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Places to visit

Top Ten Valentine Destinations in Croatia

If you are looking for a romantic getaway for St Valentine's Day we have picked out our top ten Croatia destinations together with suggestions for suitable accommodation. They range from historic towns on the gorgeous Adriatic coast, to Croatia's inviting capital city, Zagreb or for romance in nature, the stunning Plitvice waterfalls.  

1. Dubrovnik - romance, mystery, indulgence, glamour and fabulous memories.

Dubrovnik is one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in the world, it is a town alive day and night, and great to visit in winter. The generally mild winter climate means that on St Valentine's Day you could be walking through its famous main street "Stradun" in the Old Town and enjoying a cocktail in one of its cool bars, sitting outside in the sunshine or indoors, which is always cosy and inviting. 
Young couple admiring Dubrovnik view
It is impossible to fully describe the special charm of Dubrovnik. You and your loved one must go and discover it for yourselves! If you can spare more than a long weekend, there is plenty to do in and around Dubrovnik in February to keep you busy and entertained for a full week or longer. Building up to St Valentine's Day there are Carnivals and Masques (5-9 February), and an incredibly important local festival of St Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik (1-9 February). The City offers you a free guided tour of the Old Town with an English speaking guide (available 9 November to 28 March every Saturday morning).
 You can treat yourselves to concerts, theatre performances, street plays, street food. Fun things happen all the time, many of them free. On St Valentine's you will find restaurants offering local fresh oysters, delicious sea food, truffle steaks and chocolate puddings, in the company of the gorgeous local white wine Posip, and a superb red called Dingac. Take an invigorating walk on a deserted beach, make a trip to the local Elaphite islands. Walk along the narrow cobbled streets and pick up a great piece of modern jewellery and other gifts, visit the Troubadour Jazz Cafe which plays jazz every evening, join there in the dancing and general fun, looking at Dubrovnik's magnificent cathedral. Take the cable car up the Srdj mountain and take refreshment or eat in the restaurant looking out over the most romantic sea scape and sunset you will ever see…the place for memorable photos!

View from top of Dubrovnik cable car

Much of Game of Thrones was filmed in or around Dubrovnik. Many of the scenes for King's Landing were filmed there such as the Red Keep and the Walk of Shame. A few kilometres out of town Trsteno Arboretum was the setting for High Garden. We can arrange private guided tours of the Game of Thrones sites and tours covering Dubrovnik history. See our tours page . Do not miss out a walk on the magnificent walls and towers of Dubrovnik Old Town. Climb up to Fort Lovrijenac for a spectacular view down on the roof tops of old Dubrovnik.

Every bistro, cafe, tavern or smart restaurant is wonderful in Dubrovnik, here are just some of our recommendations for that special St Valentine's day dinner or sunset cocktail:
  • Restaurant  Nautika; overlooking the sea and the towering Fort Lovrinac.
  • Orsan Restaurant; in the sailing club in Gruz harbour.  Great food and waterside location away from the main tourist crowds.
  • 360 restaurant; a Michelin star restaurant on the city walls.
  • Cafe Bar Luci; the oldest within the City walls.
  • Cave bar More; an atmospheric cocktail bar carved out of the cliffs on the Lapad peninsular.  

Nautika restaurant Dubrovnik
 
If you are staying longer, why not make a trip to the gorgeous Peljesac Peninsula west of Dubrovnik, where you can visit the breathtaking small towns and villages, such as Ston and Mali Ston, the oyster capitals of Croatia, about 45 minute drive from Dubrovnik. Since Roman times oysters have been grown in Mali Ston Bay and in March, they hold an Oyster Festival. Or you can base yourselves in these magical and ancient places which excel in local seafood and have some of the most famous restaurants in the whole region.  Our favourites are family run restaurants Kapetanova Kuca (Captain's House) and Bota Sare in Mali Ston and great value home cooking at Bacchus in Ston. To complete your gourmet experience, visit one or several famous Peljesac wineries, which offer wine tastings with a video talk about their wines. We recommend Milos Winery in Ponikve.
 
