Day One - Split
Split City Tour
Spend the morning exploring the city of Split!
Split is home to Diocletian's Palace built in 305AD for the emperor. It's the oldest living monument on the planet that is still in use and is one of the best preserved monuments in the world. The historic core of Split consists of the remains of the palace and this is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The walls were designed to be earthquake proof, featuring limestone and brick on top, which creates a cushioning capability. The ceilings are Travertine style, and hollow and porous inside.
Many of Game of Thrones most famous scenes were filmed in the basement of Diocletian's Palace, including the heartbreaking scenes when Daenerys Targaryen had to chain up her dragons.
Diocletian is actually quite a notable Roman emperor, even though he is mostly forgotten in history. He was not born into royalty, he fought his way to the top, rising up the military ranks up to commander. He stabilized the empire during his reign as emperor and his reform movements helped to create the empire into a superpower that lasted for another 150 years. However, in the last three years of his rule, he murdered so many Christians during the Diocletianic Persecution that the Senate and Roman Empire destroyed all his monuments and artifacts so that he is mostly forgotten in the history of the Roman Empire.
Lunch at ZOI
ZOI feature Mediterranean cuisine sharing a wall with Dioceltian's Palace, which are 1700 years old and featuring gorgeous views of Split which are 1700 years old. This restaurant is located in the walls because the Conservation Office of the World was formed in 1864 to preserve Diocletian’s monuments and heirdom.
The food is Michelin star quality with a great selection of wine. The menu changes with the season, but make sure to order the Croatian pasta if it's available.
Here's a sample meal:
Starter: Hokkaido Pumpkin Soup with Chestnut
Main: Croatian pasta from the island of Korčula made with Croatian scampi, cheese, and broad beans.
Dessert: Chestnut Cake
ZOI | Address: Obala Hrvatskog Narodnog Preporoda 23 |Phone: 021 637 491
Ice Park in Dardin
After lunch, head to the Ice Park in Dardin for some ice skating fun. The rink is open from 10am to 9:30pm in accepts skaters on the top of every hour. It's 812 square meters and requires some skill if you are going to navigate through some of the tight corners. If you are less adventurous, just stay in the non-windy main area of the rink!
If you don't want to skate at all, enjoy coffee, tea, and Croatian street food at the tables outdoors!
Dinner at Restaurant Perivoj
This restaurant is located in a beautiful garden setting, it was very cold in the wintertime but the outdoor area was packed! There were ample heat lamps all around. It's especially festive during Christmas time with lights everywhere. Restaurant Perivoj serves delicious traditional Croatian cuisine.
I recommend everything that we had!
Smoked Swordfish Carpaccio on top of orzo with cranberry. The house bread is extremely pillowy and soft and I love how they shaved the butter into strips. Their risotto with shrimp was delicate and comforting. I absolutely loved the paper-wrapped steamed sea-bass with local potatos and vegetables. It doesn't look like much, but the fish was silky and soft. Also make sure to order the Dalmatian flan with cherry jam.
Restaurant Perivoj | Address: Slaviceva 44, Split 21000 | Phone: +385 21 787 585
This hotel is centrally located and all the Split destinations mentioned above are in walking distance of the hotel. This hotel is one of the newer hotels in town and has all the modern conveniences while located in one of the best parts of the city. The food at the hotel is also quite delicious. Make sure to go to the breakfast buffet, which features all the traditional fixings but what's really special is that they also feature some local Croatian specialties like the ones below.
Hotel Cornaro Dinner Items
Day One - Klis and Trogir
Tour the Fortress of Klis
Start off the morning exploring Fortress of Klis! It's a Game of Thrones filming destination featuring the famous Mhysa scene with Khaleesi.
It's located in Klis and its a medieval fortress that was built by an ancient Illyrian tribe and was a royal castle where many Croatian kings lived. You won't fight the crowds to visit this monument, which is surprising because....Game of Thrones?! You can easily tour around and shoot all the photos that you like.
Afterwards, head over to the nearby town of Trogir. It's a small, picturesque seaside town with just a population of a little over 10K. It's just 17 miles from Split and the center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's an extremely photogenic town, so just stroll around, shop, get photos.
Visit the St. Lawrence Cathedral
visit the most notable monument in the city: the St. Lawrence Cathedral also known simply as the Trogir Cathedral, or St. John by the locals. It's a Roman Catholic cathedral that took several centuries to build so it features many different styles of architecture in its finished design.
