4 CITIES TO VISIT WHEN TRAVELING TO CROATIA.
Next Trip Scheduled: Budapest to Albania. 10 days, 4 different cities (Zagreb, Zadar, Split, and Budva, Montenegro). We traveled down the coast of Croatia until arriving in Albania. Although I still have many places to visit in Croatia, these are the cities I visited (no specific order) and what I thought of them. First stop, Zagreb.
Where to visit in Croatia? Zagreb. A super cool city, to put in short. It had a similar feel to Krakow, Poland, but not nearly as East. Buildings a bit run down, grunge-y, but super interesting. Every building seemed like it had a personality. A more rugged city than those previously visited, street art along all the little streets, and not to mention, good stores lining the main streets and squares. Public transportation is friendly and the people are more inviting than some of the prior cities we passed. It definitely had a student city feel, not overwhelming but a recognizable young adult population. Zagreb, along with Budapest, was the other city where I thought to myself, "This is a city where I could picture myself living." Big hip, grunge vibe radiating the streets.
(Left) Walking in the streets, (Center) St. Marks Church, (Right) The Cathedral.
Where to visit in Croatia? Zadar. Zadar was not my favorite city, just keeping it real. Yes, I recommend everyone to visit Zadar if you get the chance, but I would not recommend staying longer than four days (in my opinion). A nice, little town, but other than the Old Town, there is not much else to see. We stayed about a 10 minute walk from the Old Town. Sounded ideal but outside of this little Old Town peninsula and the University, is was pretty different. Majority of high, unfinished, apartment towers shooting up on every street.
A bit rough around the perimeter, not what I imagined the look of a coastal Croatian town, but hey, breaking my stereotypes. The Old Town was fun and there was a lot do on the peninsula along the water. Outside of that, it seemed like a place you did not want to catch yourself walking alone at night. Not to scare you, but this is just the feeling I got from this little town on the water.
Recommendations in Zadar:
When visiting Zadar, I recommend going to the Sea Organ and Greeting of the Sun at sunset (Above) or, if you are a morning bird, check it out sunrise.
Where to visit in Croatia? Split (Right). In the end so glad we chose to stop here. Although it was coming down from high season, there was still a good atmosphere in the areas we saw. The Airbnb was super centrally located, right on the edge of the Old Town, just upstairs from an open street market, which filled the streets every morning with shuffling people and lively energy, I could only imagine this little city in the heat of the summer.
There are so many restaurants, shops, and bars along the promenade parallel to the water. The Old Town was also filled with more restaurants, bars, and shops. To be honest, all of these Old Towns were interesting and all, but they were all very similar. Stone walls, a maze of little streets, and different sights to find throughout the maze.
Split had some beautiful beaches, an entire coast of beaches actually. Didn't like the first, just keep walking until you find one you like. We stopped at the third beach. Although it was not beach season, it was still warm enough to catch some 'rays. We laid our blanket out and relaxed for a bit. Next to the beach was a little beach bar (Right), we got a bite to eat, a beer, and enjoyed the sunset on the water.
Driving down the coast of Croatia, the water looked like it came straight out of a cool colored lava lamp or a mix of the blue and green powder from the Fun Dip package. Such vibrant blue and transparent green crashing against the pale rocks and white sand of the beaches. The highway hugged the coastline the majority of the way. Just looking down from the bus window, was a steep, drop off... straight down (Below). But a view so beautiful, you could just get lost gazing off into the distance of the ocean. It was something I could only dream of, and the pictures I took from the bus window (Below) do not do it justice.
The pictures I took out the bus window on our ride through Croatia, from Split to Montenegro.
Ok, cheating a little bit, not in Croatia BUT needs a shoutout for being so beautiful and definitely worth a visit!
MONTENEGRO, Montenegro, not what I expected from this country, I will admit. I honestly had no knowledge about Montenegro in the beginning, not the landscape, the culture, or the history.
Budva, such a cute city. Right on the water, we had a sweet view of the city across the bay and the ocean separating us. The beaches were beautiful and the people were majority friendly. The city was not yet a hot tourist spot, so it was more or less authentic. The Old Town was quant, with nice restaurants and good food. Budva is a city that, if I had the funds, I would for sure invest in a vacation house there, now. Then, in 5-7 years when it is the destination spot, I will be set! Montenegro is one of the countries that is very up and coming, and tourism is on the rise. The whole trip through Montenegro, lux apartment buildings and mega resort hotels were being constructed and advertised on billboards every couple hundred meters.
These are pictures of the mini day trip to the island right off the coast (Right). We took a little boat to the small island, equip with a whole little coast line of beaches and a mini beach bar. Sat on the beach for a few hours, until the clouds started rolling in then we hopped on the boat back to the mainland.
(Left) The blue-green water I finally got to swim in. (Center/Right) The little uninhabited island beach.