Dubrovnik is renowned for its summertime music festival in July and August but there’s a good excuse to visit the city in May when it will host its own International Wine & Jazz Festival.
Running from 24th to 27th May, the festival will feature jazz singer and pianist, Diane Schuur, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble, conductor and clarientist, Miachael Kissinger and the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.
The festival will blend jazz, blues, pop and crossover classical musicians. Visitors will also enjoy award-winning Croatian wines, fine artists and craftsmen from throughout the region, and an outstanding array of Dalmatian cuisine.
Dubrovnik is one of our favourite places in the whole world so we’re always excited to see a good offer to make travelling to this luxury and must-visit destination. This spring and summer the Dubrovnik Sun Gardens, on Croatia’s Adriatic Coast is offering Double Rooms from €99 on a B&B basis. Alternatively, the Family Package (minimum three-night stay) in a two-bedroom sea view residence including, bottle of wine & fruit basket, buffet breakfast, buffet dinner starts from just €292 per person. And then, for the ultimate in indulgence, the Spa Delight package includes two-night accommodation in a standard room complemented with one spa treatment per person and the hotel’s delicious buffet breakfast from €119 per person including VAT!
Dubrovnik’s Sun Gardens is one of the country’s first fully integrated resorts offering a five star 201-room Radisson Blu Hotel, beautifully designed private residences for sale and for rent, three swimming pools, kids’ club, an extensive beachfront with a wide range of watersport activities, a world class spa, 13 restaurants and bars, and its very own promenade of market shops.
Just 20 minutes from the bustling Old Town, Dubrovnik Sun Gardens enjoys a privileged location and offers a haven of tranquillity in a unique waterfront position. Regular ferry services from the resort’s marina transport guests straight into the heart of the Old Town and the hotel also provides a regular shuttle bus service.
With the spring and summer months just around the corner and a host of cultural festivals and celebrations fast approaching, preparations at Dubrovnik Sun Gardens are in full swing – book now before it’s too late!
The Unesco World Heritage City of Dubrovnik in Croatia is a popular summer holiday destination, however, there are lots of reasons to visit in the winter too. For one, during December the city shines with magical decorations and sparkles with fairy lights, creating the atmosphere of a fairy-tale renaissance city. In this month of gift giving a fabulous Christmas Fair takes place. Traditional handicrafts, Christmas decorations, candles, toys, glassware, embroidery, ceramics, porcelain and all the objects which the artists’ hands manufactured for Christmas are displayed. While caterers offer Christmas cookies, sweet delicacies, mulled wine, bruštulani mjenduli (candied almonds), and traditional Dubrovnik sweet delicacies including kontonjata (quince cheese), mantala (must cheese), prikle (doughnuts), hrostule (deep fried biscuits) and other delicacies prepared for this holiday time. To the accompaniment of Christmas songs, the fair will be opened from St Nicolas’ Day to Epiphany.
Then, on New Year’s Eve, 31 December, the musicians of Dubrovnik see the old year out with traditional Dubrovnik carols and a music programme lasting all day, which will be the best possible introduction to the wildest night. Numerous visitors to Dubrovnik begin the New Year 2011 entertained by Croatian stars. The finale is the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra’s New Year’s concert in the Stradun on 1 January 2011. The orchestra will perform the most beautiful operatic pieces that will additionally enhance the unforgettable New Year’s fun in Dubrovnik.
So this winter, head to Croatia to enjoy a very different break in Dubrovnik!
Croatia has a lot to offer tourists seeking all manner of escapes, but being one of the most picturesque countries in the world, it is an ideal place for a romantic holiday. Here’s a few reasons why…
We all know oysters are believed to have aphrodisiac properties. Ston on the Pelješac Peninsula has hosted oyster farms since Roman times and has a solid reputation for the best oysters in Croatia. It is also the only place where the Ostrea Edulis variety is found. Smaller than its Atlantic counterpart, it is served open on its flat side, and the meat is firmer and more richly flavoured. Ston is also on the revered Pelješac wine trail so order a bottle of the local Postup and Dingač as well, and then walk it off along the secluded sandy Divna beach to the north of the town.
