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.
In the warmer weather dogs love to cool off in the Adriatic Sea. But how do you walk them, or rather let them swim, if you don’t want to get wet yourself? This lady from the town of Trpanj on the Pelješac peninsula has the perfect answer!
This photo, that was published on the popular Facebook page “Daily Dose of an Average Dalmatian,” soon went viral and attracted hundreds of likes and comments. Some beaches and coastal areas of Croatia don’t allow dogs, and certainly not dogs off the leash. This lady found a solution, walking the dog in the Adriatic on a leash whilst she remained dry on land.
The luxury of the Dubrovnik River, the beauty of Korčula in the middle of the city and the experience of waking up in the Slano Valley – the options are many and varied and each has its own special charm. Incredible beauty, full high-quality service and superb additional facilities, with constant new investments, all make the ACI marina chain a regional leader in nautical tourism.
Sometimes unimaginable challenges, like over the past two years, gave birth to new ideas and new projects and persistent working in the tourist sector. We are proud to emphasize the role of the largest chain of marinas on the Mediterranean, ACI d.d., as the one who not only survived during the greatest crisis, but also remained a regional leader and protected the entire nautical community, without limitations and restrictions. The focus on the future is one of ACI's strongest drives. Namely, we have already realized it during the past year, with our strategic investments in the excellence of infrastructure and services, expanding the business portfolio worth 44 million Kuna.
Some of the most beautiful marinas in the world are located along the Adriatic coast, and sailors just love it, the three southernmost gems in the crown of ACI – ACI marina Dubrovnik, ACI marina Korčula and ACI marina "Veljko Barbieri" in Slano, in which as much as 95 million Kuna has been invested in the last five years. The extraordinary beauty of nature and some of the most special islands and cities on the Mediterranean provides sailors with an unforgettable visit and, almost as a rule, a plan for their next arrival as soon as possible.
One of the most luxurious and award-winning ACI marinas is the one in Dubrovnik, which is not surprising considering the importance of Dubrovnik for Croatian tourism, and the Dubrovnik River, as a protected natural landscape, with historical links and incredible beauty, it has been the first choice of numerous sailors from all over the world for years. After comprehensive reconstruction works, worth as much as 35 million Kuna, Dubrovnik welcomed guests in a new, refreshed edition at the beginning of this season. A 232.3-metre new coastal line was built, a wall that allows the reception of up to five metres longer vessels than before, the whole infrastructure of the entire marina was invested into, and in the plans are the construction of the largest service zone in this part of the Adriatic.
In addition to the existing golf and tennis courts, two top quality restaurants, an outdoor swimming pool and facilities for children are in place. And what everyone is eagerly awaiting - the reconstruction of the Gothic-Renaissance summer beauty in Dubrovnik, the summer house Sorkočević. This huge undertaking will turn Dubrovnik's ACI marina into one of the most special jewels in the Mediterranean. Results this season and this year have been very encouraging, and the marina is already up to the pre-pandemic levels.
Boaters love Korčula and the beautiful ACI marina, which is in its own right rivals Dubrovnik, right next to the old town itself, the core of the City of Korčula, offering sailors everything that is available. And the marina has already received recognition as the best island marina. And with the 25 million Kuna reconstruction of a breakwater it is in an even better position to receive guests. It's a breakwater lined with stone, which is the lifeblood of the city and has also aesthetically fitted into its surroundings. The plan of this small, boutique marina in the city centre, with 42 luxury accommodation units with four stars, a square, a bus interchange and a taxi stand, next to garages with more than 300 parking spaces will make this island beauty to shine in full glory.
The majority of sailors who set off to southern Dalmatia will not miss the newest link in the largest chain of marinas in the Mediterranean, ACI marina Slano. Marina Veljko Barbieri is celebrating its sixth birthday in Slano, and the name which it bears, the name of the originator of the idea of founding the ACI marina chain. Perhaps one of the most beautiful marinas in the far south of Croatia, Slano has always been a shelter for all ships.
