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Local travel enthusiast Petra Colak shares herpicks for sweet treats in her home country.

Petra Colak on her favourite beaches, restaurants, bars and best places for day trips in Croatia

Local travel enthusiast Petra Colak shares her picks for sweet treats in her home country.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always been interested in photography. For the last five years, I’ve worked as a professional photographer. I’m also in love with travelling and exploring different cultures.

One of my favourite beaches in Croatia is Ulcer Neretve, an amazing sandy surfing paradise where the River Neretva meets the Adriatic Sea. Nugal is another gem located just outside of Makarska. Surrounded only by forest and sea, it’s incredibly remote and only possible to reach by foot or boat. Nugal is the perfect hideaway since not many people are able to get there. Other hidden gems are Sakarunbeach on the island of Dugi Otok, and Stiniva beach on Vis.

My favourite cities in Croatia are Split, Zadar and Rovinj, but of course my most favourite is my hometown of Makarska. I enjoy the beauty of coastal cities.

My favourite restaurants are Tempera and Hrpina in Makarska because of their mouthwatering meat and seafood. I enjoy burgers and pizzas so my top restaurant picks in Spit include Fabrique Pub and Plan B. If you are a burger-lover like me, I recommend visiting Zagreb to taste what some people think are the best in Croatia at Mek Per’s, and enjoy stepping into the past with its slick booths, just like a 1950s American diner. If you want some traditional Mediterranean seafood, I recommend restaurant KapetanovaKuća in the village of Ston.

Petra Colak

Petra Colak

My favourite bar in Makarska is Deep Club, set in a cave by the sea where they play great international music. Be sure to check out two world-class clubs: Central Club located in Split and Opera Club located in Zagreb.

My personal favourite fashion boutique in Croatia, most of the shops are located in malls, and the most popular malls are located in Split (City Center One, Mall of Split and Joker) and in Zagreb (City Center One and Arena Mall).

I recommend two galleries, Meštrović Gallery located in Split and The Museum of Contemporary Art located in Zagreb.

My favourite day trips on the Dalmatian coast are Plitvice Lakes and Krka Waterfalls if you want to fall in love with Croatia’s natural beauty; Biokovo Nature Park will thrill you with extraordinary mountain views of the surrounding sea and the islands; Brač island, home to the renown pristine beach called Zlatni Rat; Vis island’s natural wonder called the Blue Cave; and Dubrovnik’s historic walls which provided the backdrop for the Game of Thrones series.

My favourite buys when in Croatia: Croatia is popular for its lavender fields, so any product made of lavender is a great souvenir. Be sure to pack plenty of bottles of the Dalmatian coast’s signature homemade olive oil. Other must-buys in Croatia include a strong alcohol drink called Rakija which is produced in different flavours and very popular among tourists. If you are looking for some sweet souvenirs, we have our unique chocolate Bajadera and cookies Domaćicaso be sure to buy a box for you and your friends.

Petra Colak

Petra Colak

Best time to visit: If you are visiting any coastal areas, the best time to visit is from May to October, because it’s the spring and summer season. July and August are the hottest and the most crowded months. May, June and September are perfect to visit because it’s warm enough to swim in the sea and not too crowded. As for other places in Croatia, primarily Zagreb, the sweet spot is in December when the Christmas lights enchant all over the city, making it a magical place. National parks are fabulous no matter what time of the year.

Favourite view: I am sure that if you go to any town in Croatia you can find a place with a great view, but for me it’s the view from a peninsula called Osejava located in my hometown of Makarska.

Romantic getaways in Croatia: Besides all the hidden gems and sweet treats you can discover in Croatia, for a romantic experience I would recommend a sunset sail. Afterwards, many quaint seaside restaurants with amazing views will find you enjoying the surf song. ◼

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© This article was first published in Apr-May 2019 edition of World Travel Magazine.

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