Croatia? Hell yeah, Croatia!!!! Starting with Dubrovnik
Updated: Jan 27
Croatia had long been on our list, but we may not have gotten to it for another year or two. All that changed when the pandemic closed down international travel for nearly a year and then suddenly, Croatia was one of the first destinations in the world welcoming US tourists.
After having several Europe trips cancelled in 2020, we jumped at the opportunity and booked a flight from Boston to Dubrovnik via Dublin on Aer Lingus in June of 2021 (don't get us started on Aer Lingus...they've cancelled flights for three of our international trips this year, so they are dead to us - we ended up on United to/from Croatia).
Some background: Croatia became part of Yugoslavia following World War II and the region remained largely off the international travel scene until Croatia regained independence following the Yugoslav wars in 1992. Since that time this amazingly beautiful part of the world has slowly regained prominence as a world class destination.
We are so glad Croatia inadvertently moved to the top of our travel list because it is AMAZING, and we highly recommend it!!! The weather on our June trip was typical for this time of year: hot, dry, and endlessly sunny.
Bring lots of sunblock and be prepared to sweat but there is no humidity and bugs are scarce. Sitting directly across the long narrow Adriatic Sea from the eastern coast of Italy, coastal Croatia enjoys amazing sunsets over crystal clear and calm seas, amazing historic sites to explore, super friendly locals, and amazingly wonderful wine and cuisine you'll be craving long after you leave. Jennifer and I had a great time researching and planning our multiple stops to take advantage of our 8 full days in this fantastic place.
We typically like multiple destinations on our journeys so that
we can really take in as much to see and do as possible. Croatia has over 2,000 coastal islands so we had to include at least a couple of those in our journey.
Ultimately, we opted to spend our first nights in the walled city of Dubrovnik after our long journey from Boston (that's Jennifer enjoying an amazing tuna burger at Fast Food Republic in Dubrovnik, my octopus burger was insanely great!). We aren't Game of Thrones fans (apparently the only ones, as it's all over the place since the series was filmed here) but this ancient city was amazing!! And hot. We walked the walls, sat in little squares enjoying cocktails, perched ourselves in a little bar on the side of a cliff with a view that went for miles, and ate very well.
Our boutique hotel's location was perfect, right in the center of the city down a small stone alley, and we could be anywhere in minutes - including an Irish pub that stoked our unexpected trip-long love of football (soccer to the rest of us, but more on that later). Turns out we were in Croatia at just the right time for the European Championships. With Croatia giving a strong performance, we cheered them on to the semi-finals.
Our driver from the airport said we just had to have fish at the renowned Proto, so we did. We weren't disappointed by this Michelin starred restaurant that is apparently the place to go. Soooo good, and the rooftop terrace is beautiful. We planned to return to Dubrovnik for another few days on our way back from our visits to Korcula, Split and Hvar, so we didn't feel too much pressure to do anything other than sit, eat, and enjoy (and make some friends with the local cats). Our feline buddies were everywhere, and as big cat lovers, we couldn't help but talk to every single one that crossed our path.
The next day we were off to the island of Korcula via ferry for a few days, before heading to the mainland city of Split for two days, then back on a ferry to the nearby party island of Hvar, and then, finally, back for two more full days in Dubrovnik before heading home. We had a full week and a half ahead of us and couldn't wait to explore!
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