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Croatia: Merged topics


marktynernyc
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We spent the month of May in Croatia last year and LOVED it. We used Mark's trip reports, esp. for Hvar -- it's an island I don't think you should miss. Rovinj is the nicest town in Istria -- the food (and the architecture) make you think you're in an Italian seaside town. I think we esp. enjoyed a restaurant named Scuba. And Trogir does make a much nicer base than Split. Be aware that just "wandering" in August will be difficult since Croatia is jammed with (mostly Italian) vacationers and finding a place to stay on the spur of the moment can be difficult. I would book now if at all possible. You will love Croatia too, I'm sure.

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My husband and I will be spending 10 days in Croatia at the beginning of July. Our plan is to stay in Dubrovnik for 3 days and then head to one of the islands. We'd like to find a place that is more secluded, low-key. We would like to be near a beach / place to swim and have access to good restaurants. Other than that we don't care about nightlife...just relaxation.

I tried Hotel Skalinda on Hvar, but it is booked. Just sent a message to Palmizana, so we'll see what they see. Any other suggestions?

Also, I need a Dubrovnik hotel suggestion as well. Thanks.

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Are you opposed to renting an apartment? July (and August) are peak season - hotels are probably very hard to come by now. For laid back - Zavala and the other villages in that area are secluded, you'll need a car though. There is an area near Jelsa that locals really like - I'll have to find a map and check the name - but once again, you'll have to rent an apartment. There are also some villages east of Jelsa that are very secluded - check:

http://www.hvar.hr/

http://www.island-hvar.net/

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This place is located on Scedro - a small island located across from Zavala.

Can't vouch for it but it does sound interesting - not to mention secluded:

http://www.adventure-island.net/English.html

The area between Jelsa and Verboska is Vitarnja -

supposedly lots of little coves.

As for other islands - Vis might be another consideration.

I only did a day trip there but am staying in Komiza this September.

http://dalmacija.net/komiza.htm

For real remote - Lastovo

http://www.lastovo-tz.net/index.html.

One other option might be a 'robinson caruso' apartment i

n the Kornati - up near Zadar.

I liked Brac however it's one of the most popular tourist resort

islands. An overlooked nearby island is Solta - I haven't visited yet but....

http://www.solta.hr/eng/index.htm

Not sure if you're in the US - but if you are, you may want to call

or email the Croatian Tourism Board in NYC - they have great free

beautiful brochures and could probably help you narrow your focus.

Croatian National Tourist Office:

http://us.croatia.hr

tel. 800-829-4416.

Free brochures and maps.

Any other questions feel free to ask....

-Mark

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Try this wonderful house about 15 minutes' walk along the coast from the town of Hvar. Whatever you do, do it NOW -- as Mark says, July and August are peak season and it will only get harder to find a place as time goes by. Enjoy Croatia - it's wonderful!

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  • 1 month later...
:rolleyes: We will be going to Croatia (Dubrovnik, Split, Bled, Montenegro) in a bit, and need lots of advice. Where should we go to eat? What are the yummiest indigenous foods there? What kinds of street foods should we try? What should I make sure to bring home with me that I can cook/bake with? Are there any types of foods or wines NOT PERMITTED to take back to the states? I heard that Croatian fig jam is supposed to be wonderful. Anyone tried it?
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Croatian food, at least on the coast, is pretty good. The main thing is seafood (especially grilled fish) which is quite good. Restaurants will show you several fish; you pick what you like and pay by weight. Octopus salad is a specialty; I ate a lot of that when I was there.

There's also a strong Italian influence: smoked ham ("prsut"); risotto; pasta. Similarly, bean soup is a local specialty that I enjoyed; it's creatively called "fazul".

I found it a little difficult to find actual restaurants; there are more bars & cafes than anything else, or fast food places (some of which are quite good). In Split, though, we liked Konoba Varos. Get the fish.

I have some photos and discussion of my recent trip to Split (including food) here, here, here, and here.

