croatia

REVIEW: VILLA ORSULA IN DUBROVNIK

 

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

 

image

You don’t have to be a Game of Thrones fan to appreciate the beauty of Dubrovnik. But not only is Croatia’s capital the setting of one of the most successful TV series to date, it’s also home to the beautiful Villa Orsula. Just a short ten minute drive from the ferry port, the hotel perches proudly atop the mountainside, peeking out from behind majestic pine trees and overlooking the Adriatic Sea. The boutique hotel is deceptively hidden within its sister property, the Grand Villa Argentina which can make life difficult when there are no signs and taxi drivers are non the wiser, but it’s a small price to pay for what lies ahead.

Confused and excited, we frantically looked around for clues of our final destination as the porter guided us into a mystery lift. Ushered through winding corridors, conference rooms and communal lounge areas, we were told we had now officially crossed into Villa Orsula territory. Phew, we made it across the border! With a slightly more modern décor than our original entrance, the boutique surroundings of soft cream furnishings, long-stem flowers and glass accents told us that Villa Orsula had its very own identity.

With a knowing look, the concierge swung open our heavy wooden suite door to reveal a vast and homely space before us. Floor to ceiling wardrobes, stylish floor lamps and comfy armchairs welcomed us into what could have been a chic city apartment all our own. A quick dash round the corner revealed a huge queen size bed and a hidden gem – double doors out onto a large stone balcony with breathtaking views of the lush gardens below, the sparkling blue sea and Dubrovnik city to the right. I was home.

To read the full review, head here 

ISLAND HOPPING IN CROATIA: BRAC

image

image

image

 

image

image

One of the great pulls of Croatia is how many island’s the country actually has. Not many people realise that there are a crazy amount of small, inhibited islands that surround the mainland making island-hopping a must. When I looked at where to stay and visit on our adventure, Brac kept popping up as a real must-visit location. A tiny island just an hour’s ferry ride away from Split, it’s small enough to make a fantastic day trip but not quite big enough to warrant an over-night stay. Known for its famous Zlatni Rat beach, we decided to not do the tourist thing and find something a little more…exclusive.

Although taxi drivers will push you to visit Zlatni Rat because i’s around an hour away from the ferry port and they want to make a buck or two, if you don’t want to go there-persevere! We took a chance and went to an off-the-beaten track beach called Lovrecina Bay. Around 20 minutes from the port, it’s a secluded sand beach (yep, we found one finally!) surrounded by lush green grass, pine trees and small boats bobbing on the horizon. It’s the kind of place people hire a boat and whizz over to for the day. But it’s still one of the best kept secrets.

We find our legs again after the crazy taxi journey and stumble to the only “restaurant” on the bay. I use that term loosely because there’s no signage, and no menu. It’s simply a small team in a house with outside seating serving beautiful fresh food depending on what’s been caught that day. We had spaghetti with fresh seafood in a homemade tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. It sounds basic but it was honestly, the best pasta dish I’ve ever had for around £5.

With no other amenities around, make sure you bring everything you need for the day, including towels, water and a good book. That’s all you need. With just a handful of other people bathing in the crystal seas, it was simply the best day.

Wearing: Accessorize Panama Hat 

ISLAND HOPPING IN CROATIA: SPLIT

I’ve been desperate to go to Croatia for a few years but, as crazy as it sounds, have been too busy to go! But, after becoming hooked on Game of Thrones (filmed in and around Croatia) it was decided-we’re going! After a lot if planning the route was set and our adventure started in the beautiful city if Split.

Just minutes from the ferry port (where you can dock in from Hvar, Brac, Korcula and Dubrovnik) the old town is lined with Palm trees, tour boats and charming market stalls. The main harbour further down from the poet is the perfect spot to grab a spot of lunch outside and watch the boats rolling in. Taking a right at any point will lead you into the heart of the city with winding cobbled streets and narrow stone alleyways filled with bakeries, pizzerias and secret courtyards.

It won’t be long before you stumble across the unmistakeable Prokurative square. Surrounded by red and white colonnades, it’s a fantastic place to sit and enjoy a romantic dinner at Bajamonti restaurant where fresh seafood risotto and octopus salad are the order of the day.

It doesn’t take long to become familiar with your surroundings in Split. We wandered around for hours taking in the beautiful buildings and enjoying the contrast between the old and new (it has a great shopping street). If you’re looking to island hop, Split is the perfect starting point as ferries go every hour to surrounding islands and only take up to an hour to get to, but more of that later!…

WHERE TO EAT

Tavola Restaurant

WHAT TO DRINK

A fresh fruit and vegetable juice at the juice cart near Tavola

WHERE TO VISIT

The Palace in Split