Just a little recount for posterity of our first holiday abroad in 7 years!
The main reason for the visit to Croatia was to attend the wedding of my cousin Stephen who had proposed to his girlfriend Emma on the Croatian island of Hvar while watching the sunset one evening. They decided to go back to get married in a civil ceremony and avoid the usual church/hotel type affair. Good call guys! Long way to go for a wedding but we needed the break and nearly all of the extended family were going so I dipped into cash reserves and made it happen.
The plane flew from Dublin to Dubrovnik and traveled along the Croatian/Dalmatian coast for the last leg of the journey. That was our first clue that Croatia was no ordinary country. I’ve never seen anything like it personally. Looking out the plane window I seen miles and miles of rocky, limestone mountains and probably thousands of islands. A very fractured and oddly shaped country but very beautiful and striking.
We landed and got off the plane directly onto the tarmac to feel our first proper sunshine in a long, long time! About 28 degrees it was. Unfortunately, the first experiences we had weren’t great, apart from the fabulous weather. Our coach driver for the journey to Hvar island got interrogated for about 30 mins at the airport then proceeded to bring us on a route he wasn’t supposed to, although it turned out to be probably the best way in the end. It took about 4 hours by road along the coast then a 1 hour ferry trip. We were convinced he was trying to screw us in some way and we would never get were we were going and indeed we came close enough to missing our ferry to the island because of him but it all worked out in the end.
Hvar island and town is a quaint little place with a lovely rustic, old fashioned feel. Crystal clear sea waters, cobbled streets and wild heather abound but it has a kind of upmarket feel to it too, probably why Prince Harry was there just before us! The food, buildings and culture were distinctly Italian themed and I found most of the restaurant menus to be a bit short on choice and lacking real Croatian food (whatever that is) so I was reduced to eating pizza all week! Not much fish on menus either considering we were on an island. We did have a great Croatian, bbq meal in the ‘Blidinje’ rooftop restaurant in Dubrovnik harbour on our last night though.
The Adriatic sea seemed especially salty and buoyant – ideal for floating tan sessions! There were some incredibly expensive looking boats moored in the harbour and prices probably a little more expensive than Ireland although outside the resort in supermarkets etc, prices were much lower. We couldnt be arsed cooking though…
After much of the the usual lounging around, tanning, sea swimming, hotel pool invading, al fresco dining and beer drinking, it was time to get on with the main event, the wedding. The civil service was held in the gardens of St Mark’s church. Very hot but lovely venue and ceremony. The wedding party then walked cobbled streets to a lovely restaurant overlooking the sea for a champagne drinks reception followed by a lovely 4 course dinner in another open air, balconied restaurant close by. We rounded off the day with a few beers and some skinny dipping down on the beach…as you do!
I personally got back to my apartment at about 6am after guiding a very drunk bride and groom to their rooms then got up at 8am for an 8 hour ferry trip (on a battered old ship with no comforts) back to Dubrovnik for the plane home. Not wise!
A short but memorable trip and a highly recommended destination in Hvar but try fly to Split to avoid extensive road and sea travel…unless you want to see a lot of the scenery! Buy beach shoes too as there’s no sand, just stones and rocks. And don’t expect decent internet..I found it very hard to come across free or decent wifi spots, even in Dubrovnik. Croatia is a tad behind the times..
Here’s some pics!