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Carpe Diem Beach Club

For those looking for a Nikki Beach– or Club 55–type experience in Croatia, the Carpe Diem Beach Club is the place to be for Champagne lunches, sunbeds and cabanas filled with beautiful people from yachts. The club commands a cove on a small island across the bay from Hvar town. It opens for lunch around noon, and throughout the afternoon offers massages in spa huts and volleyball games under pine trees. It shuts down around 5pm to refresh before reopening at midnight, when revelers return to party until dawn. Reserve tables in advance for either the day or late-night scene; both are hugely popular. Open from June 1 to September 30.

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Carpe Diem Hvar

Hvar is known as one of the best places to party in Croatia and one reason may be its sister nightclubs: Carpe Diem in Hvar Town and Carpe Diem Beach, both of which stay open as late as 6am, well after all of the other clubs in Hvar Town have closed. Regulars know to begin partying in town and leave for Carpe Diem Beach around 1:30am, when it really gets going.

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Cathedral of St. Mark

The centerpiece of Korcula’s Old Town is the magnificent 15th-century Cathedral of St. Mark. The Gothic-Renaissance–style cathedral was created by local stonemasons and Italian artisans, and boasts an intriguing sculpture of Adam and Eve on its door pillars. Inside, the nave soars almost 100 feet high and is lined with a twin colonnade of exposed limestone pillars. The cathedral houses many Tintoretto works, including The Annunciation and Three Saints.

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Cathedral of St. Stephen

On the eastern side of Hvar’s main square is the Cathedral of St. Stephen. Construction on the structure began in the 6th century and finished in the 17th century, and multiple architecture styles are evident, including Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance. Particularly remarkable is the four-story bell tower and Madonna, a renowned painting that exemplifies proto-Venetian art and is one of the oldest in Dalmatia (dating back to 1220).

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Day Trip: Brijuni Islands

When Tito ran Yugoslavia, he chose some of the Adriatic’s most beautiful islands for his personal playground. Today, the Brijuni (or Brioni in Italian) islands are a national park. The largest of them, Veli Brijuni, is where Tito welcomed foreign dignitaries and celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor. Some vestiges of his time here remain, including a small safari park with ostriches and zebras and a golf course. There are miles of lovely walking or bike trails (bikes can be rented at the port), coves for swimming and tennis courts.

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Day Trip: Off the Beaten Path Hvar

Nearly every bay on Hvar is marvelous. While on the island, it is worth exploring lesser-visited cities, some of which have hidden treasures (you’ll see paintings by Veronese and Tintoretto at the Church of Stari Grad). The little islands surrounding Hvar, including Palmizana, which has a beautiful coast and is a pleasant spot for swimming, make for great day trips.

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Day Trip: Porec

The little town of Porec is beautiful and well preserved. The Euphrasian Basilica (in the city center) is one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture in the Adriatic area.

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Day Trip: Pula

This old city with Greek origins is the biggest on the Istrian peninsula, and boasts amazing Roman ruins and monuments. Among them is the Roman Amphitheatre (Flavijevska bb; 385-52-219-028), which was built at the same time as the Colosseum in Rome, the Porta Gemina (the Twin Gates located in front of the Archaeological Museum), the famous Sergi Arch in Sergijevaca, and the Temple of Augustus (Trg Republike 3). If you sail to the south, you’ll see Losinj Island (Lussino) and its beautiful port, Mali Losinj.

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Day Trip: Rovinj

One of Croatia’s most appealing seaside towns, Rovinj boasts a hilltop cathedral and narrow streets filled with art galleries, wine bars and chic boutiques. With influences from Venice as well as a hippie beach flair reminiscent of Ibiza, Rovinj draws a regular yachting crowd who come for its charming market and shopping and bar scenes.

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Day Trip: Sipan and Lopud

The so-called Elafiti Islands were outposts to defend the city as well as vacation destinations for aristocrats during the Republic of Dubrovnik/Ragusa, which lasted from the 1300s to the 1800s. Small palaces, fortified villas and 15th- and 16th-century churches all attest to its historic past. Sipan’s northern village, Sipanska, is quiet and relatively tourist-free, and home to Konoba kod Marka (385-20-758-007), which many tout as the best restaurant in Croatia. Sudurac, the southern village, has two castle-villas, whose gardens are beautiful, despite being poorly maintained. The pasture located between the two villages is a peaceful spot for a walk; the vineyards there are scattered with lost houses as well as a few old churches.

Day Trip: Zadar

The old part of Zadar is known for its Venetian gates, Roman ruins, medieval churches (among them: St. Donato and St. Anastasia), Baroque architecture and 19th-century palaces. Though World War II destroyed a large part of the city, Zadar is still an important cultural center with the Archaeological Museum (Trg Opatice Cike 1; 385-23-250-542) and the permanent Gold and Silver of Zadar exhibit at the Benedictine Convent of St Mary’s.

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Franciscan Monastery & Museum

This waterfront, 15th-century Franciscan monastery houses a curated selection of museum exhibits that showcase lace, coins, nautical charts and paintings of Venetian artists. Two of the monastery’s attractions are a breathtaking Last Supper painting and a 300-year old cypress in the garden.

Historic Theater of Hvar

This theater, established under prince Pietro Semitecolo at the turn of the 17th century, is one of Croatia’s most important national monuments. The first public theater in Europe, it is housed in the 13th-century Arsenal building and was a forum for cultural and social happenings.

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Hvar Loggia

Hvar’s loggia is all that remains of the Governor’s Palace from before the Turks destroyed it in 1571. During Venetian rule (from roughly the 16th to 18th century), it was repaired and served as a courthouse where public auctions would also take place. The elegant façade, with its miniature obelisks and beautiful clock tower, is a fine example of Renaissance architecture.

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Indagare Tours: Hiking Hvar

One of the sunniest islands in Europe, Hvar has a lovely interior filled with lavender fields, small churches and charming villages. The best way to explore is with a knowledgeable local guide who can share the island’s history and lead the way to a lovely spot for lunch. Contact the Bookings Team for help arranging a tour.

Indagare Tours: Hvar: Cooking Class

Take a cooking class with a local family and learn about the island’s history and traditions. Contact the Bookings Team for help arranging a class.

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