As per the usual in Europe, Croatia wasn’t on the original plan. So as with everything replacing Nepal, I’d hoped that (maybe) it could come around $50/day. As I researched it more, I realized that wasn’t going to be realistic, so moved my hopes to around $65/day. Online, you find lots of blog posts all talking about what a budget destination Croatia is. That might have been true once upon a time (maybe before Game of Thrones), but it’s not any more. Croatia was every bit as expensive as anywhere else in Europe. You could easily spend the same amount there as in Milan, Rome, or Provence (for example).
In all, in 13 days in Croatia, I spent $845.35.
How did that work out? Read more
Dubrovnik was my first city with Holly (yay!) and one I had definitely been looking forward to. I’m an avid Game of Thrones fan, so seeing so much of that in real life was really cool! But at the same time, I’m not so avid of a fan that I felt the need to do a “Game of Thrones” tour of Dubrovnik. I have to admit – most of them seemed really cheesy! A lot of them involved people dressed up in horrible costumes that look nothing like the show, and they all seemed to involve tour guides with binders of photos from the show so they could have proof of which scenes were filmed where. It was quite odd! Read more
As I was waiting for Holly to arrive in Dubrovnik, I timed it so I ended up with a few extra days that were unplanned in Croatia. I decided not to go back to the north part for any of the national parks (that was going to be a LOT of hours on ferries and busses), and I was contemplating going to Bosnia or Montenegro.
(Side note: My mom did a great job handling the “Hey Mom I might be going to Bosnia next week” conversation. When I first said it, there was a bit of silence. And then (though I’m sure it pained her) “Sweetie, I trust you”. I did note that there has been no fighting there in over twenty years. But if I ever have kids, I imagine that I’ll know how my mom felt when my kids call and are like “Hey Mom, I think I want to go visit Afghanistan. I’ve heard it’s nice this time of year”.)
But ultimately, I decided I wanted some additional time to relax. I knew after Holly came then through the end of my trip, the “beaches” part of my trip was essentially over – I’d be spending a lot of time in Italy and France and unlikely to have relaxing beach time (but highly likely to have great sightseeing time!). Read more
Lumbarda is a place where the vineyards meet the sea and the water is as crystal clear as can be. The island of Korcula has both the town of Korcula as well as a few other towns on it – Lumbarda is one of those towns. Lumbarda is best known for producing a type of wine called Grk (pronounced kind of like “grriick”), and the grapes that produce Grk are only grown in Lumbarda.
Lumbarda has a combination type of soil that’s sandy and the climate is perfect, so this type of wine is well-known as one of their key products. I went to Lumbarda just for a day – it’s an easy day trip from Korcula. There are busses that go every hour, and the bus ride is only about half an hour. The beaches in Lumbarda are also much better than the beaches in Korcula proper. In Korcula, the beaches are all pebbles or rocks (believe it or not, the pebble beaches are the more comfortable ones!). But in Lumbarda, there are sand beaches! Read more
When I was in Zagreb deciding where to go next, I was a bit at a crossroads. I was thinking I’d go to Plivitce Lakes National Park (it looks gorgeous!), but the logistics of getting there and back were pretty overwhelming. Then, I realized that because I was there just on the border of August and September, if I waited three days or so, I could get in for significantly less. So I decided I would wait a bit on the Lakes and come back for them.
Spoiler: I never made it back!
As I was looking at places to go next, I thought about Split, but I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s incredibly crowded and overrated. Then I thought about Zadar, but it’s a bit out of the way. I started looking at islands, and Hvar seemed like a bit too much of a party town. I was also thinking that maybe I’d try to go to Mljet national park.
Then, I discovered the island of Korcula. Some call it the “mini-Dubrovnik” and it just looked awesome (and less crowded!). When I was at the hostel front desk, the guy asked me where I was going next, and when I said “Korcula” he blew a kiss and said “Ahhhh… Korcula! Korcula is for relaxing!” He even told me that he has a holiday place along the coast near Split, but was going to trade it next year to go to Korcula. So I felt good about my decision! Read more
After leaving Budapest, I took the bus down to Zagreb as my entry point to Croatia. It’s a city that keeps getting rave reviews as being up and coming (very similar to Bucharest), but I will admit I did not fall in love with it (also similar to Bucharest).
My favorite part of Zagreb was that it’s a city of contrasts. The old and the new seem to coexist more peacefully here than many other places I’ve seen. It was so interesting to see brand new, very modern buildings, right next to buildings that have clearly been there for quite some time. Read more