How We Spent a Month in Croatia
In my opinion, Croatia isn’t exploding in the tourism industry quite yet but it really should be! Most people don’t even consider Croatia as a travel destination and that is a real shame. I was elated when we decided to spend time in Croatia during our year abroad. The reason for this is because I am part Croatian. My family was from the village of Brod Moravice, which is in Gorski Kotar. My great grandfather, Dragan Buric lived there. Yes, I know he has the coolest name on the planet! While we were in Croatia, we spent time in Dubrovnik, Split, and went on a two week sailing trip in the Croatian Islands.
The first stop was in Dubrovnik, which ended up being my favorite destination in Croatia. We split our time staying in an AirBnB and at the Hotel Bellevue Dubrovnik. The AirBnB was beautiful and just a short walk to the Old Town. The Hotel Bellevue was a luxury hotel set in a cliff-side over the Adriatic Sea. Oleg and I absolutely love the beach and really can’t get enough of it! So, we spent a considerable amount of time at the beaches in Dubrovnik. One should be prepared because the beaches there are more like rock beaches than sand beaches. However, it was actually a nice alternative to a sandy beach. Oleg and I decided to take a walking tour because the city is so enriched in history. We took the tour with Dubrovnik Walks, which was a hassle-free tour that ended up being an enjoyable experience and very educational. There are walls around the Old Town so we decided to walk the walls one evening. In addition, cliff diving is really popular in Croatia so we decided to head to Buza Bar and watch some of these daredevils jump off the cliffs straight into the Adriatic Sea. Buza Bar was a really cool bar because it was set in a cliff-side and had gorgeous views. Oleg’s interest was piqued after watching the cliff divers and he ended up satisfying his own urges with more cliff diving. It looked exhilarating but I had enough of the cliff diving in Scotland!
We ended up doing a day trip to Lokrum Island. Lokrum Island actually has an interesting tale attached to it. They say that monks lived on the island in peace and harmony but were eventually exiled from the island. The monks put a curse on the island that whomever was to buy the island would end up dead. We were told that a few of the people that ended up buying the island in fact died mysteriously…hmmm. Anyways, the scenery is great on the island and it is the home to hundreds of peacocks! We went hiking and explored sea caves while on the island. You can also swim and jump in a salt water lake. One of the more racy parts of the island was the nudist beach, which we ended up stumbling upon on our hike! So, this is something else to check out if you are into that sort of thing!
The Adriatic Sea has crystal clear waters with alluring shades of blue that glisten in the sunlight. We thought that scuba diving would be a fun activity to partake in because we were in a place with such gorgeous waters. We signed up to take a class with Abyss Diving School. The class included learning basic skills in the pool and then heading out for a recreational dive in the sea. I didn’t realize that scuba diving was so complicated and technical. I was a little nervous to get in the sea but once the nerves faded away the process of exploring the sea became very soothing. It was so awesome to have a school of baby barracuda swim right next to you. This activity was totally worthwhile and I would definitely do it again. Lastly, Oleg and I spent our one year anniversary in Dubrovnik with an amazing day at the beach and hotel spa. Then, we enjoyed a celebratory dinner overlooking the Adriatic Sea with a fabulous bottle of Veuve Clicquot.
Next up on the Croatia agenda was to take a ferry over to Split to get ready for the uber popular edm/techno festival known as Ultra Europe. Oleg has been wanting to go to this concert for years. The concert just so happened to be going on while we were in Croatia so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend it. The festival lasted three days and we stayed up until 5am each night (Go us!). We did quickly realize that we are definitely getting too old for that sort of thing. The festival ended up being a crazy time and allowed us to meet some interesting characters along the way (just use your imagination):) After the music festival, we made sure to rest up because we were going to be starting our sailing trip with some amazing friends who LOVE to party and have a good time!
Island hopping in Croatia on a sailboat was an unforgettable experience for us! We also got to spend time with remarkable people that will hopefully be lifelong friends. We rented a 46 foot sailboat via Orvas Yachting and set sail out of the Split Marina. The very first night we had to anchor in the sea and tie off on some rocks because the marina did not have room for us to dock our boat. This was an interesting experience and a great way to jump right into boat life. It was quite comical to see the guys in action and scurrying around to get the boat ready for the night. I do have to mention that the guys were awesome at handling all of the complicated tasks that come with operating a sailboat. They were also very willing to teach us ladies the ropes! Our sailing adventure was going smoothly until we got caught in a storm at open sea. This was really scary but also pretty exciting! Fortunately, we made it to safety and the guys handled everything in the most secure way. We also made sure to visit the Krka National Park and the Blue Cave in Bisevo while on the sailing trip! These sights are definitely not to be missed if you find yourself in Croatia. Overall, I really enjoyed boat life and adjusted pretty easily to the chill and carefree way on a boat. A typical day on a sailboat can be summed up pretty quickly. It usually entails water play, sunbathing, and lots of champagne. I had the pleasure of obtaining my first official nickname during our boating adventure, which was Tilley. This was because I enjoyed steering the boat so much, which was only because the wheel was so big! I think we had the best sailing crew out on the Adriatic Sea!