Between the waterfalls, beaches, cliffs, mountains, the sea, islands, deserts, and dense forests, it’s impossible to pick the most magnificent landscape of all of them.
When traveling in Croatia, I always seek out the vistas. I want to perch on the edge of the world and swallow up the sprawling panorama into my memory, with the hopes that it will never be forgotten.
There are a few that come to mind. The summit high above Dubrovnik reached by cable car. The vineyards and fields extending in all directions from the mountain-top village of Motovun. And, not to be omitted, Vidova Gora, the highest point on Island Brac. From this spot, you can see the famous Zlatni Rat beach, Island Hvar, Island Vis and beyond to Italy (on a clear day).
However, the view I keep coming back to is in Lovran on the Kvarner Bay. Well, more like it overlooks the bay.
This view can been seen from a hotel called Draga di Lovrana. To reach this spot, a 25-minute zig-zag drive up the mountain is required. It may seem a bit off the beaten path, but you’ll never be disappointed once you reach the top.
The hotel is flanked on one side by forested mountains, terraced vineyards and micro villages. On the other side, the seemingly infinite Adriatic Sea along with Islands Cres and Krk laid out before you in all their majesty.
To get the best view, spend an afternoon having lunch on their restaurant terrace. Oh, did I mention they have amazing food? They are one of the regions few Slow Food certified restaurants to boot.
If I had to sum up their menu, it would be “fancy Croatian.” These aren’t dishes you would find in a konoba, but the flavors definitely are. I’ve devoured wild asparagus in the spring and enjoyed a rich soup of Istrian chestnuts in the fall.
The menu changes with the seasons and all the ingredients are locally sourced. The owners have their own fishing boats, guaranteeing that only the freshest and highest quality fish is served.
Draga di Lovrana was built in 1909. After suffering a devastating fire in 1923, the hotel stayed dormant for 80 years. It was then purchased, renovated and reopened by a local couple in 2005.
At the hotel, they cherish the history of their property. Historic photos of the hotel from 100 years ago up through the last century pepper the halls.
If you ever find yourself on the Kvarner coast, give Draga di Lovrana a visit even if just for a cocktail. I recommend the borovnica rakija made with (and containing) wild blueberries or a glass of Prosecco to keep you company as you soak up the best view in this part of Croatia.
Written by Guest Blogger Sara Dyson of Expat in Croatia