Sunday, November 11, 2012

Croatia Tourist Board Releases New Promotional Video for 2012


Croatian cellist Ana Rucner plays Beethoven's Ode to Joy, as Croatia promotes inland tourism and brands itself 'the new star of the European Union'.
Croatia Tourist Board Releases New Promotional Video for 2012 - Teo Grgicevic
Preparations for the 2012 tourist season in Croatia continued on November 22, 2011, with the release of a new promotional video by the Croatian National Tourist Board on its Facebook page, in what appears to be a major departure from the traditional marketing of the country's Adriatic coastline and 1185 islands.
Promoting Inland Tourism in Croatia
The video, a stunning four and a half minute film centred on famous Croatian cellist Ana Rucner playing Beethoven's Ode to Joy in various locations all over the country, is superbly produced and captures the essence of the country, but it is clear that there has been a shift in tourism marketing emphasis by the tourism ministry, which has stated its intentions to work to improve inland tourism.
Croatia's traditional tourism offer has focused on its long and picturesque coastline, crystal clear water and magnificent walled towns, of which Dubrovnik is the jewel, and islands such as Hvar, which has been named as Lonely Planet's number five destination for 2012.
Croatia: The Mediterranean as it Once Was
After the devastation of Croatia's tourist industry due to the war in former Yugoslavia, an extremely effective marketing campaign - under the slogan The Mediterranean as it Once Was - highlighted the delights of an unspoilt Adriatic coastline, which has avoided the overbuilding in holiday spots such as Spain.
The slick advertising worked, and tourists - both new and old - arrived in their droves, and tourism in Croatia is now one of the biggest contributors to the national economy.
Croatia: The New Tourism Star of the EU?
The slogan for the 2012 campaign has a new slogan - Croatia, The New Tourism Star of the European Union - which reflects perhaps the priorities and direction of the country, even though it is not yet a member (entry has been set for 2013).
Far from focusing on the coastline, apart form a few early shots, it is a full two minutes before the viewer sees the Adriatic, and islands such as Hvar do not feature at all. Instead, Rucner plays her way through the fields of northern Croatia and the trams of Zagreb, as a more continental Croatia is portrayed.
The focus appears to be on the traditional way of life in various parts of Croatia and for the interested party familiar only with the coast, it is an effective portrayal of the castles, nature and heritage which exists away from the sea.
Initial reaction has been mixed, with many positive comments on the tourist board's Facebook page contrasting with less enthusiastic reactions on the comments page of national daily Dnevnik, with initial complaints that the video is not targeting younger tourists, who arrive en masse, encouraged by Croatia's hip reputation.

Sailing in Croatia: Hvar Adventure to Mark End of Busy 2011


Hvar's premier sailing specialists announce New Year activities to coincide with the Laser Europa Cup regatta, extending Hvar's 2011 season to December 31.
Sailing in Croatia: Hvar Adventure to Mark End of Busy 2011 - Hvar Town Tourist Board
The highly successful and high profile 2011 tourist season for the island of Hvar will continue right up to the New Year bells with the announcement of a special end of season sailing course package by Hvar Adventure on its website on November 23, 2011, a course which coincides with the final regatta of the year, the 35th Laser Europa Cup.
New Year Sailing School and Regatta
The island's leading activity specialists, whose adventure sports includes sailing, sea kayaking, hiking and rock climbing, are laying on a special seven-day elementary sailing school to complement the various other activities which will see Croatia's premier island - rated number 5 destination for 2012 by Lonely Planet - into the New Year.
It what promises to be a busy time in the island's waters, the Hvar Adventure sailing school course will take place from December 26 to January 2, with accommodation included on a half-board basis at the Hotel Delfin in Hvar Town.
Sailing Throughout the Year
While Hvar is known for its vibrant peak season nightlife, whose highlights this year included Prince Harry infamously jumping into a Hvar nightclub swimming pool fully clothed, and Beyonce revealing her baby bump to the world at a Hvar beach club, the island's tourism offer continues through the year, with the focus moving away from the beach during the winter months.
A busy sailing calendar is one of the constants throughout the year, and there are a number of regattas around Hvar and throughout the Adriatic, where keen sailors can crew with the Hvar Adventure team. December alone sees two important races: the Christmas HRM Race(10-11 December), a triangle race followed by a navigational race around Split, sponsored by the Navy; and the Laser Europa Cup.
The latter, in its 35th year, is an international sailing event from December 28 - 31, which has special local poignance this year for the Zvir sailing club, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
New Year Celebrations on Hvar
After a quiet autumn on the tourist front, allowing locals to attend to the all-important olive and grape harvests, New Year is a big celebration on Hvar, and attracts a number of tourists. Leading the way this year is the island's top hotel, Hotel Adriana - fresh from its inclusion in Fodor's Top 100 Hotels in the World last week - which is offering an attractive spa and luxury half-board package over the New Year period.
The various events promise to bring a successful conclusion to the 2011 season, with preparations already underway for a busy 2012, in light of the Lonely Planet endorsement.