Take a scenic boat ride across the harbour from a jetty outside the former Maraska (cherry) liqueur building to Zadar’s Old Town with the Barkarjoli (boatmen) of Zadar who have rowed passengers across this stretch of water since the 12th century. Stroll along the waterfront listening to the rhythms of the sea play out on Zadar’s mesmerising Sea Organ, eerily like that of mating whales. Take in the city’s famous sunsets – Hitchcock declared these most beautiful he’d seen – and enjoy the unique ‘Greeting to the Sun’ installation that projects UV light (stored during the day) into the evening sky.
Woo her by taking a water taxi from the airport to the sumptuous, sunken champagne bar of Le Meridien Lav, Split; a luxury hotel with island views. Alternatively check into one of several romantic city centre hotels, such as the Hotel Vestibul Palace and Hotel Peristil, both built within the walls of the famous Diocletian’s Palace. Stroll the city’s Riva (waterfront), stopping off at one of the many cafés for a spot of people watching.
Give the traditional sweetheart’s token: Zagreb’s licitar (gingerbread heart) is a cookie made from honeyed pastry dyed red and colourfully decorated which is traditionally presented to one’s beloved. Croatia’s little known, yet stylish capital of Zagreb is only a 2 hour flight from London. This central European city break will take your breath away with its dazzling architecture and city parks, plus a softer, more bohemian side of coffeehouses, cake shops and street performers. Its oldest parts Gradec and Kaptol are some of the most beautiful and best preserved quarters in Europe. The quirky, cobbled Upper Town is connected to the buzzing Lower Town by funicular. The exciting new ‘MSU’ or Museum of Contemporary Art which opened in late 2009 is a sure way to an art-lover’s heart. www.msu.hr
Warm the cockles of her heart on the elegant Opatija Riviera which is known for its micro-climate (Austrian ladies used to visit to enjoy the milder temperatures). It is now one of Croatia’s foremost spa centres with many wellness spas offering treatments costing 30% less than in neighbouring countries such as Italy. The lungomare (seafront promenade) stretches for 12km from nearby Lovran to the old fishing village of Volosko. Book a table at Plavi Podrum seafood restaurant and ask the country’s most famous sommelier about Croatia’s award-winning wines.
Pop The Question
Spend a weekend in Dubrovnik, one of the world’s most romantic medieval cities and do as my brother-in-law did and ask your sweetheart to marry you. Walk the city ramparts (approx 1 hr) in an anti clockwise direction and take in the coastline or watch life unfold in the 15th century, honey coloured houses within the city walls. The cityscape is breathtaking with bell towers and terracotta rooftops set against the shimmering Adriatic to one side and mountains on the other. In July 2010 a new cable car launches that will ascend Mount Srd (which towers behind the city) in around 3 minutes to 405 metres above sea level. At the top is a viewing platform plus bar and restaurant with visibility of up to 60 kilometres on clear days. www.tzdubrovnik.hr
Discover the Heart-shaped Island
Galesnjak is an uninhabited island in the Zadarski Kanal between Zadar and the Island of Pasman is the ultimate lovers’ hideaway.
Take the Plunge
The Kempinski Hotel Adriatic in Savudrija, Istria (the appropriately heart-shaped peninsula in Croatia’s north-west) is a five-star luxury coastal resort beside beautiful Adriatic Sea complete with its own Wedding Chapel! What more do you need?
For more information about Croatia telephone the Croatian National Tourist Office, 020 8563 7979 or visit the website www.croatia.hr
This summer from the 10th of July to the 25th of August Dubrovnik will host its 61st Summer Festival. Following the tradition and on the occasion of the Festival of St Blaise, the Dubrovnik Festival concluded the previous festival season and announced the new one. Thus, a DVD dedicated to the Festival’s 60th anniversary was presented on 31st of January at Fort Revelin. It was also an opportunity for the presentation of the first Festival TV productions (On the Terrace and Acis and Galatea), which are ready for the media market.
