A street art tour of Zagreb
While the urban fabric of Zagreb hasn’t changed all that much in the last ten or twenty years, large-scale art pieces are adding flourishes of colour to the city centre. Graffiti is as old as civilisation itself. Ancient Romans etched bawdy words onto the basilicas of Pompeii. More artistically, perhaps, in Ancient Greece, rejected lovers often inscribed poems on the doorways of their affection. Zagreb’s sooty facades are strewn with unartistic graffiti: simplistic tags and scrawls declaring loyalty to Dinamo ‘The Bad Blue Boys’ (the local football team), are everywhere. Depending on where you sit, it’s a blatant form of territory marking, or an attack on public space as a form of art or protest. Unlike many capital cities still figuring that one out, Zagreb is beginning to embrace street art. Taking a laissez-faire approach to the scourge of scribbles, the city is also making big strides towards outdoor-art enlightenment. Zagreb’s cultural institutions have sought urban artists to decorate their exterior walls – prolific OKO has painted large murals at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Modern Gallery. More interestingly, the municipal authorities' decision to give over the wall of Dolac (the symbolic heart of Zagreb, and a highly-visible public space) to a popular graphic-artist, suggests that Zagreb is beginning to view street art as a legitimate attraction. Walking off the blue tram at the far-west Ljubljanica, past rows of blue trams parked u
Ten reasons to go to Mirogoj Cemetery
An easy tram hop from the city centre, the beautiful tree-lined cemetery of Mirogoj is a rarely visited attraction. Founded in 1876 and designed by Hermann Bollé, few visitors reach Mirogoj, but those who do discover an expansive space filled with excellent sculptures and seemingly endless tiled arcades. Here are ten reasons why you should make the journey to Mirogoj Cemetery. 1) It's an architectural treasure Designed by Hermann Bollé, the architect responsible for Zagreb’s Cathedral, Mirogoj cemetery covers a vast area that stretches up towards the base of Medvednica. The green oxidised copper domes, with their intricate, pastel coloured inner designs, are magnificent. So too are the tiled arcades that appear to stretch on into infinity, past an endless succession of memorials and flowers. The arcades are especially striking in the summer time when they are clad in bright green ivy and the sun patterns the innumerable columns and arches. Bollé is buried here alongside plenty of notable local figures. 2) The Croatian poet Petar Preradović is buried here Mirogoj is an excellent place to indulge in a spot of taphophilia, or tombstone tourism as it is otherwise known. The cemetery is the final resting place of Petar Preradović, a seminal figure in Croatian Romantic poetry. Born in the north-eastern village of Grabrovnica, Preradović fought as a soldier in the Wars of Italian Unification and produced some of the country’s most celebrated verse. He
Five reasons why Croatia is a world-class mountain biking destination
Brendan Fairclough has travelled the world in search of mountain biking hotspots. For his movie ‘Deathgrip’ he rode everything from epic moonscapes in Utah to tight single tracks in South Africa. Croatia, though, is new and exciting territory for the professional biker, ‘the landscape here is certainly not what I’m used to, it’s rocky and fast.’ As the world’s top mountain bikers descend on the island of Lošinj for the Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup this April, Croatia is thrust onto everyone’s radar as a top mountain biking destination. Anticipating the renewed hype around the country’s extensive network of biking trails, we caught up with Brendan on Lošinj, where he offered us his top five reasons why Croatia is a world-class mountain biking destination.
In pictures: long exposure shots of Croatia
‘A combination of long exposures, about five minutes on average, and post-processing’, is how Kresimir Delac gets his shots. Keeping the shutter open a little longer his images are drenched in light and mostly depict seascapes with the odd building or mountain mid-frame to demarcate the point at which the sea meets the sky. This simple sounding methodology undersells the work that goes into getting a shot like this, where as much time is spent in the field shooting as it is in the editing suite afterwards. Appropriately for the slow shutter speeds involved in this sort of work, these images ask that you pass over them slowly, letting as much light in as possible.
