10 days travel from Zadar to Dubrovnik and back
07.08.2012 - 17.08.2012 38 °C
This year Croatia was selected for our summer holidays. As usual, we rented a car and drive around. To us this way of travelling in a new country is very convenient as this allow us to design our daily plan as we move on and to stop and relax or to spend more time on a specific place at our own will.
We've landed in Zadar, which was used also as our base for visiting the beautiful Plitvice lakes and to make a small cruise to the Telašćica protected area and the Kornati archipelago. In Zadar I loved the Sea Organ which I thought it was a great idea and that could probably be replicated and improved in other coastal areas around the globe.
What new can I say about the Plitvice lakes? Nothing, really. It's a unique place, certainly a place that everybody will enjoy to visit at least once. Unfortunately the national park was overcrowded with thousands of visitors walking in the narrow trails around the lakes which reduces somehow the obvious attractiveness of the natural scenery. But I knew this in advance from reading other visitor comments and we had to live with it and enjoy the moment as much as possible.
The small cruise to the islands was ok, the nice M/B Elizabet provided us with a good service on board and since the boat was only half full everybody felt good with plenty of room to sit down on deck and enjoy the Baltic sea and the islands passing by. We stopped at Dugi Otok and went for a swing in the Salt Lake, an interesting lake which is connected to the sea by underground natural channels. Again, we had to walk a little bit around the lake shore to move away from the crowd and at the other end we found a nice beach next to the tall cliffs facing the sea.
Next: Sibenik and the Krka national park. We stayed in a lovely apartment 5 or 6 km away from Sibenik, which I recommend (Apartments Palma); in fact it's the perfect base to visit the Krka park since you are only 30 min away by car. We did not explore the park too much because it was too hot and the natural pool at the bottom of the waterfall was more than enough to convince everyone to stop and swim to refresh. Before moving south to Split we had to check Sibenik, a nice city with an interesting old town section as well.
In Split we had a bad experience with the apartment which was way below our expectations and descriptions on the site we've used for booking. In fact I've learned that Croatia coastal line it's almost a continuous line of hotels, apartments and rooms to rent and I'm sure that it's very easy to find unexpected bad surprises, so some careful selection is recommended.
The city was again overcrowded, although the roman buildings and the city evolution throughout the centuries is very interesting to be seen.
From Split we've took another small cruise to the island of Solta and the village of Maslinica. The boat stoped for awhile in the blue lagoon area nearby and my son which is 9 years old had a blast jumping from the boat into the sea time and time again.
Farewell Split, Hello Dubrovnik. Driving to Dubrovnik demands an additional effort, since the motorway ends just 50 or 60 km after Split. However, this effort is rewarded with some impressive views of the huge fertile valley near Vina and later on in the Neretva delta near Rogotin.
Dubrovnik is a lovely place and as you can read in every tourist guide, a must view at world scale. I tried to remember the news on TV about the bombing to Dubrovnik back in 1991-1992 when Croatia was fighting the former Yugoslavia army. Seeing the old town now it's difficult to imagine that this place was almost destroyed 20 years ago.
The views from the top of the hill are breathtaking; take the cable car to the top, explore the area and enjoy the views. Then give yourself a treat and eat something on the restaurant of the cable car enjoying 180 degrees views of the horizon.
Croatia is a nice place to visit, the sea water is warm and very clear although if you like sandy beaches you will be somehow disappointed with it; most of the beaches are really wonderful but made of pebbles, not sand.
I do suggest that you choose a different month from August to visit Croatia; June or July or even September will be the best moments to enjoy the coast; it will be warm and nice and with must less people around.