Adventures

Croatia

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Dubrovnik

Croatia has quickly become my second favorite country that I have ever traveled to. Croatia is filled with endless beaches, turquoise water and the most fascinating architecture – I recommend everyone add Croatia to their bucket list and plan a trip as soon as possible!

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Getting There: Croatia is one of the most expensive countries to fly to in Europe. Getting to Croatia will be much cheaper if you fly to a surrounding country and take a train or ferry into Croatia. Countries that are easily coupled with Croatia are Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although some of those countries might not be at the top of your bucket list, these countries are becoming very popular to travel to. If you are on a budget, I would suggest beginning your trip in Budapest and ending in Naples or Rome.

September is one of the best months to visit Croatia as the weather is warm, but most of the summer crowds have dispersed – flights are also cheaper for this time. In September flights from SFO to Budapest and back to SFO from Naples are around $747. If you are not on a budget, flying into Zagreb and out of Dubrovnik is the best option to save time. Flights are around $1,100 for trips in September.

 Suggested Croatia Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Zagreb
Day 2: Visit Plitvice Lakes
Day 3: Tour Zagreb, Take night train Zagreb to Split (or fly)
Day 4: Visit Krka Waterfalls
Day 5: Tour Split, Travel to Hvar
Day 6: Tour Hvar, Take ferry to Dubrovnik
Day 7: Tour Dubrovnik
Day 8: Visit Lokrum Island
Day 9: Depart from Dubrovnik
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Day 1: Zagreb

Zagreb

(Photo Credit: Emirates)
I was not able to make it to Zagreb on this trip, but I have plans to visit in the future! I was able to get some recommendations from friends who have traveled to Zagreb.
Stay: Palmer’s Lodge Zagreb
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Day 2: Visit Plitvice Lakes National Park

Plitvice Lakes

(Photo Credit: Trip Advisor)
Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the largest national parks in Croatia. There are 16 lakes in the National Park and endless waterfalls. To get to Plitvice Lakes, you can take a bus from the main bus station in Zagreb. It takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to the National Park from the city center. You can view the bus timetables here. Entrance to the park is 24 euro in peak season. You can also book a day tour that includes the entrance fee to the park, click here to book.
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Day 3: Tour Zagreb, Take night train Zagreb to Split (or fly).

Things to do/see in Zagreb:
Ban Jelačić Square
Zagreb Cathedral
Dolac Market
Strossmayer Promenade & Funicular
Lotrsčak Tower
Museum of Broken Relationships|
The Croatian Museum of Naïve Art
St Mark’s Church

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To get to Split from Zagreb, there are a few different options. If you are on a tight budget, you can take the night train. Prices vary but are usually less expensive than flying. If you choose to fly, there is a bus from the split airport to the bus station for less than 5 euro each way.

Split Guest House & Hostel

Stay: Split Guest House – this is the best hostel experience that I have ever had. This is a small hostel with only 9 dorm beds and a 2 bed private, this forces everything to hang out and spend a lot of time getting to know each other. During my 2 nights at this hostel, at least 7 guests extended their stay – that’s how great this hostel it! I chose to book the 2 bed private which was about $22 per night (2 people can stay in this room for that price) The owner, Josko, and his family and the most amazing hosts. Breakfast is included for 3 euro each day. Josko can arrange airport pickup/dropoffs and tours to Krka Waterfalls.

The Old Town of Split has plenty of sights to see and they are all within walking distance:


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Cathedral of Saint Domnius

IMG_5300Jupiter’s Palace


IMG_5288Diocletian’s Palace

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Eat: Split Cake at Choco Cafe Split
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Day 4: Visit Krka Waterfalls

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Josko can arrange a trip to Krka National Park and the Fortress of Klis for 400 Croatian Kuna. This includes entrance to the park (12 euro) and entrance to the fortress.

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You will also have an archery and sword fighting lesson at the Fortress of Klis.

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Day 5: Tour Split, Travel to Hvar

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The ferry to Hvar is 120 minutes and departs several times during peak season (3-4 times a day during off season).

Stay: Dink’s Place Hostel – Hvar is very expensive as there are only a few options of places to stay on the island.———————————————–

Day 6: Travel to Dubrovnik

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There is a ferry that runs from Hvar to Dubrovnik once a day. The ferry takes about 7-8 hours and costs $30.

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Stay: Red Dwarf Guesthouse – This is a great place to stay if you are travelling as a couple. The guesthouse is located about 20 minute walk to the old town but is very private, very cheap and has a great view of the harbor. This hostel is located in Gruz and is about $35 a night for a double private room. The picture above is the view from the guesthouse.

If you are looking to stay in the old town, I would suggest Hostel Villa Angelina. This property is located inside the city walls of the old town. Prices range from $19 – $62 depending on whether you want to stay in a private room or a dorm room.
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Day 7: Tour Dubrovnik

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On your first full day in Dubrovnik, you should begin the day with walking the city walls. This was one of the coolest experiences I have had, the entire time I kept saying “WOW” out loud. The cost to walk the walls is 150 HRK which is around $23. Be sure to keep your ticket if you plan to do the Game of Thrones Walking Tour (details to follow). It will take you about 3-4 hours to walk the walls during peak season, it took me around 2 hours on a slow day.

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After walking the city walls, grab some lunch and head over to the cable car. The cable car has the best views of Dubrovnik.

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A round trip ticket costs around $21, but I suggest that you purchase a one way ticket and walk down the mountain for even better views of Dubrovnik. The line for descending the cable car is often more than an hour long.
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Day 8: Visit Lokrum Island & Game of Thrones Tour

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The Island of Lokrum is located about a 15 minute ferry ride away from the old town of Dubrovnik – the ferry costs about $5 round trip. The island is home to a monastery and botanical garden as well as hundred of wild peacocks and bunnies.

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Hike to Fort Royal for some of the best views of the sea and of Dubrovnik. The hike takes about 20 minutes, but is very steep.

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Lokrum is famous for being Hearth in Game of Thrones, there is a Game of Thrones Museum with a replica of the iron throne.

Game of Thrones Walking Tour: There are many Game of Thrones walking tours in Dubrovnik, but the most well known and popular is with Dubrovnik Walking Tours. The tour guide (Ava) is a stand in for many of the female characters on the show and knows a lot about the filming of the series. I chose to do the Game of Thrones and Dubrovnik tour so that I could learn some history of the city while learning about the different filming locations. This tour costs $23 and if you have your ticket for the city walls you can get into the fort at no extra charge.

IMG_1742The tour guide is born and raised in Dubrovnik and very knowledgeable about the city’s history, it was very interesting to learn all about this history of the republic from a local.

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The tour begins with St. Lawrence Fortress which has great views of the city walls and is the location for many Game of Throne’s scenes. IMG_1754

During the tour, Ava will take you to the clock tower, Church of St. Blaise, Large Onofrio’s Fountain and the Pile Gate.
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Day 9: Depart Dubrovnik

If you chose to fly out of Italy instead of Dubrovnik, you can take a ferry to Bari.
The ferry runs at night and leaves around 10pm, arrives in Bari at 8am.

I hope that this itinerary will help you plan your trip to Croatia and please feel free to contact me if you need any help planning your trip!

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