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Sibenik Spring gastro festival

First Sibenik Spring gastro event opens today

Sibenik Spring, the first gastronomic street food festival of its kind in the town of Sibenik, starts today until 12th June. Held in the lush green Robert Visiani Park, the festival will be open daily 5pm to 11pm (11am to 11pm on Saturday 12th June), and entry is free. There will be tasty food offerings as well as plenty of live music each day, and even a kids corner provided by Sibenik’s Bubamara.

Sibenik Spring gastro festival

The festival opens today, Tuesday 8th June, with live music from famous Croatian saxophonist Jaksa Jordes accompanied by DJ Kresh. Wednesday 9th June will see DJ Matthew Bee perform, whilst its DJ Bakula’s turn on Thursday 10th June. Friday sees local Sibenik legend DJ Bake senior take to the decks, whilst attendees on Saturday 12th will be entertained by Sibenik saxophonist Chuck Borris, accompanied by DJ PaleolitiKa.

Jaksa Jordes, Sibenik Spring
Jaksa Jordes
DJ Bakula, Šibenik Spring
DJ Bakula
DJ Bake Senior
DJ Bake Senior

But what about the food? There will plenty, all from well known Sibenik restaurants and caterers! Festina Lente Restaurant will be providing guests with a choice of juicy burgers, crispy chicken wings and pulled pork sandwiches. Pjat will have amazing-sounding tuna ceviche tacos and porchetta (pork belly) flat breads. Bistro Pucalina will offer up a feast of items including manistra (a Dalmatian soup/stew dish) with cuttlefish, lamb and desserts such as Sibenik gibanica and Skradin chocolates. Karoca will offer healthy juices, frappes, smoothies and cocktails; Konoba Lola will have traditional Dalmatian platters; whilst pastry shop Yum will be selling all manner of innovative desserts. And if you need something cold to wash down these tasty offerings, there will be Staropramen and Grif beers, Wai hard seltzer, Jamnica, Henricks gin and Thomas Henry mixers, Freixenet and Grasevina Kutjevo wine.

Sibenik Spring food
Dalmatian platter
Grill Sibenik Spring

If you’re in the Sibenik area, come down and sample the sumptuous food on offer as well as the refreshing drinks, enjoy the live music and revel in some open air fun!

Sibenik Spring is organised by the S2 Group, with support from the City of Sibenik, Sibenik Tourist Office and Sibenik-Knin County Tourist Office.

Sibenik Spring
8th – 12th June 2021
Robert Visiani Park
Sibenik Spring on Facebook

Croatia what is where

Croatia What is Where?

Here’s our Croatia infographic to highlight some special places in the country – as well as some places that you may not know about. Presenting to you: Croatia What is Where?

Learn some facts about the capital city Zagreb, stunning coastal cities and towns Split, Dubrovnik, Pula and Zadar, Hvar island, famous-for-its-oysters Ston, the thrilling Plitvice Lakes Nature Park and Papuk Nature Park.

Click on the infographic to enlarge!

Croatia what is where

More facts from Croatia What Is Where?

Let’s expand on some of the facts shown in the Croatia infographic above to help you learn more about Croatia what is where.

  • Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb, has a stunning cathedral that, at 108m tall, is the tallest building in Croatia. Originally constructed in the 13th century, the cathedral was severely damaged in the 6.3-magnitude earthquake of 1880 and required extensive restoration. Unfortunately, the cathedral was damaged again in the earthquake in March 2020 – one of its spires snapped off whilst the other had to removed for safety.
  • It is the FIS Snow Queen Trophy ski race that Zagreb hosts in early January each year.
  • Varazdin County is considered to be the oldest of Croatia’s counties, having first been referred to in 1181 (in the charter of King Bela III). The beautiful town of Varazdin was once also the capital city of Croatia from 1756 to 1776 when a large fire destroyed about 80% of the buildings in the town – and the capital reverted to Zagreb.
  • Papuk Nature Park is one of (now!) twelve nature parks in Croatia and is located in Slavonia. It is the first UNESECO Geopark in Croatia, which designates an area of significant geological heritage.
  • Ilok, also in Slavonia, is famous for being home to one of the largest wine producers in Croatia, Ilocki podrumi. They have British royal connections – as well as having their Traminac wine served at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, their wine was served at the celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II!
  • The wonderful Plitvice Lakes National Park is the joint-oldest national park with Croatia (along with Paklenica National Park), declared so in 1949. In 1979, the Park became a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • This leads us on to Split! The Diocletian’s Palace complex was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site that same year, 1979. This Palace was constructed in the 4th century as a retirement ‘home’ for Roman Emperor Diocletian, close to the large Roman town of Salona (present-day Solin) which once had a population as high as 60,000 people.
  • Dubrovnik is home to many of Croatia’s delights, including the truly wonderful Old Town. The Dubrovnik Summer Festival cultural event, which hosts opera, theatre productions, and classical music performances, was first held in 1950 making it the oldest festival of its kind in Croatia.
  • Little Ston is home to amazing town walls that rival Dubrovnik’s – in fact, those in Ston are the longest preserved town walls in Europe. Ston is also very well known for its oysters (and mussels) – you can see (and even visit) the oyster farms by the town.
  • The island of Hvar is a top destination for the yachting crowd, partygoers, the odd celebrity or two…and everyone else vying to see this amazingly picturesque place! Hvar island is also very famous for its lavender production – about 50 years ago, lavender oil produced on Hvar accounted for 8% of all lavender oil produced in the world – and is often claimed to be the sunniest place in Croatia with about 2,800 hours of sun each year.
  • As well as being the birthplace of Croatian footballing legend Luka Modric, Zadar is home to some amazing sights, old and new – such as the Forum and St Donatus Church, the Sea Organ and the Greeting to the Sun installation.
  • Pula is likewise home to some stunning sights, particularly the Arena which was completed in the 1st century AD – roughly the same time as the Colosseum in Rome. The Arena is one of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres, as it has all four sides intact, and is the sixth-largest remaining amphitheatre in the world. These days, it hosts music concerts, screenings during the Pula Film Festival, occasional sports events…and even mock gladiator fights in summer.
The Yacht Week Luxury Cabins

