Tailor made family holidays and honeymoons to Croatia.
Croatia is fast becoming one of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations. A beautiful country surrounded by an azure blue sea, dotted with thousands of tiny islands and fabulous historic sites awaits you, just a few hours flight from the UK. Take a city break or a an island hopping sailing holiday or head inland for a great walking or sight seeing trip. There are wonderful cycling roads around Croatia both along the coast and inland. Hire a bike or join a group adventure holiday! There are some great holiday combinations with two or three centres to be enjoyed in Croatia. Many of the islands combine well with Dubrovnik or Split with regular ferry connections.
The Dalmatian coastline is backed by high mountains and studded with thousands of islands, each with it’s own character and some picture postcard perfect beaches and coves. The walled cities of Dubrovnik and Split have old squares and narrow streets and are full of Mediterranean smells and colours and views of the Adriatic Sea. Dubrovnik is known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ and it’s easy to see why with ornate spires rising above red roofs and surrounded by the sparkling waters of the clear Adriatic Sea. The old walled city has charming piazzas, narrow streets and is a World Heritage Site protected by UNESCO. The city walls are about 2 km long with a highest point of 25 metres. Stradun is the main street surrounded by boutiques and cafes. Visit the cloisters of the Franciscan Monastery a calm haven from the bustling streets. There are many hotels in the area called Ploce to the east of the old town built into the hillside, such as Pucic Palace or there are plenty of hotels on the Lapad Peninsula, a short transfer from the Old Town but with pools and sea views with it’s own local restaurants and bars. Try the Hotel More with it’s ‘cave bar’ or the hilltop Hotel Bellevue. Less than 10 miles from Dubrovnik is Cavtat resort the perfect location for sightseeing and relaxation on the southern shores of the Rat peninsula. There is a seafront promenade with laid back bars and cafes, seafront swiming and sunbathing terraces. Try the Hotel Croatia, Hotel Cavtat or the small Hotel Villa Pattiera which only has 12 rooms and is a 19th century villa.
Zadar is a litte quieter with cobbled streets and a Roman history. The city is split into two parts, the Austro-Hungarian lower town and the thousand year old upper town, merging into a modern cosmopolitan city with plenty of bars, restaurants and festivals.Zadar has a very authentic feel due to the fact that it is less busy than Dubrovnik. A unique attraction here is the Sea Organ – what look like ‘steps’ on the seafront descend into the sea for around 70 metres and pipes under the steps play music as the sea pushes air through them! Surrounding the city are some beautiful national parks and waterfalls. Several good hotels are found here including Art Hotel Kalelarga and Hotel Bastion.
Throughout Croatia, particularly on the coast, you will find well preserved Venetian era settlements surrounded by pretty fishing harbours and some with hilltop fortresses. Croatia is a great destination for a self drive holiday, take your time and choose your own itinerary to see the parts of the country which interest you most. Ask me for an itinerary. As well as many great hotels there are self catering villas and apartments available through Croatia.
There are hundreds of islands along the coast of Croatia and several have regular ferry links. The largest islands, between Dubrovnik and Split make an interesting diversion from the mainland, filled with pretty fishing villages, quiet harbours and friendly people. Luxury Adriatic Cruise holidays operate along the coast, ask me about the range of boats and itineraries available. Example would be Dubrovnik – Zadar 7 nights from £1325 per person (including flights) visiting along the way Dubrovnik, Mljet, Korcula, Hvar, Bol, Split, Trogir, Sibenik, Sali and Zadar. There are also options staying in hotels along the way rather than on board and more adventurous sailing holidays too. There are several lighthouses which you can stay in if you want to be surrounded by the sea on all sides! Try Lighthouse Grebeni just half a mile from Hotel Dubrovnik Palace on a tiny island reef.
