Croatian Fair & Gala Dinner in London this week!

As part of the celebrations in the run up to Croatia’s accession to the EU on 1st July 2013, the British Croatia Business Club (BCBC) is hosting a couple of exciting events this week!

On the 23rd & 24th May – this coming Thursday and Friday – they will be hosting a Croatian Products and Services Fair, which will be the perfect opportunity to sample and purchase Croatian food and drinks – whether that’s something you’re trying for the first time, or something you know and love well! This fair, the first of its kind in the UK, will see a number of well-known Croatian companies gather together to showcase their wares, with over thirty companies taking part. Well known names such as Croatia Airlines, Croata, Jamnica, Maraska, Paprenjak and Podravka will all be appearing, amongst many others. The Croatian Products and Services Fair will take place in the Battersea Arts Centre in south London, a wonderfully historic venue – built in 1893 – that’s been host to many important events over the years.

Croatian Fair - Croatian Gala Dinner

The Fair will be open to the public from 11am to 7pm on both Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th, and entrance is free. Do register your attendance for the fair via as every fifth entry will win a prize!

If you’d like to celebrate in some additional style and glamour, the BCBC is also hosting a wonderful Gala Dinner on Saturday 25th May, also at the Battersea Arts Centre. The four course dinner – a Croatian menu, of course, created by Croatian and British chefs – will be accompanied by a fine selection of Croatian wines. There will also be a full entertainment programme featuring both Croatian and British artists, as well as a raffle and auction with some exciting prizes – the proceeds of which will be going to the Croatian charity, Anima Caelestis. Popular TV personalities will introduce the evening, and a welcome speech of distinguished British and Croatian guests will also take place.

Croatian Gala Dinner

Tickets cost £45 per person (£30 concessions), which includes the four course dinner and a limited selection of wine and soft drinks. There’s only a few tickets left, so do be quick to snap one up! They can be bought online via the BCBC website at

British Croatian Business Club

Croatian Fair
10am – 7pm, Thursday 23rd & Friday 24th May 2013

Croatian Gala Dinner
6.30pm – 10.30pm, Saturday 25th May 2013

Battersea Arts Centre
Lavender Hill
SW11 5TN

Sunday Times Style Magazine

What happened to the love for Croatia, Sunday Times Style Magazine?

Avid readers of the UK’s Sunday Times Style Magazine may feel like not a week (or rather, weekend) goes by without some kind of mention of Croatia amongst the pages. Whether it’s something to do with summer (that includes a bit on festivals in Croatia), hedonistic lifestyles (festivals in Croatia) or something on what the cool young  kids are doing these days (festivals in Croatia), the country almost always gets a mention. (Festivals in Croatia. Oops. An extra one snuck in there.)

This weekend, events took a sudden turn for the…not so good. A piece about foodie clubs (it’s what the cool young kids are doing these days – yeah, I dunno either), featured an inset box that listed a food-based “You Know You’re  A Grown-Up When You…”:

Croatia Sunday Times

Heyyyy Sunday Times Style Magazine, what gives?!? What’s with the snarky tone? Let’s face it – you can barely move these days for newspaper and TV coverage proclaiming the wonders of Croatian food, from truffles to oysters to wine to stews to the super-strength fruit and herbal liquers to pastries and cakes, with there even being love for the pizzas and ice cream you find in the country. (Don’t laugh til you’ve tried either – preferably both! Though not at the same time.)

However, on a more serious note – “Croatia never quite took off”? Ow. BURN, as some might say. Someone was clearly having a bad day, seeing as they just got this so very wrong. I think they might need to liaise with their colleagues from the Travel pages where – again – not a weekend goes by without some kind of mention of holidays in Croatia. (Only a few weeks ago, Croatia had three entries in the Travel section’s “25 Top Holidays for 2013” in the Eastern Med, offering up advice for visiting the island of Lopud, a cycling holiday in Istria, and culture in Zagreb.

Nevermind, Sunday Times Style Magazine. Just make sure normal service is resumed soon.

I look forward to reading more about Festivals in Croatia in an upcoming issue.

Love System Festival

Love System Festival a new entry to the Croatian festival season!

News reaches us that the already fantastic Croatian festival season – which features a whole host of events up and down the Croatian coast from late May to mid September – will have a new entry this year…the Love System Festival!

