Holiday in Croatia
During the Easter vacation of Yr. 2023, in the first week of April, we took a holiday in Croatia, Europe. In this article, I shall share my experience in this lovely country. This includes information about travel, accommodation, the places we visited, restaurant reviews and some tips based on my experience. I hope my readers find this article helpful in planning their holiday in Croatia.
Croatia is a small country in the eastern part of Europe. It lies on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea. On the western shore is Italy. A large part of west Croatia lies along the sea. Apart from the lovely pebbled beaches and emerald green waters, the country is blessed with lovely rivers, waterfalls and many lovely historical sites which tourists can enjoy.
We did a nine days holiday in Croatia, in which we covered the Dalmatia region, where we visited the following locations:
5. KRKA National Park
To understand this better, have a look at the map below. The areas marked in grey, blue, purple and orange comprise the Dalmatian region. All the places mentioned in the list above fall under this region.
Image is taken from: https://www.touropia.com/regions-in-croatia-map/
So, the itinerary that we followed was:
9 Days Holiday Itinerary in Croatia:
Day 1: Morning-Fly from Frankfurt to Dubrovnik; Explore Dubrovnik (Stay at Dubrovnik)
Day 2: Explore Dubrovnik (Stay at Dubrovnik)
Day 3: Drive to Mali Ston and Ston; Explore Ston Walls; Use ferry and car to reach Mljet island. (Stay at Mljet)
Day 4: Explore Mljet (Stay at Mljet)
Day 5: Use a ferry and car to reach Split (Stay at Split)
Day 6: Explore Split (Stay at Split)
Day 7: Drive to KRKA National Park; Spend a day; Drive to Zadar (Stay at Zadar)
Day 8: Explore Zadar (Stay at Zadar)
Day 9: Explore Zadar; Evening flight to Frankfurt
Before I get to the itinerary details, let me tell my readers about our stay and accommodation.
Accommodation in Croatia
Since we are a family with kids already in their teens, having enough space for each of us is essential. Hotel rooms are not spacious and restrict everyone to a small room. So, off late, we have started booking apartments/homestays. We usually reserve a flat or house, preferably with an equipped kitchen and a minimum of two bedrooms, so that each of us has our own space and there is always an option of cooking something.
As a family, we like having a good breakfast and starting our day, and homestays allow us to make simple meals at home. Also, we like exploring the local supermarkets, finding what’s new, and trying out foods and drinks that are locally available. An apartment is an excellent option for all the people who want to add this to their holiday experience.
Accommodation can be checked at Booking.com.
I shall share specific details and tips regarding accommodation in different places in Croatia later in the article.
Since we travelled from Darmstadt in Germany, our travel to and from Croatia and within Croatia looked like this:
Darmstadt Hauptbahnhof (Main Railway Station) to Frankfufurt Flughafen (Airport) -by der Airliner (direct bus)
Frankfurt Flughafen (Airport) to Dubrovnik Airport – by Lufthansa Airline/Croatian Airline
Pick up a rental car at Dubrovnik Airport
Dubrovnik Airport to Our Place of Stay in Dubrovnik – Car
Explore Dubrovnik– On Foot and by Car
Dubrovnik to Ston – By Car
Ston to Mljet– By Car and Ferry
Explore Mljet– By Car
Mljet to Split– By Ferry and Car
Explore Split-On Foot
Split to KRKA National Park – By Car
Explore KRKA National Park– On Foot and by Car
KRKA National Park to Zadar – By Car
Explore Zadar – On Foot and by Car
Drop the car at Zadar Airport
Zadar Airport to Frankfurt Airport – By Lufthansa/Croatian Airlines
Frankfurt Flughafen (Airport) – Darmstadt Hauptbahnhof (Main Railway Station) – By der Airliner ( direct Bus)
Please note that we took a flight and reached Croatia. However, if you are travelling from Germany, you can choose from any two methods mentioned below too:
BY CAR ( Can take anywhere between 10 to 20 hours depending on your start and end location)
BY TRAIN (This can take even longer because it would require changeovers. Trains from Frankfurt can be booked on Deutsche Bahn’s Official Website).