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Croatian food, at least on the coast, is pretty good.  The main thing is seafood (especially grilled fish) which is quite good.  Restaurants will show you several fish; you pick what you like and pay by weight.  Octopus salad is a specialty; I ate a lot of that when I was there.

There's also a strong Italian influence: smoked ham ("prsut"); risotto; pasta.  Similarly, bean soup is a local specialty that I enjoyed; it's creatively called "fazul".

I found it a little difficult to find actual restaurants; there are more bars & cafes than anything else, or fast food places (some of which are quite good).  In Split, though, we liked Konoba Varos.  Get the fish.

I have some photos and discussion of my recent trip to Split (including food) here, here, here, and here.

Thanks so much, Andrew! Your pictures are lovely. And how I love risotto. I will make it a point to learn to say in Croatian, "Where can I purchase a chainsaw?" :laugh:
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I took a trip to Croatia over Easter starting at Dubrovnik, heading up the coast to Split, hopping to the island of Hvar, and hiking to the beautiful waterfalls of the national park Plitvika. In dubrovnik the best meal i had was at Nautika right outside the old city walls. A little more expensive but a great meal. I shared a whole John Dory with my friend in a truly memorable dinner. It overlooks a small cove and is on the water. Seafood and Squid Ink Risottos are a pretty popular dish as well. Definitely go for a walk along the city walls which is a few kilometers long. There's a small tiki bar outside the city walls alongside the ocean surrounded by nothing but rocks and water. Inside the city are only two hotels i think and both pretty expensive. If you don't want to spend that kind of money there are some private rooms available that can be quite nice and inexpensive. They have some decent wine specifically i remember a white called Grasevina or something like that. Also they have istrian truffles which are quite enjoyable.

In Split there was a great seafood restaurant right next to the small fish market off the main walking street. Plenty of cafes and restaurants along the water. Diocletians palace(roman ruin).

Yield to Temptation, It may never come your way again.

 --Lazarus Long

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In Split there was a great seafood restaurant right next to the small fish market off the main walking street. 

It sounds like you might be talking about Konoba Varos; that's where it was located. The fish market is great, by the way; it's small, but fun.

Plenty of cafes and restaurants along the water. 

Right, thanks for reminding me: we particularly liked Bobis, along the Riva. Great pastries there. Croatian coffee isn't so great in my experience (not enough Italian influence, I guess), but the Austrians left their mark on the pastry.

Diocletians palace(roman ruin).

Definitely. You sorta can't avoid it. The local archaeological museum is a little out of the way, but it's first-rate. And for real archaeology geeks, you can visit the ruins of Salona, the Roman provincial capital: it's about 20 minutes away on a local bus.

Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)
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This is the view from the balcony of Restaurant Nautika in Dubrovnik

gallery_2507_3284_800952.jpg

The little tiki bar on the rocks and water in Dubrovnik

gallery_2507_3284_1041809.jpg

The view of the Dubrovnik from the city walls.

gallery_2507_3284_48409.jpg

Some huge fish in the display case of a restaurant in Mali Ston. Mali Ston is a wonderful seafood town right on a little cove on the way from dubrovnik to split.

gallery_2507_3284_34216.jpg

Dubrovnik by night

gallery_2507_3284_1044070.jpg

Yield to Temptation, It may never come your way again.

 --Lazarus Long

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Oh boy... This takes me back. To a misspent youth. I've got a great piece of culinary advice, but it's so dated, it probably would do you no good -- so I'll admit it, I'm just bringing this up in the hopes that anyone might know what I'm talking about...

I spent a couple of weeks in this area -- in the 80s, when it was still called Yugoslavia. I was in Split, and distinctively remember Diocletian's palace (and how the forward-thinking architect had created a basement, that was an exact replica of the ground floor, thus ensuring that future generations would be able to enjoy the splendor of the palace, even if the ravages of time and warfare had destroyed the stuff on top -- and how the basement was a treasure throve since it had become a dump for the folks living in the palace).

But most of our time (about two weeks) were spent on an island. Having googled the maps, I THINK it might have been Hvar, but I'm not at all certain. I don't think it was Brac, because I remember the island was outside another island. Thus, it could also have been Vis, or Krk.

