Dramatic scenes as snow covers Biokovo Skywalk
A snowfall covering the panoramic Biokovo Skywalk on the Makarska Riviera added an extra sense of drama to this sky-high vantage point. Jutting out for 12 metres over the Adriatic, a sheer drop of 1,228 metres above sea level, the solid-glass platform was installed shortly before the pandemic and has since proved a popular stop-off for hikers visiting the surrounding Biokovo Nature Park. From this lofty peak at Ravna Vlaška, on clear days, you can not only see the resort towns of Tučepi and Makarska, and the islands of Brač and Hvar, but also the valleys of the little-visited Dalmatian hinterland in the opposite direction.
Line-up announced for Dimensions Festival at Tisno
Following on from its tenth anniversary celebrations in 2022, the Dimensions Festival at The Garden Resort in Tisno has just announced full line-up of cult stars, pioneering legends and new school-talent for this summer. Taking place between August 31 and September 4, this forward-thinking electronica event also features boat and label parties, debuts and live sets. The location couldn’t be better, a sweeping secluded bay with towering pines and gorgeous sea views. It’s a moveable feast – the party also takes a ride down to Barbarella's Discotheque near Zadar, where you can dance under the stars at The Garden’s original festival location. This year, look out for Detroit’s DJ Bone, Tokyo-born, Berlin-based Objekt and the UK’s own Dr Banana. New label partners Craigie Knowes from Scotland join Leeds' legendary Subdub and many other fellow travellers. For information and tickets, see the website.
Bad Boy Chiller Crew confirmed for Hideout Festival
Cult Bradford bassline collective Bad Boy Chiller Crew are the latest big names to be added to the line-up for this summer’s Hideout Festival taking place June 25-29. The original Yorkshire rap pranksters return to the idyllic Zrće seafront location on the back of their 2022 album Disrepectful, which made one critic’s Top 10 list of best albums of the year in the New York Times. The trio join a string of other top acts – Scottish favourite Ewan McVicar, Liverpool’s Girls Don’t Sync, Junior Simba, LF System, Special Request and several more – also just confirmed in the next wave of announcements for the Adriatic event. The first were announced in November, when Time Out Croatia reported on the arrival of Andy C, Joy Orbison and the crew from CruCast. Hideout is a five-stage electro festival now in its 11th year. Boat and beach parties keep the mood kicking, with water sports, quads and bungee jumping if you need to shake off the night before. Hideout Festival, Zrće beach, Pag. June 25-29. Tickets from £159 or £239 for VIP, secured with a £50 deposit.
Snow causes traffic chaos in Croatia
Plunging temperatures and sudden snowstorms have led to hazardous conditions around Croatia, even as far south as Dubrovnik. In central Dalmatia, a section of the Jadranska magistrala, the main coastal highway, is closed between Pisak and Brela, north of the Makarska Riviera. Snow ploughs had to be brought out in Dubrovnik, where locals remember the crazy scenes of abandoned vehicles in 2017 – but this time rising temperatures soon left a trail of hailstorms and pavement mush. Further north, the main highway between Zagreb and Rijeka also had to be closed. There were storm warnings across the Adriatic, forcing cancellations of ferry and catamaran services.
Sign up for Croatia’s Night of the Museums!
With only a week to go before Croatia’s nationwide Night of the Museums on Friday, January 27, it’s time to register to see many of the country’s cultural attractions for free over one extended evening. Now in its 18th year, Night of the Museums involves scores of institutions around Croatia, including two dozen in Zagreb alone. Many lay on special events for the occasion, workshops and exhibitions. To sign up, the registration page is Croatian-only but you should be able to find more information through the Zagreb Tourist Office or at the visitor centre on the city’s main square.
Dramatic lift of bell tower helps in Orthodox Church renovation
The ongoing renovation of the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord on Zagreb’s downtown Cvjetni trg, severely damaged during the earthquake of 2020, has now hit a crucial stage. After recently hosting the first Orthodox Christmas services here in three years, the cathedral dating back to the 1860s now requires work involving the removal of the bell tower. PIXSELL photographer Slaven Branislav Babić was on hand to capture the dramatic scenes when a hydraulic crane was brought in to hoist it up against the Zagreb skyline while expert craftsmen busily made essential repairs at the very top of this historic landmark.
