Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day Trip to the Island of Korcula

Korcula is one of the most beautiful islands on Croatia’s Adriatic coast. It has lots to offer holiday makers including a historic walled town, great beaches, and locally produced food and wine. In fact, Posip is one of the most recognized wines in Croatia and the best is produced in the small town of Cara on the island of Korcula. While visitors can easily spend 4 or 5 days on the island, those with less time can see it on a daytrip from Dubrovnik.

For those without a car, the best way to visit Korcula from Dubrovnik is by catamaran ferry, operating only during July and August. On Mondays and Saturdays the ferry leaves Dubrovnik at 9:15 and arrives in Korcula at 11:50. The return ferry leaves Korcula at 16:00 and arrives in Dubrovnik at 18:35. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the ferry leaves Dubrovnik at 8:00 and arrives in Korcula at 10:45. The return ferry leaves Korcula at 16:00 and arrives in Dubrovnik at 18:35. This ferry schedule can be viewed on the following website: Korcula Info.

Those with a car can visit Korcula any day of the week by driving to the town of Orebic on the Peljesac Peninsula and taking a short car ferry to Korcula. The ferry runs continuously throughout the day during the whole year. It is also possible to make this daytrip with a private car and driver. Private tours with an English-speaking driver are priced as follows:

1-3 people: 210 EUR
4-8 people: 230 EUR
9-18 people: 460 EUR

Tours may be booked by contacting Dubrovnik Apartment Source.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Croatian Cooking Courses

Ira & Boris Rakic began giving cooking and gastronomy courses to share some of the recipes that have been passed down within the family for generations. They used their artistic talents to create a stunning setting in which to hold these courses at Villa Pape in Trogir. Ira’s cooking is influenced by the many regions of Croatia, which represent the diverse background of her family itself. The classes, called Croatian Culinary Treasures, include trips to the market to select ingredients, which are always natural, seasonal, locally-produced, and (whenever possible) organic. Cooking is done slowly and in the time-honored fashion of generations past. Even the wine and olive oil served is produced locally and is some of the best available in Croatia. A meal prepared by Ira is unlike any meal that can be had in a Croatian restaurant. It is truly a unique culinary experience that will leave you trying to recreate it in your own kitchen.

Ira & Boris offer 1 – 5 day cooking courses from 1 April to 31 May and 15 September to 31 October. They offer just 1-day cooking courses from 1 June to 15 September. For those who prefer to eat than cook, tasting programs are available from 1 April to 31 October.

For more information, please contact Dubrovnik Apartment Source.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Radisson Resort & Spa, Orasac (Dubrovnik)

Just 20 minutes north along the coast from the Old Town is Dubrovnik’s newest luxury hotel & spa: Radisson Blu. It sits directly on the shore looking out to the Elafiti Islands and the Adriatic Sea beyond. The hotel offers 201 guest rooms and 207 fully-furnished apartments, from which guests can choose a 1-, 2-, or 3-bedroom layout. 24 of the guest rooms are suites that offer amenities such as free broadband Internet connection, premium movies, private balcony with sea views, and an in-room Nespresso coffee machine. All rooms and apartments are tastefully decorated in a contemporary style with neutral tones and occasional splashes of color.

The property boasts over a dozen restaurants and bars as well as shops where guests can buy food to prepare in their apartments. The restaurants mostly have a strong Mediterranean influence, but some offer a variety of world cuisine with dishes from Morocco, Thailand, and India. At night, there are several bars to choose from and a club/lounge with DJs and a dance floor. During the day, guests can enjoy one of the hotel’s many pools, a large pebble beach with direct access to the sea, a marina offering water sports, a beautiful new spa, and an indoor & outdoor sport center. In addition, there is an 1100 square meter convention center that can accommodate up to 900 guests.

For more information on the new hotel and resort, visit the Radisson Blu Website.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dubrovnik Taxis

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:

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

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

Dubrovnik to:

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

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

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

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Croatia: A Study In What Not To Do During A Recession

During the past year, much of the world has been suffering through the worst recession since the Great Depression 70 years ago. In response, governments around the globe have been injecting money into their economies through bank bailouts, lower interest rates, and tax incentive programs. Meanwhile, in Croatia, the government has been steadily raising interest rates, raising taxes, and adding more controls on small business owners, making it difficult to turn a profit.

In August 2009, the Croatian government adopted a new “Crisis Tax” on pensions and income, making Croatian income tax the highest in the world (Croatian Times Article, 25.08.09). They have also recently increased VAT from an already high 22% to 23%, making daily life more expensive for its citizens.

In addition, the Croatian government has been denying more and more visas for foreign business owners and wealthy retirees, often sending letters advising them that they have only a few days to abandon their homes and businesses and leave the country. These are the very people that employ local Croatian employees and pump money into the local economy through their businesses and by spending money at local restaurants, shops, and bars. All business owners, local and foreign, have recently been feeling the squeeze from the government, often receiving large fines or being shut down for days over minor offenses such as an unaccounted-for egg or cup of olive oil in their inventory, or failing to produce a license for a copy of Windows 98 on their business computer.

The Croatian government, like all governments around the world, is feeling the effects of the economic downturn. The answer, however, is not to raise taxes and increase penalties for business owners, effectively making Croatian citizens foot the bill for the government’s bad economic policy decisions. The answer is to open up the market to attract more foreign investment by lowering income tax rates and cutting back on regulation. The government must loosen its stranglehold on local businesses by allowing them to operate under easier accounting requirements and without the constant fear of being fined or shut down for minor offenses. By allowing local and foreign businesses to prosper in Croatia, the government will be creating jobs as well as increasing tax revenues and increasing the country’s standard of living. Unfortunately, the Croatian government is currently not paying attention to how to the rest of the world is dealing with the economic crisis and is continuing to move in the wrong direction.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Day Trip to Montenegro

Just 40 minutes south of Dubrovnik is the border to one of Europe’s newest countries: Montenegro. Since its independence from Serbia in 2006, Montenegro has become one of the most visited nations in the Balkans. Owing to its close proximity, it’s a popular day-trip from Dubrovnik. The drive from Dubrovnik to the historic city of Kotor takes approximately 2 hours, passing through the magnificent bay of Kotor. Those who make an early start can also continue on to the walled city of Budva and the beautiful town of Sveti Stefan, before turning back to start the journey home.

Rental cars can generally be taken into Montenegro, but this should be cleared with your rental company before attempting to cross the border. If the car has not crossed the border recently, customs agents will charge you a 10 EUR Eco-Tax and put a sticker on the car that is valid for 1 year. The main border crossing on the coastal road is heavily trafficked and wait times can be as long as 2 hours during the busy summer season. There is a smaller border crossing with minimal or no wait times on the road from Molunat to Montenegro; if you can find it, it’s worth leaving the main road to avoid the traffic. Just follow the signs for Molunat and the Prevlaka National Park, and then take a left when you reach the sea.

A more relaxing way to see Montenegro is by private tour. Private tours with an English-speaking driver are priced as follows:

1-3 people: 210 EUR
4-8 people: 230 EUR
9-18 people: 460 EUR

Tours may be booked by contacting Dubrovnik Apartment Source.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Julian Rachlin & Friends Festival

The ninth annual Julian Rachlin & Friends Festival is underway in Dubrovnik. The festival began on Monday, 31 August with a performance at the Revelin Fortress Terrace and continues until Saturday, 12 September. Concerts will once again be held in the beautiful 17th century Rector’s Palace in Dubrovnik’s Old Town. The festival attracts musicians from all around the world, as well as classical music enthusiasts who return to Dubrovnik every year to enjoy the event. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the festival website.