AUGUST 25, 2023
croatia Travel Guide
Our Enchanting Journey through Split and Hvar
One of the highlights of my European Summer this year was visiting Croatia. I explored the bustling streets of Split and the vibrant scene in Hvar. Every moment felt like a new adventure, whether I was wandering through the historic streets or soaking up the sun on the azure shores. The Mediterranean vibes were truly irresistible, and I found myself immersed in the lively culture and magical landscapes.
Split: A Fusion of History and Gastronomy
Nestled along the Adriatic Sea, my adventure began in Split. We stayed here for 3 nights before heading to Hvar island for 2 nights.
What to do in Split
Stay at Radisson Blu Split
The hotel's modern amenities and welcoming atmosphere made it a perfect home base for my Croatian adventure. The stunning views of the Adriatic Sea from my room and the convenient location near the old town added to the overall charm of the experience.
Lounge at Mistral Beach Club
Nestled by the beautiful coastline, and with the beats of a talented local DJ and a menu that exudes the essence of Mediterranean cuisine, our time at Mistral Beach Club was full of good vibes. What's even more convenient is that it's seamlessly integrated into the Radisson Blu, enhancing the overall experience.
Explore the Old Town
In the core of Split lies its old town, an intricate maze of ancient streets graced by quaint shops and architecture spanning centuries. Strolling through the renowned Diocletian's Palace was like stepping into a time capsule of history. We booked a 2-hour walking via Viator, where a local guide unveiled hidden gems, making our stroll a delightful journey to the past.
Dine in Local Restaurants
Croatian cuisine has my heart. At Plac restaurant, I indulged in a feast of local delicacies that burst with flavors deeply rooted in tradition while still having options for easy classics like fried calamari and refreshing salads. Bosso restaurant captured my senses with a fusion of Mediterranean and Dalmatian cuisine, an unforgettable culinary journey.
Indulge in Delicious Gelato
I didn’t know that gelato was such a signature treat in Croatia. Every corner seemed to unveil a new gelato haven, each scoop capturing the essence of Mediterranean sweetness. Among them, Bobbis emerged as our favorite, with their iconic Kinder and pistachio flavors becoming an irresistible indulgence. My sweet tooth could never resist!
Hvar: A Fusion of Turquoise Waters & Ancient Architecture
On day 4 of our trip, we took an hour-long ferry from Split to Hvar. The island of Hvar beckoned, a paradise within paradise. Within the old town's cobbled streets, I discovered my own sanctuary. The captivating beauty of ancient architecture harmonized with the enchantment of turquoise waters, crafted such a unique experience. We stayed 2 nights here, but could have easily stayed a whole week. Hvar is also a common destination for a day trip as ferries arrive here from various islands daily.
What to do in Hvar
Dine at Paradise Island
This place was a culinary revelation, an explosion of Mediterranean flavors that danced on my palate. Dining at Paradise Island was a true delight. Highly recommend coming in around 6:30pm before the crowds to be able to get a table on their rooftop and enjoy panoramic views of the entire island. The ambiance was as exquisite as the cuisine – each dish a masterful fusion of local flavors and global inspirations. I would fly all the way to Croatia again just to have their shrimp quinoa salad.
Experience Black Pepper Restaurant
This iconic restaurant is a true gem that marries culinary excellence with a unique setting. Its table on the cobblestone street stairs is a picture-perfect spot that captures the beauty of the island's charm. We were immersed in the bustling energy of the old town while savoring delectable dishes that were a testament to the chef's creativity and dedication. It's the perfect blend of ambiance, flavor, and history that defines the magic of Hvar.
Take a Day Trip to Nearby Islands
This was the island-hopping adventure that stole my heart. Vis, with its hidden coves and turquoise waters, was a true treasure. Stiniva Cove welcomed us with its secluded beach, a slice of paradise framed by towering cliffs. You actually have to jump from the boat and swim to reach the beach as boats are not allowed beyond a certain point.
The Blue Lagoon's shimmering waters were a living testament to nature's splendor. They have a cool beach bar where you can enjoy food, drinks and live music. We booked the excursion via airbnb experience.
Visit the iconic Blue Cave
This was part of the Day trip above however it’s such a unique experience that it deserves its own highlight. Bisevo's iconic Blue Cave is a Croatian landmark that welcomes thousands of visitors per day. This place left me in sheer awe, as you witness cerulean hue waters. This unique phenomenon occurs due to the sunlight entering the cave and reflecting off the white limestone seabed, creating an ethereal blue illumination that's simply breathtaking.
Have Lunch at Palmizana Bay
Palmizana Bay, which is part of the Pakleni islands. lies just a 40-minute taxi boat ride away from Hvar. Renowned for its stunning beaches and charming eateries, this idyllic getaway is well worth the journey, typically costing around 20 euros for a roundtrip anywhere from Hvar port. A popular choice for day-trippers, it's an experience I really enjoyed. Totto and Bacchus are both amazing restaurants with a pretty rich menu featuring the finest seafood and steaks and awe-inspiring views of the Adriatic sea.
Party on a Private Island at Carpe Diem Beach
This is a must-have experience. We took an unforgettable taxi boat ride from Hvar to a private island haven: Carpe Diem Beach. This private island beach club turns into a wild party at night and the 40 euros admission ticket includes the 30-mn round trip taxi ride. Shuttles from Hvar town to Carpe Diem beach run every 20mn from midnight to 5am. This exclusive destination promises not only a party but a complete sensory journey. As the waves crash and the stars light up the sky, the Carpe Diem Beach experience felt like an epic dream.
Walk around Hvar Old Town and Promenade
Amidst these adventures, we felt so inspired during our long strolls along the Hvar promenade, a timeless stretch that mirrored the essence of the Adriatic and the Hvar old town, where cobblestone streets and beautiful stairs transported us to the most magical corners of the island. The sound of the waves, the salty breeze, and the bustling waterfront cafes created the most beautiful melodies.
Journeying through Croatia's coastal wonders with my sister left me with memories that will forever stay in my heart. The charm of Split's ancient streets and the allure of Hvar's hidden treasures had woven a tapestry of experiences that spoke of the country's rich history, vibrant culture, and the natural splendor that leaves all who visit, spellbound. Croatia had opened its arms to me, and I left with a soul enriched by its beauty and a heart longing for more. I highly recommend visiting this unique gem and can’t wait to go back and discover new places here.