Monday, 17 February 2020
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.


A young Croatian is proving that with a good idea you can create a market. Ivan Mrvos, a 20 year-old Croatian innovator from Solin near Split, has had his invention recognised on a global scale with the signing of an agreement worth 5.33 million Euros with MTK Renewable Energy Investment to deliver 2,700 smart benches to Australia.

The Steora solar smart benches designed by young Ivan Mrvos have recently been introduced and placed all over Croatia, Montenegro, in Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as in Hong Kong and in front of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg.

The smart bench includes batteries which are powered by solar panels; they provide internet access and the possibility to charge mobile phones and laptops by USB charger. It also gathers data about air quality, humidity, city noise, displays advertising, amongst other features as well as providing light at night. This is truly a green invention.

smart bench ivan mrvos

This innovative product is ideal for cities, parks, airports, marinas, businesses and shopping centres. The objective is to raise human awareness about renewable energy and environmental protection. Interestingly Mrvos and his team developed their own battery system based on the model of Tesla Motors which is famous for the production of electric cars.

According to Ivan Mrvos and his team, they had only one Skype meeting with investors from Australia where they presented their product. The investors passed on the information to their partners and after a few days they visited them in Solin. ''They were impressed with our benches and plan to put them in a few cities across Australia'', said Mrvos adding that he thought these benches would be a success in Australia as they had a lot of sun “down under.”

The Steora smart benches with a special monitor for advertising will be shipped to Australia at the price of 1,800 Euro per bench. Ivan Mrvos and his team are waiting for further business proposals as they have sent smart benches to USA, Qatar and Switzerland for testing.

“We are not excluding the possibility to open a production plant in Australia in the future if the need arises, but for now I am not thinking about leaving Croatia,” Ivan said.

One of the most popular American online portals BuzzFeed, which creates articles with various topics mainly intended for social networks, once again wrote about Croatia and its beauties.

In its latest article with a headline ''24 Reasons Croatia Is The Ultimate Vacation Spot'' the BuzzFeed portal writes about Croatian beauties and gives 24 reasons for visiting Croatia in this lifetime even though most of them refers to the Adriatic coastline region.
According to the article one of the most important reasons for visiting Croatia is the clear blue sea water which owes its crystal clearness to the lack of big off shore industries. The author emphasizes that every region in Croatia is beautiful in its own way but that the region of Dalmatia is the most popular holiday destination ''....right across from Italy. It includes Dubrovnik and the surrounding islands''.

Furthermore, the author says that tourists will also find filming spots of the popular series Game of Thrones and Star Wars VIII. She hasn't missed to mention a rich history that dates back to the 2nd century BC even though she refers only to Dubrovnik.

As the fourth reason for visiting Croatia she states numerous boats and sea transport possibilities whilst ferry catamaran routes in Split and Dubrovnik coastal area she rates as one of the most favourable and most attractive.

''You can swim basically anywhere you want'', says the article adding that the Croatian coastline is full of rocky beaches with cliff jumping possibilities. Even though she never confirmed it directly, Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z decided to name their daughter Blue Ivy while they were on a holiday on the island of Hvar, states BuzzFeed.

There are lots of small alleys, so called ''kalete'', abandoned villages and ruins for those who like to explore as well as promenades and hiking spots. Croatia is the best country for bike lovers and adventurers.

''Accommodations can be pretty affordable, if you know where to look'', is on the 12th place of ''must visit Croatia'' reasons followed by the Dalmatian cuisine and various local drinks.

BuzzFeed also praises handmade souvenirs made from lavender and agave lace as well as people who are cheerful and very proud of their country.

''Croatia is home to one of the sunniest spots in Europe'', says the author referring to Hvar, whilst sunsets and dawns are perfect for taking photos of stunning nature. ''But perhaps most of all, it’s a great place to just take a deep breath of fresh air, admire the serenity and remember that sometimes, concluded the author of the BuzzFeed article.

Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula 1 guru, has once again arrived on the Croatian Adriatic coastline on holiday. Ecclestone has been a fan of Croatia for many years, after being introduced to its beauties by former wife Slavica Ecclestone, and is an annual visitor of his yacht.

This year it appears that Bernie has started his Croatia holiday on the island of Korcula as this photo taken by a reader of The Dubrovnik Times.

It is unknown whether Ecclestone (85) arrived with his wife Fabiana Flosi (38) on whether he is on his yacht, but if he has arrived in Korcula you can expect to see him in the historic city of Dubrovnik over the next few days.

bernie korcula

Finding a spot to swim with your dog in Croatia is always a difficult task. No dogs allowed signs greet most pet lovers as they look to cool off from the summer sunshine in the Adriatic Sea. But now a beach in Crikvenica, in the north of Croatia, has opened a beach aimed at man’s best friend.