The Yacht Week’s luxury cabins bookable for the first time

Hot on the heels of the news that The Yacht Week 2021 is open for bookings, news reaches us that – for the first time ever – Yacht Week guests will be able to book cabin rooms onboard their luxury 38ft+ catamarans! This means that all solo travellers, pairs or small groups can now also enjoy the full luxury experience on a seven-day ‘floating festival’ in the waters off the stunning Croatian coastline!

The Yacht Week Luxury Cabins

The Yacht Week Luxury Cabins

Previously an option only available to groups booking an entire yacht, guests can now book themselves into one of six paired cabins onboard the luxury catamarans. These catamarans include an experienced skipper, a fully-trained host (with delicious food included through the week), in-room air-conditioning, sunbathing decks, on-board wi-fi, an on-board sound system and more.

The luxury cabin rooms can be booked on The Yacht Week’s Original Croatia and Ultra Festival routes (as well as their routes in Sardinia and Greece). Prices on the Croatia original route start at £1294 / €1400 / $1684 – very reasonable for a seven-day trip of a lifetime in ultimate luxury! Additionally, all tickets are flexible and there are a number of Covid-safe procedures in place – which means that all guests can book with full confidence.

The Yacht Week Luxury Cabins
The Yacht Week Lounge

The Yacht Week team are over the moon to now make the luxury cabin available to everyone via their bookings. For seven days, guests and friends can travel in ultimate style with the added benefit of all the amazing activities, food, drink, parties, and more put on by The Yacht Week. You will also be part of a flotilla of yachts containing new faces who will become friends for life. 

The Yacht Week assign cabin bookers to their yachts and aim to have a 50/50 gender split per yacht as well as making sure that pairs and smaller groups will always be on the same yacht wherever possible.

Anyone wishing to book should move quickly to www.theyachtweek.com to ensure they get their first choice. Cabin rooms are a perfect way for anyone to enjoy the special experience that is The Yacht Week and now everyone can enjoy it with added luxury.

The Yacht Week
The Yacht Week

The Yacht Week Classic Cabins

Additionally, cabins in The Yacht Week’s classic and premium yachts are also available across all European routes – for example, prices start at just £458 / €495 / $596 for a classic cabin on the Croatia Original route. These cabin bookings also offer complete flexibility for anyone to join The Yacht Week even if their group can’t fill an entire yacht. All travellers can book a cabin with a friend and like-minded individuals are guaranteed as everyone comes together to enjoy an experience like no other. Solo traveller? No problem! You’ll be perfectly catered for and paired in a bunk cabin room with a new friend of the same gender.

The Yacht Week Experience

Whether you’re booked into a Yacht Week luxury cabin or not, you’ll experience a trip like nothing else. You can learn how to sail; swim and snorkel in secluded natural bays; head to cool beach bars, lounges and restaurants to soak up sunsets and indulge in exquisite cuisine and cocktails. That’s all for the quiet, chilled moments of course! For the far more lively ones, there’s the unique circle raft at sea which is accompanied by tunes from the Buzz Boat, a floating DJ booth fully loaded with DJs and VOID Acoustics sound system. The Yacht Week also curates stunning parties in clubs and deserted islands in various locations. And for the adventurous, there’s exploring with scooters and open-top cars, or hikes and fitness activities. (As well as wellness and recovery with beachside yoga and spas!)

The Yacht Week Parties

More Info

Visit www.theyachtweek.com for more information about all of their cabins, experiences and routes and to book your trip of a lifetime! 

The Yacht Week
www.theyachtweek.com

Dubrovnik wedding planner Yes I Du

Meet Dubrovnik wedding planner Yes I Du and see the amazing weddings their team has helped plan

Visit Croatia recently sat down – virtually, of course! – for a talk with Dubrovnik wedding planner Yes I Du (what an excellent name!). Lovely Tea from Yes I Du told us about the all-female team behind the company, as well as some of the amazing weddings they’ve helped organise – and what they think will be seen in wedding trends in 2021.