However, we chose flight as it was the most convenient option. The flight time was only 1.5 hours.
More details about travel:
- der Airliner
Der Airliner is a direct bus between Darmstadt and Frankfurt Airport, which runs every 30 minutes. It stops in Darmstadt at Hauptbahnhof ( Main Railway Station) and Luisenplatz ( the city centre). Tickets can be purchased online, through the RMV App, or from the bus driver.
Please Note: If you already have a ticket that allows you to travel using Regional trains (Eg. Jobticket/Schülerticket etc.), you are entitled to a price reduction. Show your ticket to the bus driver, and he/she will tell you the amount you should pay.
- Lufthansa Airline
Lufthansa is Germanys main airline. They have tie-ups with many other airlines. We booked our tickets using the official Lufthansa Airline website and travelled with Croatian Airlines, a partner airline. The flight was comfortable and on time.
Our onward flight was from Frankfurt, Germany to Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Our return flight was from Zadar, Croatia to Frankfurt, Germany.
Flights on Lufthansa can be booked on Lufthansa’s official website.
- Car Rental by SIXT
For the entire trip, we booked a car through SIXT. SIXT is a car rental company which operates in many countries. After doing our research, we found that they had many cars from which we could choose and their prices were similar to their competition.
Looking at the map above, you will understand that we landed in the southern part of Croatia in Dubrovnik. We picked up the car from Dubrovnik Airport. We broke our journey into parts, drove towards the north for over eight days, and reached Zadar, which lies north of Dubrovnik. A few hours before our flight, we returned the car at Zadar airport.
1. We made a booking for the car online in advance.
2. At Dubrovnik Airport, after exiting the airport, you need to walk straight towards the bus parking area. Near that, you will find booths of many car rental services. SIXT is also located there. After showing them our booking, we were asked to show our passports and driving licences. They did a quick verification and understood our travel plans in Croatia, and suggested we take insurance, which we did. The whole process took about 15 minutes. We were given the car documents and the key ( both of which had to be returned after the trip).
3. At Zadar Airport, after entering, take the second left into the car parking area and park your car at any spot assigned for SIXT cars. You will find various car rental shops a few steps from the car parking. Sixt’s office is also located there. Inform an official there about your arrival. He/she will note the kilometres used, check the car’s condition, take the car keys and documents (handed over during pickup) and settle the bill. The process can take about 20 minutes if there is no damage to the car. If there has been a problem, account for more time.
Overall, we loved our experience with SIXT. The car was in excellent condition, and the people were professional. Everything was handled well, and I would highly recommend using their service. Cars from SIXT can be booked using SIXT’s official website.
- Here is some more info about driving in Croatia:
1. There is right-side driving in Croatia.
2. The rules followed / road signs etc., are similar to those in Germany.
3. Unlike in Germany, not all road users follow all the rules. There is occasional honking, overspeeding and breaking of road rules.
4. The roads are in good condition, so driving is quite comfortable.
5. Google Maps tells you the location of cameras at various locations, which can help you avoid any traffic violation penalty.
6. There is a parking fee at most of the places. When you park your car, note the Zone Number. Either pay at the parking machine or the nearest TISAK shop.
Now let’s get to the itinerary:
Day 1: Reach Dubrovnik by afternoon; Explore Dubrovnik through a free walking tour
Historically known as Ragusa, this small town in the south of Croatia, along the Adriatic Sea, has a history like no other. Around the 7th century, Dubrovnik was under the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire) and later under the Republic of Venice. Between the 14th and 18th centuries, it was a free state. During this period, in a devastating earthquake in the 17th century, this city got severely damaged.
Around the 1800s, during the Napoleonic wars, it was occupied by the French forces, and later in the 19th and 20th centuries, it came under the kingdom of Dalmatia under the Austrian empire. In 1991, Dubrovnik suffered significant damage from shelling during the Croatian War of Independence.
After undergoing repair and restoration in the 1990s and early 2000s, it stands as we see it today.
Today, when you visit the old town, you can see glimpses of its past in the various structures, market squares and historical monuments, churches, palaces and towers.
Since we reached on a Sunday, there weren’t many food options at the airport. We drove to a restaurant by the name Domestico. My review of the restaurant is posted here.