Wherever this was, the one culinary thing I can advice on, was a fantastic lamb dish that I had.

It had to be ordered 24 hours in advance. The restaurant was an out-door kind of affair -- I wasn't much into food at all back then, so I never thought much about where any other dishes might have been prepared, but there was a big firepit; a big grill, where things were prepared... And this special lamb dish that we ordered (it was a two person dish) was made by digging up the coals, dumping an iron plate down, placing the lamb on top of that, and then covering it with an iron bell, or dome. Then the coals were raked back, and the whole thing was covered. I have no idea how many hours the thing sat there. Now that I've taken a serious interest in food, and cooking, I'd really like to know what the hell this dish was, because even if I know that I was just a young fool when I tasted it, I do remember that I thought it was fantastic.

And of course the main purpose of ordering this dish, was to impress... And it worked, even for a group of young hooligans -- everyone noticed how there was some special deal going on over at the firepit; lotsa commotion as they dug the thing out, and then brought the meal to our table. My buddy and I desperately attempted to appear aloof while casually explaining that oh yeah, we just ordered this local dish that they tend to do so well on the island... :rolleyes: I do know that about half of the crew placed an order for the dish that night, heheh. Good times.

Well, if anyone knows where this might have been -- or of course, what the dish was -- I'd be sincerely grateful to know...

One last thing I remember about the place, is that it had a nudist beach, and also a topless beach. These two beaches were separated by some cliffs, and ironically enough, there was a monastery up above it all -- I always thought that was particularly cruel on those poor monks.

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Grub, there IS a fort/monastery of some sort on a hill atop the island of Hvar. When i get back to my home computer i'll see if i can upload a pic or two of it. Hvar was a gorgeous island although not the cheapest by far.

Yield to Temptation, It may never come your way again.

 --Lazarus Long

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The fort/monastery at the top of Hvar Island

gallery_2507_3284_631335.jpg

The view of Hvar from above

gallery_2507_3284_1360644.jpg

Hvar Harbor and Hotel Palace

gallery_2507_3284_132571.jpg

The sun setting on Hvar

gallery_2507_3284_430756.jpg

The market in Split near Diocletian's Palace

gallery_2507_3284_766579.jpg

A butcher's window in the market

gallery_2507_3284_304003.jpg

A hike to see the waterfalls in Plitvika National Park

gallery_2507_3284_1885838.jpg

Yield to Temptation, It may never come your way again.

 --Lazarus Long

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:rolleyes::rolleyes: Thanks everyone for sharing. John Dory for 2, huh? Great pics! I can hardly wait to use my new camera on our trip. I imagine I'll be able to shoot some great sunrises and sunsets ( Not to mention the food!!!). I am familiar with the slow cooked lamb dish, but can't remember the name of it. Think it begins with an M. There is a lovely restaurant in Midtown, here in the city, that prepares it, though not exactly the same way! You have to order it a day in advance too. So, please tell me, what foods and wines did you bring back home with you? What can I look forward to sending home to my kiddies, who are all foodies too?
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Grub, the dish I am thinking of is MECHOUI. Cooked for many many hours. I hope this is what you were referring to. If you are/were a David Rosengarten fan, he did a segment on this when he was still on the Food Channel.

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Sandra-- Please PM me with details of your trip! We will be going in the fall. I'd love to know where and what you ate,and what local goodies you brought back home with you. Thanks sooooooooo much!

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Oh boy... This takes me back. To a misspent youth. I've got a great piece of culinary advice, but it's so dated, it probably would do you no good -- so I'll admit it, I'm just bringing this up in the hopes that anyone might know what I'm talking about...

I spent a couple of weeks in this area -- in the 80s, when it was still called Yugoslavia. I was in Split, and distinctively remember Diocletian's palace (and how the forward-thinking architect had created a basement, that was an exact replica of the ground floor, thus ensuring that future generations would be able to enjoy the splendor of the palace, even if the ravages of time and warfare had destroyed the stuff on top -- and how the basement was a treasure throve since it had become a dump for the folks living in the palace).