Love System (30th May – 2nd June 2013) will be taking place at something of a familiar location – the pretty little village of Petrcane, which is about 10km north of Zadar on the coast of North Dalmatia. However, Love System will be taking place in the never-used-before Punta Radman wood, which will see a maze of bars, stages and chill-out areas laid out in amongst the trees of the intimate site. Best of all, the main stage will be set floating on the Adriatic Sea itself, offering up a unique way of partying the night away on the Croatian coast…not to mention taking it easy in the sun in the daytime.

Much of the line-up has already been announced, with acts such as Shonky, Bicep, Mario Basanov, Finnebassen, Jay Shepheard, Ben Pearce and Midland all featuring on the bill. There is, however, many more still to be revealed – be sure to keep a close eye on the Festival’s Facebook page for all the latest announcements.

Love System Festival, Petrcane, Croatia

A festival in Croatia wouldn’t be a proper festival in Croatia without the boat parties! Love System will have their boats setting sail twice a day, with the bespoke parties hosted by some of the most esteemed labels and party brands in the UK – names such as Jaunt, Underground, Kumasi and Bad Apple.

Although it’s officially a four-day event, there’s also a pre-party the day before the Festival starts on Wednesday 29th June, as well as the chillout day on Monday 3rd June.

Tickets are being limited to just 800 in number to make it a unique event…and are being snapped up quick! Early bird tickets have already sold out, but there’s still opportunity to buy some in the second wave of ticket releases – they currently cost £79 and can be bought online.

Love System looks to be shaping up to be a true connoisseur’s festival – with the beautiful and intimate setting, branded after parties, the opportunity to stay in luxury accommodation (just minutes from the site – but camping is also possible) and variety of travel packages available, it’s sure to be a great Croatian festival experience!

We’ve got our own little guide on the Love System Festival – check it out for advice on travelling to the festival, as well as more detailed info about the event: Festivals in Croatia 2013 – Love System Festival.

Otherwise, full details on the event can be found on the official Love System Festival website.

Love System Festival
Petrcane (near Zadar), Dalmatia
30th May – 2nd June 2013

Echo Festival

Echo Festival’s new home…and their line-up announcement!

Echo Festival

Last year, we covered the exciting news that Croatia was to be home to a brand new festival. That festival was the Echo Festival, an underground electronic music event taking place in the early part of the season on the Adriatic shores.

After a very successful first year, Echo Festival returns bigger and bolder in 2013…in a brand new home! This year, the festival will be taking place from 6th to 9th June in Kanegra, close to the very pretty town of Umag in Istria, the most northern part of the Croatian coast. Located very close to Istria’s main airport in Pula, and just over the border from both Slovenia and Italy, Echo Festival is easier to reach than ever. The new site is also home to over two hundred festival-managed apartments, meaning over one thousand festival-goers will be able to stay right in the thick of the action…although in enough seclusion so that they can get some recovery time after each hedonistic night!

The Echo Art Network is new for this year, which allows a platform of artists come together to showcase their work, adding to the dynamism and interactivity of the festival – something evidenced in how the festival organisers developed Echo’s woodland area last year.

Fred P

South London Ordnance

Locked Groove

Delano Smith

The fast wave of acts have already been announced, and it’s already looking to be a truly stellar line-up this year. Nick Höppner, one of the backbones of today’s house and techno underground and famous for his monthly residences at the inimitable Berghain/Panoramabar, is one of the top names on the bill. Delano Smith, an early protegee of Motown’s first DJ, Ken Collier, and who began DJing in the late 70s will be bringing his magic to Echo for a unique set. From Bucharest there’s Pedro aka Petra Inspirescu, a pivotal figure in modern electronic music, who’ll be bringing his usual kind of DJ set – one that’s renowned for being as sonically baffling as it’s irresistibly groovy. Fred P, under his Black Jazz Consortium name, and Christopher Rau will be representing the deep house contingent. From the UK, Space Dimension Controller will have a live performance at Echo, fresh off the back of his forthcoming astral album Welcome to Mikrosektor-50. One of Time Out’s ‘DJ Stars of 2013’, South London Ordnance, will treat guests with driving techno sounds.

These names are just the tip of the iceberg – others on the bill include Locked Grove, October, Outboxx, Marcus Intalex, Youandewan, dBridge, Lenzman, Kasra and Stray. There’s also even more acts due to be announced in the next few weeks – watch Echo Festival‘s Facebook page for all of the latest announcements.

