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Food, Places I've Been

Vegan in Split, Croatia – A Guide

August 18, 2016

As I mentioned in my vegan guide to Dubrovnik, Croatia isn’t the easiest place to be vegan in, but I’d have to say that Split is definitely one of the best choices for vegans looking for delicious food in Croatia. Vegans who visit Dubrovnik will have to rely on renting an apartment with a kitchen and cook some food at home, but Split is much more accomodating for vegan foodies. I’d still suggest renting an apartment with a kitchen, because it’s much cheaper than eating out all the time, but if you’re only staying for a few days you’ll survive without the kitchen. When I first visited Split in 2011 none of these places existed/had vegan options, so it’s safe to say that the town has quickly adapted to tourist demands, which is great. So what are the places you can happily enjoy a meal at if you’re vegan in Split?

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Lovely Split! (Picture from Pixabay, CC license)

Vege Fast Food
Not so much a restaurant as a take-away fast food joint with veggie burgers, seitan steaks, tofu and the likes. Food is of varying quality but prices are okay. Can be hard to find – look for the sign that says VEGE.
Where: Put Porta 2, Split – just by the green market outside of the walls.  

Matoni
Set outside the old town, closer to the main beach in Split, is Matoni where you can get both meat and vegan options. Vegan options include stuffed red peppers, salad with zucchini and beetroot pasta and a lentil muffin. Great prices compared to the restaurants inside the walls.
Website
Where: Prilaz braće Kaliterna 6, Split

Makrovega
Only a few minutes walk outside of the walls you will find one of the most popular veg*n restaurants in Split: Makrovega. Here you will find vegan burritos, seitan and tempeh sandwiches, and a daily menu that changes but can include salads, soups burgers etc. Plus: vegan cakes! A must for any vegan visiting.
Website (in Croatian)
Where: Lestina 4, Split

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Vegan deliciousness at Makrovega in Split.

Up Cafe
Same owners as Makrovega and also all veg*n, Up Cafe offers vegan desserts, tempeh and seitan sandwiches, a hemp burger, risotto, a homemade stew and much more. Has WiFi!
Website
Where: Domovinskog rata 29a, Split – a bit outside of the city centre.

Galerija Food
If you’re looking for a place inside of the town walls with a lovely setting and good food this is a great choice. It’s a mainly meat restaurant but has some vegan options, such as vegan bowls and vegan dessert.
Facebook page
Where: Vuskiviceva 3, Split

Bistro Toc
My favorite restaurant to visit in Split – not only because of the cat that always hangs around! The food is great to and vegan options include burritos, salads and so on… Most (if not all?) of the vegetarian options can be made vegan with a few tweaks. A few minutes walk from the old town. Lovely setting, very friendly staff.
Website
Where:  Šegvića 1, Split

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Veggie food at Bistro Toc in Split

Toto’s Burger Bar 
A burger bar, but serves some vegan options as well, such as veggie noodles and zucchini noodles with tomato sauce.
Where: Trumbiceva Obala 2, Split

Wok Bar – That’s All Woks
Up for some Asian wok? Wok Bar mainly serves meat but has vegan options such as smoked tofu with whole-wheat noodles in curry and you can customize your own wok bowl by choosing the exact ingredients you want in it – perfect for those of us who are a bit picky! There are a few seats inside but I’d suggest getting the food to go.
Facebook page (with menu).
Where: Obala Hrvatskog Narodnog Preporoda 25, Split

Bio & Bio
If you’re cooking at home you will be able to find tofu, seitan and other vegan food at Bio & Bio which has many locations in Split and also sells lots of other stuff.
Where: Vukovarska ul. 207  (City Center), Morpurgova poljana 2, and Robna kuća Prima 3 (at R. Boškovića bb).

split

A tiny little moon <3

Food, Places I've Been, Travel

Fig Café Bar – The New Kid in Hvar Town

July 27, 2016
restaurants in hvar

Before traveling anywhere I research the restaurants in the area. Researching restaurants started when I became a vegetarian and found it hard to find places to eat – especially while I travelled. But with time and my growing interest in food, it’s become a way for me to find new, great restaurants and to not get stuck with the mediocre tourist traps while on vacation. So I check Tripadvisor, Yelp, google and different blogs and make a list of restaurants that I want to visit. Fig Café Bar was one of the places I found researching new restaurants in Hvar and what really drew me in was the menu. It’s a very untraditional menu – not a single Croatian meal in there and good options for veg*ns – I had to try it!

