In India, it takes years of meditation to reach a sublime state of bliss. In Croatia, you can do it in a week or two. All you need is sunshine, a quiet pine-scrubbed cove, perhaps a good lunch of fresh fish and wine, certainly an empty diary, and you’ll achieve a deliciously indolent state the Dalmatians call fjaka. We call it holiday nirvana.
We’re focusing on Croatia’s loveliest corner, south Dalmatia — the tapering, island-scattered coastline, home to a garrulous tribe that combines Balkan heart with Italian dolce vita. Here, people are nostalgic for fishing and olives, even though tourism is the bigger business. And it’s here you’ll find Croatia’s big two, Dubrovnik and Hvar island, home to the country’s hottest hotels, coolest bars — and highest prices. It’s become fashionable to say they’ve been ruined by tourism. Not so. They’re gorgeous.