Art Bottega is a Croatian company offering art experiences in major cities throughout the country. Currently they operate events in Zagreb, Zadar, and Split. The Paint and wine events are 2.5-hour classes requiring no prior art experience. The wine flows as you embody your inner Van Gogh to complete a pre-selected painting step by step. Corey and I decided to give one of their classes a go during our time in Zadar so I’m going to tell you about our experience.
First, the basics:
Cost – 180 Kuna per person (at the time of writing this currently about £20). They also offer some group discounts for 4 or more people.
Duration – 2.5 hours, most of these classes are held in the evening, starting between 7 and 7.30pm
What’s Included – Unlimited wine, all painting equipment and apron to cover clothes, guided tuition to complete your painting, and the finished canvas is yours to keep and take home
Things we Loved…
Unlimited wine – All you can drink alcohol is always a huge plus in my books! It certainly helped softened the inner self-critic and allowed a release of inhibitions. There were bottles of locally produced white, red and rose for you to tuck into and you could help yourself throughout the evening.
Open to everyone – We found this event to be a fun and unique date night, but it would have been an incredibly fun hen-party, birthday event, girls’ night or even something to do flying solo. Everyone was incredibly welcoming, friendly and we had a good laugh. You didn’t have to have any pre-existing artistic flare and even Corey who isn’t really into connecting with his creative side had a lot of fun and stayed engaged throughout the night.
Intimate, small groups – We found the group size was perfect. It was quiet enough to hear the instructor, but the room felt full and there was a nice level of background noise to keep things relaxed. The group size was such that it was easy to have some one-on-one help with the instructor if required without having to fight for attention.
Unique and fun experience – For our experience we did a painting called Donkey Quijote, a beautiful blue donkey with a flower crown which felt very apt for our Croatian adventures. The wine was refreshing and hit the spot well, the instruction was thorough but easy-going and although neither of us had any artistic advantage going into the evening, we had fun slapping paint on our canvas and did both produce something half decent…Ish!
The Cost – Now, we all know I like a lot of bang for my buck and I feel with Art Bottega we got it! For a similar event in the UK, it would cost much more than the equivalent of £20 so we felt the paint and wine event was very reasonably priced for the experience delivered.
Things we Didn’t…
The website was actually pretty difficult to navigate with all the pricing pages being solely in Croatian. I chose to contact the company via email, and they sorted me out from there instead. This would be what I would recommend for international participants.
You need to pre-book and plan in advance. As a planner this wasn’t really a big deal for me, but for some people who enjoy flying by the seat of their pants, this may be an issue. They have a set number of spaces for each painting night and the events are only run on certain dates. We’d definitely recommend booking in advance as places are regularly sold out, so not really something you can do on a whim.
If you don’t speak Croatian or English, you may struggle with following the class. If you speak the native tongue, you’ll be grand, and they did have a woman hanging around the English-speaking table to translate each step but, if you don’t speak or understand either language you may struggle.
In summary, we would really recommend Art Bottega as a unique evening activity during your stay in Croatia. Even if you wouldn’t particularly consider yourself arty, your canvas makes a great, unique souvenir from your travels, you get to chat to new people, drink unlimited Croatian wine and try something new! My advice… Just let out your inner Picasso and paint the night away!