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.
The newly elected President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will pay an official visit to Zagreb next week, reports the media outlet N1.
Von der Leyen will take on her new role as the European Commision President on the 1st of November when Jean-Claude Juncker will step down. She has repeatedly said that she will work to break down barriers between the larger EU members and the smaller ones. And as Croatia is the youngest member of the European family, becoming a full member in July 2013, it seems that she intends to honour this pledge by putting Croatia on the top of her “to visit” list.
Although the exact date of her visit has not been released to the press yet, Von der Leyen is expected to meet with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in Zagreb, to discuss issues that would be the focus of Croatia's upcoming six-month presidency.
The UK has a new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and tomorrow he will officially take up his role as the 77th Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. And Prime Minister Johnson is no stranger to Dubrovnik and the south of Croatia. Back in 2012 the then Mayor of London decided to take a family holiday in Neretva and Dubrovnik and was blown away by the nature and culture.
Describing the wider Dubrovnik region Johnson commented for The Telegraph that “The landscape was peachy: the sea was turquoise; the air was scented with myrtles and thyme; and a series of amazing islands lay stretched before us like a school of green-backed whales.”
In 2012 he stayed in the Villa Stolovi in Neretva, a luxurious five-bedroom villa with stunning views over the Adriatic Sea, complete with a wine cellar, swimming pool and tennis court.
However apart from being blown away at the beauty of Croatia Boris Johnson also had a few choice words at the time for Croatia’s European future and especially the introduction of the Euro as the official currency.
“The euro makes an absolute mockery of independence, self-determination – all the things so many Croats fought and died for. Sure, the tyranny of Brussels is not a violent one, and it is not as poisonous as the tyranny of Belgrade. It is a velvet kind of tyranny, but a tyranny none the less. Avoid the euro, my Croatian friends. In 10 years’ time I want to go back, order a bottle of superb red Dingac, and pay for it in Kuna,” wrote the new Prime Minister in an article in The Telegraph.
Clearly seven years ago his opinions about the EU and the Euro were leading him towards heading up Brexit. It will be interesting to see how Boris deals with Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, in the future as he is a former MEP and a strong supporter of the whole European Union movement.
There are yachts, there are mega yachts, and then there is the Emir of Qatar’s yacht! Al Lusail set back the Emir a whopping $300 million when he purchased it back in 2016 and is the 24th longest private yacht in the world and it certainly dominated the Adriatic when it arrived in the Bay of Zupa yesterday.
Reported to be worth $2.5 billion the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim, at 39 is the youngest sovereign in the world.
Rumours were abound that the billionaire Sheikh had arrived in Dubrovnik to cast his eye over investing into a hotel resort, with even a local politician suggesting he was here to inspect the Kupari resort.
Sheikh Tamim is the head of the Qatar Investment Authority which, apart from owning Qatar’s oil and gas interests, is also the owner of the luxury London store Harrods.
If the tourist season, as some claim is worse than last year, then the rent-a-car companies at the Dubrovnik Airport certainly aren’t feeling the pinch. Rent-a-car agencies at the airport are blooming, with more customers than ever before. Some estimates show that around 800 cars are being rented out every day, reports Dubrovacki Vjesnik.
“The season is really very good. Every day we are renting out around 60 cars. We can report that we have had no difficulties with customers the parties, although we have had numerous problems with the infrastructure at the airport itself. We simply don’t have enough room. Before the reconstruction started they did not advise or take into account the needs of rent-a-car agencies. We do not have enough space for vehicles,” commented a rent-a-car agent in one of the major agencies.
Another fellow agent who works for a smaller agency at the airport added that the season is excellent, and that prices have come back to normal.
And a third agent commented, “This season may be a little better than last year, we have no right to complain. There are a lot of cars on the market, but also a lot of guests. True, no one gives the exact figures, but from the 20 agencies operating at the airport, I think that the larger have at least 150 rentals a day, and then the medium sized ones have between 40 and 80 rentals a day. And then the smaller agencies have between 15 and 20 rentals a day. The average number of vehicles rented is probably higher at the weekend than during the week, but roughly around 800 vehicles are rented out on a daily basis,” added a young rent-a-car worker.
“We have days when we rent around a dozen, but we have 60 reservations on weekends. You could say that we sometimes haven’t enough cars to rent out. I am sure that between 700 and 800 cars are rented out every day. Prices in the summer start from around 50 Euros for a smaller, compact car and most of our bookings come via the internet,” adds another agent.
