Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Festa Dubrovnik is a multi-day event that will be held for an impressive 17th time in Dubrovnik! It’s a traditional introduction to one of the most important festivities in Dubrovnik – St. Blaise Festivity (Dubrovnik patron saint) and it collects money for restoration of the church of St. Blaise. 

-We can't say no to Saint Blaise! – said one of the organizers Slobodan Vlasic at the press conference held at the Valamar Lacroma Hotel, adding that every year they try to enrich the program, without any personal interest.
And it's a rich program indeed. It was presented by Darija Mikulandra.


-Dubrovnik lives during the winter too! Program is colorful and rich – Mikulandra explained.
Festa Dubrovnik will all start on January 20th at 6 pm in Bursa Theatre with rather special event – presentation of one of the classics of Dubrovnik literature ‘Dundo Maroje’, which was translated by Filip Krenus.

-This is an important, praiseworthy project – Marin Ivanovic, director of MOMA Dubrovnik emphasized, adding that more classics should be translated.

Five days later, on January 25th, Vocal group festivity will be held at 8 pm in the Marin Drzic Theatre.

Vicko Dragojevic, founder of vocal group Kase, said that almost every vocal group from Dubrovnik will be a part of this festivity and that he’s really proud because of that.

Vocal groups that will take part at this concert are: Amfora, Atlant, FA Lindo, Karaka, Kase, Dubrovnik Airport vocal group, Kolafjaka, Kurenat, Ladeste, Maestral, Ostro, Ragusavecchia, Skontradura, Subrenum. Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will also be a part of this concert with their quartet.

Dubrovnik Rock Parade will be held again in the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik (MOMA Dubrovnik) on January 26th at 7 pm, and as Zarko Dragojevic stated, will gather musicians of almost every age group. There will be Dariva/Toboggan, Valetudo, Embassy 516, Ad Libidum, Lapadske Tratincice, Banditen Strasse, D&F and Dapal Band.

-Rock Parade was a great event last year because it brought us new guests-explained the director Ivanovic, adding that they were the most visited cultural institution in 2017.

The Beatles Revival Orchestra is one of the most interesting events of this festivity. It will be held by Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and their guests on January 27th at 8 pm in Hotel Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik. The guests will be: Radojka Sverko, Neno Belan, Buco Pende, Stijepo Gled Markos, Ines Trickovic, Maja Grgic, Doris Kosovic, Mia Negovetic and musical producent Olja Desic. 

The director of Dubrovnik Symphony Orchesta (DSO), Damir Milat was really proud because DSO takes a big part of this FESTA.

-The orchestra is a part of this City and it’s not only for people who enjoy classical music – Milat said, adding that these events are a proof that Dubrovnik is the city which works during the whole year.


On 28th of January at 9 pm you will get a chance to listen to Divas in the church of St. Blaise.
DSO Quintet will perform alongside with Jelena Stefanic (soprano), Andrea Maric (soprano), Dubravka Separovic Musovic (mezzo-soprano), Diana Hilje (mezzo-soprano) and Stefani Grbic at piano.

And what is a festivity with a little bit of food and wine?

On January 31st at 11 am there will be a workshop with traditional meals for St.Blaise Festivity (in cooperation with Desa Dubrovnik Association and Tourism and Catering School Dubrovnik) at Mimoza restaurant.

On February 1st you can enjoy an exhibition ‘Nas sveti Vlaho’ (Our St. Blaise) in the lobby of Marin Drzic Theatre.

And to end successful Festa Dubrovnik, the last day is reserved for a toast – Wine Festivity at Sponza Palce and Gradska Kavana at noon. Cheers!


Looking to move abroad and get more bang for your buck, well the specialised website expatistan.com has released a list of the most expensive destinations in the world. The most expensive city in the world, in terms of cost of living, is Hamilton on Bermuda, whilst the cheapest is Odessa in Ukraine. But where does Croatia compare on the list?

