Saturday, 25 September 2021
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

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.


Banje Beach was rocking this afternoon as the sun washed over the Adriatic Sea. With temperatures pushing into the mid twenties and endless blue skies tourists and locals cooled off in the waves. The whole weekend in Dubrovnik was warm and sunny, the summer season has really started with a bang.

The Banje Beach is one of the most iconic beaches in Dubrovnik with views over the historic Old City of Dubrovnik as well as the island of Lokrum.

Check out of Banje Beach photo gallery.

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Tag your holiday snaps with #MyKindOfCroatia and have the chance to win an 8-day cruise along the Croatian Adriatic. The Dubrovnik travel operator, Gulliver Travel, is currently running a photo competition through their social media channels, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and is offering a cruise as the top prize.

The competition began on the 1st of May but you still have a chance of snapping up the star prize as the photo contest runs until the 20th of July. And you can enter multiple times, making your odds of winning even better.

And if you don’t win the cruise you can still pick up some valuable prizes, as Gulliver Travel stated “Our panel will choose a winner among the top 10 liked photos. The main prize is an 8-day cruise Pearls of the South Adriatic, second is one day rental of Yamaha Midnight Star motorcycle, and the third is a one-day excursion for two.”

Follow this link for more info on how to win a cruise this summer with Gulliver Travel, and don’t forget the hashtag #MyKindOfCroatia

“We have a new project and was wondering if you could help us?” came the Scottish accent down the phone line. “I will try my best, what is it?” I replied. “We are making a special application for the travel company Expedia about Dubrovnik, it’s called Hidden Dubrovnik and we need to find at least ten hidden secrets for tourists in the city,” he answered. Two things immediately flashed through my mind, a) this man has never been to Dubrovnik and b) I hope he doesn’t mean only the Old City.

It turned out that I was right on the first point and right on the second point. This was going to be a battle.

I knew that my Scottish friend had never been to Dubrovnik before; if he had he wouldn’t have assumed that there are ten hidden places inside the Old City Walls. I had to add “You do realise that over 2 million people visit Dubrovnik every year and that almost every single centimetre has been photographed by tourists, as well as the pages of foreign newspapers.”

But I have never been one to turn down a challenge. As the famous English entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson once said, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” Well it wasn’t exactly an amazing opportunity, at least not what Sir Richard would call amazing, but it was an opportunity to promote Dubrovnik, how could I say no. Now I would have to rack my brain a little.

The mission was to find ten hidden places inside, or very near, the Old City Walls. Now the word hidden could have lots of meanings. It could be physically hidden, yes but that one was going to be tough. It could be hidden in terms of being just difficult to get to...hmmm that one is close to being physically hidden. OK, this was going to be a challenge. I could have put Pero’s toilet on the list, that was hidden, but I am guessing that potential tourists wouldn’t want to read about that. Hidden yet interesting, if they were interesting they wouldn’t be hidden!

I got onto social media for some suggestions but was met with a wall of silence or places so unhidden that they had neon signs that could be seen from Mars. So I walked, I walked around the city, street to street, corner to corner. OK, I admit that I had few ideas in my head before I set off, but they were very flexible.

A couple of days later and the UK journalists arrived in Dubrovnik ready for me to uncover Dubrovnik for them. Just as my Scottish friend they had never been to Dubrovnik before, the challenge was getting harder. But armed with a camera, a video camera and a Dictaphone we set off for the Old City. I had found some new sights and some old more familiar ones. It was a little like what a bride should wear on her big day, I had something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. I also didn’t want to give away too many Dubrovnik secrets. You know those special tucked away places that we all know about but are reluctant to tell anyone about in fear that they’ll lose that special exclusive feeling.

“We will make ten such hidden guides of cities in Europe and Dubrovnik is the first,” said the reporter. I am guessing that they were working on an alphabetical order and they weren’t doing Athens, Berlin or Cannes. I could be wrong. And so the journey began and within a day and a half we had covered most of the stones in the city. They seemed pleased with my choices; I even managed to find a few on the way which added to the list. I had to be creative but it had worked, hidden Dubrovnik was completed.

One thing I must say publically is that in every, and I mean every, place that we went we were greeted with open arms. The hospitality we met was unparalleled. These places might have been “hidden” but the friendliness we all received was far from being hidden. And I am guessing that after this list comes out in front of millions of people around the world that these places will not remain off the radar. “I have been to Venice before and was expecting a similar destination but I must say that Dubrovnik has a really special vibe about it,” commented the seasoned travel writer in front of me. “Do you think the people who live here know what they have?” she asked.

If you were wondering what made it onto my list you’ll have to wait for Expedia to announce it. As the great author Roald Dahl once wrote, “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.”

The summer has finally arrived in Dubrovnik after a wet and windy start to May. Today the temperatures in the city pushed into the mid twenties, with 25 degrees recorded in Dubrovnik and 26 degrees in Cavtat.

If you were thinking of cooling off a little in the Adriatic Sea then you might be in for a shock, whereas the temperature of the sea would normally be around 22 degrees at this time of year today in Dubrovnik the temperature was measured at 19 degrees.

