In Croatia: Dubrovnik City Walls

‘I’m walking the walls’

It sounds and feels very Game of Thrones like! Everyone says walking the walls is the top thing to do in Dubrovnik and it is understandable why. The walls fully encircle the Old Town, it is a 2km uninterrupted walk that gives the most fantastic views!
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I recommend doing the route at the first entrance, this entrance is located opposite the Big Onofrio’s Fountain. It costs 100 kuna (€13) to walk the walls and admission into Fortress Lovrijenac so don’t forget your ticket!!
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I loved the Ikea like system they have in place when you are walking the walls. You walk one way, it means you don’t have buildups and people passing you by, you can generally stay in your own group and walk with minimal disruption. Loved the organisation! PhoebeGill150620428-1

The views from the walls are beautiful, there is one side the looks out to see on one side and then over to the buildings and small streets that makes up old town. There are forts and lookouts that give you so many vantage points. PhoebeGill150620468-6

Looking out over the red topped roofs you can imagine ships out at sea and the threat of a siege but you forget there was huge upheaval here twenty years ago. These defence walls are an amazing piece of history that seem untouched by war. It really makes you see how strong Croatia is. PhoebeGill150620704-7

If you take the first entrance your walk will end with the big tower to the North. Tower Minčeta is very popular with not much open space to look at the views it may get a bit crowded. It’s a really great way to end the walk. Walking it, with lots of stops for photos should take less than two hours and it is definitely two hours well spent!

Fortress Lovrijenac

PhoebeGill150620389-8I definitely recommend you go over to Fortress Lovrijenac. When you take the first entrance of the walls one of the first things you see is this beautiful fort on a rock and it looks amazing. Getting to the fort is a little confusing because there is the main square outside Pile Gate with restaurants, a bus stop and tour guide stalls. There are some steps down on the right side of the square that meander down to a small little harbour, you can then see lots of steps up to the fort. Don’t forget to bring your ticket! The views are great, it’s nice to see a different angle of the walls. Fortress Lovrijenac has been repurposed into a theatre space, Shakespeare’s Hamlet is preformed here which would be an amazing experience.

So it’s clear to see why people really like this feature of Dubrovnik. Take note you might want to walk the walls in the morning or evening it can get really hot so morning and evening means it’s a little cooler and a little quieter. It’s a must to visit this amazing structure and learn about it. Would you like to walk the walls?

Happy Travels!

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In Split: Marjan Hill

Marjan hill is the beautiful peak of green you can see as you walk around old town. It was one of the things I really wanted to do in Split. On google maps it looks really far out of the city but it’s actually a really easy walk to do.   PhoebeGill150617014-1

The hill is a spiral uphill walk with a fair few steps. There is a shuttle that can bring you up and down but I wanted the walk so I don’t know when it leaves or how much it is. I would recommend you go early in the morning or in the evening as the colder temperatures are nicer to hike up to the top. PhoebeGill150617125-3

Once you reach the top there is one main view looking over old town and the mountains behind. Although this is a fantastic look out location there are lots of trees covering the view. Now in no way do I think the trees should be taken down but just be aware your view might be obscured. PhoebeGill150617093-2

I really liked the uphill walk, it was nice to get a good bit of exercise when you have just been sitting on buses and eating. It’s not just a lookout point it’s also a park, this is an area where people walk their dogs and play with their kids. It’s a really nice place to go when you are in Split.

One thing I have to note is that this is where Split Zoo is. I urge you to never step foot into this “attraction” there is nothing that is nice or kind about this zoo. I had zero knowledge of this zoo before I went to Split, I wish I knew. I thought this was going to be a quaint little petting zoo, oh how I was wrong. This zoo costs 10 kuna (€1.30) to enter and I have no idea how this covers the cost of living for these creatures that live in this despicable area. I do visit zoos and I like to support breeding programmes and the educating people on animals but this zoo has none of that. It is dirty and small and the animals look miserable, the warthogs have hair missing, the animals had ZERO fresh produce in their cages. I fed some goats fresh grass and they got very excited. They have one tiger who I wanted to throw myself into the enclosure to give it something to do. I urge you, DO NOT enter this awful excuse for a zoo. It is too small for the amount of creatures and I felt sick walking around it.

In 2014 there were reports of it going to be closed, I don’t know why this hasn’t happened yet but I hope that it happens soon. It is a disgrace!

I definitely recommend Marjan Hill. It is a beautiful location but please do not give the zoo any money because the little amount of money that it gets is not going into building a better environment for these animals.

Happy Travels!

In Croatia: Top 8 things to do in Split

The next stop on the trip was Split, the bus from Plitvice to Split goes back to Zadar so it does take a long time but there was great scenery and an ok journey.

I enjoyed Split, coming from Zadar it felt a lot more touristy, there are a lot of people in stalls and booths with boat trips and day trips to the islands and I was even approached by two British people asking if I wanted to go on their pub crawl (my idea of hell). The architecture is once again beautiful and there are some fun things to do in the Old Town and everything is an easy walk away.

