15 Unforgettable Experiences in Croatia and Montenegro
With Europe sure to be bustling with tourists shortly, you’ll want to explore lesser-known destinations that offer the same old-world charm without all of the foot traffic. If you are fan of historical sights, gorgeous cliffs, impeccable food and wine, and local culture that is sure to enchant, then Croatia should be at the top of the list for your next European getaway. Here are 15 reasons why you won’t want to miss Croatia before it becomes the next hot spot for trendy travelers.
Explore the Old Town Walls of Dubrovnik
Appreciate the beauty of the terracotta rooftops and sparkling blue waters of the Adriatic Sea from the top of the Old Town Walls of Dubrovnik. With its complex system of towers and forts, you are sure to transcend to another time in history.
Bask in the Natural Beauty of The Plitvice Lakes
Bask in the Natural Beauty of The Plitvice Lakes. Plitvice Lakes comprises 16 intertwined lakes that flow into one another via miniature waterfalls. Get up close and personal to these beautifully flowing forces of nature. Walkways and hiking trails wind around and across the water, and an electric boat can transport you from the 12 upper and 4 lower lakes.
Roam the Streets of Diocletian's Palace in Split
Diocletian’s Palace is an ancient palace built for the Roman emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD, which today forms about half the old town of Split. After the palace was abandoned in the sixth century, locals flooded into it. The 220 Roman-era buildings within the palace boundaries house homes, shops, bars, and other businesses. So grab a drink or a coffee and stumble through the enchanting architecture.
Go Truffle Hunting with a Four-legged Expert
Istria is Croatia’s truffle capital, home to some of the world’s finest truffles. This valuable mushroom grows best in the Mirna River Valley, and it can only be found with the help of trained terrier dogs or domestic pigs during a “truffle hunt”. Aside from Italy, Croatia is the only country where white truffles are found, whose peak price is around $4,000 per pound.
Enjoy Sophisticated Charm at a Boutique Hotel
Indulge your inner foodie at Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery in Istria. As a Relais & Chateaux property, you can expect the chefs to turn high-quality ingredients sourced from within 50 KM of the property into Istrian haute-cuisine as part of their quest to reconstruct and reinterpret the area’s traditional recipes. Stroll through the expansive vineyards or take a dip in the peaceful garden pool. Another favorite property, Ikador Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa, sits amid the timeless beauty of the Opatija Riviera. Explore this true oasis of Mediterranean luxury with 16 elegantly designed rooms and suites overlooking the endless blue Kvarner bay sea.
Spend a Day On the Water
Whether you choose to island hop via sailboat or relax and take in the glittering turquoise waters beachside, Croatia’s waters are truly breathtaking. Take a private motorboat to Korcula Island. With over 2000 years of history, the former Greek colony of the “Black Korcula” is a living monument with captivating island ambiance and valuable cultural heritage.
Go Hiking in Montenegro
Montenegro is celebrated for its long beaches (117 of them along 293 kilometers of coastline) and its Instagram-worthy hiking trails. No trip to Montenegro is complete without hiking around The Bay of Kotor which boasts an impressive view of the Sveti Andrika fortress at the 743-meter crest. Other notable hikes include the Via Dinarica, Mrtvica, and Mount Bjelasica. River Oaks Travel Advisor Tip: Stay at One & Only Portonovi
Explore UNESCO Sights
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are important to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Croatia is home to 10 UNESCO sights, with 15 more locations currently being evaluated for adoption. Explore the Stari Grad Plain, an ancient agricultural landscape that has been preserved by careful maintenance of the stone walls over 24 centuries, and the The Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica, with its striking mosaics dating back to the 6th century, is one of the best examples of early Byzantine art and architecture in the Mediterranean region and the world.
Be James Bond for a Day
Embark on your own Riva experience and explore the Kvarner archipelago in a true Bond style, with the majestic Riva Aquariva Super speedboat, available only in the prestigious Ikador Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa! Riva yachts have always been a synonym for elegance and luxury. The unique expression and impeccable design of the Riva brand vessels represent the pinnacle of Italian artisan skill. Ever since the ’50s and the “La Dolce Vita “- era, some of the most famous persons enjoyed the Riva lifestyle – from Brigitte Bardot, Anita Ekberg, Elisabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, to Sofia Loren and Sean Connery in the famous Bond movies.
Re-Live Your Favorite Scenes From Game of Thrones
Winter is coming! Since most of the hit HBO show’s filming took place in Croatia, there are plenty of private and group touring opportunities to walk the very steps of Daenerys and Oberyn. You can even walk the “Walk of Shame,” see where Joffrey died, and find out what was going on behind the scenes while filming took place.
Collect and Eat Oysters Fresh From the Sea
Enjoy a private oyster boat tour with a local farmer, learn how the oysters are grown, and taste them fresh from the sea! Then, on his private island, under the shade of pine trees, enjoy a special treat: mussels alla buzzara. Relax and savor this traditional Dalmatian dish prepared with nothing but olive oil and local herbs, all topped with homemade wine.
Explore Krka National Park
If you don’t have enough time to make it inland to Plitvice Lakes, the waterfalls at Krka National Park are just a one-hour drive outside of Split and are equally as stunning. Plus you’ll get to take in the view of Visovac Monastery located in the middle of a lake.
Island Hop the Pakleni Islands
The Pakleni Islands, a chain of eleven playful islets watching over the Hvar port. Although their name popularly translates as Hell islands, it originally derives from paklina, the pine resin harvested here to coat ships. Enjoy the azure waves, beautiful coves surrounded by pine forests, and gentle breeze scented by aromatic herbs.
If you’re looking to push your trip until the winter, you will experience what was awarded “Best Christmas Market” three years running. The sound of Christmas bells, the scent of gingerbread, mulled wine, and various other delicacies… Just forget everything and enjoy all these wonderful things! During the Advent season, Zagreb offers various events that will satisfy even the most demanding visitors. Plenty of fun, excellent food, unique events, art, but also a genuine Christmas atmosphere await you on the streets of Croatia’s capital.
Rent Your Own Scooter
Explore some of Croatia’s most beautiful islands by scooter. Follow your guide through quaint villages, past lavender fields and vineyards, and along isolated roads with dramatic views onto the glittering Mediterranean. Explore the islands of Brač, Hvar (rated by Condé Nast magazine as one of the “Ten most beautiful islands in the world”) and lovely Vis. After the ride, relax in charming, historic villages and enjoy the fresh cuisine and excellent local wines.