Then we headed to our accommodation in the old town.
My tips for choosing accommodation in Dubrovnik:
1. It is best to stay near the old town as that is where you will spend most of the time. Apart from some beaches, there is little to see in other parts of Dubrovnik.
2. Check regarding car parking with your accommodation provider. If possible, book accommodation that provides a car parking spot. It is challenging to find car parking in Dubrovnik. Public parking near the old town is expensive. So, if you are there with your car, ensure you have a permanent parking spot. If you are staying near the old town, you can let your car stay parked and walk down to the old town (which you have to anyway explore on foot).
We booked an apartment, which was very close to the old town. Here is a view of the old town from our apartment.
Check out similar apartment accommodations in Dubrovnik here.
We parked our car just outside our apartment and reached the old town on foot. After exploring the old town for an hour, we joined a free walking tour.
Walking Tour of the old town Dubrovnik:
We took a walking tour of the old town, which helped us understand the different landmarks like market squares, churches, towers etc.
The tour lasted about an hour and gave a glimpse into the history of Dubrovnik and the stories behind the various landmarks.
If you like history and getting a better understanding of the place you are visiting rather than casually seeing places, a walking tour with a local guide is for you! A walking tour helps you understand the place better and, if done on the first day of your stay, makes you familiar with the place and helps you understand and appreciate it better. Tour guides are usually history enthusiasts who keep the narration simple and fun and yet give you a glimpse into the past and present of the place.
The walking tour in Dubrovnik can be booked here.
Day 2: Drive up to Mount SRD and spend some time there; Return and explore the walls of Dubrovnik and visit a few museums; Visit Bellevue Beach
We started the second day of the tour by driving up to Mount SRD.
A drive to Mount Srd:
Srđ is a low mountain ( a part of the Dinarik Alps) behind the walled city of Dubrovnik. At its top are a large white stone cross, a defensive structure built by the French during the Napoleonic Wars, an amphitheatre and a restaurant.
Also, many tours, like the Buggy Safari and Panorama Zipline tours, start from here.
Mount Srd can be reached by car, hike or cable car. The cable car tickets can be booked at Dubrovnik Old Town. The cable car tickets can be bought on the spot or online on their official website.
We drove to the mountain. Plenty of parking space is available at the top. It can be reached in about 20 minutes from the old town ( approx 7 km). After reaching the top, one can get lovely views of the old town, the island of Lokrum and the Adriatic Sea. There is a restaurant called Panorama, where one can sit comfortably and enjoy the views. My review of the restaurant is posted here.
After coming down, we decided to visit the old city walls and a few museums after brunch at Gradska Kavana Arsenal, a popular restaurant in the old town. My review of the restaurant is posted here.
Climb the walls and walk around the old town; Visit important landmarks:
Dubrovnik is a walled city. Exploring the city at the ground level is free, but if you wish to climb the wall and experience the city’s beauty and its surroundings from the top, you need to buy a ticket. The wall access costs more than 25 Euros per person, so we bought the Dubrovnik Day Pass instead of just the wall access ticket.
The Dubrovnik day pass costs close to 35 Euros per person and includes access to the wall, free entry to nine museums and public transport in Dubrovnik. Since we also planned to visit a few museums, we bought the Dubrovnik Pass. It can be bought online on their official website.
Here are some of the lovely views of the city and harbour from the walls of Dubrovnik.
We also visited the Maritime Museum, which gave us a glimpse into the maritime history of Dubrovnik and the engineering and diplomatic achievements of the people of Dubrovnik.
After walking along the walls, we came down and visited the Rectors Palace-a palace built in Gothic style, which was the seat of the Rector between the 14th and the 19th centuries when Dubrovnik was a free state.
We walked around and explored some more landmarks.
Dubrovnik has plenty of beaches too. In the evening, we drove down to Bellevue Beach and spent some time there. Since we visited in early April, the water was still cold and unsuitable for swimming. However, it was just right to enjoy the cold breeze and a peaceful atmosphere.
After dinner at the restaurant Mezzanave in the city, we called it a day. My review of the restaurant is posted here.
