Croatia: the final verdict

We’ve been home for two days now and have had time to process our vacation. With a resounding ‘yes,’ we all agree that Croatia was one of our favorite vacations. The people, food, beaches, and history made for an excellent trip.

But as with every trip, I like to break down what I would do differently and what I’d do the same.

Things I’d do the same:

  1. Stay with AirBnB. We used them in Paris and San Francisco as well, and they haven’t let us down yet. Our apartments where clean, well-located, and the hostess very informative. 
  2. Get a local, private guide of the larger cities. These helped orientate us to the cities and gave us information, dining tips, and fun ideas that we wouldn’t have had on our own.
  3. The toll road is mostly empty and Croats are decent and polite drivers. Driving also cuts down considerably on the amount of travel time versus a bus.
  4. Go during the late shoulder season (mid-June). The travel hordes are just beginning, but are nothing compared to what we’ve been told July and August are like.
  5. Visit both the inland and the islands. Zagreb is a nice, manageable city that’s just beginning to become a tourist hotspot. The islands are a magical break from the hustle and bustle on shore. 
  6. We rented a private sailing yacht for the week, and our skipper, Ben, acted as cook/tour guide/sailor/child wrangler. If you can’t afford that option, I recommend taking the ferries to the islands. We did Hvar, Brac, and Vis – all highly recommended, but I want to go back to explore the southern islands too.
  7. Only bring a soft-sided carry-on. You won’t need many clothes, especially if staying in an AirBnB where you can wash laundry. Once on the boat, space is limited, and hard luggage won’t fit.
  8. Eat lots of local food. It was delicious. Fresh and tasty.


Things I’d do differently:

  1. Done more wine research. We’re big wine drinkers and love exploring the local options. We knew of two places to visit, but we got an education at the the first and could have spent two weeks touring the five different wine regions.
  2. Spent one less day in Split, or held on to our car for an extra day to explore Zadar and Trogir.
  3. Bring or buy bug spray for the boat. The mosquitos were ruthless at night.
  4. Budget more for port fees.
  5. Take a side trip into Bosnia and see Mostar
  6. Some how see Istria despite it being along the more northern coast.
  7. Visit the islands around Dubrovnik (which we didn’t visit this time).

xoxo ~dawn

Croatia Day 2: Walk All Over Me

We had an early start today with everyone needing to be feed and ready for our walking tour which started at 10am. Tina, our guide, met us outside our apartment building and laid out where we’d walk for the day. Since we’re staying in central Zagreb it’s easy to get around on foot. And that is what we did. 

Tina ( started us at the Opera house and we proceed to visit the two hills that dominate the city. We learned about The Austria-Hungarian Empire’s grip on Croatia, Tito, art, and Yugoslavia along with delicacies like truffled chocolate, olive oil, and some sort of amazing honey liquor that reminds me a bit of grappe.

All three boys were engaged – a testament to Tina’s story-telling powers. Plus, she brought us to a delicious, outdoors ice cream shop 😉

We visited a farmers market that happens daily until about 14:00, and bought tasty cherries. 

After our tour, we headed to a wine/cheese bar called…Cheese Bar (Augusta Cesarca street). Our selection of Croatian cheese, meat, and wine was delicious. 

(The waiter photo bombed us 😂)

After gorging, we headed to Vinoteka Bornstein (Kaptol 19, HR-10000 Zagreb), a wine bar we learned about from a New York Times video on Zagreb. The owner, Ivan Srpek is a wonderful, knowledgable host. We opted for the taste of Zagreb and were treated to a sparkling wine, two whites, and a red. The wines Ivan gave us can hold their own against any New World wine. For the money, they’re a great deal and definitely worth exploring. 

Vinoteka Bornstein is located underground with an ancient wine cave feel. Just an FYI, it is under the building that hosts the Syrian Consulate. Don’t let that deter you. 

Finally, we wrapped up the day with a walk around the city center and a game of Go Fish back at the apartment. Tomorrow we head to Plitvice and its famous waterfalls. Going to try for even an earlier start in hopes of beating the crowds. 

Croatia day 1: SCORE! 

We arrived in Croatia at 2pm local time after a layover at Heathrow. The boys did great, and Keegan was offered beer in flight because the attendant thought he was 16 (he’s only 14).

Upon arriving at the spacious apartment we’re renting in Zagreb (Airbnb is THE BEST), we dumped out stuff and ventured out into the main square where everyone was watching the Croatia v Turkey soccer game. We grabbed a table, got some drinks, and joined in. Keegan and David, being huge soccer fans, were in heaven. Boone and Finn took picture of pigeons. 

If you care, Croatia won 1-0.  And the crowd went wild! 

It’s now 5:30pm and we’re going to venture out to eat. Should be interesting since we know nothing about Croatian food. 

A few pictures:

xoxo ~dawn