Barb recommends: 3 places to visit in Croatia this summer

Hiiiiiiii you beautiful people.

How’s was your May?

 WAS?

WAS!!!

 HELLO JUNE!

‘ELLO BIRTHDAY MONTH.

 Hi SUNSHINE.

Hey chilled ciders.

AND roof top cocktail bars, beer gardens and barbacues.

ALSO, WELCOME SUMMER. WE HAVE TRULY MISSED YOU.

Summer in London is something else, let me tell you.

Everything just comes back to life. EVERYONE IS IN BETTER MOOD (YES, Jeremy Corbyn and my local barista I’m talking about you). We all take our Birkenstocks, straw bags, hats and flouncy dresses out of the wardrobe. Everybody on tube seems to forget wearing a deodorant. We swap our usual go-to coffee with an iced latte. And instead of usual eggs with avocado we now eat salads WITH eggs and avocado. There is also all the festivals and activities we can attend and have so much fun and then the day after we all get together on a common and we have a picnic and we chill whilst talking about how bad out of ten is our hungover. FYI, mine is like always somewhere between 2-4/10, because WATER. (but a post about hungover is coming later this month)

But being from Croatia I got used to spending my summer at the seaside. Not England kind, but a proper it is so hot *you could fry an egg on your brothers head if he even tries to sit anywhere near you*  kind of hot.

My family has a house that’s like five minutes away from the beach and okay I might got spoiled with being able to dip my toes in the sea whilst sipping my cocktail during happy hour from mid June to late August for the most of my life. But can you blame me really?

Which brings me to: THE QUESTION! The question people ask me once they find out I’m from Croatia, no matter is it during pub quiz, on a tube, in toilet queue in club in Shoreditch, waiting for dodgy looking kebab in Fulham, Hinge dating app, in front of Balham Mc’ Donalds at 2am or just my usual Saturday morning gym class.

It always comes down to this: *MILD FREAKING OUT MOMENT with overall excitment*

 WHERE IN CROATIA SHOULD I VISIT?

SO, here I am. Approx. 20 YEARS of living and breathing there and I finally feel competent enough to recommend some places I think should be on your *must visit* list. I tried to summarize where to go and what to see, but also dropped few places that I loved for food and drinks. Hope it’s helpful…

HELLO MTV AND WELCOME TO MY HOMELAND!!!

  1. ZAGREB aka the capital

Although everyone is utterly obssesed with Croatia’s remarkable coastline, Zagreb is a little gem hidden in the NW of the country. It is only 2 hour flight away from London, on a relatively cheap (depends on a day) flight.

It is a city that can offer you everything.

It is made for strolling, eating, drinking and partying but also for museum visiting, nature exploring and art seeing. It is very cultural and historic yet vibrant and exciting.

Once you’ve been there you will see what I’m talking about.

In a past few years Zagreb became a very multicultural and open-minded city (rather it’s people) and it developed into a hot european destination.

It can offer more than just it’s best voted destination during the winter.

Where to go: During the summer you get to spend some time in Zagreb’s parks, my favourite is Maksimir where you can also visit the ZOO.

It’s public transport can get your from north to east and west to east easily, but it might be hot in there during summer months so I highly recommend either renting the bikes or walking. The beauty in our small country is that you can walk everywhere.

If you are after more historic part of the city go and visit Upper town, where you can get by using the funicular. Zagreb’s funicular is the world’s shortest cable railway used for public transport.

Once in there, take you have to visit St. Mark’s church which is located next to our parliament and also a very short walk away is the Cathedral of Zagreb.

To find out all about history of these buildings you can sing up for a walking tour which start from cca. £10.

Food and drinks: Food and drinks are very cheap comparing to London, so make sure you go for quality as it will still be within your budget yet very delicious.

My fav resturants are Boban & Kaptolska klet, for more traditional food but you’re only one Google search away for more suggestions of your liking.

What to do: Night life in Zagreb is ONLY VERY AMAZING. If visiting in June, make sure to check out INmusic festival as they always have the coolest lineups.

There is also plethora of night clubs with very diverse music so no doubt you will find somewhere to enjoy.

If you’re more of a chilled person, open-air Summer Cinema should definitely be on you list.

If very hot (and yes it will be), make sure that you and your swimsuit visit Lake Jarun, in the middle of the concrete Jungle this oasis will most likely convince you that you are at the seaside.

What I love the most about it is that you can easily take coach anywhere to make a day trip and it doesn’t take longer than 2-3 hours. Try visiting Lakes Plitvice, one of our eight national parks or Trakošćan Castle, museum that’s located in the middle of most breath taking nature you will absolutely love exploring.

PRO TIP: If on a budget rent a Airbnb rather than a hotel, and try to buy come fresh groceries from Dolac, famers market located right next to the main Ban Jelacic square.

2. SPLIT

Not only is Split the very center of Dalmatian coast but it is also stunningly located between both the sea and the mountains. Split is a perfect mix of modern life and ancient history. It is busy and it is big. But everything is walking distance.

