Croatia's popularity has exploded over the years thanks, in part, to Game of Thrones filming in the historic European country. But, it's the wine culture you should really be checking out. More specifically, the hidden one.
While wine has been produced across the country for hundreds of years, the island of Hvar is a rather unique spot for vino lovers. Why? Well, it's home to Stari Grad Plain, the oldest continuously planted vineyard in the world as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Even cooler is the 114-square-mile destination has a secret winery built into a cave only accessible by boat.
The winery is so secret, it's difficult even to find a lot of information about it. What we do know is the wine cellar is run by Miro Plavac, who came to the island 15 years ago. He fell in love with the island's beauty and adventures so much that he became the only man to ski from the top of the island to Dubovica Bay (five kilometers) during the freak snowstorm of 2014. He also developed a passion for Plavac Mali, a type of red wine grape grown along the coast of Croatia, consequently took Plavac as a surname, and decided to buy a vineyard and produce his own wine.
So, how can you check it out yourself? Hvar Wine Tours recently launched a tour by speedboat. They will pick you up at your hotel, villa, or private accommodation, where your boat is moored or meet you at one of our four tour booths in Hvar Town. They will then take you to his hidden wine cellar located on the south side of the island where Plavac will lead you through a tasting in the cave.
What's more, is that there's never a better time to visit. Hvar sees more hours of sun per year than any other island in Europe and the island's first five-star hotel, Palace Elisabeth, will have its soft opening in September.