We went there early and had some trouble finding the place. It is located in a small alleyway behind the main square and we had no idea how to get there so I had to read the instructions on Tripadvisor (thank you fellow travelers!). There’s a small (very small) alleyway between two pizzerias on the main square. You go through there, up some stairs and see the Fig Café Bar logo – turn left… and there you are. Although we were there early (around 19), there was only one table left and just 20 minutes later, 5 people were waiting for a table.

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Once you see this, you go left.

We ordered our food and some wine by the glass and just sat there and enjoyed the music softly pouring through the speakers. I ordered an Indian vegetable curry with raita and flatbread while Jacob ordered the Mexican pulled pork with flatbread. The food was there soon enough and it was absolutely delicious!

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My dish – the Indian vegetable curry…

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…with raita on the side. Make the dish vegan by ordering without raita.

Jacob decided to try the Mexican pulled pork and he was over the moon. He loves spicy food and although he’s not a big meat eater he looooved this. Ask your server about how spicy it is as this may vary from day to day.

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The Mexican pulled pork with sour cream, grilled flatbread and a salad.

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Lovely setting too – I just had to take a pic and Jacob’s all embarassed 😉

We were absolutely delighted with both the food and the service and came back a second time. I tried the vegan root vegetables with hummus and it was delicious as well, so I can recommend that too – though the Indian curry was more up my alley.

INFO:
Fig Café Bar
Address: Stjepana Papafave 35, Hvar
Reservations not possible, arrive early or be prepared to wait.
Serves breakfast from 10am.

Food, Travel

Vegan in Dubrovnik – A Guide

July 25, 2016

Being vegan or vegetarian in Croatia isn’t very common. In fact, when some of my (Balkan-based) family learned that I was vegetarian they didn’t believe me, and definitely didn’t believe that I would even survive. 10 years later, most of them have somehow grasped it, but depend on me eating cheese, eggs and such instead. So if you’re a vegan, you’re a rare kind. Traveling in Croatia as a vegan is not the easiest, but luckily it’s getting easier and easier – especially in the more popular tourist destinations. Dubrovnik is one of the most popular destinations in Croatia and once you visit you will see why. It’s a wonderful, beautiful town. Being vegan in Dubrovnik might not be the easiest thing, but I was there just a few weeks ago and did some research on the vegan food scene. Here’s my guide to visiting Dubrovnik as a vegan:

  • Stay in an apartment or a good hotel

When we were in Dubrovnik we stayed in a wonderful hotel that had some options for vegans during breakfast, but not much else. They had rice and soya milk, sourdough bread (which is made with no animal ingredients), lots of veggies and fruit, marmalade and so on. If you’re planning to stay in a hotel, do check in advance what they offer. However, a cheaper alternative to staying in hotels is booking an apartment with a kitchen. I find this option makes me feel more like a local than a tourist and you can often get great tips from the hosts. Try AirBnb, Booking.com or hotels.com (yes they have apartments too!). When you rent your own apartment with a kitchen you can make your own breakfast and on-the-go lunch as well as the occasional dinner. Not only is this a cheaper alternative than eating out all the time (believe me, I’ve learned the hard way!) but you can ensure that your food is vegan. Plus all the veggies are so much more delicious when they are grown in Croatia.

  • Nischta

Nischta is one of my favorite restaurants! Not only in Dubrovnik but one of my all-time favorites. I’ve written about it here before. The menu is vegetarian and vegan and most of the vegetarian tems can be ordered vegan, which is great. The food is absolutely delicious and the staff is really friendly. It is located on one of the small streets, parallel to the main street in the Old Town, Stradun. Make sure you book a table ahead if you’re eating dinner there though, as it is often fully-booked during evenings.  I could eat here every single day, but beware it’s closed on Sundays.
Where: Old Town, Prijeko bb
More information an d menu on website.

