Going to Croatia was amazing, and in a very different way from my chilled out family holiday in Marbella the week before!
I went with some of my Thailand girlies, Libby and Rachel, whom I met when travelling around Thailand last summer.
Our adventure started in Dubrovnik, which you may recognise as being the place where Game of Thrones is filmed. I couldn’t wait to prance around the streets pretending to be a warrior princess from the show. But in reality, I walked around with my camera out taking photos of any random buildings that looked photo-worthy and acting like an over-excited tourist.
Dubrovnik is very picturesque – it is such a beautiful old town with the sea and the other islands as a backdrop behind it. I only had a day there and I wasn’t ready to leave at the end of it, so it’s definitely somewhere I need to visit again in the future. You probably need at least two days there to see it properly!
There is so much to see in Croatia, and as Libby and Rachel had already spent three days in Dubrovnik before I arrived, we decided to journey north to the islands.
A three-hour bus and ferry trip later, we arrived in the beautiful town of Korčula (pronounced kor-chew-la). Korčula is on the route from Dubrovnik to Hvar and Split, so it’s a popular place for backpackers and tourists to stop at as they pass through.
I was advised that the four nights we had planned to spend in Korčula would be too much, but we used the time to chill out and to work on our tans. Four nights was long enough to see the town, eat in lots of the local restaurants, and explore the whole island and the ah-mazing (some might say banging) beaches there.
Going in September – outside of the main tourist season – meant that there was a mixture of both tourists and locals about. This was really nice because we knew that if the beaches and restaurants were full of locals, they were a good choice of destination, and we weren’t missing out on anything!
Lots of people I quizzed about their visits to Croatia prior to going had told me that it was beautiful, but I still didn’t know what to expect.
However, I was overwhelmed by the scenic Croatian beaches with their green hills rolling down towards the shore, and the crystal clear water beneath. The water was so still that it was perfect for swimming and meant that we weren’t attacked by crashing waves as we waded in each time. Without this sounding too much like a postcard, it really was lush.
We managed to find the dream combination on our second day in Korčula, when we drank wine, and lounged on the back of a boat, whilst sailing to a secluded island for sunbathing. It was definitely our kind of thing!
The beaches in Croatia are a bit stoney, but at least you don’t end up with sand absolutely everywhere!
After all the food and relaxing, the time came for us to move on to Hvar.
Hvar is known as the party hotspot in Croatia, which is mainly owing to the tiny island just across the bay which hosts a huge club called Carpe Diem.
Devastatingly, visiting in mid-September meant that we had missed the closing down parties by mere days! To say that we were feeling gutted is an understatement, and we walked in silence for a bit whilst the information sunk in. Rachel was on the verge of breaking down and sobbing, but again, it’s just another reason to go back to Hvar!
Of course, the fact that Carpe Diem was closed didn’t mean we couldn’t party. The hostel we were staying in organised a bar crawl every night, and a club called Pink Champagne opened at 2am every night and you could stay there until breakfast time.
Another highlight of Hvar is the Hula Hula sunset bar. It’s positioned on the side of the island away from the town and has a view of the most amazing sunset each night. It was great for sipping mojitos and getting chatted up by drunk American travelling men.
We did a photoshoot of the sunset, for obvious reasons…
Being expert food connoisseurs and ready to try all the local cuisine, we sampled Nutella crêpes or Nutella croissants every day. Adventurous, I know – but they were the best. On my first day back at home I actually had to run out to Tesco to buy a chocolate croissant – I think I was in withdrawal – but it could never live up to the fresh Croatian ones!
The restaurants either overlooked the harbour, or they were tucked away in the narrow streets winding away from the main square. They were all so beautiful, and aside from the Nutella, we had some great food and wine. (I’m definitely heading straight to the gym now I’m home!)
The final place we visited was Split. We were sad to go there as it meant that the end of our trip was looming, but we were also looking forward to exploring another big town.
The weather wasn’t great in Split, and we had to suffer some rain showers. Only having a day there meant that we were out singing in the rain and seeing as much of the town as we could in the time we had.
In the evening we went out on another bar crawl, and as we passed Diocletian’s Palace (the big Cathedral in the middle) a band was playing and everyone was sitting, listening and drinking in candle light. So cute!!!
If you go to Split, make sure you go on the bar crawl – Libby had a particularly good time on this one(!) We met Harry Potter and were bowed down to like queens (we weren’t complaining). I don’t remember some bits of it, which is always a sign of a great night out!
By the end of the trip, we had seen so much that it felt like we had been away for much longer than nine days. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many mojitos in such a short space of time before… and I can’t wait to go back!!