We’ve set up our own little guide to the Echo Festival which may well help you in reaching the Festival site and travelling on afterwards – check it out: Festivals in Croatia 2013 – Echo Festival.

Tickets for the Echo Festival cost £65 (plus booking fee).

More information can be found on the Echo Festival website, and on their Twitter page – but don’t forget to also check them out on Soundcloud.

Echo Festival
Kanegra, Istria
6th – 9th June 2013

Croatian Football

Visit Croatia match report: Croatia v. South Korea in London

The last time Croatia played an international in London it was a truly memorable night (regardless of who you were rooting for) – there was a torrential downpour for much of the game; a wally with a brolly; a rude interpretation of the national anthem; and a highly surprising 3-2 victory for Croatia at Wembley against England, meaning Croatia topped their Euro 2008 qualifying group…and England finished third in the group, meaning they missed the tournament!

This time round, it was a much less dramatic affair, not least because it was a less pressurised match (a friendly) in a much more low-key setting (Fulham FC’s Craven Cottage – sorry if that offends any Fulham fans but really, wooden seats?) against weaker opposition (as the scoreline suggests).

The 2pm kick-off was certainly unusual for a Wednesday afternoon, but I assume this may have been scheduled in this way for television in South Korea, where it would have been 11pm. There must have only been a few thousand fans in the stadium, where only two stands were open – although different areas had been designated for South Korean and Croatian fans. In fact, I don’t believe there was any “neutral” seating, so I did hear a number of English voices (without any hint of an accent!) sitting in the Croatian side.

The South Korean fans – which, to me, seemed mainly to be young students (there must be plenty of them in London and I suppose who else would be free on a Wednesday afternoon?!) – had brought plenty of home-made banners and  signs to wave about at their players. I’m sure I’m not the only one to remark on this – now or before – but the South Korean fans also tend to scream during the match in a very high-pitched fashion when their team advances forward or they do anything remotely exciting…it’s almost like they’re at a pop concert! It’s definitely unusual for a football match where you’re generally expecting to hear loud, manly chanting most of the time – but it’s actually rather endearing.

The Croatian fans brought their usual collection of red-and-white checkered clothing and memorabilia – hats, scarfs, baseball caps, waterpolo caps (really – hey, we’re Olympian champions!) as well as plenty of flags…and yes, they participated in loud, manly chanting.

The match itself turned into a rather one-sided affair after the initial stages, with Croatia largely coasting through much of it. Certainly the 4-0 scoreline – and being able to see the top stars – made it worth attending the game despite the freezing conditions (although nothing that a cup of Bovril didn’t fix). The match also marked the hundredth appearance for Croatia for a trio of their players – Darijo Srna, Josip Simunic and Stipe Pletikosa.

I wonder if some of the English fans were pleased to see Luka Modric on an English pitch again – the Tottenham fan I attended the game with didn’t seem so happy to see him again, it has to be said…

Scorers for Croatia were Mario Mandzukic (32 min); Darijo Srna (38 min); Everton’s Nikica Jelavic (58 min); and “home-boy” (i.e. Fulham player) Mladen Petric (85 min).

Take a look at some of our match photos below, or here’s a fre of “proper” match reports! Croatia outclass South Korea in London friendly (Reuters) and Jelavic gives Moyes food for thought as Croatia ease past South Korea (Daily Mail)

Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
Modric points AND runs with the ball – that’s skill!
Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
100th cap man, Stipe Pletikosa – nice to see the crowds out in force for him (I joke, that stand was actually closed) – taking this photo made me miss Croatia’s first goal
Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
Not a bad view for £15 seats
Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
Ivan Strinic
Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
See – wooden seats!
Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
Off for half time
Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
Back on for the second half
Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
Vedran Corluka
Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
A bit of midfield action
Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
Celebrating the third goal
Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
Lining up for a free kick
Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
Celebrating the fourth goal
Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
Full time
Croatia - South Korea, 6th February 2013
Croatian players – including number 3, Josip Simunic – applauding the fans
Dubrovnik's Stradun

Google Streetview launches in Croatia!

Google Streetview for Croatia was launched today – and let me tell you, that’s very exciting news! It seems like they’ve really covered a great deal of the country (I’ve just been pootling around in a small Croatian village near the Hungarian border!) although a report from Novi List suggests they’ve filmed around 50% of the country.

Google streetview launches in Croatia - Dubrovnik's Stradun
Dubrovnik’s Stradun – not Streetview, Visit Croatia view!

