For decades it was known (to me at least) for only two things – the largest border crossing befween Croatian and Zagreb (where I and many others have spent hours in border queues), and the only place I knew that had a pub with the bar in one country and the toilets in another (you can read about that in Fortress Europe? Meet Slovenia’s Open Schengen Crossing with Croatia.
Bregana. Just 20 minutes from Zagreb, the Slovenian border town now has a new lease of life with its open border with Croatia and more affordable shopping – international supermarket tourism.
I first came across niche cross-border tourism a few years ago in Baranja close to the Hungarian border, where an enterprising ice-cream vendor with a Dinamo Zagreb ice cream parlour was doing a roaring trade with Hungarian clientele. Not one for Hajduk fans perhaps, but Slasticarnica Dinamo in Baranjsko Petrovo Selo is located just 2km from the Hungarian border. The ice cream is so good (and it really is) that many Hungarians come over for an ice cream. And that was before the borders were without checkpoints.
But Bregana is already doing a roaring trade with a steady stream of cars from the Croatian capital popping over the border to shop at the Lidl supermarket in nearby Brezice. The introduction of the euro in Croatia has enabled consumers to compare prices in the same supermarket chain in stores in Croatia and Slovenia. There have been several articles on the subject, with a shopping basket of 100 euro in the Lidl store in Croatia being 20% more expensive than its Slovenian counterpart, this despite the average salaries in Croatia being significantly lower than in Slovenia. As previously reported on TCN, Lidl Croatia Explain Why the Same Products are Cheaper in Slovenia.
But if Bregana and its open border is now reinventing itself as a gateway to cheap supermarket option for Croatian consumers, why not encourage Croatian consumers to learn more (and spend more) in the town itself? A rather enterprising article promoted by the Slovenian Embassy in Zagreb which appeared in Jutarnji List highlights 12 things to check out in nearby Brezice while on your next Lidl trip. I, for one, had no inkling of Bregana and the surrounding area other than a border crossing town, but there is plenty to investigate in Brezice apart from Lidl, it seems. Learn more in the original Jutarnji article.