Trip Report Summer 2018

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Sep 10th, 2018, 06:58 AM
  #1
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 160
Trip Report Summer 2018



Croatia beats Russia!


Croatia beats Russia! Croatian people are the BEST!


Walking the walls Dubrovnik


Cable car - top


Walking the walls Dubrovnik


Pool area Hotel Argentina


Restaurant 360


Ston (small town on the way to Dubrovnik) and its great wall.


bedroom in Hotel Lemongarden


Private Beach Hotel Lemongarden


Pool Hotel Lemongarden


Konoba Luc Restaurant Brac


Restaurant Vinotoka Brac


Buy these great fish! Vis or Split


On top of fort in Trojir


Plitvice Lakes


Top of Bell Tower in Split


Steps up to the top of the Bell Tower in Split


Going up Marjan Park


Great views Marjan Park


Blue Cave from inside


View as you walk up to the fort in Hvar


My daughter and me on our way up to the top. Best views are actually almost at the top. We didn't go into the fort.


Zori Restaurant


View from our room in Amfora
First I want to thank this forum and everyone who helped my family organize the trip. I will try to include as much as I can.
Please know we used Secret Dalmatia travel agency for a small portion of the trip back when I thought my elderly mother was coming. Bringing an 88 year old means you need a lot more attention than if you're a spry 58 year old! Yes - great agency, but not really necessary (expensive) unless you are very rich and want total pampering and need a lot of extra help. Mom is okay - but ended up too ill to come sadly. We ended up having to adjust a lot.
Day 1: We arrived and Secret Dalmatia picked up my daughter and me and transferred us to the ferry station to go to Hvar. My husband came 2 days later. We ended up using Ivan for many things. Ivan's company transferred my husband for less money. To use Ivan - email him. [email protected] He responds to emails and is SO helpful. Yes - you could get a taxi to a ferry station on your own, but he made sure (as did Secret Dalmatia) we got to the station on time. The ferry (or catamaran) was easy especially because both companies had our tickets for us. It took about an hour on the ferry. We arrived in Hvar and were greeted by the staff of Amfora Hotel. They took our luggage and we walked to the hotel. The walk is easy unless you have mobility issues. It's about half mile (somewhat up hill).
Amfora Hotel. This is VERY personal. It is huge and not quaint. But we wanted a big pool and a sea view and we were very happy. When you read about the hotel on tripadvisor, many complain that it's laid out poorly. Well, it's huge and there are many hallways - but it's not a big deal. But if you want a small, quaint place - this isn't for you. We considered Adriana (very close to everything - best for those who don't want to walk up the hill to the hotel) and Hotel Podstine - much further. I actually went running (BEST RUN) along the path and where it ended, I saw the hotel across the way. Can't quite figure out how you get there, but it looks lovely on Tripadvisor. Day 1 we ate at Zori. Very fancy and wonderful food! We loved the view.

Day 2 we went shopping. GREAT shopping at Hvar (though it was our only rainy day - and it's cold rain). I bought some gorgeous rose gold earrings - wish I bought more. We ate at Rozetta Sushi and Oyster Bar. We ate inside due to the rain. GREAT sushi. We ate up a storm.
Day 3 we took a hike to the top of the fort. It was a big, uphill walk which we enjoyed as great exercise with amazing views. My husband joined us today! We ate at Dalmatino. You must have a reservation if you don't want to wait. We made our reservation months in advance (just emailed them). It was so fun. The owners bend over backwards to make your evening fun and yummy.
Day 4 - Secrets Dalmatia organized a private boat to take us to the Blue Cave, Vis and finally Split. Since everything we paid the agent was in a package, I didn't really know the cost - though Ivan said he could have done it for 200 euro. We found out it was over 1000 because the captain (who was so rude) told us. He was annoyed that I used the bathroom at the Blue Cave which slowed them down and cost them more gas. Blue Cave is beautiful,but it's so commercialized. You wait a long time for a short trip. I would have skipped it - but so beautiful. Vis was totally deserted. They ended up taking us to the north end of Brac for lunch. All in all, I wish we had just taken a ferry back to Split.

Arriving in Split - We stayed at Marmont Hotel. It was a wonderful hotel, though I hear Judita is better. We chose Marmont when we thought my mom was coming because they have no steps to get into the hotel and they have walk in showers. It was a wonderful hotel in a great location, but they were a bit cheap about breakfast. If you want latte, they charge extra which irritated me especially because they didn't tell us. But all in all, I do recommend it. Our first night we ended up eating at a sushi restaurant again. We didn't have reservations and everything was jammed. So we waited (and shopped). Split is gorgeous. We really loved wandering the streets and shopping!
Day 2 We took a hike. up Marjan Hill. And when I say up - I mean UP. Endless steps. I'm in pretty good shape, but it was hard. But we really enjoyed it! We also went back into the walls of the palace and went up the bell tower (a lot of up again). After a good shower, we went out to dinner.We ate at Konoba Fetivi for the BEST seafood you can get. Be sure to get a reservation especially if you like outside. I was surprised it wasn't really outside - there was a backyard that had a cover - but we loved the food. It isn't inside the walls.
Day 3 We went to Plitvice Lakes. Ivan's driver took us there, waited, and took us back. It cost about 275 euro which was worth it to us. I know you can also take a bus. We adored itbut it was cold there! We bought sweatshirts (good souvenir) but I wished I had shoes and socks instead of my Teva sandals (which were perfect everywhere else - don't leave home without them). We spent about 4 hours there. They will take you to a food area - I thought the food was disgusting, though my husband and daughter ate it. For dinner, we ate at Dvor. Again - expensive. The view, they say, is great.I disagree. It's pretty - but overlooks a public beach and just not that pretty. Food was good, but not great. I would skip it. You need an Uber to get there (Uber was great in Split and not expensive).
Day 4 we went to Trojir and another little town (don't recall the name). Again, this was a tour with Ivan. It was about 150 euro. I would think the bus would have made more sense for this. But Ivan is always awesome - we came back a little earlier than planned and he charged less. Trojir was great! We loved the little town and the fort (husband got in free because he was wearing his Croatia World Cup jersey). We spent about 1.5 hours there. I forget where we ate that night. I didn't like it, but my husband and daughter loved it. Go figure. Oh - there are these fabulous fish magnets in Split. They're actually made on Vis. We should have bought them there (cheaper) but worth buying.

