After our brief stay in Plitvice, we travelled back to the Croatian coastline, stopping first in the town of Zadar!
Two hours from Plitvice and we were in Zadar, situated on the Adriatic Sea and home to 170,000 people. We arrived not really remembering why we had decided to spend a couple of nights here,having booked our trip so long ago! Nonetheless, we were excited to explore!
Firstly, we decided to check out the old town, and it was immediately evident that this city had architecture dating back to Roman times, with the Church of St Donatus and Roman Pillar of Shame a couple of highlights from our tour of the town. After eating our way through a seafood lunch we headed to Kolovare Beach with all the locals for an afternoon of swimming.
No visit to Zadar is complete without viewing the sunset from the waterfront promenade. Often quoted as one of the best sunsets in the world, the recent addition of a Sea Organ and the ‘Monument to the Sun‘ installation only adds to the spectacle. To our surprise the sea organ sounds remarkably like a real organ – not the random ocean noises we expected!
Travelling further down the coast we arrived in Split, where we would spend a few days prior to a week on the Croatian Islands.
We were keen to get an understanding of the city’s history, and were dismayed to find out that free walking tours were not legal in Split! A Google search later and we had our own self-tour itinerary and were off exploring the many sights centred in the old town of Split. Highlights included the Diocletian’s Palace, Cathedral of St Domnius, and both the Silver and Golden Gate. While we were at the Golden Gate, we couldnt leave without touching the toe of the Grgur Ninski statue, supposedly bringing good luck! In addition to these historical sights, we walked through some more Game of Thrones filming locations, much to Daniels interest! Split also claims to have the ‘Narrowest street in the world‘, which is definitely narrow, albeit only five metres in length!
The Split old town is home to hundreds of small boutique shops, souveiner shops, and of course, bars and restaurants. During our stay we enjoyed some fabulous wine and food at Paradox Wine Bar, and a great combination of oysters and sushi at the Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota. Getting lost amongst the winding and seemingly random old town alleyways was always an effective method of finding new shops or food!
During our time in Split we chose to take a day trip to Krka to view and swim below the Krka Waterfalls. These waterfalls are part of the Krka National Park and unlike the lakes of Plitvice, you can actually swim right next to the waterfalls! The combination of an hours drive and a 35 degree temperature made for a fantastic day swimming at the waterfalls. Swimming in the freshwater was also a welcome change from the salty Adriatic Sea! We booked our transfer to Krka with Booker, and were able to enjoy 4 to 5 hours in the national park!
Departing Split via ferry, it was finally time to visit our first island, Vis! A small island about two hours from Split, Vis has a winter population of 2,000 people that fluctuates to 15,000 during summer! Our host mentioned to us that this was about as many as the island could handle, and was worried that the filming of Mamma Mia 2 would further increase visitation! We missed being extras on set by a mere ten days, ah well!
First order of business was a swim in the clear, calm and pristine Adriatic Sea, so we visited Prilovo Beach, a small beach near the main town. This set the tone for much of our stay, and it was a delight being away from the hectic and busy Split.
While on Vis we couldnt miss the opportunity to visit the Blue Cave, located on the nearby island of Bisevo. This strikingly blue grotto reflects natural sunlight, and for a small fee you can enter the cave via boat. Truly a unique and spectacular sight! As part of our day trip to the cave, we were able to stop and swim at four amazing locations on the southern side of Vis on the trip back to town. One of these locations, Stiniva Beach, voted Europes best beach in 2016 and it was clear to see why! After being dropped off by boat, we swam into the small cove, which was not overly busy prior to lunch. The sheer and curving cliff faces are what makes this beach special, and we are sure that visitors will only increase in the coming years! Daniel even made a little furry friend (much to Anne’s horror as she is allergic to cats!)
Bidding a fond farewell to the sleepy island of Vis, we boarded a catamaran bound for Korcula, our next island destination. Our entire itinerary on Korcula revolved around…. you guessed it, relaxing! We stayed at a charmimg Airbnb apartment that overlooked the Adriatic Sea, and provided us with unforgettable sunset views from our balcony. On the side of the apartment there were a set of stairs that led to a semi-private beach, where we spent most of our day lazing about in the sun! Our other main business in Korcula was tasting the many wines on offer. There are a number of wine bars in the beautiful old town, which overlook the water – perfect for a late afternoon drink and some people watching!
Until next time (back on the mainland),
AP & DT