Dora Ruždjak Podolski explains:
“While preparing the theatre programme we followed the key guidelines: the Dubrovnik ambience and the Festival Drama Ensemble gathering, which is a special kind of representation of the Croatian Theatre. The premieres will include Gogol’s play The Government Inspector, directed by the Slovenian theatre director Jernej Lorenci, and the play by the Croatian playwright and novelist Tomislav Zajec The Delivered, directed by the Zagreb theatre director Franka Perković. The Government Inspector by Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol, the founder of the modern Russian realism, is a satirical play dealing with human nature and negative instances, but it is also a comedy of characters and situations.
“Modernity is actually the main reason for including The Government Inspector in the Festival programme. In spite of the time that passed after the play’s first performance, Gogol remained equally intriguing and actual ever since. He created characters that became the synonyms for human laziness, stupidity, selfishness, light-mindedness and corruption. A member of the Slovenian younger middle generation of theatre directors, Jernej Lorenci will undoubtedly explore the motifs and reasons why Gogol’s characters have become «grotesque monsters» of the modern time. By exposing them, he will again reach the human core, on his deductive way from the outside towards the inside.
“Tomislav Zajec’s play The Delivered (2009) is the last part of the trilogy, which also comprises the plays Dorothy Gale (2007) and The Astronauts (2008). An assistant lecturer at the Zagreb Academy of Theatre Arts, Tomislav Zajec (Zagreb, 1972) has published three collections of poetry and four novels, and has written eight original plays. The Rescued is a story of nine people who initially meet at the moment of a car accident. Precisely a year after that, we see them facing the consequences of the accident, but also of that what they are. The play depicts a profoundly personal struggle of each individual for finding a rescue within the frame of his own life. It reveals the fact of how lonely we have been in this struggle, and of this struggle being nevertheless familiar to all of us, yet painfully the same in is essence. Franka Perković was chosen to stage this play particularly for her ability to give the crude realistic form a poetic expression, along with her well-known «gently cruel» direction style. She has also successfully directed a number of plays by younger Croatian playwrights such as Ivana Sajko and Dubravko Mihanović, and has staged several plays by Miroslav Krleža in a modern and engaged manner.
“One could say that her «specialization» in the Croatian drama is a welcome novelty at the Festival. Still searching for appropriate venues for their plays, both theatre directors will make their debuts at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and thus enrich its theatre programme.”
The repeat performances will include the last year’s premieres of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, directed by Ivica Kunčević and Vojnović’s one-act play On the Terrace, directed by Joško Juvančić, as well as the best performance in the Year of Marin Držić, The Miser, directed by Ivica Kunčević.
The rich and varied music programme continued the practice of featuring big orchestras both at the beginning and closing of the Festival. The programme will commence with the concert of the Zagreb Philharmonic and the Ivan Goran Kovačić Academic Choir directed by Ivan Repušić.
Maestro Repušić, the current Festival music director says:
“On 11 July, they will perform one of the best -known classical cantatas Carmina Burana in the memory of Maestro Vjekoslav Šutej. Owing to the outstanding interpretation of this piece, Maestro Šutej became renowned worldwide. As the former Festival music programme director, Vjekoslav Šutej – who conducted Carmina Burana at the Dubrovnik Festival as well – wished the piece to become a standard Festival programme item.
The Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra of Milan, the excellence of which is proved by Maestro Ricardo Chailly’s eight-year artistic directorship, will perform the closing Festival concert on 25 August. Both concerts will take place in front of St Blaise’s Church, the venue which symbolises the opening and closing of the Festival. Other outstanding concerts include two appearances of the corn player Radovan Vlatković with the Wiener Concert-Verein of Vienna, who will perform the works by W. A. Mozart and L. Sorkočević. Among other highlights are the baroque concerts of Händel’s and Vivaldi’s arias with the brilliant Croatian counter-tenor Max Emanuel Cenčić – who will thus make his Dubrovnik debut -, the piano recitals of Nikolai Lugansky and Boris Berezovsky and the lied recital of Zoran Todorovich, who will perform the pieces by Bellini and Puccini. Worth mentioning are the performances of the violinist Gilles Apap with the Zagreb Soloists, an intriguing duo – Stefan Milenkovich and Edin Karamazov, the Cellomania Ensemble with Monika Leskovar and Giovanni Solima, the Zagreb Saxophone Quartet and the returning Festival visitor the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.