A walking tour of Zagreb's socialist architecture
Like Budapest, Zagreb is two cities divided by a river. Novi Zagreb lies to the south of Zagreb, across the river Sava, and was developed to house the growing population. Its skyline is dominated by the socialist realist monoliths, that I, on a grey January morning, set out to explore on foot. As an important hub within Tito’s Socialist Yugoslavia up until the ‘90s, when the country broke apart in the bloodiest wars of Europe’s recent history, Zagreb at one point vied with Belgrade for leadership of the country. During this period Croatia got more than its fair share of socialist realist architecture, made from identical concrete panels that were rolled out on vast production lines. The city now boasts some of the largest examples of this architecture in Central Europe, much of which can be found south of the river. Visitors staying in the pastel coloured Old Town may be put off by nicknames such as ‘Commie blocks’, but should remember that at the core of the housing blocks is a utopian vision of how the cities of the future might look. Forget the oxidised copper roofs of the Austro-Hungarian centre, the boxy housing estates are where you’ll find the interesting stuff. I don’t walk far from the centre before I hit Béton brut (raw concrete, from which we get the word ‘Brutalism’). Down Savska cesta just before the river are the Rakete, three rocket shaped towers that were modified after the 1963 Skopje earthquake to withstand further tremors. The nickname comes from the ang
New speedway era begins at Goričan
A new era for speedway began in the not-so-sleepy border town of Goričan this weekend. “I just wish I was 13 again so I could experience all of this new energy,” four-time Speedway World Champion Greg Hancock tells me. With a new licensing deal reinvigorating the sport, the curtain-raiser in Croatia gave clear signs that this year, the World Championships would be a different proposition. FIM SpeedwayFIM Speedway From the pits, manned by a dedicated team of mechanics, where even the youngest of riders had their own booth, up to the catered spread for VIPs, everything felt closer to F1 than the rough-and-ready origins of speedway. Though speedway is hugely popular in Poland and has its origins in Australia a century ago, traditionally the motorsport has not received the same support and attention elsewhere. The Pavlić family, who construct roads in Croatia, own the stadium at Goričan. The family built their son Jurica a track in his own backyard. He went on to become the 2007 Individual European Champion – every kid’s dream. FIM SpeedwayFIM Speedway The trophies this year were designed and created by the Pavlić family and weighed a ton. They form just another part of the history soaked into the walls here at Goričan. Greg Hancock, who kissed the ground when he won here back in 2010, is a big part of this heritage, and he cannot walk far without being asked for an autograph or a selfie. Though homemade, this is still a seriously professional site and it takes a few turns
Speedway Grand Prix roars back into Goričan
This Saturday, April 30, the northern Croatian border town of Goričan comes alive to the sound of 500cc engines burning methanol, as the world’s finest speedway riders broadside around the 305m track before a packed crowd. Croatia has long been a hub for speedway fans, hosting three FIM GP Challenges. This year, the Grand Prix tournament welcomes Goričan back into the fold after a ten-year hiatus by staging the first meet there, before it moves on to Poland, Prague, Cardiff and Australasia in November. fimspeedway.comFIM Speedway “Goričan has a nice sandy little track, a lot different to all the other ones on the calendar,” says the UK’s Tai Woffinden, four-time World Champion. It’s challenging though, as “it sucks a lot of power out of the engines”. A decade after the last Grand Prix there, 2022 is the perfect year to bring the sport back to Croatia’s northern Međimurje County, as a new TV deal promises to beam races to 100 million homes over the coming three years. Speedway is now on the cusp of the mainstream. Goričan’s legendary stadium will be the place to watch the world’s sharpest riders forge identities and careers in a new era for the sport. The Stadion Milenium has long been considered hallowed ground for the sport with Australian origins. Yugoslav champion Zvonimir Pavlić built the place from the ground up, and US speedway legend Greg Hancock was crowned World Champion here in 2011. There’s some serious history soaked into the benches at Goričan. fimspeedway.c
Ultra Europe 2018 announces Eric Prydz, The Chainsmokers, Carl Cox, David Guetta and Marshmellow as headliners
