The holiday to Croatia was my first ever roadtrip! I’m driving a cute Ford Fiesta which has plenty of space in the trunk (perfect for roadtripping), but no airconditioning (not so perfect for roadtripping). A drive of 14 hours through 6 countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia and finally Croatia) without airconditioning is quite challenging but I managed to survive. You might want to incorporate a stop in Ljubljana (Slovenia) on your way to Croatia. Don’t choose Hostel Print though. The mattresses are irritably hard and it was quite noisy. Ljubljana is worth a visit though! Seeing the entire city is manageable in one day, so a perfect city to include in a roadtrip!
In the evening, after driving another three hours, we arrived in the surroundings of the Plitvice national park. The accommodation was superb! House Josipa has the most friendly owners who will allow you to use their bbq. You can buy coal lumps from them such that you don’t have to buy a whole bag in a grocery store. The visit to Plitvice is the most rememberable thing I’ve done in Croatia. Although very well known and visited by an enormous amount of tourists every year, it is so worth it. Plitvice national park is so stunning that it is impossible to understand its beauty from pictures. Renting a rowing boat to discover one of the lakes is a must. You should not skip Plitvice when going through Croatia, you’ll regret it forever!
Next stop: Krka. Well, actually we planned on visiting Krka but stayed in Guest House Ankora, a beautiful apartment in Skradin (a small town near the coast). Due to being a very lazy ass, I missed the boat to Krka and decided to have a chill day instead at the beach.
The next day the trip continued to Zadar. A beautiful coast-city that has holiday written all over it. There is not that much too see actually. The highlights are mainly the Sea Orgel (makes music due to the movement of the waves) and the Greeting to the Sun (Pozdrav suncu), an ode to the Sun. Both are pieces of art work by Nikola Bašić. Having booked Villa Apolonija, I can only recommend it. Honest is honest: these people deserve a shout-out. Villa Apolonija is very affordable and has a swimming pool. It is very quiet, does not have much rooms so even at the swimming pool you just feel like you are laying in your own backyard. Arriving at the Villa, the owner was very welcoming and insisted we’d sit with him on his terrace to enjoy a shot of his self-brewed limoncello. Please stay there, you won’t regret it!
Adventurers that we are, we went river kayaking on the Zrmanja river. We booked the trip through Huck Finn Croatia. Everything was organised very well and the kayak trip was beautiful. The only downside is that we might have expected more adventure and less kayaking in still water.
If you are a wine lover, decide to drive back up North through Istria. Stay at camping Stella Maris, which is the heaven on Earth regarding campings (I’m not a great camper, just so you know). This camping has three pools (THREE!), a cocktail bar ( :D) and a swim-approved lake. Downside: noisy during the night thanks to an open-air discotheque. Upside: they also have cabins for rent, so expect me there next time. We visited a winery called Kozlovic. The wine tasting is free (PARTY!), but of course you’re expected to buy a handful of bottles afterwards (not really a punishment if you ask me 😉 ). Apart from the winery you can stroll around through a small town called Grožnjan. It is cosy, authentic and def worth a visit! The town has something mysterious about it and plenty of interesting little handwork shops. You can eat dishes with truffles everywhere and as if that is not enough yet to convince you: it is located on top of a hill so the view is incredible! If you’re still not convinced on Istria, check out Adventurous Kate and get inspired!
Returning back home, the stop of the drive was in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The reason I picked this place was because I assumed it was a tiny town in Germany nobody ever heard of and thus quiet and cheap to rest a little. Arriving there it appeared to be one of Germany’s hidden gems, present in all respected travel guides… Luckily for us the gem is mostly visited during winter time so it was still pretty quiet. The only thing we changed was instead of driving home instantly in the morning, we took the time to discover the place. Tip of the day: there was a guy on the market square pressing apple juice like in the old days and it’s delicious! Although I am excited to go back to Croatia to visit the Southern part, it won’t be anytime soon I’m afraid (priorities…).
Tips & Tricks
- Take your car. Croatia’s hotspots are so widely spread it’s quite impossible to visit all of it in one go without a car.
- Alternatively fly to Zadar and rent a car there. You might end up spending more money though.
- Hostel Print
- House Josipa
- Guest House Ankora
- Villa Apolonija
- Camping Stella Maris
- Gasthof Butz (Rothenburg ob der Tauber)
- Winery Kozlovic. Address: Vale 78, Momjan. Telephone: +385 52 779 177; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Working hours: Monday-Saturday from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
- Huck Finn Croatia
- Croatian Kuna (HRK). One HRK is approximately equal to € 0.14 (£ 0.11 or US$ 0.15)