What’s most exciting is when you get to see or “walk through” some of Croatia’s most famous views…such as the harbour in Hvar Town; overlooking Dubrovnik and the island of Lokrum, or in the Old Town of Dubrovnik itself (by the harbour); the Arena in Pula, Zagreb‘s main square, or the Riva – the main promenade overlooking the sea – in Split. Or look at Zadar‘s Greeting to the Sun installation and get slightly scared by that massive cruise ship next to it.

The Streetview images are stunning, and it’s well worth taking a look at these or other places you know and love in Croatia. Perhaps it’s the wonderfully sunny weather that many of the images seem to have been filmed in, or maybe it’s just that Croatia really is that beautiful (I mean, I and many others know it, but it’s nice to be proved right!) – I think Streetview shows Croatia in a wonderful way.

Of course, just as when Streetview was launched in other parts of the world, many want to see the humorous things the Google cameras have come across during filming – the illusions, the practical jokes, the people caught doing things they shouldn’t. I wonder what Google Streetview will show for Croatia in that respect?!

A couple of things I’ve noticed – quite a few people on Dubrovnik‘s Stradun took photos of the Google cameras as they were walking past, including this guy. (Which gives the odd sensation that he’s taking a photo of you, whilst you’re sitting in front of your computer.) Like Stradun, Split’s Riva is fully pedestrianised, which means that the camera was carried on someone’s shoulders instead of being mounted on a car. And that person wore a bright red baseball cap, which makes an appearance (in a spooky, floating way) in quite a few of the images!

Spiky Cactus, Hvar

Which celebrity child is Croatia going to help name next?

Spiky cactus on Hvar

A spiky cactus on Hvar – which celebrity couple will this influence?!

All throughout yesterday, Twitter and Google News seem to have been clogged up with one story alone. No, not the goings on at Wimbledon, or the super-exciting news on the re-unification of the Spice Girls. It was that the most famous child in the world, Blue Ivy, had been made an “honorary citizen” of the town of Hvar. That’s all anyone was talking about online yesterday, it seemed!

News that the offspring of Beyonce and Jay-Z (but of course, I definitely didn’t need to tell you that!) had had this honour bestowed on her made the rounds on distinguished online news sites such as Huffington Post, The Telegraph and even Time, as well as the far-less distinguished heatworld, a million and one US gossip sites and (ahem) The Mirror and The Sun. The Christian Post even got so excited that they decided she’d been given honorary citizenship of Croatia. All of these reports and articles seemed to stem from a report in Dalmacija News that appeared at the end of last week.

It was the mayor of the beautiful Hvar Town who proclaimed that Blue Ivy has been granted this special type of “citizenship” of the town. Mayor Pjerino Bebic cleverly “wrote a letter” (that has somehow made its way into the public sphere) to Mr & Mrs Jay-Z stating that because of the story behind their child’s name (supposedly because the couple stumbled across a tree they liked in/near Hvar Town), and the increase in media attention of Hvar that that has brought as well as helping promote the town and island, he has decided to reward little Blue Ivy with this special honour.

If you watch the video of Beyonce (perhaps best viewed at where she’s apparently discovered the very bit of nature that will give her future child its name, I can’t help but think…”That? That thing?! That just looks like a tree that’s been painted blue! Where’s the ivy bit of it?!” (And is there even such a thing as ivy that’s blue?)

More to the point, exactly how has the news evolved that this most famous of celebrity offspring got her name from a tree in Croatia? If you watch the pregnant-Beyonce-standing-by-tree video, you’ll notice she introduces the tree (“Hi tree – meet my millions of fans”…or words to that effect) and then concludes by saying “I think it’s blue ivy, which would be quite appropriate”. This, to me, indicates that a decision on their child’s name was made way before any visit to the island or even meeting this particular tree.

But I’m probably being a party pooper by saying the above, aren’t I? So ignore all of that – Beyonce and Jay-Z definitely named their child after a tree on Hvar, Croatia!

I’m not well-versed on the next super-famous celeb sprog to be born, but who knows where this will lead? Maybe Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes will take a trip to Hvar sometime this summer (we’d highly recommend it, Tom and Katie) and taking inspiration (and some romance) from the island, they’ll have their second child sometime next year, naming it Spiky Cactus Cruise after a bit of nature that they stumbled across on Hvar.

…it could happen.