If you can tear yourself away from the beautiful medieval city
of Dubrovnik, Croatia's Dalmation Coast has myriad
islands and a warm Mediterranean climate, and other cities nearly
as beautiful (and definitely less over-run with tourists) than
The Elaphiti Islands nearby run in a chain parallel to the
mainland, complete with inlets, caves and harbours, as well as
seaside restaurants serving delicious fresh seafood. Further north
lie several larger islands including the particularly attractive
Korcula and Hvar, the new hotspot of the Dalmatian islands.
Hvar is developing something of a reputation as a glitzy rival
to St Tropez and Sardinia, confirmed by the arrival of Russian
oligarchs by the mega-yacht load. However, despite the glam and the
glitz, the old town retains its original charm. The Old Town of
Hvar is a hybrid of stone alleys and terracotta-roofed houses
winding up the hill. There is a picturesque harbour with cobbled
stones, a Renaissance cathedral, and a 17th century piazza housing
the majestic St Stephen's tower, all serving as reminders of Hvar's
history and heritage.
100 or so miles north of Dubrovnik is Split, the cultural
capital of the Dalmatia region. The impressive 1,700 year old
palace Roman Emperor (and Dalmatian resident) Diocletian built are
now a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by cafes, shops,
museums and other cultural attractions. There are also plenty of
good beaches, both in the city and the surrounding area.
Further north still is Istria. With great seafood, fantastic wine (and an
established wine fair), olive oil grown in the hilltop groves, and
fantastic truffles, visitors to the region could be forgiven for
thinking they were in France or Italy. Monte Mulini is the region's first five star
hotel, and has the best wine cellar in Rovinj.