You’ve probably heard of the term island hopping but if not, to put it simply – it’s the term for wandering through islands, from one to the other, and meeting the local life, beauty of the nature, culture, traditions, and probably new accents since every island comes with its own specific ae (Croatian short phrase which is used mostly in Dalmatia, and it means that you agree with something your interlocutor said or you agree with something you’ve said).
But since the pandemic isn’t over and traveling isn’t safe yet, why not to daydream about those beautiful beaches, crystal clear sea, palm trees, and clear sky with sun above us? Also, can it hurt if we make plans so that we’re ready once everything is okay and safe again? No? Okay, let’s go a bit island hopping!
Istria & Kvarner
Island hopping is possible through the entire Croatian coast. From Istria and Kvarner to Dalmatia and southern parts. But let’s start with the northern coast.
Istria is a beautiful destination for peaceful vacation and exploring, as well as for dining and wining! Its specific Mediterranean cuisine in the combination with pasta will just blow you away. In Istria, make sure to visit the Saint Andrew’s Island or in Croatian Crveni otok. The island is situated near Rovinj and it has 3 amazing restaurants which will seduce everyone’s palate! Restaurant Lanterna, Pizzeria Birichino, and restaurant Lavanda awaits you on this small island – there, you can taste classic Istrian dishes, pasta, pizzas, seafood, and more!
Let’s go back to the mainland just to catch a ferry to another island. From the city Brestova, you can find a regular car ferry that runs to Porozina on the island of Cres. Porozina is a small village where you can find peaceful vacation while looking at the sunset and amazing horizon. There, you can enjoy classic fast food or try and catch some fish for dinner! From Porozina, visit Cres town. For tasting seafood and Mediterranean dishes, there are restaurants Nono Frane and Melin, while for more relaxed dishes such as pizzas and pasta, visit pizzeria and spaghetteria Luna Rossa! Now, let’s visit Lošinj and Mali Lošinj. Cres and Lošinj are connected with a bridge, while town Mali Lošinj is located on the southern part of the island. Bocca Vera is an amazing restaurant where you can taste amazingly combined seafood and aromas. The similar menu awaits you in restaurant Rosemary, while for more relaxed cuisine, visit pizzeria-restaurant PapaBepi! Since we’re already on Lošinj, why not visit Veli Lošinj too? Or is it too much? Let’s leave this option open, get back to Cres and head out with ferry to Krk. And from there on the island of Rab. Croatian islands are quite well connected with ferries, so it is really hard to choose which islands to visit and which to skip. But that’s how the phrase island hopping came to be – from hopping from one ferry to the other in order to visit a bunch of islands (or just a couple of them, there is no rule!), meet their culture, taste their food, and drink their wine.
Dalmatia & Southern Parts
Where do you want to start? Brač, Šolta? Maybe Hvar, Vis, Korčula, Mljet? Let’s start with Split, the harbor for all these mentioned islands. From there, you can go anywhere. But really – anywhere. First stop – Šolta. A beautiful island with breathtaking views. And food. There are restaurants all over the island, but the ones which surely are a must-visit are restaurants Pasarela Sampjer, and konoba Momčin Dvor. Thank me later!
From Šolta, let’s visit Brač, an island with the most recognizable beach ever. But what about the restaurants there? The island has so many restaurants that it is hard to name just a few of them, but if I need to, I’d recommend agritourism Kaštil Gospodnetić so you can enjoy true sensation of flavors and meet the beauties of the sea depth! Hvar is known for its vibrant nightlife (when the life was quite different then it is these days) but when it comes to the food, some of the best restaurants to visit are Fig Hvar, konoba Ringo, and Lola Street Food. Now, let’s hop and visit Korčula (my favorite but I’m trying to be objective!). In Vela Luka, the must-visit restaurants are Pod bore and Lučica, while in the town Korčula, visit konoba Maslina (objective totally). Next islands on the list are the beautiful Vis, amazing Lastovo, and breathtaking Mljet. Well, we can’t list all the restaurants, but we can name a couple more. But let’s keep it short, shall we? Vis and konoba Stončica, Lastovo and konoba Bačvara, Mljet and konoba Galija. Short and cute!
I know there are many more islands and many more restaurants but luckily, we have enough time to write and list them in the coming weeks and months until traveling is safe again. But until then, let’s keep daydreaming and making plans for all those hot summer days and relaxed summer nights. And what is more refreshing than a glass of wine?
Croatian coast and islands hide really amazing wines – from those which are sweet to those which leaves that amazing aftertaste on your palate.
In Istria and Kvarner, you can taste both continental and Mediterranean varieties of wine but the ones which certainly stand out are Malvazija istarska, Žlahtina, Muškat bijeli (also known as Muškat momjanski), and Borgonja.
If we travel to the south, you can find Plavac mali, Tribidrag, Pošip, Maraština, Malvasija dubrovačka, Vugava, Merlog, Grenache crni, and more. A lot more. Due to that, you really don’t have to worry about being thirsty. Nor hungry!
Island hopping is certainly interesting vacation idea. You can meet different traditions, dishes, and wines, explore cultures and history, as well as enjoy every day in different cove. Of course, you don’t have to visit 10 islands or more in just one week, but you can plan, find which islands offer you the best experience, vacation, relaxation, or adventure. You’re the boss so take a map and let’s daydream!
Sources: croatiatraveller.com, vinacroatia.hr