Naturist Beaches in Croatia: Jerolim, Hvar in CNN's Top 15 FKK


More recognition for Lonely Planet's Number 5 destination for 2012, as the naturist island of Jerolim is named one of top 15 places to skinny-dip by CNN.
Naturist Beaches in Croatia: Jerolim, Hvar in CNN's Top 15 FKK - Iostajy
The awards and recognition for Croatia's premier island continue to pour in, this time in the form of a report by CNN on November 21, 2011, which named Jerolim Beach among the best 15 places in the world for naturist bathing.
Jerolim is one of the stunning collection of islets known as the Pakleni Islands, which sit opposite Hvar Town and offer a diverse range of activities, as well as numerous hidden bays and coves through the pine forests. They are connected to the main island by regular water taxi departures from the waterfront.
Beaches on Hvar: The Crystal Waters of Jerolim
"Croatia is famed for its FKK (free body culture or "freikörperkultur") beaches," stated the CNN report, "and Jerolim island, the closest of the Pakleni islands to the town of Hvar, is renowned for its unspoilt, rocky shoreline and crystal waters.
"It's popular with naturists (as well as non-naturists), who can be found sunning themselves on the white rocky outcrops.
"For more privacy, get away from the main tourist area, hike through the forest and find a secluded cove. You can also explore the island's coast by boat."
Hvar and Naturism
Jerolim was actually the first island on the Croatian coast to be given over to naturist tourism, after an explosion of interest in this type of tourism in the 1960s, and today naturist tourism is an important sector in the country's offer, with German visitors making up the largest number of FKK visitors.
The history of naturism in Croatia owes much to the recently abdicated Edward VIII and new wife Wallis Simpson, who requested - and received - permission to skinny dip in the waters of the island of Rab in northern Croatia, and they are credited with being a significant factor in the development of naturist tourism.
Hvar is a leading destination for the FKK movement, and it offers numerous naturist beaches on the island itself, as well as another popular islet, Zecevo. As with many other tourists, naturists are attracted to Hvar's beaches by its clear water and reputation as the sunniest island in the Adriatic. The beaches are secluded and well sign-posted for parents who may be concerned at stumbling across them.
More Awards for the Island of Hvar
Jerolim's inclusion in the best beaches list is the latest in a series of accolades for the island.Lonely Planet named it in its top five destinations for 2012, and Conde Nast readers voted it the eighth best island in Europe, while its hotels have also been attracting attention, with Hotel Adriana in Fodor's top 100 and Hotel Riva in the Sunday Times Best 100 Small Hotels in Europe.

From Donkeys to Satellites: Google Street View Comes to Hvar


Croatia's premier island will soon be easier to discover, as the Google Street View car visited Hvar, the latest in improved mapping and communications.
From Donkeys to Satellites: Google Street View Comes to Hvar - Geomir
The modernisation of Hvar continues with the arrival ofGoogle Street View, whose car was seen touring touring the island's roads on November 16, 2011.
The street mapping service will doubtless be of benefit to numerous users, and is the latest in a line of infrastructure and technological initiatives on the island, which have transformed its way of life for good.
The Contrasting Nature of Hvar
The arrival of the Google vehicle, which represents progress and accessibility of information, was in stark contrast to another Hvar newsworthy item this week, the delightful tale of a chance encounter with a lithe, naked harpoon-wielding fisherwoman in one of Hvar's numerous idyllic coves, which earned Dana Smith first prize in the Guardian Readers' Writing Competition.
With the majority of travel by donkey, and ferry journeys to other towns on Hvar often via Split at the start of the last century, the island now has a reasonable network of roads. Access to the southern resorts of Zavala, Ivan Dolac and Sveta Nedjelja was revolutionised by the opening of the infamous Pitve Tunnel (construction began in 1962) and the opening of the new road from Stari Grad to Hvar Town, which reduced travel time between the two main towns to just 25 minutes.
Road Signs and House Numbers on Hvar
A campaign to improve tourist information has resulted in the appearance of dozens of helpful, if somewhat ugly, yellow road signs on Hvar's otherwise pristine roads in the last five years, followed by an ambitious campaign to give the island's streets names and its houses numbers.
The process of house numbering is particularly chaotic - and quintessentially Dalmatian. Residents are now required to present proof of ownership to the local catastar, at which point large land registry maps are pored over and plots identified. House numbers are then randomly assigned, which could prove a challenge for the island's 15 postmen. In some locations, the new house numbers are temporary, and are subject to imminent change...
Idyllic Hvar: A Natural Paradise
The nature of Hvar is changing with increased tourism and better infrastructure and information, but the good news for purists is that the real Hvar - away from the nightclubs frequented by Prince Harry and beach clubs visited by Beyonce - has remained virtually untouched. While the appearance of naked harpoon-wielding octopus fisherwomen may be rare, the aromatic lavender and rosemary fields, and the island's hundreds of undiscovered coves remain as they were a century ago.
The natural heritage of Hvar is perhaps best exemplified by the UNESCO-protected Stari Grad Plain, the largest cultivated field in the Adriatic, with olive and grape production continuing uninterrupted since the Ancient Greeks introduced the practices 2,400 years ago.