Read on below to find out more about Dubrovnik wedding planner extraordinaire Yes I Du!

Dubrovnik Wedding Planner Yes I Du (Credit: De Botanika Weddings)
Credit: De Botanika Weddings

1. How did Yes I Du come into existence? Can you tell us about it and yourselves?  

The agency was founded by Martina as a logical continuation after studying Organization & Management  and working in the organization of corporate and private events. Today, after 10 years of experience, there are three of us: Martina, Maja and Tea. We are an independent, female-run business.

Yes I Du (Credit: De Botanika Weddings)
Credit: De Botanika Weddings

2. Can you tell us a little bit about the first wedding you helped plan? What were Yes I Du’s experiences of putting on that first event?  

The first wedding was more of a helping hand for friends when it came to organizing, styling and decorating their wedding. We did that pro bono to get some experience after doing thorough research and setting up all the theoretical obligations which were necessary for planning and organizing weddings. Even with experience in organizing other events, weddings have a very personal and emotional element, and a lot of details, which makes them different from any other event.

The real weddings with actual clients came after this. Researching the market, getting to know the venues and finding professional partners were the three key steps for the beginning. Furthermore, from the very first wedding, we tried to build our own style and create personalized weddings, which is our signature still today.

Yes, most of our weddings are in Dubrovnik, as our city offers so many diverse, stunning locations. Our other preferred venues throughout Croatia are Meneghetti in Istria, Bellevue on Lošinj island, Lola and Fort George on Vis island, Villa Dalmacija in Split and the Aman Resort in Sveti Stefan, Montenegro.

Dubrovnik wedding planner Yes I Du (Credit: Katja Simon)
Credit: Katja Simon
Dubrovnik wedding planner Yes I Du (Credit: Marko Marinković)
Credit: Marko Marinković

4. What country are most of your clients from? Or is it a real mix of places?  

Our clients come from a variety of places: the USA, the Middle East, the UK, Scandinavia, Ireland, Canada, Germany, etc.

5. What do you think is the most magical wedding venue in Croatia?

Two places come to mind: Meneghetti in Istria and Fort Lovrijenac in Dubrovnik. So different yet both so breathtaking. But any venue can be made into a magical place by us! 🙂

Dubrovnik wedding planner Yes I Du (Credit: Credit: Mihoci Studios)
Credit: Mihoci Studios

6. What are the main things, would you say, that couples who are considering holding a wedding in Croatia should be aware of?

They should keep in mind that we are a small country with fewer possibilities, especially if they are coming to Dubrovnik, we have to be prepared well in advance. As long as they let us know what they want on time and have the budget for it, there’s nothing we can’t do. But timing is very important.

7. Why do you think Croatia is suitable for a destination wedding?

Again, Croatia is such a small country but it truly offers very diverse and beautiful locations. You can find anything from a stunning mountain landscape to a dreamy seaside resort. The distances between airports and cities are small, the traffic is well connected, there are additional things to see and do if guests want to extend their stay, and it is situated not more than 2-3 hours away from the biggest European metropolises.

Yes I Du (Credit: Martina Škrobot)
Credit: Martina Škrobot
Yes I Du (Credit: Irina i Matej)
Credit: Irina i Matej

8. Can you share a bit about what was the most unusual or most memorable wedding you helped plan?

There are definitely a few that come to mind. The first one would be Martina’s brother’s wedding, for emotional reasons. 🙂 From a business point of view, it was the wedding of Shayan and Anousheh on Fort Lovrijenac in 2016. It was a wedding on a world level, trendsetting and mind-blowing. It inspired us to develop our business.

Yes I Du (Credit: Iva i Vedran)
Credit: Iva i Vedran

We think that only either the most luxurious events, or small but still luxurious elopement style weddings, will take over in 2021. These couples will really treat themselves and be pampered for a whole week. We also think that all services for these clients and weddings will be even more personalized and individual-orientated.

Thank you Yes I Du!

Thank you so much to Tea and Yes I Du for taking the time to answer our questions, as well as providing the stunning images you see accompanying this post.

If you’d like to see some more of the absolutely gorgeous weddings that Yes I Du have helped plan, do look them up on Instagram: @Yes_I_Du_Weddings.

Alternatively, you may well be considering getting married in Dubrovnik (or elsewhere in Croatia) in 2021 or further in the future. Do contact the wonderful Dubrovnik wedding planner Yes I Du to see how they can work their magic for your special day!

YES I DU wedding agency
Rijecka 19
Dubrovnik

Croatia
Web: yes-i-du.net
Email: info@yes-i-du.net
Tel: +385 95 3616 217

The Yacht Week 2021

The Yacht Week 2021 open for bookings

All young, adventurous travellers looking ahead to next summer and planning their holidays will be delighted to hear that Yacht Week 2021 has announced bookings are open. It’s the ideal opportunity to not only book the trip of a lifetime, but also to book something to look forward to in the current doom and gloom.

