Travel Guide To Croatia: Southern Dalmatia
Taking me under its wing for my first-ever solo trip, Croatia’s crystal-clear waters, freshly caught seafood, stunning wine country and friendly locals will forever have a place in my heart.
Base yourself in the fishing village of Mlini, Srebreno Bay — 10km southeast of Dubrovnik. Check into Hotel Mlini, a beachfront complex that boasts panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea. The contemporary hotel also hosts a yoga retreat with Sardinia Yoga. I can’t recommend it enough — especially if you’re solo tripping. Yoga mornings on a seafront deck? Bliss.
If you’re staying local in the evenings head to Gusar café bar for cocktails. Konoba Lanterna for the best seafood you’ll have in your life. Or Pizzeria Mlini for Italian fare goodness. Everything can be made gluten free here, too!
Or if you decide to head into Dubrovnik for the evening, you’re in for a treat. The castle walls are a glowing gaze to behold at dusk. Try for a table at Dubravka 1836 and dine among the beautiful backdrop. Then, head to the Stradun, where live music adorns the street.
Mlini has its own port a 30-second walk from Hotel Mlini. This makes it super accessible for taking a boat and jetting straight to the centre of Dubrovnik and the nearby islands.
Stroll the marble Stradun and be careful not to slip! The stunning streets are polished every evening. Oh, and if you want to nail down a lifetime of love, find the lucky gargoyle and try standing still on its head. But maybe call it quits if you get to six failed attempts and let someone else have a go, unlike someone else I know…
After all that exercise kick back with a lemon beer at Buza Bar, where you’ll watch tourists and locals alike cliff jumping into the sea.
Tip: If you don’t fancy walking the tourist-heavy fortress walls (a la Game of Thrones), scope out the basketball court — you’ll get the same views with way less crowds and zero cost.
Peacocks, giant plants and rabbits (rabbits!) are just some of the many delights you’ll find on the lush forested island of Lokrum. According to legend this island is cursed… Don’t miss swimming in the Dead Sea lake and wandering aimlessly around the Botanical Garden. Grab lunch at Lacroma — order the Pag and wash it down with a glass of Plavac Mali (a full-bodied Croatian red wine).
Tip: If you’re thinking about staying overnight, don’t. Lokrum is a nature reserve and you could well be deported if caught. So, be sure to catch the last boat!
Allow a full day for this boat tour, where you’ll explore the small Elaphiti Islands of Kolocep, Lopud and Sipan. So much culture, so much to see and so many people to meet. Pick up some locally made lavender bags and olive oil. And don’t miss out on the opportunity for ice-cream on the island of Sipan. (Guilty…)
Tip: On Lopud, the largest of the three islands, pay 20 kuna and take a buggy to the sandy Sanj beach located on the opposite side of the island. Note — the majority of the beaches in Croatia are pebbled, so make the most of the sand between your toes. And, relax.
Cavtat is a lovely day spent and arguably the prettiest town in Southern Dalmatia, sans the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik. Take the bus rather than the boat and soak up the coastal views en route. Explore the walking trail and independent shops before finishing up at Ludo More restaurant. Order the squid ink risotto. Taste sensation.
Located a 15-minute drive from Mlini, Konavle is a Croatian gem and home to an abundance of spectacular vineyards. First port of call was Pasjaca beach, a peaceful, hidden cove. However, the walk back up is essentially survival of the fittest.
I was lucky enough to have a private tour of the award-winning Crvik family winery, which also hosts wine-tasting events and group tours, in the hilly village of Komaji. Petar is your man here. And make sure to purchase a bottle (or two…) of your very own locally made Crvik wine before you leave. It will make your holiday go that little bit further once you arrive home…
Have you been to Croatia? Where were your favourite places to explore?
Amanda is the founder and editor of Blossom & Preen. While she has many interests, especially those revolving around creativity, she is mainly passionate about the journey of self discovery, cats, baths and her morning coffee.
Love this! Makes me want to visit ?