3 Winters – in Croatia

Last weekend I went to the National Theatre in London to see an excellent play set in Croatia, following the lives of different generations of a family in the same house in Zagreb, the play bounces backwards and forwards between three very distinct historical periods, which influenced the people and the country.
3 winters
(all images by by Ellie Kurttz)

The play starts with the family and the house in 1945 Continue reading

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What to do in Croatia – Deep-water soloing DWS

DWS? what’s that, you may ask…

deep water soloingwell, prepare yourself for an adrenaline packed activity which is not for the faint-hearted.

Solo climbing or soloing is a style of climbing in which the climber climbs alone (often with no ropes), and Deep-water soloing (DWS) is done on cliffs overhanging water so that in case of a fall, the climber lands safely in the sea.

That does not make it any less arduous or terrifying, just look at the picture! Would you be brave enough (or fit enough) to try this extreme sport??? Continue reading


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the mile high sunset over Croatia

can’t get enough of beautiful sunsets over Croatia, this time I’ll share with you pictures taken from our Lufthansa flight back to London.
The sky was all lit up in warm glowing colours of pink, purple, orange and red.
Fills me with joy and I am lucky to be alive and see this.

our flight ready on the runway at Split airport

our flight ready on the runway at Split airport

sunset Croatia
sunset Croatia
sunset Croatia
sunset Croatia
sunset Croatia
sunset Croatia


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cook like an Italian – baking Christmas biscuits

cookiesok, so that’s not really an Italian tradition…
but I learned this tradition whilst living in Germany (many moons ago, don’t ask!).

It is quite common for German families to bake “Weihnachtsplätzchen” , ie different types of Christmas cookies which are made from various types of doughs with the addition of spices like cinnamon, gloves, cardamon, orange and lemon peels and vanilla. Continue reading


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happy 2015

To all our guests past and future, all our friends and blog followers, all the best wishes for a happy and healthy 2015.
Greetings from sunny Croatia



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Christmas is almost here……

To all our guests, friends and followers:

Christmas at Villa BellaVista


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Do Something Different – Explore Croatian Lighthouses

Can you imagine the experience of spending a few days in a remote and secluded location like a lighthouse, surroundend by sea and nature – a bit like Robinson Crusoe – with the sound of the wind, the waves and the seagulls as your only company?

Imagine no further, you can find out how to turn this into reality by reading this guest-post by Antonia Novosel, an experienced blogger and writer who is content and blog writer at Sailing Europe Blog, which is one of the most popular European sailing communities blogs.


-(written by Antonia Novosel)
The story of Croatian lighthouses, as we see them today, started sometime in 19th century. Austro-Hungarian naval authorities decided to make navigation in eastern Adriatic safer for their warcraft and merchant navy. You may ask what Croatian Adriatic has to do with Austria and Hungary… Well, Croatia used to be the part of Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time.

Croatia lighthouses
Let’s get back to the sea! Coastal navigation in Croatian Adriatic used to be very difficult, even dangerous throughout the history. The reason for such situation is the great number of Croatian islands, islets and rocks, along with well indented coastline and tricky meteorological situations from time to time. So navigation within Croatian islands was the virtue known only to local masters. As the mighty empire wanted to increase their influence at the Adriatic they needed to learn better how to lead their ships through the maze of Croatian islands safely. As well as many other things that we inherited from the times of Austro-Hungary, Adriatic lighthouses were built to last.
Croatia lighthouses
Continue reading


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more adventures in Croatia: Douglas in Rijeka

Into Hell's FireThis week for our regular feature “more adventures in Croatia” we welcome to our blog Douglas Cavanaugh, an American expat who for the past eighteen years has been living in Rijeka, a northern coastal town and principal seaport in Croatia.

In his spare time over the years, Douglas has written an action/spy/thriller novel set in Bosnia and many parts of Croatia, Dalmatia included, so we were very interested to hear the story of his own adventure in Croatia, and how he came to writing this action-packed book!

Hi Douglas and welcome to our Blog, where are you originally from and how did you end up living in Croatia?

