Monday, June 15, 2009

The Secrets of the Traveling Eco Bag: Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

Šipan Island
Three flights, a taxi, a boat, a lift from a friendly food purveyor and two days later, we arrive at our first destination off the coast of Croatia. Our room at the Hotel Šipan, a converted olive oil factory, overlooks a lovely port. We sample the local beer, swim in the crystal clear waters and enjoy tranquil sunsets.

At the heart of the bustling city of Split, lies the former palace of Roman Emperor Diocletian built in the 3rd-4th centuries AD. Now a world UNESCO site, the palace remnants and surrounding ancient walls of the old city starkly contrast with the hectic manifestations of modern day life.

Sibenik’s star attraction is the Gothic Renaissance St. James Cathedral built entirely of stone. Carved heads of townspeople who allegedly didn’t contribute to funding cathedral construction adorn its sides. The twisty medieval old town, stunning hilltop fortress and nearby cemetery are also worth visiting.

Krka National Park
A pleasant pathway meanders through Krka National Park leading to spectacular waterfalls formed by naturally occurring travertine walls. The park teems with an amazing variety of flora and fauna.

Vis Island
Closed off to tourism until 1989, the sparsely populated island is just off the beaten path. Its charming harbor villages, secluded alcoves and lush vineyards are best navigated by scooter.

Hvar Island
The darling of Adriatic resorts, there is a magical relaxing quality about Hvar that is quintessentially Mediterranean. We splurged and stayed at the modern chic Riva Hotel. The view from our window resembled a movie set as we watched enormous luxury yachts come and go.

Dubrovnik is hands down one of the world’s best preserved and most beautiful medieval cities. Walking the city walls, perusing the Stradun and strolling past antiquated churches, fountains and stone facades is a legendary experience. Don’t miss sunset drinks at Buza Bar just through an opening in city walls clinging to the rock face above crashing waves, ice cream at Dolce Vita and tasting local wines at the friendly, cozy D'vino Wine Bar.