The forecast for Sunday is for warmer weather and sunshine with temperatures expected to reach 26 degrees in Dubrovnik. However Monday could see some unsettled weather with even the odd shower throughout the day.

After several weeks of speculation Turkish Airlines has finally confirmed interest in its counterpart in Croatia. According to the words of Mr Abuldkerim Cay the airline's Chief Human Resources Officer Turkish Airline has seen an equity investment in Croatia Airlines as a very good business opportunity and benefit for both sides. This confirmation came just a few days after the Croatian government had removed Croatia Airlines from a list of strategically important companies and made it eligible for a sale. Over the weekend Mr Ahmet Tuta Turkey's Ambassador to Croatia confirmed the words of Mr Cay from Turkish Airlines. He also added that both companies cooperated as Star Alliance members and that there was interest in a list of companies the Croatian government had announced for sale.

Whereas Turkey is not an EU member it could acquire up to 49% of Croatia Airlines.

A few weeks ago Mr Krešimir Kučko CEO of Croatia Airlines denied claims that Turkish Airline showed interest in the state company adding that a strategic partner through recapitalisation would accelerate the carrier's development and fleet expansion. He also said that good business results made the airline more appealing than ever before and hoped to have success in finding a strategic partner.

Mr Tonči Peović, who has managed both Zagreb and Dubrovnik airports and is seen as a possible candidate for Mr Kučko replacement said, ''If the government sells Croatia Airlines without recapitalisation requirements, then the most likely buyer would be Alitalia, owned by Etihad. This would give Air Serbia, through its part-owner, access to Croatia Airlines’ valuable airport slots and a leading position in the Balkans''.

He also added that the only guarantee for survival would be a strategic recapitalisation through a process of programmed bankruptcy, by a non-European company, which would compete against Etihad and Lufthansa and have a strategy to develop the EU market through a hub-and-spoke network. ''Otherwise, the takeover will be hostile, which has been the case with a number of companies in Croatia'', said Mr Peović.

The spectacular sinking of the warship “Vis” almost went horribly wrong. The warship was sunk with controlled explosions this week off the coast of Kamenjak in the Istrian peninsular in northern Croatia. Built in 1956 Vis was used as an Admiralty ship in the Yugoslav Navy and was used by Tito, as well as being visited by many heads of state. The 85 metre long ship was bought by a Croatian businessman, Arsen Brajković, in 2002 from Montenegro. His idea was to sink the ship and to use it as an attraction for divers.

After years of organisation the warship was finally sunk this week with controlled explosions 250 metre from the shoreline at a depth of 35 metres. “From the concept to the implementation took five years and now “Vis” will serve as an example for other entrepreneurs in Dalmatia to do the same,” Brajkovic told journalists.

However the sinking didn’t go quite to plan as this video below clearly shows. With the eyes of the media and national television on it controlled explosions sunk the warship. However the ship suddenly started to dip into the sea after the third and final explosion and the divers on board can clearly be seen blown off their feet with the blast, before jumping into the Adriatic to be picked up by waiting safety boats.

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Check out the video at 2.10 for the full drama.


Due to the number of visitors from the United States to Dubrovnik, a number that has tripled over the past five years, the Mayor of Dubrovnik Andro Vlahusic and local authorities are seeking a partner for the service of flights between New York and Dubrovnik for next year. Vlahusic considers that it is unacceptable that Americans visiting Dubrovnik have to fly via Belgrade, instead of nonstop and that the city expects the route to be operated twice a week throughout the year.

Therefore, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and the Dubrovnik Association of Trade and Crafts will carry out a survey of the US market in the last five years and then contact potential tour operators and airline companies. On the other hand, earlier this month Turkish Airlines launched flights from Istanbul to Dubrovnik. With this airline Dubrovnik will also be linked to the Far East so Asian tourists will be able to use this service but only during winter. Also ANA (All Nippon Airways) the largest Japanese airline company will operate charter flights to Dubrovnik in August and early September.

Earlier this year, the Croatian Ambassador to the United States said the Embassy has resumed discussions with various stakeholders in order to explore all possibilities for the establishment of direct flights to Croatia. "We will do all we can to spearhead and facilitate this effort, and achieve direct flights as soon as it is economically possible", the Ambassador said.

“Culture Club Revelin will organize a monster screen for the upcoming 2016 UEFA Champions League Final match this Saturday, on the 28th of May. A big six meters long TV screen, an incredible and unforgettable view over the Old City of Dubrovnik and great atmosphere are a guarantee for interesting night of watching the most important club match in Europe'', said the organizers of this event.

''Real or Atletico, Luka Modrić, Ronaldo and Mateo Kovačić or Torres and Koke. No matter who is your favourite the Revelin terrace offers enjoyment in cheering and supporting whilst watching the match on the biggest TV screen with the best audio system in Croatia. All you need to do is come to Revelin at 8.00pm and choose your place on the terrace'', said the Culture Club Revelin in a statement.

Watching the match on the biggest TV screen in Croatia is an introduction to the upcoming European football Championship 2016 on the Revelin terrace starting on the 10th of June.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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