In an ideal position and near the fairy-tale Elaphite Islands, Dubrovnik and the southernmost Croatian seas, it easily charms local and international tourists who return to it, and because of its location at an important nautical junction is one of the most popular choices for mooring, rest and refreshment among many sailors. Tesla charging stations for e-cars, nautical equipment stores, charter companies, a perfect gastronomy spot - the Perast restaurant known to foodies for its exclusively homemade food from local producers and its own olive oil, rent-a-car and transfers, technical service of vessels, are just a few options of this trump card in the ACI Marina group.
Iconic, the benchmark, unmissable, the superlatives and adjectives to describe Nautika Restaurant are numerous. One thing is for sure, Nautika is much more than just a restaurant, it is an experience.
Widely considered as the leading restaurant in the wider Dubrovnik region as can be seen from the more than impressive guest list. From Pep Guardiola, Sir Roger Moore, Eva Longoria and Kurt Russel and Goldie Hawn, the list not only goes on and on but includes royalty, rock stars and actors.
Nautika Restaurant lies on the very edge of the sea at Pile, alongside the western entrance to Dubrovnik's Old City, the location is unique and lends itself to the harmony of the cuisine, like I said it is an experience.
So, as I have written on many occasions I much prefer a restaurant that has a short menu. So much more time and creativity is put into a short menu, and the head chef at Nautika clearly has been doing lots of creative work. The service is the best and most professional in Dubrovnik, it seems that they have a whole army of waiters and serving staff. Its white-glove all the way and at its best. They somehow just make you feel extra special.
So what to choose, there is a tasting menu, both five and seven courses, if you can't decide. I, as I often do, asked the waiter for his advice. To say that he was knowledgeable would be a massive understatement. "I would suggest a main course of Veal Fillet and Dubrovnik Malvasija Sauce, so therefore you could probably plump for the Beef Charolais Carpaccio as a starter," he smiled.
He actually went through the whole list of ingredients and how each dish was prepared when he brought the meals to my table. Beef Charolais Carpaccio, with a dijon sauce, herbs, celery, I learned and it was absolutely magnificent.
And in the surroundings of the illuminated Old City walls and the Adriatic Sea on my horizon, it was a real high-end Dubrovnik experience. With an in-house sommelier to walk you through the wine list the service is just superb.
The main course, Veal Fillet and Dubrovnik Malvasija Sauce with potato gratin with truffle essence, pea mousse with mint, glazed carrots, now if I thought the starter was great the main course was even better. And yes, the waiter was right the two courses were the perfect match.
I just love this combination of locally sourced ingredients along with a creative and somewhat funky menu. It seems to respect the history and culture of Dubrovnik and at the same time show a modern future. Well done to the Nautika team.
I still can't quite find the right adjective to describe the restaurant, all I do know is that you absolutely must visit it, and maybe you'll find the best word to describe it.
LOCATION & CONTACT
Brsalje no. 3, 20 000 Dubrovnik
Telephone – (00385) 20 44 25 26
Website - https://www.nautikarestaurants.com/restaurant-nautika/
The most popular travel website in the world, Tripadvisor, has recently published lists in its traditional "Traveller's Choice 2022 Best of the Best", and Dubrovnik has found itself in the top five!
The lists are created by the users themselves with their ratings throughout the year, and are awarded in several categories, such as "best destinations for food lovers", "best places for active vacations", "best cities"... There is also a "trending" category destinations", which would mean destinations that are currently popular, that are talked about and that are getting better ratings among tourists. And being selected by users of the travel website is clearly a big deal, as tourists to each destination have given independent views and ratings.
And on the top “trending” destinations list for this year are two Croatian destinations, Split and Dubrovnik. The Dalmatian city of Split was ranked in 13th position, whilst Dubrovnik came in at a very respectable 5th position. Both Croatian destinations were described as places with a rich history, charming architecture and beautiful beaches. On the top of the list of trending destinations was the Spanish island of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands.
TRENDING DESTINATIONS FOR 2022 ACCORDING TO TRIPADVISOR
1. Mallorca, Spain
2. Cairo, Egypt
3. Rhodes, Greece
4. Tulum, Mexico
5. Dubrovnik, Croatia
6. Ibiza, Spain
OK, I am impressed with GoCablecar. What? What's that? I can hear you ask. So the Dubrovnik Cable Car, one of the most popular tourist attractions (for good reason) in the south of Croatia has recently gone step further with their offer by creating a special app. You might think that in this modern, technological world that everything in Dubrovnik, you would be wrong. In fact, the Dubrovnik Cable car is one of the first. But, as the English say, the proof is in the pudding, so I downloaded the app to check it out.