The New York Post featured a video on their website about the pet friendly beach, “Dogs finally have a vacation destination to take a break from all their dog responsibilities,” writes the popular American newspaper.

Check out this video!

The island of Mljet is truly paradise on earth. The eighth largest island in Croatia has been mentioned as one of the most beautiful islands in the world numerous times, so it doesn't surprise us that it's an inspiration to many visitors that come there.

Zdronu, a Slovenian company that takes videos with drones and a 4K camera has recently published an amazing 4K video that truly shows the beauties of Mljet. This 2 minute video is captivating and inviting, so don't miss it. And don't miss visiting Mljet!

“This year the Dubrovnik Winter Festival will be bigger and better than ever,” commented the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, at a press conference to highlight the festival. From the 18th of November to the 28th of February Dubrovnik the Dubrovnik Winter Festival will bring events, colours and music to the city with a whole host of surprises in the pipeline. “The Winter Festival is the best way of connecting the attractions that the city offers in the off-season,” added the mayor.

brochure winter festival 2016

One of the main problems for Dubrovnik’s winter tourism has always been the lack of international flights. However this winter there will be more flights than ever before landing at Dubrovnik Airport, a total of fourteen weekly international flights to five destinations and nineteen flights to the capital Zagreb. This is a considerable improvement on last winter when only three international flights arrived from two destinations. The deputy director of Dubrovnik Airport, Frano Luetic, commented that he is extremely surprised with the growth of passenger numbers so far this season, “We have seen an unbelievable 16 percent increase in passenger numbers through the airport since the beginning of the year and a massive 18 percent increase in June.” With the introduction of new winter flights, with companies such as Turkish Airlines, British Airways and Vueling all lined up, the Dubrovnik Winter Festival will be an attraction for tourists.

According to, the councillor for tourism and entrepreneurship, last year’s winter festival already had a positive impact on the city off-season tourism business. “Last year we saw an increase of 16 percent in the number of tourists in the city over the winter period compared with 2015.”

vlaho margaretic winter

Vlaho Margaretic

He added that this year’s festival would be similar in concept to last years but with a number of surprises. And once again there will be stands on the Stradun offering food, drinks and winter souvenirs. In total there will be sixteen stands on the Stradun and another seventeen around the Onofrio Fountain at the entrance to the Stradun, including one info point.

The city will once again have the festive lights, including the golden Teddy Bear, which was such a hit on social media last winter. And this year from the St. Blaise Church to the Dubrovnik Cathedral there will be a new lighting display. Tall wooden posts will hold angels in a mark to the spiritual side of Christmas. With live music every Friday and part nights every Saturday throughout the Dubrovnik Winter Festival it should prove even more successful than last year.

winter festival christmas angles

Check out the stunning video for the Dubrovnik Winter Festival

Croatia Airlines transported its millionth passenger of 2016 on the 15th of July on a flight from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. Suzana Brenko was the millionth passenger and was presented with gifts from the national airline.

This landmark was reached a full twelve days ahead of last year and even ahead of 2012 when Croatia Airlines had its best ever year. According to a statement from the airline passenger numbers this year are up 2 percent on the same period from 2015.

Don’t think about drinking the tap water in Croatia, unless you want to get diarrhoea, claims the British newspaper The Daily Mail. In a recent article on travel section of The Daily Mail website the newspaper insists that the Croatia is one of the countries that you shouldn’t drink the tap water. This information seems to contradict almost of all the competent institutions on the quality of water, from the European Union to the United Nations, as well as a plethora of independent sources. In an article entitled “From Spain and France to Russia and Croatia: Countries in Europe where you can drink tap water - and the places you really shouldn't,” The Daily Mail states that all of the tap water in Eastern Europe, including Croatia is not safe to drink.

Regardless of the fact that The Daily Mail is known to exaggerate the truth the fact that it is one of the most popular newspapers in Great Britain will certainly not help the tourism industry. The Daily Mail recently printed a photo of the world famous bridge in Mostar advertising holidays to Dubrovnik. However to claim that Croatian tap water isn’t safe to drink seems to pushed the bar of stupidity even higher. Not only is Croatian water completely safe to drink it is also one of the cleanest in the world. In fact Croatia has the third largest source of water in Europe per capita. And it isn’t only the tap water that is sparkling clean; the Adriatic is also one of the cleanest in the world. According to the annual European Environment Agency report, the sea bathing water quality at Croatian beaches was rated as one of the best in Europe.

And as the website for the non-profit organization Revolve Water states “Croatia is still one of the only countries in Europe to have a supply of good tap water for drinking.” Our advice is to ignore The Daily Mail and continue to enjoy one of the cleanest drinking waters in the world, in Croatia.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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