St. Tropez in Hvar, Cannes in Sucuraj: Croatia's Premier Island
An imminent royal visit to Croatia from the King and Queen of Norway highlights the development on eastern Hvar near Sucuraj, billed as the new Cannes.
The imminent visit of King Harald V and Queen Sonya of Norway to Croatia has raised the profile of development plans to turn land near Sucuraj, on the eastern tip of Hvar Island, into a resort rivaling Cannes, according to a report in Slobodna Dalamacija on May 9, 2011.
Norwegian Interest in the Dalmatian Coast
The royal couple are due on an official visit to Zagreb and the coastal town of Sibenik on May 12-13, accompanied by 100 Norwegian businessmen, who are investigating investment opportunities in the former-Yugoslav republic.
With both countries boasting a proud maritime tradition, there has been room for cooperation, and a highlight of Queen Sonya's visit to Sibenik will be the launching of two catamarans built by Croatian companies for the Norwegian market.
The island of Hvar is an especially popular destination for Norwegians, both for tourism and real estate. More than a dozen have bought property in the old town of Stari Grad alone, including the country's ambassador to Croatia, with Croatia proving to be a warm and accessible escape from the harsh Scandinavian winter.
Scandinavian interest has been helped by the rise of prominence of low-cost carrier, Norwegian, which offers direct flights to Split and Dubrovnik from a variety of Scandinavian destinations. Unlike most budget airlines, the airline maintains a schedule well into November.
Sucuraj and the Underdeveloped Eastern Half of the Island of Hvar
In the report Norwegian Ambassador Henrick Ofstad mentioned the significant, and underreported, Norwegian investment on Hvar, a luxury beach front resort close to the town of Sucuraj, encompassing 80,000m2 of land in a venture between Edge Capital and Nikki Beach Hotels.
Describing Hvar as the most beautiful island in the world, Ambassador Oftad went on, "The decision was taken to build a large resort in Sucuraj, something similar to which only exists in Cannes. The project is mutually beneficial, as it will provide many jobs."
Hvar – One of the World's Top Ten Most Beautiful Islands
While there is no denying the beauty and potential of the Sucuraj project, which includes a sandy beach – a rarity in Croatia – there is a certain irony in the Cannes analogy. Long known as Croatia's premier island, and frequent recipient of international accolades (Top Ten Most Beautiful Islands in the World – Conde Nast; World's Sexiest Islands – Forbes Magazine), the eastern half of the island has often been seen as the poor relation.
Tourists travelling from Dubrovnik are often bemused at the long and sometimes perilous road trip from the tiny port of Sucuraj to the more developed resort towns of Jelsa, Stari Grad and Hvar Town, and few take the time to discover the undoubted beauty of the hidden coves in the eastern half.
That may be set to change with the Norwegian investment, with tourists soon to be offered the choice of the new St. Tropez in Hvar Town or the New Cannes in Sucuraj. Whatever the choice, the investment is good news for the local economy and good news for tourists, who will have even more choice on this spectacular island.