Perhaps I am a little biased, but Croatia, which hides itself in between Central Europe and the Balkans and sits wonderfully along the Adriatic Coast, is stealing the hearts of its growing tourists that visit and I am so in love. After having spent two and a half months exploring every little nook and cranny of Croatia, I feel I am able to share some of its hidden secrets and fill you in on some of our favourite experiences so that you can successfully plan your trip for Summer 2016.
Hvar is a neighbouring island from Split and rightfully owns its title as “Island for the Elite”. After arriving at the docks and being welcomed by billionaire yachts, we knew that Hvar was going to be pretty epic and it did not disappoint. As one of the most expensive destinations that we visited, it was important to ensure we were making the most of it. I also recommend taking a speed boat tour to the Blue and Green caves near Bisevo which was one of our favourite days (Laura was sick.. but other than that)
to eat – all foodies rejoice as Hvar was the home for quinoa and green juices. Vita Heath Food Bar, although it lacked in good service provided us with insanely good salads at a hearty price of 140 Kuna (£14!) – but maybe that was the fault of my best friend, who ordered the population of China for her salad toppings.
to sleep – we stayed in both Villa Skansi and The White Rabbit Hostel during our stay in Hvar and loved both. Villa Skansi is lively, offers a decent bar crawl (and the bars are decent too) and has the most luxurious outside lounge area. I had an insane burger and beer for their BBQ night. The White Rabbit Hostel wins the award for most spacious dorm rooms and relaxed atmosphere. Also offering a bar crawl and cheap cocktails in their cute loft bar.
to party – I cannot write about Hvar without mentioning Carpe Diem. I am not a huge club fan and the idea of travelling to its own island via a taxi boat for sure is better than the reality. For 200 Kuna (around £20) you pay for the experience. Good drinks, good music and hugeeee atmosphere and partying on the beach at 5am is a pretty good deal too. Despite it all, Carpe Diem only needs one visit.
RAFTING IN OMIS –
If staying in Split or Trogir, I highly recommend taking the day to visit Omis and the Cetina River. We made it our mission to go Rafting along the 11k canyons which has to be one of my top 5 experiences. If you are looking to go rafting in Omis, we went with Rafting Cetina who were really great value for money.
As the home of Marco Polo (although I’m pretty sure nobody actually knows that for sure) Korcula offers beauty and tranquility as you wonder around its cute streets and look out to the insane views that surrounds the island.
to sleep – we got ourselves a cute apartment in the centre of the old town called Maria’s Place and we loved it. Very good wifi and they provided us with a kettle, which apparently is hard to come by in Croatia.
to eat and drink – one of my favourite meals out in Croatia was in Korcula’s Capers. So fancy but affordable and has very good iced green tea. We also visited Massimo cocktail bar for a pina colada and is definitely worth the experience. Climb to the top of the tower on a ladder and receive your drinks via a pully whilst overlooking the sunset views from the top of the fortress. Decent.
CLIMB THE WALLS IN DUBROVNIK –
Dubrovnik itself offers a crazy amount of history and the old town is for sure one of the best that we have seen, bustling with tourists and ice cream parlours but climbing the walls is definitely one of the best things we did. Costing about £11 and taking up an hour or so of your day, it allows you to see the old town from a completely different perspective. We climbed the walls in the evening, which meant that the views were so stunning..
PLITVICE NATIONAL PARK –
Arriving in Plitvice, you feel completely out of the way from tourists and we had such a relaxing two night stay. Our main reason for visiting Plitvice in central Croatia was to take a day trip to Plitvice National Park which was one of my favourite days and was great value for money @ 180 Kuna. The entire park is unreal, so unreal that you do not even notice how much walking it requires (although they do offer a cool bus that takes you from end-to-end) and I have never seen water like it.
Croatia is home to the smallest town in the world, Hum. Just a bus away from Rijeka, North of Croatia, I am surprised at how untouched it was. With just a recorded 17 people in population and approx. two minute walk through the whole town, Hum was a nice change from all of the craziness. We stayed in the cutest air bnb (probably the only one in Hum..) which was super cosy and provided the best breakfast. With one restaurant offering basically only soup or truffle pasta, I’d definitely get the goodies in as without a car, you’re looking at a 2 hour walk to a grocery store. Take a long walk along the Glagolitic memorial trail and reach the next town of Roc. Hum was by far one of my top experiences.
TRAKOSCAN CASTLE –
When staying in Varazdin, we took the bus to Trakoscan castle. With a huge amount of aristocrat history and beautiful grounds, it made a perfect day out and was super pretty for a crisp September day. Take the educational trail surrounding the castle and hunt for fairies.
As I appear to have a huge amount to say (soz about that), I will post PART TWO next Monday where I’ll spill the beans on the best beaches, the most sociable camp site and my favourite mountain hike.