Things to do in Split:

  1. Walk up the Bell Tower of St. Domnius. It costs €2 to go up. My favourite thing by far. I’ve read reviews and people said can be scary, there is a great breeze closer to the top, the stairs are sometimes more difficult than others, it is narrow, it’s a pretty open staircase so you can see how far down. But if you are like me and like heights than you’ll be fine and it will be a lot of fun!
  2. Diocletian’s Palace, there is a really great square where you can sit and have a drink. In the evening time there is music which is really nice to experience. I also went into the basement halls which are quite interesting.
  3. Have a drink by the Riva. Although there are lots of stalls by the seafront you can ignore them and look out to sea and relax.
  4. Walk all around the small streets. The beautiful architecture and pretty squares are a really nice thing to do when scouting for a place to eat.
  5. Go to the beach. Beautiful waters and great coves means for a great swim in the sea.
  6. Rub bishop Gregory of Nin’s toe. It’s an 8m tall statue and it’s said it can bring you good luck.
  7. Walk up Marjan Hill.
  8. Get a picture with the Gladiators, just because.

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This is the view of Marjan Hill. A really great hike to do if you want to feel a bit more active. PhoebeGill150617049-2

There are beautiful mountains all around Croatia, this is north of Diocletian’s Palace. You can see the walls of Old Town and this is where the big statue of Gregory of Nin. PhoebeGill150617108-4

The marina is right next to the bus station and the railway line. Just past all of this is the beaches and coves that are a great place to swim.

PhoebeGill150617080-3I found these were the best things to do in Split, I was there for three days, I don’t really drink and I don’t like to go out so I don’t have any idea about that side of the city. I think it’s a really nice point to stop on the Dalmatian coast.

Happy Travels!

In Croatia: Plitvice National Park in June

Plitvice National Park has been on my bucket list for a long long time and as happy as I was to see it there was something that was quite disappointing about the whole thing. I hate coming away from a trip and feeling like I have to go back right away. After my day in Plitvice, I am not finished at all. Also I will never go back in June or Summer ever again.

I got the bus from Zadar to Plitvice, buses are really convenient to get around but the morning I was to leave, my bus was late, about an hour late so that was quite annoying, I also sat in something sticky which is just nasty. Always bring travel wipes with you!

PhoebeGill150615276-1I got to the park at about 12:30 which is pretty late if you want to get the park done in a day, which was the only time I could spend there.  I paid 110 kuna (€14.50) to get into the park which is very good value for money. I also got a big map that cost 20 kuna (€2.60) I started at entrance 2, and waited in line to get across the lake to the park itself. The lake is absolutely beautiful. You can hire boats that you can row by yourself and go off and explore, I will be doing that next time.   PhoebeGill150615477-2If you are looking at a map the of the park and are at entrance 2 you will see on the left that there are three loops around the lakes, I only did the lowest loop. I am annoyed I only saw that because I am sure that the rest of the upper lakes are beautiful.
PhoebeGill150615062-3Walking around the park was really nice but also a little unnerving. Massive groups of tourists would clump together and make you feel like you were going to fall into the water. These aren’t the biggest walkways and there are no banisters on the boardwalks also so take note. 

PhoebeGill150615148-4The waterfalls are absolutely beautiful! There are unfortunately no inlets to take pictures so there is always a bit of a pile up if you want to stop. It also makes the experience feel a bit rushed, like you can’t stop because then you are holding up a lot of people. PhoebeGill150615462-5 There are beautiful dragonflies all over the park, such beautiful, beautiful creatures. There are also lots of fish in the lakes and the water is so clear that you can see them really clearly.
PhoebeGill150615379-6 The right side of the map has ‘The Big Waterfall’. I did this route later in the evening when most of the big big tour groups are gone. I took the big boat across the lake from port 2 to port 3 to walk to the big waterfall. I was still following route K but it was closed off on this side which meant I needed to find an alternative route. This part of the park was a lot quieter. Although I didn’t have any pressure from people it was now almost closing time in the park.
PhoebeGill150615466-7The water is just absolutely amazing! It’s a shame you can’t go for a swim or touch it but to preserve it’s beauty is important and shouldn’t be messed with. PhoebeGill150615283-9When I got to the big waterfall it was worth it. I sat down tried to drown out all the selfie sticks and other people and enjoyed my time. It is utterly stunning!

Tips:

  1. Go early or later. If you are going in June this is your best bet to have a little more comfort walking around the park.
  2. Have a nice time but don’t loose all sense of courtesy. Don’t run past people, don’t walk two or three a breast, don’t be rude. It’s very simple.
  3. Use the boats and buses. They are a fantastic way to get around the park and break up a lot of walking.
  4. Stay at the Plitvice Hotel at entrance 2. Great basic hotel and you get breakfast included.
  5. Don’t touch the water or mess with any flora or fauna in the park.

*Note: I know my shots look empty but that is because I am an expert in taking people out of my shots, it was extremely busy!

I wish I listened to my gut and took an extra day here. I think two days is the perfect amount for a visit in Summer. I will be going back, I am already thinking of how I can go back and see more of Croatia and this park. I would definitely recommend going to see this beautiful park but I don’t recommend you go in Summer, this was just the start of the season and if you don’t like crowds it isn’t the time to go, I couldn’t handle it. Despite all this the park is beautiful and I can’t wait to go back. Have you been to Plitvice? What time of year did you go at? 

Happy Travels!