Jeruzalem vineyards (Slovenia) and Varazdin (Croatia)

From our location in Orseg in Hungary is very easy to organise a one day photography tour in Slovenia and Croatia, visiting two interesting areas,

JERUZALEM (Slovenia)

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Legend has it, that crusaders on their way to the holy land, stopped on one of these beautiful hills to rest. Here they were met by hospitable locals, that offered them good wine, and that is when they decided never to leave this place. They claimed the region as their own and named it Jeruzalem. And to this day it remains one of the most striking places with one of the most spectacular views over the surrounding vineyards.

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Today, Jeruzalem is an idyllic village, which is built around the church Of our Lady of Sorrows (1652). The church was named after the painting of the Mother of Sorrows, for which it was claimed, that it has been brought here by the crusaders, directly from the Holy land (Jerusalem, Palestine) in the 13th century. Next to the church you can find the Jeruzalem mansion, which has been converted into a boutique hotel with a rich botanical garden.Varaždin is the city of baroque, young people, music, flowers and bicycles. „Little Vienna“ with rich natural legacy interwoven in parks, a must see destination, located in the North of Croatia on the southern bank of the River Drava.

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They take their wines very seriously here and a lot of families live off a combination of wine production and tourism. Therefore it is no surprise that the area is famous for its high quality wines with long traditions. Thanks to the great diversity and varieties of white wines produced in this area, you can truly say that Jeruzalem-Ljutomer-Ormož is a true symphony of whites! Wine lovers, and especially white wines lovers, will discover a true Slovenian paradise here among incredible nature.

VARAZDIN (Croatia)

With 46.946 inhabitants and the average annual temperature of 10°C, the city of Varaždin is one of the most attractive destinations to live in or to visit in Croatia. It is the tourist, cultural, economical, educational and sporting centre of North-western Croatia.

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The nine-times winner of the award presented by the National Tourism Board, the nomination for the Golden Flower of Europe and holder of 11 „Green Flowers“; the national award, all for the most ordered, appointed and maintained destination, speak in favour of Varaždin being the city of pleasant emotions.

The city of angels, colourful and magical events; the most famous ones Špancirfest - the Street Festival of good emotions in summer and the classical music festival -Varaždin Baroque Evenings which celebrates music, baroque architectural inheritance and authentic instruments, in autumn.

Not to mention a lovely lunch in Vidovec based on Sarma and some great slovenian or Croatian wine!

The Municipality of Vidovec is known for production of Varaždin cabbage which takes primary place in the production of agricultural products, while other cultures include potatoes, pumpkin, celery and kale. Cabbage is planted on a surface of 251.692 ha and its production has a longstanding tradition.

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Klepetan Returns Home as Croatia’s Famous Love Story Continues

 

Klepetan and Malena’s story has touched many hearts around the world 

The remarkable love story of two long-legged birds from eastern Croatia, which has gone on for the last 16 years, continues as Klepetan arrived back home on Thursday at around 10:30 am.

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The two storks made their nest on a chimney in Brodski Varos in eastern Croatia more than two decades ago. The pair would fly together until Italian poachers injured Malena’s wing which left her flying capabilities restricted.

With storks being a migrating bird, this caused a problem. Every winter for the last 16 years Klepetan would leave Croatia and make his way more than 13,000 km to the warmer climates of Africa.

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Without fail, however, Klepetan has always managed somehow to negotiate his return to Croatia in the spring when the weather warms up to be reunited with Malena.

However when Klepetan failed to turn up by the end of March last year the nation began to worry. He did return though two weeks late keeping the love story alive.

“It is true, Klepetan has been late 3-4 days than when he was younger. The journey is long, more than 13,000 km. Last year he was 2-3 weeks late but nobody is happier than Malena and I when he arrives,” Stjepan Vokic, who has taken care of the birds in Brodski Varos for over a decade, told 24sata.

The famous love story continues.

CROATIA: The Village of Pican in Istria

The small medieval Croatian village of Pican is perched on a 350 meters high hill in the Istrian hinterland, 10km south east of Pazin. 

View from the drone

 

Inhabited by the Histri tribe in early prehistoric times and later on by the Romans naming it Petina, Pican has lost its past importance and nowadays counts just 300 inhabitants. 

Pican is interesting for people searching for relaxation in its old houses  surrounded by the charming countryside that offers numerous opportunities for hiking, cycling and other outdoors activities. 

WHAT TO SEE 

The only visible evidence of the Roman presence is the inscription on the stone incorporated in the doorpost of the house facing the bell tower. Erected in 1872 this 48 meters high campanile that dominates the place is the third tallest in Istria.

 
In the Middle Ages, the town was encircled by defensive walls that are preserved partially because, over time, they were mutilated by houses built on top of them. However, the main town gate, constructed at the turn of the fourteenth into the fifteenth century and renovated in the 17th century is well conserved.
 
