Ever wanted to experience Pleasure, relaxation and comfort away from home? Then, Croatia is the place to be. In a private guided Tour…
Croatia – the hidden gem of Europe has become one of the most popular places in the Mediterranean and Europe altogether. From our experience, personalizing your tours enhances the memories and uniqueness of your trip.
DestinaTour – a luxury oriented private tour agency provided us with the finest accommodation, services and terrific private guide & driver; they ensured we had value for every amount we spent with them. Their dedication to providing class and comfort, from our transportation to our lounges. During our stay in Croatia, we were privileged to visit lavish resorts, five star hotels, and wine and dine on their tantalizing Croatian cuisine and sparkling wines made from local wineries.
One of our major highlights was that: Croatia was given a golden award for producing the best variant of olive oil in the World, “Grimalda” – an organic robust blend from Croatia, manufactured with the utmost respect for tradition. Being with Max, our private guide, and his company DestinaTour, we were privileged to have a feel of this oil in Istria, which is the biggest peninsula in Croatia.
During our private tour of 2 weeks, we visited 4 countries within 11 UNESCO sites including our primary tour of Croatia; it was fun filled going to neighboring countries: Slovenia, Bosnia and Montenegro.
We found out that Croatia along with Spain has the highest number of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages of any European country.
Some interesting facts were discovered about Croatia, a striking point was the discovery that: The necktie, worn by business people around the world, originated from Croatia. The cravat as it is called was originally rocked by Croatian soldiers who served as mercenaries to the King of France. So, thanks to Croatia we do not have to wear this outfit anymore!! 🙂
Our tour began in Dubrovnik, this city left us in awe, it had so many things to keep us shell shocked in a good way. Initially, we did not know where to begin in this marvel of a city, after a while, we chose to walk the Dubrovnik city walls. On realization that these were the same walls that were chosen for the king’s landing in the Movie Series – Game of Thrones, our excitement was increased a notch, being diehard fans of the movie; it felt like “dreams come true”.
From the walls, we went in for dinner at “The Pearl of Adriatic”, as it was named by English poet Lord Byron. Our guide was awesome, he had just the right things to keep us engaged and excited. Our meal was prepared according to the original recipe from 16th century, reminding me of a quote by: The great George Bernard Shaw wrote: “Those who seek paradise on Earth must come to Dubrovnik”. We could not agree more.
For the next 2 days, we walked and explored the stunning Kotor bay in Montenegro, where the mountains surrounding the Kotor bay reflect themselves in the clear blue sea; a unique feature in itself.
One of the most remarkable experiences we had in Dubrovnik, which was real fun for my foodie husband, was oyster picking and the amazing food experiences along the way to the local wineries, with amazing cheese and olive produce. We had the freshest oysters possible, taken right from the sea; it was an amazing oysters’ picnic. We also walked on the 2nd largest defensive walls in the World! The Great Wall of Croatia, it was amazing!
We visited numerous attractions including the off road visit of the vineyards, high in the hills of famous wine region of Peljesac peninsula, which was on our way to Korcula, the birth place of famous Marco Polo, whom we just realized was Croatian.
Another attraction was crossing over the famous Mostar Bridge; even though we lacked the courage to jump into the cold river beneath the bridge, the local guys gave us a feel of how it was, as they were happy to entertain us, jumping off the bridge. We also experienced coastal drive, another amazing experience in Croatia; with mountains piled up on one side and hundreds of islands on the sea side, giving you nature at its finest.
We visited Split, and came to another UNESCO World heritage – Diocletian’s palace, we were told about Diocletian who was a famous Roman emperor and how people still live in his ancient massive palace, differentiating it from other similar palaces around the world which are just a bunch of stones that fuel Archaeology.
During our tour, we arrived in town of Sibenik, where a cardinal attraction site is the St. James’ Cathedral, built over 500 years ago. Uniquely, it is made entirely of stone slabs and ribs, without any binding material. How it is still standing till today is remarkable.
We then proceeded to Island Hvar, one of the 1000 islands in Croatia. Hvar is tagged “the sunniest Island” in Europe. There, we were treated to homemade dinner; our host was a family of fisherman, and as you would expect, sea food was the main menu. We had Octopus prepared in the traditional way.
At Zadar, we had gained the impression that Croatia is home to the “world’s most beautiful sunset”, according to Alfred Hitchcock who had a cinematically magnificent view of Croatia, and claimed Zadar had the best of sunsets. This is corroborated by the award given to Zadar as the best European destination of the year 2016.
Another significant event at Zadar was the visit to The Kornati National park. Kornati National Park is a site to behold, words would not let me describe the embodiment of its beauty, I would herein make reference to George Bernard Shaw who wrote in his book: “On the last day of the Creation God desired to crown his work, and thus created the Kornati Islands out of tears, stars and breath”. With steep cliffs or “crowns” making the coastline unique and dramatic, waters are crystal clear unlike anywhere else. It is one-of-a-kind, the sailor’s paradise.
The Kornati Islands are the densest archipelago in the Mediterranean. Nowhere else in this large sea would you find such a great number of islands crammed in so little space. Lest I forget to add, we had the best fish ever in a private restaurant on a small hidden island, where our skipper Nick took us on the private speed boat day-trip. It sometimes feels like that fish grows only in that part of the world.
With all the fun we had experienced up until Zadar, we thought we had reached the pick of our adventure, we were wrong! After Zadar was the real highlight of our Croatian adventure. We walked through the Plitvice lakes, one of the most stunning places in the world. At every turn and corner, with every passing second, you could feel this engineering masterpiece of nature; there were hundreds of waterfalls, streams and lakes to leave you speechless. Our guide, Max, continued impressing on us telling us the finer details about the lakes, giving us some insider tips and taking us on some of the beaten paths and secret viewpoints. Of course, here we had totally different specialties, because we were in the mountains, a bit far from the coast.
The very next day we were already breathing fresh alpine air, exploring another hidden gem – River Soca valley an amazing emerald river with hidden gorges and incredulous waterfalls, which were hidden by surrounding cliffs.
The biggest castle in the world inside a cave!!! We were speechless. Other landmark sites were the Postojna cave – the most visited tourist cave in Europe. In our tour, we also went to Hum, the world’s smallest town officially with a population of 26; Hum was founded in the 13th century.
Other places of excitement were: Roman times Gladiator’s Amphitheater, in Pula, Croatia, one of the best preserved, we also ate one of the best truffles in the world in tasty meals that amazed the famous Anthony Bourdain.
We took strolls in the medieval towns on the Istrian hilltops and the capital city of Croatia, in the Upper town of Zagreb.
Croatian wine cannot be exempted from the pleasures, the famous Zinfandel wine has its roots in Croatia. Croatia is also a land of vineyards, with more than 300 geographically defined wine districts corralled into an area roughly the size of the state of West Virginia.
Croatia is filled with many architectural marvels, landmark sites and gems of nature, it has a vibe of excitement, which ensures that all types of travelers come in anticipation. The same can be said of Slovenia, which is slowly gaining prominence amongst holidaymakers. We really should come back to have some more of it! Soon!
These are really some of the landmark and unforgettable memories of Croatia, and it was not possible without our hosts: Max and his luxury travel agency – DestinaTour, they gave us memories to last a life time, it was a great, unique and highly customized experience of Mediterranean. Most importantly, there was value for every amount spent.
Destinatour provides you an exquisite luxury travel tourism experience in Croatia and Slovenia (plus Bosnia and Montenegro), for your leisure and pleasure!