If you have ever considered packing up your bags and moving to pastures new, or looking for that place in the sun to retire to this price comparison list will give you an idea on how far your cash will go.

According to expatistan.com the most expensive cities in the world to live in are Hamilton, Geneva, Zurich, Grand Cayman, Reykjavik, New York, San Francisco, London and Oslo. The site basically compares a few important factors to come up with the cost of living index and then starts with a base point of 100. Or as the website states “To calculate each city's Price Index value, we start by assigning a value of 100 to a central reference city (that happens to be Prague). Once the reference point has been established, the Price Index value of every other city in the database is calculated by comparing their cost of living to the cost of living in Prague. Therefore, if a city has a Price Index of 134, that means that living there is 34% more expensive than living in Prague.”

Zagreb has an index rating of 105, making it a little more expensive than Prague, and placing it in 231st position in the world, but 5th place in Eastern Europe. Split on the Dalmatian coast has an index of 107, placing it above the capital and in 226th position in the world. Whilst Rijeka has a ranking of 94 making it the most affordable Croatia city on the list. There is no mention of Dubrovnik, however we presume that it would have taken the top position in Croatia.

Croatia’s neighbours are considerably cheaper on the cost of living index, Sarajevo has an index of 78, Podgorica 89 and Belgrade 85.

Hamilton, a British Overseas Territory, on Bermuda has a whopping 297 ranking on the cost of living index. For example, the average monthly rent of an 85 metre squared apartment in a normal area of the city will set you back 3,743 Euros a month, a basic dinner out for two in neighbourhood pub 74 Euros and a cappuccino 4.50 Euros. In Zagreb the same apartment will on average cost you 465 Euros a month, a meal for two in a pub around 18 Euros and a frothy cappuccino 1.57 Euros.
Check out the full list of the most affordable cities to live in here.

Speaking to The Dubrovnik Times a former resident of Bermuda, who now lives in Dubrovnik commented that "Bermuda is a beautiful island but being stuck in the middle of the Atlantic has it's challenges. Everything is imported, even water at times. There is little fresh produce and little to no fresh meat, a few chickens and turkeys. I once paid $70.00 for a Christmas bird. Exempted company business is the first pillar of the economy with tourism running behind, despite the recent success of the Americas Cup. Croatia has much to offer the visitor and resident alike. In most places you do get very good value for money. Living in an isolated paradise is not always what it seems."

Cost of Entertainment in Zagreb from Expatistan.com

Screenshot 149


By far the largest increase in tourists in Croatia in 2017 were travellers from China. Statistics released by the Ministry of Tourism show that on an annual level there was a huge 53 percent increase in the number of tourists from China arriving in Croatia last year, far more than any other nationality.

A grand total of 191,428 Chinese tourists enjoyed the beauties of Croatia last year, which is the first time ever that Chines guests have made the top twenty list of nationality markets. This is a trend that has been continuing for a few years and to the delight of many travel operators the majority of these travellers arrive outside of the main tourist season.

Mario Rendulić, The President of the Chinese Southeast Business Association (CSEBA), Mario Rendulic, commented that “We never had more Chinese tourists than this year and the number is just going to increase in coming years. CSEBA together with Croatian Tourism Ministry and the National Tourist Board, is trying to speed up the removal of administrative barriers and obtain permits which form the basis for the establishment of direct airline connections. The direct links are necessary if Croatian tourist destinations want to attract more Chinese tourists.”

It would appear from the Croatian Tourist Board data that Chinese guests avoid the warmer, and more crowded, summer months. The majority arrive either at the end of spring or in early autumn, thus helping to prolong the Croatian tourist season. And if indicators are to be trusted as many as 300,000 Chinese tourists could land in Croatia this year.

