When I found out I was pregnant two and a half months before my wedding I happily accepted not drinking, not feeling well and not fitting into my Carolina Herrera dress. But I cried when it came to canceling our three week honeymoon to Africa. The one I had spent months planning…and for which we had just put down a huge deposit. Cried so hard that my then-fiancé maybe reconsidered marrying me.
We decided to go on a cute little road trip immediately following our May wedding (Charleston>>Palmetto Bluffs>>Savannah>>Asheville>>Blackberry Farms). And we planned a European honeymoon trip for July. Here, all the details on the latter:
CROATIA AND MONTENEGRO
When: July, 2016
With: My husband
For: 11 days
Day 1: Fly into Split. Not my favorite place in the world. We stayed at the Park Hotel Split which was a giant ashtray disguised as a 5 star hotel, with a vile buffet breakfast. Bad, bad start. Our travel agency sent us to a restaurant that had about 600 seats and 4 customers. Soo we left and went to Perivoj which was a short walking distance AND the number 1 restaurant at the time, according to my TripAdvisor app. The courtyard seating was beautiful, the food was fine.
Day 2: Split to Hvar. We wanted to be cheap so we took the public ferry with all of our luggage. It was fine but crowded and long (closer to 2 hours than 1, despite what people like travel agents will tell you). I slept the entire way while Sam wished we had taken the private boat option. Our hotel in Hvar was the Adriana Spa Hotel. Loved it even if it was a little cheesy. Think: electric colors and a cruise ship-decor vibe. We had an amazing view over the bay. The concierge was fantastic.
Day 3: The highlight of Hvar were the Pakleni Islands, a short boat ride away. Definitely go. The ride itself was beautiful: dolphins jumping up out of the water, etc. The Beach club we found, Laganini, felt very much like our favorite parts of Greece. Get the beds by the water and lounge. Eat lunch at Zori next door – fresh fish and salads. We also went for burgers one night at 50, who knows why but they were really good. We ate them sitting outside in a cute little alley. And we went to Hula Hula for sunset which was a giant frat party – we were the oldest people by a decade and I was pregnant.
Day 4: Hvar (see above)
Day 5: Hvar to Ston to Dubrovnik. Do not do this via car. Take a boat. We drove and it was 6 hours of winding roads. I was almost one of those women who gets murdered on their honeymoon by her husband. We also had to wait for a ferry for two hours in some random port town. Eep. However, our lunch en route in Ston at Kapetanova Kuća (aka Captains’ House) was delicious. The oysters were almost good enough to make us forget about our terrible drive (me more than Sam).
Day 6: Dubrovnik. Stay at Villa Dubrovnik. It’s so pretty even though the basement rooms have a weird smell (we complained and got upgraded to a suite). The lounge chair area on the rocks of the Adriatic Sea is a highlight. The hotel breakfast was delicious (fresh yogurt with honey yum) and the dinner menu has a section of traditional dishes that are fun to try (there’s some meat pasta thing like a Croatian bolognese. Delicious). Explore the walls and the old city, very Game of Thrones and also very touristy. We ate pizza twice here in the town because the restaurants were underwhelming. The best dinner we had in Dubrovnik was a fifteen minute drive in the mountains at Konoba Dubrova. GO and have your hotel preorder you the traditional lamb roast. Also – weird and random but awesome – we spent a few hours exploring this creepy, bombed out hotel right outside of town called The Belvedere. You’ll recognize parts of it from GOT. Read up about it on your way, the history is fascinating and it’s an important reminder of the region’s war torn past.
Day 7: Tour of the Peljesac Peninsula via boat. This was a great day. We snorkeled. Went to secluded spots and swam. Explored Sipan and Kobas, tiny little islands with churches. Lunch at Gastro Mare, which you can only get to via boat, was beyond a highlight. Fresh caught everything, amazing wine. Sam asked multiple times why we didn’t do the whole trip on a boat.
Day 8: Dubrovnik to Montenegro. We drove from Dubrovnik to Montenegro. It was long. Story of our honeymoon. On the route, we stopped in Perast and explored the little island church and went to Kotor which we loved. Like a more charming, original Dubrovnik. We also did the Moric family olive oil experience. I thought it was cute; “hard pass,” says Sam. He’s still mad we’re not on a boat.
Day 9: Aman Sveti Stefan. Heavenly. It’s an old little fishing village on an island that they transformed into a luxury hotel. UNESCO protected. We stayed in a deluxe cottage and just relaxed for 3 days at all of the beaches (there’s 3 of them) and all the pools (there’s also 3 of them). The casual little restaurant serves something called Pastrovic pasta that is insanely delicious. The fancier restaurant is good with amazing regional wine. The Queen’s beach is the most gorgeous secluded little beach cove. Loved.
Day 10: See above
Day 11: See above
REGRETS: Not seeing Pliitvice Lakes (travel agent said it’s too hot and crowded and filled with “gobs of tour buses”). “Not doing a boat the whole time,” says Sam.