The Yacht Week 2021

Their flotilla of yachts set sail on the sparkling Adriatic waters, with several routes for Croatia available – including the Croatia Original route, the Ultra Festival Route and new for 2021, the Hideout Festival Route. The flagship Croatia Original route starts from just £392 / €422 / $508 per person on limited early bird yachts – that’s incredibly reasonable for such an unforgettable summer holiday! This Original route, for example, can take in places and islands such as Trogir, Vis, Hvar, Brac and Split – you’ll certainly experience many of the top destinations in Croatia as well as having an amazing time.

The Yacht Week Hvar
Hvar
The Yacht Week Brac
Zlatni Rat Beach on the island of Brac

The Yacht Week doesn’t just cover Croatia, however. They also offer amazing routes in Greece, the Caribbean, Polynesia, Montenegro and Sardinia – that last one also being a new option for 2021.

Yacht Week 2021 will offer the best yachts and the best prices for all of their destinations. And that’s not all – with new, flexible ticket terms, all guests will be able to book with confidence. If current global circumstances change by next summer, or perhaps you change your mind ahead of your travels, The Yacht Week has you covered. And whilst on your hols with The Yacht Week, you’ll be in a proven, safe environment.

Single travellers or groups of friends can charter a yacht of their choice, equip it with a skipper and a host and enjoy the amazing experience of a seven-day flotilla getaway. It’s the perfect choice whether you’re looking to let loose and party it up, or to kick back and relax. (Or perhaps a bit of both?) The Yacht Week 2021 can deliver a set of carefully curated activities as guests require.

The Yacht Week 2021
The Yacht Week

About The Yacht Week

Since 2006, The Yacht Week has created opportunities for people to step out of their everyday lives. Like-minded individuals can come together to enjoy an experience like no other. You don’t need any sailing experience at all, although you absolutely can get involved out on the open water. Not to mention finding secluded little bays that are perfect for swimming and snorkelling.

The Yacht Week lets travellers take their pick of the best parties from clubs to deserted islands. Better still, their unique circle raft at sea – complete with the Buzz Boat fully loaded with VOID Acoustics Soundsystem – is an experience and a half!

The Yacht Week 2021
The Yacht Week 2021

Watch sunsets from the coolest beach bars, lounges and restaurants whilst enjoying exquisite cuisine and cocktails, explore the world with scooters and open-top cars, or choose wellness and recovery with beachside yoga, spas and fitness. The highly experienced team at The Yacht Week can organise all of this and more – they deliver a highly curated experience. A week at sea with The Yacht Week is also a chance to make friends for life and join a very special community. And get this – no less than seventy (seventy!) marriages can be traced back to a first meeting at The Yacht Week!

The Yacht Week’s flotillas even set sail in summer 2020, despite the challenges presented by the global pandemic. This year’s The Yacht Week received some of the best feedback ever from those who took part. As a ‘floating festival’ of hundreds, it has proven itself a safe environment compared to standard festivals of many thousands of people. 

The Yacht Week

Booking The Yacht Week 2021

Bookings are now open for The Yacht Week 2021, for all of their routes in Croatia and other countries. To book or to see more information about their routes, please see www.theyachtweek.com.

Keep your eyes peeled for forthcoming announcements on the big-name DJs and other music events appearing exclusively at The Yacht Week 2021. Follow The Yacht Week on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube for all the latest news.

Gather your friends together to set sail along stunning coastlines and idyllic islands. You’ll make memories that will last a lifetime!

Zrce Sail Week

10 reasons to go on Zrce Sail Week

As to be expected in the current circumstances, many of the festivals in Croatia have been cancelled for this summer. (Or, more accurately, postponed until 2021.) We’re sure many of you were planning to head down to Zrce Beach on the island of Pag to get your festival fix this year…so, what if we told you that there’s still a way you can get a festival experience in Croatia this year? That’s where Zrce Sail Week comes in!

Zrce Sail Week

Zrce Sail Week was started in 2019, and takes the number one party place in Croatia – Zrce Beach – to another level. World famous for its music festivals and 24-hour partying and open-air nightclubs looking out to sea, the area attracts many thousands of revellers every year. In any ‘normal’ year, Zrce Sail Week would organise an extra level of festival arrangements for all partygoers – it’s the first and largest brand that specialises in customised yacht hire for Zrce Beach.

As an outdoor event, Zrce Sail Week is permitted to be held in summer 2020, and will be setting sail every week from 4th July 2020!

But why take part in Zrce Sail Week?

10 reasons to go on Zrce Sail Week

1. The glamour

It’s a festival! On your ‘own’ yacht, sailing through the gorgeous Adriatic sea? What could be a better way of having a bit of fun this summer?

2. Everything is organised for you on Zrce Sail Week

Very often when you look to hire a yacht, you’ll get bogged down in a complicated and costly process, trying to plan the entire rental to within an inch of its life. Not here! Each yacht (which can accommodate up to 8 people) comes with its own skipper, whilst catamarans (for up to 12 people) have a skipper and a hostess.

