The extent to which my sister and I looked at each other and shook our heads in disbelief is innumerable. We are both well traveled, but neither of us had ever experienced anything quite like the splendor of the Adriatic Sea, the ruins of Diocletian’s Palace or the enchanting islands of Vis and Hvar. But above all else, Dubrovnik stole our hearts.
The Trip: 10 days on the Croatian coast; 4 days in Split and 6 days in Dubrovnik
The Cast: Me + my Sister/BFF Heidi
Not Featured: Our 4 babes (ages 1, 2, 4, and 9) and husbands at home in Vancouver + Portland, respectively
Season: Mid-late October
Weather: Perfection! 8 of the 10 days were sunny and warm, highs of 75 and lows of 55 (20-25 in Celsius)
Our fave Croatian word/phrase: Jivialee! Which means Cheers ;)
Split Hotel: Murum Boutique Hotel
Dubrovnik Hotel: Hotel Excelsior, Adriatic Luxury Hotels Collection
The Mission: Reset. Relax. Reconnect with each other and ourselves. Explore a new culture and new part of the world.
The Croatian coastline is a cruise ship destination, which means that during the Summer months there are thousands of people in the old cities and lining the streets. Every restaurant is full and the photos you aim to take are cluttered with strangers. Hotels are more expensive (by no small margin), and it’s HOT during those months as well. We felt like we struck gold in finding the perfect season to visit this paradise and not have to share it with some many others.
Dubrovnik is straight out of a James Bond movie, and in fact, Daniel Craig will be making one last appearance on the big screens as Bond in the next movie in the series Spectre, to be filmed next year in, you guessed it, beautiful Dubrovnik.
So what makes Croatia so spectacular? First, the terrain: the beautiful old world architecture that sits directly on the sea. Diocletian’s Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage site, yet you can stay in Hotels that are part of the Palace itself and eat at restaurants that have been established within the palace walls; an incredible experience to say the least. In Dubrovnik, the old city again sits right on the sea with breathtaking views and water that begs for a swim. I’m proud to say I seized the opportunity for a swim in the Adriatic Sea, however, it was more of an invigorating cold plunge than a nice warm leisurely swim. But I felt incredible afterward and would say you can't leave without a swim in the Sea!
If you are a foodie, there is plenty of impressive food and wine to be discovered. One of our favorite new varietals discovered is called Grk, a native Croatian grape that actually grows in the sand. We enjoyed a bottle of this really nice white over a beautiful seafood dinner of fesh lobster, scallops and fish at Posat Restaurant at sunset. The restaurant came highly recommended and didn’t disappoint. It’s certainly much pricier than other restaurants around, but in comparison to fine dining in the US or Canada, the bill was nowhere near comparable (much less). We were also introduced to an incredible winery who ages their wine in clay pots in the sea. The result of which is perfectly temperature controlled ageing and an organic growth of sea life on the outside of the clay pot. If you are adventurous enough to dive for your wine, that is available to you, and the clay pots themselves are works of art worthy of display. Edivo Vina winery is a little over an hour’s drive outside of Dubrovnik. We didn’t make the trip, but I definitely plan to do so on my next visit. If you don’t make it outside the city you can still pick up one of their beautiful bottles at the gift shop at XYZ or at Duty Free in the Dubrovnik airport for about €450,00 (about $500USD).
So, if you haven’t already booked your flight to Croatia, keep it on your list! What a beautiful country with amazing sites, food, people and history. In addition to the cities on the mainland, the islands are remarkable, and I am told nearby Montenegro is a not-to-be-missed destination as well.
Ultimately, I am reminded of the beautiful earth we have been given. What a treasure it is, with limitless depths to be explored and experienced. Safe & Happy travels friends!