vegan in dubrovnik

Bowl with rice, veggies and tofu

  • Marco Polo Restaurant

Marco Polo is a regular restaurant but also serves vegan food. There’s a vegan salad with apples, walnuts, and cranberries, a tofu steak with wok vegetables, and wok rice noodles with veggies and soya sauce. Although I unfortunately didn’t have time to visit the restaurant, I hear it’s very good. We did walk past it and it looks very nice so I definitely recommend coming here if you’re visiting. Plus, it’s perfect if you’re with a meatie who craves something other than veg food.
Where:  Old town – Lučarica ul. 6
More information and menu here

  • Bio&Bio

Bio&bio is a health store with shops throughout Croatia and makes it that much easier to be vegan in Dubrovnik! The Dubrovnik shop is located a bit outside of the Old Town but you can easily walk there or take the bus from Pile gate. Here you’ll find lots of vegan food – vegan snack bars, plant-based milk, patés, tofu, seitan “meat” and other vegan items. Shop ’til you drop and go cook yourself a lovely meal before you head out for the evening.

Where: Vukovarska 36, Dubrovnik (walk there or take the bus from Pile gate to the Tommy centre). You can buy tickets on the bus.

  • Be nice and ask!

Most restaurants who don’t have anything for you on the menu will make something just for you. They are used to tourists and you’re probably not the first vegan to walk into the restaurant, so don’t be afraid to ask. I normally ask the host/hostess before entering if they have anything I can eat and if they don’t, they often say which dishes the chefs can make for you. If they don’t have anything, well, at least you’ve let them know there’s a demand for it.

  • Farmer’s market

Buy fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruiton the daily open farmer’s market in the Old Town. Get there early and buy everything from juicy, ripe tomatoes to herbs and olive oil at better prices than in the supermarkets. There’s also a farmer’s market in Gruz (by the harbour in Dubrovnik) but it’s also a fish market so be prepared to see a lot of dead fish 😉 .

Dubrovnik farmer's market

Gruz farmer’s market

I think that covers it for now, but as soon as I hear more about new vegan-friendly places I’ll make sure to add them here – do let me know in the comments if you’ve found a good restaurant or shop with a proper vegan selection. So as you can see, although Dubrovnik isn’t covered with vegan restaurants on every corner, being vegan in Dubrovnik can definitely be done with some research and planning – and preferably a small kitchen.

Places I've Been

7 Reasons Why I Love Hvar

July 7, 2016
Hvar

When I try to sum up why I love Hvar, most of the time I just can’t. It’s inexplicable. Hvar has to be experienced in its full glory. It’s just the many small details that do it, like restaurants with gardens of orange trees hanging above you, like the dogs who run around on the square and play together, like the grandmas who live in the old town who stretch out their soaking wet laundry from the window to air dry, the beaches on the rocks, and that special color of blue, purple, and pink that the sky gets right before sunset. It’s the welcoming people who live here, the amazed travelers who stop by, and of course those of us who wish we could buy that small house above the beach where we could live with our cats, reading good books and swimming in the ocean (see how I’ve planned my life, already?). But I can’t explain all that to you and I know that a picture says more than a thousand words. So here are 7 pictures that all represent the reasons why I love Hvar, and why I’ll keep returning here for many, many years to come.

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The riva, where all the yachts are docked for all the curious ones to see and envy.

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All the narrow little streets in the old town – some of them leading to restaurants, others to nothing in particular.

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The infamous black cat on the square. I first met this cat back in 2011 – it’s a resident of the art gallery in the square and usually comes out during the evening to quietly judge you. You can pet him/her, if s/he’s up for it but do not try any funny business!

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The best night view of Hvar is without a doubt from the rooftop bar at the Adriana hotel, where they have some pretty amazing cocktails as well (and mojito pitchers!). It’s the perfect place to grab a drink and enjoy the view before you head out partying.

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Hello there! Okay, so I am not another reason why I love Hvar but I do love sitting in a bar, watch people and the city come alive at night, while sipping on a glass of wine or a drink.

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Hula Hula Beach bar is by far the most popular spot among young foreigners. You won’t find many locals here but you will have a good time! Every day around four o’clock the DJ turns up the music and the party starts!

