Last Fall I attended a First We Eat Workshop that filled my heart with so much warmth and my tummy full of local ingredients. It truly was magical.
Then the magic continued as I my husband flew out and joined me for a week exploring this beautiful country.
I would be lying if I said we knew what we were getting ourselves into. Neither of us knew much about Croatia. And this is actually my favorite way of seeing and exploring a new place.
I don’t have expectations or images in my head to live up to. I just go! To me that is being FREE.
So, the journey began in Zagreb.
Once Joel arrived we jumped into our rental car and headed to our Airbnb downtown.
We were greeted by a pup that was being framed by a wall of beautiful vines and greens covering the building. The dream state was already sinking in.
After a good nights rest we were ready to drive on and explore the next town.
We had our week planned out with some hikes in mind, long drives, and what cities we wanted to explore during our stay. And with each stop our love for this place grew. Quickly we noticed our pace slow down, and the level of appreciation for such a unique country grew more evident.
I was very excited to make a stop at Plitvice Lakes National Park. It is a forest reserve in central Croatia. Walkways wind around the falls and lakes as you settle into a zen state following the wood planks. Their are 16 terraced lakes, that are connected by waterfalls, that extend into a limestone canyon. And depending on the time of year you go, your experience will be completely different. We enjoyed the Fall colors and deepness of auburn and yellows hues. But look forward to returning to the Lakes some summer to soak up the warmth of the sun and rich and lush greens this place would provide.
As soon as we entered Split we knew our venture had just begun. Our Airbnb was located in Old Town. Little did we know the roads to get to this area and our ‘apartment’ for the night were nearly un-driveable. But, Joel went into the streets winding through old stone buildings as the street narrowed and narrowed. Oncoming traffic for a barely one lane road would approach, and only way out was to drive the whole windy road back in reverse to allow locals to pass. It was nerve racking and impressive to say the least.
But this introduction to Split was intimidate and gave us an immediate impression of the area. Within its white stone walls and under its courtyards are a cathedral and numerous shops, bars, cafes, hotels and houses.
Its full of life, history, and old! Very Old. Incredibly breathtaking.
A must visit in Split is the Cathedral and Bell Tower of St. Domnius. It is regarded as the Oldest Catholic Cathedral in the world that's still in the original structure. The bell tower architecture started in the 13th century with reconstruction that took place in the 20th century. It stands at 57m high.
And if your not afraid of heights, I recommend climbing the stairs to the top of the Bell Tower where the views will take your breath away.
After two days in Split we planned a boat ride to the island of Hvar.
We understood that Hvar island may be a tad more sleepy this time of year ( October ) but it worked in our favor of enjoying the area with less people and chill vibes. Dogs were wandering around loose and greeting people. Last minuet boat tours had space available, and no need for reservation at restaurants. All in all, it worked out okay!
Amfora Grand Beach Resort was the first ‘real’ hotel we had stayed in during our stay in Croatia. When entering our room, we noticed a kind note wishing us a Happy 10yr Wedding anniversary and fancy dessert. It was such a nice touch and made our stay feel personalized.
As much as we have been enjoying the old romantic towns, small streets, ancient history, and incredible structures, we were so excited to spend the day on & in the water. We booked a day tour with Hvar Tours where they took us to cliff jump, the smallest beach, and the blue caves!
Next stop on the agenda was Split!
And this is when I am at a loss for words. This place.
Most know it from Game of Thrones.
After returning from a full day on the water we took a hike to catch the sunset.
Because we were traveling at the end of peak season not all the tours or boats were running. So, instead of taking a ferry from Hvar to Dubrovnik we had a driver take us the long way through the villas and towns.
It was such an amazing way to cover more ground and see more of the country side of Croatia.
Our tour guide recommended we headed up the tallest hill to reach the Fortress at the top of city that overlooks the islands.
Little to our surprise the sunset that night would color the town pink.
Dubrovnik was our final stop on our trip. It is a popular city in southern Croatia fronting the Adriatic Sea that is known for its Old Town. Along the water sits old ancient city walls that were completed in the 16th century. These walls create a city within the city. Dubrovnik’s uniqueness is so charming with its limestone streets and stairs that fill alley ways for the most romantic of night walks.
The Dubrovnik City Walls Walk is the perfect way to appreciate the structure of this wall along with all of the rich terra-cotta roof tops and lively square.
After a day of wandering around the square and walking the wall we took the Cable Car to watch the sunset from above.
We spent our last two days eating pasta with truffle and exploring these great walls… it was a lovely way to end a trip that I in conclusion feel was simply magic. A place I would recommend anyone go visit.