Recommended Restaurant: Calebotta
At Calebotta, try authentic homestyle Croatian dishes. If you haven't had it before, you should definitely try the pašticada, a dish of slow cooked stewed beef over gnocchi. It's one of the dishes that is served at many Croatia celebrations, including weddings.
Calebotta | Address: Gradska Ulica 23, Trogir 21220, Croatia | Phone: +385 21 796 413
Watch a show at the Croatian National Theater
Leave Trogir to head back to Split, where you should catch a show at the Croatian National Theatre before dinner. Also known as the HNK Split, this theatre is a mainstay in the city since 1893 where you can watch the best of the citie's theatre, opera, and ballets.
There are about 300 performances hosted at the theatre per year. It is also host to two major festivals. The first is the Split Summer Festival (Splitsko ljeto) featuring jazz, classical music, art and more. It's also host to the Days of Marulić (Marulićevi dani) , a festival celebrating the best Croatia playwriting of the year.
Check the schedule online to book your tickets in advance. In the wintertime, try to catch the Nutcracker ballet!
Croatian National Theater Split | Address: Trg Gaje Bulata 1, 21000, Split, Croatia | Phone: +385 21 344 999
Recommended Restaurant: Štorja
Make sure to visit Štorja to get your Croatian seafood fix. The seafood is super fresh and its perfect for family style. I was also impressed by how passionate the owner was about his restaurant and food.
Day 3: Ston and Dubrovnik
In the morning, depart from Split for an approximately 3 hour drive to Ston, on the way to Dubrovnik.
Ston City Tour
One of the main sights in Ston are the Walls of Ston. They are 5km long and are also known affectionately as the "European Walls of China" They were built as defensive walls in the 14th and 15th centuries and make for a good touristy hike!
Ston is all about the oysters, mussels, and salt! You can also opt to check out the local oyster far, or the saltworks where salt is harvested locally. Just 20% of the salt harvested here is used for cooking, the rest is used for industrial purposes.
March is the best season for oysters in Ston and the oysters grown here have flat shells. They are a sensitive species of oysters and need 1-3 years before they are harvested. They are harvested by hand so they tend to be on the pricier side. The price is about 10 kuna per oyster and they don't produce enough oysters to export, so you must come to Ston to try them!
Recommended Restaurant: Konoba Bakus
But more importantly, you must try the fresh seafood! Ston's oysters and mussels are famous all around the world. There's a wide array of risottos and pastas on the menu and plenty of meat dishes if you want to mix it up. Don't leave without ordering the oysters and a huge plate of steamed mussels.
Depart for the one hour trip to Dubrovnik. Rest at your hotel before dinner.
Recommended Restaurant: Ulica kralja
This modern eatery served very traditional yet updated takes on Croatian cuisine. Everything was delicious and many of the menu items were seasonal. I definitely recommend getting the beef tartare and the butternut squash and bacon pasta.
Recommended Hotel: Hotel Excelsior
With gorgeous views of Dubrovnik, this 5-star hotel has historic beauty and has all the modern amenities that you'll need. My laptop broke while on my trip to Dubrovnik and I spent a good portion of the time catching up on work in the business center and I always had it all to myself!
If you come during the summertime, you have access directly into the water for sunbathing
Also convenient is the fact that the hotel is an easy 10 minute walk to the city center.
Day 4: Dubrovnik
Spend the next day exploring all there is to see in beautiful Dubrovnik!
Dubrovnik City Walls Tour
I recommend visiting Dubrovnik in the winter time! I shot amazing photos during my visit and did not have to fight the crowds at all, it was quite empty. Many of the shots that I captures would be impossible to capture during high season, in the summertime because you'll be fighting with wall to wall tourists everywhere that you go.
Beautiful shots like the one before are absolutely effortless to shoot and take zero skill. Dubrovnik is simply stunning and it's hard to take a bad photo of it.
During the city walls tour, you'll encounter a few iconic Game of Thrones moments, from when Khaleesi lost her dragons to the last episode when Jon Snow was last seen sailing away.
Recommended Restaurant: Proto Restaurant
Proto is recommended by Michelin and for good reason. Opened in 1886, its centrally located in Dubrovnik central and features the best of the local seafood made by local chefs. It features a seasonal menu, get the lobster pasta if its in season and I also thoroughly enjoyed the foie gras.
