Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Taste of Turkey in Dubrovnik

We have anxiously awaited the opening of Orient Kebab, a new take-out restaurant in the Old Town. The wait is finally over and the Turkish Kebab shop is a welcome addition to Dubrovnik's limited fast-food selection. The owner, a native of Turkey, cooks succulent lamb on a turning spit, chicken & veal kebabs, chevapcici, and meatballs, all served on fresh-baked flatbread with your choice of sauce and toppings. The shop is open for lunch and dinner and the owner plans to have extended hours on weekends to serve late-night kebabs to those stumbling out of the bars in Old Town. This should prove popular as there are currently very few choices for late-night dining in Dubrovnik.

Orient Kebab is located on Cubranoviceva street, between the Stradun and Od Puca in the Old Town.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Golden Sun Casino, Dubrovnik

Last night we made our first trip to the Golden Sun Casino in the Hotel Rixos Libertas. The 1300-square-meter space looks as you would expect a casino to be: dim lighting, neon colors, and shiny metal slots. All the big games are there, including Black Jack, Roulette, Caribbean Poker, Three Card Poker, and Texas Hold'em. Minimum bets range from 2 to 5 Euro depending on the time of day; come early if you want to avoid the 5 Euro minimums that start at 22:00 hrs. The drinks are very reasonably priced (although not free, even while playing at a table) and the bar food is passable. One pleasant surprise was the live band lead by a great female vocalist who sang mostly American and Country favorites. The only real downside to the place is that it can get quite smoky at times and some of the other patrons are less than desirable. It is certainly a fun night-out in Dubrovnik and, with a little luck, a cheap one.

The Golden Sun Casino is located in the Hotel Rixos Libertas in Gorica. It may be reached from the Old Town in about 20 minutes by foot or just 5 minutes by taxi. Remember to bring your passport as it is required for entry.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Best Furniture Shop in Dubrovnik

Furnishing a new apartment or house can be quite a challenge in Dubrovnik. There are really only two options: 1.) cheaply-made, but not so cheaply-priced, particle board and laminate furniture that is carried at most shops or 2.) good-quality, but very expensive Italian imports. The Italian imports certainly look nice when they eventually come (if what you ordered ever actually does come), but not everyone wants to pay 7000 Kuna for a kitchen table. The answer to this dilemma: Decoro. Decoro is the opus of Alma & Samir, who have a passion for fine style and good design. By working with various talented artisans in Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, & Slovenia they are able to create unique, high-quality furniture at reasonable prices. Their storefront in the center of town is a showcase of just a few of their designs, but their real talent begins to show when they are presented with a special request. Alma & Samir are able to recreate almost any piece of furniture from a magazine or catalog using materials such as solid hardwoods, MDF, and high-quality laminates. Most importantly, their customer service is unrivaled in Dubrovnik, and not just before they make a sale. Decoro will continue to work with you even after delivery of your furniture to be sure that it is exactly what you wanted.

Decoro is located at Marka Marojice 7; Alma & Samir can be reached at +385 20 311 065

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Croatia Visa Requirements to be Lifted

The Croatian government has announced that it plans to lift the visa requirements for some visitors to Croatia this summer (Tourism boost: Croatia to ease visa requirements for some countries). Croatian Tourism Minister Damir Bajs has suggested that the requirements be lifted for citizens of Russia, Ukraine, China, and India, countries whose citizens must now apply for visas before leaving for their holidays. The move is in response to an expectation that visitors to Croatia will drop by 3% this year compared to last year. Such a shortage of visitors could cause further damage to an already weakened economy. In addition to the lifted visa requirements, the Croatian government has also agreed to allow Russian aircraft to land in the country between 1 May and 31 October (Croatia to allow landing of old, noisy Russian aircraft). The old aircraft have been banned from most EU member states because they are known to be noisy. It is hoped that these measures will attract enough visitors to make up for the expected loss of tourists from countries such as Germany, Austria, Italy, and Slovenia.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday Shopping Banned in Croatia

In an effort to protect family life, the Croatian government has passed a new law banning the opening of shops on Sundays. To ease the impact on tourism, the law contains an exemption for stores on the coast between 1 June and 1 September. Locals in tourist destinations such as Dubrovnik are frustrated with the new law and are already seeing its negative impact. Visitors to the Dalmatia Coast start arriving in large numbers beginning in April and they unexpectedly find that there are no open shops where they can buy bottled water or food items. Restaurant owners, who sometimes rely on local supermarkets when they run out of ingredients on a Sunday, are seeing the impact as well.