Day 3: Drive to Ston; Explore Ston; Head to Mljet
After having a quick breakfast in the old town at Cafe Festival, we left Dubrovnik and headed for our next destination – Ston. My review of the restaurant is posted here.
A note for my readers: From Dubrovnik, there are multiple tours to nearby islands- the most popular one being the Lokrum Island Tour. We did not do this tour because we already had an island tour on our itinerary (to Mljet). However, if you wish, you could explore it. The tickets for the tour can be bought at the old town near the harbour.
Ston is a small quaint medieval town famous for its longest stone wall in Europe ( 5. 5 km). Its history goes back to the 14th century when it was a renowned destination for its salt works. Even today, the traditional methods of salt extraction are followed in Ston, and it proudly runs the oldest active saltworks in the world. This place is also known for olives and grapes, leading to the availability of good quality olive/olive oil and wines in the region. Seafood like oysters and mussels, which have been farmed here since Roman times, is also a speciality. Visitors can taste all this local produce at the local restaurants in Ston.
Ston is located about 55 km north of Dubrovnik, and it takes approximately 1 hour to reach there by car.
We reached the town, explored the surroundings, and started our first activity of the day, i,e exploring the walls of Ston and Mali Ston.
Walls of Ston
The main activity in Ston/Mali Ston is climbing the wall, walking the entire stretch ( which stretches between Ston and Mali Ston), and enjoying the lovely views of the sea, valley and the nearby settlements.
The wall was constructed in the 14th century as a defensive structure to protect the city of Ston (especially its salt pans, which significantly contributed to the wealth of Dubrovnik). Today, these walls are one of the longest-preserved fortification systems in the world. They are also known as the European ‘Great Wall of China’.
You can park your car at Mali Ston or Ston to visit and climb the walls. The two locations are about 1.5km apart. You can plan the wall climb in either of the below-mentioned ways:
-Park your car at Mali Ston. Start the climb at Mali Ston and get out at Ston. Then walk along the road ( flat surface; takes about 20 minutes), and reach Mali Ston to pick up your car.
-Park your car at Ston. Start the climb at Ston and get out at Mali Ston. Then walk along the road ( flat surface; takes about 20 minutes), and reach Ston to pick up your car.
- The climb is steep, and its length is approximately 5.5 km. It takes about 1 hour to complete it. I would not recommend this climb for anyone with small kids ( who need to be picked up) or those with mobility issues.
- Carry a bottle of water with you for the climb.
- Keep yourself as light as possible, as the climb can be tiring.
- If you have binoculars, carry them to enjoy the lovely views.
- At the top, it can get windy, so carry a cap to cover your head.
- We climbed in spring when the temperature was about 12 deg. This climb can be exhausting in the summer when the temperature sores to 30-35 degrees. So, plan accordingly.
- Tickets for the climb can be purchased at the entrance to the walls. This ticket also allows you free access to Fort Veliki Kaštio at Ston.
- There is plenty of paid parking space at Ston and Mali Ston.
We parked our car at Mali Ston. Then after completing the climb, we got out at Ston. Then, we walked back to Mali Ston to pick up our car.
Climbing the wall and walking the entire stretch is a must-do activity in Ston and should not be missed. The lovely views from the top are a treat for the eyes.
Then we drove to Ston, parked our car there and had our lunch at one of the popular restaurants at Ston called Konoba Bakus. If you are a seafood lover, you will love this place. They have a few vegetarian options too. I would highly recommend eating here. My review of the restaurant is posted here.
After lunch, we visited, Fort Veliki Kaštio.
Fort Veliki Kaštio
The Veliki Kaštio fortress was built in 1357 before the construction of the entire fortification system began. Its function was to defend local salt flats, the city’s primary income source.
The fee to visit the fort is included in the wall ticket. You can get great views of the wall from the terrace of this fort.
There isn’t much to see inside, but the views from the terrace are good.
Right opposite the fort is a small church, which can also be visited.
The area also has children’s parks, museums, supermarkets etc.
If you plan to stay in Ston, you also visit the wineries for wine tasting, the salt works, and get the oyster tasting experience which is unique to that area.
