Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.
The first sign that summer is on the way in Dubrovnik is the opening of the ferry line to the island of Lokrum. And today at 10 am the first ferry chugged out of the historic old City harbour and completed the fifteen-minute journey to the green wooded island.
The green oasis lies just 600 metres from the ancient city walls and is a popular destination for nature lovers and those looking to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city in the summer months.
The first ferry of the season operated today and the line will remain open until November. An adult return ticket to Lokrum, including entrance into the nature reserve, is 150 Kuna this year, with a children’s ticket (ages 5 to 15) costing 25 Kunas.
A round-up of the top stories in Dubrovnik and Croatia over the past seven days from The Dubrovnik Times.
Croatia has stood behind the UK and will expel a Russian diplomat. It what is the largest expulsion of diplomats ever, with Trump announcing 60 will be expelled, Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, has announced that he will expel one diplomat.
For almost three months, there was uncertainty about ticket prices in the Plitvice Lakes National Park, but now it’s clear that they will increase – Poslovni.hr reports.
Forget an active holiday, what guests to Dubrovnik really want is just to roll out their towels on the beach and soak up the Mediterranean sun. According to a new survey just released by the Croatian Institute for Tourism a massive 69 percent of tourists in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County come to the region for a “passive, relaxing holiday.”
The City of Dubrovnik is going to revive the fish market in the Old City, known as Peskarija. Preparations are underway and the fish market should be completed before the beginning of June.
There are numerous beautiful beaches in Croatia, but only seven of them are mentioned in the interesting article by the Mirror, titled Best beaches in Croatia you'll want to add to your bucket list right now. Good news to all Dubrovnik lovers – two of them are in our beautiful city.
The Croatian model, Faretta Radić, is the new face for one of the most famous desingers in the world. The 20 year-old Trogir born model has just completed shooting for the 2018 Spring/Summer collection for Ralph Lauren.
Croatian marinas earned around 855 million Kuna from nautical activities in 2017, however this year that figure could be drastically lower as sailors are revolting against a decision to increase sojourn taxes.
The changes to the taxes came in today, the 1st of April, and see taxes rise by nine times, from 1,500 Kuna a year to 9,600 Kuna annually. This new increase of sojourn tax is particularly unfavourable for sailors who pay to keep their yachts in Croatia on an annual basis. "It's a cost of 1,200 Euro plus VAT, all of which is poorly organized and I think we will return to Slovenia to keep the ship there," commented a German yacht owner.
The new sojourn tax for yachts and private boats is organised according to the length of each individual vessel as well as the length of stay of each vessel.
The highest prices tax rises are for vessels staying on an annual basis. For example, for mega yachts over 20 metres in length the new annual tax is 14,500 Kuna instead of the previous 1,700 Kuna, for yachts between 15 and 20 metres the new annual price is 9,600 Kuna as opposed to the former 1,500 Kuna and for 12 to 15 metres vessels the new price is 7,700 Kuna as opposed to the old price of 1,300 Kuna.
New tourist tax prices for Croatia in 2018
Easter Sunday in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik was a lively and colourful day with traditions running through the celebrations. A special Easter program was organised by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board and tourists enjoyed joining in the festive fun.
Despite the relatively poor weather around 10,000 tourists are in the city at the moment and many had an Easter they won’t forget painting Easter eggs and dancing along with folklore.
A tradition egg painting workshop was held in the centre of the city and tourists enjoyed the chance to try their hands at this ancient art. There was a performance of folklore by the group “Sveti Juraj” as well as the vocal group Klapa Ragusa.
Check out the photos from Easter Sunday in the city by Tonci Plazibat
Dubrovnik Airport is looking forward to another record breaking year with double digit growth expected yet again. In 2017 the southernmost airport in Croatia handled over 2.3 million passengers and this year a 10 percent increase looks on the cards.
With new airlines and new flight connections coming to Dubrovnik this year the airport will once again be a hub of activity. Speaking to Ex-Yu Aviation News the coordinator of airport operations, Josip Paljetak, commented that “This year we expect the biggest increase in arrivals from the United Kingdom. In addition, several new routes will be launched. Among them is Edelweiss Air from Zurich, Flydubai from Dubai, as well as Adria Airways from Ljubljana. There will also be a number of charter flights from the Middle East.”
And with the new developments currently near completion the airport will be ready to handle almost 4 million passengers in the future. Air France, Croatia Airlines, LOT, easyJet, Volotea and Thomas Cook airlines will all launch new flights to Dubrovnik this year.
Easter Sunday and the first day of April is traditionally the opening of the tourist season in Dubrovnik. However, if the weather is an indication of the coming season then it will be wet and wild. Temperatures are unusually cold for this time of the year with highs to reach 12 degrees today.
But the good news is that the weather should improve next week, with more sunshine and rising temperatures. Hotels in the region are reporting a busy start to the tourist season with many over 80 percent full already.
The Banje beach, which is a hotspot for locals and tourists in the summer, still had its winter face today as the southerly winds brought crashing waves.
Check out our gallery from this morning in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is slowly but surely being rebuilt in Belfast. As The Dubrovnik Times reported two weeks ago the most expensive TV set ever constructed is being built in Belfast, Northern Ireland for the final season of the HBO hit Game of Thrones.
The filming of the eighth and final season of the most popular TV series ever is currently underway and even though the key members of the cast were busy in Dubrovnik back at the beginning of February it appears that they aren’t finished with King’s Landing.
Dubrovnik recreated in Belfast - Photo by GoTlikeLocation
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is being painstakingly reconstructed in Belfast, stone by stone, in a set that is believed to cost around $1.4 million.
The latest Dubrovnik feature to be added to the Northern Ireland set is the iconic St. Blaise Church with its recognisable blue domed roof. It would also appear from these latest photos that a major battle scene will happen in the final season in King’s Landing as part of the walls seems to be missing. Even though Dubrovnik will feature only fleeting in the eighth season its “body double” will be a key location.
The ancient walls of Dubrovnik rebuilt for Game of Thrones - Photo by GoTlikeLocation
As expected Russia has retaliated against Croatia and has expelled one Croatian diplomat. The diplomatic move came after Croatia stood in support with the UK and expelled a Russian diplomat at the beginning of the week. The Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Ministry reported on Friday that one Croatian diplomat would be sent home from Moscow.
The British government blames the Russian state for a chemical nerve agent attack against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK back on the 4th of March and took measures against Russia. Initially 23 Russian diplomats were expelled from the UK and then other countries took the same measures, with the US expelling the most. However Russia has responded and has told Britain that they will send home a total of 50 British diplomats.
“Croatia’s ambassador in Moscow, Tonci Stancic, was informed of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s decision to withdraw its welcome to one Croatian diplomat, a former employee at the Croatian Embassy in Moscow,” read a press release from the Croatian Ministry.