Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.
Fancy buying a place in the sun in Dubrovnik? Looking for an apartment with a difference? How about a chapel? This must be one of the strangest real estate deals in Dubrovnik for some time, an ancient stone chapel that has been converted into an apartment. The chapel, named Our Lady of Sorrows, is currently up for sale, and the price for this 25 metres squared unique apartment is 120,000 Euros. Meaning that the unusual apartment will cost you 4,800 Euros a metre squared. An online advert states that the Dubrovnik real estate is “a single-storey stone house with a 15 square metre garden.”
The chapel was originally constructed in 1710 and is located in the suburb of Lapad. According to a report by Dubrovacki Vjesnik the chapel was sold by the original family who owned it to a private individual who then converted it into an apartment.
The online ad for the chapel Our Lady of Sorrows chapel adds that it is a “Unique property, in the centre of Lapad, of historic significance, completely renovated following the guidelines and permission of the conservator.”
Looking for a rather unusual Dubrovnik address
The owner states that “A lot of effort and money has been invested and unfortunately due to illness I have to sell it.” And clearly the owner is willing to be constructive with the payment terms as the ad states that the Lapad chapel apartment can be exchanged for “A smaller studio or apartment (Zagreb or Dubrovnik) or a new car can be taken into account. All options are available only to serious and real buyers who know how to appreciate such a valuable unique property.”
It certainly is a unique real estate offer, and one that could quite easily find its way onto AirBnb or booking.com in the near future, if a buyer is found.
A total of 3.1 million kuna (€417,000) could be set aside from the state budget to compensate for campaign-related expenses of the top three candidates in the recent presidential election held in December and January - Zoran Milanovic, supported by the Social Democrats, incumbent Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, backed by the ruling centre-right HDZ party, and formally independent singer-turned-politician Miroslav Skoro.
Milanovic can expect a budget refund of some 1.2 million kuna (€161,000) for campaign costs in both rounds of the election, while Grabar-Kitarovic will get 1.08 million (€135,000). Skoro, who ended up third in the first round and did not qualify for the run-off, could receive a total of 827,000 (€111,000).
Provided that the national election commission clears the candidates' campaign financial records, the three candidates can expect a refund by mid March.
According to Croatian law, candidates who win at least 10 percent of the vote in the first round of the presidential election are eligible for state-funded compensation of campaign costs.
Dubrovnik has been placed on the most Instagrammable places in the world! During the summer months the social media channels are filled with glorious panaramas of Dubrovnik so it will probably come as no surprise that the pearl of the Adriatic has been placed on a list of the most Instagrammable places for 2020.
Global travel site Big 7 Travel has released the official list of the 'World’s Most Instagrammable Places 2020'. Dubrovnik came in at No.13! How did Big 7 Travel choose the winners? Via a comprehensive scoring system that analysed the amount of hashtags per destination, survey results of Big 7 Media’s 1.5 million audience, and votes cast by a panel of travel experts.
The top of the list was taken by Sydney, Australia, followed by Hong Kong and in third Dubai.
“With its winding streets, cliffside beach bars and UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Old Town, it’s no wonder Dubrovnik is such a popular spot. Looking down across the terracotta rooftop tiles that cover the city with the sea in the background is unbeatable. Plus, nearly the entire Croatian city of Dubrovnik was used as the setting for the King’s Landing filming location in Game of Thrones,” writes Big 7 travel on Dubrovnik.
TOP 10 MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE DESTINATIONS 2020:
New York City, USA
It is Veganuary and time to celebrate all things vegan. Croatia has just finished on a list of the top vegan friendly countries in the world, in a very healthy 30 position.
In the new year, hundreds of thousands of people take part in Veganuary. This is when, during the month of January, people try to convert to a vegan diet to test the waters, sometimes even make a complete change to their lifestyle. The idea is for people curious in the diet to try it out and decide whether it’s something they can continue to do throughout the year.
“During Veganuary, we have researched which countries around the world are the best for vegans based on factors such as number of vegan restaurants, popularity of veganism, and animal welfare. Ranking as the most vegan-friendly is Thailand with an incredible choice of 334 different vegan restaurants and generally a low meat, milk and egg consumption,” stated the Hotel Follower who carried out the rankings.
Croatia ranks as the 30th most vegan-friendly country. The other most vegan-friendly countries include: South Korea, Taiwan, Canada and Malaysia.
