By Lead Travel Writer, Renee Fontaine
“If you have a surreal life like I do, you’ve got to have fun along the way.”
— Victoria Beckham
I love the word “surreal.” What word could be more fascinating? Definitions include, “having the quality of a dream, unreal, and fantastic.” The literal interpretation is “above real.” What could be better than being above reality? Surreal is the word that comes to mind when I think of Primošten, Croatia..
Primosten, pronounced pre -mo-shten, rolls off my tongue with ease now. Not long ago, I knew nothing of this dreamlike seaside town.
While visiting a property in Split, my host and new found friend, Gordon, informed me that the next property I would be visiting was in Primošten. My poor short term memory combined with the foreign pronunciation caused the word to slip my mind. This is a common problem for me. Fifteen seconds after being introduced to someone, I have already forgotten their name. So I was having the same problem with the name “Primošten.” I must have asked Gordon the name of the town five times. By the fifth time, he looked at me as if perhaps I was a little slow. I explained that I am a visual learner and that I need to see foreign words spelled out for my mind to grasp them. We both laughed at my difficulty.
Shortly, thereafter we arrived at an ultra-modern vacation rental complex. Villas Primosten is centered perfectly between two town boundary signs — one for entering and one for exiting Primosten. Seeing the name clearly written, it was now engraved in my mind. The fact that the villa is located exactly between the two signs, brings up the question , Am I entering Primosten, or am I exiting Primosten?
“It’s so surreal being here.”
— Scotty McCreery
Science fiction is the epitome of surreal. The futuristic notions and ideas create an unreal and fantastic quality. All the best aspects of sci-fi living are combined in the Primošten vacation rental property. This property combines the finest ideas and technology of futuristic living, creating a luxurious multi-home seaside masterpiece.
A warm welcome was awaiting me by architect Zoran Popovic and developer Ante Mioc.
Their professionalism mixed with good humor put me at ease and made me feel at home. As construction of the homes had just been completed, the finishing touches were still underway. After getting settled in one of the apartments, Zoran and Ante escorted me on a tour of the complex.
Strategically situated on a sloped seaside lot, this ultra-modern complex is comprised of nine buildings, seven private homes, and two condominium style buildings. Zoran showed me photos of the construction process and explained the challenges encountered while building on the steep seaside. The multi-unit design makes it perfect for small or large groups providing privacy for the guests within a unified complex. In fact, the complex can accommodate up to 72 people!
Ante explained that each home and apartment was designed with breathtaking sea views. The ancient town of Primošten, with its medieval architecture, sits majestically on a peninsula that protrudes into the sea.
Zoran elaborated further that each residence was designed for privacy and seclusion with windows and doors opening only to the sea and the mountains. Skylights and floor to ceiling windows provide extensive natural lighting. In fact, no lights are needed during the daylight hours. Each of the seven homes includes a private pool and patio. Floating staircases, spacious state-of-the art kitchens, and atrium style courtyards are just a few of the space-age details that make this property unique.
Built in harmony with the landscape, trees, and exposed rocks are incorporated into the design. The flat roofs are covered with pebble rocks and small bushes which accentuate the futuristic sustainable design. Along the seashore the harmony of the landscape is maintained with a slate rock terrace, a perfect spot from which to enjoy a morning swim or dock a small boat. Zoran and Ante stated that plans are underway to add a community pool and restaurant on the north side of the property in the same modern sci-fi design.
Dinner in an Ancient Village
“The past itself, as historical change continues to accelerate, has become the most surreal of subjects — making it possible … to see a new beauty in what is vanishing.”
— Susan Sontag
Back in one of these luxurious apartments, I watched the sunset over the Adriatic Sea as I viewed the small medieval town. I had learned that Primošten is located on an islet close to the mainland. The islet and town had once been protected by high walls and towers. A draw bridge connected the town to the mainland. The town’s people sought to guard themselves from an invasion by the Turks in 1542. Their efforts were successful. In 1564 the draw bridge was replaced.
The following evening, a dinner in my honor was arranged by Ante and Zoran at the town’s best restaurant, Mediteran. Proprietor Davor Perkov warmly greeted us with a large smile. He introduced me to some additional guests — a couple whom are both doctors in a nearby town. The ambience of the restaurant was something out of a dream. Framed by ancient stone walls the charm and history ran through my blood. The front section is open providing an amazing view of the night sky. The back of the restaurant emanates a wine cellar feel.
