WHERE: Dubrovnik ~ Split ~ Zadar ~ Plitvice National Park ~ Zagreb
WHEN: August 2014
HOW LONG FOR: 11 days
Dubrovnik, thanks to its alter-ego King’s Landing in Game of Thrones, was buzzing with tourists. Whilst walking through the old town, I did feel as though I had fallen back into medieval times thanks to the huge walls surrounding the city. We spent a couple of hours walking the walls, looking over the red roofs of the old city and the beautiful blue waters of the surrounding sea. As it turned out, Dubrovnik was not short of stunning views – a short cable car ride up Mt Srd and we were met with a beautiful panorama across the city.
The calm crystal-clear waters surrounding Dubrovnik were great to swim in. However, the beaches generally aren’t soft and sandy, so I would recommend taking surf shoes – I didn’t and my feet suffered! There are lots of quiet little coves around which you can swim in, or if you prefer a more lively atmosphere the Copacabana beach did a lovely pina colada.
- OTTO TAVERNA – We sat in the courtyard which had a lovely romantic atmosphere. I had the risotto (out of a jar!) to start and the duck for main. Delish!
- DUBRAVKA – This restaurant is just outside the walls, and is right on the sea. I had the John Dory which tasted like it was fresh out the ocean.
Our second destination was Split. A beautiful old seaside city. The tall, narrow, winding streets were great to wander around.
While we were in Split we went on a day tour with the company Portal, which I would highly recommend. They whisked us around the islands on a speedboat, pausing to watch pods of dolphins cruising by as we went. The first stop was the blue grotto which, thanks to a hole in the rock below the surface, is illuminated a dazzling shade of blue at certain times of the day. After being treated to lunch in the coastal town Komiza on Vis island, the tour visited a second cave – this time it was green. Here you could get off the boat and swim into the cave, but had to be careful of cliff jumpers! The next couple of hours were spent soaking up the sun from the deck and snorkelling in the tranquil waters of Stiniva Bay. The final stop on the tour was Hvar town on Hvar Island. Although we would have liked to spend a little longer here, it was great to wander around and pick up little souvenir trinkets.
- MAZZGOON – A great little find, complimentary shark to start! We had fish-in-a-letter for our mains
- F de MAR – A restaurant with lovely views overlooking the marina. Amazing steak!
Continuing our journey north, Zadar was our next stop. The town of Zadar was nice, but the real attraction for me was the seafront, for two reasons. The first was the Sea Organ – a unique and ingenious design which uses the wind and tide to generate chordal harmonies which resonate across the boardwalk. The second was the sunset. I had read a lot about the sunset before leaving for Croatia, with various websites quoting Alfred Hitchcock as having said it is the most beautiful in the world. Sunset seemed to be a big deal in Zadar, everyone gathered along the seafront to watch it. There is even a salutation to the sun – lots of little solar panels which glitter and glimmer after dark. I was not disappointed – one of the best sunset views I’ve seen.
- Mamma Mia – We dined outside and I was treated to another great steak (I ate a lot of steak on this trip..)
4. PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK
If you go to Croatia, PLEASE VISIT THE PLITVICE LAKES. It’s honestly my favourite place I have visited so far. Beautifully clear waters filled with fish, lots of hiking paths catering for a range of abilities, and it was stunning even when it rained. It’s really hard to do this park justice with words, so I’ll just post some pictures instead!
We finished our Croatian adventure in the capital of Zagreb, which is split into two parts – the Upper Town and the Lower Town. The Upper Town is the older part of the city and was my favourite, with pretty churches, markets and cobbled streets. There were also a number of museums – we visited the Museum of Broken Relationships. Some of the stories were.. well.. heartbreaking, but they were also incredibly sweet. The lower town is newer, with many more open spaces and grand buildings.
- LANTERNA NA DOLCU – … you can probably guess what I had. It was delish.