Sun kissed Croatia: Road trip highlights

with 15 Comments

As part-time travelers, we often find ourselves strapped for time. So much so, that I’ve attempted hunting for posts that share one special aspect about a town or city, rather than detailed descriptions that lead readers into a puddle of information. When I think back about our last trip, I wonder how Bharat and I managed to scrape through piles of information about Croatia in less than a month. That’s when I thought of putting this list together, in the hopes that it benefits other last minute travelers to this beautiful country. 

Zadar Market

Zadar, our first stop on the Croatian coast charmed us immediately. Though the town’s Sea Organ and Greetings to the Sun are its main draws, this old fashioned public market is a treasure trove. Get here by mid morning and you can spot the juiciest fruits on offer, along with local honey and cheese that sellers are happiest to offer as tastings. In a corner, old ladies sell handmade lace trinkets and the aroma of freshly baked croissants floats across the street.

Zadar in morning (yep, sans the crowd)
Zadar in morning (yep, sans the crowd)

Tip:

Hunt for Mrs. Ljubica’s cheese shop near the meat market and ask for Pag cheese. She is said to source it from the island of Pag where cheese is a specialty.

zadar-market-1

zadar-11

Krka National Park

Bharat and I relish the freedom and flexibility that road trips offer. With six days and a gazillion desirable stops to tempt us, we had to prepare ourselves to prioritize time in Croatia. While I was hesitant, Bharat was keen to visit Krka Falls. To be honest, my heart sank at the sight of the crowds on the ferry and inside the national park. But a dip in the icy cold Krka waters was enough to lift my spirits. This wasn’t your average, easily accessible dip. It entailed a rocky, slippery descent over rocks. Underwater limestone rocks formed a tricky bed that we had to carefully walk over, and the turquoise, clear water shone brightly in the sun. To put it in perspective – a dip in Skradinski buk, the lower level falls was as thrilling as a sky dive! 

krka-1

Tips:

  1. Look up prices and related information about visiting the park on its official website before you visit.
  2. The entrance to Krka is through a small town called Sibenik. Don’t let unauthorized parking reps daunt you. If you’re unable to find the official parking spots like us, bargain well before you pay to park.
  3. Be prepared for delays on the ferry to the park
  4. If you’re choosing between Plitvice National Park and Krka – know that you cannot access the water in Plitvice. And that was a deal breaker for us. 

Peristil Square, Split

Due to the delay in Krka National Park, our time in Split was cut short. So we chose to slow down. The town’s main architectural marvel is the 1700 year old Diocletian Palace that was built by the Romans. The Peristil square is located in front of the Cathedral of St.Duje and despite a drizzle, seemed like an ideal place to spend an evening in Split. People sat around on steps in the square while a guitarist crooned familiar tunes. Servers from nearby restaurants did brisk business, offering visitors the choicest drinks. We ordered a dessert wine and settled in comfortably.

split-1

Tip: 

Spare 10 minutes in the morning and rush to the Split market. An old lady sells a delicious snack called “Soparnik” – made with flour, olives, garlic and olive oil. 

Dol village

Run a quick Instagram search on Croatian beaches and you’ll find yourself in a dilemma over choices. Which is why, the tiny village of Dol in the island of Brac took us by complete surprise. Dol was recommended to us by a local in Split. A dirt road surrounded by vineyards laden with ripe grapes welcomed us on the way. Leaving our car at the entrance of the village, we walked around to find traditional homes and pin drop silence. We had a goal – to taste Hrapaćuša, the famed Dol cake. In a few minutes, we walked into Konoba Toni, the first restaurant we spotted. The owners were more than delighted to have us, taking us into their kitchen – sharing stories and treating us to the most fabulous flourless Dol cake. This detour was worth every bite.

 

A photo posted by Fun Travelog (@funtravelog) on

 

Zlatni Rat beach

If you are a beach lover, there’s not one beach in Croatia that would disappoint. But if you’re looking for something unique, quiet and mind blowing, look no further than the V shaped Zlatni Rat beach in Brač island. I’ll let the photos do the talking here 🙂

zlatni-2

zlatni-1

Zlatni Rat will be remembered for its crystal clear waters !
Zlatni Rat will be remembered for its crystal clear waters!

Makarska – Dubrovnik coastal route

After visiting Brač, we resumed our inland journey in Croatia from the scenic town of Makarska. The route to Dubrovnik from Makarska meanders through the edge of the coast. It’s a comfortable driving route, dotted with various scenic stops. Take your time with this one. 