Since we had booked a ferry to Mljet on the same day, around 4:00 pm, we left Ston and headed to Prapratno Ferry Port.
Prapratno Ferry Port
Prapratno Ferry port is a port located about 4.2 km from Ston. From here, one can take a ferry ride to Mljet (which is an island). To reach Mljet, board (along with your car) at Prapratno Port. Alight at Sobra Ferry Port (in Mljet). Take out your car and use it to reach your desired destination on Mljet.
Tickets for the ferry can be either booked at the port or online at:
From Prapratno: https://www.croatiaferries.com/prapratno-ferry-port.htm
- The ferry carries people and vehicles. Tickets need to be purchased for both. The ferry ride takes about 40 minutes.
- Although tickets can be bought at the port, it is recommended to make an advanced online booking during peak tourist season.
- The ferry has food and drinks, toilets etc., available on board.
- Reach the port ahead of time and queue up on the road. The boarding starts about 15 minutes before departure.
- Once boarding starts, take your car in. Park it at the designated spot, lock the vehicle, apply hand brake and then head to the area for passengers. 2-3 minutes before arriving, come down to the car and be ready to take it out as soon as the destination is reached. This can help reduce delays as vehicles are parked one behind the other.
We had booked our ferry ride around 5 pm. The ferry departed on time and reached Sobra Port around 5:45 pm. We took the car and reached our accommodation at Mljet.
Here is a picture of the lovely view from our apartment balcony in Mljet.
To book accommodation in Mljet, click here.
Mljet is the southernmost and easternmost of the larger Adriatic islands of the Dalmatia region of Croatia. It is the oldest marine protected area in the Mediterranean Sea. It is also the greenest and is largely untouched. Many species of plants, animals and birds have been found here, many of which are endemic to this area. Apart from its natural heritage, the place is also known for its cultural heritage. It is home to the 12th-century Benedictine Monastery of St. Mary and has a site with ruins of a Roman Palace. The main attraction in Mljet is the national park. It is about 20 km from Prapratno port and can be reached by ferry.
Day 4: Explore Mljet
Today was a relaxed day in the lap of nature in Mljet Island’s calm, peaceful and lovely atmosphere.
Exploring the small villages of Mljet Island:
Our destination was the national park. But we spent a couple of hours visiting small villages, beaches and harbours.
The villages we visited were Polače, Pomena and Govedari. Each was lovely and gave plenty of photo opportunities in scenic backgrounds.
Then we reached the Mljet National Park.
Mljet National Park
Mljet National Park is the main attraction in Mljet. It is home to many species of plants and animals. Its rich flora and fauna, along with the beautiful lakes with emerald green waters and sapphire blue sea waters, has a calming effect on the senses and leaves you with unforgettable impressions. The park can be accessed on foot or with a bike. The main attractions in Mljet National Park are St. Mary Island, Bay Malo and Bay Veliko Jezero.
Check out more information about the park on their official website.
How to access the Mljet National Park
There are many entrances to the national park. These are from Polače, Pomena, Mali Most and Vrbovica. If you plan to reach there by car, enter from Vrbovika. You get free parking space there, and the ticketing office is a few steps away.
If you plan to stay for more days in Mljet and wish to visit the National Park multiple times, mention that in the ticketing office. You can pay once and visit multiple times. The ticket includes the ferry to St. Mary Island.
Bay Veliko Jezero:
Veliko Jezero is a bay inside the national park. The ferry to St Mary Island runs on it, and you can experience its crystal-clear water while on the boat to St. Mary Island.
St. Mary Island
St. Mary Island is a small island that can be reached by boat. Its main attraction is the 12th-century Benedictine Monastery. The current building is a two-storey Renaissance building bounded on both sides by a courtyard, and the main driveway towards the courtyard has an arched corridor. The complex has a southeast corner tower, forming a defensive unit.
The church of St. Mary is located within the building complex and can be accessed.
We spent about 1 1/2 hours on the island. We visited the church, explored the surroundings and had a quick lunch at a restaurant on the island. My review of the restaurant is posted here.
After visiting the island, we took the boat and reached another port, from where we reached Bay Malo Jezero.
After exploring the rest of the national park on foot, we reached the parking lot, from where we took our car and drove back to our apartment.
