25 Set Croatia, the blue paradise
by José Martino from Portugal
Our 2017’s Eurotrip started in Venice, passed through Ljubljana and then we had 9 days to explore the coast of Croatia from north to south, saving 1 day to get to know Bosnia (Sarajevo) and another to Montenegro (Kotor).
But let’s focus on Croatia. WOW what a great surprise, we hit it full: History, beach, mountain, nature and good food. Beautiful!
We took 2 days to get to know the capital, we were right in the center and we were able to visit the main attractions: St. Mark’s Church, Lotrščak Tower, Zagreb’s Cathedral, the market and some museums. Apart of the main attractions the city is full of curious stuff (Grič tunel, for example, was a former public bomb shelter) to discover in a simple walking tour through the upper or lower part of the city.
Croatia, Zagreb-St. Mark’s Church by José Martino
Zagreb has a very unusual Museum: the Broken Relationships Museum. If you are not depressed, I suggest you to visit as it is packed with stories of encounters and mismatches.
We still caught the typical late-afternoon rain that lasted 30 minutes, halted half of the city to shelter, but it helped with the heat.
As a final note, the Lotrščak Tower daily at noon has a cannon firing, for churches to set the clocks. On the other hand, the legend tells that “For the last 100 years the cannon has been fired from the tower every day at noon, allegedly to commemorate one day in the mid-15th century when the cannon was fired at noon at the Turks, who were camped across the Sava River. On its way down, the cannonball happened to hit the rooster, which was blown to bits – according to legend, this was only demoralizing for the Turks that they decided not to attack the city. ”
Bottom line: if you’re around, despite warnings from merchants on the spot, do not get scared. The view from the top of the tower is also interesting.
Croatia, Zagreb market by José Martino
The park is awesome! we did the shortest route (about 2 hours) but there are others for those who have more time. We watched the main waterfalls and took hundreds of photos. Must visit.
There is always a queue but it is quick to purchase the ticket and the decision to go is made by each one later inside the park following the directions of the route you want.
We had some sandwiches outside the park and we followed the excellent mountain roads of Croatia towards Zadar.
Zadar is a small, coastal town with some points of interest but it was a little less than we expected. Anyway, the sea organ is worth the visit.
Another point of interest is “Greetings to the sun” that we could not take advantage of because we had to drive to Rogoznika (a few kilometers from Split) where we were staying that night, and we knew that we would still stop several times on the coast to take pictures, it is impossible not doing it.
Croatia, Rogoznica by José Martino
The climb to the tower, although difficult (my wife can tell you) for those who are afraid of heights, is mandatory, the view from there is incredible!
Split is like this, beautiful and seafront, what more can you ask for? The city is full of narrow and typical streets (even claims the title of having the narrowest street in the world – “let me pass” street)
Croatia, Split Beach by José Martino
Back on the road, we headed then to Dubrovnik because we wanted to make the trip along the coast with sun to stop here and there.
Croatia has a singular peculiarity, to travel from the North to the South (Dubrovnik) it is impossible not to go through Bosnia, more concretely by Neun! Apparently at the time of the constitution of the new countries in the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Bosnian demanded to have access to the coast and thus, coming from the main road, we have 15km of Bosnia to cross until returning to Croatia.
Montenegro, Kotor by José Martino
The first 2 days in Dubrovnik were used to get to know Bosnia and Montenegro as we had to deliver the car later on. We advise you to visit the 2 countries, we were enchanted by the beauty of Kotor but that is for another article, I’ll leave just the photo to open your appetite.
Croatia, Dubrovnik Beach by José Martino
We were finally on the famous King’s Landing (for Game of Thrones fans). Yes, there are too many tourists. But it was never a problem for us. As it was already the end of the trip and we still had 2 days, we cheated and in the morning we went to the beach. Going to Croatia and not enjoying this paradise is almost a crime!
Croatia, Dubrovnik by José Martino
But Dubrovnik is much more than just beach. Despite the high temperature we started to visit the walls. It’s not cheap, but well worth it. Seeing the city from up there is unique! Some of the photos even look like computer wallpapers.
Dubrovnik has many attractions (besides those represented in the serie) and worth visiting, for example the oldest pharmacy in the world.
We still had time for margaritas in a very interesting bar whose chairs were bathtubs. We really needed to rest a while because our European adventure was almost in the 15th day. prepare to walk a lot in Dubrovnik, there is much to climb!
It’s worth walking by the center streets (avoid sitting in any Stradum restaurant), visit churches and old buildings, stroll along the shore and the harbor and discover that the locals turn all places into a beach!
At the top of the mountain you have a very beautiful view of the city, but we have waived it because it is not cheap to climb (20 € / person I believe) and we prefer to drink margaritas and rest a little before returning home.
Croatia is the ideal country to visit if you want to discover an historical country while going to beach and eating well at a very acceptable price.
We will definitely return to enjoy the many paradisiac islands that Croatia has and that we could not visit this time.
Travel, a lot.