Dharma-Inspired Luncheons at Tifan

When an imaginative restaurant is opened in former factory, it is only worthy of praises, but our own arrival to the Tifan restaurant in eastern outskirts of Rijeka was also full of impressions. Namely, there aren’t many places in Croatia that give so much attention to the healthy gastronomy, active holiday, yoga, meditation, and care for the environment – everything in one place!



Our first intention was to visit yet another vegetarian restaurant in Kvarner region, but we found so much more in Tifan. The combination of health, past experience, and travels of owners result in a particular offer, possibly unique in whole Croatia. If you are looking for meat-free, alcohol-free, and smoking-free environment, with only fresh ingridients on the plate, Tifan is the right place for you.



Tifan is closely connected to the Dharma hostel, another interesting facility, providing accommodation in the healthy environment. A beautiful terrace and garden provide a blissful view on the sea, giving a feeling we are sitting somewhere far from the city. In this tranquil setting we are introduced to the international vegetarian dishes served in tifans.



The name of this food bar is based on an inox pot, a kind of lunch box used widely in Indian for tiffin meals. Normally they come in two or three tiers, and as the bar has take-out options, members of Tifan club have their own tifans at home and use it for multiple purpose. Zypically it contains a soup, main course, and piece of cake. Tiffin, on the other hand, is an Indian-English word for a light midday meal, luncheon. In Indian Subcontinent, tiffin is generally a snack between meals, consisting mainly of rice, dal, curry, vegetables, chapatis, and spicy meats.



In Croatian Mediterranean environment it fits the “gamelice”, also lunch boxes full of food prepared early in the morning for people at work or for children in school. Thus, it makes a solid basis for slow food, home-cooked meals, with preserved tradition of healthy nutrition. Same can be ordered up until 10 am at Tifan bar, and lunch is served between 11 and 1.30 pm. In the restaurant itself, you can enjoy three-course lunch until 4 pm (exept Sundays) for only 30-35 kuna!



We enjoyed tifan lunch as well, in genious style of local and Balkan cuisine. The use of international and national healthy and no-meat ingridients gives an opportunity always to reinvent lunch choices, and tells a lot about the imagination of cooks. We had originally Macedonian lunch of spicy baked beans (gravče na tavče), served with polenta and aubergines, along with cucumber and lettuce salad. With a touch of chilly and turmeric, this main meal had a distinctive Macedonian-Indian twist, with addition of tomato sauce made from the tomatoes in nearby home garden. Delicious and plentiful, it is always a winning combination for luncheons!



More than 40 spices, both Mediterranean herbs and Asian spices, are present in Tifan, some bought directly from India, some grown in the garden itself. Other ingridients originate mostly from the local homesteads or bought from the town market. The owners prepare homemade marmelade, hummus and other spreads. Cooks are dilligent in making various sweets and we had a Turkish-style baclava with deeply felt walnuts and excellent honey, brought from a northern Croatian honeymaker.



Everything in Tifan is based on dharma, a particular relation between man and nature, rightful behaviour, and sort of synonym for sustainable growth and development. Indeed, with additional Dharma Hostel, and Yoga Training Centre, we predict a bright future for dharma-based getaway.



Spinčićeva 2, 51000 Rijeka
mob: +385 98 850 019
faks: +385 51 583 574


Veggie and Ethno Experience in Hotel Balatura

A quite special hotel Balatura is situated in Tribalj, and in many ways is one of the centrepoints of Vinodol’s cultural life. Termed as an ethno-hotel, it is also a „book-hotel“ and „vegetarian-hotel“, a concept that doesn’t exists almost nowhere else in Croatia.



Writer Anne-Kathrin Godec and documentarian film-maker Gordan Godec left the urban German metropolis to find a new peaceful place in between the mountains and forests of Vinodol, a few steps away from the Crikvenica Riviera. And this is what they have to say about their philosophy: „The daily demands of our family with five children are nearly the same. Yet, it seems that here life and time are somehow slow paced. The quietness of the nature, with its silent stones and songs of the wind, make us pause and savour the moment. This precious quality of life with tension that quickly fades away and is replaced by inner peace, rarely found while we live our fast-paced, hectic lives in cities, is something we wish to share with you during your stay at out hotel.“



They have renovated two old Vinodol houses, standing in ruins, together with their homestead buildings, and developed a hotel featuring all the traditional architectural characteristics, with particular inclination for details. But visiting hotel Balatura is not only about the accommodation itself – it has to do with culture of book reading and many meetings.