Check out this map to understand these locations in Mljet National Park:
Car Parking Spot: Govedari
Ticket Counter/Information Center: Pristaniste
Sv Marija: The Island with the church and Monastery
Veliko Jezero and Malo Jezero: The two important lakes in the National Park.
One can easily spend a day at the Mljet National Park. It is vast and has plenty to offer to its visitors.
Please note that there are many other places to explore in Mljet. Our local hosts had recommended a few more places apart from those we managed to visit during our short stay at Mljet. These were: Splunara Beaches, Uvala Sutmiholjska Beach, Kozarica Bay, Okuklje Bay and Odysseus Cave. In addition, they suggested visiting the unexplored villages of Prožura, Maranovići, and Korita. If you plan to visit Mljet, you could add these to your itinerary.
Day 5: Drive to Split; Explore Split
On this day, in the morning, we drove down to Sobra Port in Mljet. From there, we took a ferry and reached Prapratno Port in about 45 minutes. From there, we started our drive to our next destination – Split.
Sobra Port is one of the ports on Mljet Island, from where you can take a ferry ride to Prapratno Port if you want to exit Mljet Island. The port is big. It also houses a cafe where you can wait if you arrive early. Tickets for the ferry can be bought at:
After we alighted at Prapratno Port, we started our drive towards Split.
Split is the second largest city in Croatia. It is located 180 km north of Prapratno port along the Adriatic Sea. It is a bustling city, a transport hub and a popular tourist destination. It was founded as a Greek colony, and later around the 4th century AD, it became the site of the Palace of the Roman emperor Diocletian. This palace still stands today and is one of Split’s most important places to visit. Like Dubrovnik, this city was also a free state for centuries, after which it came under Venetian rule. As Venice fell to Nepolean, Split became a French territory. Then after being a part of Austria after the second world war, it became a part of Yugoslavia. And finally, after the Croatian War of Independence, It became a part of the Republic of Croatia.
Split gives you a feel of a big city, and the hustle and bustle make the experience starkly different from Croatia’s quiet countryside locations and scenic islands.
The drive to split took about 2 hours. The roads are great, but the traffic got slowed down after entering Split. When we reached Split, we parked at the city centre and ate at an Indian restaurant named Rooh. My review of the restaurant is posted here.
Then after checking in to our accommodation, we came to the old town area where we took a walking tour.
Accommodation in Split
We stayed close to the city centre, just 7 minutes away, by walking to the Riva Promenade.
Please note that Split is a crowded city, and it is very difficult to get parking in the city centre. Even if you do, you must spend more because parking in the city centre is expensive.
So, we booked an apartment very close to the city centre. There was free parking right outside the apartment complex. After parking there, we didn’t take out the car for the rest of our stay at Split. Because we stayed in the city centre, everything was within walking distance. The next day, we visited a couple of places on foot.
So, if you plan to reach Split by car, stay close to the city centre, preferably in an area that offers parking space. You can check out apartments in the city centre of Split here.
Our tour started at a park near the Golden Gate of Diocletian Palace. The tour lasted about 1.5 hours, and our guide showed us the palace and explained the history of Split and its important landmarks.
Our tour guide also recommended food and drinks to try in Split, restaurants and other places to visit, etc. I highly recommend this tour as it gives a good understanding of the town and its stories. It helps to get acquainted with the surroundings and appreciate them better. Moreover, if you plan a longer stay, the tour helps you get tips from a local guide on foods to try, hidden gems to explore etc.
The tour can be booked here.
Day 6: Hike to Marjan Hill; Explore Diocletian’s Palace and Riva Promenade
Our day started with a walk to the base of Marjan Hill and then a hike up to the 2nd viewing platform.
Hike to Marjan Hill
Marjan is a hill 178 m tall located in Split, Croatia. It offers a view of the entire city, the surrounding islands, and the nearby mountains. It is covered in a dense pine forest and surrounded by the city and the sea, making it a unique sight. Originally used as a park by the citizens, it is a favourite weekend excursion destination and a recreational centre for the city.
