11
Sep

Photo Journal: Croatia

Posted By Heather
Dubrovnik

The old city of Dubrovnik

Craggy limestone karsts of the Dinaric Alps butting up against the crystal clear water of the Adriatic Sea make for one of the most stunning backdrops I have ever seen. Croatia’s history and culture have also been influenced by Roman architecture and the casual way of Mediterranean life. Enjoying the coast, enjoying the food, enjoying meeting a friend for coffee in the middle of the day.

Our arrival to this gorgeous country, as well as our home base for three weeks, began in the city of Split.

Split-Harbor

Split is a port town with numerous cruise ships and ferries entering and exiting all day. It has a historic old city center – Diocletian’s Palace – which is one of the oldest preserved Roman Ruin in the world. Diocletians-Palace

Inside the main entrance to the palace there are lots of vendors selling local art and other souvenirs. Once you exit the old palace you are in a maze of narrow alleys that make up the old city. There are quaint little restaurants serving some of the freshest seafood you can find.

Split-alley

A narrow alley in Split

There are numerous places to stay in the old city, but it can get quite loud and very crowded when the cruise ships dock, so Trav and I decided to stay about a ten minute walk from the city center. (You can read about our accommodations here.)

Diocletian's-Tower

The Tower of Diocletian’s Palace

One of the main reasons we decided to stay in Split was because of the easy access to the islands. Croatia is comprised of over a thousand islands and islets and two of the most popular islands are off the coast of Split, Hvar and Brac.

After exploring what Split had to offer, we decided to rent a car and take a road trip down to Dubrovnik and then take the car to the island of Brac so that we could explore without the hassle of the bus.

Road-trip-islands

Scenic lookout on the Dalmatian Coast

We started our scenic road trip down the Dalmatian Coast to Dubrovnik which is about a four hour drive.  The first stop was the charming little coastal town of Makarska. The limestone mountains end where the town begins; which, makes for a striking landscape and the perfect place to stop for a quick lunch and a hike before continuing south.

Makarska-up-close

Makarska-Church

Small Square in the center of Makarska

A short hike around the side of Makarska reveals a nice lookout of the town and it’s very own “love locks” bridge.

lock-bridge

Makarska-Boats

Makarska Harbor

Makarska-Mtns

We left Makarska and continued down the coast. Driving a coastal route is exciting and unpredictable because we find the weather is always changing. When we were in Makarska it was gloomy and misty. A few hours later the sun is out and sparkling its diamonds on the surface of the sea.

coast-1

Coast-2

Fields of crops and vineyards display Croatian agriculture at its best.fields-and-mountains

fields

The city of Dubrovnik is unlike anything we have seen. The old city is surrounded by a fortress that you can actually climb on and walk the perimeter of the city.

Dub-wallsBecause we were only in Dubrovnik for three nights, we decided to stay in the old city so that we could be in the center of all the activity. Steep stone stairs with guesthouses and restaurntants on either side can be found within the old walls of Dubrovnik.

Dub-stairs

Dub-rooftops

Rooftops Old City Dubrovnik

lovrijenac-2

Lovrijenac Fort

lovrijenac

Dub-boats

Dub-alley-boat

Dub-main-street

Along the coast, near Dubrovnik, there are quite a few dilapidated hotels that were abandoned after the war. They are eerily beautiful in their ruined stated which was only enhanced by the rain.

belvedere-gate

The Entrance to the Belvedere Hotel

Belvedere-pool

The abandoned Pool at the Belvedere

We mistakenly found the abandoned Kupari Resort by following a sign that said “Beach” with an arrow. We drove down the narrow road with overgrown palm trees and fauna and thought we were definitely going the wrong way when we drove up to this beautiful, once grandiose resort.

I enjoyed exploring this hotel the most because of the amazing neoclassical architecture and random decaying furniture inside.

 

green-windows-abandoned

Overgrown ruins at Kupari Resort

Spiral-Stairs

We drove back to Split and decided to take the ferry to the island of Brac. The ferry leaves right from the port in Split and takes about one and a half hours. The ferry pulls up to this view.
BracThen we drove to the south side of the island to one of the most beautiful beaches with crystal clear water and a couple of sailboats floating in the distance.

Beach-at-BolAfter spending the day at the beach we walked around the small village of Bol and had some of the best fresh calamari and fish while sitting next to the water.

Bol-+-BoatExploring Croatia was one of the best experiences Trav and I have had – from the amazing coastline to the friendly people and fresh food. We can’t wait to go back and see more of this gorgeous country!

Trav-Epop-Split

12 comments

  1. Ken says:

    Did you run into anyone else at the abandoned hotel? Did you guys rent the flat for 3 weeks straight and then drive off from there to explore nearby?

    1. Trav says:

      @Ken- Yes, we did run in to some other people at the hotel. A young Croatian teenager back there with a lady friend in the back of his car…they waited us out by staying there for 2 hours!

      Yes, we rented the apartment for 3 weeks and then drove from there to other areas. Basically had 1 week in Split, 3 days in Dubrovnik, 1 day in Kotor, Montenegro, 3 days in Sarajevo, and then another week in Split.

      1. Ken says:

        Good thing you didn’t run into an Eastern European street gang haha.

        Was the apartment still cheaper including the 1 week you paid for but weren’t there?

        1. Trav says:

          @Ken- We went to a Hajduk Split game, and it was basically like the whole fan section was one big street gang…and it was awesome!

          For 3 weeks, we paid $500 total. It was off-season, so it’s not that cheap during the summer, but usually if you’re staying longer term, you can work out a deal with people. Even if they could make more day to day, it’s much easier for them to have someone in and not have to deal with the hassle. It never hurts to ask, and bargain!

  2. jennifernice says:

    Absolutely stunning photos. I had no idea there were so many islands in Croatia. What month did you visit?

    1. Trav says:

      @jennifernice- We were there in the beginning of May. I believe there’s over 1,000 islands that are part of Croatia.

  3. Sher says:

    i went to croatia recently too and had such a great time! Dubrovnik is just beautiful isn’t it? I love that you stumbled on an abandoned hotel – definitely missed that one!

    Sher
    http://www.shershegoes.com
    my croatia travel photos: http://shershegoes.com/category/travel/europe/croatia-europe/

    1. Trav says:

      @Sher- It’s absolutely awesome, I can’t wait to go back. Thanks for putting a link to your pics, it’s always great to look at other peoples pictures of the same area. Yeah, you gotta go back and do the abandoned hotels.

  4. Myk Brown says:

    How was the water temp in May? To cold to snorkel?

    1. Trav says:

      @Myk Brown- No, you can definitely go in the water in May. It’s cold, but not that bad. If I had to guess, and this is only a guess, I’d say 65ish. Again, it’s a bit cold when you first get in, but I swam quite a bit.

  5. Very nice post! Dubrovnik is the only city in the world that I completely fell in love with from the very first second I saw it.

    1. Trav says:

      @Stephen Garone – Yeah, it’s easy to see why…that place is BEAUTIFUL!

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