Sunday in Croatia is traditionally spent at home with the family. Families often go to church together, have a long lunch, and perhaps take an afternoon walk. Many locals think that the new law is connected with falling church attendance. The logic is that if employees spend the day working instead of with their families they will not go to church and will not make their weekly donations. It is widely believed that the church wields much power in this small nation, 88% of whose population is Catholic.

In response to the outcry along the coast, the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (HOK) has asked the government for a fast-track decree enabling shops to be open on Sundays beginning on Easter (12 April) instead of 1 June. However, Easter has passed and there is no sign of a change in the law. It is unclear if the government will repeal or amend the law in the near future, but for now visitors to Croatia should be advised to stock up on bottled water and other necessities on Saturday.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Taxi Service in Dubrovnik

Most taxi services in Dubrovnik are safe and charge about the same rate for trips to and from the airport or to other local destinations. However, there are some illegal taxis that will charge less to attract customers or more to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists. The following is a list of estimated rates for popular routes in and around Dubrovnik. These are merely guidelines and may vary depending on the time of the year and type of vehicle doing the transfer:

Dubrovnik Airport to:

Dubrovnik
1 - 3 people: 30 EUR/220 Kuna
4 - 8 people: 40 EUR/300 Kuna
9 - 18 people: 80 EUR/600 Kuna

Cavtat & Plat
1 - 3 people: 15 EUR/110 Kuna
4 - 8 people: 30 EUR/220 Kuna
9 - 18 people: 60 EUR/440 Kuna

Soline/Mlini
1 - 3 people: 20 EUR/150 Kuna
4 - 8 people: 30 EUR/220 Kuna
9 - 18 people: 60 EUR/440 Kuna


Dubrovnik to:


Tivat/Kotor
1 - 3 people: 180 EUR/1320 Kuna
4 - 8 people: 200 EUR/1460 Kuna
9 - 18 people: 400 EUR/3000 Kuna

Split
1 - 3 people: 240 EUR/1750 Kuna
4 - 8 people: 260 EUR/1900 Kuna
9 - 18 people: 520 EUR/3800 Kuna

Korcula
1 - 3 people: 220 EUR/1600 Kuna
4 - 8 people: 250 EUR/1830 Kuna
9 - 18 people: 500 EUR/3650 Kuna

The following taxi services are safe and reliable and are reasonably priced:

Taxi Service Dubrovnik, + 385 98 725 769

Queen Service Dubrovnik, + 385 91 22 55 027

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Property Managers in Dubrovnik

With the large number of rental properties and foreign-owned residences in Dubrovnik, property management has become a popular trade. Services offered by most management companies include key holding, rental calendar management, meet & greet services, maintenance/cleaning, and gardening. Property managers can also be extremely helpful in navigating the murky waters of registering a property for rental. Fee schedules vary and are generally fixed for minding and maintaining a property and are percentage-based for rental management. Property management is a fairly easy business to enter, but it can be difficult to do well. The following is a short list of the most efficient & reliable property managers in Dubrovnik:

Dubrovnik Property Management
Contact: Ivana, www.dubrovnik-propertymanagement.com, info@dubrovnik-propertymanagement.com, +385 98 564 777

Property Management Ltd.
Contact: Anna & Aldin, www.Dubrovnik-Property-Management.com, info@dubrovnik-property-management.com, +385 98 186 9246

Home Keep Croatia
Contact: Azra, www.HomeKeepCroatia.com, info@homekeepcroatia.com, +385 99 222 8084

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Best Cakes in Dubrovnik

Krem Pita, Strudla, and Palacinke are fine, but for those looking for some variety, there is a new pastry chef in town. Her name is Gabi and her cakes are exquisite. After working in the finest 5-star hotels in Dubrovnik, Gabi has opened her own bakeshop at Od Batala 25 in Lapad, where she sells only whole cakes, which can be ordered in advance for weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions. Those who just want to sample a slice can find her creations exclusively at The Smoothie Bar on Palmoticeva in the Old Town. Fresh baked favorites include carrot cake, cheese cake, and apple pie among other tempting varieties. Let's hope that Gabi's cakes are soon more widely available as they certainly make getting through the long Dubrovnik winters much easier.

Gabi can be contacted at +385 91 761 9550 or through her website www.Slasticarna.com.