Four of us hired a car from Trieste (cheap flights and drove through Slovenia, into Croatia and down the coast with 2 tents. We stopped at a supermarket on the way and bought a cast iron barbeque for £5. We then toured the coast, stayed on Brac, as well as inland to Plitvice national parks - all stunningly beautiful and rounded off by a barbeque under the stars every night.
It’s a great way to explore the country - all the campsites are cheap and of a consistently high standard and there is so much to see. Barbeque fodder is readily available as Croatian restaurants are not really up to Italian standards.
Highlights: Bol beach, Plitvice lakes, the weather and the Venetian town of Sibenik.
Lowlights - torrential rain and the temperature diving from 30C to 1C on the last night; getting lost in a minefield.
We rented a house in the old town and the owner recommended the little restaurant in the harbour. I can't remember the name but it's through the wall around the corner from the palace where the launches leave from. The squid is great and the risotto, but you do need to get there early. Cheap and cheerful and a great place to people watch.
Keep an eye out for concerts in churches around town that are also interesting and easy to get to.
Taking buses to the main ferry port is also very simple and means you can take excursions to islands futher north. They leave from the north side, just outside the walled town.
Not as you might think an Indian restaurant but a Bosnian eaterie. You can sit alfresco and choose from the interesting menu which includes several vegetarian dishes including spinach strudel, mushroom salad with cheesey bread, a tasty Greek salad and everything seems to come with a delicious baked potato.
Nikole Gucetica 2
See the stunning coastline and islands on the coastal ferry, enjoying life in the slow lane. The full trip involves an overnight which you could spend on the deck or pay a bit more for a cabin. Otherwise enjoy part of the route between the major cities and islands along the coast - the ferry calls at Split, Hvar and Korcula amongst others.
Get tickets and timetables at any Jadrolinja or Atlas Travel office found in ports and towns all along the coast - and inland. Or visit Via Mare for bookings crossing from Italy - www.viamare.com.
Almost every village and town along the Croatian Coastline has a summer festival of some sort, in July or August or both. Omis, half an hour's drive from Split is one of the heartlands of traditional Klapa music and has a festival devoted exclusively to it every summer. It’s multi part harmony singing, normally male only and without accompaniment, and the sweet stirring tones of the harmonies belie the physique of the singers.
A much better choice on the island of Vis than the (slightly) larger Vis Town. Pleasant beach and good restaurants. Very reasonable apartments too - ask for the poet Pepe in the travel agencies (everyone knows him!)- he will put you up very comfortably!
If you get the ferry into Vis from Split, rather than stay there, take the bus that meets the ferry to Komiza. It is worth it if you want a more laid back village and a better beach.
Great spot by the harbourside. Don't heed the advice of the guide book and avoid all the harbourside restaurants, as they are not all tourist traps! This place was brilliant and much better than the "recommended" places further away (where the cats had to finish our meals!) Order any grilled fish or the local special fish pot - which is a delight to look at, let alone consume. Arrive with empty bellies and go home very happy!
Komiza on the harbour front where the ferries drop you off.
Both excellent restaurants for fresh fish. You sit outside in the lovely old streets of Hvar. Listen to the waiter for the days catch and he'll put together a wonderful platter of fish tailor made for how hungry you are!
Walk up from the town square and waterfront and you will find these two places close together on Niksa Budrovic.
At the Krka National Park, there is a set of waterfalls and cascades called Skradinski Buk. The scenery here is absolutely fantastic and when you arrive at the bottom of the cascades you can take a dip in the freshwater - the only place in the park that allows swimming. A grand day out!
About and 11/2 hour drive from Trogir
A short ferry ride from Dubrovnik, Mljet, which comprises a stunning national park and lakes, is perfect for a day trip. You can swim in the freshwater lakes, walk and cycle round them or get something to eat at the beautifully preserved monastery. A steep hill separates the lakes from the ferry port, so if you're planning to cycle it's a good idea to use the mini-bus service included in the park entrance fee, and then hire bikes at the lakes themselves.
A gallery dedicated to war photography. An exhibition of female war photographers has just ended, and was a very powerful and moving exhibition, which concentrated on wars in Yugoslavia, the Middie East, and Kashmir, just to name a few places.
Antuninska 6, just off Stradun, the main street.
From its stunning beaches (one of them being the famous Zlatni Rat) to its great, laid-back nightlife, this was our favourite place in Croatia. We camped in the grounds of the monastry, a beautiful building that overlooked the sea on both sides. It was exceptionally cheap (accommodation in Croatia on the cheap is limited if you don't have a tent) and we woke every morning with a dip in the turquoise sea that was a 1 min walk away. Heaven!
Get a ferry from Split to Supetar on the island of Brac. From there, get a bus to the other side of the island where you'll find Bol.
We were staying in Vis town on Vis island, and stumbled upon a festival in the neighbouring town of Komiza. The fishermen cook fish on the pier and there is glitzy music, dancing girls, fireworks, and a fish-weighing contest. The party goes on till well past dawn, and regular shuttle buses run to and from Vis town. Lots of fun.
This is a Roman palace near the main square in Split (which also has a little cafe in it). There is a tower to climb up where you have fantastic views of the city, as well as being able to go underground and see the rooms that they have excavated. Well worth a look.
Look for the large tower and the main square - they are all within close distance from one another.
Tucked away in the middle of Split's old town, Cafe Nabeel is a curious but brilliant little local hangout where tourists also seem welcome. The kitchen rustles up hefty pies, best shared, and you can also fill up on toast. Late at night the cafe morphs into a lively night spot where the genial Nabeel can be seen showing off his 'bungra' dance moves - join in for a discount! Perhaps best of all is the decor - a bizarre mixture of local crafts and pieces of Star Wars Lego. An unmissable local oddity.
Head down Zadarska, off Narodni Trg central square in Split's old town.
The Lakes and National Park at Plitvice are magnificent. Wooden walkways cross the still glassy clear lakes and at some points you can look down and see a vertical forest of fallen trees. The paths take you close to the stunning waterfalls but are done in a way that doesn't feel intrusive. Great for a days walking as an excursion from the coast.
A couple of hours drive from the coast.
Take a bus from Zagreb main bus station, there was one per hour when I went. Busses back not weren't so reliable, but the service has probably improved now. Journey is around an hour and takes you through the Croatian countryside still scarred by the conflicts.
Last year we went to wonderful Cavtat to relax for a few days before heading to Dubrovnik.
Our accommodation wasn't booked in Dubrovnik so we asked the staff in restaurants and at the pension we were staying in for suggestions.
Most people knew somebody who could help (Cavtat isn't far away), and we were fortunate enough to rent a house in the Old Town.
The house was two minutes away from a bar positioned on Dubrovnik's cliffs that you access through a hole in the city walls - look for a sign saying cold drinks at the far side of the town.
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