After the HBO’s cult series The Game of Thrones, hugely successful Indian film industry Bollywood which hails its name from its center of Mumbai and makes the important piece of the Indian Hindi language based industry is coming to Dubrovnik. According to the article which has been written in today’s Croatian daily “Jutarnji list” one of India’s most popular actor Shah Mukr Khan is set to star in the movie titled “Fan” The shooting has already started in Mumbai and is set to continue in Dubrovnik in the year 2015. Indian outbound tourism industry is becoming increasingly popular and this move will boost Croatia as a destination onto the Indian Travel market. The sources from the Croatian daily “Jutarnji list” claims than on every one hundred employees from the movie industry comes another two to three hundred in the building, travel, tourism and hospitality sectors.The film segment of the tourism market itself is set to net 60 million HRK alone in the forthcoming year and this is without extra revenue generated from tourism and hospitality sectors.
Only HBO’s new production of the Game of Thrones with filming taking places in Dubrovnik, Split and Sibenik is set to bring 43 million HRK.
We at Dubrovnik Luxury Travel welcome the arrival of Bollywood glamor and look forward to service Bollywood film crews be it regarding their Dubrovnik accommodation, Dubrovnik transportation, Dubrovnik yacht charter needs or perhaps finding new exotic Dubrovnik film locations.
The author of this article is Srdj Portolan, a founding member of Intercon Group of Companies, a board director at Spes Real Estate and Dubrovnik Luxury Travel.
Everyone talks about Croatia as this beautiful country with 1000 islands. Srđ Portolan, a member of Dubrovnik Luxury Travel
management board tells us that you do not have to be rich and travel in style. Srđ has recently worked with four Brazilian clients who wanted to have fun in the sun and to enjoy Croatian food and wine. Srđ has managed to include visits to Elaphiti islands, Korcula ( this is where Portolan surname originally comes from ) Hvar and Vis.
Interestingly enough Srdj who is a keen diver, managed to squeeze a diving session for the Brazilians off the island of Vis,
near the world famous Blue Cave. It was a lovely day out with a speedboat from the island of Hvar. Portolan explained to us that a common mistake that people sometimes make is to try to link their journey from starting point, Dubrovnik to Split via the ferry. Srdj Portolan continues to tell us that a journey from Dubrovnik to Korcula in a luxurious mini van is equally pleasant one and that on the way to Hvar you can
always go via Trpanj and then Drvenik to Starigrad on Hvar and continue your journey to Hvar Old City on the island of Hvar. We asked Srdj could this be a bit tiresome. He answered back that we should not forget the fact that the Brazilians had two days out with a speedboat, one on the Elaphiti islands and the second one on the island of Vis which proved a true winner because it was a unique opportunity to dive in the Blue Cave. Srđan told us that this itinerary included a visit to Krka National
Park, the town of Split and for the true lovers of oysters on the way back from Split, they stopped in the medieval town of Ston.
So we agreed this was the true luxury tour for a 7 days tour for a price of EUR 9980 for four people and considering that the accommodation was a five star one ( except Korcula and Hvar, an excellent four star one ) this is indeed a true winner.
Could you tell us more about Dubrovnik Luxury Travel and your role as Operations Manager?
Dubrovnik Luxury travel has been a market leader in the luxury segment for the past 15 years, here in Croatia and in the region. We are proud that we have served the world’s most powerful clients. Each year our base of luxury clients is growing.
If I were a VIP client, what would be your best recommendation to explore Dubrovnik and Croatia?
Croatia is a country of over 1300 islands. There are many National Parks like the world renown Plitivce Lakes, Krka waterfalls, National Park Brioni, president’s Tito ex-residence, National Park Kornati, an ideal destination to charter a yacht or perhaps do a spot of sailing. In one word, Croatia is a country of many beautiful spot. My recommendation to explore Croatia is the sea way from Dubrovnik to Split. I would charter a yacht from Dubrovnik, I must say that the both, Dubrovnik airport and Split airport are well connected with the rest of the world. En route from Dubrovnik to Split there are many beautiful towns like Cavtat, picturesque Mediterranean town close to Dubrovnik Konavle wine region. The next one is the medieval town of Korcula on the island of Korucla, a birthplace of Marco Polo. I must say that Korcula has excellent gastronomy and white wines, Posip. I like diving and the island of Vis is my favorite. There are so many wrecked ships from the Second World War and would you believe sunk airplanes. Sea next to the Blue Cave just like in Capri, has the best sea visibility in the whole of the Adriatic. There are no sharks.
What about this island of Hvar. Is this a must see island?