And it would be true to say that prices vary massively. In the compact car section, we found a three-door VW Polo for 359 Kunas a day, and a Toyota Yaris at twice that price for 780 Kunas a day. In the winter prices are considerably lower.
As tourists often rely on GPS navigation systems and are not used to driving on the busy Dubrovnik roads the majority of the agents were in accord that the number of accidents is relatively low.
"Of course there are accidents, but considering how much traffic there is and how many cars we rent out it is a really negligible number. We would like to take this opportunity to comment on how British and Australians cope so well with driving on the opposite side of the road than their how countries. It's not so easy! We have clients who come into the car and do not even know how to operate the gear box, or where the clutch is and others who have limited experience of driving on European roads. Bur all in all they do very well and we have very little bad experiences,” concludes an agent.
Dubrovacki Vjesnik also found an agency who had a story from the other end of the scale. From the time one client rented a car in the rent-a-car agency to the time he called to say that he had completely scrapped the side of the rented Mercedes was only 13 minutes! Fortunately, no one was hurt in the accident and such “express” accident are very rare. However, clients filling up at the petrol station with the wrong type of fuel is less rare.
Every week through the height of summer we are hitting the streets of Dubrovnik to discover what you, our visitors, think about the city as a tourist destination. This week we caught up with a young couple from San Lorenza in Argentina.
Marcus Venitez and Teresa Varene – Argentina
What are your impressions of Dubrovnik?
The most impressive is the walled Old City, a very beautiful city with the walls and the fortresses. In fact, I didn't really expect it, I knew about the sea and the islands but I didn’t expect to see so much history and culture in Dubrovnik.
What do you think about the prices?
Compared with Argentina the whole of Europe is expensive. However, Dubrovnik is cheaper than Western Europe and more expensive than Eastern Europe. We have come from Bosnia and the prices are certainly higher here, but compared with Italy or Spain the city is much cheaper. But the hostel was expensive, we were in a shared room and paid 45 Euros a night.
Are you satisfied with the level of service you have received?
Yes, everywhere, in the hostel, in bars and restaurants the level of service has been excellent. I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised with the cleanliness, you have a very clean and tidy city.
Is there something you would have liked to done in Dubrovnik but weren’t able to?
No, we caught the public buses around the city and they work very well. The only thing that we didn’t get to see was the island of Lokrum. We were looking forward to it but the ticket price was just too much for us. We couldn’t afford it. They wanted 20 Euros per person and that was out of our possibility. It’s a shame.
How long did you stay in Dubrovnik?
We stayed for two days in Dubrovnik and now we are going to Split by bus.
The first drama premiere of the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival was announced yesterday at the festival palace in Dubrovnik. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, directed by Paolo Magelli, will certainly be one of the highlights of this year’s anniversary festival.
The artistic director of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Dora Ruždjak Podolski, commented that Hamlet was a "big and central event of the jubilee 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival". Over the years Hamlet has featured 14 times in the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, 13 times on the Lovrijenac Fortress and once on the island of Lokrum.
The premiere of this year’s Hamlet will be on the 27th of July and then the program will see the Bards masterpiece on the schedule from the 28th to the31st of July. All performances will start at 9.30.
One of the leading hotels in Dubrovnik, the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik, has gone that extra mile to make sure that your vacation in Dubrovnik is as memorable as possible. Every day of the week is covered, there’s no more scratching your head figuring out what to do tonight, it’s all laid out on a daily basis. Whether it’s a full blown specially created themed meal to a sweet tooth heaven of ice-cream sundaes, at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik there is a day for every taste.
Located a mere stone’s throw from the historic walls of the Old City of Dubrovnik the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik is simple to get to, whether you are arriving by bus, taxi or on foot. You literally can’t miss it. It’s that big imposing building just behind you if you are looking at the Old City from the main entrance on Pile. If you need some more navigation tools, then check out the video below. It will give you a birds-eye view.
Summer Promotions at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik
This is a hotel, and indeed a building, literally dripping in history. In fact, the origins of Dubrovnik tourism industry can be traced back to the Imperial. And over the years it has seen many a famous face, including the King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, who by all accounts enjoyed a cocktail in the gardens whilst on cruise along the Dalmatian coastline.