Expect such #nofilter panoramas on this route :)
Expect such #nofilter panoramas on this route 🙂

Tip:

  1. Get a multiple entry visa as the route crosses a section of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Look up our tips on road tripping in Croatia & Slovenia for a better idea.
  2. Mostar is a suggested detour on this route – but head there only if you have 3-4 hours to spare.
Such impromptu stops –>
<– Call for photo ops

Walking the Dubrovnik Wall 

I had been vary about spending our last two days in Dubrovnik – especially since it is considered to be the most crowded and touristy town in Croatia. I won’t lie – it was both. Which is why we chose to walk the city’s walls early in the morning – and thankfully didn’t have a huge mob accompanying us. The walk is a comfortable one, and truly gives a perspective on the town’s design, plan and lifestyle. We saw the port, the coastline, the town squares and even family homes built along the wall. 

dubrovnik-2

croatia-7

Tip:

To really experience Dubrovnik – get out early to explore the town. Alternatively, escape the crowds by visiting one of the nearby islands and head back by evening to dine at one of its lively restaurants. Our favorite was a meal at Nishta.

What’s the one experience from this list that you would blindly pick? Share your favorite in comments or leave us a note on Instagram @funtravelog

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Earn some good travel karma, share along
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmail
Supriya
Follow Supriya:

As a kid, Supriya had to be brought back to reality from her daydreaming excursions. A digital marketer by profession, she enjoys reading, writing and photography. Her wanderlust list changes each week, but she's strongly eyeing countries in South America, the Middle East and Japan as destinations for her journeys :)

15 Responses

  1. Christina Wagar
    | Reply

    I have been trying to plan a Croatia itinerary and I have found myself unable to pare down the itinerary into something manageable. This is a great post that highlights some key must-sees in Croatia. I like how you included tips on interesting foods as well. I will definitely add Dol to our itinerary now so we can taste the famed Hrapaćuša!
    Christina Wagar recently posted…Why We Don’t Recommend A Day Trip to Evora PortugalMy Profile

    • Supriya
      Supriya
      | Reply

      You’ll love Dol Christina – I wish I could have stayed longer there. Happy I could be of help. Have a lovely time in Croatia.

  2. Jen
    | Reply

    This brings back so many wonderful memories of our time in Croatia. It is really such a beautiful country with so much to offer. We traveled by bicycle and so were not able to make it to any of these places that you mentioned, unfortunately. I love that you took the advice of the local and visited Dol village- I’ve found that listening to the locals results in some of the most memorable experiences, away from all the tourists!
    Jen recently posted…Street Tails: Emily and FenwayMy Profile

    • Supriya
      Supriya
      | Reply

      Locals are the best guides. It’s just a challenge to find the right locals at times. Wow, biking through Croatia must have been a different experience altogether! I’ll surely take a moment to read about your experiences there 🙂

  3. Kelly @ TastingPage
    | Reply

    I just came back from Croatia, and now need to go back since I missed some of these! Those falls look amazing. I loved Dubrovnik – that was my favorite stop…until I see these others!
    Kelly @ TastingPage recently posted…Savoring Sorrento’s Top SitesMy Profile

    • Supriya
      Supriya
      | Reply

      Oops! You’d surely love all of these places 🙂 Hope you have a chance to go back Kelly (I know I want to!)

  4. Megan Jerrard
    | Reply

    Thanks for putting together the highlights from your trip! I loved my time in Croatia though it was on a contiki bus tour, so I would love to get back and rent a car so we have the freedom and flexibility to drive at our own pace where we see fit. I missed Krka National Park last time, and while we’re not a huge fan of crowded tourist attractions, I can see how this would be a magical place despite having to share with the crowds 🙂

    • Supriya
      Supriya
      | Reply

      Yes, it surely was something else altogether once we were in the water! Thanks for dropping by Megan and good luck with your trip to Antarctica – waiting to read all about it!

  5. Kanika Kalia
    | Reply

    I loved the concept of putting on highlights rather than detailed info, as you said for part time travelers , this is always a struggle. Croatia definitely looks like photographers haven so I should start prepping up Manhar 🙂
    Kanika Kalia recently posted…MOROCCO : MUST HAVE EXPERIENCESMy Profile

    • Supriya
      Supriya
      | Reply

      Jao jao! You guys would love it – it’s perfect for a road trip and the beaches are SPECTACULAR. I’m assuming only Greek or Maldives / Seychelles beaches would be at par or better than these 🙂

  6. Knycx.journeying
    | Reply

    Nicely done and thanks for sharing, I am definitely interested in visiting the Krka National Park and I would put it on my must-see list for my next year’s trips planning 🙂 @ knycx.journeying
    Knycx.journeying recently posted…My Eyes Are DancingMy Profile

    • Supriya
      Supriya
      | Reply

      Glad we could be of help!:)

  7. Gracie
    | Reply

    Wow, what a lovely place. I dont know much about Croatia but this post made me want to go there! I love landscapes and beaches and I think this is a good place to get dramatic landscape photos! And thanks for the tips too! x

    • Supriya
      Supriya
      | Reply

      You’re much welcome Gracie and thanks for stopping by! Book your tickets soon- Croatia is stunning in every bits you can imagine!

  8. […] calls for advance bookings. Last September, we used miles on United Airlines to book our trip to Croatia. United provided an option to book an open jaw flight anywhere within the U.S. along with this […]

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge