In Croatia: Visiting Dalmatia in June

My trip along the Dalmatian coast was nice but it is the first place I have been in a long time where I felt very much like just another tourist. Croatia is a very popular spot in the summer months which means there are lots of people wanting you to eat in their restaurants, take a boat trip, sell you some nicknacks that you don’t want or need and there is going to be someone in your pictures all of the time! If you aren’t into this type of travel you have been warned but now lets get to the important stuff.

Croatia is beautiful, it’s got the beautiful sea, gorgeous countryside and perfect old towns that are steeped with history! I highly highly recommend you go to this beautiful part of the world, this country during the off peak season with a rented car would be perfect!

So lets break down each place I visited and the things I did!

Zadar

Although I didn’t spend a lot of time here, this tiny town is the perfect integration into Croatia’s beauty and relaxed vibe. Walking around old town is so easy and picturesque. A must do in Zadar is watch the sunset while sitting at the Sea Organ. It is so relaxing to hear the current. Read all about my 16 hours in Zadar here.

Need a place to stay in Zadar? I stayed in the most perfect apartment with AirBnb! It’s location is fantastic and it has everything you will need I highly highly recommend you stay in Apartment Sea Organ.PhoebeGill150614060-2

Plitvice Lakes National Park

A beautiful place to visit, it’s waters are a magical aquamarine colour with the most beautiful waterfalls and pools. There are so many to see in this small area, I definitely recommend that you take two days to do this park. It’s doable in a day but to have comfort and to take advantage of the area two days is best! Although I only spend one day in the park I have lots of handy tips in my post all about Plitvice Lakes National Park 

Need a place to stay in Plitvice? I stayed at the Hotel Plitvice located right beside the park at entrance 2 (so get off the bus at entrance two, it is right opposite the bus stop) This hotel is a really affordable, relatively comfortable stay, I don’t think the aircon was switched on at this point in the year so it got very hot but other than that it is a great place to stay! There is breakfast included and the food served downstairs is very tasty!PhoebeGill150615079-3

Split

Split is a really nice place to stop on the coast, it is in between Zadar and Dubrovnik and there are lots of fun things to do. I stayed in this area for three nights, two and a half days. Split is a really nice area, it has a great marina area with lots of bars so when it gets too hot you can sit and relax. There are really great shops and lots of restaurants of different prices and there are great cultural stuff to see and do. The old town is absolutely beautiful. Here are my top 8 things to do in Split. I also loved going to Marjan Hill, it’s a great place to get some exercise!

Need a place to stay in Split? I stayed in Studio Palma with Airbnb. I recommend this for a couple, although it sleeps three, any more than two and it feels like the walls are closing in. It is a very small space but it is very comfortable and has everything you need except a bottle opener!!PhoebeGill150616110-4

Dubrovnik

I really liked Dubrovnik, it’s a beautiful city. There are a few things to do, I recommend you go to Rector’s Palace and with your ticket that costs 100 kuna (€13) you can then gain entrance into 8 other museums around the city. Walking around the harbour is also a really nice thing to do there are benches for you relax and there are even places for you to take a dip in the water outside the walls. The number one thing you have to do is walk the city walls it is a great way to spend your time! Also something I definitely recommend is to take the cable car and watch the sunset above Dubrovnik.

Need a place to stay in Dubrovnik? I cannot recommend Apartment Paradise with AirBnb enough it is absolutely perfect! It is in the centre of old town, it is close to a supermarket, it is close to all the main attractions and museums. There is lots of space, although Croatian houses are narrow and tall this space feels airy and open. There is also a rooftop terrace and it is just perfect!PhoebeGill150620188-5

Also I definitely recommend you get into the sea, you can swim in lots of different spots along the Dalmatian coast here are some of the spots I tried.

What I Ate

So I really didn’t venture much with my eating. There is lots of fish on menus all across the coast but I don’t eat seafood for lots of different reasons. I ate pizza a lot. It’s the cheapest thing on every menu and I had some steak on my birthday which wasn’t good. So basically stick with pizza. Ice cream is everywhere! There are lots of flavours and it’s really tasty. Choose pistachio becuase it’s the best!

