I just returned from spending 3 weeks in Croatia and it exceeded my expectations by far. I am a long-haul traveller so Europe is unexplored territory for me in comparison to other continents and I suppose because I feel its so close to home I rarely expect to be wowed…Croatia WOWED me! The landscapes, the beaches, the ancient cities, the tiny cobbled streets, the food, the endless islands and the amount of things to see. I was underwhelmed by locals, if I am generalising, I have to say they are the least friendly nation I have ever encountered (of the 30 countries I have visited). On my last day I met some lovely locals who were so friendly and helpful but this is the first country I would not recommend solo travel for…because if you are stuck in a bad situation, you will be lucky to find help. I lost my passport on the trip and was appalled at how little compassion Croats have, I also witnessed some awful situations which added to this generalisation but we will cover those in the separate blogs as I visited a number of islands and cities.
I began my trip in Dubrovnik for one of my best friends weddings which is actually what initiated this trip. After 8 days of island hopping adventures and shennanigans in the Old City, I separated from the group and began my solo adventure North up the coast. My first stop was Split, another coastal ancient city full of narrow cobbled streets to explore. From Split I took a Ferry to Hvar and after 4 days in Hvar I headed to Zadar which is an incredible city. The one that captures the most history, brimming with culture and soul and amazing things to see and do including the Sea Organs, National Parks and another Ancient City to explore plus the 40 surrounding islands that you can do daytrips to.
Despite all the delectable seafood I ate, I came home 8kgs lighter because there is a lot of walking and a lot of stairs so you manage to keep in shape. Truffles make an appearance on almost every menu as they are rife in the region of Istria and therefore cheaper to obtain and I lived on a truffle diet, I think in the 3 weeks there was only a handful of meals I had that didn’t contain truffle. The seafood is fresh and delicious and travelling up the Dalmatian coast you also find a lot of Italian food. Croatia and Italy are separated only by the gorgeous blue of the Adriatic Sea and for that reason there is a huge Italian influence on menus, and they do Italian food well (shh! don’t tell the Italians!)
This is the first trip I have taken where I wasn’t constantly taking photos and that is because every single place looks like a photo opp, you want to photograph everything and it just gets so overwhelming because you simply can’t so instead I learnt how to just take it all in! The panoramic views of mountains and rivers and the Adriatic and the inconceivable shades of blue at the beaches paired with the most crystal clear water I have ever seen. Ecuador, Colombia and Peru were stunning, if you look you find some incredible places but in Croatia you don’t have to look for them, you are constantly surrounded by mind-blowing natural beauty. If you love picturesque places, beautiful sunsets, nature, walking, exploring ancient cities, island hopping and great food…then I 100% recommend a trip to Croatia!
I will begin by telling you about my first stop…Dubrovnik!