The hottest topic in Dubrovnik tourism was once again under the spotlight yesterday as the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, met with a delegation from the leading cruise ship organisation, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Dubrovnik has been struggling to cope with the sheer number of cruise ship passengers that disembark through the summer months and in recent years’ various tourism institutions have been engaged to find a solution. Rather controversially the mayor announced last year that the number of tourists allowed inside the historic Old City of Dubrovnik would be limited, this was a step to restrict the chaos of recent years.

This meeting between the largest cruise line organisation and the City of Dubrovnik yesterday was the first of its kind, proving that both sides seem determined to end the cruise ship disorganisation in the city. The lead theme on the agenda was the co-ordination of a more attractive arrivals schedule that would space out the docking of mega cruise ships throughout the week and therefore avoid the frantic weekend crush that has existed for years.

Mayor Frankovic is pushing to succeed where his predecessors have failed, and by bringing CLIA to the table in Dubrovnik and the very least he has started a dialogue.

"I would very much like to thank CLIA as the first leading organization that decided to sit down with a mayor and talk about the problems we face and how to solve them in the future,” commented Frankovic after the meeting.

This year Dubrovnik can expect to receive around 766,000 cruise ship passengers on 484 cruise ships. In 2017 there were 742,000 passengers on 538 ships. But in spite of this slight increase in passengers the mayor is confident that talks with CLIA will show an improvement in the overall organisation.

“We have reached a number of agreements and it is certain that this will be visible this year in the number of guests in the destination. This is not about preventing guests arriving in Dubrovnik, as some have tried to show off maliciously. This is about managing tourism,” added the mayor.

clia mets dubrovnik mayor

Mayor of Dubrovnik meets with CLIA - Photo Niksa Duper

The Director of Public Administration Affairs CLIA Europe, Nikos Mertzanidis, shared the sentiment and confidence of the mayor, stressing that CLIA understood the problems that Dubrovnik is facing. “I have come to this meeting with representatives of cruise companies who are very keen to share their ideas and we will be in constant communication with the port and mayor to find further solutions to the situation in Dubrovnik," Mertzanidis said.

The crowds and queues outside of the Old City of Dubrovnik, on the Pile Gate, where coaches drop of the passengers is traditionally a hotspot though the summer and causes long delays. The mayor is confident that this situation will be solved this year, “This summer we will manage the destination in a way that will not experience massive congestion, especially at the entrance of Pile. In the future, we will work together with Port Authority so that they can work on alignment with their schedule. In 2018, there are already a dozen “problematic” days, but after this meeting we believe that we will be able to “relax” these days, mainly by reorganising departure and arrival times,” concluded Frankovic.


If you are travelling north from Dubrovnik be prepared for some traffic delays. Temporary traffic lights are in place in the village of Orasac because a new petrol station is being constructed on the main road.

These construction works will continue until the 30th of January and delays are possible especially during peak hours.

This region of Dubrovnik is in fact in desperate need of a petrol station, the nearest one at the moment is either in Zaton Doli (33 Kilometres) or in Komolac near Dubrovnik (17 Kilometres).

petrol new orasac


International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), which include Iberia, British Airways and Aer Lingus, plan to increase their operations to several cities across Croatia this summer season – EX-YU Aviation News reports.

Iberia will head the growth, by maintaining up to eight weekly flights from Madrid to Zagreb, which is an increase from five flights a week last year. Four flights will be added to Dubrovnik, while Split will also benefit with daily services to be maintained from Madrid this year, up from three per week in 2017. The resumption of its flights to both Dubrovnik and Split will also be brought forward. In a statement to EX-YU Aviation News, the airline said its capacity to Croatia will grow by over 30 percent inn 2018 for a second year in a row, noting that demand is being driven by leisure travellers wishing to visit the Adriatic coast.