But most of our time (about two weeks) were spent on an island. Having googled the maps, I THINK it might have been Hvar, but I'm not at all certain. I don't think it was Brac, because I remember the island was outside another island. Thus, it could also have been Vis, or Krk.

Wherever this was, the one culinary thing I can advice on, was a fantastic lamb dish that I had.

It had to be ordered 24 hours in advance. The restaurant was an out-door kind of affair -- I wasn't much into food at all back then, so I never thought much about where any other dishes might have been prepared, but there was a big firepit; a big grill, where things were prepared... And this special lamb dish that we ordered (it was a two person dish) was made by digging up the coals, dumping an iron plate down, placing the lamb on top of that, and then covering it with an iron bell, or dome. Then the coals were raked back, and the whole thing was covered. I have no idea how many hours the thing sat there. Now that I've taken a serious interest in food, and cooking, I'd really like to know what the hell this dish was, because even if I know that I was just a young fool when I tasted it, I do remember that I thought it was fantastic.

And of course the main purpose of ordering this dish, was to impress... And it worked, even for a group of young hooligans -- everyone noticed how there was some special deal going on over at the firepit; lotsa commotion as they dug the thing out, and then brought the meal to our table. My buddy and I desperately attempted to appear aloof while casually explaining that oh yeah, we just ordered this local dish that they tend to do so well on the island... :rolleyes: I do know that about half of the crew placed an order for the dish that night, heheh. Good times.

Well, if anyone knows where this might have been -- or of course, what the dish was -- I'd be sincerely grateful to know...

One last thing I remember about the place, is that it had a nudist beach, and also a topless beach. These two beaches were separated by some cliffs, and ironically enough, there was a monastery up above it all -- I always thought that was particularly cruel on those poor monks.

the dish is called Peka (sp?) it is sometimes called the Croatian national dish and it is quite an elusive thing to find on the islands.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to track it down and was eventually guided by a cab driver in Korcula to a small place up in the hills where they agreed to make it for us. We spent a couple of hours waiting for it to be done and the process was a very interesting one, but our story did not have the greatest of endings as it turned out the final dish they served us was not very good. i will try to dig up the pictures and post them here.

i should say though that i think that in the right cooks hands this could be a delicious dish. if you manage to find a place that will make it for you by all means try it, its a real experience.

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"....the dish is called Peka (sp?) it is sometimes called the Croatian national dish and it is quite an elusive thing to find on the islands...."

Peka, I think in loose terms means, under the bell. I've had lamb and octopus cooked in this method on Brac and Hvar. While the lamb was good the octopus was fantastic.

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Great, guys -- thanks a bunch! I never thought I'd figure that out. I did a quick search for Peka, and I'm sure that's the dish. I doubt I'll be back in Croatia any time soon, so finding someone to cook it for me is probably out of the question, but at least if I know what it is, I can search for a recipe -- maybe something to try out during a camping trip or something, heheh.

Thanks. Oh and yeah, if you got any pictures of it, I'd really like to see those...

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Croatia Trip Report - 2006

We recently returned from a great trip to Croatia (June 30 – July 10). Our goal for this trip was to relax, and to enjoy some good food. We weren’t so concerned with seeing all of the sights, and we didn’t try to stick to a budget. We certainly could have seen more and spent less…but we’re very happy with the way things worked out.

June 30 – Depart London Gatwick on Croatia Airlines

6:30 PM Depart – Arrived late - 11 PM

We arranged for a car from the hotel to pick us up (20 Euros). I know this was much more expensive than taking a taxi, which would have been just as easy, but it was nice to have someone meet us and whisk us away in air conditioning (it was hot that day). I think we’d take a taxi the next time.

Villa Dubrovnik was fantastic! Our room wasn’t very large, but it was clean and comfortable. The common rooms screamed ‘lounge here’, and the views of Dubrovnik and the sea were beautiful. The staff was always ready to assist. Oh, and the Air Conditioning was a gift! I like that this is a small hotel (40 rooms). As a side note, we heard that there will be a major renovation this year (Oct.), so I expect the hotel will only get better.