3. It’s not as expensive as you may think!

As you’re spending your whole week on the yacht, there’s no extra costs apart from food.

If you want to add on a few extra people on your boat (if there’s space) to further lower costs per person, there’s the CrewFinder option to help you find people to fit into your crew! Or, use it for the opposite reason – if you’re a solo reveller (or there’s two of you), use it to find a solo or cabin slot on an existing yacht booking. You don’t need to get together a whole group of 8 or more people to enjoy Zrce Sail Week!

4. You don’t have to know a thing about sailing for Zrce Sail Week

Most of Zrce Sail Week’s guests are first time sailors…and all come away loving the experience! And then you can come home bragging to all your friends

5. The partying

Well, obviously. Did we mention that Zrce Beach is party central? You can choose to party the day and/or night away at clubs such as Papaya, Aquarius, Kalypso, Noa, Cocomo, Nomad and Euphoria and at the many events these venues host. Well, when you’re not partying on your yacht, that is!

6. It’s easy to get to start point for your week at sea

Zrce Beach on the island of Pag is easy to get to! The nearest airport is Zadar Airport, to where numerous airlines fly to from all over Europe. Pag is connected to the mainland by bridge, so you can get a bus from Zadar all the way up to Novalja, close to where Zrce Beach is. Of course, you can easily fly to one of the other airports in Croatia that are slightly further away – Split, Rijeka, Pula or perhaps even Zagreb.

7. You get your own personal guide for the week

The skipper on board each yacht knows the best places for everything. The best places bays for swimming, the best places to drop anchor, the best restaurants. You don’t have to do any research for these kinds of things!

8. You’ll be joined on your hols by like-minded people

Well, if you book a yacht with your friends, they’ll definitely be like-minded!

But even if you’re booking a solo spot or cabin, Zrce Sail Week tries to fit you in on the most suitable yacht. And most people booking these boats tend to be aged from 18 to 35 – which is likely what you are too.

9. It’s a week sailing in Croatia!

Have you seen the amazing Croatian coastline, with its numerous Croatian islands? (If you haven’t, you really should look it up!) It’s the ideal place for a sailing holiday. Zrce Sail Week is almost like two holidays in one – as well as a week partying, you also get to experience a sailing holiday.

10. It’s the perfect combination of a holiday

A bit of adventure on the seas, plenty of relaxation by day on the shimmering Adriatic sea and revelry at night – what more could you want from a summer holiday?!

Have we convinced you yet?

If you’re eager to book yourself a spot on Zrce Sail Week immediately, head over to zrcesailweek.com to book a yacht or catamaran, or cabin or spot. They are happy to answer any questions you may have via WhatsApp directly too.

Zrce Sail Week
runs weekly from 4th July 2020
zrcesailweek.com

Puzzle Punks Game of Thrones Virtual Escape Room

PuzzlePunks Dubrovnik launch Croatia’s first virtual escape room

Everyone’s adapting to the ‘new normal’ during these unprecedented times – with working, schooling, exercise, entertainment and more all now having to take place at home. Entertainment in particular has changed form – perhaps you’ve fired up an old games console for some multiplayer online gaming; have had multi-person video calls with friends and a glass or three of wine; or even taken part in an online pub quiz? But what about an escape room – there’s no way you can do that now, right? Wrong! Thanks to PuzzlePunks Dubrovnik and their online virtual escape room, you can!

Puzzle Punks Game of Thrones Virtual Escape Room

And not just any virtual escape room – but a Game of Thrones-inspired one! Anyone who’s anyone knows that Dubrovnik “is” King’s Landing, and PuzzlePunks Dubrovnik normally run a real life Game of Thrones escape room at their base. But they’ve cleverly adapted to the coronavirus crisis, and turned this escape room into an online virtual game. Take part in fun and challenging games with family and friends – wherever you all are in the world – from the comfort of your own sofa.

Although normal life has been put on hold for almost everyone, including businesses, local Dubrovnik couple Diana Marlais and Bogdan Dascalescu saw an opportunity to create something new to help and evolve their venture. As Diana proudly explains:

We are the first company that offers live video escape games in Croatia & one of the early adopters around the world. Our bookings kept getting canceled and the season was looking quite gloomy. The entire world just stopped and honestly, we felt quite scared of our future. To make things more complicated, we found out we have a baby on the way. Necessity is the mother of invention, so in our case as well, we felt we had no other choice but to adapt & innovate.

Puzzle Punks Game of Thrones Virtual Escape Room

Their virtual escape room game takes you into the world of Game of Thrones – you and your team have 60 minutes to Save King’s Landing. You’ll be able to use a live avatar at your command via live video, directing him to look around the room for clues. As your eyes and hands inside the room, he’ll walk, look and pick up items based on your instructions. Pay close attention to the game and use your observational skills; combining the teamwork of you and your friends, you’ll be able to spend a thrilling 60 minutes solving puzzles.

Bogdan explains:

It’s been our dream to reach more players worldwide. We are happy that we are able to offer those who cannot visit Croatia while traveling is not possible, as well as to escape room fans all over the world, an authentic Dubrovnik experience”. You can make a booking for yourself and your family/friends, or buy a gift voucher if you want to surprise someone with an epic birthday present or just help them get through these challenging self-isolating times”.

PuzzlePunks have adapted their working hours (they are open 12pm – 6am CET daily) to accommodate different time zones, especially for the American market. Slots for their virtual escape room are rapidly being booked up!

To make a reservation for your own team, and for more information, head to puzzlepunks.com.

Making Krostule

Croatian Baking – Making Krostule

Whatever week you’re in in lockdown (perhaps you’re in a country where lockdown is being lifted – lucky you!), I’m sure you’ve done a fair amount of baking. After all, it’s relatively simple (assuming you’re not trying to make a five tier rainbow cake), it lifts the spirits (it really does!) AND you can treat yourself to the yummy end result! With a nice cup of tea, preferably.

Making Krostule

Here’s a Croatian recipe for making krostule that’s incredibly simple AND incredibly delicious. You’ll barely be able to stop yourself from eating 2, 5…8 krostule in one go. And if you’ve got any little ones at home, they can easily get involved in helping you make this, although obviously the deep-frying stage should be done by adults only.

Krostule are little pastries, traditionally from Istria and Dalmatia. They have a doughnut-like texture and are usually shaped as knots. They are best eaten when warm, right after cooking!

I got this original recipe for making krostule from a book called Croatian Cooking by Sandra Lougher, published in 2005. It contains some easy to follow recipes for Croatian starters, mains and desserts. This particular one is described as being “popular with kids”. Which is interesting, as the recipe contains rum… Unfortunately, the book appears out of print, but you may be able to pick up a second hand copy online.

Speaking of which (kids, not rum), I made a batch of these to take into my child’s nursery about a month and a half ago (one of the last “normal” things I did, pre-lockdown) when I went in to talk about Croatia to all the three and four year olds. I think they liked my talk and looking at the pretty pictures of Croatia. They certainly liked the soft toy Dalmatian dog I brought in! And the definitely liked the krostule!

Making Krostule

This recipe says it makes about 100. I ended up with about 35, so perhaps I didn’t roll out the dough thin enough…no matter.

Ingredients

  • 500g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp rum (which I omitted to make it more child-friendly! But you may like to include it…)
  • grated rind of 1/2 lemon
  • grated rind of 1/2 orange
  • 100ml milk
  • sunflower or vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • icing sugar for dusting

Instructions

1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl.
2. Mix together the eggs and sugar in another bowl until the mixture becomes foamy.
3. Add the butter, rum (if using!), lemon and orange rind to the eggs and sugar, and mix together well.

Making Krostule - Flour and eggs
A bowl of flour and a bowl of egg, sugar, butter, lemon and orange rind

4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix together with a wooden spoon to get a dough to form. Little by little, add some of the milk so your dough is not too dry. (You may well find that you do not need to use all of the 100ml of milk).

Mixing the dough together
Mixing the dough together


5. Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with a little flour, and knead well for about five minutes.
6. Return the dough to your bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
7. Turn the dough out again and break into large pieces, manageable enough for you to roll out quite thin.
8. Once one piece is rolled out quite thinly, slice into thin but long strips measuring about 1.5cm in width. Tie each strip into a knot (you may need to ‘practice’ a few times to get it right) and set aside for deep-frying! Repeat for all the other pieces of dough.

Cutting strips to make krostule
Cutting the rolled out dough into strips
Uncooked krostule
A plateful of knots, ready to be deep fried!

9. Once you’ve cut and shaped all your knots, heat your oil in a saucepan until it is very hot – it will be shimmering slightly. I used quite a small saucepan to make the frying more manageable, and filled it about a third full with oil. You can always drop in one knot to test to see if the oil is hot enough to cook.
10. Once ready, drop a few knots into the oil at a time. (I did four at a time.) Fry for about 1-2 minutes each side – use a slotted spoon to turn halfway – until they’re golden brown. Remove with the spoon and place on kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil.

Deep frying
Deep frying the krostule

Transfer to a plate and dust with icing sugar.

Believe me, these are amazingly more-ish – you’ll no doubt ‘test’ quite a few whilst you’re frying them to make sure they’re not over- or under-done!

Krostule
The end result – a plateful of delicious krostule!

As mentioned, these are best eaten soon after cooking, whilst they are still warm. They don’t quite keep so well, becoming a bit harder, but you can nevertheless store them in an airtight container. (And why not dust with a bit more icing sugar before serving again?)

Why not try out some more Croatian recipes?

Paper Licitar Hearts

Paper Licitar Hearts / Licitarsko srce for your window

Thanks to coronavirus lockdowns around the world, many of us are spending almost all of our time at home – whether your country is officially in full lockdown, or you’re merely trying to distance yourself from others in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

Whilst we’re all stuck at home, we’re also taking on the ‘new normal’. Whether you’re working just as much as you’re used to or the complete opposite (or somewhere in between), you may also be trying to entertain or homeschool a gaggle of kids. I’m not in the homeschooling category, but definitely so in the ‘entertaining’ one – and whilst my child has been incredibly taken with my pretend nursery set up each day (involving her and some of her most favourite soft toys), there’s only so many different voices and times I can pretend to be the different soft toys (bunny, penguin, unicorn, assorted Paw Patrol characters) before I feel my brain heading towards mush.

