1. Best for romance: Dubrovnik
When it comes to Mediterranean romance Dubrovnik is really without parallel. A breathtakingly beautiful city, dramatically situated and with a wonderful climate, it really is as seductive as the stock photographs suggest. Be warned that you’re unlikely to be on your own in high summer, when hordes of day-trippers render the old-town alleys almost impassable.
Save your strolling energies for the evenings and early mornings, however, and the city is guaranteed to charm your pants off. As well as some of the best hotels and most atmospheric restaurants in Croatia, Dubrovnik also boasts a unique picnic service in the shape of Piknik Dubrovnik, which will provide you with a hamper of epicurean local goodies and the give you directions to the most secluded spots at which to consume it.
Where to stay
With ultra-helpful staff and a charmingly mellow vibe Fresh Sheets Bed and Breakfast enjoys what might just be the best location in Dubrovnik, in a historic stone house opposite the cathedral. For a superbly equipped and intimate hotel enjoying classic views of the Old Town’s walls you can’t do better than Villa Dubrovnik.
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2. Best for pampering: Lošinj
Few Croatian destinations have changed as much as Lošinj, an island that transformed itself from two-and-a-half star family package resort to five-star lap of luxury in only a handful of years.
The key component in Lošinj’s makeover is the provision of a broad palette of spa and beauty treatments, many of which owe at least something to the island’s extraordinary natural treasury of medicinal plants and aromatic herbs. Indeed special two-person spa ‘rituals’ are included in the honeymoon packages offered by the main hotels.
For beach addicts, local ferry lines offer the chance to cruise leisurely towards some of the Adriatic’s most seductive smaller islands, notably famously sandy Susak. Lošinj’s single most popular tourist attraction is the Apoksiomen, a Graeco-Roman statue of a handsomely naked athlete, which somehow adds to the island’s sensual appeal.
Where to stay
Hotel Bellevue offers five-star comforts complete with wellness centre and seaside location. Villa Hortensia is a boutique hotel with impeccable suites in a historic building.
3. Best for the urban drifter: Zagreb
A city whose most celebrated tourist site is the Museum of Broken Relationships may not immediately spring to mind as the most promising place to celebrate your nuptials. However this evocative Central European capital has a lot to recommend it with its café life, contemporary design and cake shops.
Arrive on a Saturday and you can join the local newlyweds having their photographs taken in front of St Mark’s Church – the city’s main registry office is nearby. If your hearts are set on a December wedding then consider Zagreb very, very seriously – it’s home to one of the best Advent scenes in Europe, with boutique wines, gourmet food and live music enlivening its parks and squares.
Where to stay
There are few better places for an Art Deco nostalgia fest than the Regent Esplanade, a luxurious outpost of Mitteleuropa next to the train station. The DoubleTree by Hilton offers a contemporary alternative, with top-floor spa centre.
4. Best for hedonists: Hvar Town
Located on the ruggedly handsome island of Hvar, Hvar Town has an international reputation for being something of a celebrity magnet and party destination, yet never seems to lose its refined edge. It’s the kind of place where chic bars and restaurants rub shoulders with gothic palaces and chapels, while water taxis whisk bathers to idyllic offshore islets.
Arrive on the island in style by taking the European Coastal Airlines seaplane from Split to Jelsa before picking up a taxi to Hvar Town itself. Rent an open-topped car or a scooter from Luka Rent in order to explore gorgeous out-of-town beaches like Uvala Dubovica and Grebišće.
Where to stay
The harbour-front Hotel Adriana has great views, a spa and top-floor pool. Right beside Hvar’s swanky-yacht berths, the Riva offers plush rooms and waterfront terrace.