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.
Night of the museum is again coming to Croatia and no it’s not the Ben Stiller Hollywood movie. For the eleventh time the night of the museums in Croatia will be held on the 29th of January.
On the 29th of January museums all across Croatia will open their doors for free for visitors. Back in 2005, in only one city and including just six museums, the event was born when the Croatian Museum Association came up with the concept to attract more people to their museums. The “Night at the Museum” is traditionally held on the last Friday of January and has now grown to include 100 Croatian cities and 210 museums, including museums and galleries in Dubrovnik.
In 2005 around 10,000 visitors attended this night of culture and last year this number had grown to 360,000.
During the night of museums 2016 museums throughout the country will be open from 18:00 hours to 01:00 hour after midnight. In Dubrovnik six institutions are included in the night of the museums, including the Home of Marin Drzic, the Archaeological Museum and the Natural History Museum.
The most popular budget airline in the world, Ryanair, will fly more frequently to Croatia this year. The Irish airline has announced that they will step up their operations between Stansted Airport and Osijek in eastern Croatia. Until now the airline had only operated summer flights but this service will be upgraded to a year round service, meaning that this region of Croatia will have its first winter connection to London.
Not only is Osijek the first city in eastern Croatian to have winter connections to London but it also become the first airport in Croatia to be served by Ryanair on a year round basis. According to the specialised website EX-YU Aviation the budget airline is also considering introducing flights from Dublin to Osijek.
Osijek Airport handled around 30,000 passengers in 2015, which was an increase of 7 percent when compared with 2014.
If you are looking for the perfect honeymoon destination for 2016 then look no further than Croatia. The American fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar has featured Croatia as the third most romantic place to spend your honeymoon, in their list “the New Places to Honeymoon in 2016.”
- Beyoncé and Jay-Z travelled here before it was cool, and we know why: it's by far one of the most romantic destinations out there – opens the article in Harper's Bazaar about Croatia. Adding that - July and August are high-season on the Adriatic Coast, but extending your dates to sometime between June-September will allow you to experience the country when it's less crowded and temperatures are milder.
The top of the list was the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, followed by Lagos in Portugal and Australia, Israel and Canada also featured on the list.
Croatia is ranked in 46th position in a list of the best countries to do business in. The Forbes annual worldwide ranking of the best countries to run a business in last year and out of the 144 countries Croatia was positioned in 46th place.
Every year Forbes magazine produces their list “The Best Countries For Business” and last year European countries dominated. Denmark was ranked, once again, as the most competitive country and of the top 25 two-thirds were European countries. The list is complied by measuring many factors including property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance.
Croatia ranked very well in the investor protection section, at 29th in the world, whilst in the innovation section came in at a disastrous 91st place. “Zagreb has cut spending since 2012, and the government also raised additional revenues through more stringent tax collection and by raising the Value Added Tax. The government has also sought to accelerate privatization of non-strategic assets, with mixed success,” writes Forbes on the situation in Croatia.
Looking to save time and money whilst visiting Dubrovnik, the answer is simple; get your hands on a Dubrovnik City Card. Following the example of other tourist destinations around the world the city of Dubrovnik has its own “City Card”. Other major tourist destinations on the Mediterranean such as Venice and Barcelona have had a city card for a few years and with the card Dubrovnik has added another interesting offer for guests to the city. With this card tourists are able to receive various discounts throughout the city.
The Dubrovnik City Card offers tourists to the city a host of options including discounts and free entry to sights in the city. The card is available for sale at all the Dubrovnik Tourist Board offices as well as most of the hotels, travel agencies and attractions. In total the card is available at 47 different outlets throughout Dubrovnik. There is a choice of one day, three day and a weekly card. The one-day card costs 170 Kunas, the three-day card is 250 Kuna and the seven day card 350 Kuna. Holders of the card will receive free entrance to eight cultural institutions including the Dubrovnik City Walls, the Marine and Natural History Museum, the Home of Marin Držić, the Rector's Palace and the Museum Rupe. But that’s not all!
The daily card, one-day card, also offers guests 24 hour use of the public transport system in Dubrovnik whilst holders of the three-day card can use the buses ten times and the seven-day card are allowed to use the buses twenty times for free. For tourists to the city it is extremely practical because it saves both time and money when visiting the city sights and travelling around the city.
Just do the maths – entrance onto the Dubrovnik City Walls is 100 Kunas (this may soon rise to 120), entrance into a museum is around 80 Kunas, a bus ticket is 15 Kunas. This means that if you catch the bus into the Old City, visit the walls and two museums and catch the bus back to your accommodation you be spending 290 Kunas. Buy a one-day Dubrovnik City Card and you’ll spend 170 Kunas...almost half the price...makes sense.
