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Croatia: A photographic trip report in (almost) real time.

Croatia: A photographic trip report in (almost) real time.

Old Sep 21st, 2021, 01:55 PM
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Croatia: A photographic trip report in (almost) real time.

I知 going to try to do a trip report in real time, like the one I did last May for Portugal, and last year for Italy. (Full disclosure: I知 already 3 days behind.)

Originally this trip was supposed to be for 21 days, but we shortened it to 17 after a French course we had planned in France was pushed back due to covid. As a result, the order of cities and sites we are visiting is a bit weird, mostly because I was trying not to cancel the apartments we had already booked. Our itinerary now is as follows:

Split, Trogir, Hvar, Sibenik, Zadar, Plitvice, Rovinji, Omis, Korcula, Dubrovnik.

We arrived into Split on Friday evening, just in time to have dinner at the excellent Bokeria, as well as dessert next door at Gelateria Emiliana, which was definitely worth the short wait in line. We took a spin through the old town, pausing for a few minutes to listen to the live music in the Peristyle Square, which we would more thoroughly explore later.

The next day we had a two hour walking tour of the old town booked for the afternoon, so we started the morning with a climb up to the Marjan Belvedere, in order to take in some views of the city from above. We continued up through the hillside park to the small Chapel of St Nikola, before heading back down into the old town for lunch.

At 1:30pm we met our excellent guide, Maja Benzon, for our walking tour. Although she came highly recommended, Maja still exceeded our high expectations. There was literally no question on the history of Split which she could not answer in detail.

We started in the substructure of Diocletian痴 Palace, which is very helpful in understanding what the original layout of the palace was, which is not apparent on the ground level, due significant changes that have been made over the past 1700 years. The palace forms the basis for the old town, which has developed both in and around it. Nowhere are the alterations more pronounced than in the Peristyle Square, where red granite columns, stolen from Egypt, are topped with Corinthian capitals, and medieval walls are adorned with renaissance and baroque details. Maja emphasized the point that, despite all the changes made throughout the centuries, the fact that the city has been continuously occupied is what has lead to its current state of preservation. We ended the tour with the 渡ewer parts of the old town, which included a couple art nouveau buildings and the beautiful Republic square, which was inspired by St Marks Square in Venice.

That evening, we had another excellent dinner, this time at Fantazija, where some Japanese flavors are added to their modern seafood based menu.

Coming up next: a day trip to Trogir.



























Last edited by russ_in_LA; Sep 21st, 2021 at 02:02 PM.
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Old Sep 21st, 2021, 02:06 PM
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Your photographs are just wonderful. Your framing and contrasts capture the scenes and textures perfectly. Thank you for taking time to post them. It is especially nice right now to travel vicariously.
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Old Sep 21st, 2021, 02:35 PM
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Russ, your previous reports (and photos) are fantastic, I’ve pored over your previous 2 several times.

So happy to see you travelling again, and thank you for sharing this. It will be my ‘go to’ read every morning!

Great photos already...
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Old Sep 21st, 2021, 08:34 PM
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Great TR! Lovely pictures!
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Old Sep 21st, 2021, 10:06 PM
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Thank you for sharing your travels to Croatia with you. Looks like you covered much more ground than we did in a similar amount of time. From your photos at Peristyle Square, it seems you were able to enjoy it without much in the way of crowds. Was this your experience throughout Croatia?
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Old Sep 21st, 2021, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by tripplanner001 View Post
Thank you for sharing your travels to Croatia with you. Looks like you covered much more ground than we did in a similar amount of time. From your photos at Peristyle Square, it seems you were able to enjoy it without much in the way of crowds. Was this your experience throughout Croatia?
Thanks for the encouraging words everyone!

TP, I’m glad you reminded me to talk about crowds. Saturday morning a cruise ship came into port, so the old town was mobbed. This was part of the reason we did the Marjan walk when we did. When we met Maja she said that the crowds start thinning out about 2pm, as most people go back to the ship for lunch, and she was right; however, view few people tour the palace substructure, so besides being interesting, it was a great place to hear her talk about the city’s history and see the palace layout in the relative calm. I got up at 7:30 the next morning and took most of the pics that I posted of the old town with almost nobody there. It was a pleasure to watch the city as it was waking up.