But enough of the history, what about the present, and more importantly what is included in the Summer Promotions at Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik
So here is our day by day guide as to what promotion, at special prices, is on offer throughout the week. It is also important to mention that all these promotional events are open to non-residents of the hotel. Yes, that’s right. You don’t have to be actually staying at the hotel to enjoy all the goodies on offer in this five-star hotel. Go on treat yourselves.
Monday – Dubrovnik Republic Menu
Served in the Porat Restaurant (just ask on reception and they will point you in the right direction) the week opens with a beauty. A three-course meal with a difference. Themed around the meals that were served on the tables of the nobility in the times of the Dubrovnik republic you’ll get the chance to try top quality local food. And at only 260 Kunas for three course you can’t ask for much more.
You’ll start with Oyster Soup from Ston, followed by stuffed capon with local sausages and herbs and rosemary roasted potatoes. And last but not least is the king og Dubrovnik desserts, rozata with rose liquor. Served every day from 7:00pm to 10:00pm it’s the perfect way to start your Dubrovnik evening.
Tuesday – Happy Hour
In fact, this should have been called “Happy Hours” as from 6:00pm till 8:00pm there is a massive 50 percent discount on all drinks at the Lounge Bar. Yes, stop rubbing your eyes we said 50 percent discount, or if you like all drinks are half price. Indulge yourself with a cocktail or your favourite aperitif in the sumptuous Lounge Bar at the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik and your wallet will breathe a sigh of relief.
Wednesday – BBQ Night
Now this is high on our list of favourites in this Summer Promotional guide. Summer in Dubrovnik is all about al fresco living, and indeed eating, so a BBQ on the beautiful and scheduled terrace of a five-star hotel must be a winner. And it is! It’s the smell that gets you.
As the aroma of the BBQ wafts around the late summer afternoon on the open terrace of the Porat Restaurant you can’t help but to feel peckish. Meat, fish, seafood and grilled vegetables all get throw on the barbecue. Every Wednesday from 7:00pm to 10:00pm its BBQ night and at only 310 Kunas per person its great value as well. Could it get any better? Well yes, there’s live music thrown into the mix as well.
Thursday – Happy Hour
Yes, you’ve guessed it another night of half price drinks at the hotel Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik.
Friday – Detox Menu
Having a detox menu right after a night of Happy Hour drink prices could well be coincidental, but then again maybe its good planning. Whether you’ve partaken in the Happy Hour fun or not you’ll need to get ready for the upcoming weekend. This is where the detox menu is here to help.
The menu starts with detox salad, with everything from green beans to avocado and chickpeas (and much more) followed by steamed chicken breast with some interesting side dishes (we don’t want to give everything away) and all completed with a fresh fruit collection.
Saturday – Gin & Jazz
Is there a better combination than gin and jazz? Especially when you are getting gin and tonic at a special discounted rate and the jazz is being played live. On Saturday from 8:00pm to 11:00pm the place to be is the Imperial Bar and Lounge, great jazz and even better gin. And if, heaven forbid, you are not a big gin fan then there’s a 20 percent discount on all other drinks. Now that’s a Saturday night out in Dubrovnik.
Sunday – Sunday Sundaes
And to end the week, the Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik have saved the best, or should we say the sweetest, till last. Ice-cream sundaes on Sunday. Yes, you get the pun. Relax on any of the hotels outlets and terraces with an ice-cream sundae and let the day wash over you.
Hotel Hilton Imperial Dubrovnik
Marijana Blazica 2,
+385 (0)20 320 320
The tennis number one, Novak Djokovic, is certainly having a holiday to remember in Croatia, cruising around the islands of Korcula with his family and even having an impromptu singalong in a restaurant.
After winning the 2019 Wimbledon Championship, his fifth Wimbledon title and his sixteenth in total, Djokovic is relaxing on the Croatian Adriatic, a coastline that is clearly close to his heart as he describes it himself as “one of the most beautiful in the world.”
The romantic Djokovic cruise has seen the couple spending a lot of time on the islands of Vrnik and Stupe where they have fallen in love with the restaurant Moro Beach. Djokovic (32) religiously follows a vegan and gluten free diet and has clearly found a restaurant that not only suits his diet but also his musical tastes, if last nights’ singalong is anything to go by.