Croatia, one of the hottest countries for an off-beat, on-trend European vacation is the perfect spot for a destination wedding. Wedding planners have had their eye on picturesque Dubrovnik for years but locations like Hvar and Istria are also worth a closer look.
Located a stone’s throw off the storied Dalmatian coast, the island Hvar is celebrating 150 years of tourism this year. Back in 1858 the first 13-room hotel opened here; today there are dozens of luxury options for accommodation including Suncani Hvar’s (suncanihvar.com) swank options like Hotel Adriana, Hotel Pharos or Hotel Amfora. The cascading pool area at Hotel Amfora can accommodate up to 800 guests in a Mediterranean-garden-meets-tropical-paradise setting. Their panoramic terrace ballroom can seat 400, or you can have a more intimate affair (under 100) in their Maestral space with a view of the sea and the Paklinski archipelago on the horizon.
Suncani Hvar offers wedding-related services including help popping a “perfect proposal” — while sipping champagne at sunset, diving around the island or elsewhere. They cater to engagement parties, bachelor parties, and rehearsal dinners. Options for customizing the big day include a “Lavender Fields” package with an hour long reception, three-course dinner (plus a midnight snack) and complimentary accommodations for the couple. The “Sea Breeze” package adds an additional course to the meal and an hour-long open bar after dinner. The “Sunsational Dream” package adds a champagne toast to dinner and a three hour open bar after dinner.
Seeking accomodations for family and friends? Hotel Park (hotelparkhvar.com), originally a 16th Century palace, is situated in the heart of Hvar between Rector Palace and St. Mark’s Church. Reopened in 2006, the hotel Park offers sea views and a historic setting.
There’s plenty for friends and family to see beyond the big day. Fortress Fortica Španjola was built at the beginning of the 16th century and offers a peek into the Middle Ages and sweeping views of the island’s port and nearby islands. There’s also a variety of beaches, sailing tours, bars and nightclubs, the gorgeous Cathedral of St. Stephen and Episcopal Palace and a broad array of quaint beach towns. For day trip options, look to the picturesque Blue Cave, the Blue Lagoon on Budikovac Island, Diocletian’s Palace in Split, the island Vis (where they filmed Mamma Mia 2) or a tour of Game of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik’s Old Town.
Istria is the most western region of Croatia and the largest peninsula on the Adriatic Sea. Adorably heart-shaped and bordered with blue seas, white stone and green interiors, Istria is known for romance, history and gastronomy. Porec, known for its epic Byzantine mosaics and historic sites like the Episcopal Complex of Euphrasian Basilica, is an impressive spot. Climb the tower to take in a 360-degree view of the archipelago. Popular wedding venues in Istria include Fiore, Histria Aromatica, Arenaturist and Belaj Castle (both in Pula). Also, Hotel Monte Mulini — just ten minutes from the scenic port town Rovinj — offers 113 rooms and sweets with awe-inspiring views, sundecks on the Mulini Beach just in front of the hotel, and the option to wander through the protected Zlatni forest park or a hidden bay. The seafront city of Pula is a protected harbor where the Romans built the spectacular Pula Arena (one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters), the Arch of the Sergii and the Temple of Augustus. Get the whole wedding party out for a photo shoot with these extraordinary landmarks in the background to wow everyone back home.
For a little R & R after your nuptials (or a bachelor party before) get out into the Istrian countryside to taste some of the best (and often unexplored) grapes in all of Europe. Kozlovic Winery (kozlovic.hr) offers an tantalizing portfolio of wines and nine tasting programs to experience local wines. For a vino experience with rolling hills, vineyards and an adorable farmhouse, Kabola (kabola.hr/en) is another fit. Be sure to learn how to say “Živeli” (“cheers” in Croatian) as you will surely be doing a lot of toasting on and around your special day!
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Last modified: June 28, 2018