SPOTLIGHT

Insider tips

It’s all about a local’s insight

by Bo

Festivals & more

From foodie fests to large film happenings, this region has an abundance of fun and fascinating events. Whatever the time of year you’re visiting, we’ve found something to keep you amused!

 

HALF NEW YEAR CELEBRATION

This quirky new celebration started on Korčula Island in 2001. Peculiar as the island itself, Half New Year is celebrated on June 30th – literally on half of the year. Locals dress up and party and you’re welcome to join, if you bring good vibes only!

 

DUBROVNIK SUMMER FESTIVAL

Being undoubtedly the largest and most important cultural manifestation, Dubrovnik Summer Festival attracts the best local artists and some international artists. It's being held every year since 1950 in July and August. A rich program of classical music, theatre, opera and dance performances takes place on more than 70 open-air venues that enrich the summer experience of the Renaissance-Baroque old town of Dubrovnik.

 

TRUFFLE DAYS – ISTRIA

This delicious event is held every year in Istria from early September to early November in the heart of Motovun forest, one of the most important truffle harvesting areas. In addition to the ultimate king of Istrian cuisine, here you can find other indigenous products from local farmers: wine, olive oil, cheese, honey and other tasty local products.

 

ŠPANCIRFEST, VARAŽDIN

For twenty years at the end of August the historic core of Varaždin town transforms into the largest stage in Croatia. During the ten days of Špancirfest streets, squares, palaces, gardens and courtyards of historic Varaždin become stages, theatres, restaurants, bars, classrooms and shops at this largest, most popular and most diverse Croatian festival.

 

LAVENDER FESTIVAL – HVAR ISLAND

This unique festival is held every June in Velo Grablje, the village that was once Europe’s leader in lavender production. With only few permanent residents today, one can still feel the spirit of this once rich and prosperous place, famous for good wine, lavender and olive oil production. Festival promotes the cultural heritage of Hvar Island and, with the presentation of local products, it also offers numerous exhibitions, workshops and concerts.

 

SARAJEVO FILM FESTIVAL

The leading regional international film festival is being held every August since 1995 and it is recognized by both film professionals and the wider audience. With a special focus on South-East Europe production, it shines an international spotlight on films, talent and future projects from the region.

 

SINJSKA ALKA

An exciting equestrian tournament takes place annually (in August) in Sinj town of Dalmatian countryside. Honoring the Croatian-Venetian victory over the Ottomans in 1715, the tournament has great importance for the locals. Participants must be members of local families of Sinj but visitors flock from all around the globe to see this 300-year-old UNESCO-protected event.

 

FESTIVAL OF OYSTERS – MALI STON

A two-day festival is held in the quaint mediaeval towns of Ston and Mali Ston on Pelješac Peninsula every March when local oysters are at their fullest and most flavorsome. In addition to the iconic combo of freshly shucked oysters with a squeeze of lemon, visitors can also taste other takes on the mighty mollusk, including oyster soup and oyster fritters. All dishes can be washed down with some of Pelješac finest wines, as it is known as Croatia’s best wine-growing region.

 

LASTOVO CARNIVAL – “POKLAD

Carnival on Lastovo Island – known as Poklad – celebrates a 15th century victory of islanders over the pirates that attacked the island. After a 3-day ceremony, islanders traditionally burn a straw doll with fireworks and jolly cheers from the crowd. Very popular among the locals and visitors, this event takes place every winter on Shrove Tuesday.

 

MOREŠKA

Moreška is a traditional sword dance that depicts the struggles of Christians with the Ottoman Empire. Interestingly, although it originates from Spain, there is no more trace of Moreška anywhere else but in Korčula where it has been performed for over 400 years! Held regularly in the summer every Monday and Thursday, in 2014 Moreška was inscribed into UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

 

MOTOVUN FILM FESTIVAL

One of the most popular cultural events in Croatia, Motovun Film Festival is devoted to international independent films. Film marathon lasts for a few days in late July, with back to back film projections from 10 AM until after midnight in the open air and in the cinema. There is no better thing in the warm summer night than feeling the positive energy flow through the narrow alleys of mediaeval Motovun!

 

EXIT FESTIVAL, NOVI SAD

It is a summer music festival which is held at the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad, Serbia. Founded in 2000 as a student movement fighting for democracy and freedom in Serbia, it has twice won the Best Major Festival award at the European Festivals Awards. Social responsibility is still the key aspect of the festival activities, with the focus on environmental and humanitarian activities, creative industries development, as well as regional cooperation.

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