You can search through either the App Store or Google Play, or simply scan the QR code that you see here. I was greeted by a rather funky and easy to use app that had all the info at the swipe of my finger. I even learnt a few things about the cable car. I never knew that the average speed was 6.5 metres per second. I am rather a nerd and love those engineering facts. Such as the track length that is 778 metres or that the height of the Upper Station was 405 metres.
Real-time status of cable car
With the app you can see ticket prices, see the status of the cable car, interesting facts, find things to do when you get to the top (and believe me there are plenty of options) and even find the location of the cable car which handily opens in Google Maps, along with directions. Really, really good, and I am not a great lover of apps normally. The blurb states that "The GoCableCar app allows you to receive real-time status updates from the Dubrovnik Cable Car and offers key information about the cable car and activities at and around the upper cable car station."
And yes, it is available for both Apple and Android. And the app will only act as a base that can be developed and added o in the future. I have a sneaky feeling that other similar apps will pop up like mushrooms after the rain following in the footsteps of this cable car one. But imitation is the highest form of flattery, so hats off to the cable car team. And yes, it is still download on my smart phone. What are you waiting for?
We are underway. The walk has started. Toto, our dog, is leading the way on the next 1,100 km, as we walk the South West Coastal Path. And something occurred to us on the very first day, could Toto be making Croatian history? Is he the first ever Croatian sheepdog to walk the path?
We have met literally hundreds of dogs on the first few days of our walk, this is truly a dog-friendly country in every sense of the word. And of the many walkers we’ve met along the way the majority have had their four-legged friend with them. And Toto has been drawing attention. “Really, I didn’t know Croatia had sheepdogs,” is the normal response we get as our super friendly dog jumps into the arms of another stranger.
And Toto is very much the opening into our “Where are you from and what are you doing the walk for” questions. Firstly, there are many people walking, but very few, well exactly none so far, who are walking the whole route. When we explain that we’ll be hiking for the next two months (at least) we are usually met with raised eye-brows and comments of “well done” when they realise why we are doing it. And then the Croatia question. The responses have been mixed to say the least. We’ve had everything from “I bet you hate Putin,” to “Oh, I went their on a stag night,” to “I heard that Dubrovnik is really expensive,” (in fact, we get that one quite a lot), to “I went on a cruise there once and it was really busy.”
One that really shocked us was a little surreal. We were in the middle of nowhere on our daily walk (a place where we often find ourselves) and one man stopped to talk to us. “Oh, yes Dubrovnik, I have heard that you guys go across the border into Bosnia to go shopping and eat in restaurants, to save money,” commented this total stranger. Weird. Surprisingly correct. But nevertheless, weird.
The walk is teaching us lessons the whole time. Lessons about ourselves mostly. We are so far out of our comfort zones that we’ve almost found a whole new zone. Drinking from streams, washing in lakes (yes, we are rather smelly), wild camping on mountain tops, walking along some of the most incredible coastlines we have ever seen, avoiding wild horses, cooking with a small gas fire, and pushing our bodies and legs to the extreme.
But all the time learning. Learning how important, and how stunning nature is. Learning that when you push your boundaries you find a whole new world. Learning that our day to day worries are really unimportant. Learning not to worry but to live. Has it been easy? No. Far from it.
On just the second day we, probably overconfidently, pushed too hard, much too hard. Imagine carrying a 15 kg rucksack and climbing from the Banje Beach to the top of Srđ, that sounds tough. We did that four times in our second day. We ended up wild camping on top of a mountain. “What’s that noise” said my wife in the darkness. “Don’t worry, it is only a couple of wild horses eating,” I answered. That noise. The grind of horse teeth ripping grass up was the one that followed us into a deep sleep.
We awoke early to see a spectacular mountain-top sunrise and the most manicured patch of grass that I have ever seen in my life. These are experiences that make you see the world in a different way.
Wi-Fi and mobile connections are limited, well non-existent, most of the time. When we do get some kind of connection we inform friends and family of where we are. But that’s about it.
