Things I wish I knew before planning our trip to Croatia: a Croatia trip would be very hard to ‘mess up’. Every city, island, and beach in Croatia is beautiful and just as amazing as the next, and most restaurants serve local, organic and authentic food. Typical Croatian food is seafood heavy -- think white fish cooked in olive oil and lots of octopus salad. It also has a slight Italian influence with pizza, pasta and roasted veggies on most menus. Getting between cities/islands via ferry is VERY easy so don’t let that deter your travels. The main ferry company is Jadrolinija and you can buy tickets in advance online. I highly recommend Croatia for any type of traveler. Below are the cities/islands we visited and some of my recommendations. Enjoy!
Split We didn’t spend much time in Split, but we did manage to have one very delicious night at these two spots: -Uje Wine Bar/Uje Oil Bar for authentic Croatia food and wine in a quiet back alley. -Drinks at Palace of Dioceltian. Sit on the steps of this Roman Palace where there’s full food and alcohol service. Great people watching in one of Croatia’s most unique bar settings (in my opinion).
To get from Split to Dubrovnik, we rented a private tourguide/driver which I highly recommend. It was a beautiful drive, the perfect way to see smaller towns along the coast, and being able to nap in the car was helpful with the jet lag! Here was the tour company we used: http://www.privatedriverguideincroatia.com/
Dubrovnik Ah, how I loved Dubrovnik. Most people think it’s too touristy, but the old city is gorgeous and has serious charm. We stayed in an Airbnb in the Old City which was great because a lot of the crowds come in on cruise boats during the day, so the town is less crowded in the morning and evening. We were generally able to avoid tourist traps and find so many gems.
-Tavulin - wine bar with great wine, craft beers, tapas and dessert
-Azur - one of our favorite dinners. Creative Asian/Croatia fusion.
-Buza bar - awesome bar nestled into a rock cliff overlooking the water. Go for happy hour and/or sunset!
-Walk the City Walls
-Hike up to the top of the cable car and have lunch at Panorama, the restaurant at the top. Some of the best views of the trip, great food, and you work up an appetite on the hike.
Korkula is a smaller island that I definitely recommend for a night or two. Some highlights:
-Hotel Fabris - Awesome boutique hotel/bed & breakfast right in town with delicious breakfast and helpful host.
-Rent bikes and take them along the coast and stop at little beaches
-Rent a mini scooter to get to some further beaches like Racisca and Pupnatska Luka
-Bire Winery - take your scooter to this small winery for a wine tasting
-Go into the old town for dinner at Adio Mare for traditional Croatian and a great patio and then go to our FAVORITE wine bar, Brokar Wine Bar (get the Intrada wine - we went there both nights and drank LOTS of this wine)
-Maksimilijan Garden Lounge & Beach Bar - perfect spot for happy hour, appetizers and a great view of sunset
Our final stop was the island of Hvar which is GORGEOUS and has quite the beach party scene. It’s hard to choose, but Hvar was probably my favorite leg of the trip. We spent the most time there and rented a car. It was so fun to explore different parts of the island via car and boat.
Our AirBnB's patio - Heaven!
-One of the best parts about Hvar was our AirBnb. The patio had the most perfect view of the sunset and it was just a short walk into town or to beaches. We spent a lot of time up here drinking wine and eating appetizers before heading out for the night. Highly, highly recommend!
-Hula Hula - really fun bar right on the water with daybeds, food, and cocktails. Another amazing spot to watch the sunset.
-Jesla is a small town about a 40 minute drive from downtown Hvar. It was very quaint and felt very local. There was an awesome path along the water which was perfect for a run and then we found the cutest lunch spot in town, U Smokve. I was quickly obsessed with U Smokve because it may be the only spot in Croatia with zoodles and avocado on the menu.
-Rent a boat and explore the surrounding islands - Our favorite was Palmizano and Toto’s was our favorite lunch spot. This is a MUST.