I grew up in the Midwest part of the United States – the agricultural state named Iowa. Continue reading

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the washing lines in Old Town Dubrovnik – Croatia

Dubrovnik Old Town is full of history, beautiful palaces, museums and piazzas, but walking the narrow streets of Dubrovnik you also notice that lots of people live in it, and have to go about their daily business, regardless of the hordes of tourists which descend on the city every day.

One of the daily chores is, of course, the washing…

I don’t know want it is with washing lines, whenever I see them in a beautiful setting inside an old city, I want to photograph them, it brings home that the streets are not just for tourists to marvel, but this is a living community, not a museum or a tourist attraction.

So here is the washing that was very photogenic during my visit!
Smile, you are on camera!

(click on images to enlarge)


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we caption Croatia (7)

ahhh how sweet… what is he thinking?


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cook like an Italian – brasato di manzo

Brasato is a type of beef stew, which is originally from Piemonte and made with a good Barolo wine. But it’s also on the menu in other northern regions and tweeked with a few variations, in my family it was often prepared for a special Sunday lunch, and served with polenta or mashed potatoes.
Brasato can also be prepared with other types of good full-bodied red wines (Barolo is quite expensive) but don’t use cheap wine, or you’ll be wasting your time and a good piece of beef.
brasato di manzo
In my recipe I have used Montepulciano, you can also use a good Gattinara, Chianti or Sangiovese. Cheap wine won’t do. Continue reading


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Croatian Olive Oils – a long-standing tradition

Our Adventure in Croatia:

Olives and Olive oil in Croatia? read all about it here

Originally posted on Go Hvar:

Dalmatians say: To taste good, a fish must swim three times – once in the sea, once in olive oil, and once in wine!

Although I’m generally not a fan of munching olives, I have to admit they are good in combination with cheese and anchovies to accompany a glass of wine. And I definitely do like a good olive oil. We’ve recently tried different types from California, Spain, Italy and South America, and are beginning to appreciate the variation in flavours. We’re now hoping to expand our somewhat sparse knowledge to Croatian oils, as there are some fine examples of artisan extra-virgin olive oil on the market from around Dalmatia and  Istria.

Olive oil tasting Rizman olive oil ready for tasting

With that in mind, we attended a seminar at April’s Dalmatian Wine Expo, given by Dr sc. Mirella Žanentić, and Rizman, producers of some wonderful wines and olive oils. The presentation…

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our first season at BellaVista comes to an end

Last week we said goodbye to our last guests of the season. They were two lovely families from the UK who were visiting the island for the first time.
Plaza in Trogir
In the early part of the summer season the weather wasn’t so good in Croatia, it’s been an unusual year with more rain than normal, even the locals have been very surprised (read our post we are still standing).

But October bloomed into wonderful sunshine and our last guests enjoyed a great sunny week and loved the pool, especially the children. Their daughter Gracie learned to dive as she was jumping in it every day, so we are very honoured to being a part of her “dive training” and – who knows – in future she may even be a champion swimmer or diver!!
Villa BellaVista Continue reading


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Cycling the cobbled streets of Vis Town – Croatia

Everyone rides a bike on Vis. Young and old, locals and and tourists, fat and skinny people. All kinds of bikes are ridden. New ones, old ones, mountain bikes, colourful bikes, on two, three or even four wheels.
Vis Town Croatia
There is probably no place on the whole Adriatic where the bike is as popular as in Vis, and it is very easy to rent a bike as there are plenty of places near the port where you can pick one up if you arrive with a sailing ship or a gulet cruise, like us, while on our island-hopping adventure.
IMG_9038 Continue reading


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more adventures in Croatia: Robert and Natasha in Split

Split is the largest city in Dalmatia. Its origins go back to Roman times and at the heart of the city, facing the Adriatic, is the old Diocletian Palace, which is still today one of the main attractions as a Unesco World Heritage sites and a living monument, with people living between its boundaries, where you get a mixture of ancient buildings and modern everyday living side by side.

Diocletian Palace Split
Our Croatian adventurers this week are Robert and Natasha, who are permanent residents of Split, having moved to the city a few years ago.
us in hats
Hello Robert and Natasha, welcome to our Blog, where are you originally from and how did you end up living in Croatia, when did you move here? Continue reading


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