In April 2015, I did an Eastern European roundtrip with a good friend of mine, and we decided to stop in Croatia, a country that was starting to open to tourism at the time.
And I have to say, Croatia is an amazing country that you should definitely put in your bucket list !
We started our journey in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city, where we spent several hours, before taking a bus to Zadar. We arrived in Zagreb by train from Ljubljana (Slovenia), as part of our Eastern European trip (more on that in another article).
Zagreb is perfect for strolling and the center isn’t very big, so we managed to see a lot of the main sights on foot under a couple of hours. As Easter was approaching, the city was decorated with a decorated egg sculptures.
Some of the sights to see are St Mark’s Church (see below), the Museum of Broken Relationships (yes, really 🙂 ), the Cathedral, and just walk around the streets of the city center.
Fun Fact: We actually got to see the Croatian Prime Minister near the church who was being followed by a dozen of journalists attempting to snap a picture of him.
From Zagreb we took a bus to Zadar, by the coast, where we spent 3 to 4 days. We stayed in an amazing hostel that overlooked the town’s red roofs right in the town center, which was convenient for sightseeing.
Zadar was one of my favorite places we’ve been during the trip. The town is so pretty, near the sea with the mountains in the distance.
A special feature that the town has, is the sea organ, where music is created by nature. Let me explain. Holes are dug in the ground and under the pier, and the combination of the waves rushing in and the wind blowing over the holes creates a melody. Listening to the melody it makes while sitting on the steps contemplating the ocean, is probably one of the most relaxing and romantic thing you could do !
Oh and don’t even get me started on the sunsets !
The sunsets in Zadar were probably one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen ! We have watched the sun go down on 2 different nights and the particularity of Zadar’s sunsets is that it is never the same !
Each sunset was completely different, and the colors after the sun goes down become even more vibrant ! So if you do watch the sunset (which you really should), don’t leave right after the sun disappears, but sit there for a while because you will see the sky change to amazing colors !
Here are the pictures of the sunsets :
Fun Fact : Zadar’s sunset was acknowledged by Alfred Hitchcock as one of the best sunsets in the world !
Tip: For the sunset, I would recommend sitting by the sea organ and watch the sun go down. It is amazing !
Sibenik is a coastal town located 1 hour and 30 minutes South of Zadar. We went there as a day trip from Zadar, also because the weather was cold and bad at the Plitvice Lakes and so we had to find an alternative.
Sibenik is known as the gateway to the Komari islands. The main things to see are the stone Cathedral of St James, but also walking around the forteresse, seeing the open-air theater and the views on the Sibenik Bay and islands.
Another thing we did is going up this old cemetery and walk along the port.
So if you like old stoned fortresses, small towns and not very touristy places, you can add Sibenik to your list for Croatia ! Sibenik is also a good stop over between Zadar and Split.
Dubrovnik, (or King’s Landing)
So after another day in Zadar, we took a bus to Dubrovnik, the most southern city in Croatia, and also, for Game Of Thrones fans like me, the place where they filmed a couple of locations like King’s Landing.
Fun Fact: if you take the bus (which you should because it’s cheap), from Split/ Zadar to Dubrovnik, you will actually cross the border to Bosnia, and then back into Croatia, so it’s like if you’ve been in 2 countries in 1 ! 🙂
In Dubrovnik, we stayed in a b&b outside of the old town, which was a bit cheaper. The hosts were very friendly and made us tea and cakes during our stay.
Dubrovnik was one of my favorite places as well, with the streets covered in this sleek stone (almost like marble), the red roofed houses and the ocean.
You can walk along the walls of the old town, which goes all around, and it gives you a great view of the town and the ocean (like above). You do really have a feeling like you are in an Assassin’s Creed’s location. The price to go on the wall isn’t that cheap, but I think it is worth it, because you can really get a sense of the place from above.
Apart from wandering in the small streets and around the port, you can take a boat to nearby islands (which we did), including this island covered in peacocks (like below) called Otok Lokrum.
On that island you can visit old monasteries, like the one below, also where they filmed Game of Thrones (the gardens and city of Qarth that Daenarys visited in season 2)
From Dubrovnik if you have more time, you can also do day trips to Montenegro or Bosnia, which are not very far.
So, Croatia is an incredible destination in Eastern Europe ! When I went there it was relatively cheap (maybe a little more expensive than Bosnia), but now because of the rise in tourism, prices may be a little higher. If you love sunsets, beautiful beaches, old towns, Game of Thrones, you will love this country !
If I could go back there I would go to the Plitvice Lakes which are classified as a UNESCO heritage site.
If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments below 🙂