5 places you MUST visit in Croatia
This autumn I travelled to some of the Balkan countries and I must say, all of them were amazing. As I spent most of my time in Croatia, I wanted to start with this amazing wonderland. After being held and searched for 2 hours by the Croatian border patrol (which was not so amazing^^), I could finally enter the country. Normally they don’t hold you that long, but if you have dreadlocks be prepared for a longer conversation with the police;) Compared to Bosnia, Croatia was not hit that hard by the Yugoslavian war and most of the damage has been fixed. The cities and touristic places are safe to walk and even at night I didn’t feel insecure at one moment. The local people were always friendly and chatty. They love giving you advice but are fast distracted. So if you ask locals for directions, you might not get a real answer but you just could find out who killed Kennedy instead 😉
In Croatia, you have to pay with Kuna. One Euro is around 7.5 Kunas. If you thought Croatia is a very cheap country, you are wrong. Especially the old towns and touristic places come near to the prices in Luxembourg, which means it can be really expensive.
Zadar was my first stop in Croatia and I was blown away by its beauty. The old town is really small and you could see it all in one day but the trick is to stop enjoy all the different views of it. There is the biggest church of Dalmatia from the 12th century, called the cathedral of St. Anastasia. Its tower is about 50m high and not that easy to climb, but the view is definitely worth it. You can see all over the city, the ocean and the islands before the mainland. Another fun thing to do is taking a ferry to one of the many islands of Croatia (Croatia has over 1000 islands, but only 67 are inhabited). Brac is one of the most popular ones and offers a really nice beach) Zadar has also a really beautiful park just outside of the old town if you need to take a break from all the tourists;). In the evening you can visit the solar panels near the sea, which are constantly changing colours in the dark and are a real tourist magnet. Nearby you can find the sea organ, which plays music, only created by the waves of the ocean. There you can sit on the stairs and watch the sunset while listening to these strange sounds. After a relaxing evening or a party night (there are many restaurants and bars around) you can take a night promenade at the beach, sit down and just listen to waves. Locals say it’s completely safe at night and I also didn’t feel insecure.
KRKA national park
On our way from Zadar to Split, we stopped at the Krka national park. It’s absolutely worth the stop! They charge you 110 Kunas for the entrance. It is the only national park in Croatia in which you are allowed to swim (So don’t forget your bikini/ swimming trunks) The river “Krka” winds itself through small canyons and its seven waterfalls make perfect picture motives. In the autumn there were fewer tourists, so we were nearly the only ones in the water, which was an amazing experience! But I can imagine that it’s overcrowded in the summer. Nevertheless, you should visit and walk all the way around and over the boardwalk, it really offers a few great view points.
Split is the second biggest city in Croatia and you can easily get lost (which is nice sometimes). It has a nice beach where you can swim or get yourself a nice massage. Again the old town is definitely worth to see and you get the feeling that you are walking through an outdoor museum. The ruins of the Diocletian palace are even more impressive at night when there is live music and you can dance beneath the stars or just have a glass of wine. Besides the palace, there is a big tower in front of the cathedral you can climb during the day to get an around-view over the old and new part of the city, its port and the ocean. If you just want to relax for an afternoon and get away from the people you can rent a bike and drive thru the Marjan park. It offers some nice views and takes you through a forest with a constant view to the sea and its islands. Approximately 10km outside of Split you can visit the old fortress of Klis, which I highly recommend to you. Not only was a great part of “Game of thrones” filmed here, but the view from above is amazing! You can see all over Split, the sea and the islands. The entrance is 40 Kuna, but it’s worth it! In the evening you can have a nice meal in one of the many restaurants. My recommendation for a big nice meal for a cheap price is “Buffet fife”. It’s located near the port and always well visited. Later you can hang in one of the many bars or clubs, but we went back again to the Diocletian palace because nothing comes close to this experience!
Wow. This is what I thought when I first entered the old town. In 1997 the city got the UNESCO world heritage title.You feel like you travelled a few hundred years back in time. The big city walls sequester the old town from the rest of the city. Inside you find a lot of restaurants and bars with terraces which offer live music in the evening. You can get a Dubrovnik card at the tourist centre for 150 Kuna. It includes bus transfer, a lot of museums, the city walls and you can get discounts at various attractions. You should definitely climb the city walls, even if there are many tourists. It offers amazing views over the city and the old fortress. That’s also the next stop I recommend: The fort outside the city walls. If you are a “game of thrones”-fan this is a must as this fort represents “Kings landing” in the TV-serie. They also offer special “game of thrones”-tours all around the city. If you have time you can also take the cable car to get on top of the mountain and enjoy an amazing sunset and view all over Dubrovnik and the sea! In the evening you enjoy a few drinks in the “Buza bar” which is located just over the cliffs of the sea. It offers a great view during the day too. The Irish pubs are also very nice and when we celebrated a friends birthday there, all the locals sang happy birthday to her and the pub offered all of us a free shot!
UNESCO’S Plitvice lakes
If you like nature and waterfalls this is a MUST on your bucket list! The Plitvice lakes are the biggest and oldest national park in Croatia. Again they charge you 110 Kunas for the entrance. It’s also called the “falling lakes” because of its structure. The lakes are divided in the “upper lakes” and “lower lakes”, both are breathtakingly beautiful. The biggest waterfall is situated in the lower lakes, but all the waterfalls are worth seeing. Sadly the weather wasn’t that great when I visited, but the autumn colours were simply amazing! I took the big hike which was approximately 20km, but it wasn’t too difficult. At some points, I was all by myself, no tourists, which was again an outstanding experience. The whole region is home to a lot of different plants and animals, among them the brown bear and the wolf, but you have to be very lucky to meet one. Read more on my blog over the Plitvice lakes.