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Croatia

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We were all dragged to various Irish beaches as a child, and most likely didn't appreciate them for how beautiful they were at the time.

From the beaches of Wexford like Curracloe and Rosslare to the Wild Atlantic Way's gems along the Dingle peninsula and Sligo; we've got some absolute beauties in the Emerald Isle.

Apparently, everyone else in the world agrees with this statement. A travel media company which specialises in travel guides for adventurers, Big 7, has named a County Mayo beach as number 11 in the world.

Image: Instagram/@ailismangan

Keem Bay in Mayo has earned the 11th spot in their list of the global 50 best beaches, and we're fairly chuffed with ourselves.

First Skellig Michael appears in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, and now the beaches around Achill Island are reppin'? We're certainly punching above our weight.

Writing in the guide, they state: 

"Keem Bay is a breathtaking rural and sheltered beach surrounded by cliffs on Ireland's largest island – Achill Island. Its gleaming white sand rivals tropical islands and the water is superbly clear."

Image: Instagram/@alisonlacloche

They add: "The sun might not always be shining, but when it does it’s world-class. And yes, it’s beautiful even on a rainy day." Dead right.

The beach is cradled by the rolling green hills of Benmore and Croaghaun mountain on three sides and opens out onto clear blue waters. It's brilliant if you want an escape from urban life.

We were narrowly beaten from entering the top 10 by famed Pig Beach in the Bahamas. Zlanti rat (Golden Horn Beach) in Brac, Croatia, snagged the number one spot.

Image: Instagram/@croatiaweek

Glass Beach in California, black sand beaches of Reynisfjara Beach in Vík í Mýrdal, Iceland, the unpolluted Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos and dunes of Whitehaven Beach in Whitsunday Islands, Australia, were also included.

Praia do Camilo in Lagos, Portugal, with its orange cliffs and golden sandy beaches, also landed in the top 10. The beaches are all otherworldly and stunning in their own right, so we're considering ourselves lucky to have even made the top 50.

Feature image: Instagram/@jmcgahon

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Lush green parks throughout the city centre, imposing heritage buildings, real Central European cafe society, Mediterranean style hospitality.

Welcome to Zagreb, Croatia’s stunning capital!

Rich in culture, including museums, theatres, galleries, authentic markets and a surprisingly buzzing nightlife.

Add a great gourmet scene, from quirky bistros to fine dining, exciting events, a wide range of accommodation choices, easy access to Croatia’s famous coast, plus some excellent shopping and this is a place for the “must see” list.

So, what’s on in this fine city during the summer months? Keep reading…

Cest is d’Best

Bringing vibe, energy, and laughter to city streets, squares, corners and parks this spring! The urban tradition and alternative culture of the city flourishes with street performers, clowns, musicians, hometown boosters, actors, and others whose only wish is to put a smile on people’s faces. The PoŽuji Waiters’ Race, Dustmen Cart Race, The Slowest Bicycle Ride, and the Wandering Piano are just some of the traditional events.

Summer on Stross— Strossmartre

For more than 100 days the Strossmayer Promenade in the Upper Town delivers a Parisian spirit to all who pass by. Majestic views of Zagreb will be met with a carefully created musical programme, art installations, open-air cinema, painters, and pop-up stalls with all sorts of goodies. It’s very romantic with a sense of nostalgia written all over.

#WELOVESOUND Festival

Over two days the festival offers fans of electronic music the chance to see performances by leading international stars. Some of the confirmed artists at the second #WELOVESOUND festival are Ricardo Villalobos, The Martinez Brothers, Sonja Moonear, and Jackmaster. Come share the magic on the dance floor by the lake.

Design District Zagreb

Dedicated to design, architecture, art, fashion, and gastro delights! Expect pop-up galleries, urban gardens and picnics, art installations in streets and parks, incentive design projects, DIY (do-it-yourself) workshops, open days of design and architectural offices, creative catering facilities, a music programme and a lot of other exciting activities.

INmusic Festival #13

One of many buzzing music festivals that puts Zagreb on the map! International world headlining bands strut their stuff at Lake Jarun in our lead up to summer and this year’s headliners are Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Kills, Alice In Chains, David Byrne and many more…

ZG Classic 2018

When it comes to music, this is going to be the richest festival to date, gathering around 1000 performing artists, with 13 concerts by leading Croatian and international orchestras over the course of three weeks. Listen to the sounds of opera under the stars, the Nabucco opera, the symphonic orchestras of the Croatian Radio and Television or the Music Academy, as well as Zagreb’s best choirs.