Sunday Times Best Hotels in Europe: Hotel Riva in Hvar, Croatia


More recognition for the Suncani Hvar chain, as stylish Hotel Riva included in the top 100 best small hotels in Europe, as decided by Sunday Times readers.
Sunday Times Best Hotels in Europe: Hotel Riva in Hvar, Croatia - Hvar Town Tourist Board
Interest and recognition in the island of Hvar shows no sign of slowing down with Hotel Riva the latest waterfront hotel to be voted as one of Europe's top hotels, according to a report in Croatian daily, Jutarnji List, on November 17, 2011.
Hotel Riva in Sunday Times List, Hotel Adriana in Fodor's
The hotel was included in the top 100 best small hotels in Europe in a survey conducted by readers of the Sunday Times, released last weekend. It is the second award for the island's leading hotel chain, Suncani Hvar, following Hotel Adriana's inclusion in Fodor's 2011 Top Hotel Awards for 2011 last week.
Both awards are continuing good news for the hotel chain, whose massive investment from the ORCO group in 2005 has helped transform the town into one of the hottest destinations on the Adriatic.
The Sunday Times list did not include luxury five-star hotels but focused more on smaller hotels with a personal approach and well-designed space. The Sunday Times described Hvar as "a smaller Cannes" with the hotel bathed in sunshine and overlooking the a beautiful beach. The Suncani Hvar website describes Hotel Riva as follows:
Description of Hotel Riva
"Hovering on the waterfront promenade in the heart of the medieval Hvar town, Riva, one of Croatia's trendiest boutique hotels, offers you the finest in Adriatic ambiance.
"Completely reconstructed in 2006, incorporating a beautiful 100-year-old building, Riva brings together the best of both worlds: old world charm and state of the art luxury. You’ll find yourself at home in one of Riva’s rooms featuring uniquely designed interiors, contemporary furnishings and an exceptional view of the sun as it sets over the Paklinski Islands."
The hotel has 54 rooms, offering spectacular views to the water, as well as the very popular Roots restaurant and stylish BB Club, one of the town's premier nightspots. It is ideally located on the waterfront close to premier cocktail bar Carpe Diem and restaurant Gariful.
More Awards for Hvar
The hotel has enjoyed a very successful season, with record occupancy reported in one of its other flagship hotels, the Hotel Amfora, which includes the unique Bonj les Bains beach resort in its offer, voted among Europe's top 20 beaches by the Times in 2010.
Recognition of the hotels is in line with the general positive noises about Croatia's premier island in recent weeks. Lonely Planet named it in its top five destinations for 2012, while the prestigious Conde Nast Readers' Awards 2011 cited Hvar, which also boasts the oldest organised tourism in Europe, in its top ten islands in Europe.