Places I've Been

In Sunny Hvar

July 4, 2016
hvar

Although it was hard leaving a five star hotel with a swim-in bar, we did look forward to visiting Hvar again. The first time we were in Hvar back in 2011 we had only planned a 3-day stay but were so mesmerized that we decided to extend our stay another three days. Since the place we stayed in sucked we found a new place down the street and the moment we got on that balcony and saw the view of Hvar’s city center and the Pakleni islands, we knew we’d found the right place. We’ve been staying in the same place ever since, and this is our fifth time here. Hvar has become somewhat “our” island. Just last night the owner of our favorite wine bar Prsuta Tri recognized us, even though we haven’t been here since 2014. Since our last visit the tourists have increased but Hvar still remains a little gem on the Adriatic ocean that must not be missed should you find yourself in the area. It’s fairly easy to get here by boat from both Split and Dubrovnik, so you have no excuse not to visit. Besides, it’s perfect for everyone; the couples looking for a romantic getaway, the group of friends who like to party, or the family who wants to try something new and genuine.

Read more about Hvar in my post ‘8 Reasons to Visit Hvar in Croatia’

The day after we arrived we headed down to Hula hula beach – a beach club that we always visit when in town and that never lets you down. 125 Englishmen were gathered for a wedding on the island the day before and were ready to party it up! Everyone joined the party and by four o’clock we were all day drunk, dancing to the music and cooling off by jumping in the water. We continued the party later on and danced all night in our favorite bar called Nautika down by the harbour. Those of you who follow me on Snapchat probably saw a few updates and those of you who didn’t can add me here.

Of course I’ll update more about our stay during this week – we’re going on a wine tasting tour on Thursday – but since we’re just heading out for the evening I’ll leave you with some pictures from the last few days. I really love Hvar!

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Cheers from Hula Hula!

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Hula Hula is divided into a bar area and the beach are with sunchairs.

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Nothing better than reading a book in the shade with a glass of white wine!

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Cheers!

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Yesterday we only sat in the bar and went for a few swims but the day before this whole place was completely packed with party people.

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Our nights are spent out eating lovely dinners and drinking lots of drinks ; preferably a Lynchburg Lemonade for me. please!

Food, Places I've Been

One of the Best Restaurants in Dubrovnik: Nautika

July 4, 2016
restaurants in dubrovnik

One of the days in Dubrovnik I needed something to cheer me up. Not because anything was wrong; I was just in a mellow mood. I had done some research on the best restaurants in Dubrovnik but essentially decided to just try one of the cozy restaurants down by the Pile Gate, overlooking Fort Lovrjenac (also known as King’s Landing in HBO series Game of Thrones), called Nautika. It has been recognized by the infamous Condé Nast Traveller magazine as the sixth most romantic restaurant in the world. I couldn’t agree more. The view was spectacular and luckily we were able to get a table for two with no reservations. Although it wasn’t any of the tables that offered a prime first row view, we still enjoyed both the view and our fantastic truffle pastas. In short, Nautika is one of the best restaurants in Dubrovnik because of the impeccable service and the food…. oh, the food! And the wine… Oh, the wine! 

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This view though…

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My man <3

We skipped starters and wanted to jump straight to our truffle pasta, but were treated with an amuse-bouche and some Croatian olive-oil.

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Great local wine and olive-oil.

Later the truffle pasta was served and it just melted in our mouths. Oh, how I love truffle pasta! I could eat it every single day, and this one was one of the finer ones I’ve had.

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Truffle pasta with fresh Istrian truffles

Although the meal was a hot starter, like most pastas in restaurants are, we were quite full and didn’t go for dessert. However, upon asking for the bill we were given some home-made, orange scented chocolate which tasted sublime as well.

Needless to say after showing you these pictures Nautika is definitely one of the best restaurants in Dubrovnik; not just for the fantastic views but the impeccable service, the tasty food prepared with perfect attention to details, and the Croatian wine we enjoyed. It’s not by any means one of the cheapest restaurants in the city, but if you’re celebrating or just want to splurge I’d say Nautika is a fantastic choice for that.

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My view was perfect, as you can see 😉

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All in all a lovely meal I’ll still be dreaming of many years from now.

