Inland Dalmatia: A Prime Heritage, Gourmet, Nature and Adventure Teambuilding Destination

Total Croatia News

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Igor Nobilo

A TCN teambuilding day on April 23, 2017 highlights the magnificent diversity of the fabulous region of Zagora, just behind the mountains from Split. 

The TCN project is developing nicely, with 2017 already proving to be a year of significant growth. Totals Zagreb and Dubrovnik both launched earlier this year, soon to be followed To Totals Croatia Sailing, Dental Tourism, Medjugorje and Slovenia News, with discussions ongoing to expand in other areas. It means that life is a little different to how things used to be…  


Facebook reminded me this morning how big the TCN empire looked three years ago today – one laptop and a cold one served at The Office by the ever faithful Captain Nijaz in Jelsa, and while the concept of blogging in a cafe remains at the heart of what we do, those blogs are now being written simultaneously in Split, Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Varazdin, Zagreb, Slavonski Brod and other places across Croatia. Having been self-employed for all but six months over the last 20 years, with the maximum number of colleagues being two, such a big team is something rather new to me, especially when I find myself supposed to lead it. As we are all scattered across the country and only know each other online, I thought it would be fun and productive to have a series of teambuilding exercises, so colleagues could get to know each other. With my limited vision, these meetings were limited to having a beer in the pub, and so I am extremely grateful to TCN’s Filipa Marusic for being a bit more enlightened by offering to host a day in fabulous inland Dalmatia with her agency Sol Travel Croatia. 


Filipa assembled a fantastic and diverse itinerary, which not only had the team’s attention all day, but showcased the tourism potential of this amazing region which so few tourists coming to the coast down the road hear about, although this is something which is changing slowly due to much better promotion of the Zagora region. 

First up, one of inland Dalmatia’s newest and shiniest attractions – the new interactive Alka Museum in Sinj, which was opened by the Prime Minister to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the famous Alka Knights tournament, which has taken place every year since the successful repelling of the Siege of Sinj in 1715. The museum has been an absolute hit, with over 50,000 visitors so far, and only last week, it was nominated for a prestigious European award.

What can I say – it was a fabulous experience! From the initial 13-minute video in the museum’s small cinema to the expert guide through the museum, rarely have I seen a museum (certainly in Croatia) which brings its subject to life while covering things so comprehensively. There is a wealth of interactive features, and the contrast of modern technology presenting such important historical heritage works extremely well. Even if there was nothing else to see in Sinj (and there is!), it is worth making the journey for this museum alone – just 30 mins by car from Split.


We were joined by some of the local tourist board directors, and I am grateful to Dugopolje Tourist Board director Tomislav Balic for making the journey from Dugopolje, which – he claims – has the best prsut in the world. 


Followers of the TCN story will know that Sinj is an important part of our expansion, with the local tourist boards from Zagora working with me to start Total Inland Dalmatia, and it was great to be back in this fabulous town, and to FINALLY meet current Sinj Tourist Board director, Monika Vrgoc (far left), who is doing a great job in continuing the rise of Sinj tourism. 


And it was a nice surprise to find a visitor from Prague who just happened to be in town. Jelena Bilic was the person who first invited me to Sinj four years ago, when she was the Sinj Tourist Board director. Jelena has of course gone on to bigger and better things, and she is currently the Croatia National Tourist Board director in Prague, and it was great to have her additional input to our meeting discussing TCN in Zagora for season 2017. It was also interesting to reread my first impressions of Sinj on that initial visit four years ago.


While I had my meeting, the team went on ahead to one of the most picturesque places in Dalmatia – the fascinating mills of Grab, which have been in continuous operation for over 600 years.

A full demonstration of the milling process was given, using methods that have not changed in all that time – traditional Dalmatia at its finest.  


600 years of tradition, wonderful nature and one of the most unusual characters in Dalmatia, as Grab resident and Dalmatian legend Iko came out to entertain his guests. You can learn more about him and the mills in this fuller report on a previous visit


Inland Dalmatia is of course a premier adventure tourism destination, and we just missed the Tour of Croatia race, which was cycling through the region. Cycling, hiking, kayaking, climbing, trekking – the region is slowly being discovered as an ideal destination with its varied challenging terrain and breathtaking views, which were enjoyed by all as we moved on to the next destination. It is also a region of considerable heritage, and the road to Imotski took us past a number of fine examples of Croatia’s 8th UNESCO World Heritage Site on the road to Imotski. Learn more about the fascinating history of stecci in Filipa’s article on these ancient stones




If there is one destination in inland Dalmatia on the rise, it is Imotski. Now connected by tunnel to the Makarska Riviera by tunnel, the trip from the coast takes just 30 minutes, and tour agencies are beginning to introduce beach tourists to a taste of pure Dalmatian heritage and tradition. There have also been several villas with pools built in and around Imotski in recent years, offering a luxury holiday experience away from the crowds that was not previously available.

And there is wine… 


Imotski used to have the second biggest winery in all former Yugoslavia, with Imota producing a staggering 20 million litres a year, but the emphasis these days is on quality, and there are a number of star performers in the Imotski Wine Association producing some great wines, with the indigeous white Kujundzusa the most important variety. For a combination of quality and location, there is nothing to beat the Glavota tasting experience, which takes place in one of the finest konobas I have ever seen in Dalmatia. 


Located close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, things got a little more interesting for the Glavota winery with EU entry, when they suddenly found half of their vineyards were in the EU, and half not. You can imagine what the paperwork was like on that one! And while the Kujundzusa was refreshing indeed, the wine of the tasting was a delightful blend of 60% Vranac and 40% Merlot, accompanied by a fine spread of cheese, prsut and other local specialities. 


There was time for a walk around Imotski, which despite its seemingly remote location, has a rich and vibrant cultural past to more than match some larger and more fashionable destinations in the region. 


Followers of Total Hvar will know about my mild obsession with benches in Dalmatia. Look at these beauties! 


Imotski’s most famous attractions of course are the Red and Blue Lakes, and there was time for one final tourist stop before food. Here the water level of the Blue Lake was quite low – the lake does sometimes disappear completely, at which point locals hold a football match on the bottom of the lake – the Elves versus the Werewolves. It is quite a spectacle. 


But no day of proper teambuilding would be complete without a good feed, and our final stop was to a place I had never heard of, but will be back to visit soon – OPG Grabovac. 

I am in constant admiration of the number of enterprising (and increasingly younger) people in Croatia who are attempting to revitalise communities and almost abandoned villages, by developing rural tourism. And here was one more example, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, a wonderfully renovated stone complex in what was until recently an abandoned ruin, offering outstanding food, accommodation and peace and quiet away from the crowds with extremely affordable prices. You can check it out on their official website.


How to feed a hungry army of TCN writers after a full day of culture, nature and wine? Peka!

A fabulous day, which I hope everyone enjoyed as much as I did. Many thanks to Filipa for such an excellent day. Check out what else she offers on her Sol Travel Croatia website.  

Inland Dalmatia, you are gorgeous – we will meet again soon. 


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