29 Aug Croatia
Thanks for visiting this blog of our recent trip to Croatia. I don’t normally do this as it wasn’t a photography holiday but quite a few people have said they’ve always fancied going, so I thought a blog would be a good way to showing the kind of time we had and some of the places.
The trip started on July 26th 2016 with 5 nights in an apartment in Split, about a 15 minute walk to the old town. Split is a fantastic city. Right on the coast, so lots of options of beaches, boat trips, etc… but also lots of things to do and see in the City and the surrounding areas. The city is structured around the old Diocletian Palace, with lots of small narrow winding streets of bars and restaurants. One of the things that struck me most was how restauranteurs would fit tables and chairs anywhere they could!
The food was great and reasonably priced. Lots of seafood as you’d imagine, also lots of good local meat dishes. Beer was cheap, no more than £2.50 for a half litre. Often cheaper though.
It was the Split Festival when we were there, so lots of events happening. We went to see the opera one night in the Palace. Aida. Didn’t have a clue what was happening! Took a box of wine and a bag of crisps, keeping it classy.
Our apartment was right on the edge of the Marjan Park, which has a number of small (pebble) beaches and a cycle track running through it. There’s also a nice little restaurant at the tip of the park that looks right out into the Adriatic where we watched the sun go down one evening.
After 5 nights in Split we caught the boat across to the Island of Hvar, staying in Hvar town itself.
Hvar is one of the Dalmatian islands off the coast of Split and is easily reached by a catamaran – it only takes about 70 minutes. We used this company – http://www.jadrolinija.hr/en/ferry-croatia
Loads of info about the island here – http://www.hvarinfo.com
Hvar Town itself is a really busy place. It’s quite a young crowd but certainly not in a club 18-30 way, more couples, groups of friends and some travellers. Really friendly vibe. It’s probably not ideal for beach lovers – there’s a number of small pebble beaches but if you’re looking for long golden sandy beaches it’s not the place for you. Luckily, we weren’t looking for that and we loved the place.
You’re on an island, so understandably lots of the things to do involve getting out into the sea. We went sea kayaking one day, leaving from one of the small harbours and heading across to one of the 16 islands nearby and stopping off for lunch and a well earned beer before heading back to Hvar. There’s loads of boat trips you can do and you can also hire your own little boat and visit some of the more remote beaches.
One of the days we took a guided wine tour of the island, which was amazing. We visited a number of wineries, all making wines from local vineyards. There really were some brilliant wines to be tasted and bought (which we did), although there was no hard sell. It was also really good to have a guide to the island because she pointed out a number of small bays and beaches away from the crowds that we visited the next day when we hired a moped. We also took in a few of the other towns such as Stari Grad and Jelsa. The mojito bar in Jelsa deserves a special mention and a visit! Our tour guide was https://www.facebook.com/doris.tudor.96?fref=ts
The food and drink in Hvar Town is a wee bit more expensive than Split – a beer is neck end of £4 for half a litre. The food is terrific though. The restaurant we visited on the last evening, which is tucked behind the church in the square and up some stairs, doesn’t have a menu. 5 starters, 5 mains, changing everyday depending on what has been bought that day.
There’s some serious money kicking about. Some of the boats in the harbour are unreal. Even the small ones are bigger than my flat(!) but when the big ones rock on in, they really are a sight. Apparently Beyonce and Jay Z spent some time on the Island a couple of years ago, arriving by boat. Well, so did we 🙂
All in all, a brilliant place to visit. A really good foil to the city break of Split and we’d certainly visit again.
OK, so this is Newcastle airport but I really liked it!
Krka Waterfalls & National Park. An hour from Split.
A performance of Aida, in the Diocletian Palace.
The old city, based around the Diocletian Palace is full of small winging streets and you’d
be amazed at how many tables and seats are crammed in for the diners and drinkers.
Understandably, seafood is a big deal in Split. The market has a huge variety of fish available,
just a shame I had no idea what any of it was…
This place was on the edge of the market and was amazing. You can have some ham and
cheese sliced for you to enjoy right there, washed down with a lovely glass of red!
I was pleasantly surprised at how many craft ale bars there were in Split 🙂
An example of one of the small pebble beaches accessed through the Marjan Park.
View over the port from Marjan Park viewing point.
Sun going down over the Adriatic from a restaurant in Marjan Park.
This is a stray cat in our street that I absolutely fell in love with. It only liked me because I fed it every night.
Dinner at the marina. You can see Hadjuk Split’s football stadium in the background.
We happened to stumble upon an international dog show, a qualifying round for Crufts.
We showed our support by buying lots of beer 🙂
Just a poodle having a pedicure.
Couldn’t even get in this VIP section! 🙂
The main square in Hvar Town. It’s such a small place so it’s bustling come day or night. It also leads
straight onto the harbour where the ferries arrive, so you often see tourists dragging their cases over the cobbles.
View over the harbour from the top bar of the Adriana Hotel. The big building on the left hand side is the old arsenal.
View of the harbour with the fortress at the top of the hill.
Over looking Hvar Town from the Fortress on top of the hill. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO
Drinking wine in the street like a pair of charvers 🙂 Although we did buy it from a vineyard.
We went on a guided wine tour of the Island with Doris Tudor. She was a great tour guide and
very much Croatian, not Scottish as we wrongly presumed. We visited a number of local wine
manufacturers and sample quite a bit and bought even more. This was also a great way to tour
the Island and see more than just Hvar town. She was a wealth of information
and was able to give us a really good history of the Island.
The church in the Stari Grad. It has the same architect as the church in the main square in Hvar Town.
The harbour in Stari Grad. A wee bit more relaxed than Hvar harbour.
Enjoying coffee and ice cream!
This is the harbour of a small town called Vbroska where we went to taste some wine.
This is the Vina Caric winery – http://vinohvar.hr/english/kusanje-i-ture/
We were given a white, a rose and two reds to try. When I say try, I mean drink 🙂 Each wine was also
served with some belgium chocolates that complimented the taste, using flavours such as figs
and of course, the Hvar favourite, Lavender.
This was a small bay running along the road from Vbroska to Jelsa. Doris persuaded us it would
be a good idea to go skinny dipping while she was having a coffee with her friend 🙂
Doris picked this Fig for us to eat. It was absolutely beautiful!
Looking down over the town of Jelsa.
A well earned frozen Mojito! Not frozen for long in that heat.
An amazing tuna steak. Just how I like it… just about alive!
This is my “last day in Hvar” face.