Places I've Been

Visiting Dubrovnik: The Second Time Around

July 3, 2016
Dubrovnik Croatia

Last Sunday we finally arrived in Dubrovnik. As per usual the night before any travel we always end up staying up way past our bedtime to fix the last things. There’s always something to do. “Did I pack sun screen?”, “Where’s my memory card for the camera?”, and similar thoughts go through my head as I lay awake and count down the minutes until I have to get up. The lines were HUGE at Copenhagen Airport, because funny enough all of Denmark and southern Sweden decided to travel on the same day as us 😉 Anyhow, we made it just in time to board the world’s smallest plane that landed in Dubrovnik around 2 hours later. I had pre-booked  transfer, which was a good thing, because I’m always so eager to start my vacation. We arrived to our hotel and while we waited for our room to be ready, we changed into our swim wear and went down to the pool and private beach. The hotel we were staying it, The Dubrovnik Palace, is quite amazing.

After waking up, we got ready, went up to eat our breakfast, and then went down to the hotel pool/private beach to read books, bathe (in the pool only though, sea is way too cold!), and drink mojitos in the swim-in bar. Seriously, every hotel should have a swim-in bar. Being able to get a glass of wine and cool off in the water at the same time? Genious!

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Here’s were you could find me a lot of the time: cooling off in the pool!

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Am I chiiling in the pool? Am I drinking a cocktail? I am doing BOTH! 😉

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The mojitos were small but good!

Last time we were in Dubrovnik, we were only here for two nights but really fell in love with it. It’s just such a beautiful city, with good food, kind people and lots of things to see and do. Last time we walked the walls and went up to Mount Srdj with the cable cars, where we also visited the war musem. This time around we stayed for 5 nights and decided to just relax and not worry about doing a lot of things – we had seen the important tourist sights so now we wanted to just enjoy our time there.

Read my post about walking the walls of Dubrovnik last time we visited.

After chilling by the pool all day we would take the bus from our hotel down to the gate of the Old Town and find a nice place to eat. Dubrovnik has lovely restaurants and we wanted to try them all but naturally couldn’t. I’ll be writing some more about the food and wine we had the coming days so look out for those posts if you’re foodie like me.

That being said here are some pictures from our second time visiting Dubrovnik:

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The private beach by our hotel (there’s more to it than this though – water was pretty cold so we stayed by the pool).

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This three-man group played amazing jazz in the old town.

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The sunset from our room at the Dubrovnik Palace hotel was nothing short of magical!

 

Places I've Been

Kayaking in Dubrovnik

June 30, 2016
kayaking in dubrovnik

Yesterday we decided to go kayaking in Dubrovnik. We had talked to one of the sales people who stand outside of the old city who told us to meet up the next day. We met our group around 11:45 down by the entrance to the old town and then proceeded down to one of the beaches where the kayaks were. We had two guides with us, who were both friendly and instructed us in how to kayak. It’s really not that hard: just do it simulatenously (with your partner) and follow the guides. Off we went!

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Hello!

We went off to the island of Lokrum, just outside of Dubrovnik and this nice cave.

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Entering the cave

 

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Inside of the cave the water was very, very clear as you can tell..

We had initially planned to visit Lokrum, as all the locals say it’s a must. Taxi-boats drive you there in 15 minutes and the only inhabitants of this island are… peacocks! There are also lots of exotic plans, a monastery that is first mention way back in 1023, a lake, and a few restaurants. Unfortunately we’ve been lazy and have just enjoyed staying by the pool/beach during the days.. but next time!

After the short stop in the cave we went over to another cave/beach where we stopped for a small lunch and some scuba diving – although we didn’t scuba dive, but just went for a swim instead.

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View from the cave

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Jacob drying in the sun after a swim

After the lunch break we headed back to Dubrovnik. During the trip the guides stopped to tell us about the history of Dubrovnik throughout the years, which was very interesting. 3 hours after we had started, we returned back to the shore and tripped over a shooting of the new series called Knightfall, directed by and starring Jeremy Renner.

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The extras greeted us on one of the balconies of the great wall in Dubrovnik.

