The European Championships are returning to Dalmatia, Croatia, in 2024, but this time, they are heading for ‘the pearl of the Adriatic,’ the beautiful city of Dubrovnik. Statistics suggest that there are around 30 tourists per resident in Dubrovnik. If you’re planning to be one of them for the European Championships, make sure to give this guide a quick read.
The 36th edition of the European Water Polo Championships will be hosted by two separate national federations across three different locations. The women’s event will take place in Eindhoven, while the men’s competition will be held in two locations in Croatia: Zagreb and Dubrovnik.
This edition will mark the first time teams are categorized into two divisions based on the previous edition and the qualifiers. The top eight teams will comprise Division 1, while the remaining eight teams will form Division 2. Both divisions will be divided into two groups, each consisting of four teams. The top two teams from each group in Division 1 will advance directly to the quarterfinals. The other two teams from each Division 1 group will compete against one of the top two sides from each Division 2 group in a playoff round. Starting from the quarterfinals onward, the regular knockout system will be employed.
The Division 1 teams on show in Dubrovnik include the hosts Croatia, the neighbouring Montenegro, Spain and France. The second tier teams in Group D feature Slovakia, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Romania.
Two of Croatia’s and Europe’s largest water polo clubs, Mladost and Jug Dubrovnik, have generously offered their pools to host the men’s competition. With approximately 600 km between the two venues, make sure to double-check your tickets and enter the correct venue into Google Maps!
Mladost has a standard permanent capacity of 1,200, although it can reach up to 2,000 with the addition of extra tribunes. Bazen Gruz in Dubrovnik can accommodate up to 3,000 spectators.
HOW TO GET TO DUBROVNIK?
Dubrovnik airport during the winter season isn’t as popular as it is in the summer. Actually, focus on Zagreb, Frankfurt and Istanbul as your transit destinations if you want to come to Dubrovnik. Keep in mind that there are daily flights from Belgrade and Istanbul to Tivat Airport in Montenegro, which is approximately an hour and a half drive to Dubrovnik (depending on traffic at the border crossing).
Dubrovnik’s airport is only 15 km away from the main city, a journey that takes around 30-40 minutes along a beautiful winding coastal road. Various transportation options are available from the airport, including the airport shuttle, buses 11 and 27, or Uber which is usually more affordable than a local taxi.
While in Dubrovnik, it’s highly recommended to visit the Old Town (famous as the set of Game of Thrones). Fortunately, the number 1 bus frequently travels from Gruz to the old town in approximately 20 minutes.
Driving in Dubrovnik is possible, although there are several one-way streets. Regarding parking, Atlant Centar across from the Gruz pool has a parking garage (not too big), and there is a large parking area across from the pool that recently opened.
The pool in Dubrovnik is situated in the lively Gruz area, offering numerous public transport links, especially buses. The bus stop right outside the Bazen Gruz pool complex is the Vukovarska Bus Stop.
Pool location: Bazen Gruz
WHERE TO STAY IN DUBROVNIK?
During the winter season, many hotels in Dubrovnik are closed, and prices are usually slightly higher than in the rest of the country. That is why we prepared a special deal for all our fans at one of the most prestigious hotels on the Adriatic coast – Dubrovnik Palace Hotel. We guarantee that you will enjoy breathtaking sea views and premium service in this award-winning five-star hotel.
Hotel reservations with special rates need to be made directly through the hotel’s website www.adriaticluxuryhotels.com . On the mentioned webpage you should go to the “Book your stay” option on the right side of the page, choose the hotel Dubrovnik Palace, enter your period of stay and special promo code Totalwaterpolo in the area provided for it.
WHAT TO SEE IN DUBROVNIK?
Beside enjoying the amazing hotel facilities, you simply can’t go to Dubrovnik without heading down to the Old Town (see how to do so above). Make sure to walk along the ancient walls for breathtaking views of the city and the Adriatic Sea; the Stradun (Placa) is the main street in the city, lined with shops, restaurants, and historic buildings.
The most iconic hotspot you won’t want to miss in Dubrovnik is the world-renowned Fort Lovrijenac – THE location used for Game of Thrones. Some of the main attractions like Lokrum Island and cable car will be closed during that period, but you can still visit some of the museums.
Nightlife is usually reserved for the legendary nightclub Revelin, you can check out the program on their website.
A must-visit, just across from the Gruz pool in Dubrovnik is Caffe bar Giro, Total Waterpolo’s recommended water polo cafe. This is a place where many players drink a quick espresso before matches, and when you go to visit, you’ll see why!
As we mentioned earlier, the venue doesn’t have a big capacity, so be quick to get your tickets!
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