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!

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In Iceland: My Experience in January

I spent three days in this beautiful country and I am no where near done. This is what I have done so far. Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 11.21.23

Reykjavik: 

I love the city, no skyscrapers, colourful houses, beautiful street art makes this city a perfect place to wander around and relax. I loved shopping downtownwalking from Harpa to the lake. Going to Hallgrímskirkja and looking at the amazing view from the top. It’s also so close to the sea which is my favourite place to be! The entire sea front area is beautiful. I loved seeing the Sun Voyager sculpture

Exploring this city is a must and I can’t wait to find more places next time. Here is my post on the food I experienced in Iceland! PhoebeGill150109076 PhoebeGill150109144

The Golden Circle:

The Golden Circle is a great tour to do in winter, it runs all year round and is generally easy to do if you want to self drive. First stop is Þingvellir National Park it is a beautiful location which is steeped in geographical and historical information. I definitely want to go back in summer/autumn! Next up is Geysir and Strokkur beautiful location to see the amazing power of nature, Lastly but in no means least is the magnificent Gullfoss Waterfall this place is so beautiful! A must see.

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I had one day to get a glimpse of South Iceland and the short amount of time I spent there was amazing! I drove to Vik but the weather was so bad that I couldn’t see anything. I got to stop and take lots of photos of the amazing landscapes and I got to say hello to the cutest most lovely Icelandic Horses.

I did get to see two beautiful waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss

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Tips:

  1. Save up your money! I know people say it’s expensive all the time but it really is!
  2. If you want to do a lot, go on tours. Iceland is amazing but in Winter bus tours and super jeep tours are the easier option. Icelandic people know how to get around their country in Winter.
  3. Here is my post on my self drive experience
  4. Get a good jacket! I got a insulated Regatta Jacket and it was perfect!
  5. Also get a good pair of boots, if you want to do any walking get ones with good traction and waterproof shoes.

Things to note!

  1. The hot water smells like sulphur, it’s geothermal water, it’s normal don’t worry.
  2. In January daylight is from 11am-4:30pm. It does mean you get beautiful light for photos but not a lot of time adventuring.
  3. Everything is accessible. All attractions mentioned above are all just off the road. Really easy to get to and they all have toilets.
  4. Parking is really good in Iceland, there are car parks and on street parking, you can pay by card on the meters which is also really handy.

So that’s it, I can’t think of anything else. I think 14 posts for three days travel is pretty good. Have I missed anything? What should I see next?

Happy Travels!

In South Africa: My Experience Overall

This is going to be my masterpost on this stunning country, you will find links to all my posts scattered throughout.

Where do you start with trying to sum up South Africa? Firstly, the amount of wildlife and beautiful landscapes have meant that I have completely fallen in love with this country but there is so much more to South Africa. The people, the oceans, the wildlife, the landscapes, the things to do, it all adds up to make such a fantastic experience.

Johannesburg:

I have to be honest there is nothing about Johannesburg that stands out to me during my two day visit, we stayed in the Intercontinental, Sandton. I have to say after a 11 hour flight and almost 24 hours of travelling, the Intercontinental is fantastic. The staff are nothing but kind and chatty, they give you advice and are so respectful. The rooms are lovely, so comfortable and clean. The Sandton Mall is attached to the hotel and is a great place to shop, lots of different brands and retailers, supermarkets and a big food court.

I then went out of the city to go to the Cradle of Humankind which was great, loved the vistas and the open plains.

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Kruger, Mpumalanga:

This area of South Africa is just amazing from the mountains to the must see Kruger National Park. I loved every second of it, driving for hours and hours seeing the most amazing landscapes and creatures. I cannot recommend this area enough! I stayed in the Protea Hotel, Paul Kruger Gate. It is a great place to stay and a perfect location, really really worth it.

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Cape Town (Central):

Like all cities, it is a little dirty but other than that it is very multicultural with great places to eat and really nice things to do. You can see Table Mountain from all over the city, it is wonderful to get such a panoramic view of one mountain. We stayed in the Holiday Inn at St. Georges Mall, really nice hotel, good area, really good restaurants and shops very close by.

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Cape Town (Surrounding Areas):

There are some amazing things to do on the outskirts of city centre Cape Town, the look out point Signal Hill, the wonderful Waterfront area. There are a number of different spots in the Table Mountain National Park, the park runs the length of the mountains of the western cape. Some sights to see include Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Beach. There are many more spots but these were a few of the areas I visited.

Hermanus:

Hermanus is the most stunning seaside town. There are mountains and beach that make this area beautiful and with the addition of the most beautiful mammals in the ocean, this location is just perfect. With whale watching and cage diving opportunities available there is so much to do and see while still being a peaceful, relaxing place.

Stellenbosch:

We rented an absolutely fantastic house in Haskell vineyards. This area of the world is stunningly beautiful, you would wake up to so many different species of birds flying around the trees, all different colours and sizes, you would see little deer or mongooses running around outside. This location is in front of the mountains. It is green and peaceful and always so beautiful. The area has lots of different vineyards and that means different restaurants, I didn’t eat in them but I can get a recommendation of 96 Winery Road restaurant that is 10 minutes away. The house is nicely decorated and really comfortable. It is great to buy and cook your own food, fresh fruit and vegetables are great! There are lots of things to do in the area I would recommend Spier Winery, great food and a wonderful experience.

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Eating:

I have only made a small list of places to eat and things to eat but really, the food is normal and always very tasty. There is nothing out of the ordinary or “strange” South Africans like their meat so even the most normal of palate is satisfied.

Before I sign off there is one more thing. There are things in this country that need to change but it will not take a day or a year, it is generations of work, hopefully one day the gap between sections of society will lessen. I am no where near educated enough on the matter but something about how there is almost two groups living on different paths in the same country makes me feel very odd. I do not know how to end this section but I want to make it known that it doesn’t matter what you look like it matters how good of a person you are and everyone I met in this country (Bar two very ignorant women) were nothing more than friendly, helpful and welcoming.

The only thing that went wrong on this holiday was my skydive. It was too windy and the pilot canceled it but out of two and a half week only one thing went array. That is pretty good going!

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So that’s it. They are all my posts on this amazing country. If you ever get the opportunity to go or want to save up the money, I urge you to do it. It is too beautiful and thankfully, in a country so big, there will always be more to explore.

Happy Travels!