistic and social potential of public spaces, relationship between marginal areas and centres, issues pertaining to authorship of young artists and research in artistic creation within new media – organizers conclude.

This is a great new content outside the city walls that is well worth a visit.

Whilst Croatia might have 98 percent mobile phone coverage making it one of the leaders in Europe it seems that the country is lagging behind in terms of internet connection. According to the British Approvals Service for Cables, Croatia hits the bottom when it comes to internet speed.

Among more than 40 countries around the world, Croatia has the slowest internet speed, whilst Singapore has the fastest internet of 50 megabits per second. The Southeast Asian country is followed by Sweden, Taiwan and Denmark with the average internet speed faster than 30 megabits per second.

As far as the average internet speed in Croatia is concerned, it is barely 13 megabits per second. The European Union, in its digital agenda, requires that every European in the Union have access to 30 Mbps connectivity by 2020, and half of the households a subscription at 100 Mbps.

It was the one and only Groucho Marx who said “I'm leaving because the weather is too good. I hate London when it's not raining.”

Apart from being asked “do you really all drink tea at five o’clock” or “can you explain the rules of cricket” and “is it true that all you English are unfriendly” the next question I always get asked is “does it always rain in London.” The answers to the first three are – yes, no chance and not really. The answer to the fourth one was a little harder.

Whether it’s the power of the media or the press, I don’t know, but London has this image of rain, constant rain. My mother-in-law still thinks that we have smog in the middle of London. But that's probably down to the amount of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie films she watches. For what is a good English drama without a murderer leaping from a foggy side street onto his next victim.

Also the wet weather seems to hate tennis! I can’t really remember a Wimbledon tournament without a few drops of the wet stuff. I mean why do you think they built a roof on the centre court, it certainly wasn’t to keep the sun out!

Although the one thing that you won’t see is many people cowering under an umbrella, at least the local Londoners. The same as you don’t see a local in Dubrovnik wearing rubber sandals on the get acclimatised to the pebbles and we to the rain. So yes, if you were to ask someone, well to be honest anyone, you’d get the reply that it rains more in London than Dubrovnik...I also wouldn’t argue with that.

However it seems that you’d be wrong, believe it or not. If anyone knows the weather in Dubrovnik then it’s the guys at Dubrovnik Storm Chasers. I had the fortune to interview them once and anyone who literally chases storms, as their name suggests, is either mad or loves what they are doing. So imagine my surprise when I read the headline “There is more rain in Dubrovnik on an annual basis than in London.” Were my eyes deceiving me! I read on...Dubrovnik is synonymous with sunny weather…London is synonymous with rain…tourists love the weather…London is a gloomy city. OK, there’s nothing new there, nothing we didn’t already know. And then a fact caught my eye, can that be true, listen if the Storm Chasers say it’s true then who am I to doubt them. This fact read, the annual rainfall in Dubrovnik is just over 1200mm whilst the average rainfall in London is a little under 600mm. Happy days! All those years of suffering the mocking and joking from friends and relatives in Dubrovnik that it rains every day in my hometown and in reality the opposite is the case.

Not only is the opposite true but there is twice as much rain here every year than in London. So if you are looking for a break from the Dubrovnik rain might I suggest a long weekend in dry London? If the constant patter of raindrops on your window here is getting you down, if trying to avoid the puddles or carrying an umbrella has so pulling your hair out in frustration then, again, may I suggest a short holiday in the capital of England to cheer you up.

Let’s be honest compared to Dubrovnik my hometown is like a desert. Oh, and if you are thinking of going to London you can leave your Dubrovnik umbrellas behind, you’ll just need a bottle of water to keep you hydrated and some sun cream and you’re ready. I read more of the article...maybe I should have stopped when I was leading. It continued...rain is rarer in Dubrovnik than in London but it is heavier in Dubrovnik. Ah, that’s not such good news.

What they were basically saying is that London has rain long and slow and in Dubrovnik it’s short and explosive. I read on, London has 1500 hours of sunshine a year while Dubrovnik has 2500 hours annually. Ah, whoops, so when I said you need sun cream in London I was exaggerating a little. A thousand hours of sunshine a year is quite a difference. The article concluded...Dubrovnik is sunnier and has more rain than London every year. A little confusing, however I can still use this to my advantage.

The statistics can be slightly bent to be on my side. “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital,” said the famous professor Aaron Levenstein. I’ll just use the part of the statistics that suit me...and that is there is twice as much rain in Dubrovnik than London every year, full stop. When I meet tourists from the UK moaning about the weather back home I’ll remind them of this fact. And when I’m teased by a local about “rainy England” I’ll again pull this fact from my sleeve.

The History Channel has released a new teaser trailer video for Knightfall and it shows scenes filmed in Dubrovnik. The new official trailer for the upcoming series on History was published yesterday and already has almost 400,000 views on YouTube.

Knightfall was partly filmed in Dubrovnik in the summer of 2016 and follows the fall, persecution and burnings at the stake of the members of the ancient order of the Templars.

knighfall 2

The bay of Pile directly in front of the Old City walls of Dubrovnik was chosen as a location for an all-action scene with Templar Knights fighting and escaping on waiting ships.

After the success of Vikings this latest historical romp looks like being another winner for the History Channel.