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The hotel boasts with monthly cultural events, readings, and special concerts. Artists from all around the world gather here, under the big enthusiasm of Godec couple and their dedicated staff. The hotel rooms have names of herbs and fruits characteristic for the Mediterranean region, such as Lemon, Olive, or Rosemary. All rooms are specially made, and resemble old traditional houses. Most of them have veranda, overlooking the old houses in vicinity.



Peace and quiet, as well as culture, is why people visit this place. They don’t have to be vegetarians, as we are not, to enjoy the beautiful cuisine and dining experience in Balatura. After some difficulties, the owners found a tremendously innovative cook and it is her claim never to do same dish again. Combinations are manifold, and absolutely outstanding.

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Our starter was pommes frites made of root vegetables, yoghurt sauce, and homemade ajvar, a good mix of fresh and rich beginning. Main course consisted of mini-zucchini with quinoa, cooked bear leek, and sauce. Interesting combinations on plate give full taste, especially with bear leek season and its garlic-ish flavour.



Zucchini showed its value on the table once again, despite sometimes ridiculing this quality vegetable. In the end, vegan cake made of dates and lemon proved to be a great surprise, for its texture and freshness was not too sweet, showing the great cooking knowledge and taste combinations. Wines following the dinner consisted mostly of Piquentum, an Istrian brand. Further wine tasting can continue in newly made wine cellar, just beneath the vaults.



Peace-and-quite holiday lovers and veggies should definitely choose Balatura for their stay, in any time of year. While sitting on the porch, it is only natural to imagine different periods and experiences in this outstanding hotel.





Hotel Balatura
Mali Sušik 2, 51243 Tribalj
Tel: ++385 – (0)51 – 455 340
Fax: ++385- (0)51 – 455 344


Photos by: Andrea Seifert, www.mint-media.com

Agritourism Ograde – Rural Peace in Middle of Istria

After two days traveling through Istria in search of good food and drink, reading of the map we find a tiny village Lindarski katun. Driving between Žminj and Pazin, with occasional of route headings on local roads, we come across closed bronze gate. And behind those gates a path stretches emphasizing the size of the property. The gate is here to ensure a deep calm provided by the hosts, and the arrival is only possible with prior notice, although you won’t be left behind closed gate if you stumble upon it. Our announcement allows us a delightful drive under the century old trees, past rural houses to the tavern and Šajina’s family house, which is also on the estate, the last house on it.


We are being greeted by a smiling owner Davorka Šajina, who was just tidying up after guest’s lunch. Ms. Davorka undoubtedly enjoys cooking, being a professional cook herself, and she will gladly praise herself for being the most prominent Croatian rural women. It is an award she received back in 2009, but already in 2007 she received an award from the Croatian Tourist Board for Employee of the Year.


These awards hang on the wall of the tavern, where dishes are often prepared under the hearthstone, as well as other authentic Istrian dishes: prosciutto, cheese, pljukanci, domestic chickens, homemade sausages, pork loin, seasonal soups and dishes with mushrooms and asparagus with other sweets. The tavern can accommodate 25 to 30 people, but sitting on the porch of the house, overlooking a field of corn or apple trees, with a glass of homemade Malvasia or Teran gives you a special sensation.


It is right here that the hosts often spend a summer evening with the guest, offering them homemade brandy from Istrian grass, as well as brandy from juniper (Smrekovača), walnut (Orahovac), honey (Medovača) or plain Biska. Cheerful companionship persists deep into the night, but the family is always ready and willing on an early morning to tend to the other residents of the estate.


Among some of the residents, there are horses, pigs, chickens and sheep. Virtue of Ms. Davorka is her love for the children, to whom she aims to convey knowledge about coexistence with animals. For that reason she welcomes preschool and primary school generations to familiarize them with the symbiosis of man, animal and nature.


