Vacation is sought out by anyone who wants to relax and break free from the daily routine at home. In today’s world, vacation is more than ever aspirational; a plethora of dreamy imagery from places far and wide on Instagram feeds is conjured, with tanned bodies on a vibrant green cliffs overlooking twinkling Mediterranean villages, and handmade sandals stepping through ancient ruins strewn on the ground in ancient coastal cities or Aperol spritzes clinking over a setting sun on the bow of a megayacht. Every day these wanderlust images populate your IG feed making you drool with epic destination lust, the exclusive paradises being enjoyed by the masses as you scroll through them from your desk!

Hvar island in Croatia. The photo was taken on a Valef Yachts cultural charter from the Spanjola Fortress overlooking the city.

Epic-destination travel is now the “norm” as we seek more experiential and awe-inspiring places.  At least it’s the new #goal for everyone looking to escape and explore and maybe capture some ‘like’ worthy shots. We won’t settle for less than extraordinary so we travel to find it.

How to live like these carefree Wanderlust nomads, even for a week? Why not follow UNESCO to epic destinations, who have a ready list of some of the worlds most epic places. One job of UNESCO is to preserve World Heritage sites globally. They go through pains to vet these places in advance, leaving the guessing out for you. A World Heritage site certainly makes for epic-destination travel as these places have been distinguished for their superiority in culture, beauty, etc.

According to the official UNESCO website, “to be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria.” The criteria cover four natural and six cultural definitions.

 

 

Croatia, beyond the strikingly unspoiled landscape, is a place with history, culture, and tradition, merging elements from the Balkans and the Mediterranean.

Croatia's transformation in the past 20 years has turned it into a touristic haven with the implementation of major infrastructure for yachts and luxury travel and with UNESCO claiming many of its towns.

Town of Dubrovnik UNESCO world heritage site view, Dalmatia region of Croatia.

 

Sveti StefanI sland, Budva, Montenegro

On the Southern, Adriatic Coast lays Montenegro or ‘Black Mountain’, combining beaches, clear lakes, coursing rivers, and gorgeous mountains that will make your jaw drop.

Hidden monasteries are tucked into cliffs and medieval towns and glamorous marinas make for a unique attraction. Regardless of it’s size, this smaller neighbor to Croatia also has UNESCO sites.

Kotor Bay, Montenegro

The fortified 2000-year-old city of Kotor with its Venetian streets was an artistic and commercial center in the Middle Ages, deemed a UNESCO heritage site in 1979.

It harmoniously integrates its architecture to the landscape, hosting as well the glamorous Porto Montenegro in Kotor's natural harbor. This "Stunning and expansive yacht marina" according to Vogue magazine, surrounded by dark mountains and luscious green vegetation, was originally settled by Illyrian tribes over 2000 years ago. From Venetian Palaces and old Sea Captain mansions to trendy restaurants, the area boasts bygone gems as well as modern ones.

The Durmitor Natural Park is one of those mythic places on earth located in the north and formed by glaciers, rivers, and underground streams. This alone is a reason to travel here, as well as that the park hosts Europe’s deepest gorge and many canyons where hiking, climbing, canoeing etc. are enjoyed.

 

Hvar, a Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, is a popular day excursion for Valef Yachts Charters.

Split is a UNESCO World Heritage city within the Diocletian palace walls of Croatia, and effectively an open-air museum of antiquity with Roman architecture. The city is protected from the open sea by the islands of the Split archipelago and shielded by the towering mountains on the other side. Witness cultural events and enjoy fine dining in this impeccable city, all summer long.  Just across from Split and also protected by UNESCO is Hvar, the longest island in the Adriatic, and one of Croatia’s cultural and natural hotspots. Night revelers rejoice as plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes remain open ‘til the wee hours. In the Southern-most part of Croatia is the UNESCO protected city of Dubrovnik, Dalmatia’s most famous representative, as well as a Jetsetters favorite, complete with medieval palaces and renaissance gardens and architecture. The medieval city is surrounded by a stone wall protecting the treasure which is the city.

“If you want to see heaven on Earth, come to Dubrovnik”, once stated George Shaw.

Getting lost in the cobbled streets of these Croatian towns and cities, trying the local cuisine and fresh seafood and cruising the mountainous coastline make for vacation paradise and something to make others at their work desk drool and daydream.

 

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