Descent on Rijeka Carnival begins with the bellringers of Grobnik
Croatia’s biggest carnival, Rijeka is known for its wild costumes, worn by communities from around the region who congregate locally before descending on the main parade. Held on the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday, Rijeka Carnival is the showcase procession after many events leading up to it, and involves all kinds of weird masks and bells used to scare away winter. This is not simply random fancy dress. Each group of bellringers has its own tradition, costume and ritual. Those from Grobnik, the Grobnički dondolaši, were originally shepherds, armed with the wooden rattles, škrebetalnica, at carnival time. Dondolaši refers to their bells. Employed by landowners to protect their cattle, this group has long been making a racket to scare off predators. Before heading for Rijeka, the Grobnički dondolaši are going from village to village, to Grobinština, Jelenje and Dražice, protecting locals from danger and accepting a drink or two along the way.
Ryanair expands Croatia routes
This summer, the world’s biggest budget airline Ryanair will be flying to Croatia from airports as diverse as Rzeszów and Katowice in southern Poland, and little-used Münster in north-western Germany. Confirming seven new routes so far, to Pula from Düsseldorf and Katowice, to Rijeka from Milan Bergamo, and to Zadar from Rzeszów, Münster and Milan Malpensa, the Irish carrier is anticipating a significant boost in post-pandemic tourism. This follows Croatia’s accession into the passport-free Schengen zone from January 1. More news is expected soon where Zagreb is concerned, with further routes to be announced in the light of the airline’s failed negotiations with Ljubljana in neighbouring Slovenia.
Get to know Croatia with free walking tours this Sunday
From noon this Sunday, January 15, dozens of cities across Croatia will be offering free walking tours as part of the annual Get to Know Your Country initiative organised by the Association of Tourist Guides. In celebration of the International Recognition of Croatia Day, when Germany and the European Community first established diplomatic relations with the new nation back in 1992, tourist guides throughout the country showcase their city for free while cultural institutions throw open their doors. As outlined on the organisation’s Facebook page, tours are being offered from as far and wide as Labin, Zadar, Đakovo and Solin. Guides also speak English. In Dubrovnik, sightseers should gather at the Pile Gate before exploring the city’s main landmarks.
See Croatia’s craziest harbour from the air
This aerial view, taken by expert PIXSELL photographer Matko Begović, shows Krilo Jesenice, where one of the world’s largest fleets of small ships is squeezed into the port. Stuck between Split and Omiš, the vessels are hemmed in like herrings here for the winter while the local government figures out what to do with the lack of adequate space for them. With more boats still arriving, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ensure a safe berth during the off-season. In the meantime, the sight provides an interesting photo subject for those looking to see a different side of Dalmatia.
Imagine Dragons add another Pula date to their summer tour
Popular Las Vegas band Imagine Dragons have added another Pula date to their European tour next summer, playing two nights at the Arena on August 8 and 9. A second concert has been confirmed after the first one sold out. The most streamed act on Spotify in 2018, the quartet have long been filling stadiums thanks to crowdpleasers such as Radioactive and Demons. The band are currently on a huge world tour, playing Bahrein, Mumbai and Cape Town, then South and North America, before a string of European dates including Cluj, Rome and Bratislava. One of the most atmospheric venues in the region, the Pula Arena is an old Roman colosseum in the heart of town. As well as opera stars and film festivals, it has played host to the likes of David Gilmour, Sting and the Arctic Monkeys in recent years. See here for Imagine Dragons tickets in Pula.
Snow Queen Mikaela Shiffrin wins record fifth crown
American Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin has won a record fifth crown at Zagreb’s Snow Queen Trophy event on Sljeme, just outside the Croatian capital. Shiffrin’s incredible second run pushed her onto the podium on the first day of the elite competition. The second and final day of racing had to be cancelled due to strong winds and mild temperatures. Shiffrin’s triumph was her 81st on the Alpine World Cup circuit, just one short of the overall record held by her compatriot, Lesley Vonn. Despite the conditions, crowds turned out in numbers for the prestigious race, local fans happy to cheer Croatian skier Leona Popović who finished in tenth place.