My group of friends and myself just came back from a trip to Croatia and Greece at the beginning of September. Over the past couple of years, I have heard that Croatia is a hidden beauty. A mix of medieval and Italian terra-cotta, the red roof country is a sight I have not seen before. Croatia has the most individual islands off the coast. All can be visited via ferry. The fish is so incredibly fresh and is mixed with the flavors of Italian cuisine. Croatia has become this hot destination to many tourists bringing the country a whole new life…with the hit series Game of Thrones and the most recent run of the National Croatian Football team at the World Cup, new life has revitalized this country.
Our trip was only three days and three nights, which was not enough time. There are so many things we wanted to do but just didn’t have enough time to do them.
Where we stayed
This was such a challenge for me! I had the hardest time figuring out where we should stay in Croatia. It has so many beautiful cities with bountiful things to do, from Split to Zagreb to Dubrovnik. Last minute, I decided to stay in Hvar ultimately because of the night life. My crew LOVES to party, until the wee hours of the morning and Hvar is known for having some of the best clubs. I know my friends and I know that none of us would have made the last ferry back to the mainland. So, it was best for us to stay together in a villa close to town.
The villa is called Villa de Pinus and was booked through www.villashvar.com. They were very accommodating, flexible and responded in a timely manner. The villa was stunning and came complete with seven bedrooms, six bathrooms, a private pool, daily housekeeping and our own concierge service. While the villa was less than 2 miles away from town, we still needed to take a cab as we were at the top of hill and there were winding roads everywhere.
Where we ate
I cannot say that I was surprised, but I LOVED all the meals we had in Hvar. I spent quite a bit of time finding some really cool restaurants that would give us the most authentic feel and here is what I found
Bacchus Palmizana: Located on the small island of Paklisinki. This is a perfect place to get away from the noise of Hvar. About a 30 minute boat ride, you pull up into crystal clear blue waters. Up the steps is a gorgeous roped off area that has great views of the island. The food is so incredibly fresh, it almost looked like the octopus was still alive.
Giaxa– this place is incredible! The food, the service and the atmosphere is a memory I will always keep with me. We were seated inside of this cave and has the most delectable meal I have had in a long time. I HIGHLY recommend that you have dinner here.
What we did
- Rented a boat for the day and went to Paklisinki Island and Zdrilca Island. Originally our plan was to go to Zlatni Rat beach on the island of Brac, but our captain convinced us to go to some of the smaller islands, which I found most enjoyable.
- Day trip to Dubrovnik. I was really bummed that we didn’t get to spend more time in Dubrovnik. This cute little town was really put on the map when Game of Thrones used the city as it’s filming location for scenes such as the Red Keep, Kings Landing and the House of the Undying. Like all other tourists, we decided to do a GOT tour which required us to take a three-hour ferry. When we arrived, the city has these beautiful red roofs that stretch as far as your eyes can see. Our tour guide was amazing! She actually worked for Game of Thrones in their accounting department and got to appear as an extra a handful of times. So, she was able to share some really cool secrets about the show and cast members. While there are a ton of GOT tours offered, I personally recommend this company as they are professional, not tacky and allow you to play with props at the end of the tour 😊
Where to go out
Again, a HUGE reason why I wanted our group to stay in Hvar is because of the night life. There are a plethora of bars and night clubs to choose from. Here are some places You should check out.
Kiva Bar: This place is a must. It gets super crowded and is extremely small. So plan to arrive early to grab a spot at the bar. The music they play is very American top 40.
Pink Champagne: This spot is really cool and plays fun music. If you’re not smoker and don’t want to walk out smelling like an ash tray, you may want to go somewhere else.
- Bring plenty of cash. More likely than not you are going to hear, “cash only”. Many of the restaurants in Hvar where older and have limited technology and could not take credit cards. Traveling in a large group of people, this can be a real challenge. We had to leave a restaurant because they didn’t accept credit cards and no one in the group had enough cash.
- Buy Water Shoes. Croatia is notorious for having tons of sea urchins at their beach. While they aren’t poisonous, no one wants to spend their time in a hospital having hundreds of needles pulled from the bottom of their foot. They’re inexpensive and light enough to pack.
- Book your ferries in advance. They will sell out of tickets weeks before departure. Don’t get stuck trying to bribe crew to let you on the boat. Book through Jadrolinija ferries
- The mosquitoes are REAL y’all! Bring plenty of bug spray because those little shits can be vicious.
- Check out the lavender fields. Lavender is very popular and can found in different beauty products, soaps, honey and tea!
- Visit the Fortica for the best views of Hvar.
- Catch a National Football game in Split
I absolutely LOVED Croatia! I cannot wait to go back and explore more of the country and do all of the things that I did not get a chance to do. I encourage that you all experience this glorious country, embrace it with open arms, and soak in all of the gorgeousness. Until next time…xoxo!