Croatia has arrived to reclaim its place as the pearl of Europe! I have always heard good things about Croatia, and when I finally discovered it for myself, I could not agree more.

Dubrovnik Sea Wall Lookout Point

Dubrovnik Airport

Dubrovnik, located on the east side of the Adriatic coast, is an undiscovered gem of a city that has so much to offer that a short visit will not be sufficient. The Old Town of Dubrovnik is surrounded not only by walls that you can easily walk around in 1.5 hours, but also by crystal-clear water; turquoise tints and calm deep blue waters, very rich in salt that make this a perfect destination for a variety of water encounters and fresh seafood.

On the second day of my visit, I had the honor to meet Mr. Robert Mioc, (he prefers to be called Robi), an eccentric character of sorts, that says things as they are and to the point. A sort of Anthony Bourdain twin (look-alike) with similar characteristic traits, who grew up 100m away from the Old City, survived the war of 1991 – 1995 and still truly enjoys life on the pearl. Check out Anthony Bourdain

Mr. Robert Mioc (Anthony Bourdain-twin)

We hit it off immediately, and instead of introducing me to the flashy and semi-touristy Old Town, we opted to jump in his car to discover the true gem of Croatia. Magnificent views of the Adriatic Sea filled with thousands of islands, we passed through Zaton Bay, Mali Ston and finally arrived in the countryside town of Ston; with salt farms, oyster and mussel farms and to my surprise beautiful vineyards all surrounded by an ancient city wall that was built to protect the ancient Dalmatians from the Ottoman Empire and it still very much is in its original constructed state today.

I had no idea Croatia had so many beautiful vineyards, locally grown, locally consumed and never exported. Red wines, comparable to a California Zinfandel and white wines most similar to a California Sauvignon Blanc, to give you an idea of taste and texture. Only major difference is that the alcohol content of the wines here are around 15%–24% compared to our average 13.5% wines.

Dubrovnik Vineyards

After seeing the production process of these incredible countryside farmers, Robi, in true Anthony Bourdain fashion, wanted us to share a meal together. Black risotto-paella is the best way to describe it, cooked in cuttlefish ink and herbs. I have to say what a flavorful and delightful treat! Fresh oysters, mussels, clams and razor clams cooked in a white wine and light butter broth with 2 bottles of local wine completed the meal.

Fresh wild-farmed oysters

Black Risotto-Paella (Croatian-Style)

The following day, Robi escorted us on his sailboat to explore some of the smaller islands in and around the Adriatic Coast. Sea kayaking around the small islands was an incredible experience, and when it got too hot, jumping in the beautiful water for a dip was not an issue. There are no sharks in the Adriatic Sea.

We ended our day excursion on the island of Mljet (pronounced ‘Neut’), where Robi’s family has an estate. This is where they come for weekend family-getaways and where he eventually will retire. They grow their own vegetables, make their own goat cheese, produce their own wine, and catch their own fish. Here life is simple, peaceful and far away from the hustle and bustle of modern day society.

My time in Croatia was filled with many more activities, excursions and adventures, however in this piece I wanted to particularly highlight the people, the food and how a balanced life between work and play can be medicine for the soul. Take some time out to rediscover that balance in your own life.



About Jannie V. Jonker Jr.

I am an adventure seeker of the transformation that one finds while traveling. We leave something of ourselves behind when we visit a place; we stay there, even though we return home. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there. I believe traveling is a journey within ourselves, and Keen Adventures is committed to enable these experiences for our customers.


  • October 4, 2014 Reply


    in case you won’t specify the link of author then please remove the previous post with photo…

  • October 3, 2014 Reply


    the image I shared has copyright of Yacht-Rent and the link must be visible

  • September 20, 2014 Reply


    Here is a photo of island Lastovo I took this summer. It is a pearl, indeed !!

    • September 22, 2014 Reply

      Jannie Jonker

      Thank you so much for sharing and uploading the amazing image. I am so happy that you agree that Croatia is a pearl!
      Please follow-up on social media platforms and subscribe to our currently landing page so you can be notified when we launch the booking website.
      Jannie Jonker

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