As I watched dolphins playfully chase a boat off Croatia’s gorgeous, sun-drenched coastline I was struck by an odd sense of deja vu. Why was this landscape so familiar?

The craggy grey rocks, contrasted against thick green forests and sapphire blue waters, certainly looked cinematic.

Then it struck me – the area I was in was putting me in mind of hit TV show Game of Thrones, specifically King’s Landing, the home of the show’s royal family.

And it’s easy to see why the show's producers picked the place for filming. It’s absolutely beautiful.

My visit to the country began with a day on the island of Losinj and a stay at the Wellness Hotel Aurora.

A few miles from the hotel is an idyllic little aromatic garden, almost overflowing with fragrant herbs and cacti, where visitors will be greeted by a friendly owner and a slight chance of sensory overload.

Myrtle is one of the herbs grown in the garden and I could not resist buying some myrtle jam as a souvenir before leaving this tranquil place.

Further down the road is an island inlet where the Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation has its home. Here I learned about the inspiring work the charitable body does studying and helping to protect dolphins in the Adriatic.

The town also has a small museum and the nearby Punta Vitality Hotel. This incredibly plush, well-equipped spa centre/resort offers a range of health and relaxation treatments. The one that interested me most during my visit was their ‘anti-gravity’ exercise programme.

Throwing caution to the wind I had a go at using the equipment, basically chains, handles and a parachute seat hanging from the ceiling in which you sit, stand, stretch and hang, holding yogic positions until you feel the burn. After thirty minutes of it I certainly did.

The next day, somewhat stiff, my tour of the country took me via ferry to Valbiksa on the island of Krk.

After checking into the Hotel Drazica, I went straight back out to explore. I began by checking out the Nada Winery, where they create a very potent fig brandy. This was followed by lunch at the Nada restaurant, where I enjoyed a great meal including octopus salad, trout terrine and whitebait on bruschetta.

I spent the rest of the afternoon strolling around the outdoor markets in nearby towns and soaking up the clean air and sunshine. Later in the day, at the town of Malinska, I watched the locals’ cheese festival.

As local customs often can be, some of the celebration seemed somewhat strange, involving men in shirts and ties running down the streets in tandem in a race, followed by dancing and the consumption of cheese. The atmosphere was wonderful but I couldn’t help but wonder how odd some of our traditions might seem to Croatians.

At least their cheese festival doesn’t involve chasing one downhill and risking life and limb. On my final full day of the trip I checked into the unabashedly opulent Kvarner Palace Hotel in Crkvenica. The hotel is decked out in white marble and gold and was the most deserving of its four star rating of any of the hotels I stayed at during my visit.

Crekvenica has a small museum with finds dating from the Roman Empire and a lovely little aquarium showcasing both exotic species and those from the Adriatic.

Later that day I took a panoramic boat tour, the absolutely ideal way to see the coast. The friendly boat owner came round with shots of chilled vodka which was very welcome in the high sun.

Finally, my holiday was rounded off with a trip to Opatija, the Monte Carlo of Croatia as one local put it.

The small town has a cosmopolitan feel and its main park has a wall featuring murals of some of the famous people to have visited the area, including Robert de Niro, Kirk Douglas and James Joyce.

The final mention must go to the Hotel Mileniji, where they serve a lovely pistachio cake and a wonderfully bitter sweet espresso.

Sitting on that hotel terrace, having my minor epiphany over the familiarity of the area, I could see why it was chosen as a filming location. It certainly is fit for a king.


For more information on what to see and do in Croatia, visit

Rates at the Wellness Aurora Hotel in Losinj are from €156 to €280 based on two people sharing on a
bed and breakfast basis in high season and from €100 to €176 based on two people sharing on a bed and
breakfast basis in low season. To book visit

Rates at the Hotel Drazica on the island of Krk are from €64 based on a bed and breakfast basis. Visit

Rates at the Kvarner Palace Hote in Crkvenica are from £89. See

Rates at the Punta Vitalys are from €96 in low season and from €162 in high season based on two people
sharing a standard double room on a bed and breakfast basis.

Rates for a Suite (with a maximum of four persons) are from €158 in low season and from €290 in high season based on two people sharing on a bed and breakfast basis.

To book visit

Ryanair flies to Pula from Stansted from 01 April to 30 September four times a week with prices starting
from £35.99 one way and £72 return.

For more information, please visit