Croatia’s hip Dalmatian hotspot

Like your hard-earned escapes to come hot, gorgeous and tasty? We wholeheartedly recommend heading to Croatia. The Dalmatian Coast has some of the prettiest bays we’ve ever had the pleasure of flopping on, and once you’re fully rested and glowing, there are endless laid-back seafood spots to choose from.

Croatia is ideal, whether you want medieval or modern, hidden or heaving. But it’s those infamously blue waters that we’ve been dreaming of …

Hvar: Hip partying and gourmet seafood

Hvar is a jewel  in the Adriatic Sea, a ferry ride or short heli-hop off Dubrovnik’s coast. This unspoilt island is becoming one of Eastern Europe’s hippest coastal party spots, and we love it for its rugged ancient land and divine wine.

Tuck into the freshest seafood risotto, roasted squid and fresh oysters, and learn about local wines in the vineyards we recommend.

Hovering on the waterfront promenade in the heart of the medieval heart of Hvar, Riva Hotel is a favourite of ours where you can expect old world charm, state-of-the-art luxury, exceptional design and superb sunset views over the Pakleni Islands.

At night, chill out to DJ tunes on the spacious terrace of Hvar’s hottest bar, the BB Club.

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Dubrovnik: Cobbled streets and thriving cafés

Forget the recent war-torn history and soak up the medieval mood radiating from the old squares and wide streets of Dubrovnik.

Stroll the atmospheric pedestrianised paving slabs of this Unesco World Heritage Site, and admire its forts, red-tile roofed-buildings, churches and monasteries. The Old Town brims with cafes, bars and restaurants hugging the Adriatic seafront, perfect for a morning coffee or evening sundowner.

For an alternative point of view, we’d definitely recommend taking a guided kayak tour around the grand city walls, or why not go mountain biking in the nearby Konavle valley to explore the local countryside.

For a little bit of calm, head over to the Elaphiti Islands which you can see from the castle walls, before hitting the bars and clubs dotting the city.

And there’s no better place to lay your head after a hard day of strolling, sunbathing and partying than the Pucic Palace – the perfect chic retreat.

Korcula: Medieval charm and one super-lux retreat

Let’s call this one our little secret. Our insider tip: head for Korcula,  the hottest thing to rise from this phoenix of a country, flung roughly equidistant between Dubrovnik and Hvar.

The beautiful stone castle welcoming you as you sail into the harbour is just a taste of the old world charm which the island oozes. Get lost in the winding alleyways, terracotta-tiled houses and tiny churches all a short stroll from the beach of this up-and-coming island.

Hidden within the walls of the medieval town, there is a brand new luxury retreat; the Lešic Dimitri Palace, which encompasses a restored 18th Century bishop’s palace and five adjoining medieval cottages. Each room is designed with exceptional attention to detail and themed on a different region of Marco Polo’s Silk Road travels.

It’s 5-star all the way (complete with first-class spa), all a stone’s throw away from a scattering of fantastic restaurants with gorgeous views over the Dalmatian archipelago.

Take a speed boat out to the scores of tiny surrounding islands to stretch out, or feast on a picnic, in your own secret bay. Service here is set to be second to none, so from a romantic speedboat tour at sunset, to a five-course meal for two on a deserted island, what you do here is only limited by your imagination.

Croatia has so many little gems – some undiscovered, some already well loved. But whatever angle you take, and whichever harbour you head to, with our help you’re guaranteed to have a dreamy trip. Živjeli!

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