But “adult children” have a lot of things to do around the farm. Šajina family organizes recreational riding through nature, as well as engaging in seasonal agricultural work such as planting, sowing, reaping the benefits, hoeing, mowing and harvesting of fruits and to circle it all preparing lunch and dinner. Agritourism is open to various cooking workshops of preparing traditional dishes, canning, spinning wool and weaving baskets, for guests as well as hikers and other nature lovers.


Accommodation is available in two separate houses. Older stone house accommodates six to eight people in three bedrooms. The area has a rustic decoration and furniture.

Agroturizam Ograde
Lindarski katun 60, Pazin+385(0)52 693 035, +385(0)98 723 442

Holiday House Bjelsko

Above the Ogulin valley rises the magical and mystical mountain Klek, known for generations to mountaineers, climbers, travellers and nature lovers. One of the traditional ascend start point is a small place of Bjelsko, where in summer you can enjoy the green forest oasis, little mountain creeks and splendid views. Winters are harsh and cold, but you may also enjoy this tranquil beauty.



And if you choose to enjoy this natural heaven, you should head for the Holiday House Bjelsko, a unique and comfortable mountain house, just beneath the mighty stone peak of Klek.



The house offer peace, privacy, and preserved nature. It has two floors, whereby the upper floor is where two bedrooms are situated. On the lower floor there is a living room, bathroom, and kitchen.



The wooden interior will bring you back the memory of the childhood and the grandma’s furniture. The house is equipped with all the necessary utensils, and the fireplace looks so comfortable that you would like to come here in winter as well as in summer!



You can also relax in a big hall next to the house itself, which features grill, two massive tables and sitting area for some 30 persons. Thus, it is a great place for having fun and family gatherings!



The Holiday House Bjelsko is also ideal vacation destination for every nature lover, hunters, mountaineers, and those who would like to enjoy the mountain gastronomy! A special attraction of the house are the fallow deer who live in a nearby stable and roam on the edge of the woods.



Holiday House Bjelsko
Bjelsko 5, Ogulin



Villa Zelengaj, Ogulin

Holiday House Villa Zelengaj is situated close to Ogulin, on a hill in the Škerići village, Gornje Dubrave. It is surrounded by private forest and orchard, where the guests enjoy total privacy. Thus, if you want to relax in beautiful nature and feel the stress-free environment, you should head to the Villa Zelengaj!




The house has three floors, and offers real introduction to the village life in this mountainous area. On the ground floor you can find an equipped tavern (konoba), an ideal place for gatherings and parties.




The first floor features a spacious living room, with adjacent dining room, kitchen, and bathroom, while the bedrooms are on the second floor. You don’t have to think a lot what to bring – the kitchen is equipped with all the necessary kitchen utensils and furniture.



The central heating (based on wood) makes this place a desirable destination in any time of the year. While you may enjoy winter holiday in warm surroundings of wooden furniture, in summer fresh air and nature will make your day!




There is a spacious terrace available, with seating and playing area, and you can make your own barbecue!




Another two smaller terraces are accessible on the first and second floor, and they offer tremendous views on the Klek mountain and the surrounding nature.

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Villa Zelengaj caters for five persons, has free children bed, free parking and wifi, but most of all, it offers you tranquil holiday where you can relax in preserved natural surroundings.

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Villa Zelengaj
Škerići kbr.25a, Gornje Dubrave, Ogulin
+385959025076 , +385959106703

Holiday House Tržan, Modruš

If you want to enjoy peace and quiet, then Holiday House Tržan might be your best choice! It is a family house on private estate, just beneath the old fort of Tržan-Grad. It is situated altitude of 700 metres above the sea level, making it pleasurable destination in summer months. It is also ideal spot for various parties and celebrations.



The guests are welcomed with a welcoming drink and a souvenir and then they are shown to the house that consists of two bedrooms, living room with a fireplace, kitchen, bathroom, and exterior terrace with a barbecue (you may also bake under the baking lid (peka) or make a stew over the fire, the wood is ready for you). Also, the heating is provided with wood.