British Airways will also increase its number of flights to Croatia this year after adding Pula as its fourth destination in 2017. The British carrier will operate twelve flights a week between London Gatwick and Dubrovnik this summer, which is an increase from nine last year. They will also strengthen its services from Heathrow to Split by introducing an extra flight a week, which will make it a total of five. The number of flights from London to Pula will stay at two per week. EX-YU Aviation News states that carrier is also considering adding flights between Heathrow and Zagreb to make up for Croatia Airlines' service reduction on the route. British Airways' leisure unit, British Airways Holidays, has listed Croatia in its top eighteen must-see destinations this summer. In a statement to EX-YU Aviation News, the airline said, "We are pleased with the performance of our routes from Croatia to London, which has resulted in additional flights and capacity this year. Our customers on these routes range from passengers travelling point-to-point to those taking advantage of our extensive international network which serves 199 destinations".

Aer Lingus, the Irish carrier, will also boost its number of flights to three destinations in Croatia. They will add an extra flight from Dublin to Dubrovnik, so it will operate daily, while services to both Split and Pula will also be increased by one additional flight for a total of three and four per week "We are delighted to announce the further strengthening of our network to Croatia with these additional flights. The extra frequencies to Dubrovnik, Split and Pula will allow us to continue offering the choice, service and value that delivered our Skytrax four-star accreditation and we look forward to welcoming guests on board these services to Croatia in 2018", the airline said to EX-YU Aviation News. Asked whether it could add Zagreb to its network in the foreseeable future, the Irish carrier noted, "Flights could be introduced if we determine that this route matches our customers’ needs, is economically viable and makes a positive financial contribution to our business as a whole".

The Dubrovnik Times has teamed up with Break Time to celebrate their appearance at the London Boat Show this year. This popular Croatian brand, with stores in Dubrovnik and Split, made their UK debut with a range of handmade nautical style bracelets.

wanderlust bracelet break time

And we are offering you the chance to win one of these unique bracelets with our Facebook competition! And to make it even more special the bracelet will be engraved (you choose what you want) and delivered to your door by our friends at Break Time.

Follow this link to enter (you’ll find all the rules here) and win with Break Time today.

As Dubrovnik is the setting for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones it seems only fair that we mark the fact that today is Appreciate a Dragon Day.

According to Donita K. Paul, the creator of this special day which he started back in 2004, you are encouraged to learn and explore the cultural and historic significance of dragons.

But we thought we would just have a little bit of fun! To all you dragons out there have a great day.

dragons in dubrovnik 2018


The 3rd of February is the Day of St. Blaise, the day that Dubrovnik gives thanks to the saint who saved their city, the patron saint of Dubrovnik. Thousands of citizens descend on the Old City every February to celebrate the day of their patron saint, as days go its right up there with Christmas and Easter.

According to legend Venetian ships anchored before the city walls on the eve of the 3rd of February 971, in the middle of winter. The Venetians gained free access to medieval Dubrovnik under the pretence of stocking up on food and water for their journey eastwards. However, their spies carefully noted the number of guards on the city walls, as well as the amount of ammunition in the arsenal. In the middle of the winter night, when the streets lay deserted, Priest Stojko, the parish priest, went from the city square towards Pustijerna and the Church of St. Steven. He found the church open, and inside, the troops of a heavenly army led by a grizzled old man. He addressed the priest with a request that he inform the city fathers of how the Venetians planned to attack Dubrovnik.

The old man had repelled them from the city walls with his own army for a number of nights already. He was garbed as a bishop, with a mitre on his head, and a staff in his hand. When Stojko asked him to identify himself, he answered that his name was Vlaho, or in English Blaise. So it was that on a winter’s night, that Dubrovnik met its patron, St. Blaise. The next day, his messenger did in truth confront the city fathers with the message. The Venetians knew that they had been discovered when they noted the hasty activity on the city walls and the closed city gates, and so moved on. Already in the following year, in 972, Dubrovnik began to celebrate a day in honour of the patron saint. UNESCO officially recognized the Festivity of Saint Blaise as an example of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.

st blaise festival on the stradun 2018

The biggest day in the city

But how much do you know about St. Blaise?

Here are five things that you didn’t know about St. Blaise

1 – Who was he anyway?