Our favourite Valentine villas or apartments in or near Dubrovnik are:
Sensation apartments
Old Dubrovnik Town apartment
Villa Piccolina
Villa Katarina

2. Opatija - the grand old lady of chocolates, spas and seaside walks

Opatija has been a most beloved summer resort of Croatian people for over a hundred years. Elegant hotels and beautiful villas line the wooded coastline, the parks are beautiful and fabulous restaurants abound.
Pretty harbour in Opatija
All over the place are cafes and chocolate shops, reminiscent of Austrian confectionery. Austrian nobility of the 19th and 20th century was the first to discover this amazing Adriatic spot and turn it into a Mediterranean spa paradise. Today Opatija has all one can imagine for a perfect winter holiday and a great experience on St Valentine's day. In February, you can enjoy Croatia's largest Carnival in the nearby city of Rijeka which will be a European city of culture in 2020. Rijeka is great for shopping and musicals. Opatija town puts on a great music programme for St Valentine's day. Zagreb's Symphony Orchestra is there to play famous pieces of classical music, there is a Jazz orchestra and also other shows to see. The food is exquisite. Visit the restaurants Tramerka or Plavi Podrum by the sea in Volosko, the atmospheric Villa Losca, Restaurant Molo and many others. You can have a romantic evening by a huge fireplace in a restaurant grilling your perfect steak on the fire, or sit in a seafront restaurant enjoying the view and great local sea food. The local wines are excellent. Try the famous Malvazija (white), or a great red Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. If you have a sweet tooth, we recommend some fantastic cafes: Kaokakao, Cafe Wagner, Choco Bar to start you off - delicious coffee, fabulous cakes, chocolate everywhere, a real treat and celebration. After all this, take a most romantic walk along the sea, 12km between Opatija and Lovran known as Lungo Mare, a road to health and happiness. 

Our suggested romantic villas in or near Opatija are
Villa Zuzi 
Villa Marron 
Villa Contessa 
Villa Sansa 

 

3. Rovinj - picturesque Venetian town with arty people, great cuisine and friendly bars

Rovinj, an old Venice like town on a sea promontory in Istria, rates very high on our list of romantic places to spend St Valentine's Day. The town itself is utterly charming with narrow streets leading you up to St Euphemia church, from where you can see across the Adriatic to Venice. Gift shops, art galleries and jewellery shops line the way, interspersed with wonderful restaurants and taverns serving delicious local winter fare - chops or sausages with sauerkraut, home made pasta with truffles, prosciutto ham, venison stew with polenta, octopus salad, grilled squid.
Rovinj old houses on the waterfront
You will come to the famous landmark in Rovinj, the seaside bar Valentino for cocktails by the sea, or visit  Café Bar Batel in the old town of Rovinj where you get the best coffee in town, great Cuba libres and mojitos, plus music. The restaurants are many, try the famous Monte or enjoy the food and magnificent sea views in Puntulina. Eat by the sea in the restaurant Blu and take in the view of Rovinj - unforgettable. The whole of Istria is for you to visit, such as the hilltop towns of Motovun,  Groznjan and Oprtalj , the wineries of Kozlovic and Kabola, the historic town of Pula  with a Roman amphitheatre and many more romantic places and top restaurants. Why not stay a week?
Our suggested villas for a romantic getaway or a longer break 
Villa Lanterna
Casa Celestina
Casa della Vigna 
Villa Zamara
Villa Merlot
Castle Beach
 

4. Split - antique grandeur mixed with the love of life and friendliness of the locals


Split, Croatia's second city, is located on the site where the Roman Emperor Diocletian chose to build his retirement home. Some home! It was a magnificent palace right on the Adriatic shoreline. Over the centuries the original Roman structures were adapted and blended into the later medieval city which grew out of Diocletian's Palace and is today the living heart of Split city centre. 
View of Split Riva
The result is a wonderful eclectic blend of architectures and a vibrant and romantic city for all seasons. Chose Split for your Valentine holiday and you will not be disappointed.  The whole place is one beautiful, vibrant town where history and romance meet you at every corner. The 1700 year old Diocletian's Palace is a must while the Roman Forum and the Riva, the wide waterfront promenade, are perfect settings to enjoy the February sunshine with an excellent espresso and a pastry or a cocktail. Take a romantic, leisurely walk in the famous local park Marjan and visit the local beaches. There are so many good restaurants where you can eat. We can mention the traditional and romantic looking seafood and steak restaurant Nostromo, rustic restaurant Stari Mornar attached to the sailing club and Bokeria with ingredients supplied from the local produce and fish markets. The cuisine is essentially Mediterranean, from excellent vegetable concoctions to bruschetta to seafood, all the way up to steaks There are theme nights, and occasional smooth live music, mostly jazz. 