 

If you’re in Dubrovnik and want to get to know it from another perspective I definitely recommend going on a kayaking trip. We went with Adventure Dubrovnik, which I highly recommend, but there are quite a few companies to chose from. Just head down to the Pile Gate and talk to one of the many kayaking companies there.

 

Travel

The Ultimate Guide to Zadar

June 23, 2016

Zadar is the city in Croatia that I’ve been to the most times. When I was a child, we’d come here every summer to visit our relatives and we always had a blast, whether it was playing at the beach or eating ice cream cones in the old town. Of course, I’ve been there as an adult as well to visit family and now I like it even more than I used to. Zadar is larger than popular Dubrovnik and has a wonderful city center made up of the Old Town, as it is in many Croatian cities. Zadar is located north from Split, around a two hour drive on the freeway, and is over 3,000 years old. Pretty impressive, right? The city boasts with architecture from Roman times, such as the Roman Forum and Iaderae monuments from the Middle Ages, countless churches and monasteries etc. If you don’t know which Croatian city to visit this summer, I’ve created a short, yet extensive guide to Zadar.

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Me in Zadar, enjoying the sunset a couple of years ago.

Stay at…

The most popular way of living in Croatia is renting apartments or rooms from locals. Check out booking.com or hotels.com (adlink) to find some pretty nice places. Staying this way is quite cheap and you can stay in the neighborhoods where the locals live, getting to know the Croatian way of live. However, there are also many nice hotels – Falkensteiner has some really nice hotels in Zadar, including the Adriana Hotel by Borik located just by the beach and a 20 minute walk to the city centre, while the Iadera hotel and spa is located a bit outside of the city but has a real luxury feeling to it (full disclosure, one of my family members works there but I haven’t been paid to write this 😉 ). If you’re a backpacker and just want some place cheap and nice, there are plenty of hostels as well – again check Booking and Hotels.

Enjoy sunny days…

One of the most popular beaches in Zadar is Borik, it’s quite large and there’s something for everyone here. The adventurous types can rent a scooter and the kids can play by the children’s area. The beach is mostly pebbles, as in most of Croatia. Another popular beach is Kolovare, frequented by both locals and tourists, and the recipient of the international Blue Flag award – a symbol for clean water and quality. If you have a car, you can drive 12 km north of Zadar to Petrcane, a very popular beach in a small fishing village. This beach has markets, restaurant and everything else you could possibly need. Close by is also the popular beach in Nin, where you can smother yourself in the famous medicinal mud, which is said to treat everything from rheumatic diseases to skin diseases (although I’d recommend it just for the fun of it – your skin becomes really soft!).

Nin medicinal mud

Here’s Jacob, covered in the medicinal mud of Nin. You apply it straight from the ground, wear it for half an hour and wash it off in the sea.

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The sunset in Zadar – isn’t it one of the most beautiful sunset you’ve ever seen?

Visit…

You can’t write a guide to Zadar without mentioning The Greeting to the sun and the Sea Organ, which is also the best location to watch the famous Zadar sunset. The Greeting to the sun is a unique light installation which uses sunlight to create amazing light shows in the evening. The Sea Organ is just as unique and plays soft and relaxing music with the help of the waves coming in from the ocean. Sit here with your loved ones and enjoy the sunset, the music, and the light show. You’ll find several national parks which can easily be reached by bus or car, Plitvice Lakes is a 2 hour drive away but you can also visit the picturesque waterfalls of Krka near Sibenik or visit the Paklenica canyons, both just a 50 minute ride away. If you have access to a boat, I highly recommend sailing out to the Kornati archipelago. The water is crystal clear and bright blue and the lack of tourists makes it the perfect place to really get away from the everyday vacation life.

Don’t miss: The Full Moon Night, usually in August, when the city turns the lights off down the main street Riva and the locals make traditional dishes you can taste.

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Old Roman forum ruins

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The Greeting to the sun

Feeling adventurous?

Go river rafting in the Zrmanja river, located one hour away by car or bus. You can go rafting April-October. If you visit during the summer months, the water levels are usually lower and calmer while a spring or autumn visit will give you more of an adrenaline rush. There are a few different river rafting centres, check out Raftrek, HuckFinn, and Riva Rafting Centar. I did river rafting while in Montenegro/Bosnia last year and it was such a wonderful experience, so I really recommend this if you want to see the best of Croatian nature.