The final morning, my daughter went home (Secret Dalmatia got her there brilliantly) and my husband and I went on to Brac. We walked to the dock with our luggage which was really hard, actually. But there really wasn't much of a choice. It was a short ride to Brac. We stayed at Hotel Lemongarden which I LOVED so much. They picked us up at the dock.
Day 1 Lemongarden. Check in was a breeze. They were so nice! We got a sea view room and they upgraded us to the best room there. Well, yes gorgeous but honestly not necessary. This place is so spectacular outside, you won't spend much time inside. Our room was a suite with a bedroom, 2 bathrooms, and a living room. Then there was a staircase to the private upstairs terrace. Fabulous - but again - unless you're honeymooning, any room will be great there. Every day we did the same thing (3 days). We took a bicycle (free from Lemongarden) and biked to the private beach. It was a 10 minute ride along the sea - very flat and easy bike ride. they also have golf carts if you don't want to ride a bike. Inside the private beach (big walls and locked and very private) were lovely lounge chairs and bartenders and a cook. The water was cold (but it's the ocean!) and rocky (that's the way it is in Brac- not sand) so we wore our Teva sandals in. They came up with a drink for me based on what I said I liked. Then they texted the ingredients so every bartender at the hotel knew what to make me! SO NICE. By 2 pm we came back and enjoyed the most amazing (and heated) pool ever! Then we went out to dinner. We ate at Konoba Lus (amazing views and fabulous seafood), Konoba Vinotoka (best seafood but too many flies), and Hotel Lemongarden (loved it - fabulous food and worth the money in our view - but expensive). I will mention that taxi from the hotel to the restaurants were 50 euro round trip.

Off to Dubrovnik. We took the ferry back to Split where Ivan's driver was waiting for us. He drove us to Dubrovnik. He charged 200 euro. To us, this was worth every penny. We were able to enjoy the views and we stopped to wine taste and see a small town and eat. The town was Ston. Very cool. Yes, there's a bus and I'm sure it's just fine and cheaper.

Dubrovnik:
We stayed at Hotel Argentina. It was just what we wanted - close enough to the town to walk (unless you have mobility issues) - and a really cool pool! The pool was right by the ocean so we were able to jump into the ocean and take the step ladder back up. FUN. Day 1 we went up the cable car. MORE STEPS to get to the cable car. PHEW! But it was really worth it. We ate at Konoba Veranda which is considered #1 on tripadvisor. It's outside the walls - you need a taxi. It was very good and nice, but I wasn't as blown away as others have been. In fairness, the owner (who I was very excited to meet) had a baby the day before!
Day 2 We walked the walls. We went early (like 8 am) so it wasn't too hot. We both wore our Croatia World Cup Jerseys and they loved us and only charged us children cost - so the shirts paid for themselves! The wall walk was a highlight! Just loved it. We had dinner at 360 which is a 5 star Michelin Restaurant. It was AMAZING! I think it was worth it! We did enjoy walking around the town - very small and easily done in one day. We watched Croatia beat Russia in the streets with the locals which WAS the highlight of the trip!
Sadly , we had to leave. We took a cab to the airport. Check-in was a breeze.
Croatia is one of the best places in the world. Thank you to everyone who helped us plan this trip. I hope this report is helpful to others!
Ellen
zac495 is offline  
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Sep 10th, 2018, 10:05 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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Thanks for the report and the fun photos!
PegS is online now  
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Sep 10th, 2018, 10:22 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 850
Love your photos and your report! What month were you there? I was surprised when you mentioned you needed a sweatshirt at Plitvice. Thanks for this detail. I will put that on my packing list. We will be there last week of April and first week of May.
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Sep 10th, 2018, 12:19 PM
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We were there in July and it was 60 degrees in Plitvice so you will definitely need a sweater - heavy one in April/May I would think.....
I used a sweater in the evenings for dinner in July! But I'm always cold.
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Sep 12th, 2018, 05:01 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Thanks for coming back and sharing your experience. I enjoyed reading. We were there in May - travelling at the opposite end of the budget using buses, etc - and I agree that Croatia is fabulous.
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Sep 14th, 2018, 10:24 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2014
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Zac495, how long was the walk from Hotel Argentina to Old Town Dubrovnik? Was it a flat walk? I would like to stay in Old Town but it seems that many of the hotels have lots of steep steps just to get to the hotel. So I might consider Hotel Argentina. Thanks!
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Sep 15th, 2018, 05:14 AM
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It is not a flat walk. It's down the hill but no steps. If you go out the front door, there were no steps. We always went out the side door due to the location of our room and there were steps (maybe 15). Walk to town had NO steps - but it was downhill (so uphill coming back). It was a cool place!
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