Guardian 2011 Readers' Competition: Hvar, Croatia Story Wins


The 2011 Guardian Readers' Writing Competition has been won by Dana Smith for her encounter with a naked octopus fisherwoman in a secluded cove.
Guardian 2011 Readers' Competition: Hvar, Croatia Story Wins - Miranda Milicic Bradbury
The island of Hvar has picked up numerous awards in recent weeks - Top Destination in Croatia 2011 (Vecernji List), Top 5 Destinations for 2012 (Lonely Planet) and Top Ten Islands in Europe 2011 (Conde Nast) - but the accolades are also being won by its tourists, with Dana Smith winning the prestigiousGuardian Readers' Writing Competition on November 11, 2011.
The story was based on their experiences of a recent holiday to the island, and highlighted a side to Croatia's premier island that receives less coverage than the nightclub antics of British royalty or baby bumps of American pop stars.
Smith and her husband found and booked an all-inclusive deal with a local family with the Adriatic their front garden. Fresh produce brought by the family - squid, aubergines, salads, wine - were the backdrop to the perfect holiday, but the memorable experience happened on a nearby seemingly deserted cove.
The superbly-written piece - which earned the author a 7-day all-inclusive holiday to Cancun - tells of the couple's tranquility being disturbed by a lithe naked woman who appeared from nowhere, disappeared into a nearby cave, only to reappear with a harpoon and then emerge an hour later with an octopus. The story highlights three aspects of Hvar which are not as well publicised as the vibrant nightlife in Hvar Town:
Hvar as a Destination to Escape the Stresses of Life
The couple found evidence that the naked lady was spending time in the cave, and the author's husband speculated that she was perhaps a loss-adjuster from Dubrovnik living out an island fantasy.
Hvar is in fact a very popular destination for executives to de-stress, and there are a surprising number of North Americans who travel large distances for the solitude and peacefulness of its clear turquoise waters and pine tree background. Away from the bright lights of Hvar Town, the majority of the island is relatively de-populated, and small settlements on the eastern side of the island - Vela Stiniva, Pokrivenik, the Gdinj bays and the small island of Scedro - offer a different type of tourism, whose thrust is peace, nature and the transparent Adriatic
Hvar's Abundancy of Hidden Coves
Hvar is rich in beaches, and for tourists willing to travel a little off the beaten path, it is possible to find a choice of coves with complete privacy, where the chance of an encounter with a naked harpoon-bearing native is limited. The Kabal peninsula north of Stari Grad, for example, is rarely visited, yet offers some of the best beaches on Hvar.
Hvar as a Premier Naturist Destination
Ever since another British royal went skinny-dipping with his new wife on the island of Rab, naturism has been part of the Croatian tourism offer. Edward and Mrs. Simpson's infamous swim 75 years ago is credited as a major factor in the development of nature tourism in Croatia, and it caters to a significant number of the country's visiting tourists.
Hvar is an important centre for naturism in Croatia, with the island of Jerolim off Hvar Town given over to naturists, while the outskirts of the pretty town of Vrboska house a popular nudist camp and beach. Read on for more information about Hvar as a naturist destination.

Sailing in Croatia: Suncani Hvar Main Sponsor of New Year Regatta


Hvar's leading hotel chain is named as main sponsor of 35th Laser Europa Cup on the same day as Hotel Adriana is included in Fodor's Top 100 Hotels.
Sailing in Croatia: Suncani Hvar Main Sponsor of New Year Regatta - Vese Huljic
Contrary to popular belief, the tourist season on the island of Hvar continues until the end of December with the Laser Europa Cup regatta, and this year's main sponsors have been confirmed as leading island hotel chain, Suncani Hvar, according to a press release on their website on November 10, 2011.
Zvir Sailing Club Celebrates 60 Years
The regatta, in its 35th year, is the culmination of a busy sailing year on the Adriatic, will take place from December 28-31, and an international festival is expected. The event is also significant for local sailing club Zvir, whic is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
Suncani Hvar, which has been supporting the event since it started, will be offering special rates in two of its hotels for the regatta's participants, with single rooms at Hotel Delphin and Hotel Palace starting at 51 euro half-board. There is also the option to take advantage of a 10% discount on Best Available Rates at the 4-star Hotel Adriana, which was today celebrating its inclusion in Fodor's Top Hotel Awards 2011.
Hvar as a Leading Sailing Destination in Croatia
Hvar is one of the most popular sailing destinations on the Croatian coast, and sailing tourism in the former Yugoslav republic is increasing in popularity. In addition to the island's renowned beauty and celebrity draw (Hvar was last week declared as the fifth best destination for 2012 by Lonely Planet), there is the added benefit for sailors to explore the enchanting Pakleni Islands, a collection of emerald jewels in the pristine waters opposite Hvar Town.
While the main tourist season is over and local attentions turned to the olive harvest, there are still numerous sailing events before the end of the year. Leading local activity specialist Hvar Adventure offers crewing options for people interested in taking part. There are several other regattas between now and the end of the year.
Sailing Activities on Hvar
With its two ACI marinas, one in Vrboska, the other in Palmizana, full during the season, business is booming, but there are also numerous opportunities for tourists who want to sail but who do not have a boat.
In addition to the regatta crewing option, Hvar Adventure run an excellent sailing school on the island, with 7-day courses for all levels, from beginner to advanced. They also offer various packages for half and full-day sailing, as well as longer trips throughout Dalmatia.

Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards 2011: Hotel Adriana on Hvar, Croatia


Last week, Lonely Planet's Destination Number 5 for 2012. This week, Suncani Hvar's Hotel Adriana is in Fodor's Top 100. Interest in Hvar is increasing.
Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards 2011: Hotel Adriana on Hvar, Croatia - Hvar Town Tourist Board
The was more good tourism news for the island of Hvar on November 10, 2011, with the announcement that the luxury Hotel Adriana in Hvar Town had been included in the prestigiousFodor's Top Hotel Awards for 2011.
Hotel Adriana's Seafront Location
"On the seafront, looking across the busy harbor toward the Old Town, the Adriana reopened in June 2007 after total renovation," states the Fodor review. "The rooms are decorated in minimalist style in subtle earthy shades with dark wooden floors, flat-screen TV, and bathrooms with glass partitions.
"There is a rooftop pool and sophisticated cocktail bar affording stunning views onto the sea and Old Town, and a chic ground-floor restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine on the harbor front. The luxurious Sensori Spa offers seven types of massage, beauty treatments, yoga and Pilates."
Hotel Adriana: Casual Chic
Hotel Adriana was placed in the chic casual category, and tribute was paid to its prime seafront location, beautifully designed interior and luxury spa.
The Adriana is one of a number of hotels in the town belonging to Suncani Hvar (literally "Sunny Hvar), a company which was transformed by the investment of the ORCO group in 2005. Several hotels have been stylishly and expensively renovated, lifting the quality tourism offer of the island, which is known for its party atmosphere, pristine beaches, and endless sunshine.
Given its prime location at the heart of the town, the hotel is very popular and enjoys healthy occupancy during the season, but it also has several lesser-known offers during the quieter winter months, including a luxury spa New Year's package. The hotel also opens its facilities to local residents during the quiet months.
Hvar's Awards Show No Sign of Abating
The award is the latest piece of good news for Croatia's premier island, which has been in the headlines throughout the year, most notably due to Prince Harry's swimming pool antics at top nightclub Veneranda, and Beyonce's baby bump on display at the Hula Hula Beach Club.
Away from the celebrities, however, the island has been racking up the plaudits, including Lonely Planet's number five destination for 2012, the Conde Nast Readers Awards naming it the eighth best island in Europe, and national newspaper Vecernji List naming it the top destination in Croatia after an undercover survey of Croatia's tourism hotspots. In addition to this Hvar Town's mayor, Pjerino Bebic, was also recently nominated as the best mayor in Croatia at the Days of Croatian Tourism Awards.

Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards 2011: Hotel Adriana on Hvar, Croatia


Last week, Lonely Planet's Destination Number 5 for 2012. This week, Suncani Hvar's Hotel Adriana is in Fodor's Top 100. Interest in Hvar is increasing.
Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards 2011: Hotel Adriana on Hvar, Croatia - Hvar Town Tourist Board
The was more good tourism news for the island of Hvar on November 10, 2011, with the announcement that the luxury Hotel Adriana in Hvar Town had been included in the prestigiousFodor's Top Hotel Awards for 2011.
Hotel Adriana's Seafront Location
"On the seafront, looking across the busy harbor toward the Old Town, the Adriana reopened in June 2007 after total renovation," states the Fodor review. "The rooms are decorated in minimalist style in subtle earthy shades with dark wooden floors, flat-screen TV, and bathrooms with glass partitions.
"There is a rooftop pool and sophisticated cocktail bar affording stunning views onto the sea and Old Town, and a chic ground-floor restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine on the harbor front. The luxurious Sensori Spa offers seven types of massage, beauty treatments, yoga and Pilates."
Hotel Adriana: Casual Chic
Hotel Adriana was placed in the chic casual category, and tribute was paid to its prime seafront location, beautifully designed interior and luxury spa.
The Adriana is one of a number of hotels in the town belonging to Suncani Hvar (literally "Sunny Hvar), a company which was transformed by the investment of the ORCO group in 2005. Several hotels have been stylishly and expensively renovated, lifting the quality tourism offer of the island, which is known for its party atmosphere, pristine beaches, and endless sunshine.
Given its prime location at the heart of the town, the hotel is very popular and enjoys healthy occupancy during the season, but it also has several lesser-known offers during the quieter winter months, including a luxury spa New Year's package. The hotel also opens its facilities to local residents during the quiet months.
Hvar's Awards Show No Sign of Abating
The award is the latest piece of good news for Croatia's premier island, which has been in the headlines throughout the year, most notably due to Prince Harry's swimming pool antics at top nightclub Veneranda, and Beyonce's baby bump on display at the Hula Hula Beach Club.
Away from the celebrities, however, the island has been racking up the plaudits, including Lonely Planet's number five destination for 2012, the Conde Nast Readers Awards naming it the eighth best island in Europe, and national newspaper Vecernji List naming it the top destination in Croatia after an undercover survey of Croatia's tourism hotspots. In addition to this Hvar Town's mayor, Pjerino Bebic, was also recently nominated as the best mayor in Croatia at the Days of Croatian Tourism Awards.

