After a short journey from Zadar we arrived at our last destination of our Croatian trip, the very picturesque town of Kastel Stari, our apartment for the next seven day’s was very nice indeed, with a roof terrace with views over the mountains from one direction, and views of the stunning Adriatic coastline the other just perfect.
Kastel Stari translated is old castle, it has lots of small narrow streets, a very nice promenade and a small town square where fresh fruit and vegetable market is held every morning, there are also plenty of small café’s and bars to which to choose from, but not many restaurants I might add. The towns of Split and Trogir are about 10km away in opposite directions with a bus service to both towns.
Is the second largest city in Croatia Zagreb the capital being the first, the old part of town near the ferry port is beautiful, it has much to see, museum’s churches and beautiful architecture. I would recommend taking the time to visit Cathedral of Saint Domnius and take the stairs to the top of the tower there are plenty of steps so beware but the effort will be worth it as you will see magnificent views over the city. Split also as you would expect like very many other Croatian towns has an abundance of restaurants and bar’s to while away the hours in. There is also a great market just on the outside of the city walls selling everything from souvenirs to fresh fruit & vegetables and much much more. Split harbour is also where you can get the various ferries serving the many Croatian islands, more on that later.
Is described in the guide books as a smaller Dubrovnik which is true to certain degree, but without the city wall, and more importantly the mass crowds, but the architecture is as equally as stunning as Dubrovnik’s. We decided to explore the city and follow a walk in our Lonely Planet Guide and learn a little about the city’s history. After our walk we meandered down to the harbour front for a drink, (yes another), whilst we were sitting there people watching and taking in the atmosphere a very large motor yacht sailed into the harbour, I say large it was like a small cruise liner, just magnificent. We watched the throng of people taking photo’s and admiring the ship, the yacht was called “Told u So” so I decided to google it to see if it was owned by anyone famous only to discover that it was in fact a charter boat which you could rent for a mere €190,000 a week or €27.000 a day, bargain, perhaps next time.
There are over a thousand island of the coast of Croatia many uninhabited but there are also many which are not and choosing which one to visit during our stay was difficult, we had already visited the island of Pag which is in fact accessible by bridge, but it was decided that we would visit the island of Hvar, this decision was mainly made by the girls as they had read that it is a favourite haunt of the rich and famous especially one Mr George Clooney, quite what he has got that I don’t have I’m not sure, well apart from looks, money, a huge house on the shores of Lake Como etc etc Oh well I give in. First some information on getting to Hvar the main government-run ferry company is Jadrolinija who serves most of the Croatians islands, tickets can only be bought on the day of travel so my advise is get your tickets early especially in busy times as the boats fill up pretty quick. Now there are two types of the ferries the fast catamaran or the car ferry. We decided to get the catamaran as it is supposed to only take approx 45 minutes but the one we booked and incidentally the only one available stopped at another island on the way to Hvar and in fact took as long as the car ferry, two hours, it was noisy, cramped and bumpy first hic-up. The catamaran docks at Hvar town but the car ferry which is larger docks at Stari Grad the old town, as we had planned to visit both towns whilst we were on the island this was not a problem so we booked the catamaran to Hvar town and the car ferry coming back from Stari Grad as the last catamaran left Hvar town quite early. Our lonely planet guide reliably informed us there was a frequent bus service between the two towns, but this was not the case as even though it was early september they had cut back the service as it was nearly the end of the season and as the next bus was not until 1910 hrs , (the first leaving just as we had arrived in Hvar) and as our return ferry was at eight it did not give us any time to have a look around Stari Grad so our only option was a taxi, second hic up as the cost of an approx 8km journey was £35.00 Ouch! and that was after bartering with the taxi driver So my advise do your homework carefully.
All this besides Hvar town is a beautiful place, with some amazing shops beautiful restaurants and a stunning harbour. Top Tip walk to the other side of the harbour from where the catamaran docks and visit the rooftop bar of the Hotel ? with stunning views over the town, I can see why it a favourite haunt of the rich and famous, and although Stari Grad is quite nice and we had a lovely meal there with hindsight we all agreed that we could have spent far more time at Hvar town.