Where to go/ What to do/ What do eat: It’s Old town is perfect for getting lost between visiting Diocletian’s palace, climbing bell tower of St. Dominus Cathedral for the best view of the town, eating world-class seafood ( I’ve personally been to Bokeria kitchen and wine bar, and Dvor resaurant and can say that never had a reason to go anywhere else) drinking fine wine and having very tasty icecream. You don’t want to miss out on drinking coffee on Riva, which is a promenade that has many palm trees, beautiful old buildings and a view to the Adriatic Sea.

BACVICE BEACH! Vamos a la playa, because you want to have a swim in the most beautiful sea on this planet. Now, y’all better be prepared for a very over-crowded beaches because that’s how great our seaside is. However, if you walk a bit further and go visit Kasjuni beach, you will find less people there and more peace and quiet.

To sum up, Split is absolutely fabulous. You will most definitely NEVER be bored because there is so many experiences you can sign up for (day tours, rafting, etc) or you know just chill on a beach. Night life is ace. People are great. Flights from London’s Gatwick very affordable. And do you really need more reasons?

PRO TIPS: Use Uber instead of TAXI because you won’t get overcharged.

Use shuttle bus from and to the airport (aprox. 3O minute ride for about 30 kunas, or 7 euros)

Harbour that is located in the very centre is connecting all near by, MUST SEE islands and you want to get on that ferry man!

TAKE A FERRY TO: VIS

Have you watched Mamma Mia 2 last summer? That sea, that sun, that God sent beautiful nature Lily James was having a time of her life in whilst singing ABBA’s songs?

WELL, THAT’S VIS IN A NUTSHELL.

It is, if you ask me the most authentic island in Croatia. People usually visit to get a proper peacful getaway, to clear their heads,to rest and spend some time unplugged from the world.

Vis had great gourment delights, nature and bohemian vibe to offer, and although it is all very chilled you can still dance and jive, and have the time of your life.

3. ZADAR

THIS. TOWN.

Oh man. I spent the most beautiful 3 years of my life going to University of Zadar AND can personally vouch that THIS. TOWN. is one of a kind.

Many say it’s like a mini Split, BUT HELL NO.

It is it’s own kind of unique beautifulness and OMG now I’m crying.

Where to go: Let’s start with the Old town, because, well because I want to. Zadar’s Old town is basically a peninsula. Connected to the rest of a town via bridge (and a little bit of land).

It is all stones, white stones. Very instagrammable (I got your back and your Insta game girl).

You will probably want to take few photos in front of church of St. Donatus where FYI they don’t charge you an entrance during the mass but they do other times (so do make sure that you check that timetable out, OR just show up on Lord’s day aka Sunday)

Right behind that, there is a Cathedral of St. Anastasia with it’s very own bell tower (surprise, surprise) that indeed has a breath-taking view (and it also takes your breath away whilst going both up and down, DO NOT recommend if afraid of heights)

Then please do walk towards the sea, and have a walk on a promenade towards the Sea Organ that YES, is an actual instrument played by the sea.

AND if that’s not cool enough for you, there is a monument to the Sun that’s basically sonar panels right next to it and YES and it glows in a dark, so VOILA.

Yes, Zadar has a beach. Or I’d rather say, BEACHES. Anywhere next to the sea is a place to jump in and enjoy clear sea but DO NOT DO IT near SEA ORGAN, because you will be fined (I might have been there, done that BUT I was also celebrating my uni graduation). Kolovare beach will do for you, and there is also a very funky bar that is worth checking our because they make superb pizza.

Food and drinks/ What to do: On the other side of Old town (whole ten minutes of walking away) is a little park in the ancient walls with a  beautiful gate that are hiding fab coffee shop Ledana turned bar during night and is very recommended for chilling out or socialising during your time there.

There is also my favourite restaurant called Pet bunara. (try Squid ink risotto and homemade bread or any fresh fish they have to offer)

There are other few good restaurants to eat at. Couple museums to visit. And awesome walking tours to walk. When you’re trying to leave the Old Town there is an bridge you have to cross or simply take the bus, but near that bridge are many boats and agencies with whom you can book boat day trips to near by islands (like national park Kornati islands, where people usually see dolphins while sailing, but hey not Disneyworld kind of dolphins!!!) or just cruising day out.

PRO TIPS:  DO NOT PASS ON THE ICECREAM, IT IS THE BEST.

Buy your own booze and sit next to the Sea Organ in the evening and just breathe. It doesn’t really get better than seeing most magical sunset in the World. (rated by Alfred Hitchcock)

Take a bus from main bus station to Biograd na Moru or Krka National Park for a fun day trip to change the scenery.

So, have you packed your swimsuit yet? If not, WHAT are you waiting for?

And if you aren’t in the mood to plan your own holiday make sure to visit Tour Croatia and they will have you sorted.

Kisses and see you in Croatia this summer.

B xxx

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