Wines in Croatia: Zlatan Otok from Hvar Top Producer at Sabatina


There was more recognition for the wines from Hvar at Sabatina 2011 in Zadar, as Zlatan Plenkovic's Zlatan Otok wines win top prize for both red and white.
Wines in Croatia: Zlatan Otok from Hvar Top Producer at Sabatina - Marion Podolski
Further recognition of the quality of the wines from the island of Hvar was provided at the 21st Sabatina international wine festival in Zadar on Saturday November 5, 2011, as the island's leading producer Zlatan Otok took first prize for both the red and white wine categories.
Zlatan Otok, First Winner of Best Wine for Both Red and White
The winery, owned by Zlatan Plenkovic and based on the southern side of Croatia's sunniest island in the picturesque village of Sveta Nedjelja, won best red wine with its 2008 Zlatan Plavac Grand Cru, while the winning white wine was the 2010 Zlatan Posip. It was the first time in Sabatina's 21-year history that both categories were won by the same producer.
During a small ceremony before the official awards, Plenkovic told reporters that he was particularly proud of the recognition for the white Posip, according to a report in Zadarski List. Its vineyards are located near Makarska and are only five years old, and he was pleased to be able to produce such an award-winning wine from a young vineyard without the use of artificial fertilisers.
Arrival of Croatian Wines on the International Scene
Croatian wines have been relatively unheard of on the international scene, but things are changing fast. The art of wine-growing on Hvar dates back to the arrival of the Ancient Greeks in modern-day Stari Grad, and the adjoining Stari Grad Plain - under UNESCO protection - is the largest cultivated field on the Adriatic, with wine and olive production continuing uninterrupted for 24 centuries.
After a devastating phylloxera attack in the first half of the 20th Century and a lack of infrastructure during the Communist era, Croatian wines are beginning to take the international wine world by storm, with some 65 Croatian wines winning awards at the 2011 Decanter Wine Awards, for example.
The Wine Producers of Hvar
Leading the way is Plenkovic himself, the only producer of a Grand Cru in Croatia. A cursory glance at the awards page on the Zlatan Otok website gives an indication of the international pedigree of the winery's wines. Not that Plenkovic is the only quality producer on Hvar; the wines of Andro Tomic in Jelsa, Vinarija Caric in Svirce, the Plancic winery in Vrbanj, and the mercurial reds of Ivo Dubokovic in Jelsa are all worth seeking out.
One of the best ways of doing this (and seeing the island at the same time) is by taking one of the excellent wine tours offered by local travel experts such as Secret Hvar or Hvar Adventure. Expect to hear a lot more about the wines from Croatia in general and Hvar in particular in the coming months.

Agro-Tourism in Croatia: Local Entrepreneur Workshop on Hvar


Hvar's celebrity attractions and stunning beaches are only part of the story. Lonely Planet's number 5 for 2012 has plenty to offer in agro-tourism.
Agro-Tourism in Croatia: Local Entrepreneur Workshop on Hvar - Tina Milicic
Hvar's celebrity summer and recommendation by Lonely Planet as its top five destination for 2012 will have many tourists planning a trip to Croatia's premier island, but away from the bright lights, there is a growing movement to develop agro-tourism on the island, a fact endorsed by the announcement on the Stari Grad Tourist Board website of a free workshop on agro-tourism on November 5, 2011.
The workshop, organised by the local Faros College, is an attempt to engage interested parties in agro-tourism and local entrepreneurship, and is intended to take place on Hvar and the neighbouring islands of Brac, Korcula and Vis.
The main objective of the project is to empower the entrepreneurial sector and to promote employment on the islands in the sectors of tourism, hospitality and agricultural activities. The project is divided into four main sections:
Training for the Heads of Agro-Tourism Businesses
The training, verified by the Ministry of Education and Sports, covers the principles of tourism and marketing, fundamentals of the soil, principles of organic agriculture, the importance of herbs in tourism, viticulture, the basics of running a farm, development of indigenous souvenirs, and the characteristics of rural tourism on the Adriatic coast, in addition to more general training on computer basics and safety at work.
Project of "Croatian Island Production"
The concept of developing labelling of high quality island products was launched by the Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure in 2007, with the aim of promoting the island's original and quality products. The course will look at the research and development of such products, including innovations to determine a product's quality.
Local Business and Rural Tourism
This section of the training covers a range of practical areas, from tax, applying for and using local and government funds, and Pre-Accession issues. Legal, sanitary and veterinary regulations are explored in detail, as well as development individual strategies in line with the development plans of local and central government.
Energy Efficiency and Cooperative Production
The project offers a series of lectures on responsible and environmentally friendly energy management and resources, exploring the economic factors which can bring about sustainable development.
In addition, there will be help in preparing the advertising and presentation of products, protection of indigenous products, the role of tradition in making deals, and training on cooking and serving food and wine in the rural economy.
Although no date has been set for the course, it will be free and more information can be obtained by emailing uciliste.faros @ gmail.com
Revival of Inland Villages on Hvar
The proposed training is in line with several initiatives to expand agro-tourism on Hvar, and to revive older traditions. Some of the island's inland villages are undergoing something of a renaissance, and there are fascinating festivals to attend throughout the year, such as the annual Lavender Festival in Velo Grablje and the eclectic Dormouse Festival in Dol. Hvar also boasts the largest cultivated field in the Adriatic, the Stari Grad Plain, 80 hectares of agricultural tradition, preserved over 24 centuries from the time of the Ancient Greeks, and now open to be explored by guided tours from a new agency existing for that very purpose.
From partying with Prince Harry to learning the secrets of Dalmatia's olives, lavender and grapes, there is a very diverse tourism offer on Hvar.

