It was about this time last year that I began the process of making my dream of a Croatian Vacation a reality. I had already spent several months listening to Pimsleur’s Croatian CD in my car. I was working with Branka, my brilliant Croatian tutor. Branka had provided me with many great ideas for my trip which you can read about on my blog under Branka the Brilliant Croatian Tutor’s Travel Advice.
It was now time to make the plans. I had so many places that I wanted to see in Croatia, from the beautiful walled city of Dubrovnik, to the Italian influenced Istrian Peninsula to the fairyland falls of Plivitcka Jezera. I had a lot of ground to cover in just two weeks. I did not want to spend too much time in each place, but I also felt it would be difficult to book individual accommodations at so many stops.
Then I found RoutePerfect. In less than 30 minutes, I was able to book the entire vacation for less than $50 per person per day. Once I booked the vacation, RoutePerfect provided me with pre-paid vouchers that I simply presented at the hotels and inns that Claudia and I stayed at during our vacation. It was so easy. You can now book your own trip using RoutePerfect‘s easy travel tools on my blog. I plan on using RoutePerfect to book my upcoming trip to Vietnam.
Our vacation to Croatia was a great mix of coast, culture, nature and fun. I would highly suggest following our route if you have two weeks to spend traveling through Croatia. We flew into Dubrovnik and flew out of Zagreb. We spent the early part of the trip traveling from island to island via ferry (Dubrovnik to Korčula to Hvar to Split). In Split, we rented a car for the remainder of the journey (Split to Plitvička Jezera to Rovinj to Zagreb). Here is our trip via Route Perfect. I will take you through the logistics and provide a quick overview of the highlights. I have also provided links to the stories about each place on my blog if you would like more detailed information. If you want to make our vacation your vacation, just click on the “View trip details” to enter your departure date, number of people in your party and price your trip. If you like what you see, book it. It’s that easy.
We arrive in Dubrovnik airport and take a taxi to our accommodations at Villa Lia. It is hard to believe that we only spent three nights in Dubrovnik considering all of the things we did. The highlights include exploring the Old City, walking its view filled wall, sea kayaking with Adventure Dubrovnik, eating at the incredible Restoran 360, taking the cable car to the top of Sdr at sunset, swimming in the ocean at the beach behind St. Jakov’s church, listening to live music at the Lazareti and exploring the cursed island of Lokrum. There is so much to do that I have to write three separate posts. You can read more about Day One in Dubrovnik, Day Two in Dubrovnik and the cursed Island of Lokrum.
Getting from Dubrovnik to Korčula is as easy as catching the ferry. Jadrolinija runs a daily ferry service that runs from Dubrovnik all the way to Split, stopping at different islands on its route. Korčula is the next island over from Dubrovnik, about an hour trip. Once we arrive in Korčula, we walk about ten minutes to Hotel Park. Korčula is a small island with a beautiful old town that was ingeniously designed by the Venetians to capitalize on the ocean’s breezes to keep its inhabitants cool. It is also the birthplace of famed explorer, Marco Polo. Korčula is a great place to unwind and relax after all of the hustle and bustle of Dubrovnik. However, one night is all you really need to be able to see everything. We enjoy exploring the old town, climbing to the top of the Revelin Tower, tasting local wines at Tociona Vina and eating lunch at Cafe Cupedo while enjoying the view from the wall. You can read more about our adventures in Korčula.
Hvar is the next island stop of the ferry route. Hvar is bigger and definitely more glamorous than Korčula. Hvar has sometimes been called the Riviera of Croatia due to its glamorous visitors, huge yachts and flashy night life. We spend two nights in Hvar at the Apartments Pape. From the ferry stop to the Apartments Pape, we take a taxi. But we soon discover an easy path along the water that allowed us to reach the marina and the old town within an easy fifteen minute walk. The high-lights from Hvar include exploring the old town, watching the sunset from Formica Španjola, dining at Plava Alga on the Riva, taking in the night life at Carpe Diem, and taking of speed boat tour of the Blue Cave, the Green Cave and the beautiful beach of Stiniva. You can read more about our adventures in Hvar.
Split is the last stop on the ferry route. Split is Croatia’s second largest city. In Split, we stay at Hotel Dujam, a ten-minute taxi ride or a twenty-minute walk from the ferry stop on the Riva. Split’s center piece is that its old town is built around the ruins of Diocletian’s Palace. I highly recommend that you take a guided tour as there is so much information to learn about this amazing place. We also enjoy rubbing the foot of the statue of Grgur Ninski for good luck, indulging in truffles at the local restaurant Kod Sfinge Vaneuropski Zviri, tasting wines at the museum from Winery Kovač, listening to Klapa music on the Riva, and drooling over hand-made high heels at Ivan Ledenko’s shop. You can read more about our adventures in Split.
5. Plitvička Jezera
In Split, we rent a car from Last Minute Cars. The small compact car comes with a GPS and a pre-arranged drop off at our hotel in Zagreb. With full insurance, it works out to about $70 per day. We take the toll road from Split to Plitvička Jezera, a two and a half hour journey through jagged mountains and rolling green countryside. We stay at the Plitvice Hotel, one of two hotels located on the park grounds. We only stayed in Plitvička Jezera for two nights which is plenty of time to explore the park. The highlights of this stop is the five hour hike around the crystal clear lake and fairytale falls. We also enjoy a cheap, local meal at Fortuna restaurant and an interesting spa experience at Hotel Jezera. You can read more about our adventures in Plitvička Jezera.
We drive three and a half hours from Plitvička Jezera to Rovinj, a town located on the Italian influenced Istrian Peninsula. In Rovinj, we stay at Villa Kristina, just a five minute walk from the Old Town. Villa Kristina provides an included delicious breakfast for its guests. Without meaning to, we timed our stay with the annual Salsa Festival that descends on Rovinj every summer. We enjoy the nightly dance party with some pretty polished partners. We also enjoy a sunset cruise around the light house, a frightening climb on narrow wooden stairs in the bell tower of Saint Euphemia Cathedral, and a Croatian lesson from the waiter at Stella di Mare restaurant near the ocean. You can read more about our adventures in Rovinj.
Our final stop, Zagreb is the capital of Croatia. We drive on the high speed toll road from Rovinj to Zagreb making the journey in approximately three hours. In Zagreb, we stay at Hotel Panorama. The highlight from our time in Zagreb is definitely watching the National Ballet of Zagreb perform Petar Pan at the National Theater from box seats that only cost $30 a piece. We also enjoy drinks after the ballet at the Hemingway Lounge Bar, exploring the historic quarter of Gorni Grad, eating chocolate bajadera at Kraš, swimming in a sea of books in Zrinjevac park and lunching at the picturesque Boja Caffe.
I loved everything about our Croatian Vacation. I hope this information inspires you to visit this beautiful country too. Please do take the time to learn a little Croatian before you go, you will find a little goes a long way in connecting with the locals and establishing good will.
Life is an adventure, not a destination.
Bezuvjetna ljubav i prihvaćanje najveće su darovi mogu dati i primiti. (Unconditional love and acceptance are the greatest gifts I can give and receive.)