Croatia: Canyons, Coastlines and National Parks – Part 1
First of all I have to say, that Croatia was better than I expected! I heard different stories about this country. Good ones, bad ones. And everything in between. You know everyone has his/ her own opinion, but I usually try to make my own opinion on everything. But as you might know yourself, people try to convince you about their point of view. Does not matter, if you wanna hear it or not 😉 . I got told from a couple people, that Croatia is really beautiful. Others said, that it is dangerous.
But let’s be honest. You always only really know how a place or a country is, if you have been there and experienced it yourself. So, in my mind I got this picture of a country with really beautiful and big beaches, old buildings and lot’s of typical Croatian food. People living in big families, maybe sometimes three generations at a time and I imagined heaps of poor areas. I thought Croatia will be cheap and easy to get around. I especially thought it might be a good place for backpackers and travellers, because I expected it to have quite a good infrastructure. It all came a bit different, although most of what I had in mind actually was like I thought it would be.
Croatia: What I got from it
Arriving and climate
So we, me and my girlfriend Sandra, flew to Split on a Saturday in mid of August 2016. Split is one of a few big cities in Croatia. You also find Zagreb, the capital, in the north and Dubrovnik, a beautiful old city (city from “Game of Thrones”), in the deep southeast. Unfortunately we did not have the time to visit these places. Maybe next time… 😉
When we arrived, we had about 25°C. Exactly what I expected. During some periods of spring, the whole summer and a bit of autumn the weather everywhere down there sets between 25-35°C. Our plane landed in the evening and after we got our luggage, we tried to get our car.
The first task came up. If you don’t book a car through one of the big providers like sixt or europe car you might have a problem in Croatia. The people there are a bit more relaxed. They just take their time. We ended up trying to find the guy, who suppose to deliver our car. It took us nearly 2 hours 🙂 .
By the time we sorted that out, the next task came up. It got late already. So, we had to find our apartment, which we booked upfront for two weeks, in the dark. The place we have chosen is called Omis.
We did not know a lot about this place, except that it is close to the beach, just like all the other small towns as well. It ended up being the perfect location for us, but I talk about that later. We only chose it, because the accommodation (a 20 m² room with a seperat small bathroom) in that area is quite affordable (25$ per night). Prices, depending on what standard you want, get up to more than 120$ per night and even higher. The average is about 35-60$ per night.
My girlfriend actually wanted a more luxurious place, but I refused it, because we were on a budget. It took us another 2 hours to find the apartment, because it was on a tiny little street up a hill. The view we got the next two weeks was all worth that drama though. 🙂
When we met our host, the next and last little thing came up. He forgot our booking… but not a problem. As spontanious as we are (of course we are 🙂 ) we told him, that we would be alright with taking another room for 2 nights. He asked us, if it would be fine to take a 90 m² apartment near the beach for the same price plus free Mochitos when we come back. He got a deal!
The cherry on top of our super huge chocolate ice cream cup was that we nearly got the same deal for the last night, but the accommodation we got then, was even better. So, we got all this sorted. In the same night we went out for a cuple drinks with our host “Tomislav”. I would definitely recommend him any time. Here is a link to his profile on airbnb. He was very kind, helped us when we had any questions and he was quite funny as well.
Croatia: First days and activities
Beaches and islands
On our first couple days we basically almost did nothing but going to the beach and spending time exploring the area around Omis. I thought the beaches in Croatia are very wide and open. I was mistaken, at least for the parts of Dalmatia – the regions name that we were in – that we have seen. Because of the fact, that there are big mountain ranges behind the beaches – for hundreds of kilometers – the communities had to build the streets at the bottom of the mountain ranges.
Additionally they had to put them very close to the sea. This leads to even smaller beaches. But anyway, it does not make them less beautiful! 😉 Quite the opposite. They are spectecular! Light blue water, clean sand, a nice view onto hundreds of islands (yes, they really have that many). I have not seen anything comparable in Europe until then.
Omis – Food and architecture
As I said, we also spent time exploring Omis. We found out, that Omis actually was a small pirate village and the people back in the days used the two castles – Part 5 – on the hill and up the mountains to defend themselfs against invaders. We also found, that there is a big canyon behind Omis. Omis itself has two parts, because of a river, which divides the city. If you drive through one of the two tunnels of Omis you will get to this magnificent place. I talk about that a little more in Part 3.
This village also fascinated us in terms of architecture. Many old buildings, tiny alleys, colourful houses with red rooftops in a romanian style. Exactly how I pictured it!
The only thing, that bothered me a bit was the food in the restaurants. Do not get me wrong. Overall it was decent, but I could not find any typical Croatian food on any menu.
It was an exciting mix out of everything. Italian, French, Seafood, etc., but nothing special. I guess, you have to join the locals and their families to experience a typical croatian meal 🙂 Prices in the restaurants set between 8$ and 35$ (in a normal restaurant) depending on what you eat. The meals averaging at 10-15$.
After discovering all that we went on with our first hightlight…
Read more about it in – Part 2
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