Sail Croatia? How about you walk it; Feel the earth, the cool waters and the laughs of locals everywhere.
I don’t know what I was expecting Croatia to be like. You’ve probably heard of Croatia and it’s epic island hopping antics. But have you heard of Podstrana? Baska Voda? Kravicia? or Novigrad? Yeah Nah, neither had I!
The best thing about traveling around Croatia is the people celebrating summer and family time, with nature. Croatia’s nature hot spots; the Plitvice Lakes (Plitvički Ljeskovac), Hvar Island and the Krka waterfalls are stunning (see pics below or on our Instagram) but what is more beautiful is blending in like a local and experiencing their culture.
Head down to the Podstrana marina on a balmy evening and you’ll find the Deda (Grandads) playing a Croat version of petanque or basking in the evening ambiance with their zene; slipping into the ocean for a wee float. Kids will be flipping off the pier with their Dads showing off too – if you’re a kiwi you’d jump right in there and show them how to manu….. The sun sets as you sip your cheap supermarket beer and watch these families cherish the country they live in. It’s a sight to see! Podstrana felt like home.
For info about Podstrana click here and see why it’s worth staying out of Split.
Split’s Hidden Gems:
- KRUG is an awesome wee boutique shop down one of the alley ways.
- Our favourite coffee shop, 4coffee soul food made the best flat whites!
- Marjan Hill – walk or bike around the harbour side of the hills belt and find a quiet spot along the many little rock, cliff or beach spots to rest and cool off. Our favourite hidden gem was a dog beach! Find a spot near Kasjuni Beach up on a flat rock where you can jump right off into the water!
- The movies in the Mall on the outskirts are cheap as, so if you need a relaxed night in they’re a good option!
EPIC Day Trips from Split
Here we go – The Beautiful Natural Wonders you don’t want to miss:
- Krka National Park – Drive here and buy a bus ticket down to the falls. Skradinski Buk waterfall and waterhole is a part of the Krka waterfalls. Take your togs and lunch with you. See info here
- Plitvice lakes – a long drive from Split but well worth it! Take a rain coat just in case! How to get there and weather updates site.
- Hvar Island – walk further than the main touristy beach, past the church and an hour later you’ll arrive at Pokonji Dol (it’s stunning so find a spot around the furthermost bend where you can rest in peace and dig into a good book)
- Bosnia’s Mostar bridge and Kravice waterfalls – easy to do in one day and insane sights you don’t want to miss! *border crossing – check car rental insurance*
- Baska Voda is a quaint town you can drive into from your day trip to Bosnia. That way you can go through the tunnel too!
- Podstrana – go hang out with the local holiday makers, maybe ask the Deda’s if you can play some croquet.
Our Antics along the way:
- Braved a thunderous storm and dangerous driving as we curved our way towards the Plitvice Lakes.
- Went to the movies, 4 times.
- Got lost on our way to the Bosnian border and wound up at a local waterhole, everyone knew we were lost, bright eyed, as we entered their secret hideout.
- Battled high gusting winds riding up the gondola in Dubrovnik.
- We had a car ‘hit and run’ as we were trying to scope out another ‘secret’ beach.
- Ran up the steep hills behind Podstrana trying to unsuccessfully find an ancient village.
- Walked for hours around Hvar’s coast only to find a nudist beach and quickly turn back the way we came!
Reuben and I booked Croatia as an ‘in-between’ destination bridging one-half of Europe with the other (from east to west). Booking our flight only a day before in Rome; we were exhausted from a week of tourist attractions so we decided to ditch the idea of training around to Croatia and fly straight to Split instead.
I’ll never forget the first local we met. He handed us a bottle of red wine and told us he had filled the fridge with local food.
Generous. Thoughtful. Considerate.
Croatia is more than a party on a boat. There is magic to be found in hidden places and lessons to be learned from the people and their culture. Thank you, Croatia. You felt like home. You’re a place we’ll never forget.