The house caters for six persons in beautiful wood-dominating interior. To spend your time in winter, surrounded by warm fireplace and all the modern utensils, and still to see snow falling outside, is a romantic scene just a few clicks away.



During the warmer months you will enjoy the green scenery, and you may visit numerous natural destinations practically in vicinity – from Sabljaci Lake to the Plitvice National Park. Everything here is close, as near Modruš passes A1 Zagreb-Split highway.



Owners will gladly offer you insight into the local community, whether you would like to do some fishing in the Sabljaci Lake, or try the honey, cheese, or blackberries from the eco-production. Nearby farm welcomes guests who want to be in touch with nature and domestic animals.



The Tržan Holiday House offers children up to 7 years old a free stay in the house.


Holiday House Tržan
Modruš 10, 47303 Modruš
00 385 98 966 1024

Ogulin – Fairtale Homeland

In the center of the continental Croatia, at the crossroad of Gorski Kotar and Lika, in the wide valley lies the town of Ogulin. The wealth of strange natural forms, the beauty of forests, rivers and lakes, magnificent sights and turbulent historical events they call you in a creative break in the fairy tale homeland. The best way to explore and experience Ogulin region is a direct route to take a Fairytale road by car, bicycle, motorcycle, on foot…


Starting point is the Park of King Tomislav, a favorite gathering place for Ogulin ihabitants of all ages, where you can learn about cultural and historical monuments and unusual natural forms of the city center.


In the park, which today shows only a partial classicist foundation, there is a monument to first Croatian King Tomislav. It was erected on the 1,000th anniversary of the coronation of King Tomislav. In the park is found the Cesarovac spring, of classical design, a monument to the first waterworks in Ogulin. It was built in 1882 thanks to the efforts of General Franjo baron Filipović. The bust of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić was placed near Cesarovac in 1974 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the author’s birth.


Following open cave educational path you can explore the 16 km long cave system – Đula. Discover the secrets Frankopan Castle and the Regional Museum and explore the turbulent history of never subjugated city.


Ogulin is intimately connected to the noble family of Frankopan. The town is founded by count Bernardin Frankopan, once the most powerful nobleman in his time. He built the castle above Dobra river, today the most recognisable sight of the city. This happened sometime around year 1500. Soon afterwards, Ogulin became the seat of a regiment in the Military border (Vojna krajina), being an important military fort in fightings against Ottoman armies.


Thus, the military spirit is strong in this region. As Ogulin was never conquered, in 2004 local people made a historical regiment called Frankopan Guard, in memory of Bernardin Frankopan and other brave ancenstors. They wear the uniforms, insignia, and arms according to the sources from 1757.

Multimedia and interactive visitor center Ivana’s House of fairy tale, with its permanent exhibition that celebrates the fairy tale and creativity of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić and other Croatian and world storytellers, will inspire you to a creative creation. With local storytellers explore the rich legacy of legends that have been woven into every corner of the Ogulin region.


If you want to actively spend your holidays there are two regional and two local cycling routes, walking and swimming in the lake Sabljaci and hiking trails, the most famous hiking trail in Klek – the cradle of Croatian mountaineering!


The best known destination for mountaineers is definitely Klek with its highest peak of 1,181 metres. Its 200 m high vertical rock is a challenge to any alpine climber. Mountaineering paths are well marked, and the best known towards Klek are: from Ogulin (about 3 hours walking), from Bjelsko (about 40 minutes walking to the climbers’ lodgings), from Hreljin (about 6 hours walk over Vitunj), and the mountaineering path at Kneja and Stožac – from Ogulin – (about one and a half hours walking). Jasenak is the starting point for mountaineering towards Bijele and Samarske Stijene, and Bjelolasica, while one can start walking from Jasenak towards Bjelolasica and the village of Vrelo.


Sweeten your holiday seasonal flavors of local cuisine in an authentic atmosphere Ogulin restaurants, a perfect weekend for the available hotel accommodation, camping or in the house … Come on, here we are – at your fingertips!


Ogulin Tourist Board
Kardinala A. Stepinca 1 , 47300 Ogulin
+385 47 532 278