During the beautiful summer months in Croatia tourists flock to the Croatian coast for fun in the sun. Adventurous and luxury seeking visitors will make their way inland of the Dalmatian coast where they will find incredible beauty spots, one of these natural wonders is the protected Lake Vrana. On the other side of the lake is where the castle Maškovića han can be found. This Heritage hotel has an excellent restaurant, traditional stone-built rooms, cozy beds and a spa area.
Constructed in 1644 by Jusuf Mašković the Turkish high dignitary of the Turkish fleet and most respected Croat of the Turkish court. Jusuf was from Vrana modern day Pakoštana, the westernmost area of the Ottoman empire. Nestled against the border of the Venetian Republic which passes through today’s Adriatic Highway.
Today the castle rests as the westernmost monument of secular Turkish architecture in Europe, Han was intended to be a summer residence when he would return home from Constantinople and a trading inn. It took over five hundred workers working everyday over two years to construct the Turkish style castle. Unfortunately, in 1645 when Mašković and 60,000 warriors conquered Crete the jealous Sultan had him executed. The construction of the castle had to be completed resulting in a much more modest residence than planned.
After the liberation of Vrana in 1699 the Borelli family was assigned the castle till 1881. Ultimately becoming a heritage hotel thanks to the committed enthusiasm of the Zadar conservator Anastazija Magaš. With the help of EU funds, the reconstruction project used the original plans of Mašković concluding in July 2017. Owned by the manucaption of Pakoštane the hotel and restaurant are managed locally.
The modern hotel is made up of fourteen double rooms featuring stone walls, Turkish inspired décor, and very comfortable beds. Outside the rooms is a stone walkway that leads to a courtyard and the restaurant. I stayed in one of the two apartments and enjoyed the complimentary breakfast as well as the fantastic menu for lunches and dinner. Their short menu of recipes with local ingredients were fantastic. A small wellness area has been placed where the former hammam was located.
Vrana castle’s ruins are located across the street from Han. The once majestic Knights Templar castle rested competitively across the street since 1040. There is so much to do in this area. From amazing views in the national park, wine and olive oil tasting and exploring Lake Vrana there is plenty to keep visitors occupied for at least three days.
Bring comfortable shoes because this area has a lot of outside adventures to enjoy
Go to Nature Park Vransko Jezero for the lake and then to the mountain for amazing views and a farm to table restaurant Konoba Kamenjak who serves really good cured meats outside an old stone house. It’s a fantastic experience. Make sure to go to the lake and nature park all in one day because they require a 40 Kuna entrance fee even if you’re only going to the restaurant and the view point.
Visit MasVin for a wine tasting meat pairing and a walk around their lovely vineyard. The owner is fantastic and so is the wine! I hope you enjoy your Croatian travels. Subscribe for more trips. Have a lovely day.