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Tranquil island Hvar is Croatia’s top sports destination in 2019

While Northern Europe is still in the midst of winter, warm and sunny Hvar offers respite from the cold dark days.

Tranquil island Hvar is Croatia's top sports destination in 2019
Photo: Visit Hvar

Sun, sea…and Swedish sports? 

The city of Hvar is proud to host the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series, a new endurance sport originating from Sweden where teams of two alternate between running and swimming. 

Get ready for summer: plan your trip to Hvar now!

Photo: Visit Hvar – Click the photo to discover what Hvar has to offer

This extremely challenging endurance discipline is based on intermittent running and swimming for 45 to 75 kilometres. It attracts over 400 competitors to Hvar. The ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Hvar will be held April 6th -7th with perfect swim-run temperatures between 15 – 17 degrees in the water and 20 degrees in the air.

Photo: Visit Hvar

Two races pass through the historical center of the city, the protected landscape of the Pakleni islands and the peninsula Pelegrin. Competitors will pass by the historic ruins of Illyrian, the Roman villas. They’ll course their way through old villages via olive groves, vineyards and fields of lavender. Absorbing the abundant beauty, nature and culture Hvar offers.

Photo: Visit Hvar

Swimming in the pristine sea water is an experience for all the senses — scenic, soothing and supporting, take a therapeutic dip and recharge.

Love sports? Start planning your trip to Hvar today

 

Photo: Visit Hvar

The surrounding hills and islands are full of surprises. The hilly terrain offers fantastic hiking trails through the rosemary, wild asparagus and blooming spring flowers. You travel through time with old ruins, ancient olive groves and stone walls around you.

 

Photo: Visit Hvar – Click the photo to get inspiration for your summer holiday

In some places you'll discover an old abandoned village, in others you’ll be enticed in to a quaint little restaurant by the tempting aromas of home-made cooking. The regional wines are superb. Did you know that the local Plavac grape is the mother of Syrah/Zinfandel?

Photo: Visit Hvar

In every direction you look there is the omnipresent sea. The higher you get on the main island, the more awesome the vista becomes.

Photo: Visit Hvar – Click the photo to explore the stunning views of Hvar

The City of Hvar celebrated 150 years of organised tourism. In this spectacular nature the town of Hvar is perfectly nestled in a protected bay. The antique buildings, the limestone, the history, the hills around you, the fort, the main square, the cafés and the warm welcome of the people brings you in to its fold. You may not be able to bring yourself to leave! 

Whether you want to experience raw unspoilt nature, partake in a little sporting adventure or simply recharge your batteries, Hvar is the perfect location.

Photo: Visit Hvar

Explore what Hvar has to offer and start planning your summer holiday now

 

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Visit Hvar.

 

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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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