Tag Archives: Croatia

Kastel Stari, Trogir & Split

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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.

Split
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.

Togir
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.

Hvar

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.

Zadar and its region.

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We arrived in Zadar some four hours after we left Mostar, the rest of the journey was quite painless after our lost motorway incident (see previous post). The satnav once again took us straight to the apartment door, thank you Garmin. We were all slightly disappointed at the apartment as is it looked far better on the website, but it was clean and tidy and the owner was very friendly and helpful. We decided to take a short walk to the small bay nearby and needless to say we found a bar and had a well earned drink,  to unwind after our full day.
Sun 15th
Today we decided to go into Zadar old town. The walled town is what you would imagine it to be, full of quaint narrow marble paved streets, plenty of small shops & restaurants and many ice cream parlours, the reason I mention the latter is that Croatian ice cream is to die for with so many flavours to choose from, a must try. We spent a good few hours just meandering around the city soaking it all up. Apart from its amazing architecture Zadar is also famous for its sea organ and the sun salutation light show let me explain. The sea organ is an architectural feature which plays music by the way of a series of tubes located under a set of large marble steps, as the waves roll into the base of the steps a really haunting melodic tune is played. The sun salutation light show is a vast circle of solar panels paved into the ground. At night the panels light up in an array of paterned lights that flash in dancing sequences. Both a must see, here’s a video I found on YouTube.

Another must see is the amazing sunset over the island of Uglijan, find a nice sea front bar in Zadar, grab a cold beer or glass of wine and just relax and watch this amazing spectacle. Next stop Plitvice National Park.

Dubrovnik City Walls & Montenegro

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Today we decided to walk around the city walls which is some 1.9km in length. It is a must and not to be missed if visiting dubrovnik, the walk boasts magnificent views of the city below, but beware there are plenty of steps to climb both up and down, the whole walk took us a good couple of hours, so you can imagine we were suitably worn out at the end, so a well earned beer or two was to be had in a nice bar restaurant overlooking the harbour.

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View from the bar-restaurant

Thurs 
Today we decided to travel across the border and visit the picturesque town of Hercig Novi which is in Montenegro which is about an hours drive from Dubrovnik.  Crossing the border into Montenegro was a breeze we even got our passporgs stamped which is unusual in Europe. Another to add to our evergrowing collection. The town boasts lots of narrow, marble slabbed street’s, plenty of shops and restaurants and is well worth the trip if you have the time.
Tomorrow we have to leave Dubrovnic to our next destination Zadar, with a stop in Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina another country we can tick off our list. So watch this space.

Croatia, first stop Dubrovnik

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Well its time for travel again and here we are in beautiful Croatia, our relatively short flight from London Stanstead with Easyjet who incidently are so much better than RyanAir flew by (pardon the pun). We picked up our hire and embarked on the four hour long journey to Dubrovnik and our accommodation for the next four nights Villa Mar in Lapad, which is a short drive or bus journey from the old city. Our accommodation Villa Mar was just as decribed on the website booking.com and was very nice indeed and close by to many bars and restaurants. Perfect.

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Day 2
Today we took the local bus to the old city of Dubrovnik, and left the car behind as parking near the old city is limited and expensive. As soon as we arrived we were taken aback by the magnificent site before us, just breathtaking and this was from outside the city walls. Once through the main arch of the city walls, one of many incidently, you instantly get the feeling that you have been transported back many years in time, the ornate architecture, narrow streets, the highley polished floor slabs which have become so from the no doubt millions of visitors that have walked on them, the whole ambience of the place is stunning. We meandered through the many narrow streets taking in the sights of this amazing city. When walking around it is hard to comprehend that a little over 20 years ago this city had over 2000 shells rained down on it during the war in Yugoslavia, and large parts of the city were destroyed, but incredibly it has been restored to its former glory. Another must do was to take a walk around the city walls, but we decided to leave taking the trip until another day as time was getting on so instead we took a trip up in the cable car, which incidently is a must do if visiting the city to witness the amazing views of the city from above.
Top Tip, if visiting Dubrovnik I would advise on getting a Dubrovnik City Card. A one day card cost at time of writing 130kn which includes 24 hours bus transport, entrance to the city walls normally 90kn on its own and entrance to many of the museum’s and galleries inside the old city.
Dubrovnik at night. Notice how the marble flag stones shine under the street lamps as they are so worn by the millions of people who visit they are like glass.

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