We zig zagged our way from the north to the south of Croatia, visiting various destinations such as Krk, Split, Krka National Park and Dubrovnik along the way. In this post we wanted to talk about our top three destinations in this beautiful country.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice always finds itself high on any list of “must see places in your lifetime” from the early days of planning this trip we knew this was somewhere we didn’t want to miss. The Park has 16 lakes, adjoined by waterfalls that are accessed by wooden boardwalks and a shuttle boat that is included in your entry ticket. It was late September when we visited the National Park and the early signs of Autumn made for some incredible contrasts alongside the turquoise blue waters of the lakes. To beat the crowds we arrived at Plitvice as it opened, in the early morning light the cold crisp air created a mist rising from the waters all around us, it was an incredibly enchanting experience. Looking back we’re glad we rose so early for our visit, as by the time we left the place was heaving with coach loads of tourists. Four hours and 19,000 steps later, we had covered the majority of the UNESCO world heritage site. If you are planning a visit to Croatia, this place is a must.
Less than two hours from Plitvice, Zadar is a town on the Dalmatian Coast known for its Roman ruins. Whilst you can wander around the old town with its impeccably shiny floors, our favourite parts of this town were right on the waters edge. Armed with a few beers from the fridge, we headed to the Sea Organ to watch the sunset. We thought the Organ was a work of pure genius, the way it produces music just from the falling waves was like nothing we’d seen or heard before. A few meters away from the sea organ is the Monument to the Sun, which may sound like a sundial but in fact it’s something much cooler. It consists of a large glass plated circle, level with the ground that light’s up every evening to create a dance floor. Zadar’s esplanade had one other feature that brings everything together, the incredible sunset, it’s so good in fact, that Alfred Hitchcock once said “Zadar has the most beautiful sunset in the world.”
During our time in Split we met a fellow traveller from England with an almost identical van to ours, sharing tips, he suggested we visit the Pelješac Peninsular. It’s just North of Dubrovnik and meant that we didn’t have to cross through Bosnia and pay for green card insurance for just a few hours driving.
Our time on the Peninsular felt like a holiday away from our travels. As it was the end of September a lot of the towns were very quiet but we didn’t find that to be a problem. After a short ferry crossing, we drove for 25 minutes to Orebic, here we wandered along the coast to the tiny village and had a grilled fish supper with a litre of wine to wash it down. The owners brought us out complimentary grappa shots, which we both sipped first and soon realised they had given Christie a delicious one and Dom one that tasted like petrol – not sure why!
The next day we were on the hunt for more wine, we knew that the vineyards here produce the majority of Croatian wine and we wanted to try it. The first winery we stopped at was Grgic where we tried both their red and white and chatted with the guy working there who told us more about the wine region here. He also suggested that we visit another winery as they sold really good value table wine in plastic bottles. We went into Bezek winery, a family run vineyard who allowed us to try all of the wines, homemade liquors and olive oils. Getting a little carried away with our purchases, we asked Ivan Bezek to fill 6 litre bottles, 2 of white, 4 of red and a bottle of honey liquor for good measure, we thought we may as well stock up, especially as it was less than £3.00 a bottle and delicious.
Later that evening we rode our bikes into Ston, known for the Walls of Ston that were also used for panoramic shots in Game of Thrones. Arriving at 17.30pm we headed straight to the Walls, not realising the time nor seeing the ticket office we went straight up the beginning section of the Walls before being commandeered by the lady at the ticket office who had run out to tell us that not only we hadn’t paid but the walls were also now closed. Safe to say we didn’t get very far and were marched back down and out the exit! After that rigmorale, we decided it was time for an early dinner where we sampled the local oysters and a couple more glasses of Croatian wine!