So what’s a parent to do? Craft! I have dabbled in my own crafting over the years – knitting and beading jewellery to name a couple of hobbies. Not overly successfully, I have to add, but at least it stops me from sitting on my phone for hours at a time!

Many kids (and even adults) are displaying pictures and drawings in their windows (rainbows may be popular where you live – we’ve done a few!). Posters with thanks to health workers or other key workers are also very popular, for good reason. All of this got me thinking that displaying paper versions of licitar hearts (licitarsko srce in Croatian, or sometimes also referred to as gingerbread hearts) would also be a cheerful (and sweet) thing to display, as well as fun to make!

Licitar hearts are generally from the central part of Croatia – you may well have seen them for sale if you’ve visited Zagreb. These pretty, delicately decorated red hearts are traditionally given as gifts to loved ones, and can also often be seen (the smaller versions, that is) as decorations on Christmas trees. You can find out more about licitar hearts on the official website.

Now, obviously as we’re on lockdown it’s not like I have access to a fully-stocked craft cupboard. But you may…or be able to order some suitable supplies on the internet.

What I had as materials were:

  • bright red card
  • sequins of different colours
  • paints
  • I thought beads might work somewhere in there (I told you I did beading!)
  • glitter (which you’ll of course have if you have kids)
  • shiny card
  • white chalk
  • a printer
  • glue
  • kitchen foil

Making paper licitar hearts

I first downloaded a heart shape from the internet and printed it out both A4 and A5 sizes to make differently sized paper hearts. This is the one I actually used; there are of course other variations available online. Or you may be more talented than me and can just draw your own freehand version!

Having printed and cut out the heart, I then held it down onto a piece of red card to draw an outline. Anything would work for drawing the outline; I randomly decided to used chalk and realised I really liked the effect.

Paper Licitar Hearts - Chalk Outline
Drawing around the heart with chalk
Look at the lovely outline I drew! (With a template…)

Having cut out the hearts, I discovered the chalk would also really work really well for some of the decoration too – in particular the white edges and swirls.

Now it’s decorating time! Use whatever you have to hand…paints of course work really well. And what kid doesn’t like a bit of painting? My random collection of sequins and beads came in handy too, and I used them to recreate the flower decoration, sticking them on with a tiniest dab of glue.

Painting Paper Licitar Hearts
On with the painting – on relevant lockdown-related newspaper!

Glitter can be used to recreate the middle mirrored element, as could kitchen foil or any shiny card you might have to hand.

Painted Paper Licitar Hearts
The painted end result! (Adult and child versions)
Licitar Hearts with sequins
Using sequins as decorations

And once you’ve finished, stick them in your window. And then head out on your daily exercise to walk past and admire your handy work!

Or, why not use them in a way that’s similar to their intended purpose? Pop your paper licitar hearts in the post to send to a loved one that’s stuck at home under quarantine.

For those with lots of space and some more unusual store cupboard items may be tempted to try making proper licitarsko srce. There are some highly detailed instructions here from Uppermoda or the Licitar website.

Tour Croatia Online - Stradun in summer

Tour Croatia online from your sofa

These unusual times due to the coronavirus outbreak mean travel to exciting destinations around the world – Croatia included, of course – is completely curtailed for the time being. We of course hope matters will improve in the not too distant future – for everyone’s health and safety first and foremost, but also so everyone can make a return to doing things they enjoy and love. In the meantime, however, why not tour Croatia online…from the comfort of your sofa!

It’s not quite the same thing but you can catch some glimpses of the Croatia you know and love…and perhaps discover some new places that you can visit in the future!

Tour Croatia Online - Stradun in Summer
How Stradun normally looks in summer – with the bell tower (where the below webcam must be positioned) in the distance

Walk the cobblestones of Stradun in Dubrovnik

This live webcam of Dubrovnik‘s famous thoroughfare Stradun pans around looking down it and also over Orlando Column (sadly, boarded up) and the Church of St Blaise. When we visited it (virtually, that is!) not only was it almost entirely empty (apart from a few people walking solo) but it was also rather soggy and grey on a rainy day. When we revisited a few days later, we have to say that it looked even stranger completely empty in the sunshine. If you’ve ever visited Dubrovnik, compare this to how bustling and busy Stradun normally is – it’s certainly a stark contrast.

Gaze out over Hvar Town and the nearby islands

This one’s a real beauty. This live webcam looks down over Hvar Town and across to the nearby Pakleni islands. Located higher up than the usual lookout point that visitors head to, the Spanish Fortress, you can see almost all of the town, the Fortress itself, the forest above town, the collection of islands nearby and the sparkly sea. It’s even pretty to look at at dusk, with the twinkling lights of the houses seen down below whilst the outline of the islands are still visible in the distance.

