7 Unforgettable Days in Croatia and Montenegro
One of the great advantages of being a successful luxury travel advisor is being asked to invitation-only sponsored learning trips by my travel partners from around the globe. This allows me to experience first-hand the finest hotels and private tours, giving me insight into significant details that I share with my clients to create personalized, one-of-a-kind itineraries. And let’s face it, they’re super fun! They also give me a chance to build on my relationship with my partners and other travel advisors.
So, when Exeter International invited me to Croatia and Montenegro, I jumped at the chance. Who wouldn’t want to look out on the azure waters of the Adriatic? But this trip turned out to be so much more than I ever expected. And I can’t wait to share with you the details and explain to you why, if you are planning a trip to this part of the world, working with me and Exeter International will elevate your vacation, making it a bright red thread in the fabric of your life.
- The city, a UNESCO Heritage Site, was established in the 7th century and is a gorgeous seaport on the Mediterranean Sea.
- The Old City is surrounded by ancient walls and fortifications built in the Baroque architectural style.
- Dubrovnik was among the first countries to abolish the slave trade in the 15th century. And boy are they proud of this!
- It was bombed extensively in the 1990s
- Game of Thrones was filmed in Dubrovnik
- Located on a cliff overlooking the sea sits Hotel Bellevue, it’s a luxury hotel with stunning views. Completely renovated in spring 2019, it offers 91 different rooms and suites, each with sweeping views of the sea.
- Dubrovnik’s Old Town is within walking distance.
- Below the hotel, guests will have access to a pebble beach.
- The food is fantastic! Including Vapor, a Micheline Guide restaurant, and Nevera, which is situated in a man-made cave and serves freshly caught seafood and exclusive wines.
Private Tour in the Old Town
- We began our tour at Dubrovnik’s main square, the Loggia Loza, and walked to the Rector’s Palace with over 15,000 works on display documenting the economic and cultural history of the city.
- While I truly enjoyed learning about the city’s cool history, I was most excited about seeing the elegant Baroque stairs where arguably the most iconic Game of Thrones scene took place in season five “Walk of Shame”, in which Cersei Lannister was forced to walk naked through the streets of King’s Landing. Don’t judge me 😉
Private Boat trip to Lokrum
- Boating in Croatia is a MUST! There is nothing like being surrounded by astonishing blue waters while sitting on a private yacht.
- We made our way to Lokrum, a small island, with lots to do and wild peacocks roaming free!
- It’s accessible by private boat or ferry.
- You can visit the monastery ruins, hike to the former French garrison, Fort Royal, visit the Iron Throne of Game of Thrones, or do what we did and enjoy a picnic.
Oysters & Wine
- On our way to Montenegro, we stopped in Mali Ston to meet a local oyster farmer and took a 45-minute cruise on his boat to the oyster banks to see how oysters and mussels are being cultivated in the region.
- Afterward, we arrived at his little private island for a picnic lunch hosted by his family. Holy cow were the oysters and mussels incredible!
- At the Vukas family winery.
- I loved the history of this sweet little winery. I learned that the Illyrian tribe of Plarei settled this area and while longing for perfection they worked hard on the poor soil, rich only with stone and sunshine. As Vukas’s forefathers continued seeking perfection, they started growing the wine varietal Plavac Mali on the inaccessible grounds of the Crnjova hill steep slopes. The result was delicious wine!
- It’s a tiny country with 117 beaches and some of the best bird watching in the world.
- It’s a year-round destination with a Mediterranean climate and the peak season is from June to September.
- The spellbinding Boka Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is known for its remarkable beauty, and culture.
- A safe haven for seafarers and sailing craft, Boka Bay is the perfect starting point for exploring the Montenegrin coastline by sea.
- 10% of Montenegro’s surface is covered by 5 National Parks.
The One & Only Portonovi
- This resort is a European jewel. Click here for a video of my room!
- If you decide to go, know that if you book with Beyond Boutique you will receive amazing perks:
- Room Upgrade
- Complimentary Breakfast For Two Per Bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD Credit Per Room
- Early Check-In / Late Check-Out
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- VIP treatment
- There are 105 spacious rooms that feature sleek, modern fireplaces, expansive bathrooms the same size as the bedrooms, as well as large floor-to-ceiling windows and terraces.
- There are even spectacular villas on the property!
- This resort is a foodie’s paradise with three world-class restaurants including
- Le Veranda – influenced by local Montenegro cuisine
- Sabia by Giorgio Locatelli, Michelin starred chef, serving southern Italian
- Tapasake Club is an eclectic venue combining a Japanese restaurant set amid a pool club and a Shisha Lounge.
- The resort offers an array of super fun water and beach sports at the beach club, a private jetty, a state-of-the-art fitness center with private training sessions as well as exercise classes, and daily yoga.
Chenot at One & Only Portonovi
- World-renowned holistic wellness, Chenot offers pioneering treatments scientifically designed to enhance guests’ health
- Hold on to your hats, because I am about to blow you away with the next details:
- 43055 sq’ of Spa area
- 27 treatment rooms
- room with a jacuzzi, hydrotherapy, and cryotherapy treatment
- relaxation areas, an Oriental Hammam, a steam room, a sauna, and an indoor pool!
- But prepare yourself, you are limited to 850 calories a day. I’m desperate to go through this program, but not sure I can handle the restricted diet.
Boka Bay by Private Boat
- Boka Bay is a fjord-like nirvana on Montenegro’s Adriatic Sea. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its extraordinary beauty and culture.
- We had lunch in the hidden gem of Kotor and I fell in love with it. It’s a well-preserved medieval settlement in the Adriatic, frequented by cruise ships. If you are feeling ambitious, you can climb the 1350 steps up to the city and look down this beautiful city. It’s also a great place to do a little shopping.
Massage and Rakija Masterclass
- I was lucky enough to experience a transformative massage. If you go, I highly suggest making reservations early. It shouldn’t be missed!
- Hosted by One&Only Portonovi’s Food & Beverage Manager Marko Lazarevic, the Rakija masterclass had a kick. Rakija is fruit spirits (or fruit brandy) popular in the Balkans. The alcohol content of rakija is 40% ABV and boy does it have a strong taste. I can’t say I will be drinking it regularly, but it was fun to try it.
- If you want to learn more about traveling to the Dalmatian coast, contact Beyond Boutique at email@example.com
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- Toni McClelland is an affiliate of Brownell Travel and Virtuoso. She can be contacted at 732-233-2721 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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