Since we stayed very close to the city centre, the Trumbićeva Obala Waterfront was a few minutes walk for us. From there, we took a flight of steps to reach Solurat Street, from where we climbed another series of steps to reach the first lookout point called Prva Vidilica.
You can get excellent views of the city and harbour from here. Also, there is a restaurant, a couple of benches to relax, and a Jewish cemetery.
A few steps further, you can also visit St. Nikolas Church.
Behind St. Nikolas Church, a path with steps leads you up the hill. The climb is a bit steep. If you take this path, you will reach the area which has the Meteorological office, a play area for kids, an open amphitheatre, a science museum etc. This is an excellent point for taking a short break, filling up your water bottle etc.
Here too, there are a couple of points from where you can get lovely views of the city.
Continue uphill to reach the second lookout point called VH Telegrin. The views from this point are even better.
After relaxing, clicking pictures etc., we started our downhill hike.
Visiting Marjan Hill was a lovely experience. We spent about 4 hours on this hill, and after all the walking, we were pretty tired too.
The owner of the house where we stayed suggested this book, which we used as a guide at Marjan Hill. When you are in Split, try getting this book. This book can be your guide to Marjan Hill.
Then we stopped by for lunch at a restaurant one of our Croatian friends recommended. The name of the restaurant was Lučica. My review of the restaurant is posted here.
Now, it was time to head home for some rest.
Explore Diocletians Palace and Riva Promenade
In the evening, we stepped out again. We checked out Diocletian’s palace on our own. Because of the walking tour that we had taken the previous day, we understood what we saw better.
We bought souvenirs, explored the nooks and corners of the palace, enjoyed the sunset at Riva Promenade, and called it a day.
Day 7: Drive to KRKA National Park; Visit KRKA National Park; Drive to Zadar
After breakfast at home, we started our drive to KRKA National Park, about 84 km northwest of Split. It took us about 1 hour to get there.
KRKA National Park
KRKA National Park, located along the course of the KRKA River, is one of the loveliest National Parks in Croatia. It was formed to protect the Krka River and is intended primarily for scientific, cultural, educational, recreational, and tourism activities. The park’s highlights are its various waterfalls and hundreds of species of plants found here.
There are many entry points into the park. Since we were coming from the south, the best point from which we could enter the park was Losovac. We could have entered from Skradin too, but Losovac was nearer.
There was plenty of parking available at Losovac. We parked the car and bought tickets for the visit at the Information centre. From there, a shuttle bus took us to the location of the waterfalls. It was a 10-minute ride.
Near the waterfalls, wooden platforms are provided on which visitors can walk. The water flows just below. The experience is fantastic and one of a kind. Small and big waterfalls come your way as you walk on the path. You can stop by anywhere to touch the water, take pictures etc. it is a truly amazing experience.
Note: If you enter from Skradin, you can park the car there. Buy tickets for the visit from the information centre and then take a boat to reach the site of the waterfalls. From Losovac, it is a bus that takes you to the waterfalls; from Skradin, it is a boat.
You can get more information about KRKA National Park on their official website.
After exploring the waterfalls, we stopped by for lunch. There are plenty of small restaurants and shops that sell food. If you have brought your food, you can use the benches for sitting and enjoying your meal.
After spending a couple of hours, we took the shuttle back to Losovac, picked up our car and reached Roski Slap-another entry point to the national park. Since the park is big, exploring it entirely on foot is difficult. If you have a car, you can drive down to the prominent locations, park the car there and explore that area on foot.
Roski Waterfalls are located about 20 km northeast of Losovac. It took us about 30 minutes to get there.
We parked the car and explored the area on foot. Here too, we walked along the falls and enjoyed nature’s beauty.
The area also has souvenir shops, a cafe and a small museum to showcase the functioning of watermills on the KRKA river.
We spent about 2 hours in Roski and then headed to our next destination- Zadar.
If you plan to visit Croatia, I recommend not missing KRKA National Park. It is a unique and lovely experience that should not be missed.
Zadar, historically known as Zara, is one of Croatia’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. Covering an area of about 25 square kilometres, this city, although small, has plenty to offer to its visitors. It is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the most prominent place to visit in Zadar is the ruins of the Roman Forum. Since it is located along the sea, it also offers lovely promenades, beaches and all that goes into a beautiful seaside experience.
