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Captivating Croatia

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Blessed with sunny days and sapphire seas, Croatia’s historic towns, idyllic islands, intriguing culture, and friendly people welcome visitors from all over the world.

One of the first things you will notice about the Croatian coastline is the pristine, crystal clear water and rocky beaches – I mean serious slabs of rock – as well as pebble beaches, – and occasional sandy beaches.

I was fortunate to take this trip with a fun group of travel colleagues.  We started in the northern fishing village Rovinj (pronounced Ro-veen) in the Istrian peninsula, which is across the Adriatic Sea from Venice.  This effortlessly charming city is perfect for simply going out on your own to stroll its quaint streets.  The signature bell tower of the Church of St. Euphemia, patron saint and protector of Rovinj, dominates the skyline.  The views from Hotel Monte Mulini (where we stayed) and next-door Grand Park Rovinj are stunning!

The food was just out of this world at Monte Mulini – seriously, the best I’ve had anywhere.  Even if you don’t stay at this hotel, you must have the wine pairing dinner in the Wine Vault Restaurant!

We visited the hilltop village of Motovun and also stopped for some truffle hunting with a guide and his dogs.  Then it was on to the Dalmatian Coast and Dubrovnik.

During a previous visit to the country, I stopped in Pula which has the most complete Roman Colosseum in the world and Split is home to the Roman Diocletian Palace, so keep these cities on your list!

Dubrovnik, referred to as the Pearl of the Adriatic, is a walled city filled with a history book of architecture – Gothic to Renaissance to Baroque styles with fountains, monasteries, churches and palaces.  The shiny limestone paved Stradun pedestrian main street is lined with shops and restaurants.  I recommend that you go early in the day or later in the evening to avoid day-trippers and cruise ship passengers.  It’s a small city within the walls and it will get crowded.  The “wall walk” around the city offers AMAZING views and is well worth the price of admission!

We stayed at the Sun Gardens, which has a fantastic fitness center and many types of accommodations for families, and we visited Villa Dubrovnik, which is a very sophisticated property with fantastic views of the walled city – and it’s within walking distance.

The sea is one of the prime attractions in Croatia and we took two fun excursions.

One day, we had a private yacht ride around the Elefite Islands with a stop to walk around the island of Lopud, then more cruising and a stop in a cove to relax and swim.

The next day, our excursion included a trip to Ston with a boat ride to meet a local family who operate an oyster and mussel farm.  We then devoured the wonderful fruits of the sea that they prepared for us at their tiny restaurant.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of some of the many reasons to visit this idyllic haven on the Adriatic.  With its richly historic and evocative cities, exceptional food and wine, and heavenly sailing waters, it continues to soar in popularity, so let’s plan your vacation before it gets too crowded!

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