Croatia has an enviable coastline with attractive islands, charming seaside villages and magnificent medieval towns. Dalmatia, the southern part that ,covers a huge portion of the Adriatic is an area that the team at Luxury Charter Group love and love spending time in. Here are some of the places we enjoy there.
An obvious place to start, Dubrovnik is magnificent. It's old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is an architectural masterpiece that reflects culture and excellent city planning. Selecting favourite landmarks is not an easy task: Dubrovnik is the most spectacular in its harmonious entirety comprising of several periods. An escorted walking tour gives you the chance to see the most popular and well-loved parts of the Old Town, including Stradun, the main thoroughfare, the fortified walls andf the numerous monastries and churches.
To get the best view why not take an early morning or late afternoon ride on the cable car to the top of Mt. Srdj overlooking Dubrovnik...the sights are astounding, and the war memorial museum is excellent. The museum is housed in an old fort, built by Napoleon.
There are many wonderful restaurants in Dubrovnik. A couple that we have enjopyed are:
Restaurant Nautika outside the Pile Gate, beautiful sea views at one of Croatia's leading fine dining restaurants. Exquisite!
Wine Bar D'Vino owned by a Croatian Australian, Sasha Lusic from Brisbane, this is a great place to come to do some wine tastings and sharing delicious platters.
Once you have seen Dubrovnik we suggest that you take the local boat to Cavtat, located 20km south of there. This historically rich area is a delight - its Old Town is a warren of narrow streets and cobbled alleys and its serpentine waterfront promenade that frames a picturesque harbour is simply charming. Take a visit to the memorial house and gallery of Vlaho Bukovac, one of Croatia's most famous painters, born and bred in Cavtat.
Ston is located 60 km north of Dubrovnik and her amazing 5km wall that connects this small village to the smaller Mali Ston was used as part of the walls of the Kings Landing in the Game of Thrones. This fortified wall runs along the isthmus that connects the two villages and dates back to the 15th century. You should try the local oysters here. They are distinctly different to other oysters, a very rare and delicious breed.
The historical medieval centre of the town of Korcula was built on a small peninsula, encircled with walls and towers making it a particulalry pretty town to explore. St. Mark's Cathedral is located on the highest point on a small peninsula encircled by 13th century walls and towers. It is distinguished as the birthplace of Marco Polo and the famous Moreska Sword Dance. Take a taxi up to one of the best local restaurants Konoba Maha for traditional Dalmatian cuisine with lots of local ambience. The Peka here, a traditional slow baked meat or octopus dish, is delicious but does need to be pre-ordered.
The ancient Greeks from Sicily settled here in 397 AD. Consider visiting the old fort known as Gospina Batarija. Here you will find a collection of items and amphorae from the ancient town. The St. Jerome Church and Monastery on the western side of the harbour is a well-known attraction. An escorted tour of Island Vis can be arranged including a visit to Tito's Cave, a visit to the seaside town of Komiza, and wine tasting, returning to the town of Vis late afternoon. In early evening explore the town of Vis...the cafés, bars, galleries, boutiques... in this town of rich history.
Two restaurants we suggest are in the Kut area of the town. Villa Kaliopa is a romantic spot while Restaurant Pojoda offers a beautiful shaded internal courtyard with the best of fresh fish.
The Pakleni Islands
These popular islands, located just a few miles from Hvar old town, are true Adriatic gems with crystal clear waters and quiet coves with a number of excellent and well-known restaurants especially in Palmižana.
One of the very best restaurants is Laganini where extremely well-known chef extraordinaire Hrvoje Žirojević heads a magnificent team. (You can call him Harry). He was recently in New York as a guest chef of Mediterranean Cuisine while in 2017 at Laganini a 'customer in dark glasses' was overwhelmed by the meal he had. He requested a chat with the head chef, and 'Harry' was summoned to his table. He came out not knowing what to expect - a compliment or a complaint! It turned out to be a huge compliment! The customer was Bono of U2 fame. He took photos and posted on his Facebook as highly recommended, raving about the meal!
