Jenni’s field notes from Croatia and Montenegro

Jenni shares her experiences from her research trip to Croatia and Montenegro.

Sending our team around the world, we make sure that each of our experiences is tried and tested by us, for you. That’s why fieldwork is such an essential part of what we do. And how we do it.

Recently returned from the beautiful seascapes of these two enchanting European countries (and former Yugoslav states), where verdant mountainside hugs gleaming ocean and medieval walls encircle ancient cities, we asked Jenni for her trip highlights.

After some all-important field research, here’s what she found out (and highly recommends).

A taste of rural life

Between the luscious Mosor mountains and the dazzling Adriatic Sea lies the enchanting village of Gata – my first stop. Once part of an autonomous community that had its own historical statutes, I started off in the former so-called ‘peasant’s republic’. I instantly got a taste of local life here, joining a family at their home for a very traditional lunch. The speciality? Soparnik. Essentially, this is a thin pie filled with vegetables (and one that also bears a striking resemblance to Italian pizza). I savored every mouthful while enjoying breath-taking views of the Cetina River Canyon. With its deliciously light pastry, earthy flavors of Swiss chard and onion, and a sprinkling of olive oil and garlic – this dish is incredibly tasty and is even UNESCO protected.

If you’d like to taste this local delicacy for yourself, our luxury travel experts will curate a trip that’ll be sure to include a sample of this savory treat. Just say the word.

Discover Croatian cuisine

Cetina River Canyon, Croatia
soparnik croatia cuisine

The tricks of the trade

Having had a taste of Croatian cuisine, it wasn’t long before I set out to sample some of its fresh seafood too. And to catch it. Hopping aboard the boat of a local oyster farmer out in Ston Bay, we went on the hunt for oysters in the tranquil turquoise waters of the Adriatic. Learning how oysters are grown, the secrets to catching them, and a few handy shucking techniques was such a treat – especially while tasting them fresh from the sea. To top it off, a glass (or two) of Croatian wine made for the perfect pairing.

More about Croatia

croatia harbour
oyster croatia

Island hopping paradise

Leaving the mainland behind, I headed out for a private sailing adventure between some of Croatia’s beautiful islands. An entire day of shimmering waters, hidden beaches, and charming coastal towns – I felt like I was in paradise.

Our first port of call was a breath-taking archipelago. Or the Pakleni Islands, as they’re otherwise known. Rich in marine life and known as one of the best spots for snorkeling in the country, I naturally wanted to see for myself. And even though I visited in October, the sea was still delightfully warm to swim in. Located just a short boat ride away was our next stop (and lunch). Dropping anchor in Hvar, I went in search of more Croatian delights. Relaxing at one of the restaurants dotted along the island’s harbourfront, I opted for seabass accompanied by roast potatoes with a tomato and olive salsa. So fresh. And so good.

After a couple of hours soaking in the old-world charm of this captivating island, we had time for one last stop before heading to Dubrovnik: Korcula. Dense forest, medieval squares, and blissful seclusion, this less-visited island was the perfect end to our sailing excursion. But that’s not all. The excitement began even before we arrived as along the way we spotted a pod of dolphins leaping above the waves – a truly spectacular moment.

Explore the Croatian islands

croatia island
croatia boat

Classical elegance at Hotel Excelsior, Dubrovnik

Croatia’s coastal landscapes are all about glittering seascapes and limestone buildings steeped in medieval beauty. And the calming scent of lavender as you walk around its coastal towns. From these picturesque islands, my next stop was the enchanting city of Dubrovnik – and Hotel Excelsior. Perched atop a hilltop overlooking the sunlit waters of the Adriatic and the warm colors of the Old Town’s terracotta rooftops, it truly is Dubrovnik’s most illustrious address. Tranquil gardens, seafront balconies, a private beach. Each suite comes elegantly designed with modern touches and boasts spectacular panoramic views. My favorite part? The Terrace Bar – the ideal place to relax in the sun by day and beneath the stars by night.

Staying at Hotel Excelsior meant we were perfectly placed to explore this ancient city on the Dalmatian coast. Wandering along the cobbled streets and medieval fortress walls with our own private guide, it felt as if we had been transported back in time. After tucking into some of the country’s freshest seafood (and accompaniments served in seashells), we left the winding streets of Old Town Dubrovnik to catch a ride to the best views in town. As the sun began to melt into the endless blues of the waters below, we headed up Srdj Hill on the local funicular to gaze upon the city from above.

dubrovnik croatia
dubrovnik croatia

One and Only Portonovi: a Montenegrin oasis

Hopping across the Croatian border, our final destination was a striking Montenegrin paradise – and a hotel called One and Only Portonovi. Cruising into the beauty of Boka Bay, I was left speechless by the forested hillsides, towering peaks, secluded beaches, and tranquil blue waters. Pulling up at the resort’s own private jetty (which made exploring by boat delightfully easy), we soon settled in. Private gardens and pools, world-class cuisine, and floor-to-ceiling views of the striking scenery. Even its own holistic wellness spa. My personal favorite – this was the ultimate stay for seaside elegance and heavenly relaxation.

portonovi montenegro
portonovi pool montenegro

Final thoughts

Exploring the stunning landscapes of Croatia and Montenegro was such an unforgettable experience – I can’t wait to go back. The incredibly fresh seafood is still calling my name. And the verdant green mountains, the bustling ancient coastal towns, the clusters of beautiful islands – well, you get the idea. The point is you should try it for yourself.

When you’re ready to start planning, we’ll set you up with one of our luxury travel experts who’ll curate a trip perfectly tailored to you and your wishes.

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