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2 August 2017 3 comments


T H E   F I N E R   D E T A I L S

F and I did, what we thought was, a fair amount of research for our Croatian travels. I, of course, scoured through travel and lifestyle blogs (often with a cup of herbal tea and plenty of biscuits on hand), he, the Guardian travel guides and Reddit etc, and we even picked up a Lonely Planet guide. But alas, there were still plenty of little details that I really wish we'd known in advance! Some, pretty significant, others very much tongue-in-cheek, but all the kind of information that none of the articles we read mentioned! So if you're planning a trip anytime soon, then I hope you find this alternative guide somewhat helpful!

(And I thought I'd throw some snaps from our day trip to Plitvice National Park in for this post, so if nothing else, enjoy the colour of the water!)




- Many of the places you'll find in guides are extremely touristy - even those described as 'hidden' or 'secret' destinations. It seemed like every second person we spoke to in the week after touching down back home has been to Croatia, or knows someone who has.. Split is teeming with 20-year-old, British backpackers for example, which don't really help with the 'escapist' aspect of your holiday!

- Do not, as a woman, try the toilets at Entrance 2 of Plitvice National Park unless you fancy peeing into a metal pan in the ground..

- Be prepared to do plenty of walking in Dubrovnik, it's very hilly and there are many stairs, so comfortable shoes wouldn't go amiss. You'll see fashion bloggers etc sharing beautiful shots in dresses and heels, but they honestly must be taking a spare pair of flats!

- 28 degrees celcius feels a lot hotter in Croatia than it does in England, whilst 30+ degrees in the sun feels scorching! In some of my photos from Dubrovnik, I'd take my hair down for the shot then quickly whip it back up again haha. We were often reduced to a sweaty mess anyway, so you've got an excuse not to pack light ;)

- The bus drivers in Dubrovnik can be pretty grumpy and don't like showing you what you're supposed to do.. even though the ticketing business is quite unlike ours. One barked No that way! several times at F until we finally got it right!

- Road crossings are otherworldly. A red light/green man doesn't mean that cars stop, so it's more a game of chance.

- Whilst the coastal roads are more scenic, the highways are surprisingly excellent, especially in comparison to the slog of our M3 or M25. Tolls are reasonably pricey, which is probably why the highways don't get much use, and are therefore so delightfully empty :) There were about 4 cars as far as the eye could see for our journey to Plitvice.

- The food is pretty similar to Italian cuisine, with lots of seafood by the coast (obviously). There are so many eateries to choose from, and frankly many of them weren't what we were looking for (non-trad. food, catering for tourists), again, something that the guides might not tell you. I might do a separate post on where to eat, as, with my love of food, I'm sure you can guess how important that is to me!

- There are many scooters, that ride about with maniacal abandon, so beware!

- Croats, like many neighbours on the continent, eat late. Restaurants tend to open around 6 and you'll generally have no need of booking should you eat around then, despite what the guides say. We were often the only ones in the restaurant! Good places definitely become fully-booked closer to 7:30-8pm, although be sure to book Konobo Dubrava (Dubrovnik) in advance.



- I wouldn't advise the catamaran if you're prone to sea-sickness. Our hour journey back from Hvar was horrifically, glasses-tumbling-off-the-bar turbulent

- Croatian music is... (I'm trying to think of a way to put it nicely..) god awful.

- Prices aren't much cheaper than the UK. Again, the restaurants and attractions you'll find in guides are extremely touristy and are therefore priced accordingly. Dubrovnik prices are akin to London for example, whilst Split is a little cheaper.

- Bobis bakery is a chain you'll likely come across, with a striking resemblance of Paul's here in the UK, with decent aesthetics but I wasn't that impressed with their goods. And there's plenty of gelato around, but again, not that impressed!

- Joker shopping mall in Split is terrible, don't go. We took an Uber there to escape the midday heat for an hour, F thinking that it might even be a treat for me to go shopping. Needless to say we left pretty quickly!

- On the topic of Uber's, they're a great way to get around in Split. You'll only pay around £2-3 for a 10 minute journey.

- Safety seems pretty lax. We saw plenty of scooter-riders without helmets, driving around like madmen. Stairs can be narrow and slippery, with no railings. Mountainous paths drop seamlessly into a sheer cliff side, including at Plitvice National Park - perhaps a concern for the unstable or less mobile.

- There's often a lull late afternoon, a good time to get things done, whereas lunchtime and the evening are busiest.

- Ferry timings are rubbish and can often interrupt your plans. We made the mistake of thinking that there would be regular and frequent travel to the islands around Split but often there's only maybe one or two boats a day. Planning accordingly in advance would be your best bet!

- Carry small denominations! Cash machines love to give you nothing smaller than a 200 Kuna note (around £25) and the locals get grumpy if you try and buy drinks or something at the market with it!

- Istria is foodie-capital region, and somewhere we wish we'd included in our trip!

If you're planning a trip, or have been lately, I'd love to hear your take! 

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