Oh, Hvar is simply amazing! This is a must visit destination for all those chartering yahct, sailboats, catamarans and this is also party island, it’s Croatian version of St Tropez. Carpe Diem, Croatian best known night club and lounge bar.
Tell me about this upcoming destination, Split?
Split is originally a Roman city, the remains of the Diocletian palace are still there. It is the second biggest town in Croatia. What I like about Split that its Old City is quite unique, good choice of restaurants, good shopping. Transportation wise, it’s a hub for islands, ferries run from Split port to the islands of Hvar and Brac. Split Airport is well connected to all European destinations. Krka National Park is nearby and the towns of Sibenik and Skradin.
Where do you see the development of Croatian luxury market ?
I see Adriatic as a destination not only Croatia, but Montenegro as well. Adriatic has a pristine clear sea, islands, it is only two hours away from London and Istanbul. Top investors have recognized this. Dubrovnik is building a golf course and luxury villas. At the moment there is a shortage of luxury villas in Dubrovnik and the whole of the Adriatic. I have clients contacting me on daily basis to enquire about the hire of luxury villas. Luckily I have few on the books. Continuing on this subject of investing, in Montenegro for instance, there was a British-Russian investment into marna project Porto Montenegro. There is even bigger marina being planned. Montenegro will be a starting point for the luxury yacht cruises and this would include Dubrovnik, Split, Sibenik, Zadar. I really see the future of the Croatian tourism on the whole and in particular the luxury market segment in the nautical tourism.
When I, Srdj Portolan and Darijan Portolan went for a business trip in France we saw a true example of nautical tourism model with a supportive infrastructure and this is what we lack.
Mr Kristian Vrbanic, thank you very much for taking your time to talk to us.
This is rather interesting story which I am about to retell. Although it would be pompous to state that Dubrovnik Luxury Travel is Dubrovnik’s best kept secret, indirectly this is the case. Well, I jokingly have this expression in Croatian that would roughly translate into English as being “romantic-semantic”. I use it often to describe myself as someone who does“ have a gift of a gob” when it comes to talking about romance but as always action speaks louder than words. So when Dubrovnik Luxury Travel’s GM Kristian briefed us that a famous US rap star visiting Dubrovnik and Croatia decided to propose to his girlfriend my semantic panic button started blinking red, red,red.
I honestly don’t know if this rapper is famous in Japan but he has to thank to Japanese that his girlfriend read fiance read wife was overjoyed about his marriage proposal. For some reason every Japanese tourist has it written in his bible of a tourist guide that a must visit to Croatia are Plitvice Lakes and Dubrovnik and in it, the hill Srdj. Dubrovnik Luxury Travel organizes half day trips from Dubrovnik to this picturesque hill. When Srdj Portolan came late for this brief, he is never late, but on this occasion he was excused as the previous night he was “entertaining” a group of American guests whom he took up on the Srdj hill (rest assured this is not Srdj Portolan hill ) as there is an excellent restaurant serving “peka” traditional Croatian roast potatoes and lamb cooked under the bell and when he mentioned that last night before the dinner the whole hill was occupied by the Japanese tourists, Kristian just uttered with a grin on his face: “That is it”
Dubrovnik Luxury Travel key word on this occasion was sunset as Kristian sussed it out the reason behind Japanese invasion to hill Srdj. They were just staying in touch with their homeland ,from this spot there is a magnificent sunset view over Elaphiti islands. And now Kristian had this idea for our couple to enjoy themselves ,speeding with a fast boat into sunset around Elaphiti islands followed by a dinner in a restaurant which is exactly situated on the sea and when he suggested that we can hide a ring in a oyster from Ston Bay, the rapper management team approved it all and we knew that we had winning formula.
It’s sailing time in Croatia and Dubrovnik marina in Komolac is like a beehive, it is full of enthusiastic sportsmen who are getting ready to sail from Dubrovnik to Hvar, or perhaps from Dubrovnik to Korcula. I always admired those zesty people, as a matter of fact I love Dubrovnik marina, my friend Kristian Vrbanic, yes that famous Dubrovnik Luxury Travel guru, is a regular. He is not a sailor so to speak but people love talking to him when they meet him up once they rented a boat from Dubrovnik to Elaphiti islands or when they rent a yacht for a luxury cruise from Dubrovnik to Hvar that would include visits to Elaphiti islands, Korcula, Hvar, Pakleni islands, Vis.
