Croatia the Beautiful5/10/2010
I just left Croatia after spending almost 3 weeks in this lovely country, the longest I’ve spent in one country this entire trip. I was mezemrized by the natural beauty of Croatian coastline and fascinated with the history of this Eastern European paradise.
Now that I’m on my way to Budapest it’s time to reflect a bit on how these last 3 weeks ended. My stops in Croatia included, Dubrovnik, Makarska, Hvar, Brac, Zadar, and Zagreb.
Probably the most historical of all the places I visited on the coastline of Croatia. I arrived by bus from Sarajevo. The weather wasn’t that great so I did not get to spend as much time on the beach as I would have liked. The scenary was flawless. Huge mountain tops blended with lush green scenary is what I woke up to every morning.
I rented a scooter for the first time, almost getting run over in the process and took it up into the mountains. Climbing the fortress and walking on the walls was another highlite of this stay.
I was a bit disappointed in the weather and thought this city was becoming too touristy. Large crew ships were docked in the port everyday I was there. The beaches I did vist weren’t all that impressive, I had a great view of these cruise ships coming in and out of the port. Overall, nice city, would have been one of my favorites if it not had been some of the other stops on the coast.
Now heres a real gem! Amazing, amazing place. I stayed with a family who took it upon themselves to make sure I had an outstanding stay. Fresh fish was prepared for me by this family on my last day for an epic, last supper here.
The scenary here was 2nd to none. Makarska was my favorite stop on the coastline. Not very touristy, natural scenary, good beaches. A great place to just lay out and recharge the batteries. Which I did by climbing a mountain on my last day there. The weather cooperated for the most part and I got some of the best beach scenary here that maybe I’ve experienced April.
The only problem I had was that it was late April and hardly anything was open. The same went for here as Dubrovnik.
However, it’s safe to say Markarska is on my top 5 in favorite cities I’ve ever visited. Explore for yourself!
The first island I visited and my toughest travel experience. I arrived in Hvar on the otherside of the island from where I needed to be. I was apparently the first tourist to make that mistake since the season began, in April.
There are two ports in Hvar (Hvar and Sucuraj), and I choose the wrong one, Sucuraj. I mean there are 3 buses a week that get me from Sucuraj to Hvar and I just happened to luckily I choose a day that a bus did come. That did not stop me, however from trying my only other option, hitchhiking. Suffice to say I was unsuccessful. Note to self: don’t hitchhike in residential areas!
Once I arrived at Hvar I had a splendid time. Mostly spent the time on the beaches, that were for the most part empty and checking out the views. Hvar has a fortress that is a must see.
Again, I was a bit disappointed that hardly anything was open. It was an interesting site to see many of the local businesses getting ready to open up shop. May 1 is the official beginning of summer season, which so happens to be the day I left the island.
As with the rest of the Croatian coast line, the sceneary was epic. Picture crystal clear water, with a slight cool breeze, and mountain tops to fill up about half of the blue cloudless skyline. Nature always wins!
OMG I’m coming back to Brac ASAP! The beach of Bol is probably the best beach in all of Croatia, easily. I’m convinced God himself would vacation here. I was tipped off that a party would be going on May 1st at the hostel I was staying at. Mingling with other tourists and seeing old friends was a great, great experience. And that was just the 1st day!
The island of Brac will always be remembered as the place where I did my first ever open water dive! I had been trying to go scuba diving ever since I arrived at Dubrovnik, but no dive shops were open. Finally with a little help from the hostel owner I was able to go scuba diving in the ocean.
Words cannot describe the sights and sounds of this experience. I dove with a bunch of local Croats who were very helpful and experienced at their craft. The coral reef and cave were spectacular to see underwater for the first time. I was very nervous since the only diving I ever did was in training over two years ago in Lake Travis.
In addition to these experiences, I really enjoyed sharing travel experiences with other travelers in the hostel. The best things in life are truly free, like good conversation. Cultural differences are hilarious!
I ended up going back to Bol 2 more times, once for scuba and once for taking another scooter up there. I’d go back for a 4th time just to etch that view into my memory better.
Zadar reminded me a bit like Dubronvik. Bigger port city and a lot to do. I honestly did not get a very full experience here. The people who I hung out with did their best to make sure I received very little sleep during the night.
I partied out for 2 nights and had a blast doing so. I do not enjoy going to bars/clubs by myself so I met up with some locals who took it upon themselves to show me around.
Good city in which I need to view more to give a better account of the true essence of Zadar. I can see why it’s a popular tourist destination.
My final stop did not disappoint. This is the only city I visited that is away from the coastline, and also the capital. Zagreb was the most lively city of all the cities I visited in Croatia. This cities has more museums than any other city, (per sq. km) in the world! I visited a total of 5 of them.
I loved everything about Zagreb, natural inner beauty mixed with modern architecture is how I’d describe Croatia’s capital.
I saw the most unbelievable landscape from Zagreb. A trip to the Plitvice Lakes is a must see! The best natural scenery I’ve ever seen! The best part is that the lakes are a national heritage site, meaning no pollution, fishing, or human inhabitants. Waterfalls streaming down mountains into lake pools filled with the most fearless trout I’ve ever seen. The experience itself is heavenly and one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.
For the 3 days I was there I barely tapped the surface of Zagreb. Its not the coast but a great city none the less!