Shop…

The main street in the old town, Riva, has many good shops whether you’re looking for fashion or locally produced souvenirs. If it’s raining out while you’re visiting Zadar, you can indulge in an afternoon of shopping at the Supernova shopping center, which has an abundance of international and local stores for men, women and children alike.

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You can’t miss St Donatus Chruch if you’re shopping in Zadar.

Eat at…

There are many great restaurants in the Old town and there’s really something for everyone. But my favorite restaurant is located outside of theold city and is called Mamma Mia. They make the best lasagna you will ever taste (whether you choose the vegetarian or the meat version). The staff is friendly and food is amazing! Other places worth mentioning are Restaurant Bruschetta and Pasta & Svasta. If you’re vegan, the restaurant Art of Raw serves vegan raw food daily during high season (closed if the weather’s bad) in the lovely The Garden, which has an amazing view of Zadar.

Get your party on at…

Zadar is not just for families. If you want to sip cocktails or party all night long, Zadar’s the city for you as well. The Garden Lounge that I mentioned above has such wonderful scenery and atmosphere, and so has Lounge & Bar Ledana, so it’s a must to grab a drink here. Otherwise there’s Maraschino – café by day, night club by night, or Yachting Bar close to the Borik beach. Also, be sure to check out Podroom which is open during weekends and is the place to party all night long

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The sun is setting behind the mountains…

I hope you enjoyed my guide to Zadar, whether you’ve visited it before or not. It’s truly a lovely and underestimated city – and cheaper than both Dubrovnik and Split.

Places I've Been

8 Reasons to Visit Hvar in Croatia

November 10, 2015

The first time I set foot on Hvar, I had no idea I would fall so deeply in love with this small island off the Adriatic coast. We had planned to go island-hopping that year, 2011, and after 4 days in Split it was time for a short stay in Hvar. We arrived with the catamaran, which takes around one hour from Split, and already when we stepped off the boat it all looked very promising. We had planned to stay there for 3 days, but ended up staying a week. Since then, we’ve been back in Hvar 2012, 2013 and 2014. Next year, we are (hopefully) going back to visit Hvar, our favorite island.

When we’re in Hvar, we’re always renting the same apartment, one with amazing views of the city and the small Pakleni islands, 5 minutes by foot to the main quare, 10 minutes by foot to our favourite beach bar Hula hula. I selfishly won’t tell you the name of it, because it’s always booked so early, but I suggest renting an apartment in Hvar city (with air condition!) through booking.com or hostelworld.com.

So what’s so magic about Hvar? What makes us go back year after year?

  1. The beauty. Hvar is really, really beautiful. It was spared during the Balkan wars, so all the old buildings are still intact. The main city, also calles Hvar, has a small city centre with narrow cobblestone streets, small shops selling clothes, locally made shoes, jewellry – and even a specialized vegan/vegetarian shop! It is full of amazing restaurants, cocktail bars and ice cream parlors. If you travel outside of the main town, you will be met by lavendel fields, olive tree fields and vinyards. Not to mention the beaches! The whole island is truly beautiful.
    Hvar town

    View of Hvar town.

    Hvar

    The marina and the old cathedral in Hvar

  2. The possibility to explore. Hvar island is worth exploring, but there are also many nearby small islands and caves to explore. There’s the Pakleni islands, the Green cave, the Blue Cave and Vis, amongst others. Book a guided boat tour through one of the tourist agencies or directly from the tour guides when they’re available during the evenings on the promenade.
  3. The people. There’s something special about the small Hvar population. They are very friendly, laid back and social. They will help you as much as they can, and if they can’t, they will help you find somebody who can. The population alone are worth the visit.
  4. The food. Take it from a foodie: the food here is just EXCELLENT! Hvar is famous for its fish and seafood, but since I don’t eat that, I’ve had to find other good restaurants to visit. My first year there, I was a bit afraid that I wouldn’t find anything vegetarian, but boy was I wrong! Most of the restauarants have someting vegetarian, but it can be a bit hard to find something vegan, as many of the vegetarian dishes are based on cheese (greek salad with feta cheese, parmesan over the spaghetti pomodoro etc.), but thankfully most restaurants will custom make something for you, if you ask nicely. On my last trip, in 2014, a small vegan shop had opened, with all sorts of vegan goodies, so the healthy vegan lifestyle is spreading to even the tiniest islands on the Adriatic cost.
    Hvar truffle pasta

    Truffle pappardelle

    Hvar pasta

    Another truffle pasta… (I eat truffles a lot!)