The Courtyards – Each one has its own story

For the fifth year in a row, the majestic courtyards of seven famous city buildings and galleries will open their doors for all to see. This is a must see if you’re in town; simply head to the Upper Town and you’ll be further entertained with a lot of great music, delicious snacks and refreshing sips. Top urban summer fun!

How to get there?

Click here, and start planning your adventure.

And where should you stay?

Zagreb offers a wide range of accommodation possibilities to suit any budget or taste, from luxury five star hotels to accommodation suitable for visitors on a tighter budget. Whatever the type of accommodation you choose, you will find consistent standards and quality of service.

Zagreb Card (important)

The ZAGREB CARD is your best companion when in Zagreb, entitling you to fare free public transport and free visits or discounts at over 50 different locations. You can find detailed information and a complete list of available discounts here.

Have the BEST TIME.

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Zagreb is a little treasure trove of European culture and civilization.

 

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Between being a mermaid, drinking lots of wine and travelling to exotic countries, let's just say we all have dreams for the future…

And this little spot in Croatia might just make all of those dreams come true.

The country has just opened it's first-ever underwater winery, and it sounds like the most perfect summer getaway.

 

A post shared by Valentina Tepedino (@valentr) on

Edivo Vina is located in Drače on the Pelješac Peninsula of Croatia and offers customers the chance to dive below sea level to a special winery which houses aged wines that have been in the ocean for over two years.

While diving down, you will also pass an old sunken boat, which actually stores the wine for the duration that it's under water.

Oh, and as well as that, you'll be able to watch the whole wine-making process from the start.

And it's pretty impressive. The wine is first aged for three months on land, until being packed away into a clay-like jugs, which are called amphorae.

 

A post shared by alexcotts (@alexcotts) on

The jugs of wine are then stored in the sunken underwater ship, before being brought back up to land two years later.

And the amphorae? Well, they come back up covered in sea shells and coral… so your dream of becoming a mermaid may possible come true (for an Instagram picture, anyway).

OK, this is right up our street. Trip to Croatia anyone? 

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A group of pensioners have taken a novel approach to securing their dream holiday – namely going online and kick-starting a crowd-funding drive.

Their vacation aspiration was simple too: they hoped to travel by bus from their chilly Alpine village in northern Italy to Ugljan, a coastal resort in Croatia some 750km away.

Incredibly, much of the group has never even seen the sea before; those who have, haven't for many years. 

All are members of the Circolo Rododendro – the local older person's club – and the women meet for a few hours, two afternoons a week.

Nicknamed the Funne, on their weekly agenda is the likes of bingo, playing cards, idle chat and sometimes even a spot of ballroom dancing.

"Ever since I've been a member of the club, people have been saying, 'Come on, let's organise a trip to the seaside!'" Erminia who, at 70, is the youngest of the group, told the BBC.

"But something always went wrong: one would get sick, another would have some other problem."

Their home of Daone has a population of around 500 people, many of whom grew up poor.

"Do you know some people haven't even been to Trento?" Iolanda, another member, explained referring to the nearest city 60km away. "I was 20 the first time I went." And she is unusual in so far as she has seen the sea – in 1977 when she worked as a nanny.

The Funne started fundraising for their dream a year ago by holding a cake sale at the village fair: sadly, the result was underwhelming.

However, it was there that they bumped into Katia Bernardi, a local film documentary maker who has been following their fundraising endeavours ever since.

On Katia's suggestion, they initially tried making a novelty calendar.

A professional photographer and make-up artist (for most, the first and last time they wore make up was on their wedding day) came on board but the calendar was a flop – something which the ladies themselves put down to local disapproval and envy.

They had almost given up hope when Erminia's grandson suggested crowd-funding on the internet. She initially thought he was mad.

"I said, 'Don't be ridiculous, who's going to give money to a bunch of old ladies who want to go to the seaside?' They'll say, 'If you want to go to the seaside, you can pay for yourselves.'" 

Still, they saw donations flood in from as far away as London, New York and cities in Australia. Within three days they had more than doubled their target – money which was then used to take more women on the trip.

They have committed to sending all 350 of their donors a postcard too. 

They chose their Croatian island destination because Ugljan has the same patron saint as Daone: the Madonna of the snow. The saint's day is celebrated on Wednesday; their coach left Daone yesterday.

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