CLEAR BLUE SEAS AND A CITY THAT SMELLS OF LAVENDER: A weekend in Croatia

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My good friend Andrea was getting married in Primosten, so off we went to a little break in Croatia.

Primosten is about 45min from Split via a scenic but slightly scary road by the sea. The town is very pretty, and there are lots of nice restaurants and ice cream shops around. But the big draw is, of course, the beach.

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Primosten is surrounded by beautiful beaches in all shades of blue. The weather was nice and hot, so it was great to cool off with a swim or a cold beer.

After enjoying a lively beach wedding, on Sunday we headed to Split to explore a bit. The Old Town is absolutely amazing, everywhere you turn there’s a new photo opportunity (Croatia is the most photogenic country ever!), from little alleys to ample bright squares.

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Around town you can see the ruins of the Diocletian Palace, lots of cute souvenir shops selling super-cheap lavender and cool restaurants serving local fare (their risotto is the best I’ve had).

We followed the promenade to get good views of the sea and the Old Town, which were made ever prettier by the yellow hues of sunset.

Even before we left I was already planning my return – the sign of a great trip!

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HOW TO DO IT:

  • Go: From London to Split the flight takes about 2h. Primosten can be reached by taxi (50€ each way) or by local busses during the day.
  • Stay: In Split we stayed at Rooms Valentino, where we were greeted by Valentino himself and service was great (we paid 65€ for one night). There are plenty of B&Bs in Primosten.
  • When to go: We went in June, and the weather was hot and perfect for the beach. The shoulder seasons are also a good bet in Croatia, as you get the sunshine without the crowds (particularly in Dubrovnik).
  • If you have one week: Time allowing, driving from Dubrovnik to Pula along the coastline would be a dream holiday – stop at Trogir, Split and other main cities, go for a swim wherever it looks good and stop along the way to buy local figs and olive oil.

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A WEEK IN THE OLD YUGOSLAVIA: DUBROVNIK, CROATIA

A few months ago I wrote about the trip we were planning to Eastern Europe. Our plans worked perfectly, and our trip started with three days in Dubrovnik, on the Dalmatian coast.

Dubrovnik was one of our favourite places in this trip: beautiful, scenic, and relaxing. It has an Italian feel to it, and it has become quite popular with the tourists in recent years.

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THE OLD TOWN

The Old Town is where most attractions are, a scenic little city centre enclosed by fortress walls and by the Adriatic sea, where you can lose yourself eating ice cream and drinking local white wine.

The city walls are a nice attraction: you can walk the length of the walls (about 2km), getting views from the Old Town, the coast, and the mountains. Breathtaking!

LOKRUM

The island of Lokrum is a national reserve which can be reached in 15 minutes by boat from Dubrovnik. Boats leave the small port in the Old Town every hour (more frequently during peak season) and a return ticket costs about £10.

There are many attractions in the island, including beaches and a botanic garden, but the main highlight is Fort Royal, located at a steep hill, which gives amazing views of Dubrovnik.There are lots of peacocks roaming around, and we were lucky to spot a beautiful hoopoe flying around.

A great little day trip!

FOOD

It’s easy to eat in Croatia as the food there is quite European.

The local wine is widely available and very good, I especially enjoyed sampling white wine as it was quite warm. There are lots of ice cream stands and you shouldn’t miss them, it’s always delicious.

The only vegetarian restaurant, Nishta, is at the heart of the Old Town and provides good food and a friendly service.

Mea Culpa is a nice pizzeria, and it was quite busy on a night where everywhere else was empty. We were sharing a pizza and it came helpfully cut in half. A pizza and two drinks cost around £18 including tip. The fact that ‘Stray Heart‘ was playing when we were there may or may not have influenced my opinion of the place.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • When to go: The high season (summer) is warmer, but we were told that Dubrovnik gets too packed in July-August, when most tourists and massive cruises arrive at the same time. We went mid-April, which was perfect: not too crowded but busy enough, with mild temperatures, but not beach weather yet.
  • Getting there: There are lots of flight from London, but most companies only go to Croatia during the high season (May to September). We went with Norwegian, as they had daily flights departing in April.
  • Stay: We stayed at Stella Jadre apartments, where we had our own kitchen and terrace. Jadre is a friendly hostess, keen to give directions and help out. The place is located just outside the Old Town, which is ideal. There are many other options available at Hostelworld.
  • Transport: There are plenty of public buses, ferries and taxis around, and it’s easy to get to places. Transfer from the airport in a shuttle bus costs 35 kunar (about £4), with scenic views all the way. Regional buses from the bus terminal are cheap and accessible, and a good way to see more of the region.
  • Money matters: £1 equals about 9 kunars. Croatia is cheaper than England, but not massively. Konsum is a local supermarket (omnipresent in the countries of the region) with good prices for those self-catering.