The fact that Pican was the administrative centre of central Istria as well as Bishopric seat confirms the significance it once had. The Diocese of Pican established in the fifth century by Byzantium was one of the oldest and smallest dioceses in the world that survived until the eighteenth century(1788). Although small, thanks to its role in the past Pican has conserved a couple of interesting sacral edifices. 

CHURCH OF ST. ROCK 

Before you enter the town on the left side of the main gate there is the small Church of St. Roch dedicated to the patron saint of people afflicted by the plague or other infectious diseases. Its foundation stone was laid in the beginning of the 17th century during one of the most severe plague epidemics. 

The park in front of the main gate to Pićan hosts the sculpture of St. John Nepomucene built in 1714. 

CHURCH of ST. MICHAEL 

The tiny Romanesque Church of St. Michael from the 13th century is situated at the top of 365 meters high Calvary Hill (Kalvarija), next to the cemetery. The interior of this single-nave building is decorated with valuable Gothic frescoes from the first half of the 15th century that were enriched by the Glagolitic engravings during the 15th and 16th centuries. Being located on a hilltop, its natural viewpoint offers a spectacular view of the surrounding area. In addition, this beautiful view was embellished by the stone sculpture The Family by Nane Zavagno, who took part in the Mediterranean Sculpture Symposium at Dubrova near Labin. 

THE CHURCH OF THE ANNOUNCIATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY 

This parish church was built on the foundations of a former cathedral of St. Nikifor from the 14th century. The main nave of the old Medieval church was expanded in 1613 but it acquired its current external form after its thorough modification between 1753 and 1771. Its interior was also redecorated in baroque style and the main altar is adorned with a painting of The Annunciation by Valentin Metzinger. Tombs of the bishops of Pićan and other meritorious citizens of Pićan, decorated with relief and coats of arms, are placed under the church floor and the plateau in front of the church. Also, the notes of the “Pican's mess” celebrated in Old Church Slavon by the Glagolitic priests that is performed even nowadays are found there. Its bell tower stands separate from the church and offers a splendid view of the Istrian countryside. 

BIRTHPLACE of Matko Brajša Rašan 

Pican is also the birth place of Matko Brajsa Rasan (1859. – 1934.), choir master, recorder of old Istrian melodies whose birth home is located opposite the parish church. In 1912, he also composed the current official Istrian anthem Krasna zemljo after the lyrics of Ivan Cukon. 

VIEWPOINTS 

Whole Pican has beautiful views of the Istrian countryside but the most beautiful view is from the church of St. Michael.

The Franz Ferdinand's Viewpoint situated in front of the cathedral offers an unobstructed view over the undulating landscape of central Istria. 

The viewpoint of saint Helen, named after the church which once stood in this place is also recommended. In addition, this part of the old sleepy village is piled with old abandoned houses with rustic lintels and stairs cut in rock. 

The viewpoint of Saint Helen

 

BICYCLING ROUTES 

Gracisce – Pican -Gracisce 

33 km long circular route Gracisce – Lovrici – Skopljak – Floricici – Sopot – Pican – Medigi – Montovani – Oric – Pazanci – Jakacici – Simuncici – Brunici – Gracisce is 50 % surfaced with asphalt that can be done in 3 hours. As the road is very demanding due to the great downward slope to Sopot and upward one to Pićan it is recommended to be ridden only in direction as described above. 

Pazin 3 or Pazin istok
 
This 100% asphalted, 64 km long circular route of medium difficulty could be done in 3 hours. Its hiking points are : Pazin – Cerovlje – Paz – Susnjevica – Vozilici – Krsan – Pican – Gracisce – Lindar – Pazin. 

HIKING TRAILS 

St. Nicefor 8 km long circular trail starting and ending in Pican for much of its length runs through fields. Its hiking points are : Pićan, Pedrovica, Vrh Kružac, Jelčići, Baldeti, Sv. Krištof and Lukeži. 

Other interesting paths are : 
Path of St. Rok
Benkovski slap
Pićan - Gračišće
Pićan - Gologorički dol 

Also, two major Istrian waterfalls, Sopot and Benkovski, are located in the vicinity of Pican. 

EVENTS 

Legendfest
 
The festival of Istrian legends, tales and myths is held at the end of July and at the beginning of August. 

Leni Martin - Lazy Martin

Exhibition of young wines from central and northern Istria as well as from Labin region is held at the end of November and attracts a lot of wine enthusiasts and experts. 

Rokova 

St. Roch festivity, Pican's saint patron, with all day programme is held in the middle of August. 

Petivina

Wine exhibition of eastern Istrian vineyards is held at the end of may. 