Tourism in Croatia: Hvar Tourist Board Published Events for 2012


The island of Hvar, recently named in Lonely Planet's top five destinations for 2012, has published its preliminary event calendar for next year.
Tourism in Croatia: Hvar Tourist Board Published Events for 2012 - Hvar Town Tourist Board
After another successful season filled with the celebrity antics of Prince Harry andBeyonce, and basking in its nomination as Lonely Planet's fifth top destination for 2012 and among Conde Nast's top ten islands in Europe, the Hvar Town Tourist Board published its preliminary list of events for the 2012 season on November 5, 2011.
The calendar of events reflects the diverse nature of the tourism offer on Croatia's premier island, whose long tradition of hospitality includes it offering the oldest organised tourism in Europe.
Island of Hvar Confirmed Events for 2012
February 26: Costume Ball
March 8: The Annual Carnival before Lent, as the island's various kindergartens dress up and perform on the island's squares.
April 1-8: Week of festivities over the Easter period, the most important of which is the 500 year-old UNESCO-protected Easter Procession, known as Za Krizem (Behind the Cross).
April 9: Hvar Match Race, one of several regattas which take place in the Adriatic every year.
April 16-18: Gariful Hvar Women's Tennis Open, an annual event sponsored by leading local restaurant, Gariful, which also happened to be Prince's Harry's gastronomic choice during his short stay.
May 2-6: The 39th "Days of Croatian Theatre."
May 6-11: "Prix Marulic", the 16th international festival of radio plays and radio drama.
May 10: Festival of St. Prosper, a gastronomic extravaganza.
June 1: The 51st Hvar Summer Festival, a collection of theatre an concerts throughout the summer.
June 29: The 4th Lavender Festival in Velo Grablje, once the centre of lavender production in Dalmatia, and a unique event, including delicious lavender ice cream.
July 2: Olive Oil Fair "Summer with Olive Oil", a presentation of all aspects of olive production, one of the staples of the local economy.
August: The 37th Faros Marathon in Stari Grad, a 16km swim in the Adriatic, regarded as one of the toughest swimming races in the world.
August: The Jelsa Wine Festival, which is one of the most eagerly-awaited nights in the summer programme in Hvar's third biggest town. It takes place on the last weekend in August.
September: The 2nd Hvar Half Marathon, a challenging run up the hill from Stari Grad to Hvar Town, and arguably the most scenic run in Europe.
September 16: Festival of St. Kuzme and St. Damian in Velo Grablje.
October 1: Hvar Town Wine Festival.
October 2: Festival of St. Stephen, Patron Saint of Hvar, Brac and Vis.
October 6: The 2nd Traditional Sailboat Festival, "Festa Forske Pulene."
October 7: The 7th Island Regatta, a race from Hvar to Komiza on Vis and back.
December 24: "Hvar Bakalar", a culinary festival with the traditional dried cod dish.
December 28-31: The 36th International New Year traditional sailing regatta "Europa Cup."
December 31: The 32nd Navigation Regatta, "In memory of Zdenko Roic."
The list of events will be added to, as more concerts are confirmed, and will include the usual cultural summer offerings from the towns of Jelsa, Stari Grad and Vrboska, as well various traditional celebrations in Hvar's villages, such as the eclectic Edible Dormouse Festival in Dol.

