Travel

Croatia

If your Mediterranean fantasies feature balmy days by sapphire waters in the shade of ancient walled towns, Croatia is the place to turn them into reality. So many asked why Croatia? Well the original plan was meeting the gal pals in Greece. I’ve already visited Athens, and to be honest, wasn’t a huge fan of the city.  My intention was to meet my gal pals on the Greek Islands Mykonos and Santorini. Research, research research, I reached a conclusion.  They were highly overrated and overly expensive. Onto the next destination on my bucket list, Croatia. After an intense analysis it was a definite yes! The final list came down in Hvar, Split, Bosnia, Dubrovnik and Montenegro. Next was finding a reliable, reputable driver, which I always use on my travels.  Because I think by now everyone knows, Rita does not follow directions and doesn’t like to be told what to do. After a bit of snooping on trip advisor and google I found the perfect company Experience Dalmatia.  I reached out to them and found the perfect guide Mario Barić. Very informative and prompt response to questions and recommendations, I knew he was perfect!

First up was flights.  I was heading to the United Kingdom for a family wedding, so I decided to coincide the trip to Croatia. Gal pals and I were going to meet in Split and booked our flights accordingly to arrive at the airport at the same time in Split. We decided not to book into Zagreb (the capital) due to the long distance ride to the coastal towns and of course the cost.  Didn’t seem worth the dueling drive and the time to waste. I flew from the United Kingdom via Thomas Cook Airlines and the gal pals from the United States via United Airlines. Unfortunately major airlines haven’t allotted Split or Croatia yet, so partner airline Croatian Airlines had to be taken via a major europe hub.  The gals pals had to connect in Frankfurt. Once we arrived in Split, Mario had our airport pick up ready with a pretty Croatian gal by the name of Katarina. Once everyone arrived we were off to the Ferry Terminal to reach our first destination in Croatia, a small island called Hvar, about an hour and a half boat ride from Split. I’ll be writing about each of the cities visited and give you highlights, things to do and see. Here’s the first segment of my series.

Photo May 08, 5 17 36 AM

Hvar, a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, is best known as a summer resort. Highlights of the port town Hvar include its 13th-century walls, a hilltop fortress and a main square anchored by the Renaissance-era Hvar Cathedral. The island also features beaches such as Dubovica and inland lavender fields. Boat excursions serve the nearby Pakleni Islands, which have secluded beaches and coves.

I’m so thankful last minute we (the gal pals and I), decided to spend two days on this absolute stunning island. At the time of booking I quickly realized there aren’t much hotels there and pretty much they were almost booked up. Via Expedia and my special loyal customer rates I decided to book a two bedroom sea view suite at the Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort. I made sure it was in the newer wing. After that was done it was time to figure out transportation. I had already booked an incredible guide Mario with Experience Dalmatia for our Croatian trip and thankfully helped me via email to decide on transportaion to Hvar. You have two options. Choose from a Catamaran that docks directly in Hvar harbor or a huge Ferry that docks in Starigard. I HIGHLY recommend you book the tickets via online before your arrival. Unfortunately we decided to wing it and waited till we arrived and the catamaran was sold out. So off onto a huge ferry with cars that took like forever to get to Hvar. After a long flight for my friends it was a bit exhausting. Thankfully Mario arranged a driver to pick us up in Starigard at the last minute. What followed after was a beautiful 45 minute drive to the Amfora. Once at the Amfora, the views, service, the hotel, and the room with a view was impeccable. We were happy. We talked to the concierge about restaurants, things to do. The friends and I are not into tour groups etc. We hate following directions and being told what to do. We find exploring things on our own is the best adventure one could have. So we were told from the hotel there is a walkway to the main city of Hvar where there is shopping and restaurants. Well let me tell you, that walk is one of the prettiest walk I’ve ever done. Situated by the water. It’s about a 10 to 15 minute walk but you honestly can’t tell. It was perfect! Such a great decision. We had dinner at one of the Thai restaurants in the main square. It was actually really good, considering Croatia. The other night we ate at our hotel. Overall food was great. The next day we decided to walk to Hvar and walk around the main square and up to the fortress. Incredible views from atop the fortress, definitely a must do. We had planned to book a boat trip to the Blue Cave and the Pakleni Islands but unfortunately due to rain the caves were closed. There’s not much to do on the island except to walk around and relax, which we pretty much did through our stay on this beautiful island. It’s a must for anyone visiting Croatia.

Thoroughly enjoyed our two days on this beautiful island. After two days we headed back via catamaran to Split. Up next will be my guide for Split.

Here’s a few pics from Hvar, Croatia