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PRESENTED BY PODGORA TOURIST BOARD

Podgora: Something for everyone on the Croatian coast

No matter whether you're into hiking, cultural exploration, sports or pure beach relaxation, Podgora is your perfect destination this summer.

Podgora: Something for everyone on the Croatian coast
Photo: Naslovna

At the centre of the Croatian coast lies Podgora, a small town situated in the heart of Dalmatia, on the Makarska Riviera. Well known for its clear blue seas and breathtaking sunsets, holidaymakers will enjoy the leisurely pace of this part of the world.

Start planning your trip to Podgora

Beach-goers

Finding the perfect beach is easy in Podgora. There is something to suit even the fussiest beach-fans. 

Photo: Dario Odak

Podgora boasts a range of water sports, from water skiing to surfing, from tubing to banana riding. You can even rent a jet ski or a speed boat and visit nearby islands of Brač or Hvar or find a secret hideaway in one of the quiet bays.

Photo: Dario Odak

If adrenaline sports are your thing, why not give parasailing a go? Rent a parachute, hook it up to a speedboat and you're off!

If you want to take your water sports to the next level, you will find a diving centre offering diving lessons and diving trips to approximately a dozen locations around Podgora, catering for all experience levels.

Podgora's ideal location makes for a unique climate, attracting travellers all year round. Although the sea is pleasant for swimming from May until October, early spring and autumn in Podgora are just as relaxing.

Sports enthusiasts

If swimming and sunbathing aren't your style, Podgora has you sorted.

For fitness enthusiasts and athletes there are a number of tennis, volleyball, basketball and football courts and the entire Makarska Riviera is connected by a network of cycling trails. Shorter and less demanding trails are ideal for families with children, and for the more adventurous types, cycling or hiking Biokovo, the mountain overlooking the town is recommended.

Biking and hiking trails will lead you to picturesque places in the surrounding area, including Tučepi or Baška voda.

You will also find paintball, zip-lining, bungee jumping, rafting, and many other adrenaline sports.

Nature-lovers

Biokovo Nature Park is situated right next to Podgora, encompassing the mountain. The highest point in the park sits at over 1,700 meters. Although a challenging hike, the view from the top is more than worth it. The national park also offers mountain biking, hiking and climbing.

Start planning your trip to Podgora

City-slickers

The town of Podgora is a hub of cultural activities. If you're looking for evening feasts, and cultural events, you won't have to wander far. On the first Sunday in August, you can visit the fair and other local events in honor of St. Vincent, the patron saint of the town, plus enjoy different shows, exhibitions, or concerts as part of the Podgora Cultural Summer.

With something to suit every taste, Podgora is a destination which will not disappoint.

Top tips for what to see in Podgora

  • Makarska riviera: As Podgora is located in the center of Dalmatia, all Dalmatian tourist hot spots are at your fingertips.
  • Take a trip to the islands of Brač, Hvar, Korčula or Vis
  • Omis and Cetina River (37 km): The ancient pirate town of Omis and Cetina River for rafting, free climbing and paragliding
  • Split (65 km): The ancient Roman city built 1700 years ago
  • The Red and Blue lakes (64 km): Located in the Imotski region are a hydro and geomorphologic phenomenon
  • Međugorje (64 km): Visits and pilgrimages to Međugorje, one of the most famous and the most visited holy places in the world
  • Dubrovnik (165 km): 'The pearl of the Adriatic' is famous worldwide for its old town center surrounded by the city walls.

      

This article is produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by the PodgoraTourist Board, Split–Dalmatia County Tourist Board and  Croatian National Tourist Board

 

TOURISM

Denmark’s ‘freetown’ Christiania hangs onto soul, 50 years on

A refuge for anarchists, hippies and artists, Denmark's 'freetown' Christiania turns 50 on Sunday, and though it hasn't completely avoided the encroachment of modernity and capitalism, its free-wheeling soul remains intact.

Denmark's 'freetown' Christiania hangs onto soul, 50 years on
Christiania, one of Copenhagen's major tourist attractions, celebrates its 50th anniversary on Sunday. JENS NOERGAARD LARSEN / SCANPIX / AFP

Nestled in the heart of Copenhagen, Christiania is seen by some as a progressive social experiment, while others simply see it as a den of drugs.

On September 26th, 1971, a band of guitar-laden hippies transformed an abandoned army barracks in central Copenhagen into their home. They raised their “freedom flag” and named their new home “Christiania, Freetown” after the part of the city where it is located.

They wanted to establish an alternative society, guided by the principles of peace and love, where decisions were made collectively and laws were not enforced.

Soft drugs were freely available, and repurposing, salvaging and sharing was favoured over buying new.

It was a community “that belonged to everybody and to no one”, said Ole Lykke, who moved into the 34-hectare (84-acre) enclave in the 1970s.

These principles remain well-rooted today, but the area has changed in many ways: tourists weave through its cobblestone roads, and the once-reviled market economy is in full swing.

Perhaps most importantly, it is no longer a squat. Residents became legal landowners when they bought some of the land from the Danish state in 2012.

Now it is home to some 900 people, many artists and activists, along with restaurants, cafes and shops, popular among the half a million tourists that visit annually.

“The site is more ‘normal’,” says a smiling Lykke, a slender 75-year-old with ruffled silver hair, who passionately promotes Christiania, its independence and thriving cultural scene.

Legislation has been enforced since 2013 — though a tongue-in-cheek sign above the exit points out that those leaving the area will be entering the European Union.

‘Embrace change’
It is Christiania’s ability to adapt with the times that has allowed it to survive, says Helen Jarvis, a University of Newcastle professor of social geography engagement.

“Christiania is unique,” says Jarvis, who lived in Christiania in 2010.

“(It) endures because it continues to evolve and embrace change”.

Some of those changes would have been unthinkable at the start.

Residents secured a bank loan for several million euros to be able to buy the land, and now Christiania is run independently through a foundation.

They also now pay wages to the around 40 people employed by Christiania, including trash collectors and daycare workers.

“Money is now very important,” admits Lykke, who is an archivist and is currently exhibiting 100 posters chronicling Christiania’s history at a Copenhagen museum.

But it hasn’t forgotten its roots.

“Socially and culturally, Christiania hasn’t changed very much,” he says, noting that the community’s needs still come first.

‘Judged a little’
Christiania has remained a cultural hub — before the pandemic almost two dozen concerts were held every week and its theatres were packed.

But it is still beset by its reputations as a drugs hub.

Though parts of Christiania are tranquil, lush and green with few buildings, others are bustling, with a post office, mini-market, healthcare centre, and Pusher Street, the notorious drug market.

Lykke says it’s a side of Christiania most could do without.

“Most of us would like to get rid of it. But as long as (marijuana use) is prohibited, as long as Denmark doesn’t want to decriminalise or legalise, we will have this problem,” says Lykke.

While still officially illegal, soft drugs like marijuana and hash are tolerated — though not in excess.

Since early 2020, Copenhagen police have seized more than one tonne of cannabis and more than a million euros.

“Sometimes I don’t tell people that I live here because you get judged a little bit. Like, ‘Oh, you must be into marijuana and you must be a smoker’,” says Anemone, a 34-year-old photographer.

For others, Christiania’s relaxed nature is part of the appeal.

“It’s different from what I know, I really want to see it,” laughs Mirka, a Czech teacher who’s come to have a look around.

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