Fish Restaurant Proto | Address: Široka ul. 1, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia | Phone: +385 20 323 234
Explore the Dubrovnik Central
Besides the walls of Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik central is totally picturesque. Cats are treated well in Croatia because historically, they keep the plague out of the cities by catching all the mice! I played with lots of friendly kitties while visiting.
Also, there is plenty of shopping and cute cafes to explore!
Recommended Restaurant: Dalmatino
Dalmatino is a seafood centric restaurant that features traditional Croatian dishes and some of the best Croatian wines. I really enjoyed the fresh grilled fish and the strawberry panna cotta. It's a quiet and intimate restaurant but we were quite loud and they restaurant staff let us enjoy our time there even though some of the other patrons were obviously annoyed!
Dalmatino | Address: Prijeko 15, Dubrovnik 20000, Croatia | Phone: +385 20 323 070
Have a Drink at Dubrovnik's Cave Bar
This underground bar is exactly the same as it's name, you can get your alcohol fix and also enjoy a cup of coffee. There are gorgeous views and it's built into a natural cave, amazing!
Cave Bar "More" | Address: 11-, Šetalište Nika i Meda Pucića 12, 20000, Dubrovnik | Phone: +385 20494200
Day 5: Dubrovnik
View Dubrovnik's Modern Art Museum
There are plenty of artistic experiences in Dubrovnik, one of the most popular is the museum. Spend the morning visiting the Dubrovnik Contemporary Gallery.
Dubrovnik's Modern Art Museum | Address: Frana Supila 9 Dubrovnik 20000
Visit Srđ with a Cable car
Located just a short walk from the city center, ride this cable car to see some of the most stunning views of the city!
It's a quick and beautiful 10 minute ride to the top, where you can stop off as long as you like to hang out at the souvenir shops or grab a meal before taking the trip back down. Tickets for adults are $25 for a round trip ticket.
Dubrovnik Cable Car | Address: Petra Krešimira IV bb, 20000 Dubrovnik | Phone: +385 20 414 355
Recommended Restaurant: Gradska Kavana Arsenall Restaurant
Grab lunch at the very stylish and trendy Gradska Kavana Arsenal restaurant. They are especially known for their coffee and the building is the original building that used to build and service Dubrovnik's ships. If the weather is good, make sure to grab a table at the gorgeous patio. I recommend ordering the beef carpaccio.
Gradska Kavana Arsenal | Address: Pred Dvorom 1, Dubrovnik 20000 | Phone: +385 20 321 202
Go Wine Tasting
This cute little wine bar features a collection of over 60 wines from all around the world and locally also. D’Vino is an intimate setting with a very knowledgable staff. It's definitely a special little oasis in Dubrovnik!
Wine bar D’Vino | Address: Palmotićeva 4a - Dubrovnik Old Town | Phone: +385(0)20321130
Day 6: Cavtat
Cavtat is a totally picturesque little city located 9 miles south of Dubrovnik. There are many shops and restaurants located seaside and a ferry boat that you could take as an option to Dubrovnik. Many luxury boats and yachts also frequent this coastal city.
Spend the morning walking around Cavtat, you can also walk the route around the seaside which should take around 15 minutes. There are plenty of kitties in town to feed and play with.
View Art at the Vlaho Bukovac House
Croatian artist Vlaho Bukovac has an eclectic collection of work throughout the career. Visit his former home, where he lived for his entire childhood. This stone building is well preserved, all the way down to its gardens. Some of his work is super creepy, which I loved!
Recommended Restaurant: Konoba Konavle
This restaurant has recently been renovated and was previously a train depot. It features wines from the region and is reservation only so make sure to plan in advance. It's a boutique family owned restaurant and is surrounding by the mountains and valley and has gorgeous views of the sea. The ingredients used are all fresh from their farm!
Konoba Konavle | Address: Siljeski | Vojski do, 20 210, Cavtat, Konavle 20210 | Phone: +385 98 674 363
After lunch, return to Dubrovnik
Recommended Restaurant: Rozario
This cozy little restaurant is casual and family owned and serves food that you can imagine a regular Croatian family eating at home, my favorite kind of food! It's located in a quiet little street and there is great, attentive service, you can tell that the owner truly cares about the food. I recommend ordering the steak, or the catch of day, which is served with homestyle potatoes and Swiss chard.
Rozario | Address: Prijeko 1, Dubrovnik 20000 | Phone: +385 20 322 015