From Hvar to Makarska to Loviste, Croatia's Welcome Heads South
Croatia's innovative tourism project to create the world's biggest welcome leaves the island of Hvar and heads for the Peljesac Peninsula.
Day 46 of Croatia's innovative tourism project, to create the world's largest welcome, began on the island of Hvar on May 26 2011 with a visit to a rock climbing facility. The aim of the 62-day project is to highlight both the natural beauty of Croatia and the diverse nature of its adventure tourism by following a winding, 2,500km route from north to south which spells the word "Welcome."
Rock Climbing in Sveta Nedjelja on Hvar
Rock climbing is an expanding activity on the island, according to Vese Huljic, who runs the island's most successful active tourism company, Hvar Adventure. According to Huljic, the sport is relatively new to the island, with the first bolted rock climbing areas appearing in 2002.
The Welcome team visited the southern resort of Sveta Nedjelja, where they spent time at the rock climbing centre Cliffbase, owned and run by a Slovakian enthusiast, before continuing on their journey on the road to Sucuraj and transfer to the mainland.
Transfer to the Mainland and Cycling from Makarska
A key component of the trip is to follow a route which spells the word Welcome so that it will eventually be viewed from Google Earth, enabling Croatian tourism to claim the biggest welcome in the world. Implementing this in practical terms requires backtracking on occasion.
Heading north to Makarska to join up the "M" in welcome, the Welcome team then planned a 25km cycle to Blato and kayak from there to Loviste, but opted for the kayaks sooner due to the business of the main road.
With the imposing Biokovo mountains as a backdrop, the team paddled past numerous empty beaches, soon to be crowded in the imminent peak season, a reminder of the shortness of the Croatian season, despite generally excellent weather in late May.
Kayaking from Blato to Loviste on Peljesac
The final destination, through the channel between Hvar and Peljesac, was the picturesque village of Loviste on the western tip of the Peljesac Peninsula. Given its relatively remote location (tourists arriving by car must drive the length of the peninsula), Loviste is less crowded than other places on the coast and offers good beaches and coves.
The Welcome team were greeted by enthusiastic local children and Stjepan Rudan, President of the local council, and enjoyed a table of local figs and brandy.
The tour is scheduled to continue by kayak to the island of Korcula, birthplace of Marco Polo, before finishing on June 3 with a kayak leg from the island of Mljet to Dubrovnik.