What the 218 ‘Epic Week’ Experiences Tell Us about Croatian Tourism Promotion

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May 7, 2018 – The Croatian National Tourist Board has launched its third edition of Epic Week, offering 218 ‘epic’ experiences and offering a free holiday to one lucky winner. TCN takes a closer look at the epic experiences which made the last. And those that didn’t.

Let me start by saying that the concept is fantastic – showcasing the best Croatia has to offer, getting thousands of people all over the world to engage, with a free holiday for one lucky winner. 

Let me add that the design and layout of the website is great, very sexy and appealing. 

We are onto a winner, surely?

218 epic experiences for 2018 in Croatia. I was curious to see what they would be. From my dealings with the Croatian National Tourism Board, I knew they would have to cover a multitude of disciplines and equally represent all regions of Croatia – not an easy task by any means, and I don’t envy them for that. 

Before I had a look, I thought for a minute – what would be in my list of 218 of the epic experiences to define the magic of Croatia and its unique attractions?

The 10, or is it 11, UNESCO World Heritage Sites for sure.

Unique events which mesmerise visitors – Moreska sword dancing on Korcula, the Za Krizen Easter Procession on Hvar, the Feast of St Blaise in Dubrovnik and a host of others. 

A big celebration of the inventors who put Croatia on the world map – the pen of Penkala, the parachute of Vrancic, the cravat and the genius of Nikola Tesla. 

A celebration of the wonders of traditional Croatian food and wine, with its 130 indigenous grape varieties. 

A celebration of some of the epic events of the Croatian tourism calendar, such as Advent in Zagreb, now known all over the world. 

Epic events such as the Ultra Europe Music Festival, which the government has chosen to use tax payers to subsidise until 2022 for some reason. I know that the tourist board has rules about promoting private events, but if we are all paying for Ultra Europe, we might as well tell everyone it is epic, right?

A celebration of the natural beauty of Croatia. 

Something like that. 

The website is extremely well organised by region. Rather than look at all 218 epic experiences at once, I decided to take a look at one of my favourite regions, Sibenik. There would be two spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the list for sure – St. James Cathedral and St Nicholas Fortress, as well – I assumed – attending a concert at the fabulous Fortress of St Michael as well.

Well, no. 

Forget the epic experience of Sibenik’s UNESCO heritage or its outstanding fortress story, come to Sibenik and you can ride a donkey, one of the 15 epic experiences on offer. 

With only 218 experiences to cover the whole country, competition is strong to get on the list.


So make sure you distinguish between the two epic experiences of listening to the roar of a waterfall and hearing the roar of a waterfall. They are two totally different epic experiences. 

Indeed, several of Croatia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites – in Zadar, Sibenik, Porec – did not make the epic list at all. I mean no disrespect to the cute Museum of Angels in Varazdin, but is a visit there really more epic than the only cathedral in Europe to be made entirely of stone?

I looked for the events and experiences which define the uniqueness of Croatia – no Moreska sword dancers, no Za Krizen, no St. Blaise, no Advent in Zagreb, not even a promo for us tax payers with Ultra Europe. But looking at Star Wars locations (Dubrovnik featured for about a minute in the movies) is deemed more epic than all of the above. 

But nothing is more epic in Croatia than drinking. 



 A little like differentiating between the epic experience of listening to the roar of a waterfall and hearing the roar of the waterfall, almost as much attention is paid to rakija as Croatia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The epic experience of making plum brandy does not include tasting it, and it should not be confused with the tasting, which is an altogether different epic experience, which should not be confused with the epic experience of tasting travarica. 

I went back to my list above – ah, the inventors! People who contributed great things to the world. One of the best promotional videos I have seen about Croatia was a private initiative, a play on the official tourist slogan, Croatia, Full of Life. Your Life is Full of Croatia very nicely puts that global contribution into the video, above. With Croatia punching above its weight on the global stage, it has always confused me why the tourism gurus make so little effort to promote their contributions. With two of the 218 experiences allocated to the making and trying of plum brandy, there should be a strong showing for the inventors who put Croatia on the map. 

I selected all 218 items and scrolled down. 

Nothing for young Penkala – probably because there is next to nothing to celebrate the inventor of the pen in Croatia. 

An epic experience with a cravat, and mention of Parachute Man, Faust Vrancic. But where was Nikola Tesla? 

I scrolled all the way down, reaching epic experience number 217 out of 218, and there he was, lonely and almost forgotten:

One of the greatest inventors of all time with as much as 278 patents, among which are AC electricity, the radio, the remote control, X-rays and the electric motor was born in the Croatian village of Smiljan. His home is now a museum and you can visit it to find out more about the man who changed the world.

One of the best branding tools available to promoting Croatia, but obviously not as epic as the twin delights of listening to and then hearing the roar of a waterfall. 

Ah, the branding of Croatia using Nikola Tesla. If you asked me what was the best event to brand Croatia as a luxury tourism destination, there are few which come close to the Nikola Tesla EV Rally in my opinion (check out the 2018 itinerary here), an electric car rally which taken in 5 islands, 5 national parks, 15 towns, the best hotels and gourmet experiences it has to offer over 8 days. Now that is an epic experience, and one which I would have expected to see on the list. A epic event which counts Mate Rimac, Elon Musk’s mum and the first man to pay a RImac Concept One as previous participants.

But a little like the tens of thousands of young Croatians who are emigrating from this country, so too this potentially iconic Croatian tourism rally is set to head to other shores after the Croatian Ministry of Tourism has shown little to no interest. The Chinese have, however, as have other countries in Europe and one in South America, and the 2019 Nikola Tesla EV Rally, Chinese edition with take place from Chengdu to Shenzhen

The idea of Epic Week is that you choose your top 7 epic experiences in Croatia. It has been a difficult choice, but I have decided on my seven, which I think I can do all at the same time:

Riding on a donkey, I will enjoy the double pleasure of hearing the roar of a waterfall, then I will listen to the roar, while simultaneously making plum brandy, then trying what I made, before having a travarica chaser and then going to pick a tangerine or two. 

Care to join me?




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