According to the latest information, one of the best Croatian tourist companies has signed a lucrative agreement with the world’s number one in the tourism business.

The Croatian tourist company Valamar Riviera from Porec signed an agreement with the tour operator TUI UK on providing hospitality services estimated at an annual value of 80.3 million Kunas (around 10.6 million Euros) for 2018.

The business cooperation with the leading tour operator on the European emissive market, ensured part of Valamar’s hotel capacity, in the high season of 2018 as well as in the pre-season and off-season period next year.

Valamar Riviera is the leading tourist company in Croatia and can accommodate around 55,000 guests per day at its 30 hotels and resorts as well as at 15 camping resorts along the Adriatic coast – in Istria, on the islands of Krk and Rab, and in Dubrovnik.

The company accounts for 12 percent of the total categorized accommodation in Croatia and is among the top five employers in Croatia.

Dutch low-cost airline Transavia announced its new line Dubrovnik - Rotterdam / Hague in its summer flight schedule for 2018 – writes Avioradar.

The line will start flying from April 5th next year with 3 flights per week, off-season on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, while in the heart of the season, during July and August, it will fly on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Flights are planned until the end of the summer schedule, October 28th.

At the same time in the summer of 2018, Transavia will boost its weekly line Pula - Rotterdam / Hague, which started this year. There are four flights per week every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from April 28th to October 9th 2018.

The third Croatian Transavia line Split - Rotterdam / Hague will fly every day, same as this year.

Imagine your Dubrovnik tour starting at sunset, with your guide waiting for you with lantern in a long, black hooded dress. Marija Milovac became a Dubrovnik attraction when she started her Haunted Dubrovnik tours. Mysterious stories, secrets, legends - Dubrovnik history is full of them and they are just waiting to be discovered. You just need to be brave – some of them might scare you!

How did you get the idea for Haunted Dubrovnik?

I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. I’ve been a tourist guide for 5 years now and for the last three years I’ve been thinking about it more intensely – how it can be done, as well as many other things. I’ve been reading a lot - books, blogs... And finally decided to do it!

Were you scared about making something completely new?

Sure, I was really afraid. I knew that this was a big risk, but I told myself that I just have to try it and see what happens. I am a ‘’normal’’ tourist guide, I do regular and Game of Thrones tours too, so in the worst case scenario I would continue doing that – which is not that bad either.

So you like being a tourist guide?
I love it! I just love this city and I have really found myself in this job. I can work with any type of guests and I enjoy doing what I do.

Did the amount of interest for your new tour surprise you?

Yes. You always hope for the best, but it still was a great surprise. Now it’s starting to be ‘’a real thing’’. People are booking tours, I have many inquires, so it’s really great.

What do you offer to tourists?

A mix of stories! Ghosts, legends of our city, some darker stories, such as executions in the time of Dubrovnik Republic, Lokrum legends, folklore stories... Mostly mysterious themes and topics.


What types of guests are interested in your tours?

It’s hard to tell. There are people from various age groups and styles of life. Once I even had children on my tour! Honestly, I was a bit worried about them coping with some topics. But their parents told me that I can talk about anything. That tour went surprisingly well, since children can sometimes be more demanding, as they easily get bored and roll their eyes, which makes me nervous to begin with. But they were really interested and enjoyed it! That made me realise that the tour is really good.

You have a special costume for the tour? How did you think of that?

I wanted it to match the tour. I wear a long black hooded dress and have a lantern to light the way for my guests. It creates a mystical atmosphere.

Do people around react since you must be an unusual sight?

Well, yes. Since I start my tour at Boninovo, a place famous for people committing suicide by jumping to the sea, I had one funny situation. I was waiting for my guests couple of nights in a row and one local gentleman saw me there every day. One night he stopped and asked me if I was fine, he was really worried.
Sometimes people look at me like I’m some sort of weirdo, but now they heard for my tours so they usually congratulate me and tell me that they love the idea.

How did your colleagues react?

They mostly said that this is a great idea. Some of them went on my tour and loved it and told me that they will recommend it to their friends and guests.

Did you have some interesting guests?

Yes, of course. I usually ask them some questions and discover things about them. One night I was taking one couple from Scotland on the tour, they wanted it to be private. I was telling them about masons in Dubrovnik and after few stops he admitted that he’s a member of masonry lodge in Scotland. Since I am telling a story about one mason from Dubrovnik that told all the secrets from the lodge, he said that the punishment would be ripping his heart from his chest. A bit scary! But I love to hear some new, interesting stories, so I have fun on my tours too.


Where do you find your stories?

Mostly from Dubrovnik authors, like Tereza Buconic Govic, Marko Margaritoni and other less famous authors. But let’s keep it a secret!

Which locations do you visit during your tour?

The first part of the tour is at Boninovo, over the graveyard, in front of Palace Skocibuha, old hospital, park Gradac, Pile and I end the tour in front of the Klarisa monastery.

Your tour is practically for everybody?

Yes and it’s much more bearable than for example the City Walls, where they need to climb a lot of steps. It’s important that people are curious and want to discover new, unusual things.

Do you have some future plans?

Of course, I have one great colleague and friend, with whom I have some excellent plans for next year. We are planning to start a new tour, also not typical for Dubrovnik and we hope that it will be successful. We’ll see what happens!

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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