As for crowds elsewhere in Croatia, I’m posting as I go, so I’m just a few days ahead of my current posts. We are on Hvar at the moment, and it is much busier than I expected, but not overwhelming. One local told me that they had the busiest August here in their history, but with 60% of their normal staffing, which sounds like a nightmare.

Last edited by russ_in_LA; Sep 21st, 2021 at 11:53 PM.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2021, 01:24 PM
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Trogir and last day in Split

Sunday morning we took the 9:30 ferry, bound for Trogir. It was a scenic one hour ride on very calm waters, and the view on our approach was stunning. We spent about 90 minutes touring the small island village, exploring the fortress and the main church, but the best part was the views from the bell tower.

For the next day we had booked a 3pm ferry to Hvar, so we spent the morning at a couple museums. The first was the Split City Museum, which contains models and maps of Diocletian痴 Palace, which helped fill in the gaps in what we had learned the previous day. The second was the Ethnographic Museum, which contains a variety of Dalmatian folk costumes. The best part, however, was the access it gives to the roof of the vestibule of Diocletian痴 Palace, with bird痴-eye views of the Peristyle square, and up close and personal views of the bell tower of the cathedral.

Up Next: 4 days in Hvar



Trogir











Roof of the vestibule, Split

The tiniest chapel

Diocletian痴 Palace, painting

Diocletian痴 Palace, model
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Old Sep 22nd, 2021, 02:29 PM
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Great photo from the Ethnographic Museum. So glad you have 4 nights in Hvar, one of my favorite places in Croatia. On crowds, what a difference a couple of months makes - the streets were humming even at 7:00, 7:30 in the morning when we were there in July.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2021, 04:17 PM
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Just Wow! Thank you for posting your great pictures of such beautiful places.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2021, 05:23 PM
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Your report is as great as your photos! If you find a cool bar or restaurant or live music place, let us know the names and the vibe, as we are headed to Croatia next June, doing a similar visit of places. Thanks in advance!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2021, 06:21 PM
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We had breakfast all 4 mornings in Split at Bokeria. We stayed at a hotel (forgot the name) nearby that included breakfast at Bokeria. Delicious! We also enjoyed the Ethnographic Museum and visiting Trogir. We spent one day on Hvar and absolutely loved it! I envy you for staying 4 nights there. And we also had an awesome and informational tour with Maja Benzon! Your photos are gorgeous and bring back memories of one of our favorite trips.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2021, 12:58 PM
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Oh, this is fantastic! I just checked the board and am so glad I did! Now I know what to do and see as we are going in the opposite direction!

We are now in the sweet town of Zadar, and have just been to Rovinj and Plitvice! Both wonderful!

Looking forward to the rest of your trip!

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Old Sep 23rd, 2021, 02:53 PM
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Progol, I am so happy to hear that you are now in Croatia! I knew you were planning the trip but you never know what can happen with Covid. I remember you had to cancel several trips in 2020. So frustrating! And glad to hear you are enjoying your trip! We visited Plitvice and loved it. Didn't make it to Zadar or Rovinj.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2021, 03:20 PM
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Hvar, and some nearby islands

Thanks again for the feedback, everyone!

We just finished three days on beautiful Hvar. The one hour ferry ride to Hvar town (walk-on only, no cars) was quick and easy, and the host of our AirBnb and her son were waiting for us on the dock when we arrived. Her son helped us with our bags, which was very nice, but it was only a five minute, mostly flat, walk to the apartment. The location is ideal, just a few minutes on foot from the town center, but in a quiet residential neighborhood near the tiny Lučica beach, with a view of the Franciscan church and a beautiful small cove. The sunsets from there were gorgeous!

While Split was super interesting, with its layers upon layers of history, Hvar has a much more classic type of beauty. The streets and buildings are all made from the same taupe-colored limestone, giving it a much more unified look. Taken with the blue of the sea and the green of the scrubby pines on the hillsides, it makes for a pretty magical setting.

We had dinner our first night at Mediterraneo, located in the most beautiful courtyard, just a few meters from the riva. We enjoyed it so much that we went back again two nights later. The entire town was really hopping, far busier than we were expecting, especially the bars in the area north of the harbor, where the small alleys were packed with people. Forty years ago I would have found that scene very appealing, but now prefer a good meal in a quiet, pretty setting. Fortunately, there is something here for all tastes.

