Quintessentially Travel transports us to Croatia, taking us on an action-packed adventure mixing adrenaline-filled activity with ultimate luxury—all against the beautiful backdrop of the Dalmatian coast. You’ll spend time in Split, Hvar and Korcula, where you will go canyoning, hiking, biking, zip-lining and rafting, discovering secret waterfalls, winding rivers and idyllic villages. 

Stay in some of the country’s best hotels and get a taste of island hopping as you cruise between each location onboard a luxury motor yacht through glittering archipelagos. Finally, complete your journey in the awe-inspiring UNESCO site of Dubrovnik where the escapades continue in and around the historic city walls.

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What to eat and drink

Welcome to Hvar. One of the city’s coolest properties, Hotel Adriana, is perched on the waterfront overlooking the fishing harbour just a short stroll from the main square. Housed in a 1970s building, the decor is modern and minimalist, in juxtaposition to the hotel's heritage. An incredible spa spans three levels and is replete with a rooftop seawater pool. Unwind on the roof, and make sure you try a classic pašticada during your stay. Popular in Dalmatia, this peasant dish is widely prepared for feasts at celebrations and served in every traditional restaurant in Hvar.  

Your trip will eventually finish at Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik, an iconic property built into the hillside above the deep blue Adriatic sea. An eclectic combination of past and present, the hotel is made up of two parts: a historical villa dating back to 1913, and a contemporary glass tower built in the late 20th century. There is an indoor pool, but more importantly, the stone-paved sea terrace is dotted with sunbeds and has direct swimming access. Sweeping views over the ocean to the walls of Old Dubrovnik capture the magic of this medieval town. For dinner, why not try a classic dish from southern Croatia, Buzara. 

What to watch

Game of Thrones

Some of the most popular episodes of Game of Thrones—largely considered to be one of TV's best-loved series—were shot in Croatia. The medieval heritage and stunning Adriatic scenery serve as the backdrop in the second season in particular, where the old walled city of Dubrovnik doubled for the fictional town of King's Landing. Filming also took place in the coastal towns of Split, Imotski, Mosor and others.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again 

The romantic musical comedy and sequel to Abba movie Mamma Mia! was filmed on Croatia's tiny island of Vis and it's easy to see why. Scenes are filled with shots of the rugged cliffs, untouched landscape, beautiful beaches and 17th-century architecture. Authentic seafood restaurants capture the relaxed and unpretentious feel of Kalokairi, the fictional Greek Island that is the setting of the film. 

The Border Post

This movie tells the story of often drunk, frustrated Yugoslavian soldier Pasic, who is stationed on the Yugoslav-Albanian border in 1987. After contracting a sexually transmitted disease from a local prostitute, he declares a state of emergency to avoid going home and revealing the truth to his wife. This false proclamation of an impending attack from the Albanian army results in hysteria as the troops prepare for battle, and Pasic's world unravels.

Book club

Chasing A Croatian Girl by Cody McClain Brown 

American author Cody McClain Brown tells an autobiographical story, using humorous and astute anecdotes, of falling in love with a mysterious Croatian girl and his subsequent relocation to Split. What follows is an earnest and insightful portrayal of the heart of Croatia: the importance of tight-knit Croatian families with loving matriarchs at the helm, peculiar coffee rituals, inexplicable drafts behind every window and all of the other charming quirks of his new home. A heartwarming love story about coming to terms with cultural differences. 

Our Man In Iraq by Robert Perišić

Set in Zagreb during 2003, Our Man In Iraq tells the tale of self-assured journalist Toni and his troubles balancing his nagging mother, tenuous career, headstrong girlfriend and requests from rural family members for work. During a moment of weakness, he puts forward his unhinged cousin, Boris, to cover the Iraq War for his newspaper. Boris's reports become increasingly incoherent, so Toni covertly rewrites them until one day they stop altogether, and Boris goes missing. Toni's sense of reality spirals as he tries to keep the disappearance secret and hide from the truth, while staying on top of his challenges in a country that is concurrently self-consciously moving from socialism to global capitalism.

Girl At War by Sara Novic

The story begins in Zagreb in 1991 as happy ten-year-old Ana Jurić's life is torn apart as civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia. Her carefree childhood running around with her best friend Luka, caring for her baby sister and going to school is no longer, and Ana is lost to a world of air raid drills, gunfire, rationing, and guerilla warfare. The novel moves between 1991 and 2001, where Ana is a college student in New York, haunted by her past and hiding the truth from herself and everyone around her. In hopes of coming to terms with the impact the war has had on her, Ana returns to Croatia to face the events that disrupted her once happy upbringing.  

What to listen to

Klapa Šufit, Ne Diraj Moju Ljubav

Klapa Šufit performs klapa music, a traditional type of a capella singing that hails from Dalmatia and is a huge part of southern Croatia's heritage. 'Klapa' means 'a group of friends' and the music celebrates love, life and the environment through harmony, melody and rhythm. The cultural importance of klapa was formally recognised in 2012 when it was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

2CELLOS, Score

Croatian cellist duo 2Cellos is made up of classically trained Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser. They break boundaries by creating orchestral reimaginings of popular pop songs, rock music and film soundtracks on classical instruments. They were discovered when their YouTube video of their version of Michael Jackson's 'Smooth Criminal' went viral in 2011, resulting in Sony Masterworks offering them a record deal and Elton John inviting them to join him on his global tour. The album Score features songs from well-known movies and TV Shows reborn with 2Cellos' classical twist. 

Josipa Lisac, Dnevnik Jedne Ljubavi 

Josipa Lisac is one of Croatia's most iconic artists. Formerly a vocalist in the group Zlatni Akordi in the 60s, she went on to record her first solo album in 1973 and has since had tremendous success as a highly acclaimed singer. She's known for her distinct vocal range from contralto to soprano, experimenting with different genres and styles of music, as well as her vibrant stage presence. Dnevnik Jedne Ljubavi was her first-ever album and still considered to be one of her greatest. 

Learn something new

Travel may be on pause for now so whilst the activities and adventure Croatia has to offer are something to be planned ahead of the world opening up again, the country is also rich with cultural institutions that are discoverable from the comfort of your home. These museums are offering virtual walks through their corridors of cultural treasures: The Museum of Arts and Crafts in ZagrebMuseum of Ancient Glass in ZadarArchaeological Museum in ZadarVučedol Culture Museum in Vukovar and Castle Trakošćan.

For more information on this trip, or to plan another upcoming adventure, please contact Quintessentially Travel.