Hvar Old Town
Hvar has a long history dating back to the 1st BC and an excorted walking tour here is a highlight. The Piazza of St. Stephen's Cathedral is a landmark in the centre of the town and the most important meeting place for morning coffee and evening social events. The small shipyard arsenal was built in the 16th Century and shows the rich naval history of Hvar. Above the Arsenal is one of the oldest theatres in Europe! A walk up to the Fortica above Hvar Town is well worth the effort. Here you will discover magnificent views across to the Pakleni Islands. Visit the Franciscan Monastery where you will find a very impressive painting of The Last Supper from 1524! There is often concerts performed in the evenings at 21.00 in the cloisters, from jazz to classical gems and always a treat.
There are many wonderful restaurants in Hvar Town: Passarola is a "must eat" for gourmet food enthusiasts serving Dalmationa and Mediterranean classics with a local and modern flair. Gariful attracts many VIP guests including Prince Harry and Roman Abramovich. It is a luxurious fish restaurant on the waterfront.
Vrboska is a real gem and one of our favourite little towns. Located at the head of a deep bay this lovely little village, nicknamed "Little Venice", has a canal running through it. With charming stone bridges, gorgeous canal-side stone houses and traditional lantinas moored in the harbour this place is a photographer's dream. You can also visit the small family winery Vina Caric which has a tasting room in the village.
A worthwhile visit while on Solta Island is to the Buktenica Art Gallery. The gallery was originally set up by Eugen Buktenica. Native to Solta, Eugen was a renowned Croatian painter of naive art and his works have been displayed all over the world, including the White House. When he died in 1997 his nephew Vice took up a paintbrush and his enthusiasm and passion for his uncle's and his art is endearing. The village of Grohote, where the gallery is located, is a photographer's dream. It feels like time has stood still here with narrow streets and alleyways, stone houses, slate roofs and slightly overgrown gardens.
There is so much to see here. The Diocletian's Palace is one of the most preserved monuments of the late Classical period in Europe..a combination of imperial summer house, Hellenic town, and fortified camp. The Cathedral of St. Doimus s the heart and soul of the city. It is fascinating, one of the oldest and smallest cathedrals in the world dating back to 300 AD. Visiting Split and not having a coffee on the Riva is a sin...there are many waterfronts in the world but this is the living room of Split and a regular 'catwalk'. The Riva is where a person goes to see and be seen!
And there is a wonderful choice of good restaurants. One of our favourites is Bokeria with a great ambience, delicious cuisine and impressive wine list while Zoi is a lovely restaurant and bar built into the side of the Diocletian's Palace with great views overlooking the port. Uje Bar and Wine Bar is a relatively recent addition to the Split restaurant scene, It has quickly gained attention among the foodies in Split with a stylish, bistro-style interior that is warm and welcoming. For dining al fresco, there are also two side street terraces. For more traditional homestyle cooking Konoba Sperun is the place offering classic Croatian dishes with traditional ambience.
The Cathedral of St. Lawrence is the most important landmark in Trogir and the must-see cultural monument in Croatia; constructed in the 13th C. on the site of an early Christian basilica. Radovan's Portal at the main entrance is the most monumental piece of Romanesque / Gothic art in Croatia. Master Radovan carved the portal in 1240 featuring about 100 figures including Adam and Eve, the birth of Christ, saints and apostles, and a calendar with scenes of hunting and working.
Another one of our favourite restaurant is Konoba Trs. Located in the city center in 13th century villa the staff are friendnly and fun, the food delicious and the surroundings charming. Restaurant Pasike has staff who wear folk costumes and the menu is packed with traditional dishes with 'a Cappela' singers every evening.
Cruising from Sibenik and past two bridges, scenic Lake Prokljan and canyon, is the beautiful town of Skradin whose history dates back to the Illyrian period. In the near vicinity of Krka National Park makes Skradin one of the most impressive destinations for nautical tourism. The Krka River and its travertine waterfalls form the foundation for this natural and karst phenomenon for which the Krka region was proclaimed a National Park in 1985. From here it is also possible to visit the Bibic Winery where exquisite wines and abundance of food is served.
For further information about Croatia
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