If you are staying longer, do hop over to Supetar on the island of Brac to get an island experience, ferries go frequently. 

Villas and Boutique hotels we rate for a romantic escape to Split are:
Villa Davorka 
Villa Grand Palms 
For hotels in or close to the heart of the City we suggest Hotel President and Hotel Peristil.

5. Trogir-Splendour of Medieval Palaces, a UNESCO site and gourmet experience

Not far from Split is the smaller, historic town of Trogir, a perfect little gem for St Valentine's day. It is a UNESCO protected historic site with all of the ancient town a compact network of medieval squares and narrow cobbled streets, wooden shutters and cosy restaurants and cafes. Just to be in Trogir is a delight.
Trogir at night
One of the best restaurants is the long established Alka, with superb Mediterranean cuisine. We also recommend restaurant Don Dino and Calebotta. Along the harbour, you will find friendly pizzerias and enjoy excellent local beer and coffee.  As a special treat for St Valentine's, book a boat tour to the island of Hvar and explore that amazing old and romantic town and numerous crystal clear coves of great natural beauty.

For a shot stay in Trogir we recommend Brown Beach Boutique hotel which is just a short walk to the centre. 
Or for a larger group Villa Sabbion 

6. Plitvice lakes-winter wonderland of world class proportions

Plitvice waterfalls
Those who love exceptional natural beauty will adore the Plitvice Lakes National Park.

In winter time the lakes - there are sixteen of them - and their magnificent waterfalls can be frozen, which present you with a dreamy, fairy tale scene. In warmer winters the waterfalls are flowing and the lakes merge into one another cascading down the mountain landscape. In summer it is so crowded there, as people from all over the world come to see this nature wonder. In winter, all that space is yours to explore. Relax by the fireplace of the new Fenomen Hotel and enjoy the spa. Sample the hearty local cuisine in the restaurant Licka Kuca, such as roast venison, lamb under the "bell" (known as peka), baked sausage in sour cabbage, air dried ham, cheese, trout, cream cheese or apple strudels.  
Fenomen Hotel winter scene

The focal point of the restaurant is a huge open fireplace with a whole lamb roasted on a spit, an absolute must for meat lovers.

For accommodation adjoining or close to the national park we recommend
Villa Lakeland Belle
Hotel Fenomen
Villa Lakeland Orchard



 

7. Zagreb - February is the sweetest month! 

Zagreb, a little Vienna! This beautiful, almost cosy town is the capital of Croatia, situated inland and brimming with continental culture, history, fresh food and flower markets, museums, galleries, theatres, innumerable coffee and sumptuous cake shops, parks with live music, romantic tram rides and a little funicular which takes you to the medieval "upper town" where everything is old and romantic, including the street lights. 
Zagreb in the evening
As you walk through the upper town, look down to the magnificent old roofs of the old Zagreb centre below, it is unforgettable. For three years running Zagreb has been awarded the best Christmas Market in Europe award. In February, the same spirit of fun and adventure continues. In Zagreb February is the sweetest month. Obligatory fresh, feather  light donuts are sold everywhere, and boxes of chocolates are flying out of the window. The most iconic and delicious Croatian chocolate product is a box of Bajadera - share it with each other and take some home with you. Mid February is also the time for coffee and chocolate festival - the Chocofest, when Zagreb's cafe society comes into its own. You will be able to sample fantastic regional chocolate products, the best coffees and take part in workshops on chocolate. A guided tour is the best way to get to know the city. "Zagreb in Love" is a romantic, free guided tour through  Zagreb, where you will also hear some of the best love stories set in the city. It starts at 11am on 14th February, from the Ban Jelacic Square. Guide is Dora Fila Butković, mobile :00385 91 2512 336. Or book an evening tour of the Old Upper Town  Book in advance.  Start from Ban Jelacic Square in front of Tourist Information Centre.