July 1 – Dubrovnik

Explored, relaxed – it was a super hot day. There were two cruise ships in the harbor, so the town was a bit crowded. We tried to schedule our time in Dubrovnik either early or later in the day so that we would miss the crowds.

Lunch - Buffet Kamenice on Gunduliceva poljana – 178 kuna

Mixed green salad and Seafood Risotto

Good solid food, in a convenient location.

Dinner – Konoba Pjatanca – Kobcepska 2 - 200 kuna

Mixed green salad

Grilled Squid

Scampi

We didn’t feel like venturing too far from the hotel, and this place was right down the road. The scampi was fantastic, sweet and tasty. The grilled squid was also nicely done. The owner poured us some of his homemade brandy, which almost left me without a throat. J I know, I’m just not an experienced brandy drinker.

July 2 – Dubrovnik

Walked the city walls, relaxed, swam. Two smaller cruise ships in the harbor.

Dinner – Ekvinocijo – 321 kuna

Mixed Salad

Stuffed Squid (with prust and cheese) – great, unusual taste

Dalmatian fish three ways – huge platter of fish – Orada, Dentist, Scorpion fish

This was a really nice meal. The restaurant was off the main drag, so it had a bit of an exclusive feel (not fancy though). The owners / people who worked there seemed very proud of their offerings. The fish platter was good, but it was a bit much – fish, fish, and more fish.

July 3 – Dubrovnik

Walked, drank espresso, ate gelato (a daily occurrence), swam, bought a painting.

Dinner – Sesame – 203 kuna

I have to say I was a bit disappointed with this place. The food was just OK, and the prices were higher than other places. Oh, and this was the first place to give us the tear-open hand towels, as opposed to the dish with warm water and lemon. J

Mixed Salad with cheese and prust

Shrimp soup

Sesame risotto (shellfish and fish)

Mussels grandmother’s style (cold with white wine sauce)

July 4 – Dubrovnik – Mali Ston - Brela

Gulliver rent a car (our hotel arranged for the rental the night before) delivered a car to our hotel at noon. 460 Kuna + 200 K for dropping off in Split.

Drove to Mali Ston. We almost decided to keep driving by, but changed our mind and stopped. I am so glad we did. This is a cute little town.

Kapetoanova Kuca – 232 kuna

Oyster soup

Mixed salad

Mixed Shellfish platter

Espresso x 2

We really enjoyed this meal.

Continued our drive up the coast. Stopped in Bratus, which is a small beach town. There were lots of vacationing families. No hotels, but there were Sobes and apartments. Decided to keep driving to Brela. This is a neat little town. Stopped at the Hotel Soline and found a room. The hotel was recently remodeled and we got a huge, very modern room for 918 Kuna.

Dinner - Feral – 192 Kuna – One of the best meals we ate in Croatia!

Tomato and young cheese

Pasta with clam strips – the pasta was homemade and unlike anything I have ever eaten!!

Grilled squid

Pancakes with chocolate

I think we’d go back to Croatia just to eat here!

July 5 – Brela – Split – Vis/Komiza

We took a morning swim in Brela before checking out and making our way to Split. Returning the car was a nightmare, as we couldn’t find the drop-off point. Thankfully we gave ourselves plenty of time before the ferry departure. Bought tickets for the ferry to Vis – 82 Kuna each. The ferry was about 2 ½ hours and a nice ride. We spent part of the time upstairs on the deck, and the other part drinking espresso below. When we arrived in Vis the bus was waiting to transport people to Komiza. It was a very easy transition. Tickets were 20 kuna and the ride was about 20 minutes.

Unfortunately, I made reservations at Hotel Bisevo – 572 Kuna. We’re easy-going travelers, but I have to say that we were not happy with this hotel. It was clean, but the rooms were hot, and the hotel seemed to be full of kids attending a summer camp at the hotel? The restaurant/bar below the hotel was also active all night. Anyway, we checked in to the hotel, and promptly went to a tourist office (Darlic and Darlic) to find private accommodation for the next night.