According to legend Saint Blaise was a 4th century bishop of Sivas in Armenia (now in Turkey) who was martyred in around 316. He was born to a well to do Armenian family in about 280, and he studied medicine.


2 – How was he sainted?

Saint Blaise healed a sick boy who was choking on a fishbone. The boy was at the point of death when his mother brought him to Saint Blaise. Saint Blaise placed his hands on the boy’s throat, prayed to God, and healed him. On account of this miracle, Saint Blaise has since been invoked as a protector against throat illnesses, including sore throats, and other associated maladies, such as tonsillitis and respiratory problems. And this is why candles are placed around worshippers throats the day before the St. Blaise festivities.

3 – Who was afraid of St. Blaise?

A flag adorned with St. Blaise would flutter from the Orlando Column through the times of the Republic of Dubrovnik in praise of the patron saint. However, when Napoleon, or more precisely his General Marmont marched his troops into town in 1808 and ended the republic he ordered his men to take down the St. Blaise flag. Not only did he banish the flag from the centre of the city but he also commanded the ships of Dubrovnik to take down the flags flying from their sterns. The reason for this mass exile of St. Blaise flags was that Napoleon feared the political and republic importance of the symbol.

flag waving st blaise 2018

Flag waving in Dubrovnik - Photo - Zeljko Tutnjevic 

4 – How far does he voice travel?

St. Blaise has many churches and monuments dotted all over the world. Surely one of the furthest from Dubrovnik is in Goa, India. So how did the patron saint find himself in sunny Goa. In 1480 a Dubrovnik citizen, Melik Jesa Dubrovcanin, sailed to India and established a colony of the Dubrovnik Republic on the Malabar Coast in north Goa. He went a step further in 1563 with the construction of a church, the Church of Sao Braz-Saint Vlaho, in 1563. To make the story even stranger the church bell was actually made in Dubrovnik and shipped over to Goa and still rings in the church to this day. According to the history books the Dubrovnik colony in India had 120,000 inhabitants in the past.

st blaise church in goa

 Photo by Najka Mirković, Dubrovnik

5 – Can I still see him today?

There are dozens and dozens of statues dedicated to St. Blaise all over the historic city centre. From the city walls to almost every important building an image of St. Blaise can be seen. In fact, there are many more statues to St. Blaise on the coastal side of the walls than the land side, proof that his image was used to dissuade possible invaders that the city had a holy protector. There are 27 images to St. Blaise on the major landmarks of the city and another 40 located around the stone facades. The smallest, and it is pretty tiny, image of St. Blaise in Dubrovnik can be seen in side the Old City harbour.

baise statue 9

The smallest statue to St. Blaise in Dubrovnik - Photo - Ivana Smilovic 


CNN Travel has published an article few days ago where it brings 14 hot new global restaurants for 2018. Since it's a sort of global gourment guide for 2018, it's a great honour to be on the list. 

-Here are 14 additions to the culinary must-try list for those keen to get in first at the hottest tables around the world – writes CNN.

And suprisingly or not – Dubrovnik found its place on this list too. Sensus, restaurant of the Hotel Excelsior was placed 9th.
-With one of the finest views of the beautiful walled old town of Dubrovnik and the Adriatic Sea, Sensus at the Excelsior Hotel already had much in its favor even before the plates from chef Petar Obad were added into the mix. His interpretations of Mediterranean classics and local Croatian delicacies brings in diners as much as the Instagram-worthy backdrop – it's written in the article.

Author was especially delighted with a signature dish of ravioli with sweetbreads, truffle, prosciutto and a sauce made from Malvasija wine, which according to CNN demonstrates the chef's melding of flavors, ingredients and textures.

-Herbs from the kitchen's garden and local sun-ripened produce are crafted into lamb with rosemary, artichokes and onion marmalade, while "grandma's flan" is Obad's dessert homage to a beloved family recipe-writes CNN Travel.

Sounds tempting, right? You can check the whole list here.






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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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