Ultra Europe has announced the first wave of artists featuring in its 2018 lineup. The 6th instalment of the festival will be held at Poljud Stadium and include debut headline performances from The Chainsmokers, Eric Prydz and Marshmello. House and EDM will rattle around Split’s 34,000 capacity stadium for three whole days from 6-8 July. ©Ultra Europe The North American house-dance-trance festival thrills fans worldwide each year, and with its line-up reading like a 'best of' the genre CD: Afrojack, Alesso, Armin van Buuren, Axwell / Ingrosso, Carl Cox, David Guetta, DJ Snake, Galantis, Hardwell, Marco Carola, and Steve Angello. It's an absolute must-go if pulsing beats, an electric atmosphere and shining lights are what gets you up and dancing all night. Associated events include parties on several islands, a Yacht Regatta and more. Tickets can be bought here. RECOMMENDED: 20 great things to do in Split
26 incredible sunsets in Croatia
January can be a bleak month, with the advent period well and truly over, and spring yet to come. With the exception of the odd sunny day, life has become an uninterrupted series of shades of grey. Thankfully Instagram is full of sun related hashtags able to transport us back to the summer months, if only for a brief moment, so we can escape this greyscale. Here are 26 sunsets in Croatia to linger over. RECOMMENDED: Top 10 islands in Croatia. 1) #throwback Settembre 2014 Un weekend alla scoperta di questo magico paesino a due passi dal Italia. Bellissime passeggiate e tramonti mozzafiato. #dramalj #croazia #croatia🇭🇷 #croatiasunset #natureloversgallery #adventuretravel #travelman #traveladdict #traveladventure #sunset🌅 #croatiaweek #magicday #magicplace #magichour #magic_shots #inlovewithcroatia #eurotrip #hrvatska #volimcroatia #lovecroatia #croatiafulloflife A post shared by Nature Lover | Trekking Lover (@artur.alla) on Feb 3, 2017 at 10:45am PST 2) A post shared by Jason Chan (@jasonchanoz) on Aug 30, 2017 at 11:04am PDT 3) A post shared by Marty&Me (@martyandme_) on Jan 15, 2018 at 10:12am PST 4) A post shared by Apartments Leon (@apartmentsleon) on Jan 15, 2018 at 1:05pm PST 5) A post shared by DRAAGU (@draagupictures) on Jan 10, 2018 at 7:03am PST 6)
Roll up! Tuna, Sushi and Wine festival comes to Zadar
The fourth Tuna, Sushi and Wine festival (a tastier selection of nouns doesn't exist) will be held in Zadar from 2-11 February. A collaborative effort between the City of Zadar, Embassy of Japan in Croatia, and the Japanese-Croatian Exchange Association, the event fosters connections between the two countries in the historic city of Zadar. Drawing on the city's impressive architecture, the 16th century Venetian Arsenal, a former port warehouse, will be the venue for the opening gala, and the city’s Archaeological Museum will host a series of origami workshops. There will be a programme of lectures, an irresistibly titled photo exhibition - ’Fantastic Tuna’, demonstrations of martial arts by the local sports clubs, and plenty of chances to eat fancy Japanese food at the Cedulin Palace. Lots of live cooking has been scheduled, including an appearance by Croatian chef David Skoko, plus a number of Japanese sushi experts showing us how sushi is made properly. In the evening there's a performance scheduled by Japanese jazz singer Minami Kayoko. Tickets and more information can be found on the official website. Feeling hungry?
Croatia is the 6th largest consumer of beer in the world
Statistics portal Statista have crunched the all-important numbers and can now reveal the top ten biggest beer drinking nations in the world. According to the survey, in 2017 the average Croatian drank 81.19 litres of beer. To put that into context, a 72kg man is made up of about 42 litres of water. So, Croatians drank twice the amount of body fluid in their own body in one year, presumably replacing it with booze. Croatia's inclusion in the top six can be explained by its seasonally hot weather and huge tourism industry, with over 18 million visitors recorded in 2017. But Croatians are also known for their penchant for the pivo. ©Statista Charts The Czech Republic downs the most beer per capita, drinking an average of 137.38 litres in 2017. Eastern European countries dominated the top rankings. The largest non-European drinkers were the Americans who came in at 12th place guzzling 74.90 litres of beer. Need a Drink?
British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia announce more flights to Croatia
Good news for Croatia, bad news for carbon emissions as another slew of flight paths are announced to Croatia for the summer ahead. This time it’s British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia - members of the International Consolidated Airlines Group - that plan to up the number of flights they provide to Croatia for summer 2018. Iberia will fly to Dubrovnik, Split and Zagreb, with eight flights a week going to the capital. Madrid to Split will operate daily, and four flights a week will go to Dubrovnik. BA is considering growing their flight path from Heathrow to Zagreb, and will fly 12 times a week from Gatwick to Dubrovnik while Aer Lingus will put on a daily flight from Dublin to Dubrovnik in the summer, though are undecided about putting on a connection to Zagreb. RECOMMENDED: 20 great things to do in Dubrovnik
Is 'Masters of the Universe' the next blockbuster to be shot in Dubrovnik?
