Just about every second person planning a European getaway (in Australia anyway) has either already been to Croatia or has a friend raving about it (me, #sorrynotsorry) and it’s on their radar! So why should you jump on the band wagon and head to Croatia too? Let me introduce you to my “Top 3 Cs” for Croatia!
The “3 Cs” that in my opinion can make almost any holiday a raging success! But what about these 3 is so unique to Croatia? Check out our itinerary below to find out why!
First up: Dubrovnik
We had 24 hours in this gorgeous city and stayed just outside the Old City walls in an Airbnb. The city is gorgeous and it captured my heart right away. We were under the pump to take in as much of the town as we could so we purchased tickets to walk up and around the city walls to take in the Dubrovnik skyline and coastline. If you take one thing away from our time in Dubrovnik – scale the city walls! We headed up around 6pm and enjoyed the gorgeous sunset and an Aperol Spritz or two at one of the many bars scattered along the wall.
To check out our Airbnb and to hear more about how to make the most out of 24 hours in Dubrovnik, read my blog post here.
Next stop: Hvar
From Dubrovnik, we caught the early morning ferry to Hvar. This ferry took roughly 4 hours, lovely views but take a good book because whilst the ferry timetable says 3 hours – it is most definitely 4 hours.
We loved Hvar! On reflection, it was definitely a highlight of our month-long adventure for me. Our Airbnb was just off the main square of Hvar Town. Our host recommended we hire a scooter to truly get a sense of the island. Luckily, it is tricky to get lost on Hvar with two main roads linking the towns together – New road and Old road (easy to remember!). First stop on our mini roadtrip was Zaraće. The water was a gorgeous turquoise, it was secluded and we shared the beach with one boat and a handful of locals – perfection! I mean, look at that water colour in the photo below, it is a blue you just want to fall into.
We also stopped off at Stari Grad for lunch and then to Vrboska. This little seaside town has earned the nickname ‘Little Venice’ as it is also built on a canal system.
Each town had a unique personality and they were all charming. We didn’t have any particular sights to tick off in each place, but just enjoyed being lost, wandering down the laneways.
The way home proved just as rewarding as we climbed to one of the highest points on the island. Not for the faint hearted, the roads were very windy but the reward is worth it – breathtaking views of the island.
Along this route in the Summer, you will see an endless sea of another kind – lavender fields. These dusty purple beauties will follow you until you begin your descent back to Hvar Town. If you wanted to do a similar route, we hired our scooter from Antonio Rent near the main bus stop. They highlighted the roads to take and provided tips on where to swim and what to see.
Our second day, a group of us hired a boat to explore the Pakleni Islands. Grab some snacks, lunch and drinks from the market and make a day of it! These islands are famous for their crystal clear waters. We checked out Carpe Diem on our way home – the infamous island nightclub that only opens at 12am! Those know me, know the Nanna in me just can’t cope. But it was a great atmosphere in the day too. Think inflatable unicorns, chilled Rosé and sun lounges looking out over the ocean.
A few other quick recommendations;
- Hula Hula Beach Club is a great sunset spot!
- Maestro Restaurant won best meal on the island for us. The local Croatian cuisine was awesome. Nick tried Pasticada and I had homemade gnocchi (pictured right).
- Terrace Bar in the Main Square is a great spot for a drink with a view, away from the hustle and bustle of the other louder bars.
Final Destination: Split
Before arriving in Croatia, we booked 3 nights here. Upon reflection, you do not need this much time here if you are staying on Hvar or another island. If that’s not your plan, this would be a great base for several day trips.
Little Palmina Guest House was fantastic! We booked the one bedroom apartment with sea view and it was so cute and had everything you need. We ended up cooking one night at home with fresh ingredients we picked up at the green market. Plus, the owners were very helpful providing suggestions on where to swim, restaurant recommendations and public transport tips.
On one of our days, we caught a bus to Krka National Park. The earlier you arrive the better because this tourist hot spot is swarming by 11am. You don’t need a tour group, it is cheaper to catch a local bus to Skradin (little town that is at the border of the national park). This town has a little beach, some shops and you can buy your entry tickets to the park here too.
We hired bicycles and cycled to the famous Skradinski Buk waterfalls. The cycling route takes about 30 minutes, and it is along unsealed roads but that was half the fun of it! There are a few vendors renting bikes near where you buy tickets. It was a great way to take in other areas of the national park as well. The waterfalls have a walking track that takes about 45 minutes to complete, from this track you get some great vantage points with views of the waterfalls and the river.
In Split, our top three things to do would have to be:
- Soaking up sun at Kasjuni Beach, in the beautiful Marjan Forest Park
- Taking in a gorgeous sunset at Sustipan Memorial Park with a picnic
- Exploring Old Town and Diocletian’s Palace. This palace was built for Emperor Diocletian at the turn of the 4th century AD in preparation for his retirement (not a bad spot to retire!)
NB: Croatia has quite the craft beer scene and there is the ‘Little Beer Shop’ located on Trumbićeva Obala that has a pretty impressive selection of local craft beers – worth popping into! Especially if you plan on having the picnic described above.
Culture, cuisine and that beautiful coastline are the reasons I think people keep putting Croatia on their bucket list! Your itinerary will revolve around these 3 things even if you don’t plan at all, they are simply unavoidable in this wonderful country.
Did you love Croatia? Are you heading there soon, if so whereabouts?
If you are planning a trip to Croatia, I hope you love it just as much as we did! As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below. xx
Next stop >> Venice >>
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