In the summer of 2017, I went on vacation with my family to Croatia. They are quite an adventurous bunch. Our home for our trip, “Villa Sunrise”, is a beautiful villa in a little town called Maslenica. I would highly recommend this villa, its location is amazing! You have peace and quiet, it is big enough for 8 people and a view over the Novigradsko sea that makes you wake up with a huge smile every morning. But let me tell you about my 5 most memorable events during my trip to Croatia.
The City Zadar
You can easily spend a day in Zadar, there are just so many different things to do. But I will talk about 3 hidden secrets that you just have to experience for yourself. The first one is the easiest to spot. When you walk along the seashore you might find yourself hearing an organ. Don’t worry you’re not having a sun stroke, you find yourself next to an architectural sound art object that makes sound when waves go inside the tubes. Sit yourself down on the steps, watch over the sea and enjoy this sound for a minute. Besides if you could claim yourself a good spot during sunset you are in for a treat. Because there you would have a front row seat for secret number 2. Most of us have seen a sunset before, but trust me nobody has really seen one until you have witnessed it in Zadar. Quoted by Alfred Hitchcock “The sunset of Zadar is the world’s most beautiful and incomparably better than in Key West, Florida.”
When the sun is gone and you are ready for the night, you should walk to the end of the shore for the last secret. There you will find a multi-layered glass plate in the shape of a 22-meter diameter circle. Lighting elements installed in the circle turn on at night and produce a show of light. The street artists are still around and provide the music you need to dance together with the lights.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
The Plitvice Lakes were heaven on earth for me. I was so excited to go to this place and it was everything I hoped it would be.
I would recommend to go in the morning. You’ll be so happy if you follow my advice because it gets crowded in the afternoon. Some hikes involve a boat ride and we only had to wait 5 – 10 mins but in the afternoon, this can easily become 20 – 30 mins if you’re lucky. Another tip that I will give you, the national park provides busses to get people from the end of their destination back to the beginning. The cool thing is that you can go the other way around, take the bus to the ending of the hike and make your way back to the beginning. Not that many people do this, so when you go early and apply this trick you’ll have the least number of unwanted companions on your hike.
We went on a 13 km hike and the paths are often made out of wooden constructions, clean and easy to walk on by the entire family. During your journey through this wonderful part of nature you will see endless waterfalls, water so clear you can see the fish swimming and views over valleys that keeps you in awe for hours. Since we are in a century where most people want to share everything they do on social media and a sight this beautiful will for sure raise you some likes. I recommend to take a few pictures of your favorite views, but also put away your phone or camera for once and try to really soak in the nature with your eyes. You will miss so much if you only look at that screen the entire day.
The City Split
On our way to Split we stopped in a small town called Klis. There you can visit the fortress of Klis where many Croatian kings have lived. It has also been used to shoot scenes for the famous series Game of Thrones. On top of the fortress you get a first glimpse of Split while you enjoy yet another of Croatia’s endless viewing points.
For me personally, Split has some hints of a typical Italian city. While walking through the small streets we found a cozy little wine and tapas bar. I am very sorry to disappoint you that I do not recall the name of this place, but to be honest it doesn’t really matter. When you walk these picturesque streets full of restaurants I’m sure you’ll pick out the one most appealing to you and have the same great experience. At the market place you can buy tickets to visit the bell tower and cathedral of St. Domnius. On top of the bell tower you have a view over the city on one side and a view over the port on the other. The port is quite impressive to see, they have enormous ships coming in and out. During that day we went home early, mostly because it was one of the warmest days we had and we were longing for a nice fresh swim in our pool.
Rent A Scooter On Dugi Otok
Since I had never driven a scooter before this was quite an experience for me and I was in luck because Dugi Otok is an amazing location to do this. You take a boat from Zadar to Sali, there you pick up your scooter and start your road adventure. You follow the main road, it is peaceful with hardly any traffic and you can drive this road all the way to the end of the island where the city Veli Rat is.
We didn’t go that far, but every time you come across a junction you can leave the main road and you will end up in a small town in about 5 mins. The ones we ended up in all seemed adorable. They are next to the water so if it’s hot bring your swimming clothes for the fresh dive you will long for. Often there are small restaurants or bars where you can have a refreshing drink or a tasty meal. If you are eager to reach the end of the island I would still stop along a few of the breathtaking viewing points on the way there.
The City Šibenik
We didn’t really plan to come to Šibenik. But I’m so glad we stumbled upon this hidden pearl! Take a walk along the bay to admire the beautiful yachts, what a sight to see. If you are hungry stop by one of the many seafood restaurants. But during your stay in this city take your time to discover the 4 fortresses. We bought a combi ticket to visit St. Michael’s Fortress and Fortress Barone. St. Michael’s Fortress is close to the water and the view on top of the fortress was one of the best I have seen the entire trip. You could see the yachts enter between the river beds towards the haven and it was just a beautiful tapestry. They also give concerts on top of that fortress and during our visit they were handling the sound check so we had a nice groove to dance to during our medieval journey.
Fortress Barone is actually behind the city so we had to drive up there by car. I preferred St. Michael’s Fortress, but you have an even larger view over the city here and a fancy bar where you can drink healthy juices while staring off into the sun. Next to those 2 you have Fort St. Ivana which is close to Fortress Barone and the last one is called St. Nicholas Fortress which is at the river mouth. Going there starting from the city is a worthwhile 10 km hike.
These were my 5 most memorable events during my vacation in Croatia. If you are planning to visit this magical place, be sure to write your wonderful adventures back to me!