Until recently, the absence of charming and comfortable places to stay meant that the only agreeable way to visit the Dalmatian coast was by boat. Many visitors will still wish to spend time afloat, but a new crop of luxury hotels provides a fine choice of pre- or post-cruise options. A spell on land also makes it easy to take escorted tours to places such as the exquisite medieval town of Mostar in Bosnia. An ideal itinerary would contain a mixture of sightseeing and pure relaxation. Split and Dubrovnik merit at least two days each of exploration. Afterward, an excursion to the lovely island of Hvar (reached from Split) is virtually mandatory.
Although there are a number of notable hideaways that have opened in Croatia, I must admit that my favorite way to explore the country’s sensationally scenic coast is via chartered yacht. One plans out a general itinerary in advance, but once aboard, you and the captain have control of which uninhabited islets you visit and how long you spend lazing at dramatic beaches accessible only from the water. It’s a travel experience that everyone with the means should enjoy at least once in their lives. Contact the Andrew Harper Travel Office in order to select the ideal vessel for your trip.
Memorable Cooking Class
Our private cooking class arranged by local company Culinary Croatia was a delight. A driver took us from Dubrovnik to Trsteno, where Katja awaited us at the entrance to the town’s magnificent botanical gardens. Her home and outdoor kitchen was on the far side, complete with a fountainlike stone sink and a grapevine-topped pergola. Together, we prepared pašticada, a marinated pork loin stuffed with garlic and pancetta, and some gnocchi from scratch to accompany it. As we chatted and cooked, we sipped Katja’s homemade walnut liqueur, nibbled seawater-cured olives from her olive grove and snacked on sweet, soft cheese from a nearby dairy farm.
When we first traveled to Croatia, the wines tended to be innocuous at best. On our most recent visit, they were positively arresting. The quantity-over-quality philosophy of socialist Yugoslavia has been cast aside in favor of carefully crafted small-production wines, often made from steep terraced vineyards where mechanized farming is impossible. Many Croatian wineries make use of international varieties such as Pinot Noir and Syrah, but the country’s real treasure is its trove of more than 30 indigenous grape varieties. We became especially enamored of Pošip, a white Korčula-based grape that can range in style from something like juicy Sauvignon Blanc to sumptuous white Burgundy. We enjoyed unforgettable private tastings at Vinarija Rak near Krka National Park, Vinarija Krajančić on the island of Korčula, and Vinarija Miloš on the Pelješac Peninsula near Ston.
Six hours ahead of New York (EST).
Croatian Kuna (HRK). Fluctuating rate valued at HRK6.14 = US$1.00 as of January 2021. Note: Most of our recommended hotels quote rates in euros (€). Fluctuating rate valued at €1.00 = US$1.22 as of January 2021.
Zagreb, Tel. (385) 1-661-2200.
To phone hotels in Croatia, dial 011 (international access) + 385 (Croatia code) + city code and local numbers in listings.