The chilly London weather today has had me thinking back to my Croatian holiday and memories of a hot sun, clear water and beautiful islands. My office desk doesn’t seem to quite compare… Ah well.
I arrived in Dubrovnik airport and already the scene was set – the landing strip is surrounded by stunning hills rolling down to the waters edge just out of sight. A few minutes’ drive and we were welcomed into the Villa Dubrovnik. You’d miss it if you didn’t know about it – the hotel is below street level, built on the cliff side hanging right over the stunning blue sea below. From the road, all you can see is a white tower with a door and a friendly-looking man waiting for you. After seeing that the tower was, in fact, a lift, I was shown down into the villa. It’s a stunning bolthole, just ten minutes’ walk from Dubrovnik’s Old Town (but why walk when you can take the hotel’s private boat?).
After soaking in the views from my waterfront balcony, I headed into town for a little exploration. There are only two ways in and out of the town through the old city gates, and no cars are allowed in. Perfect pedestrian escape. After walking around the city walls I found the main promenade, a small square brimming full with the town market and the old harbour. But the best parts are more hidden. Off the main street, the town is riddled with narrow winding alleys full of small local restaurants whose tables and chairs flood the streets every evening, and hole-in-the-wall bars selling local beer and impressive cocktail lists. A wander around the edges of the town had me discovering a small door carved into the outer walls. Through the door, down some rock stairs, and I had discovered a hidden bar/café clinging to the outside walls. It was absolutely the best place in town to sit with a cold beer taking in the sun and the endless sea views. It also happened to be the perfect cliff diving spot if you dare…
Korčula is like a smaller island version of Dubrovnik. I stayed in the Lešić Dimitri Palace which is a beautiful boutique hotel. There are apartments of all sizes scattered down an alley of the old town leading down to the water and the hotel’s restaurant. I was staying in the Venice residence – an enormous three-bedroom apartment, styled and furnished to an impeccable degree. The giant dining table and chairs made me feel rather tiny, but the beautiful stone bathtub made it all better…
Korčula was the perfect island for peaceful afternoon wanderings and finding secluded manmade piers jutting out from the rocks – great for cracking open my holiday book and taking a dip in the crystal-clear waters. In the evening it was all about discovering impromptu singing groups under ancient arches and a cold drink sitting by the water’s edge. Then I couldn’t resist heading back to Lešić Dimitri to indulge in the private balcony to listen to a live musical performance going on below. Perfect.
Hvar Island, Split and Zagreb were my next stops and all are beautiful Croatian hits well worth a visit. But we all have our favourites, right?