SPLIT, HVAR, PLITVICE LAKES, CROATIA

Time of Year: Early July

What to Bring: Stylish summer dresses. Lots of chic lewks. Bathing suit. Hiking gear if visiting one of the national parks. Warm sweater if spending time in the North.

Where/how we traveled: Either fly directly into split or into Zagreb airport. I believe there are less flights from US into Split which is why I would suggest Zagreb and rent a car from there. Drive to Split. Ferry to Hvar (that takes cars). Ferry back to Split. Drive to Plitvice Lakes (near Zagreb). Drive to Zagreb Airport.

Things to Know: If possible, fly into Split and out of Zagreb. Buy ferry tickets in advance if traveling to one of the islands, especially if traveling with a car, they sell out. Airbnb’s are beautiful and modern, my suggestion over hotels. Croatia is one of the more expensive places we traveled in Europe. Currency is the Kuna, not Euro but many places accepted Euro or USD as form of cash payment. Almost everyone speaks English and quite well. Croatian men and women are super attractive.

Access my Eskimoves Croatia Map Pack Here:

Croatia seems to be popping up on everyone’s travel radar and there’s a good reason why. Whether you’re looking for city, mountains or beach you can do a little or a lot of each depending on how much time you have to explore.

Croatia is the perfect mix of history and modern. The ancient ruins are preserved beautifully but remain functional with restaurants, shops and bars weaved into them. I was literally obsessed with every place we visited and was never ready to leave. I had also chosen Croatia as the team I would root for during the World Cup, arbitrarily. I had already felt as special connection going to bars rooting for Croatia around Europe all summer! I was practically a Croat.

B.A.Local in Split// – 2 Nights

We stayed in an Air BnB at the edge of the old city. All of our meals, drinks and sight seeing had a certain air of magic around them as we walked through the 3000 year old city. 2 nights is plenty of time to see everything.

Toro Grill Bar – Breakfast, lunch or late night drunk snack. This place is so good. Its all outdoor seating with a grill. I had the Toro Chicken Burger, twice. I could also get really used to being served up a perfectly cooked steak when I have the drunkies, major upgrade from Bagel Bites.

Villa Spiza – Absolutely amazing and authentic Croatian food nestled within the old city walls. We rolled up our sleeves and got our seafood fix here. We saw the local bartenders from down the street dining here and they seemed like regulars which confirmed that it’s not a tourist trap. Get the langostines, shrimp, anchovy platter, and whole grilled fish.

Restaurant Brasserie on 7– Waterfront restaurant with a really nice atmosphere, on the pricier side. Everything we had here was delicious, from the chilled seafood platter, to the white tomato soup to my divine pasta. I had the Traditional Dalmation Pasta with shaved black truffles, grana padano and pancetta crumble. I had a hard time sharing this with others at the table.

Caffe Bar Sanctuary –  Cool bustling dive bar within the old city walls. Good place to feel the Split vibe, sit and have some drinks.

B.A.Tourist in Split//

Once you enter the old city, you’re already doing the tourist thing just by walking around the 3000 year old city. Go deeper and deeper into the city walls and you will inevitably run into the following tourist attractions.

Diocletian’s Palace– Central point in Split Old Town. There are sporadic choir performances in the middle of the square throughout the day. Nice place to sit on the stairs and people watch.

Cathedral of Saint Domnius – Oldest Catholic Cathedral in the world that remains in use in it’s original structure.

Temple of Jupiter – Dedicated to Ancient Roman God, Jupiter. Super old and cool!

Split Ethnographic Museum – Museum that exhibits traditional costumes and culture of the Dalmation Coast. *Pro Tip* Take the stairs up to the roof for the best view of the city!

B.A.Local in Hvar// – 4 Nights

If you’re at all considering a trip to Croatia, make visiting Hvar your priority because this place is for realsies magical. I love this island for its unrivaled beautiful water, perfect mix of fun but chill and delicious food. We split our stay up in 2 Airbnbs.

Staying within the old city walls means you are in the center of nightlife, restaurants and tourist attractions. Endless places along the coast to lay out and jump into the sea, restaurants to choose from and bars/clubs to party at until sunrise. In my opinion, it’s the ideal place to have the time of your life, if that’s what you’re into.

Hvar Market – No better place to get a sense of what locals are buying than to see what they’re selling. We bought up tomatoes, fruits, meats and cheeses to have for breakfast and snack time.

Bonj ‘les bans’ Beach Club – If you decide to opt for a more refined sea side day this is a great option. Things are a little pricier but the beds are nice and on a slightly elevated ledge that you can jump off of directly into the sea for when you need to cool down.