Maestro Repušić announced the continuation of the chamber opera tradition at the Festival, with Croatia’s first class performers. The world renowned singer Giorgio Surian, the Orlando Prize winner Valentina Fijačko and the Varaždin Chamber Orchestra will perform Pergolesi’s La Serva padrona and Telemann’s comic cantata Der Schulmeister under the baton of Tomislav Fačini.
In addition to the traditional performances of the folk ensembles Lado of Zagreb and Linđo of Dubrovnik, the Festival has prepared several off programmes.
This June Dubrovnik will see the opening of a new cable car up Mount Srd, which towers behind the medieval walled city. Two carriages, carrying 30 passengers each, will make the ascent in just three minutes. The upper station is 405 metres above sea-level and offers incredible views over the city and beyond. On clear days the visibility from Mount Srđ is around 60 kilometres. There are telescopes on a viewing platform plus a bar, restaurant, 250-seat amphitheatre and shop.
The new cable car replaces a cable car that ran the same route from 1969 to the 1990s, and carried 2.5 million passengers each year. A winding walk known as ‘The Serpentine’ also climbs the sage-covered hillside where sheep graze; the views at the top are the reward.
And don’t forget, Croatia’s oldest cultural event, the 61st Dubrovnik Summer Festival, runs from 10 July until 25 August and offers opera, theatre, music and dance in more than 70 open air venues across the city. For the festival programme, visit www.dubrovnik-festival.hr
Chapman Freeborn Airchartering has assisted in a high-profile public art project dropping bookmarks containing poetry on cities that have subjected to aerial bombing raids. The air charter specialist’s Poland office assisted in arrangements for the Warsaw Bombing of Poems event by coordinating a MI-2 helicopter charter to drop one hundred thousand poems printed on bookmarks over the streets of the capital’s Old Town on 2 October 2009.
The poem drop took place without warning and under the cover of night, in a move that mirrored events from more than 60 years ago. Thousands of residents in Warsaw’s Old Town took to the streets to witness the spectacle and catch the bookmarks, whose poems were written in their mother tongues by Chilean and Polish contemporary poets. Warsaw was the fourth city chosen to host the Bombing of Poems. This year the city commemorates the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII and 65th the anniversary of Warsaw Uprising.
The event has been carried out previously in three different places: the government palace of Chile called La Moneda bombed by Pinochet on 11 September 1973, the city of Dubrovnik (Croatia) shelled on 6 December 1991 by Serbian and Montenegrin forces and the city of Guernica (Basque Country, Spain) which suffered the first Nazi air-bombardment on 26 April 1937.
The idea behind the Bombing of Poems is to contrast terrifying acts of war designed to kill and injure civilians and destroy civic morale with the power of peace poems inspiring hope and forgiveness. The next Bombing of Poems is due to happen in Berlin in 2010 or 2011.
Low-fares airline easyJet is encouraging Brits to explore the delights of the Dalmatian Coast after it was revealed that less than three per cent of the nine million tourists that visit Croatia each year come from the UK. With summer temperatures ranging from 26 to 30°C, a stunning coastline dotted with hundreds of beautiful islands and the Croatian kuna still providing exceptionally good value for British tourists, the reasons to visit Dalmatia are seemingly never-ending.
This year easyJet has expanded its routes to Croatia and now operates regular flights from Liverpool and Gatwick to Dubrovnik, and flights from Bristol and Gatwick to Split. Both destinations have a flight time from the UK of less than three hours and offer the perfect starting place for island hopping beach holidays, with regular water taxis operating up and down the coastline. Dalmatia has a long rugged coast, backed by high mountains with hundreds of offshore islands, each one with its own character from trendy hotspots to secluded getaways.
Hvar Island is one of Dalmatia’s most popular islands with a combination of beautiful sandy and pebbly beaches, olive groves and pine forests, quiet secluded coves and larger bustling beaches littered with bars and cafes. Hvar Town is one of busiest resorts, with some of the best bars and clubs in Dalmatia. Its regular beach parties are infamous, as are its chic bars and restaurants.