  5. The wine. Croatian wine might be the most underrated wine in the world, and frankly I am surprised, dissappointed, and happy all at once that not all wine bars all over the world offer a range of Croatian wine. Surprised and dissappointed, because how can they not have tasted a Dingac Riserva or a Plavac Mali wine? Happy because then I get to have it all for “myself”. It’s a special treat whenever we land in Croatia, tired and sweaty, and head down to the local wine bar to get a glass of Dingac. In Hvar town, you will find my favorite wine bar in the whole world, Tri Prsuta, which has the best wine list, the most amazing atmosphere and two extremely kind and knowledgable owners who will pour up a glass of any wine you like, in front of you, while you enjoy the music on the small benches outside on the tiny little street where it’s located. I am only sharing this with you because I think the owners behind this little gem deserve all the success they can get – I’d much rather have this little place stay “my” secret, but here you go 😉
    wine bar in Hvar

    Jacob & I at the wine bar Tri Prsuta

    wine bar in Hvar

    A glass of Dingac Riserva (Matusko) and some traditional Pag cheese

  6. The Pakleni islands – the Pakleni islands are a cluster of islets which you can reach by boat. If you don’t have your own yacht to cruise in, you can always take one of the taxis running from the harbour right in the centre of Hvar town. From here, you hop on an excursion boat, pay around 40kn (around EUR 6) for a round trip, and head on to one of the beautiful beaches. Beware though, many of the beaches are for nudists, so unless you’re all for that, make sure to find the non-nudist beaches. When you’re ready to go home, you hop on one of the boats again – simple as that. My favourite beach is on Palmizana, on the Sveti Klement island. Here you’ll find a few nice restaurants, a small secluded beach and the beach club Laganini where you can relax in comfy beach beds, or have a mojito in one of their cool treehouses (tree terraces might be the right word for it). Get to the islands early though, as all the best spots are taken first.
    reasons to visit Hvar

    Look at that clear ocean!

    Hvar island

    From Pakleni Islands

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  7. The parties. Hvar is my favorite party place because it’s down to earth and over the top at the same time. Whether you party it up at your fancy yacht, the famous Carpe Diem bar or one of the small bars where you sit on the outside stairs with a cheap glass of vodka lemon you’re guaranteed to have a good time. You simply can’t be bored, over- or underwhelmed by the party scene and that’s what I love about it. You see, sometimes I’d rather not be around people, sometimes I want to talk to EVERYONE I meet, sometimes I just want a really good mojito and a chat with Jacob and then there are times when I feel like drinking too much, dancing with strangers and have a sing-off on the way home at five in the morning. No matter which of these moods I’m in, I always manage to get what I’m after in Hvar. You can party all day at Hula Hula Bar, get a fantastic mojito pitcher on the rooftop bar of the Adriana hotel (PS. I don’t share mojito pitchers but you could 😉 ), grab a table by a stranger by the harbour bars (or go inside for dancing), get your hard-partying on at Carpe Diem or Veneranda or have some good cocktails by the yacht parking to the left side of the town square.
    Mojitos in Hvar

    Mojito pitcher on the rooftop bar of the Adriana Hotel

    Partying in Hvar

    Partying all night! 🙂

  8. The beaches. Although most of the beaches are pebble beaches, which I’m not a particularly big fan of, the clean waters sure do make up for that. I love coming down in the morning, where you are able to see absolutely everything on the bottoms of the ocean. Be careful though, there are many sea urchins around Hvar (which is actually a good sign, as they only stay in clean water) so buy those rubber ocean shoes if you want to be safe.
    Hvar

    On the Pakleni Islands

    Hvar beach

 

Have I managed to convince you yet? If so, maybe I’ll see you there next year!

 

Hvar island Croatia