It took us about an hour to reach Zadar from Roski Waterfalls, and we covered about 90 km northwest.
At Zadar, we stopped by for an early dinner at Švabos Burger & Loaded Fries. My review of the restaurant is posted here.
After dinner, we checked into our home in Zadar.
Accommodation at Zadar
Just like in Dubrovnik and Split, finding parking in the city centre of Zadar is very difficult. So I would highly recommend looking for accommodation that is located at the centre and also has a parking spot. That way, you can reach important locations on foot.
We stayed at the centre of the city, and all the prominent locations, like the Roman Forum, Greetings to the Sun, Sea Organ etc., were just a few minutes walk away.
You can check out accommodation in Zadar here.
Day 8: Take a walking tour of Zadar, then explore on our own; explore the seaside Promenade
We started our day by taking a walking tour of Zadar. Our guide showed us the ruins of Roman Ruins, the pillar of shame etc. She also showed us the prominent locations such as the Church of St. Donatus, the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, The Land Gate, Five wells square and the People’s Square and explained the prominence of these structures. She also guided us to other exciting activities in Zadar, good places to eat, souvenirs to carry back home etc.
I always find walking tours pretty interesting and we always prefer doing it as the first thing in any location so that we can use the knowledge from a local to explore the place further.
A walking tour of Zadar can be booked here.
After the walking tour, we explored the old town on our own. We visited the Church of St. Donatus from the inside.
Then, saw a live concert in People’s Square and then stopped by for lunch at Providur near Five Wells Square. My review of the restaurant is posted here.
After lunch, we headed home to rest.
We walked along the sea in the evening and visited two attractions -Sea Organ and Greetings to the Sun.
The sea organ is a musical instrument that produces sound from the sea waves. Large marble steps and the sound of different musical notes help you identify the spot easily. Underneath and concealed by the marble steps are tubes and a resonating cavity that produce different musical notes as the sea pushes air through them. Since the waves produce sound, you can experience different notes at different times of the day.
People sit on the steps and enjoy the beauty of the calm sea and the musical notes. The combination truly works like magic.
Another engineering marvel called the Greetings to the Sun is a few steps from the Sea Organ.
Greetings to the Sun
Greetings to the Sun is a 22-meter diameter circle with photovoltaic solar modules underneath. It consists of three hundred multi-layered glass plates that are placed at the same level as the stone-paved waterfront. The lighting elements installed in a circle turn on at night and produce a light show.
One can spend as much time as possible along the sea. We spent an entire evening there, enjoyed the sunset, and headed home.
Day 9: Visit the Salt Mines near Zadar; Spend some more time in the old city and then head to the airport.
Today was the last today of our holiday in Croatia. Since our flight was in the evening, we had an entire day to spend our day in Zadar. We started our day by driving to Solana Nin Salt Museum.
Located about 16 km north of Zadar old town, the Solana Nin Saltworks are generations old and known for using traditional salt extraction methods. They offer many tour programmes for families, kids and even individuals who want hands-on experience working with salt production. They also have a museum and a shop where you can buy salts of different types ranging from those used for cooking, bath, therapeutic purposes etc.
You can check more details on their official website.
Since we visited in April, the tours for the season hadn’t started; however, we could visit the museum and buy stuff at the shop.
After the visit, we explored some nearby beaches, which had no tourist crowd and were calm and peaceful.
Then we drove back to the city and had lunch at Harbour Cookhouse in Zadar’s old town. My review is posted here.
After a relaxed lunch, we explored the town a bit more, enjoyed a concert at People’s Square, drooled on the local gelatos and desserts and then decided to head to the airport.
At the airport, we went to the SIXT office and reported that we had arrived. The person did a check, took the keys and car documents and completed the paperwork, which lasted about 20 minutes. ( Details about SIXT have already been shared at the beginning of this article).
Then it was time to wait for the flight.
The flight duration was 1.5 hours. We reached Frankfurt, from where, we took the der Airliner and reached Darmstadt.
Our Croatia trip was a lovely one and one of our most unforgettable family holidays.
To read about other holiday destinations, click here.
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