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Hvar Island

Hvar Island is known for its excellent wines (it is very good wine) and is striving for a more Monte Carlo-style ritzy experience. Along the waterfront it’s a party scene, but as you head up the steep hills it gets quieter and more charming. I liked it, and would consider a two night stay to take advantage of the shopping (flowy women’s clothing, jewelry) and high-end dining. The town is a big draw for celebrities and yachters, making it one of the most expensive places to stay in Croatia. We anchored a short water-taxi ride away in Vinogradiske.

We had a quick snack at the very casual but friendly **BEPO, near the bus stop, and a fine dining meal.

For our more formal dinner, **Passarola Restaurant was excellent. It’s expensive and the food didn’t stand out particularly, but our waiter gave us a master class in Hvar and Croatian wines. Setting is very modern, pretty.

We spent a night anchored outside of **Uvala Veli Dolac, a pretty sheltered cove, near Stari Grad. The restaurant itself specializes in traditional Peka (meat under a dome, slow cooked). 


Korčula

Rich in vineyards, olive groves and small villages, and harboring a charming old town, the island of Korčula is the less fancy, and arguably more charming, version of Hvar. We liked it. Quiet coves and small sandy beaches dot the steep southern coast while the northern shore is flatter and more pebbly.

Arguably the best of all Croatian whites is produced from the indigenous grape pošip, and you find a lot of wine made from grk grape. It’s dry, grassy, and delicious.

The jury is out on our rather hippie dinner choice, **Konoba Aterina, in Korcula town itself. Half the table thought it was one of our better meals, the other half was disappointed. Points awarded for small deviations from the almost universally consistent menu. The town also has rather cute boutiques, a good jewelry shopping destination.

I’d consider Korcula for a two night stay. There’s a long stretch of condos along Put Svetog Nikole, just outside the walled city, that have great views, a little more privacy, and offer the chance of a quiet night’s sleep.

One of my favorite swimming spots was on the outskirts of Korcula, looking at the Franciscan monastery on Otok Badija. It’s a stunning setting, with white mountains, green hills, and the lovely local stone.


Ston

Ston is much further off the tourist beaten path, which made me like it even more. Known as a salt-producing town, it was an important military fort of the Ragusan Republic, and the defensive walls circle the area for three miles – the second largest in the world after the Great Wall of China. The walls have been heavily damaged in various wars, and most recently (the 90s I believe) by a major earthquake. A lot of work has gone into repairs, but the area still shows the effects and comes off less polished than other towns in Croatia. Food is more reasonably priced, crowds are minimal. Lots of delicious oysters! Our group voted it one of our top stops of the trip.


We ate a bit inland at **Seosko domaćinstvo Ficović. The setting is gorgeous, very reminiscent of the Italian lakes. Food was too expensive, and we made a fast exit after being eaten alive by bugs. Oysters were great. I’d go back, with bug spray.


Vis

Built by the Venetians in the 17th century, Vis is a series of courtyards and passageways in limestone, overhung with balconies, with steps rising up into the hills behind.

The island  was entirely closed to foreigners in the days of Yugoslavia (as it was used as a naval base), only being opened to visitors in 1989. The island also has an interesting British connection – it was used as a Allied Forces base during World War II. Because it opened so late (and despite the popularity the filming of Mama Mia brought), it’s far less developed than most of the other islands, in a good way.

 It’s not a particularly fancy place; think flip flops and pizza restaurants. I liked it for an overnight stay, and wouldn’t necessarily choose to stay longer on land. Renting scooters was a fun choice – we rode up to **Fort George Croatia, which has very low curb appeal from the outside and opens up to reveal a very stylish interior with great views over the bay.

We had a good meal at **Konoba Kantun, with the usual fish and meat options. The anchovies were especially notable and our surly server entertaining. Ask for a table in the inner (outdoor) courtyard.

Articles: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2018/jul/15/vis-island-croatia-travel-mamma-mia-here-we-go-again

Stončica was another pretty stop for lunch, on Vis island.

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