For us Croatia was one of the most beautiful countries we have visited. So many things to do and places to see within a short distance of each other. Driving around Croatia with Katie’s parents for two weeks made for some great experiences. Here are the ones that stick out the most.
Plitvice: This was a national park like I have never seen before. It was quite magical and grand. There were wooden paths curving around trees and across lakes, and through waterfalls. It was like being in a big kids natural water park. I think it was a top item on our trip so far in general. I was in awe of how this wooden path went miles and miles across the tops of the lakes and bottom of waterfalls. The water was about 3 inches below your feet, it was like we were walking on water the whole time.
We took a hike the first day and saw the tops of the upper lakes while having views of the waterfalls from high up. The second day we went to the lower lakes which had the big waterfall along with the best view of our day. Some of the path was flooded so we had water up to our knees trekking through the closed path.
It was something very unique to have this natural waterpark around us the whole day. When you saw WOW WOW WOW about 10 times multiple times throughout the day you know its an amazing thing. I lost count on the number of waterfalls we saw hiking the path. A must do in Croatia.
Jumping off cliffs in the Adriatic in Dubrovnik: The water in Croatia is beautiful. The sand/rock give off blues and greens and the water is so clear you can see the bottom of the sea right off the coast. After scoping out one place walking around after lunch, we decided to spend a day there the next morning.
We walked down quite a few steps to the rocky cliffs below and found some pretty sweet cliffs to jump off of. The jump was about 15-20 ft. The water was great and it was very peaceful laying in the sea with nobody in sight and views of these amazing cliffs right in front of us.
We then went to the best bar I have ever been too. You can’t beat Buza bar in Dubrovnik. Jumping off the cliffs on the backside of the city walls and then getting a drink and then doing it all again is a must do. Definitely good vibes there.
Food: The food in Croatia was pretty good. A lot of italian influence, mixed with some local flavor. We had lots of seafood! Black squid risotto, two whole fresh trouts, fresh oysters (picked from 50 ft away from where we ate), octopus capriccio, mussel risotto, black gnocchi, truffle pasta, truffle ice cream, local grabba, some great istrian and hvar wines, macaroni cake and so on and so on.
I always liked food, but I am finding as we travel I love trying new food. Croatia did not disappoint. I will disclaim that we went out to “nicer” meals a lot more frequently with Katies parents than we usually do.
Ston/Maliston: This was a beautiful area. I really enjoyed driving through this peninsula, as we had views of the sea, and the mountains, and then more mountains across the sea. We found this town after we took a ferry across from Korcula and drove down the peninsula. We went back the next day to climb the wall, little did we know that we were going to climb the wall all the way to Maliston and end up at a renown gastronomy spot in all of Croatia. We ate what ended up being our favorite meal of the trip with the oysters and mussels being picked in the waters just in front of us. We also met one guy from Venture and our first peeps from OKC on the wall. Where I was born and where we left.
Driving along the coast: We preferred driving to boating in croatia. The view from the sea to the amazing mountains right off the coast was amazing, but when doing a sailboat/cattermeran the whole time this is all you would see. I think the view from the top of the mountain is great, as is the middle of the mountain, as is the sea level, as is the boat level. The more views from different points you can get the better. Driving through croatia allowed us to get those many views, and we could take a boat ride when we wanted. It also allowed us the freedom of going back t places or stopping longer in places that we really liked like Grozjan, Oribek, a family owned local winery, and exploring a new winery that we found.
Not being on a cruise ship was nice too. The cruise ships and sailboats all seem to dock around the same time. Two 4000 person cruise ships might dock for a few hours in the morning then all rush to see one spot. I would say (just a guess) that about 70% of visitors are from a boat and 30% are staying in the actual town. Sailboats seemed to have a similar agenda too, dock around 3-5 then get off during the afternoon and leave in the morning. Both of these ways of travel seem to be rushing with the crowds. So being on car and having more freedom seemed nice.
The views in Croatia are amazing. The crystal clear water, the greens and blues, the stoney mountains, the vineyards and valleys all come together to create amazing views.
The guy who tried to take our money from an orange stand outside a small town of Slivno: Everyone is croatia was really nice to us, except for this one guy. The laws of using the bathroom at a store on the way always change from country to country. Some you have to pay, some don’t have bathrooms, and some are free. The two portapodies looked like the only option for us at the time so we pulled over to this small shop that was selling oranges and local juices. I went to take some pictures as everyone else headed to the blue portable bathrooms. They were locked, and the guy was not too nice in telling us they were locked. We finally got the key from him, although that was not pleasant either. After using the bathroom we were ready to leave this place (was not feeling the vibe). He was complaining about the way we parked, and as Katie’s mom got in the car we started to pull away and get back on the road. As we were moving the guy ran to the car and opened the passenger door yelling at us that we had to pay before we left. We were quite startled. With the girls saying pay whatever he wants lets go, and me and Charlie trying to tell him he was full of crap, we finally payed him 15 kunas (3 bucks). He kept a hold of the door and started to try and tell us something else. When that happened Katie’s dad hit the gas, and Katies mom closed the door as we sped off….great experience. I have no evidence of this so I will end with a good picture of us all in Dubrovnik.