One place that has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember is Croatia, so when I was offered the chance to spend a week at a Villa in Dugopolje with Clickstay, I really couldn’t say no, could I?
I had never been on a Villa holiday before so in the months leading up to the trip, I was super excited about the idea of having our own place for the week, complete with pool and hot tub. No more dreaded sunbed races in the early hours of the morning, yay…
We flew from Manchester airport early on Saturday morning, but by the time we arrived at Split airport it was absolutely baking hot and we were being inundated with offers to Dugopolje by taxi drivers. As I was struggling to get my Uber working, we went with the cheapest offer of 250 Kuna – which we now know was an absolute rip off, oops.
When we arrived at Villa Sofia we were pleasantly surprised by Dugopolje. It’s definitely an up and coming area with a lot of villas still being built around us, but it was surrounded by stunning mountains and was far enough away from Split city centre for us to not hear a sound outside. It was so serene to look out at the mountains every day, definitely a view I’ll never forget.
It didn’t take us long to notice that the hosts, Sofia and Ivo, also owned a cat. She was sat waiting outside as we pulled up in the taxi so I went straight over to her. Sofia said her name is Chtizca, which has no English translation. She was the friendliest cat and ended up spending a lot of time in the villa with us, especially when it started to drop colder.
After dropping our suitcases off in the kitchen, Sofia gave us the grand tour.
Oh. My. God. I wanted to move in there and then.
There were three upstairs bedrooms and a bathroom, a lounge area, a kitchen and dining room and the summer kitchen. Through the lounge was the patio which included a heated pool and sun loungers with a view of the mountains, including mountain Mosor.
After we had been shown around the pool Sofia took us to the other side of the villa, which has its own set of keys and showed us the second lounge, the gym, the main bedroom, the games room and – my favourite – the hot tub.
After letting us know some of their favourite places to visit, Sofia and Ivo left us to settle in.
As none of us drove, our first challenge was getting a taxi to the nearest supermarket. After trailing a couple of different numbers we managed to find someone who even offered to wait in the nearby cafe while we did our food shopping. We stocked up (on alcohol and snacks), ordered a pizza and made our way back to the villa.
Me and my boyfriend decided to have the front wing to ourselves, which many we got the nicest room with the en-suite. It was nice that although it was attached to the back of the villa via the summer kitchen, we still had our space. We also had the bed with the memory foam mattress, so I slept like a baby every night because it was that comfortable.
Throughout the whole trip it was so nice to be able to go back to our stunning villa and although we were quite far away from amenities, we made it work. Uber was our lifesaver, especially the driver that ended up being our personal chauffeur for most of the trip.
Sophia and Ivo were so helpful the entire time we were there and judging by the comments in the guest book they are the same with all their guests. They came to visit us before they left and even brought me some gifts as a farewell including Croatian Lavender, a Villa Sofia Magnet and a piece of artwork from the villa itself. It was such a personal touch and I know it will remind me of the villa every time I see it.
A Week in Paradise
After settling down in the villa and choosing our rooms (I get the best one obviously), we decided to take it easy for the evening. As I mentioned above we got a taxi to the nearest supermarket and picked up some snacks and drinks. In our excitement, we forgot to buy any real food or anything that wasn’t alcohol, but that wasn’t much of an issue on the first night as we grabbed a takeaway pizza on the way home. After eating our pizza on the terrace outside, we decided to go up to the hot tub, crack open a bottle prosecco and spend the rest of the night there.
Couldn’t think of a more perfect way to spend the first night.
As day two was a Sunday, we didn’t really know if anything in the main town would be open so we decided to spend the day at the villa and make the most of the pool. As we were in the mountains it was a little too chilly to spend hours in there, but we did get to enjoy most of our stock of beer while enjoying the gorgeous weather.
Around lunchtime me and my boyfriend ventured out on the villa bikes, exploring Dugopolje (gutted we didn’t find the caves though!).
The evening ended back in the hot tub with even more beer (you’ll start to notice a pattern soon).
Day three was our first day going into Split. It was about a 20-minute taxi from the villa so after having breakfast we jumped in an Uber to Riva Promenade. We spent most of the day walking around the Old Town, rubbing Gregory Nin’s lucky toe and exploring Diocletian’s Palace, Dominius Cathedral and Saint Lucy’s Crypt. Climbing the bell tower was one of the scariest things I’ve done as it felt like there were no walls and like the staircases were going to fall from underneath you, it was worth it for the views though.
We ate lunch/dinner at one of the restaurants in the main town and watched the world go by before heading to Lidl for some more food back to the villa.
As we hadn’t explored everything we wanted to, we went back to Split for day four. We had already planned to climb Marjan Hill, but as it was really hot when we got into town we decided to get some lunch while it cooled down a little. We walked around the Old Town looking for somewhere to eat before we decided on Bar Barbosa, where we all had the same burger with caramelised onions. Hands down one of the best burgers of the trip (we ate a lot of them) – 10/10 would recommend.
After eating and enjoying our beer we started the trek up Marjan. I won’t give too much away as I have a whole blog post on this, but oh my god it was incredible.
We’d worked up quite an appetite climbing the hill, so by the time we got back down we decided we’d get something to eat. We found somewhere called Pasta Factory near the markets and it was actually really good, for the price we paid!
After two very busy days, we decided to spend Wednesday at the Villa. I edited my first vlog and caught up on emails, while the boys walked to the shop to stock up on water and snacks. It was so nice to have a chilled day in the villa, especially as we ended up back in the hot tub to end the evening.
You can probably guess what we did on day Six, right? Yep! We went back into Split. Head over heels with the city we decided there was more we wanted to explore, so we went back to the promenade. After grabbing something to eat in the Old Town (another burger), we decided to go to the beach our Uber driver had told us about.
When we got there we discovered it wasn’t much of a beach but we still spent a good few hours there enjoying the view and climbing on all of the rocks. After killing some time, and resting my leg due to a MASSIVE bug bite on my ankle we made out way back into Split for a little more exploring and to track down somewhere the boys could buy lobster.
In the end, we found a restaurant that sold swordfish, so we stopped there as I was struggling to walk. After eating we took a slow walk back to the promenade and caught an Uber from our usual spot.
Day seven is possibly one of my favourite days, so I am really glad I managed to make it out.
After waking up to see that my ankle had swollen to ten times the size it was the night before and that I couldn’t walk, I decided I should probably go and see someone and ask for advice. We popped back into Split (although that was not our original plan), found the nearest place I could get help and got me some antihistamines. They helped almost instantly, allowing me to put pressure on my leg again.
We grabbed some lunch from Toto (another burger), before jumping in an Uber to one of the most stunning places I have ever seen.
Again, I am writing a whole separate blog post on this so I’m going to keep it brief – we visited the Fortress of Klis, an incredible incredible fortress in the mountains. I struggled so much to make it to the top with my fear of heights and my bad ankle, but I am so glad I did purely for the views.
We spent a good few hours exploring, enjoyed a beer in the nearby bar and then made our way back to the villa to pack.
As we had an early afternoon flight we decided to leave for the airport pretty early, we said goodbye to the villa and headed for the airport by around 10am. Turns out, we were super early.
Split Airport is tiny so we spent three hours sat around (when we could find a seat) waiting for our flight back to Manchester. Hands down the worst airport I have been too – 0/10 from me.
I would definitely go back to Croatia and if I was visiting Split again I would 100% go back to visit Villa Sofia. In fact, we have already said how nice it would be to go back with family as it’s such a big villa.
I think next time I’d like to go when it’s a little bit warmer, as I definitely didn’t spend as much time in the pool as I’d have liked to.