Flights to Croatia: More 2012 UK Flights to Dubrovnik Announced


Monarch Airlines announced a major Mediterranean expansion, with 14 new routes to Greece, Italy and Croatia, with Dubrovnik served by three new routes.
Flights to Croatia: More 2012 UK Flights to Dubrovnik Announced - Paul Bradbury
The growing interest in Croatia as a tourist destination for British tourists was boosted by the announcement by Monarch Airlines of three new routes to Dubrovnik in a press release on the airline's website on November 3, 2011.
Monarch Airlines Flights from Manchester, Birmingham and Gatwick to Dubrovnik
Announcing the flights - which will depart from Manchester, Birmingham and London Gatwick - Kevin George, Managing Director of Monarch Airlines, Kevin George said: “The strategy for Monarch Airlines is now firmly focused on its scheduled operations and we are delighted to be adding these new routes to our already extensive network of leisure destinations across Europe.
The announcement is good news for consumers, as British interest in Croatia's stunning coast in increasing, with Croatia featuring in the top ten most popular destinations for British holidaymakers, according to a report by top booking company, Skyscanner, earlier this year.
Once the second most popular destination after Spain, with 440,000 British tourists arriving annually to former Yugoslavia - the bulk of them on packages with Yugo Tours to the Croatian coast - the region's tourism industry was devastated by recent war and break-up of former Yugoslavia.
The Croatian Tourist Board has worked hard to promote the country's tourism effort under the highly effective slogan, The Mediterranean as it Once Was, and tourists are once more flocking to its coastal resorts.
Island of Hvar: Lonely Planet Top Destination Number 5
Dubrovnik remains the most popular destination, but many visitors choose to spend their holidays on some of the 1185 islands that are liberally scattered in the Adriatic's waters. One of the most interesting is Hvar, which was last week named as the fifth best destination to visit by influential tourism company, Lonely Planet.
Croatia's coastal airports of Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Pula and Rijeka have seen a large increase in budget airline and charter flights in recent years, with Dubrovnik in particular now connected to numerous international destinations.
Increased International Interest in Flights to Dubrovnik
National carriers have also started flying directly to the city, with Aeroflot commencing direct flights from Moscow, for example, while Finnair has announced a direct route from Helsinki in 2012, driven by strong interest from their passengers in Asia.
With the Croatian Tourism ministry's stated strategy of exploring eastern markets to attract more tourists - notably Japan and China - the current raft of announcements of new routes to the city known as the Pearl of the Adriatic shows no sign of abating.
Tickets for the Monarch routes to Dubrovnik went on sale this morning for flights up to October, 2012.

Lonely Planet Top Regions 2012: Hvar Island in Croatia Number 5


The increasing popularity of the island of Hvar is recognised by Lonely Planet, who name Croatia's premier island in their top 10 destinations for 2012.
Lonely Planet Top Regions 2012: Hvar Island in Croatia Number 5 - Christine Connor
Influential travel website Lonely Planet announced their top ten recommendations for tourist destinations on October 27, 2011, with the Croatian island of Hvar making the list at number five.
Hvar: Celebrity Attraction
It is the latest piece of positive publicity for the island, which has enjoyed a high profile season, with the celebrity antics of Prince Harry and Beyonce in particular. Footage of the British prince jumping fully-clothed into a swimming pool at top outdoor nightclub Veneranda was beamed around the globe, quickly followed by images of American popstar Beyonce revealed her baby bump at the Hula Hula Beach Club in Hvar Town.
"Come high summer, there’s no cooler place in Croatia to get your groove on than Hvar Town on its namesake island. Fabulous suntanned bodies flock to this drop-dead gorgeous spot for round-the-clock fun. Think apr√®s-beach parties as the sun dips below the Adriatic horizon, full-moon shindigs and designer cocktails sipped seaside to fresh DJ-spun tunes," wrote Lonely Planet contributor, Anja Mutic.
While Hvar's vibrant nightlife and expensive yachts draws most of the headlines, this only tells part of the story of Europe's sunniest island, which was also voted in the top ten islands in Europe at the Conde Nast Readers' Choice Awards earlier this month.
Hvar: Superb Climate and Aromatic Nature
The island is well-known for its excellent recuperative climate, and boasts the oldest organised tourism in Europe, with the founding of the Hvar Health Society in1868. Away from the main towns, which include Stari Grad - the oldest town in Croatia, founded in 384 BC by the Ancient Greeks - the fields of Hvar are an aromatic delight, with rosemary and lavender prevalent, the latter celebrated by the annual Lavender Festival in Velo Grablje.
"For island bliss unmarred by glitz and bling, get into your birthday suit on the Pakleni Islands just offshore and – bikinis back on – explore the island’s coastline and dreamy interior, with its endless fields of lavender, stretching sea vistas, towering peaks, scenic canyons and abandoned hamlets," continued Mutic.
Top of the Lonely Planet list was Coastal Wales, which may raise a few eyebrows, as did the top recommendation in 2011 - Albania. The Welsh Coast was followed by La Ruta Maya in Central America, Northern Kenya (whose popularity may have been affected by recent events) and Arunachal Pradesh in India, all above Hvar.
The list was completed by Sicily in sixth, the Maritime Provinces in Canada, Queenstown and the Southern Lakes in New Zealand, Borneo and Poitou-Charentes in France.