On Sunday morning I woke up in a finely renovated wooden wine barrel to the sounds of chickens, birds chirping in trees nearby and the occasional donkey braying. Every so often I heard something that wasn’t too common in my life, silence. Hours away from the city life that I called normal and seconds away from the type of zen I crave, I find myself comfortably pondering village life at Agroturizam Duvančić.
Located in a peaceful Dalmatian Village, only 35km away from Šibenik and the Adriatic Sea, Agroturizam Duvančić is a place that needs to be seen to be believed. Featuring a restaurant and an outdoor pool, tennis court, children’s playground, Agroturizam Duvančić – Konoba dida Marka is set in village of Razvođe, 9 km from Drniš and moments away from Krka National Park (no more than 15km away). Click here for location details and how to get there.
We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s all about the journey, not the destination,” well Agroturizam Duvančić provides the best of both worlds. A scenic ride through some of Croatia’s finest land, along with the ultimate destination for authentic home made Croatian food, entertainment and somewhere to stay if you’ve had one too many glasses of wine from the vineyard.
Owner, Marko Duvančić’s story is no exception to the pain and suffering of Croatia’s war of independence. After returning to his parent’s home, he saw nothing, there was nothing left. Like most crossroads in life, he could have chosen to suffer in silence by living in despair and reflecting on what once was, but instead decided to be a living example that it was possible to create something out of nothing and from the bottom.
Agroturizam Duvančić started off as a winery and one that was rapidly gaining more traction as a place to visit in Croatia (the family own over 13ha of land). There was one problem, well, kind of a good omen- visitors to Agroturizam Duvančić enjoyed the wine so much so that they often asked Marko if he had a place they could stay overnight. In a light-bulb moment Marko saw this as an opportunity to expand his business. With a little bit of luck, he was fortunate to execute his vision into the what it stands as today. Eight oversized wine barrels were turned into double sized rooms (Grandpa Marko’s Tavern), fully equipped with a generous bathroom and heating. Passion project turned reality.
Guests from all over the world fill the restaurant, ‘Konoba dida Marka‘ or ‘Pilip’s Palace,‘ each and every day to experience authentic Croatian cuisine in an atmosphere that is cheerful and full of joy. It’s safe to say that every day is a busy day but unlike many people in the balkans waiting for retirement, Marko loves and lives for his business, one he hopes to pass down to his children. It’s obvious with the way he speaks of the world he created, all from a vision in his head and a strong will to work hard.
I arrived at Agroturizam Duvančić in time for dinner, as the restaurant was buzzing with a bus load of tourists. We were seated at our table and immediately made to feel right at home. This is a common trait among Croatians from dalmatia, they are very welcoming. We started with barley soup, slow cooked for three hours that I ended up having more than one plate of. Then our main was roasted lamb that melted in our mouths, crisp green salad and soft potatoes. I simply can’t fault this dinner, it made me feel like I was home. For dessert we had freshly made fritule, which are fried dough usually sprinkled with icing sugar and chocolate fudge.
After entering a legitimate food coma, I decide to call it a night and head over to my room. I am also told that the kitchen fridge is also open for guests to take anything they like which includes and endless supply of local cheese and prsut.
The wine barrel rooms that are over 100 years old are immaculately designed, with wooden floor boards, modern bathroom and lead out into the pool area. The room comes with LCD flat screen TV, air conditioning, towels and body wash. A table for two greets me with a jug of red wine from Marko’s vineyard (sadly I can’t drink it) and dry roasted almonds, a great snack while I edit my youtube video in bed the following day.
My stay is comfortable and there is more than enough room for two people to really unwind and settle into. Yes, there is free WiFi and parking on site.
As I previously mentioned, Konoba dida Marka (The Family Restaurant) hosts a number people each and every day for dinner. While getting to Agroturizam Duvancic is easiest by car, tour buses are also known to stop by with groups of tourists. The restaurant has retained it’s authenticity, even Marko wears a traditional Croatian costume as he serves dinner to his new friends. Wooden dining tables were made from left over wood when doors were cut from the wine barrels, so no materials have gone to waste.
Breakfast is also included in the price for any guests who stay overnight.
This is definitely a place I would love to revisit with my parents when they are back from Australia this summer.