On this occasion I happen to be with Kristian when a group of enthusiastic sailing Americans who rented a catamaran from Adriatic Yacht Services, Dubrovnik Luxury Travel’s sister company, decided on the spur of the moment to go on a tour from Dubrovnik to Montenegro. There were six of them and before you knew it Darijan was in front of marina reception with luxury Mercedes van. So unexpectedly I ended up on a tour setting from Dubrovnik to Kotor.
It was rather a pleasant 45 minutes drive through Konavle wine region. Having passed through Montenegrin border, there was a gasp as Americans looked amazed. Somehow, everyone had this image of Montenegro as a distant kingdom of Monrovia. The first town that we passed by en route was Herceg Novi. It was founded by Stjepan Herceg, a Bosnian medieval king and for some reason in its stormy past it was ruled by Spanish kings, reminder of which is an imposing fortress Spagnola.The magic of Montenegro really commenced once we entered Boka Bay. This is where a 33 km drive started along the most beautiful fiord in the Mediterranean. Our American friends looked in amazement as we were passing through the contrast of mountains and sea.
A visit to Perast museum was a touching story of Boka Bay families merchant navy tradition whose father and sons were that famous that they even helped Russian tsar Peter the Great to establish its glorious fleet. One American lady from Hawaii was surprised to learn that the houses with the bricked windows were there with a purpose. If a father or son, sea captain did not return from their “voyage” as a sign of mourning their females would brick the windows as a sign of mourning. Dubrovnik Luxury Travel Kristian threw in a rent a boat ride to a nearby Lady of the Rocks islet, man made, where young married couple would pay a pilgrimage to the Lady of the Rocks, offering a gift in silver so that she looks after their marriage, a tradition which has survived up to this date.
Kotor in its own right is a cozy but much more unspoilt version of Dubrovnik with St Triphun’s cathedral occupying the centre piece of the main square. A visit to Kotor was meant to be the end of our journey but Dubrovnik Luxury Travel Kristian took us to show us St Stephen’s Amman resort. En route to St Stephen’s we passed Milocer and interestingly I glanced through the pine and cypress trees to spot two beaches divided by the villa. I was told that one of the Montenegrin kings loved his wife so much that he made her a beach where she could swim naked far away from the prying eyes of the general public. Things we do for love. Transfer from Kotor to Dubrovnik was indeed a sleepy experience as our impressed American friends were exhausted.
So, you are coming to Croatia for the first time and you want to maximize your stay as you have heard all these things about Dubrovnik and its city walls, you have heard about Plitvice Lakes, Split, the magical islands of Hvar, Brac, Vis, Lastovo. But then again, there is the island of Korucla . Questions, questions, questions! What are the answers?
Well, from my local experience angle, there are three types of luxury travelers There are those who opt out for a private luxury tour starting from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes and then continuing from Plitvice Lakes to Zadar and then from Zadar to Split. From Split one would normally take the old picturesque road route to Dubrovnik passing through Makarska Riviera before reaching their final destination, the city of Dubrovnik. This is what I call a luxury roadie, someone who would strictly move on the road. Other type of luxury roadie is the one who is not that impressed by the guide reviews. It is the type who would be after unique local experience. In ssence, his trip from Zagreb to Plitvice Lakes would extend to Opatija.
From Opatija which would serv as his hub, one would expect him to go on one day shore and boat excursions to Pula, Rovinj and Brioni. He or she has heard of Istria and its magic cuisine especially when the tartuffe season is on. The semi roadie luxury traveler is one who would opt for a journey from Zagreb to Split via Plitvice Lakes and they would charter a private boat from Split to Hvar and continue their private cruise in the direction of Dubrovnik stopping at Korcula. For those who simply love sun and sea, they would charter a private boat from Dubrovnik and go on a cruise along Dalmatian coast visiting Elaphiti islands, Korcula, Hvar, Vis, Kornati islands. Couple of words of advice. If you start your road trip from a fly in Zagreb airport try to arrive as early as possible. This would give you more time to explore Zagreb region. Have you ever heard of a picturesque town of Samobor. Well it is situated in Zagreb region. The same goes for Trakoscen castle which is situated in hilly region called Zagorje around Zagreb. If you are to be semi-roadie then hoose Split as your hub port. Some people have this wild desire to visit Mljet or Korcula en route from Split to Dubrovnik.
For Dubrovnik Luxury Travel everything is possible yet for yourselves it could be a bit time consuming and tiring. There is always a possibility to charter a boat from Dubrovnik or perhaps go on a wine trail tour of Peljesac from Dubrovnik and cross with a private boat from Orebic to Korcula. So if you happen to have questions, please ask us freely, will be glad to be at your disposal.