Dinner – Konoba Bako (www.konobabako.hr)– 300 Kuna

Salads

Octopus in red wine

Grilled Orada

The setting for this restaurant couldn’t be better, right on the water with fantastic views of the town. The fish was so fresh it wasn’t even cleaned yet. Once we picked our fish, we watched the ‘cleaner guy’ walk over to the cleaning podium right behind us.

July 6 – Komiza (Island of Vis)

Lazy, lazy, lazy…Checked in to our new accommodation. We got an efficiency apartment next door to the owner of Darlic and Darlic. The room was large and airy, with a balcony overlooking the harbor. We were close to the main old town street, but far away enough not to hear everyone walking at night. AC, SAT TV, kitchenette. Spent ½ the day in a café drinking espresso, and the other half swimming. We bought cheese and meat from a store for lunch, and had a slice of pizza for dinner. It was a great day.

July 7 – Komiza

More lounging. Lunch at one of the restaurants on the harbor (sorry, I can’t remember the name). Pan fried fish, scampi and truffle risotto. Good, solid meal. The truffle taste was amazing! 190 Kuna

Dinner – Konoba Jasmina – 300 kuna

Pag cheese and prust

Grilled fish platter with everything you can imagine coming from the sea

We really liked this place. It is on a roof terrace with a great view and food was great. The owner and waitress were also very friendly.

July 8 – Komiza

Dinner – Jastozera - 745 kuna!!!

Salad

Lobster with spaghetti

This was a disappointing meal. The spaghetti sauce was a bit sweet, and eating the lobster was very messy (we should have known). There was nothing special about this meal, which was a shame, given the price. The atmosphere was nice though. Seating is over the water where the lobsters are kept in giant baskets, but the food just wasn’t that great. Maybe it was because we ordered lobster; perhaps we should have stayed with grilled fish. I think next time we would go back to Jasmina or Bako instead.

July 9 – Komiza – Split – Trogir

Checked out of our room and took the 10:45 bus to Vis. This gave us about 20 minutes to get our ferry tickets and board. The ride to split was uneventful and we enjoyed another sunny day on deck. Once in Split we walked to the bus depot and purchased a ticket to Trogir - 14 kuna. The next bus wasn’t leaving for 30 minutes, so we went to one of the food stands to buy something to eat. We got a huge sour cream, mushroom, cheese, and ham filled crepe. Yum! The bus to Trogir was a short ride. We had already booked an apartment through a reservation with Hotel Pasike. The hotel was booked, but they referred us to a newly renovated apartment right behind the Hotel Concordia. The apartment was fairly large and clean, the AC worked well, SAT TV, and kitchen. Breakfast was included at the Hotel Pasike. Oh, transport to the airport the next day was also included! 550 kuna. Apartmani Pomenic.

Dinner – Hotel Pasike – 190 kuna

This was the night of the final World Cup game, and the obligatory flat screen TV was mounted on the wall. We ate dinner and stayed for the game, which was fun.

Salad

Seafood Risotto

Stuffed squid in black sauce with polenta

This was a great meal. Menu items were standard, with a few interesting twists.

July 10 – Trogir – Airport

The hotel driver picked us up and delivered us to the airport. Quick ride.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

So, we had a great trip. We came home well rested and about five pounds heavier. Here are some misc. notes:

· Food prices listed above are approximate. We shared meals many times. Sometimes we had a glass of wine, sometimes not. We always had mineral water.

· We used the Cadogan Croatia travel guide, and were very happy with it.

· When staying at an apartment, it is best to ask if they provide towels – both for the bath and for the beach. We ended up buying beach towels.

· Sand shoes would be nice since the beaches are so rocky. We did without, but it probably would have been nice to have.

· We managed to find ATMs everywhere we went.

· We didn’t really see anything that we felt compelled to buy. I think the best bet would be olive oil, and homemade wine or brandy.

· We wanted to avoid the crowds, which is why we chose Vis as our island destination. Komiza was a great little village, and we would be very happy to go back!

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