Croatia’s ranking could have been better if there were more vegan restaurants in the country. Generally, Croatians have been relatively slow to realise that a large proportion of tourists who visit every summer are vegan, and therefore looking for vegan restaurants. Out of a possible 10 points for restaurants in the country, Croatia only scored 4 points.
Pack your sleeping bag, stow away the gas cooker and hitch your trailer, as Croatia is a hot spot for campers this year. The newly released Worldwide Camping Index has revealed the best camping destinations in the world and Croatia is ranked in 18th position. According to the research carried out the best place to pitch your tent in the world is Canada.
The Index used various factors to determine the top spots for camping in 2020 including wildlife biodiversity, scenery, pollution, stargazing potential, adverse weather conditions, risk from dangerous wildlife and more.
“Coming out in the top spot as the best country for camping is Canada, which our research found to be the best camping destination in the world due to its high potential for stargazing, number of national parks, low pollution, low risk of natural disasters and beautiful scenery,” states the index published on Cool Camping. The second spot went to Finland and Brazil took the bronze medal.
Pitch your tent in Croatia this year - Photo Pexels
Croatia is a firm favourite from campers from all over the world, especially Germans and Austrians, and camps are located up and down the Adriatic coastline as well in the often undiscovered interior. With camp sites offering relatively good value for money they prove a cheaper alternative to hotels and private accommodation. This ranking will further boost the country’s camping industry ahead of another busy summer season. In fact, Croatia’s camps have recently been awarded by one of the leading German camping organisations.
Croatia was in joint 18th position along with Germany, Kenya, Switzerland, South Africa, Columbia and Ecuador. Whilst Sweden, Spain, Australia, Norway and the USA all finished in the top ten.
Croatia ranked higher than some well-known camping destinations, such as the UK in 53rd position, Italy in 25th spot and Greece in 29th place.
Check out our guide to camping in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik has been crying out for a multi-purpose sports hall and congress centre for years and now thanks to the sport of handball it could well get one. The sporting, musical and conference opportunities that a multi-purpose hall could offer would also help attract events throughout the summer months. And Dubrovnik could well be one of the host cities for the 2025 Handball Championships, meaning a new sports centre would be required.
Croatia, along with Norway and Denmark, have presented their bids for candidates to host the 2025 Handball Championships, and the Croatian National Handball Federation has announced that one of the host cities could be Dubrovnik. The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, has welcomed the news and announced that the city will be a great host for the elite of the handball world. But the city can’t host such a prestigious sporting event without a representative venue, such a venue doesn’t exist in Dubrovnik. The Mayor of Dubrovnik has an answer “When we received the offer to be one of the host cities for the World Handball Championship, we answered that we were ready to build a new sports hall,” he commented.
Adding that “We have enough time until 2025 as all the preconditions for its construction in the spatial planning documentation already exist.”
The existing sports centre in Dubrovnik, which is in serious need of redevelopment, will be invested into this year after funds from the European Union were secured. However the Mayor has announced that a new hall will be built with a capacity for 5,000 spectators and that it will be multi-functional, meaning apart from sporting events, large congresses and concerts will also be able to be held.
The price tag for such a development is still unknown however the Mayor is confident that the Croatian Government would assist in financing such a project.
As the tourist season ended so the rate of unemployment across Croatia grew. Latest figures show that at the end of December 2019 the unemployment rate in Croatia was 7.9 percent, up from November when it was 7.7 percent.
The tourist season always greatly lowers the unemployment rate as a large percentage of people find jobs along the coastline in hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and shops. The vast majority of these people are employed on a temporary basis, usually on a six-month contract, and therefore as the season ends they are left without a job.
At the end of December 131,753 people in Croatia were unemployed, whilst 1,540,084 people were employed.
According to the Croatian Motor Vehicle Centre, 64,349 new cars were registered in Croatia for the first time in 2019, an increase of 4.2 percent compared to 2018, and 84,913 or seven percent more used cars were registered.
38,487, or 60 percent of the total, were registered for new petrol cars. The number of new petrol registrations increased by 16.9 percent compared to 2018, and the number of new diesels fell by 13.9 percent to 23,515 units.
The number of new electric cars and hybrids also increased - in 2018, 144 electric vehicles were registered, while in 2019 the number increased to 198 and the number of hybrids increased from 781 to 1,560.
Data from the Croatian Vehicle Centre show that the most popular car brand in Croatia is Volkswagen, which also leads new and used passenger cars at the first registration, followed by Renault.