In July, I traveled to Northern Italy with my family. We spent 3 days/nights in Venice and 3 days/nights in Milan. After Italy, I flew with my brother and his girlfriend (cue the third wheel status) to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Dubrovnik was a magical city and I can't wait to explore more of beautiful Croatia.
Here are some of my favorite things we did in Croatia:
- BOWA Dubrovnik: I like to do a lot of research before going on trips. So when I read multiple reviews about this spot, I knew it was one of a kind. Think of BOWA as a magical island only accessible by private boat x private beach club x food-lovers paradise. For ~$175 you get a 7-course meal, a private cabana and continuous service throughout your stay. We stayed for about 6 hours and enjoyed the quiet time and beautiful water. This is a MUST DO when you go to Dubrovnik. Here's a link to my TripAdvisor review for some more info.
- Konoba Dubrava: We were highly recommended this restaurant that is known for it's meat plate. And holy moly - the meat plate was delicious, but massive. If you're making reservations here, make sure to pre-order the meat plate as it takes a long time to prepare. The potatoes were to die for.
- Adventure Dubrovnik - Dubrovnik Sea Kayak Tour: Another highlight for us was kayaking in the sea and around the coastline. It was a welcome workout after a week of eating carbs, cheese and meat. We loved our tour guides and had a great time learning the history of Dubrovnik. Highly recommend!
For Venice and Milan, both cities were very different from my previous experiences in Southern Italy. If you're planning trips to these two cities, here are some of my favorite spots we checked out during our stay:
Activities in Venice:
- Gnocchi Making: My brother and I surprised my parents with a gnocchi-making class that we booked through airbnb. It was one of the overall highlights of our trip because 1. Francesco was a wonderful teacher and we really enjoyed hearing about his life 2. the Gnocchi was molto delizioso! If you're heading to the Venice area, reach out to Francesco and schedule a class.
- Peggy Guggenheim Museum: in order to get here from the main area in Venice, you need to take a boat. Generally, I recommend getting a pass for however long your trip to Venice is. The boat trip was very short, and the walk over to the museum was about 10 minutes long. We really enjoyed the entire collection and probably would have wanted to spend more time if we weren’t rushing to our next activity.
- Gondola ride: this is a very touristy thing to do, but still a really special way to experience the city. We booked a gondola ride in advance because we had heard that the lines get really long during tourist season. If you pre-book, be prepared to pay more than you would if you just walked up. There are a number of stations in Venice to choose from.
Food in Venice:
Gimme all the pasta.
- Osteria Stella Anice: I had seen this restaurant highly rated on a number of travel sites and really enjoyed the meal. But, note that the restaurant’s kitchen closes early at 10pm, so I’d recommend making a reservation before 9:30pm J I enjoyed the hummus appetizer to start and the seafood pasta. Other members of our party got the pasta with truffles and it looked amazing.
- Osteria Enoteca San Marco: we had dinner here on our first night and loved it. The pesto pasta with burrata was incredible.
- Osteria Oliva Nera: We were recommended this restaurant and enjoyed it immensely! We loved the squash blossoms (OMG!) and the white fish entrée was delicious, but the star of the meal was the lasagna! I so regret that I didn’t order it.
Activities/Food in Milan:
- Prada Fondazione: This is a museum/exhibition space in the outskirts of Milan. One of the highlights was checking out Bar Luce (a cafe designed by Wes Anderson) as well as the Atlas tower to check out art from Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Carla Accardi.
- Piz: We were recommended to eat lunch at this pizza spot and it did not disappoint. It was probably the best pizza we ate on our trip. YUM! Also, the people who worked here were very friendly and gave us champagne upon entry and shots of Limoncello upon exit (all for free)!
- La Prosciutteria: If you like prosciutto (and other meat) and lots of cheese, come here for their famous boards. By the end of our trip to Milan we were meat & cheese'd out, but still managed to find room to enjoy this meal.
- The Last Supper: If you didn't reserve your spot to go see The Last Supper, did you even really go to Milan? No description necessary - just go.