Our favourite restaurants if you wish to splurge are Apetit, Zinfandel and Dubravkin Put. There are hundreds of fantastic restaurants in town, amongst which we value Purger for home style cooking, and a series of bistros and beer halls in a lovely old street Tkalciceva.

For accommodation with a suitably romantic atmosphere and close to the centre of town we recommend Hotel Jägerhorn. Since 1827 the Jägerhorn has established itself as a social and cultural icon of Zagreb and it is the oldest standing hotel in the city with a truly privileged location on Ilica Street, only a stone's throw away from Zagreb’s main sights, landmarks, churches, restaurants, museums and galleries. The hotel was refurbished in 2015 with the comfort and convenience of its guests at the forefront. 

8. Zadar - old town, young vibes, most romantic sunsets

Zadar is a vibrant seaside town which combines the old with the new. You will find important early Christian churches, Venetian palaces, renaissance squares, but also hip new bars and restaurants, great sandy beaches, a sea organ playing music and the celebration of the sunrise in town. For St Valentine's Day the shop windows and restaurants are competing for red hearts and playing romantic music.
Zadar from above at night
One especially romantic thing you can only experience in Zadar is listening to the music of the Sea Organ on the beach and seeing the Greeting to the Sun. Kalelarga is the main street where Zadar locals, who are very friendly, meet and enjoy drinks, exchanging stories, falling in and out of love. This famous street, it is said existed before Zadar was born. Zadar even has its own liqueur - the Maraschino made of local plentiful cherries. It will be a base for a most romantic St Valentine's cocktail or drink it by itself - delicious! 

Zadar sunset on a clear day is an especially spectacular and romantic experience that will make Valentine's day a memorable experience for you. If you want to party through the night, attempt a Zadar Chewbacca pub crawl. For a gourmet evening out, Michelin guide recommends restaurants Fosa and Kastel, while Mamma Mia is great for pizzas and Dva Ribara (The Two Fishermen) for fish. Zadar celebrates Valentine’s Day in a very special way and the event has become a tradition. A few thousand people gather at the Forum to release lanterns into the sky and think of a love wish. Indeed, love certainly is in the air on Valentine’s Day in Zadar.
 
For a short break in the heart of the City we recomemnd Art Hotel Kalelarga,
For larger groups and longer stays browse our villas in the Zadar region.

9. Sibenik-grand but understated, gourmet paradise

Sibenik is a beautiful, somewhat understated town on the Adriatic coast of central Dalmatia. If you are after a beautiful, cultured place where you can wine and dine your beloved, Sibenik is just the ticket. It boasts a gorgeous restaurant Pelegrini, which has earned a Michelin star.
Square in Sibenik at dusk
Eating a most delicious meal and drinking fantastic Croatian wine, you will look at the magnificent view of Sibenik's medieval cathedral of St James.  A few kilometres out of the City takes to the Krka National Park where you can take boat trips across the lakes and follow walking trails through the wooded slopes surrounding the waterfalls. 

For accommodation in Sibenik we recommend:
Life Palace Boutique Hotel a tastefully renovated historic building in the heart of the City. 
Or for a romantic villa midway between the Krka National Park and Sibenik centre:
Villas Girondella Large and Girondella Small

10. Island of Hvar - Royalty and Hollywood meet in Croatia's sunniest island

Hvar Riva
Everyone in the know will confirm that the island of Hvar is the place with most sunny days in Croatia. You can have 25 and more sunny days in February. 
Where ever you turn in historic Hvar town there is a perfect photo to be taken. You will want to capture the elegant architecture, the stunning main square surrounded by cafes and the lively Riva, the broad promenade beside the harbour where the cocktail bars, ice cream parlours and the best restaurants jostle for space. 

There is lots to see on the rest of Hvar island. For St. Valentine's Day visit the restaurant Me and Mrs Jones in the charming harbour town of Jelsa, a romantic place with excellent food. Combine this with an Olive Oil tour on the island or consider a boat trip to the nearby Pakleni islands.

Browse our villas on Hvar for a range of accommodation options. 


 
Written by Laida Nowell  |   Jan 20, 2020PM