Tourism Potential in Eastern Croatia: Interview with Slavonia Baranja Travel

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Tourism in eastern Croatia gets only a fraction of the attention of the more fashionable Adriatic coast, which is a pity as there is plenty to see and do. An interview with Senka Vlahovic on November 9, 2018, a specialist in travel to eastern Croatia with her Slavonia and Baranja Travel website. 

1. Tourism in eastern Croatia rarely hits the headlines, and most tourists will have little or no concept of it. Give us some highlights of what the region has to offer?

I am glad to say that there is more and more talk about Slavonia these days. It’s mostly focused on destinations like Osijek, Baranja, Đakovo, Vukovar, Ilok and offer connected to wine, food and tamburiza. Is there more to it? Oh, yes. Definitely!
Požega, Vinkovci, Slavonski Brod, Virovitica and other baroque Slavonian towns are worth visiting too.

Charming villages and rural life, nature and wilderness are an oasis of tradition, peace and tranquillity.

For gourmands who enjoy food and wine, I would highly recommend exploring the world of craft beer too.

Archeology, industrial heritage, railway heritage, museums, galleries, UNESCO – Slavonian Intangible Cultural Heritage


Restored or run-down castles and manors with their parks and gardens are so beautiful in their grandiosity.

For activity freaks, there are cycling and hiking trails, horse riding, water activities, paragliding…

I should write about the hunting as well, but I am strongly against killing animals and more keen on taking shots on a photo safari or birdwatching.

There is always something going on in Slavonia. Festivals, fairs and events are organized throughout the whole year.


Slavonia is a rounded destination, you really have a chance to visit and experience a lot, whether you stay one, three, seven or more days.

2. You run an agency promoting tourism for Slavonia and Baranja. What kind of tours are you offering?


If I just say theme, active or customized tours, or use terms like cultural and special interest tourism, or experiential travel, I would squeeze the whole beauty and life out of it. What do culture and history mean? Not just a bunch of names and years, right? We are here today thanks to the people who lived before us, thanks to their achievements, battles and fights, creativity and beliefs. Behind a building, a work of art, novel and poem, thousands of years old pot were humans with a vision and passion, a living proof of making dreams and ideas come true. We are curious creatures, wouldn’t we want to know more?


Sightseeing, living history programs and storytelling is actually about us, discovering, learning, growing and honoring people from the past and their lives. Wine or beer tasting is not about drinking only. The experience of talking to the man who grows vines and makes his own wine or man who is passionate about beer is priceless. And, how about using our hands to create a piece of pottery on and out of the same ground people here did, thousands of years before? For those who want to try something new and different, painting graffiti is perfect. I am amazed by graffiti art and the magic that does on old, gloomy walls. We live in the time of Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, selfies and photographs are important. So why not go after perfect photos with a local photographer? There is no better way to recharge batteries than to be a part of nature while cycling, horse riding, hiking, canoeing or just observing it in local nature parks and protected landscapes. Slavonia is enormously rich in all these aspects. Not to mention traditional culture, handicrafts, embroidery, songs, dances, music and folk costumes. I can go on and on but guess not need to, hope it’s quite clear what the tours I offer are about. Slavonia doesn’t have the sea (anymore) but it has the sea of opportunities to experience and discover enjoying the Slavonian cuisine along with it.

3. The Adriatic Sea is Croatia’s biggest attraction, understandably, but river tourism is slowly gaining in popularity, especially on the Danube – can you tell us more?

In general, Danube is tied to cruising on river ships. Cruising is not really my thing, but the importance of the Danube is very big as it is one of the most popular rivers to cruise along in Europe. East Croatia is part of that story and has to use it in every sense, as much as possible. Slavonia has two more big rivers, the longest river in Croatia, the Sava River and the Drava River, also called the Amazon of Europe. Rivers represent a great tourism resource, thanks to rich natural surroundings, activities like canoeing, different types of boat rides , fishing, recreational facilities and accommodation in nearby towns and villages, perfect for exploring and enjoying local food and wine. I would also like to mention cycling along rivers. Two of 15 long distance European routes, Eurovelo 13 and Eurovelo 6, Danube and Drava cycling routes go through eastern Croatia, and I think it’s pretty important too, right?


(Photo credit Anita Budimir)

4. One of the issues about branding the east of Croatia is the name. Some suggest it should be branded Slavonia, others Danube, and others a combination of Baranja, Slavonia and Vukovar. What is your opinion?

There is no question that east of Croatia should brand as one destination. It is absurd and not practical to list all the historical or geographical regions. The Croatian Tourist Board named east of Croatia – Slavonia. Why waste time to complicate things? Maybe it is better to ask, who has time to fuss and waste time?

Now it’s time for work and action, no ego trips and philosophical debates.


(Photo credit Nippy Adventures)

5. More promotion is obviously one way, but what needs to happen to put tourism in eastern Croatia on the map? What suggestions do you have for the tourism chiefs?

There is lots of work to be done. Luckily, Slavonians have never been afraid of work. I would start with improving these things:

Providing quality service. It is enormously important in tourism. It is very hard to gain a good reputation and so easy to lose it.

Also, very important, education, specializations, trainings for all tourism-related service providers.

Transport connection within Slavonia and Slavonia with the rest of the world is also crucial.


Communication and cooperation between public and private sector.

More domestic incoming travel agencies.

Weekend working hours, why not be open when the most of the people have time to travel and visit?

Out of all brandings, Slavonia must not be branded as a cheap destination. Provide top quality service, accommodation and aim higher!

I would also like to add, people from east Croatia should learn from others, but keep their authenticity.


6. And finally, your top three spots for tourists to visit in the region, and why?

For the last few years I have been exploring Slavonia in a way to get the first-hand experiences and insights. I travel using the bus, train, car. As much as possible I visit restaurants, pubs, museums, tourist board offices, unannounced, as any traveler or tourist would. I observe, I make a list of pros and cons. The more I travel, I find more to visit and discover. I am so passionate about Slavonia, this beautiful land and its good, cozy, and cheerful people. How can I choose three spots out of five counties? It is almost like you ask mother of 5 to choose 3 kids she likes the most. Sorry, Paul, I just cannot do it, but can invite you to visit Slavonia, get to know it better and let us know what you liked the most 🙂

Learn more about Senka’s offers in eastern Croatia and elsewhere in this beautiful country.


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