The next day we did an all day boat tour, which I had booked before our arrival. This took us to Stinvia beach on Vis for a short 30 minutes, which we shared with several dozen people and about 20 other boats. Next we went Porat Beach on Bi啼vo, where there was a bit more room to spread out, and we had lunch at a small restaurant. After lunch, we reboarded to explore the shoreline. At one point we entered a dark sea cave by boat, where we jumped out and swam toward the bright cave opening, which was eerie and beautiful. The water is so salty it takes almost no effort at all to stay afloat. We ended the day with a visit to the Blue Cave, which was stunning, with the luminous blue glow coming in from the underwater passage. Fortunately there was no line to get in.

Overall, I壇 say the day trip was only OK. It was a lot of time in the boat, about 6 hours total, for not a lot of time spent swimming or sight seeing. It also felt like the guide was on autopilot, with barely a phrase or two recited by rote at each sight, and no other information. He was a nice guy, but it was clear that he was new to this, a fact which he later confirmed.

The 90 minute ride back was very choppy, and we woke up the next day feeling like someone had beat us during the night with a baseball bat. In retrospect, I think our time would have been better spent exploring the many small coves on Hvar or the local islands just off shore.

The next day we decided to explore Hvar island by land. We started with a beautiful walk along the coastal path west of town. We could tell that during the summer this must be where the daytime parties would be, but at this time of the year, places like Beach Club Hvar and Hula Hula had only a couple of guests each.

After lunch back in town, we decided to rent a cute, but ancient VW bug convertible, which was likely built around the time I was born. It was a fun, if noisy, way to explore the island a bit more.

We started out by driving up to the fortress above Hvar town. Originally we had planned on walking up, but our legs were still sore and wobbly from the boat ride of the day before. The fort is amazingly well preserved, and the views of the town and bay are spectacular from there. From there we took the winding mountain road through Brusje, and then on to Stari Grad. The views from up high, extending over Brac and on to the mainland, were amazing. Along the hillsides we could see miles of stone walls separating plots of lands into giant undulating grids, which reminded me of beefier versions of the stone walls we had seen in Ireland.

Stari Grad was an attractive if sleepy little town out of season. From there we stopped at a pretty little beach in Vrboska called Soline, but the best stop was at Dubovica, a gorgeous crescent-shaped pebble beach, a 10 minute hike down from the road. We enjoyed it so much that we went back the next morning.

Besides having a picture perfect setting, the water at Dubovica is very calm, which made for good swimming. There is also a ramshackle little restaurant, with a simple menu and super fresh fish. We shared a delicious whole sea bass for lunch, which had been char-grilled to smoky perfection.

After a post lunch swim, we had to turn in the car, so I decided to take a water taxi from the Hvar marina to Jerolim, the closest of the Pakleni islands, only 10 minutes away. The butterfly-shaped island has a funky beach bar right in the middle, just behind a popular nude beach. After a quick swim, I decided to hike around the perimeter of one half of the butterfly, where the rocky shoreline is punctuated with pretty coves of crystal clear aquamarine water. A great way to finish off our last full day on Hvar.

Believe it or not, this brings us completely up to date, as we head back to the mainland tomorrow. Coming soon: 格benik and Zadar.



The view from our apartment


















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Old Sep 23rd, 2021, 03:38 PM
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Stunning photos! Thanks very much!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2021, 04:02 PM
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What are the differences in these towns?

Are they all just along the coast and you're going from one to another?
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Old Sep 23rd, 2021, 04:56 PM
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So glad you had a good time in Hvar; it's a place I wouldn't mind spending a week with a combination of relaxing and day-tripping.

Progol, good to know that you are enjoying Croatia as well.

Looking forward to experiencing Croatia north of Split from you both as I didn't have the line to venture up there. Continued safe and happy travels to you.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2021, 07:12 PM
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Enjoying your report, Russ. Your photos are taking me back to my own trip last September.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2021, 09:17 PM
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wow!!! Your photos continue to be absolutely amazing!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2021, 11:17 PM
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You are all too kind, thanks!! ☺️
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