Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! Spring is here, and it’s an amazing time of year to travel to places where it’s “shoulder season.” Shoulder season is the time of year when a destination is before or after peak season. Typically, the crowds are fewer, and availability and rates are more favorable. It makes a lot of sense to travel whenever you can during shoulder season.
Speaking of great places to visit in the spring into early summer, I thought we’d kick off the month with a deep dive into the incredible country of Croatia! Do you know where Croatia is in Europe? Do you know why it’s an amazing country to visit?
If you’re intrigued to learn all about what Croatia has to offer, read on for the 2-part scoop. This week, we’ll cover the historic towns and cities, scenic coastline and islands, and special hotels and resorts…
Where Is Croatia?
Croatia is a Central European and Mediterranean country found up the coast from mainland Greece (Albania and Montenegro separate the two). Croatia borders Slovenia to the west, Hungary to the north, Serbia to the east, and Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro to the south. Across the Adriatic Sea from Croatia is the western coast of Italy.
Croatia is shaped like a croissant and has an incredible 5,835km of coastline with the great majority of that distance including islands, cliffs, and reefs. For travelers who love coastal vacations, Croatia is a paradise!
💎 Hidden Gem Tip: If you’re already intrigued, you can schedule a chat with me here: www.hiddengemtravelconsulting.com/contact.
Gorgeous Historic Towns & Cities
Dubrovnik is one of the most-visited cities on the Adriatic Sea, with monumental city walls 1.940 meters long and 25 meters high, located at the foot of Srđ Mountain in Croatian Dalmatia and under UNESCO protection since 1979. Dubrovnik is famous for being featured in Game of Thrones!
Split is best known for the ruins of the Palace of Diocletian (built 295–305). Collectively with the historic royal residences, fortifications, and churches in the city, the palace was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.
Zadar is the historical capital of Dalmatia. It’s a charming Mediterranean city full of legends and interesting stories! The old nucleus lies on a small peninsula where once stood the best fortified European city.
Trogir is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Croatia. A harbor and historic town only 27km from Split, Trogir’s old town has been a UNESCO World Heritage list since 1997 as the best-preserved Romanesque-Gothic town in Central Europe.
Sibenik is the oldest native coastal Croatian town located in Central Dalmatia where the Krka river flows into the Adriatic Sea.
Ston is best known for its 14th-century fortified walls and is actually split in two: the town of Ston, which includes Pozvizd Fortress, and its neighboring Mali Ston, a centuries-old defensive settlement that includes Koruna Fortress and an old port. Walking between the two towns is a great way to travel in the footsteps of history. Ston is particularly known for oysters, mussels, and other seafood as well as its salt pans that are still in use and are the oldest in Europe.
Croatian Istma Towns – Vodnjan, Rovinj – a picturesque Istrian fishing harbor often referred to as “Small Dubrovnik.
Islands, Sailing, and Boating
Croatia has 2,000 kilometers of Coastline and 1,200 islands. There is an island that’s home to a family of 120 dolphins, islands with age-old fishing traditions, an island with a cave in which the sunlight turns a brilliant blue for an hour each day, and islands known for their wine, cheese, or anchovy pasties.
Hvar is one of the most beautiful harbors on the Adriatic with a rich cultural heritage. Its seven-century old walls still survive, as well as many of the 15th-17th C Venetian era noble houses and public buildings. Hvar has a reputation as being the swankiest of Croatian destinations and offers history, heritage, and culture.
Korcula is famed for its enchanting forests and white wine. The island is a mix of quiet hamlets and vineyards, fishing villages along the winding coast, and formidable medieval walls.
Lastovo is a hidden gem and well worth a visit. This small Croatian island will remind you of simpler times, where people still catch fresh seafood for dinner and make their own wine using locally grown grapes.
Bisevo Island offers the Blue Cave or Blue Grotto. To appreciate its ethereal beauty, guests arrive exactly at the time of the day when the sunlight reflected through the seafloor bathes the entire cave in aquamarine light, while objects in the water are turned into shimmering silver. It’s only 5 nautical miles from Vis Island.
Vis Island still has the air of an unspoiled paradise and visitors love its rudimental beauty. Komiza is a picture-perfect, authentic fisherman’s village on the island of Vis. Wander around the old town, relax on the beaches shaded by Tamarix trees and taste some typical Mediterranean snacks. Sail to a beautiful, secret bay on Vis island, the perfect place for swimming and snorkeling.
To sail to these incredible islands, travelers can choose from bareboat or crewed charter sailings. There are also small boat cruises along the coast and amongst the islands.
Hotels & Accommodations
Of course, there are many options for hotels, resorts, and accommodations in Croatia. My job is to match my clients to the best places to stay for them, and everyone is different in terms of budget and desired features. When we have a consultation, I ask the important questions so I understand what will make you happy.
Three Virtuoso network hotels are worthy to consider for travelers who prefer 4-5 star hotel experiences:
In Dubrovnik, Villa Dubrovnik is set on the cliffs of Saint Jacob’s District with direct stunning views of the Adriatic and historical city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Unique 56 residences offer sea or city views and all have private balconies. Enjoy the ambience and sunsets on the rooftop bar. Indulge in Mediterranean cuisine at Michelin recommended Restaurant Pjerin or Al Fresco Bar Giardino. Relish the breeze in the indoor/outdoor pool and seaside terrace or beach club. Soothe your soul at the lavish Villa Spa or at the contemporary gym. Hidden Gem Travel clients receive perks like breakfast daily and a $100 food and beverage credit!
On sunny Hvar Island, Maslina Resort delights all the senses, whether you come seeking relaxation, adventure, or a complete wellness transformation. The 50 rooms and suites and three villas reflect the resorts’ Mindful Luxury philosophy, boasting natural materials, such as terracotta and Brac Island stone and seasonal ingredients hand-harvested from the on-site 86,000-square-foot organic garden. Hidden Gem Travel clients get the perks here too.
If fairytale vistas, romantic promenades, and modern amenities are what you’re after, you’ll find it (and much more) at the Grand Park Hotel Rovinj. The luxury resort, designed by legendary Italian architect Piero Lissoni, features 209 exceptionally appointed rooms and suites, plus seven restaurants and bars where you can indulge in everything from bespoke dishes like Adriatic-caught shrimp to casual snacks, all served with a side of spectacular coastal views.
Inspired? If you’re dreaming of a trip to Croatia, here’s the link to schedule a chat with me www.hiddengemtravelconsulting.com/contact
💎 Hidden Gem Tip: Follow my Facebook/Instagram pages this week for more travel inspiration: www.facebook.com/hiddengemtravelconsulting or Instagram: www.instagram.com/hidden.gem.travel
Wishing you and your family continued good health,