The Island of Lopud is ideal for getting away from it all and is within easy reach of Dubrovnik. The harbour is overlooked by the 15th century Church of St Mary of Spilica. There is a seafront promenade and a sweeping bay surrounded by parks, palm trees, restaurants and bars. In the forests are old stone houses and on the opposite side of the island is the sandy beach of Sunj. Hotel Lafodia is a large hotel with good facilities, great for families while the boutique hotel Villa Vilina is more attractive to couples and friends wanting a quiet escape. The largest of the Elaphite Islands (neighbouring Lopud) is Sipan which has a charming atmosphere – a fairytale island full of vineyards, olive groves and crumbling mansions. Hotel Bozica is a small boutique hotel in a perfect spot for a relaxing holiday – it does get booked a long way in advance so book early! Another of the Elaphites which is one of the most pretty islands in the Adriatic is Mljet. There are clear waters and a laid back atmosphere with stunning views. Korcula sits on a promontory surrounded by clear waters, home to the famous explorer Marco Polo and it has one of the best preserved medieval and renaissance towns in the Mediterranean. Narrow streets wind round the old town which also has a range of restaurants and bars. The interior is fabulous for walking and there are taxi boats connecting other smaller islands. The Hotel Korsal is a good option here, a small boutique style hotel aimed at adults with a wine cellar and just 10 rooms. Orebic is a short ferry from Korcula and a famous wine growing area.
North of the Elaphite Islands you will come to Split, a magnificent city with an old town and palm lined promenade. This is a great base for exporing the centre of Dalmatia, with ferries departing here for Brac and Hvar. To the north is the preserved walled island city of Trogir. Split has a variety of modern boutique hotels such as Hotel Luxe or Hotel Atrium along with smaller guesthouses.
Hvar is a bit of a playground for the jet set but has a quiet side filled with heaths of lavender and tiny smaller islands with near empty beaches. Wooded hills sweep down to the stone walls and red roofs of the town and palm fringed harbour. There are rocky swimming spots and pebble beaches and plenty of beach bars to sit back and watch the world go by! Amfora Hvar Grand Beach Resort has it’s own bay with fabulous swimming spots just 10 minutes walk from Hvar town. If you want something smaller and with a harbour front view try the Adriana (with the only spa in Hvar) or Hotel Riva one of the ‘trendiest’ spots in town!
Brac is home to the highest point in the Adriatic – Vidova Gora, and a walk through pine woods takes you to Zlatni Rat the most photographed beach in Croatia. In the north the island of Rab offers plenty of sandy coves and beaches (unusually as most beaches in this region are made of pebbles) including the famous Zlatni Rat beach. If you hire a car or a bike you can explore deserted beaches and head into the interior with abandoned villages and fascinating history. Bol is the main resort area on Brac with a few lively bars along the harbour front. A newly opened unique hotel is available here at Sveti Kriz (Hotel of the Sacred Cross) which is inside a Domenican Monastery, part of which is still inhabited by monks. The hotel has a terrace bar overlooking the sea and there are restaurants nearby. In the north of the island is the small town of Supetar with a cluster of stone buildings around the harbour close to countryside full of olive and citrus groves. Also on the north coast is Postira a captivating fishing village with red tiled roofs and green painted shutters, a small harbour and pretty beaches.
Heading inland in Croatia you will find medieval towns, beautiful national parks full of ancient forests, lakes and waterfalls and hills covered in lavender and olive groves. Visit Istria in the spring or autumn for flowers and colours in the parks and explore the hilltop villages in this rural region. Throughout Croatia food and drink is of great importance to the locals and cuisine is influenced by Italian ancestry so you will find plenty of olive oil, pasta, garlic and lemon. A local speiality is ‘Pasticada’ which is a meat stew roasted in wine and spices, usually served with gnocchi. Dalmatian sweets often involve figs, honey, almonds and raisins. Zagreb makes a perfect city break with great shopping, parks and a fascinating history and a base to explore the nearby castles and sample wines in the vineyards of Zagorje.
There are a range of escorted sightseeing and cultural tours to Croatia and it’s neighbouring Balkan countries and states, plenty of activity and adventure tours or if you prefer a tailor made leisurely city and islands holiday or a self drive that is all easilly arranged. Surrounded by many other Balkan countries including Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro there is plenty of variety on offer for a range of holidays here.
Ask us about holidays to Croatia – city breaks, fly drives, sailing & island hopping, beach breaks, natural history holidays, group tours or tailor made, go on – explore the wonderful world of the Balkans on your next short haul holiday!