HUNTING 

Public hunting area of Pićan , under the direction of the Kamenjarka Pićan hunting association is at the disposal of the hunters. 

LD «Kamenjarka Pićan » 
Sv. Katarina 35
52332 Pićan 

TOURIST INFORMATIONS

Tourist office for Pican as well as for whole central Istria is situated in Pazin.

Franine i Jurine 14
52000 Pazin 

+385 (0) 52 622 460 

 

info by croatiaview.com

 

This post has not been sponsored and I did not get media samples or freebies. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

​Losinj Island and Boutique Hotel Alhambra

Losinj Island

Located due south of Rijeka in the Kvarner Gulf of the northern Adriatic Sea, Losinj is a hidden gem among Croatia's renowned Mediterranean island retreats. Measuring a mere 20 miles long by 2 miles at its widest point, this compact, idyllic oasis offers travelers a true getaway in every sense of the word. It features sun-drenched seas bordered by spacious, uncrowded beaches dotted with picturesque fishing villages that are reminiscent of a time long past.

Traveling to Losinj takes some effort, which may account for the island's relative obscurity and refreshing isolation from the crowds that flood other destinations during the holiday season. Visitors need to take a car ferry and drive to the island, as there is no international airport.

Once on the island, guests can begin to relax and indulge in the sights and sounds of this seductive place. The warm seaside climate delivers about 2600 hours of sunshine each year, fostering the growth of lush flora and over a thousand varieties of wild herbs that are both beautiful and practical; the herbs serve as natural mosquito repellents, making hiking and cycling the many trails a true delight.

Also commonly known as the 'Island of Vitality', Losinj is known for its wealth of health resorts and retreats that focus on the restorative powers of the natural environment, and the locals have a reputation for looking, and acting, far younger than their actual age. Spas, therapy centers and sports facilities are abundant here, making this a wonderful destination for anyone who wants to indulge in world-class body treatments, herbal therapies and rejuvenation.

The island is filled with unique restaurants and cafes serving fresh, local fish, pasta and area wines, providing guests with the opportunity to discover the tantalizing tastes of the region. Cikat Bay is the main tourist region, where windsurfers enjoy the warm waters of what is said to be the most beautiful bay in all of the Adriatic.

Hotel Alhambra

Located on the shore of Cikat Bay in the town of Mali Losinj, Hotel Alhambra is a five-star hotel housed in a historic, centuries-old Austro-Hungarian villa that has been painstakingly restored and refurbished, creating a one-of-a-kind luxury retreat.

Guests of the Hotel Alhambra stay in one of 51 private rooms and suites, including a limited selection of two-bedroom suites. Most rooms offer a sea view, while all come equipped with a balcony or terrace, en-suite baths with robes and slippers, air conditioning, satellite TV and complimentary Wi-Fi.

The long list of hotel amenities include a private beach for guests, complete with parasols and sun loungers; a heated indoor sea-water pool; 24-hour room service; butler service and a full fitness center. There are both Turkish and Finnish saunas, and expert masseuses are available for in-room massages and body treatments.

In the main area of the hotel, an upscale lounge serves up premium cocktails and wines, while the on-site restaurant features an eclectic menu filled with regional and international offerings prepared by expert chefs.

Hotel Alhambra is just a short half-mile walk away from the shops and cafes of Mali Losinj, providing easy access to the best the island has to offer. A marina is also close by, providing guests with access to scuba diving outfitters, charter boat tours and watercraft rentals.

For those who are seeking a relaxing, sun-filled vacation on a true island paradise that blends old-world charm with modern amenities and service, the Hotel Alhambra on Losinj Island is an ideal choice.

Travelers to Losinj are advised to reserve accommodations in advance, especially if they hope to secure space at one of the island's most sought-after hotels, Hotel Alhambra.

What to see, what to do and where to eat

Mali Losinj

The town was first mentioned in 1398, under the name Malo selo ("small village"). In 1868, it experienced its golden year. There were as many as eleven shipyards, and it became the place with the largest and most developed merchant marine in the Adriatic Sea, even ahead of cities like Rijeka, Trieste and Venice.American author Kenneth Roberts observed that the little town, , seemed to have "produced a hundred seamen for each one produced elsewhere." Writing in 1938, Roberts said there were currently "four hundred sea captains living on Lussinpiccolo, The place is lovely with many restaurants.

Veli Losinj

Veli Lošinj is  a superb little place has 901 inhabitants and a mild climate and caters to tourists. It is located 5 km from the town of Mali Lošinj. It was an important port and fishing centre until the late 19th century. Today it is known as a tourist and aromatherapy centre. The first mentioning of the town dates back to 1398 by the name of "Velo selo". The oldest core of the city was built between the 13th and 14th centuries around the Romanesque church of Sv. Nikola (Saint Nicholas) from 14th century. The town grew along agricultural alignments, not along lais-out city streets. In the 15th century the still-standing defensive tower was built, erected to defend the harbour and the settlement, but also to protect the locals from pirate attacks.