Take Note

  1. If you go from Zadar to Dubrovnik, it goes from ridiculously cheap to quite expensive so keep that in mind when you are budgeting your trip.
  2. It also gets busier and busier as you go down the coast, so it is nice to start with Zadar to relax and settle in.
  3. Buses are a great mode of transport but have to say Croatia Bus company was the worst journey I have had in a very very long time. I don’t know why we went through a different country but we did!
  4. Croatia adds it’s own soundtrack on attractions. You will be walking around an amazing historical place and there will be a stall or cafe blasting some crappy song. It was quiet common and a little annoying but you can get away from it pretty quickly.
  5. Their animal laws are horrible. I have already mentioned Splits zoo in my Marjan Hill post but I also went to an aquarium and it was just awful to see a critically endangered loggerhead turtle in a paddling pool where people had thrown their coins into. It was despicable. By law it is legal but it is disgusting, do not go to the aquarium in Dubrovnik!
  6. If you want to get €31 off your Airbnb stay click here 

So that sums up everything I did in my week in Croatia. I really enjoyed my time there but I am not done. I really want to go back in the quieter months of the year with a car. I really hope you enjoyed this post. Tell me have you been to Croatia? Is there somewhere you recommend? 

Happy Travels!

In Croatia: Swimming in the Adriatic Sea

I love being in the water, I love swimming, snorkelling and the small amount of diving I have done was incredible. I should have been born a mermaid! So these are the spots I found close enough walk from the city for a really nice swim.

Split

Split is a great place to go swimming, there are a few options for what you want. There are three spots just past the bus station that I really recommend. Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 18.10.12

I put a star on the main beach in Split, when I walked by the first day it was packed with loads of people, screaming children, terrible music and bounce houses. It really wasn’t the kind of beach I like, but there is a walkway that connects all three coves in the above image. I recommend the middle small cove if the weather is a bit cooler but still sunny and warm. The last cove is better if it is really hot because there was a stronger breeze so you might get cold on a cooler day.

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There isn’t much marine life in these little coves but it is fun swimming with schools of little fish and spotting sea urchins at the bottom of the sea floor.  DCIM103GOPRO

Dubrovnik

If you are on foot there is one beach close to Dubrovnik that is pretty nice (it’s on the right hand side of the picture). It is small so it will probably be very crowded on a hot day, so go early! Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 18.09.45

The views of the old city are nice to see from the water. This beach has a maker that is a safe zone for you to swim, there are a lot of boats that use the area outside the marker to go to different islands around Dubrovnik, so it is not safe to swim outside of it.

DCIM103GOPROTip:

  1. Get beach shoes! Wearing flip flops isn’t good as you can’t swim without them falling off. Get slip on shoes they are a lifesaver. From the beach to the water is all stones and can hurt quite a bit. I found in Split there are beach shoes sold in the kiosks by the bus station.
  2. Keep wandering, getting to the beaches and finding the entrances can be tricky but just keep walking around, the beauty of Croatia is that it’s small so it will never take you too long.

Swimming in the Adriatic is fantastic, the crystal clear, cooling water is a dream to swim in. I definitely would be interested in coming back one day and finding spots to dive and see more of what this water has to offer. Have you swam in the Adriatic? Do you have any places you can recommend?

Happy Travels!

In Dubrovnik: The Cable Car

I didn’t really have a plan for what I wanted to do in Dubrovnik but there was one thing I just had to do! The cable car is right outside the city, really easy to walk to and a must do in my opinion!
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It costs 108 kuna (€14) for a roundtrip ticket. You can get the cable car up and walk back down but the time I decided to go, meant I needed and wanted to get a two way ticket. There are lots of lookout points on different levels so you can take pictures.
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The views from the top are really beautiful. Seeing the entire enclosed old town with the beautiful terracotta rooftops, is a really great experience. You can see the the islands and the surrounding city. PhoebeGill150621071-2

I decided to take the trip up to watch the sunset. There is nothing better than watching a Croatian sunset, they are really really beautiful! I settled in and sat down to watch the sun go down.PhoebeGill150621245-2-3

Tips:

  1. If you are going at sunset, bring a hoodie or something warm, it can get quite chilly.
  2. Bring a picnic, there is a restaurant up there but it’s nice to bring your own food. I even saw some amazing people bring wine and pizza!! They are the kind of people you want to be!
  3. Walk around, the lookout points are nice but go explore, there is a war photograph exhibition, you can also do a buggy safari which looks like a lot of fun!

It’s a definite must do! It’s pretty cheap, it’s a great view and there are even things to fill your time when you get there. Do you like cable cars? I feel like I should make a cable car bucket list! 

Happy Travels!

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!

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!