While sitting under the stars, we were served a tasteful selection of Croatian wines, fish, and vegetables; this is truly a food and wine connoisseur’s dream! As I savored the wine and cuisine, the history lover in me steered the conversation back in time. I learned that Josip Broz Tito, the chief architect of the socialist federation of Yugoslavia lasting from 1943 to 1992, was loved and admired by the Croatian people. The socialist federation was unique in a Yugoslavia that was able to maintain independence during the Cold War, by not aligning itself with either the western or eastern bloc countries. The war in the 1990s which divided the county into six independent states destroyed most of Croatian’s industry which had thrived prior to that time. However, there was much hope on the horizon. Zoran explained that in just two months Croatia would be accepted into the European Union and that development of tourism in Croatia held great promise. I agreed wholeheartedly. Croatia is truly a vacation lover’s paradise!
As we finished our dinner with a delectable dessert known as Paradizot, discussions of international politics led to discussions of local politics. The municipal elections results had just come in. The small sleepy town was growing lively as groups gathered throughout the town to celebrate their candidate’s victories.
After thanking Davor for being a kind and generous host, we strolled through town stopping at a local establishment where a live band was playing authentic Croatian music in honor of the election. We toasted with a glass of Grappa, a favorite Croatian liqueur. I smiled relishing the experience — the jovial people, the ancient city, the lively music. Surreal!
“Surreal can be exciting and good, and it can be like living inside an alien landscape, and it can be completely interesting, or you can be alienated from your own life — inside your own life, it doesn’t feel familiar anymore.”
I love finding myself in a surreal place or situation. I feel more alive and inspired. As the lines of reality blur, the mind is given the opportunity to experience a dreamlike existence in a conscious state of mind. Perhaps, this is the reason I avoid the ordinary, the normal, and the comfortable to seek out new destinations. This small seaside town, Primošten, felt more surreal than any place I have visited before. I was curious about the aspects that aroused such a feeling.
A winding, picturesque road leads from Villas Primošten to the town center. Each day I walked along this road which passes by high canyon walls and open sea views into town. I felt a sense of tranquility from the surroundings, with a feeling I could not quite place define, as if I were in a dream.
One day, I discovered a stone staircase alongside the road which appeared to lead nowhere — so dreamlike. In fact the night before, I had dreamt I was climbing a staircase that had neither a top nor a bottom. I crossed the street to get a closer look of what seemed like a mirage. I climbed the stairs. As I ascended, the view of the sea and town below came into sight; it was spectacular! When I reached the top, I discovered that the staircase had a hidden turn which directed me into a clearing. In light of my strange dream, I was glad to see that the staircase did lead somewhere!
Another day, I discovered a trail that led from the main road down to the sea. There I found a pathway that runs through the woods, parallel with the sea shore. As I wondered along the path, I admired the vegetation and landscape. Cacti, wild flowers and towering trees framed the view ahead. The hillside was dotted with vacation villas. Along the path, occasional tourists were basking in the sun on the rocky shore while children cooled themselves in the clear blue water.
Arriving each day into town, I passed by the Rudiina, the main square, and meandered throughthe narrow passageways. St. George, the parish church built in 1485, sits regally at the top of the hill as if guarding the village below. Sometimes I stopped by one of the quaint cafes for an espresso or the Mediteran for an outstanding lunch.
The crystal clear water, history, and charm easily explain why Primošten is one of the most popular tourist areas in Dalmatia. Since its beginnings as a small fishing village, Primošten has developed into a tourist’s paradise. The main beach, Raduca, is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia. Primošten is also known for its vineyards which are currently under consideration to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Krka, one of Croatia’s national parks, is located less than an hour to the north near the city of Sibenik. This 109 square kilometer park is a nature lover’s paradise. The park is a profusion of rich flora and fauna, river, waterfalls, and animal life. In fact, over 860 plant species, 18 fish species, and 222 bird species have been identified in the park. Extraordinary!
“I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality, a surreality, if one may so speak.”
— André Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism
My stay in Primošten flew by like a dream — a dream of beauty, tranquility, and wonder. I awoke the morning of my departure and looked one last time at the breathtaking view of the sea and the ancient town from my window.
I came to Primošten knowing nothing of this peaceful place, not even its name. What I found was a vacation villa complex so modern and luxurious that I felt beamed into the future. This ancient quiet town made me feel transported to the past, as well. Kind and hospitable hosts made me feel like a member of the community, rather than a just tourist. The magical landscape filled me with wonder and tranquility. All these combined, brought about a surreality, where reality and a dream combine for a fantastic mingling.
For reservations, please call Lauren Berger at (888) 522-1099, (239) 671-2920 or (646) 629-
9669 or Gordon Svalina at 385 (0)21 223 396 or 385915600457.
This property was chosen for the Unusually Unique Vacation Rentals category because of the modern and environmentally sustainable design. This property is also well suited for the categories of Outstandingly Located, Ultra Luxurious, Family Focused, Beach Area and Super Romantic Vacation Rentals.
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