Croatia

When glamour and tradition collide they produce something wonderful and the Adriatic coastal country of Croatia is that something wonderful. Untouched by many of the modern excesses this country attracts those wanting authenticity and honesty but with a touch of the exotic and unknown.

Internal conflict during much of the late 20<sup>th</sup> century effectively shut Croatia off to the rest of the world but this resilient country has bounced back with a vengeance, now seen as one of the most desirable and trendy of places to visit Croatia has all the glitz of an up and coming destination along its coastal resorts and cities and yet still maintains its identity without compromise.

Set on a peninsula close to the small town of Cavtat is the stunning hotel Croatia, the views are amazing with either parkland or the Adriatic visible from every room in the hotel, peace and tranquillity give no hint of the hotels proximity to the local town and the pine trees that offer their heady scent only add to the sense of calm that envelopes all that stay here – for location this hotel stands out amongst some very worthy opponents.

If you are staying in lively Dubrovnik then a hotel in the old town is a rare thing indeed, the Pucuc Palace Hotel is not only one of the only two hotels but it also boasts a well deserved five stars, small intimate and very very exclusive this hotel offers a somewhat quirky touch – no pool or spa here but who needs them when you have exclusive access to the hotels motorboats. More than luxury though this is a true slice of historic Croatia with unrivalled grandeur thrown in for good measure, this hotel is where those that want to be seen really do want to be seen.

Croatian food is gloriously diverse, from paprika infused sausages to dry cured hams and smoked cheeses from fresh seafood to hearty spiced stews – every sense is piqued when you eat like the locals, the sights and smells enhancing the varied flavours of the region; from rustic to fine dining Croatia has it all and dining out can be as simple or as refined as you choose.

The city of Dubrovnik is well known for its seafood, these jewels from the sea are best enjoyed in simple recipes allowing the ingredients to speak for themselves; always ask for the speciality of the day, the hand picked best of the catch may sometimes surprise but will always delight. Orsan in the marina overlooking the yacht club is a perfect example of an unpretentious restaurant serving excellent seafood dishes; the Dalmatian favourite of octopus salad is said to be outstanding in this lovely little venue.

A visit to the historical coastal city of of Dubrovnik is essential and the best way to see the beauty of the city is to walk the walls that surround the old town, the walls in the south with their views over the Adriatic are simply unmissable. Whilst in the city make time to see the sights, the old town boasts many treasures such as an 18th century Cathedral along with a stunning 14th century Monastery and it is well worth taking a stroll around the cobbled streets.

The clear blue waters of the Adriatic are perfect for scuba diving and Croatia is fast becoming known for the great diving opportunities that it offers, underwater wrecks, brightly coloured marine life and the blue grotto make these waters quite special; this spectacular scenery along with the highly regulated diving schools makes Croatia a stand out dive destination.

The coastal destinations attract visitors throughout the summer months and the peak season of July-August can be exceptionally busy, although the weather can be less predictable May-June and September-October are considerably quieter and the already reasonable prices are reduced even further.

Dubrovnik is a city filled with pride in its culture and festivals take place throughout the year celebrating arts, music, theatre and the cities heritage, these peak during the summer months with the ‘Summer Festival’ but no matter when you visit this great country there will always be something happening that celebrates its culture and history.

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