Osor

Very old village with a wonderful feeling

Rovenska

A real hidden gem just off Veli Losinj it is for sure worth a visit!

Restaurants

Fortuna Restaurant and Pizza. Pizza  was really good and fish is fresh and lovely . here

Draga friendly place and good food in Mali Losinj.  here

This post has been partially sponsored I did get media rates during my stay at Alhambra Hotel. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

A visit to the city of Zagreb

A trip to Zagreb can be life-changing. It provides one of the very best opportunities to experience the Croatian lifestyle. This city offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor things to do. You could spend your afternoon walking along the beautiful cobblestones of St. Marks or spend some time at an apothecary shop that dates to 1355. Yet much of the city is quite modernized, offering all of the finer things that people enjoy.

What You'll Enjoy in Zagreb

The architecture and the rich history of Zagreb are what dominate the landscape. It is these features that many people come to see especially the 1,000-year old Gornji grad where the Presidential Palace is and the post-World War II Novi Zagreb area which is a much more modern space. Aside from the architecture, you'll find this city has more museums per square foot that virtually any other city. For those that love history, it is a treasure trove of opportunities.

Key sights to see in Zagreb include:

  • The Zagreb Cathedral with its twin neo-Gothic spires dominate the square. You'll find the tomb of Cardinal Stepinac here.
  • The Dolac Market is the largest and most colorful of all in the area. Enjoy some of the local food here.
  • Kamenita vrata or the Stone Gate in upper town is a beautiful 13th century gate with a significant amount of history dating to 1731.
  • The Funicular railway is below the Lotscak Tower. It takes to 1888 and is the oldest form of public transport in the city, which at the time was a horse-drawn tram. You can take a ride along the railway and see much of the city up close.
  • Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters and the Museum of Naive Art is an ideal choice for those who want a dazzling display of artifacts.

When visiting Zagreb, you'll find the area is full of culture. Step back two centuries to the many towers and buildings here or enjoy both the traditional and more contemporary meals prepared here at local cafes.

Take the path less traveled by tourists by visiting Maksimir Park and Lake Jarun. You can also visit the nearby towns of Varazdin and Samobor. With numerous restaurants, local coffee shops, various entertainment venues, and dozens of stalls and shops, this is an ideal place to visit if you want a bit of history on the city as well as the region. It virtually comes to life with every cobblestone step you take.

Where to Stay

I stayed at Esplanade Hotel the most luxurious hotel of Zagreb and super Central, see my next post.

There are a lot of rental apartments that simply look fabulous and are really great value for money

Where to Eat

If you are passionate about Strukly...then there is only one place ...La Struk. Superb strukly are freshly served all day. If you are going in winter the place is quite small.....but they are really worth the wait!

  • La Štruk
  • Skalinska 5, Zagreb 10000, Croatia
  • Tel 38514837701

 

This post has been partially sponsored I did get media rates during my stay at Esplanade Hotel . For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

Hotel Kvarner Opatija

The first hotel to be built along the Adriatic Coast in 1884, Hotel Kvarner Opatija is a historic property often seen as the standard for elegance and sophistication of hotels in Opatija. 

Some of the more memorable visions of Opatija are on the grounds of Hotel Kvarner. The Crystal Hall is an awesome architectural sight and the largest of its kind in Opatija. It is an ideal setting for personal events like weddings or business summits. The newly-renovated terrace, situated above the Lungomare promenade, is the perfect spot to hold your outdoor event with its offer of magnificent sea views. 
Villa Amalia is in Kvarner's immediate vicinity and villa guests can use all the amenities of the historic hotel, including the outdoor swimming pool and private beach. 

Close to the city's most famous landmarks, Hotel Kvarner offers excellent accommodation on the Opatija Riviera. 
Built in neoclassicism style, the architecture of Hotel Kvarner really stands out. The façade has been restored to its original masterful appearance. Large windows allow for wondrous sea views. The highly-detailed interior recalls style of the past.  

Hotel Kvarner breathes history and class.

It is for me one of the best hotel I have ever experienced! The location is just wonderful, right ON the coast with its own "beach". 
The service was excellent and so were the rooms. Air conditioning work very well although it was well above 30 degrees outside. We had a lovely view over the sea from our room, and our own huge balcony. Loved it!
Every night there was some kind of music on the large patio next to the restaurant, lovely to have dinner and listen to great music meanwhile!
Th the dinner buffet as well as the breakfast is great!

  • Ulica Pava Tomašića 2, 51410 Opatija
  • +385 51 710 444

 

This post has not been sponsored. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.