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Croatia Luxury Travel Guide

Croatia Luxury Travel Guide

A gem of a country, Croatia sits along the Adriatic Sea at the crossroads of European culture. Though small, the country has a lot to offer the discerning traveller, from fine cuisine to cultural experiences and breath-taking coastline. The southern European nation caters well to luxury travellers with high-end hotels and sailing yachts on offer in key destinations.

Regions

 

Dalmatia stretches languorously along Croatia’s southern coastline. Zadar and Dubrovnik stand sentinel at either end and frame sandy beaches on the Markarska Riviera.

 

A triangular peninsula wedged into the north of Croatia, Istria is a mountainous coastal region popular for its hilltop towns. Istria has a strong Italian influence evident in the history and culture of towns such as Rovinj.

 

Zagreb is Croatia’s capital and sits inland not far from the border with Slovenia. A cultural hub for the country, Zagreb has many museums and galleries and is well-knowns for its grand architecture from the medieval old town to elegant 19th century neighbourhoods.

 

The Kvarner Riviera is a classic destination in Croatia and has been popular among sophisticated travellers since the 19th century. The town of Opatija remains popular among cultured travellers seeking to avoid crowded resorts.

 

The Islands: the Croatian archipelago is an island-lover’s paradise, and is second only to Greece in terms of island count. Hvar is popular with yachters who like to party while neighbouring Korcula remains a hub for folk culture.

 

Korcula

Korcula

Slavonia lies inland, distinctly removed from the fun and sun of the coast. A flat, low-lying region, the highlight of Slavonia is undoubtedly its mouth-watering cuisine.

HIGHLIGHTS

 

If there’s one place that evokes all the beauty and magic of southern Europe, it’s Dubrovnik. Everything about this southern Dalmatian city seems designed to make the visitor fall in love with it: baroque architecture, medieval city walls, the dazzling blue sea, delicious seafood.

 

Hvar is a town and an island and both are equally glamorous. The island itself has rustic villages set in an authentic landscape strewn with olive groves, orchards, and vineyards. Meanwhile, Hvar Town has much to offer sophisticated but determined partyers with some of the best nightlife in the Mediterranean.

 

While perhaps less dreamy than some of its neighbours, Split can boast one of the most important and complete Roman sites in the Mediterranean. The Diocletian Palace is a sprawling retirement home for the Roman Emperor Diocletian and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Rovinj, on the Istrian coast, looks across the Adriatic to Venice. The town sits on a funny oval-shaped peninsula and reveals its layers of history through medieval walls, Venetian piazzas, historic workshops and baroque churches.

 

The Plitvice Lakes in North Dalmatia are a National Park and are also UNESCO-listed. A precious landscape of waterfalls, lakes and woodland wildlife, the wooden walkways that snake across the waterways guide you through this special place.

 

Being an elegant European capital, Zagreb is the perfect place to sit in a café and see and be seen. A cultural hub, the city’s galleries, museums, and theatres are the main highlights.

EXPERIENCES

 

The best way to explore the 700-odd islands of the Croatian archipelago is with a private yacht. Sail through the silky waters of the Adriatic, stopping off in little coastal towns to get your culture fix.

 

Pelegrini is a restaurant in Sibenik and probably one of the best in the Mediterranean. The restaurant offers cooking classes followed by a wine-pairing lunch.

 

Visit Diocletian’s Palace with an expert guide to get behind-the-scenes of this unique piece of history, including its underground construction.

 

Join a local family for a foraging excursion in the Motovun Forest in search of that famous Istrian delicacy, the truffle. Your haul will be used to prepare a special lunch accompanied other local produce.

HOTELS

 

Catering to an upmarket clientele Hotel Bevanda marks a new chapter in Opatija’s history. The hotel has only ten rooms whose floor-to-ceiling windows afford panoramic views towards the sea.

 

 

 Hotel Bevanda

Hotel Bevanda

The Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik is one of the Adriatic’s premier hotels. The sleek, modern design brings this century-old hotel right up to date and the views over the old town and bay are simply stunning.

 

The Heritage Villa Apolon on Hvar Island is a restored 19thcentury villa, tucked away in the heart of Croatia’s oldest town, Stari Grad. The service is professional and caters well to the needs of luxury travellers.

WHEN TO GO

 

The best months to visit are May, June, September and October, when the weather is sunny and warm. Try to avoid peak season, July and August, when temperatures soar and crowding peaks. In the winter, Dubrovnik and Zagreb make interesting city breaks but the weather will be cold.

 

 

GETTING THERE

 

Citizens from the European Union, the USA and Canada do not require a visa to enter Croatia for stays of up to 90 days. Check with your local Croatian Embassy for any changes.

 

Zagreb and Dubrovnik are well-served on European routes but flights from North America often require a transit at a European hub.

 

 

LOCAL TRAVEL

 

When not yachting along the Dalmatian coast, the best way of travelling around Croatia is by car. Though a small country, the roads can be difficult to navigate and we recommend entrusting your itinerary to a private chauffeur car and guide.

 

 

 

TRAVEL TIPS

 

Croatia is part of the EU, but not (yet) in the Eurozone. The local currency is the Kuna.

 

Istrian Truffles

Istrian Truffles

Tipping has become commonplace in Croatia, with an extra 10-15% typical in restaurants. 200 kn to your guide or skipper for a day tour is customary.

 

Italian-influenced Istria is seen by many to be Croatia’s best foodie destination. Many dishes are accompanied by the region’s famous truffle. Inland, the cuisine has a more Eastern European feel. And no trip to Croatia would be complete without trying a local wine, perhaps the Plavac Mali.

 

Pack plenty of sunscreen, a sunhat and comfortable, loose clothing for travel between May and September.