He-Man may soon be pitted against his nemesis Skeletor in Dubrovnik, for the remake of 'Masters of the Universe'. The original sci-fi, in which evil Skeletor vies with He-Man for control of Castle Grayskull, was a total flop at the box office but is now considered something of a cult classic by fans of the genre. Under the direction of David S. Goyer, who worked on 'Blade: Trinity' and wrote 'The Dark Knight,' it looks like Dolph Lundgren, the Swedish body-builder who played the original muscle-bound hero, will return for the remake of the 1987 film - but this time in a minor role. The film has been in planning stages for a few years now, and with production planned for this spring, some are speculating that Dubrovnik might be a key filming location. RECOMMENDED: 20 great things to do in Dubrovnik
New Oslo-Dubrovnik flight route announced
Dubrovnik will be linked to Oslo via Norwegian Air from 3 March this year. Kicking off a month before the summer flight schedule, it's likely to mean a big growth in the number of Scandinavians visiting the Adriatic on and off-season. Until 24 March, four flights will leave Oslo each Saturday. After that, the summer schedule will come into effect. ©Wikimedia Commons A Boeing 737-800 will operate two additional flight paths between Split and Oslo from 21 March and 24 March. Avioradar have more information on their site. Scandi airline SAS and EasyJet recently announced a wave of new summer flight paths to the ever-busier Adriatic coast. RECOMMENDED: 20 great things to do in Dubrovnik
Urban music legends Tim Westwood, Stefflon Don and Lil' Pump confirmed for Fresh Island 2018
Luminaries of the urban music scene, Tim Westwood, Stefflon Don and Lil' Pump, have been confirmed for Croatia’s beachside urban music festival Fresh Island, along with J Hus and Goldlink. Whereas other Croatian fests concentrate mainly on house and techno, FI is all about the chunky beats and slick rhymes, and there's an impressive cast to provide both. The weekend (July 7- 13) draws thousands of music lovers from the UK to the sunnier shores of Zrce. ©Fresh Island Stormzy, French Montana, Chris Brown, Krept & Konan and Giggs have graced these shores in the past, dropping bars for their fans in this far from urban destination. Tickets are £105 and can be found on the festival website. RECOMMENDED: Our guide to Fresh Island Festival
The world's top tourist destinations mapped
Dubrovnik’s ancient city walls are the top tourist destination in Croatia, according to data compiled by TripAdvisor. Skirting the Adriatic as they do, with views over the blue waters and red-tiled roofs, it’s little wonder they’ve been chosen top in the country. Game of Thrones and Star Wars might have something to do with it too, after showing off Dubrovnik to the rest of the world. Vouchercloud, a travel deals site, has featured the walls on its map of the world’s top tourist destinations, using the data from TripAdvisor. ©Vouchercloud Some of the destinations chosen are a little more surprising than the city walls, though. For the UK, it's Big Ben or the House of Parliament that gets a mention, but the Harry Potter Studios. The film industry is clearly influencing our wanderlust in a big way. For the full world map, you can check out the Vouchercloud website here. RECOMMENDED: Things to do in Dubrovnik
Meet Zagreb's newest arts and culture space: Jedinstvo factory
A new project sees the City of Zagreb collaborate with the Ministry of Culture to regenerate the former Jedinstvo factory in Trnjanska nasipa which has been closed and abandoned since 1990. With the help of EU funds, the brownfield site will be revitalised into an arts and culture space. Rekonstrukcija Jedinstva from Pogon Zagreb on Vimeo. Arts and culture events have already flourished here, every year 60,000 visitors come to see the various groups who use the space, such as Drive - the Zagreb Center for Independent Culture and Youth, the Association for the Development of Culture and the artist Damir Bartol Indoš with the House of Extreme Musical Theater. ©Project Multifunctional Regional Center Drive Jedinstvo Dinko Peračić and Miranda Veljačić from the Design and Construction Consulting Company ARP will work on the project to modernise the building and create a brand new infrastructure. It is hoped that the completed facility will contribute to the revitalisation of Trnje, an area of the city just south of the Sava. This looks to be another reason to venture a little further out of the city. RECOMMENDED: Zagreb Gallery Guide