Explore the many amazing viewpoints in the Plitvice Lakes National Park

Perhaps the Plitvice Lakes were on your Croatian itinerary this year. Well, hopefully you’ll still be able to visit one day soon – but in the meantime, but not walk through the national park online? Google Streetview lets you “walk” a number of the paths in the park – this is surely one of the best ways to tour Croatia online! Here, we’ve started you at the viewpoint just past Entrance number 1. Head down the paths to reach the lower lakes!

Exploring Plitvice Lakes via Google Earth is also recommended!

Get to know the island of Krk

Krk360.com is an ingenious site – set over a large map of Krk Town, there are numerous places to visit via 360º panoramas. Explore a number of beaches, the main promenade, sights (churches, the Cathedral, the bell tower) restaurants and even the public library!

“Sample” some Croatian wine

If you’re never visited a winery in Croatia, why not drop by the Vuglec Breg winery in the Zagorje region, north of Zagreb. Set in lush green countryside, you definitely have to visit the wine cellar (and in real life too, one day, to sample their wines!) as well as the wonderful viewpoints.

Explore a Croatian castle

Trakoscan Castle (also in the Zagorje region, close to the border with Slovenia) is one of the most impressive of Croatia’s castles. Built in the 13th century as a fortress for monitoring the local road, the castle was nationalised in 1944 and has been operating as a museum since 1954. This walkthrough tour is absolutely wonderful, giving you a near-real-life experience.

Trakoscan Castle
The impressive Trakoscan Castle

Visit one of Croatia’s most famous sights

One of the most famous symbols of Croatia is Zagreb‘s Cathedral. This virtual tour gives you the opportunity to explore the Cathedral in peace and quiet…as perhaps it should be.

Photos of Zagreb - Zagreb Cathedral
Zagreb Cathedral – sadly, the top part of one of its spires broke off in the recent (March 2020) earthquake

Where will you stay? In a hotel? Campsite?

A number of accommodation options in Croatia offer virtual tours of their premises. One of these is the sumptuous Grand Hotel Park in Rovinj. You start off “hovering” above the town on a beautifully sunny day; you then swoop down to the hotel. Enter, take the lift up to the reception and take a nosy around the restaurant and bar (hop out onto the balcony for that famous view of Rovinj!) and then take a look at the different room types. I’ll take a suite, thanks! 😎

The Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb has a similar tour. This famous hotel, first opened in 1925, is housed in a stunning, rather imposing building close to the main train station in the city. And for good reason – the hotel was constructed as a stop off point for those travelling on the Orient Express. The five star hotel has been one of the country’s top hotels for many years – and still is today – and has been a place to stay for all sorts of dignitaries and celebrities. Head into the amazing reception – where there’s even an open bottle of champagne waiting (!) – and check out the lounge areas as well as the stunning Emerald Ballroom (especially so in its wedding setting!). Finally, don’t forget to take a look at the gorgeous rooms.

If camping is more your thing, why not check out the facilities of Camp Cikat on the island of Losinj on its virtual tour. You’ll certainly wish you were there on a beautifully sunny day!

See what’s happening on Split’s normally bustling Riva

Unfortunately, the answer is not much! To round off this guide, we thought we’d return to a view of the sparkling Adriatic sea with a webcam set over Split‘s famous Riva (the promenade by the sea). Nowhere near as populated as normal – just a few pedestrians and the odd cyclist or two; all of the popular cafes are firmly shut – we hope this lovely street returns to full force soon.

Tour Croatia Online - Riva in Split
The sunny Riva – and its bustling cafes – on a day in early May

For other glimpses of the Adriatic, do also take a look at these webcams:

  • The marina and the boats bobbing up and down in Pag Town
  • The famous Kamen Brela in Brela
  • The swaying palm trees by the seafront in Novalja, island of Pag

Or for something a little different, take a look at what the meerkats, sea lions or lions are up to in Zagreb Zoo!

Get a zipline thrill

This one will probably give you the biggest thrill out of all the experiences on this list! Even if it’s not quite the same thing as being there… Zipline Omis have a virtual tour of their up in the air adventure that offers up some totally amazing views of the Cetina River and the forests and rocky hillsides all around. To get more of a feel for the zipline, take a look through their gallery of photos and videos of well – and imagine yourself zipping down that wire!

A nice bit of EDM at a Croatian festival

The Croatian summer events calendar is crammed full of all sorts of music festivals in Tisno, Novalja, Split, Zagreb… One of the largest is the Ultra Europe festival in Split every July; relive Afrojack’s rather spectacular set from this festival from summer 2019 below. Full screen it, get your wireless headphones on, dim the lights…you’ve got yourself a dance party!

Gaze at photos of Croatia

If you’ve visited Croatia, we’re sure you have plenty of gorgeous photos of your holidays to look back on!

If you’d like to look at some of ours see some of the albums featured in our Photos in Croatia section – including those of Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, Hvar, Vis, the Plitvice Lakes and more.

We hope you enjoy this whistle stop tour of Croatia from your home!