The card has already received praise from tourists visiting the city with one Austrian tourist commenting “great, this is a positive step and a perfect idea.” And another tourist from the UK commented “the card, especially the seven day card, seems to make good monetary sense, just twenty bus tickets totals 300 Kunas.” Also restaurants, cafés and souvenir shops offer special discounts for card holders.
If you want to save even more money, and who doesn’t, you can purchase the Dubrovnik City Card online at their website where each card is even cheaper, 10 percent cheaper.
It has already turned heads...what’s that up there...is it a bird, is it a plane, no it’s a hot-air balloon. Artist Miron Milic has created a huge painting on the facade of the building of the Port of Dubrovnik, and no it isn’t illegal graffiti, as part of the promotion of Dubrovnik as a candidate city for the European Capital of Culture for 2020.
Milic is famous for his street art and his latest creation on the side of the Port of Dubrovnik building is sure to catch the attention of passersby. With a little help from the Dubrovnik fire-brigade Milic spent most of the day painting the hot-air balloon.
Get yourselves down to the port and see the giant balloon and at first hand.
Photos - Zeljko Tutnjevic
I will never complain again, not that I complained much in the first place to be honest. I once read somewhere; I can’t remember where, that Croatia has a 98 percent of mobile phone coverage. It actually proudly read that not only the land area but also the mobile phone signal covered the territorial sea area as well. That must be for all those fishermen who need to update their Facebook status.
England, well at least the south-west of England, on the other hand has 98 percent of black holes, with only 2 percent coverage. I am back in the UK again, straight after my Christmas break, due to a family problem and this time I really, really need to be connected at all times. I am pulling my hair out with frustration.
“How the hell do people get anything done here?” I screamed at my sister. “I am sure there is a better signal in the middle of Timbuktu than in the south of England,” I angrily concluded. My parent’s house has almost no signal, some people might like that but I am so used to being connected 24 hours a day that it is frustrating.
This is how I managed to be hanging my arm out of an upstairs window, “pointing towards the hill to the south,” waiting, no hoping, to get one bar on the signal indicator. At first I thought it was because I was bringing a Croatian mobile and that it wasn’t compatible with the UK signal. Maybe my mobile was driving on the right side of the road and the signal was on the left hand side of the road. Or maybe my mobile is in metric and the signal is imperial, or kilometres against miles. But no, my continental European phone was not the problem; I was not the exception to the rule, far from it.
“Have you got a signal yet,” my mother shouted up the stairs. All I had was “no service.” In what is supposed to be one of the most developed countries in the world the level of communications is shocking, terribly shocking. “I think I’ve got one bar...is EE a provider?” I replied. It turned out that yes EE was a mobile provider and I was back connected to the world, at least for the duration of my two-minute phone call.
And, I guess they go hand in hand, the internet service is virtually dead. No not virtually, it is stone, cold dead and buried and rotting in a grave. 3G is a dream of the future. If it ever sprung to your mind to moan about mobile and internet coverage in Croatia then stop yourself, it would be a mistake. We even have really high-speed public internet Wi-Fi compared to the rest of Europe. A recent survey puts Croatia in second place with the speed of public Wi-Fi, second only to Lithuania. The UK would be well down on this list, somewhere below Albania, at least in my experience.
So in these times that I need to be in touch with the rest of my family I am left on the edge of my nerves. You literally drive along the road and the signal comes and goes like waves on a beach. “Can you call your sister,” asked my mother. This might sound hard to believe but I drove down the road like a snail, waving other cars past me, with the mobile phone that was in my outreached hand as I searched for a signal.
Mobile phone signals in the south-west of England is the Holy Grail. Of course the reason that people are left in the dark is because of a lack of phone masts. It is a chicken and an egg situation. Everyone complains at the communication black hole but nobody wants a mast in their back garden. Companies have tried everything to appease the general public, even disguise the masts as trees, but pretty soon an eco-action group will be pulling down the mast, sometimes literally pulling them down. Fear of radiation making them glow in the dark had meant that most of the south-west of England is desperately sucking onto three masts, well maybe more but it seems like three.
In London you are lucky if you can find one of those old red telephone boxes anywhere. Whilst down south they are all over the place, and I can see why. “I guess your bills are cheap here?” I asked my sister, “for the amount of time I am online they should be paying me.” I can’t wait until the signal on the top left of my iPhone reads Welcome to Croatia! What I am also saying, if you have failed to read between the lines, is that sorry if you have been trying to phone me over the last week. I am lost in the land of no service.
The Imperial Russian Ballet will perform Swan Lake in Dubrovnik on the 9th of February. After the massive success of the Nutcracker ballet which was also performed by this leading Russian troupe it is expected that tickets for this event will be at a premium.
The performance of Swan Lake will be held in the Dubrovnik Sports Centre at 7.30pm on the 9th of February. Tickets are already available online here.