part 3: towns, food, and adventure in croatia

Part 1: A Love Letter to Croatia
Part 2: How to See Croatia by Boat

Having already spent months on an island in the Adriatic belonging to Croatia at the impressionable age of summer after freshman year of college my delight at going back wasn’t ever tied to anything specific but more of vague, mildly smug excitement at getting to be Dalmatian again.

Trogir, Croatia

I had discovered and embraced this lighthearted though passionate, come-what-may, people watching while sipping cappuccino in a cobblestone town square IS a good use of my time attitude a long time ago, but life has a way of callusing the soft; I needed dosed with another round of mild sea breezes, historical veneration, lingering lunches, sun-kissed olives, earthy wines, slow strolling, burn my passport while translating these ‘room for rent in town center, ocean view, above gelato shop’ classified ads kind of remedy.

The tonic worked.

When a notification makes my iphone ping I now wonder how much technical know-how it would take to replace that omnipresent noise with notes from the melodic Zadar Sea Organ that produces music using the waves and is just around the corner from the Church of St. Donat – built in the early middle ages and also renowned for its acoustics.

When replenishing my olive oil I now check labels. Greek? No thanks. Italian? No Thanks. Croatian? Yes please! And at first taste I’m whisked right back to Trogir where my mother and I wandered the Green Market, mouths agape both for samples and in wonder at the sheer volume and variety of olive oils, jams, honeys, cheeses, cured meats, and confections.

Trogir, Croatia Croatian Olive Oil

My new bar for ‘beautiful’ is now Croatia’s national park in Mljet. The saltwater lakes there have the most amazing colors of azure and in the middle of the larger of the two lakes (both in which you can swim, kayak, or bike around) is a small island with a former 12th century Benedictine monastery now turned coffee café. Starbucks can’t top that and the frappe is a third of the price.

Mljet national park croatia

When asking my mother what her favorite town in Croatia was she replied, “Split was one island town that captured my soul simply by the unique experience of treading the old city streets contained within Diocletian’s Palace. The palace with its hundreds of enclosed buildings, ancient walls and smooth, well-worn stone alleys was erected in the 4th century and is the living, breathing center of old town Split.

My daughter and I wandered through passages and across plazas pausing here and there to admire an item in a boutique or gaze longingly at the rainbow of gelato flavors displayed tantalizingly close by until we stopped for a glass of local wine at a bistro underneath an ancient sphinx statue that Diocletian pinched from Egypt.

Relaxing outside in the last light of the day watching people going about their daily business gave me a sense of going back in time – way back in time. You cannot help but think about the centuries of people who have tread the same stone paths, which in the dimming light shine smooth and worn. For that evening, still within the walls of Diocletian’s retirement home, Split was my favorite Croatian town.”

Diocletian sphinx in Split, Croatia

The list of things to do & see in Croatia and the adventures you’ll have is exhaustive. For now, I’ll leave you with the above as I have a new recipe to tackle, one inspired by a meal we had in Hvar, seaside at the enchanting Kod Kapetana!

Join me each Tuesday this month to explore…

Part 1: A Love Letter to Croatia
Part 2: How to see Croatia by Boat
Part 3: Towns, Foods, Wines, and Adventures
Part 4: How to Get Married in Croatia

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While The Croatia Tourist Board sponsored our experience, I am not required to do anything in return. This review is a good one because I would never bother to write about or promote a destination or experience I didn’t care for. All opinions are my own.

About Sara Burnett

Editor of Burnett's Boards, which she founded to showcase global creativity in the wedding industry. Sara currently lives out of a suitcase while island hopping the Caribbean and beyond. Learn More // Follow on Instagram.

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