We upload some photos onto the social media channel Travels With Toto 2022 every day, just to let everyone know that we are alive. And a huge thank you to everyone who has donated to our two humanitarian causes. The amount of people that we’ve met and have been generous is amazing. I have no idea what is happening in the world.
If it wasn’t for the flags and pictures and commemorations for the Queen everywhere I wouldn’t have known she had sadly passed away. We are in a media blackhole. Probably the best place to be.
Our long journey has just begun. We are still in the foothills of our mountain climb. But although it has just begun it is clearly a journey that will change us forever. Keep following us and keep sending your messages.
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to
Considering its size and little presence of buildings, unlike urbanistically (relatively speaking) more advanced environments, Lika has remained quite untouched and unsullied by human activity. It's not something that we claim, but rather something supported by studies, like the one proving the Gacka river to be one of the cleanest rivers in the world. Perhaps this is the reason why trout grows faster in this area than anywhere else in the world.
Gacka Honey Trail
The "Gacka Honey Trail" project came from the desire to give recognition to the hardworking beekeepers of this region for their work, effort and production. Several local beekeepers are involved in the project, and these trails will lead you to the sweetest products of one of the most important inhabitants of our planet – bees. At one family farm, there are beekeepers who went one step further, and as part of their standard offer, they also opened a house where you can enjoy the so-called apitherapy, which brings many benefits to those who have various respiratory problems. Your task is to just sit in a beautiful house, breathe in the air from the hive, and the hardworking bees will do the rest of the work for you. The already standardized offer includes, of course, high-quality honey, scientifically confirmed-unadulterated, naturally made and with an abundance of health. In addition to honey, there are also many interesting honey products. All the beekeepers involved in this project will be happy to show you the work process, introduce you to the magical world of bees, and offer something extremely beneficial to your health.
One of the beekeepers told us that he is in love with his life in the Gacka river valley. And how could he not be, when the nature here is truly magical. In the valley of this clean river, you can enjoy kayaking, fishing, participating in a walking festival and many other activities. No matter which one you choose, and even if you just sit and gaze upon this masterpiece of nature, you won't regret it.
Zipline Watch out for the bear
And if you are eager for some crazy adventure, the "Watch out for the bear" zipline is the place to be. There you will experience a bird's eye view of what Lika is really like. They also organize climbing on a climbing wall, bicycle riding on hundreds of organized bike paths, camping and much more. We must warn you, emptying your mobile phone beforehand would be a wise thing to do because with these views of Lika you will for sure take hundreds of memorable photos.
Cheese factory Vedrine
Once you get a little hungry, we highly recommend filling up your stomach with a glass of fresh full-fat milk from Lika. If not milk, then definitely some of their famous dairy products. Cheese, "lička basa", yoghurts... whatever you can think of. There is a good chance that you will try some of the best dairy products in the world here. It's not humble to claim something like that, but there's no place for humility when it comes to Lika's dairy products. The cows that feed here eat exclusively grass without nutritional supplements and live in the idyll of the Lika's pastures and valleys. Be sure to visit one of their fantastic creameries.
Gastronomy of Lika
And finally, feast upon authentic delicacies of this region, which are still prepared here almost every day. Lika's potato halves are accompanied by "lička basa" and cured meats (homemade of course), trout in a hundred ways, greens, potato salads with Lika's potatoes famous for their good quality and delicious taste, strudels with local fruit and the list just goes on... Real feast with heavy food that will give you strength through memorable flavours and leave you with the urge to try it again.
On Thursday evening, a Croatia Airlines plane flying from Dubrovnik to Zagreb was struck by lightning. The airline said that the landing went without any problems and there was no danger for the passengers. The plane was inspected and no damage was found.
A Croatia Airlines plane flying from Dubrovnik to Zagreb was struck by lightning on Thursday evening, and reports suggest that passengers were a little in shock although the airline clarified that there was no danger to people.
"Such situations are already taken into account when designing airplanes, given that airplanes come to areas with lightning," said Croatia Airlines spokesman Davor Janušić and explained that planes are constructed according to the Faraday cage principle.
The Croatia Airlines plane landed at the Zagreb airport without any problems, confirmed Janušić and said that it was inspected in accordance with the procedure.