Captivating Croatia

Blessed with sunny days and sapphire seas, Croatia’s historic towns, idyllic islands, intriguing culture, and friendly people who welcome visitors from all over the world. This was my second visit. I was happy to see a couple cities again and be introduced to more of its culture and stunning scenery. My partner from LHW (Leading Hotels of the World) designed the trip with local tour operators to guide us through some destination experiences.

One of the first things you will notice about the Croatian coastline is the clean, crystal clear water and rocky beaches – I mean serious slabs of rock as well as pebble beaches, although there are some areas that have sandy beaches.

We started in the northern fishing village Rovinj (pronounced Ro-veen) in the Istrian peninsula, which is across the Adriatic Sea from Venice. This effortlessly charming city is perfect for strolling with its quaint streets. The signature bell tower of the Church of St. Euphemia, patron saint and protector of Rovinj, dominates the skyline. The views from Hotel Monte Mulini and next door at Grand Park Rovinj are stunning and the food was out of this world. You must have the wine pairing dinner in the Wine Vault Restaurant at Monte Mulini!

We visited the hilltop village of Motovun and also stopped for some truffle hunting with a guide and his dogs. Then it was on to the Dalmatian Coast and Dubrovnik.

During my previous visit to the country, I stopped in Pula which has the most complete Roman colosseum in the world and Split with the walled Roman Diocletian Palace, so keep this on your list!

Referred to as the Pearl of the Adriatic, the walled city of Dubrovnik is filled with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque fountains, monasteries, churches and palaces. The Stradun, its shiny limestone paved pedestrian main street, is lined with shops and restaurants. Take the time to climb the walls and walk around the city for amazing views of the sea and the city’s architecture.

We stayed at the Sun Gardens and also visited Villa Dubrovnik. Both properties were lovely with views of the surrounding area and the city. The sea is one of the prime attractions in Croatia and we took two fun excursions. One day, we had a private yacht ride around the Elefite Islands with a stop to walk around the island of Lopud, then more cruising and a stop in a cove to relax and swim. The next day, our excursion included a trip to Ston with a boat ride to meet a local family oyster and mussel farm. We then devoured the wonderful fruits of the sea that they prepared for us at their tiny restaurant.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of some of the many reasons to visit this idyllic haven on the Adriatic. With its richly historic and evocative cities, exceptional food and wine, and heavenly sailing waters, it continues to soar in popularity, so plan your vacation before it gets too crowded!

Helen Jordan is the owner of Jordan Luxury Travel, an independent affiliate of Brownell Travel, a member of Virtuoso. She can be reached at