Macondo – Situated on a charming street in the old city. Ask to sit outside so you can people watch. This is a nice dinner option for some seafood and Croatian charcuterie.

B.A.Local in Milna//

Staying in Milna was exactly what we needed after traveling around for 5 days. Sometimes when you’re traveling, you need to be told it’s okay to do nothing and this charming sea town forces you to just chill out and relax in the best way possible. Sea, eat, sleep, repeat type of environment. Not to mention, the Adriatic Sea is my favorite body of water on earth. If blue Topaz took on the form of a sea, it would be the Adriatic, with all its glimmer and deep hues of blue. When the inevitable urge to feel the water, and not just look kicks in, Milna coast is lined with small carved plateaus that have little stairs you can use to take a dip into the sea. It’s a small detail but this non commercialized access to the sea felt so natural and fulfilling that the thought of it has taken over my “happy place” image in my head.

Gostorica Moli Onte – We visited this restaurant twice. One day we took a boat around the islands to some of the caves and stopped here for lunch. We got to swim directly up to the restaurant off of our boat and plop down in our seats still dripping from the sea for what would be one of the most epic meals of the summer. Here we got to try the traditional Dalmation Peka. Peka is a mixture of either meat or fish, with vegetables. Sounds pretty simple but the flavors from the way it is is cooked are so layered and perfect. The food cooks in a tray under a bell covered in embers for 2 hours. We tried one with rooster fish and came back from round 2 to try the lamb. If you want to do this, call in advance so they have time to prepare it for you. This is one dish that my we have tried to recreate at home – still trying to master it.

B.A.Tourist in Plitvice Lakes//

We rented an Airbnb on a farm next to the park. The accomodations were lovely and we were able to forage fruit in the yard. The north is a totally different landscape than Split or Hvar.

The oldest and largest national park in Croatia feels like you’re taking a tour of fairyland, which definitely exists. I hate to keep using the word magical for Croatia but I can’t even imagine what the first people who encountered this national park thought, before it was manicured for visitors. Like damn, can’t believe earth is such an artist. The wooden boardwalks allow you to weave your way through the green vegetation, bright blue lakes and cascading waterfalls leave you feeling like you’ve been thrown into Neverland, minus the pirates but with something much scarier – hoards and hoards of tourists. Which is why I cannot stress how important it is to be part of the very first wave let into the park. We arrived 15 minutes before it opened, 6:45am, got our tickets, and got on the bus that takes you to the park entrance. By the time we were leaving around noon the beauty was shrouded by every single tourist faux pas you can imagine – umbrellas when it’s not raining, booty shots in front of waterfalls blocking all of traffic, selfie sticks, tour group flags, etc. Early bird definitely gets the worm in Plitvice Lakes!

GIFT IDEAS//

Croatia is know for having the highest quality lavender in the world. I brought back Lavender Potpourri and little ceramic fish chachkas for friends.

22 thoughts on “SPLIT, HVAR, PLITVICE LAKES, CROATIA

  1. What a wonderful place!
    The food …. what can be said but it all looks truly delicious and so fresh as well … straight from the sea or the land!
    Staying in old parts of the towns that you visited must make a change from the more modern accommodation available… following in the footsteps of the many that have gone before! I totally agree with you re the use of the word magical. Such beauty!

    Thanks for allowing us a sneak peak into your time spent there …. another great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Croatian here. Love the post! Makes me super happy to see that you enjoyed your stay! Hope we see you again sometime. You should definitely check out the Istra region; beautiful landscapes, sweet little towns and good wine. Only one remark, I have to correct you here; Plitvice Lakes aren’t close to Zagreb! 5 hours away is quite a lot (at least for us). Again, love the post, keep it up!

    Like

    1. I love when someone from the country I’m writing about gives me a star of approval ❤ I would love to see more of Croatia and check out the Istra region! The drive from the lakes to the airport took us 2 hours, which wasn't bad at all in my opinion.

      Like

  3. Every new blog makes me want to travel more. Thank you for sharing your times. You should visit Australia has some amazing views, beaches, food and personal the people are a lot of fun. Don’t listen to the stereotypes it’s like anywhere, you visit a place you go to respect it and the natural.

    Thank you : )

    Liked by 1 person

  4. To be honest Croatia has never been on my travel list but I don’t know how it can’t be on everyone’s list after reading this magical post. I love how you give helpful tidbits and such. Those photos were breathtaking! I could walk around ancient ruins all day so an ancient town to explore sounds amazing. The food looks amazing as well. This definitely sounds like a place I need to visit one day. Thank you for the post! (Also I finally got to read one of your post the day you posted it, sorry personal achievement)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome! Croatia has always been on my go-to-list, but this post certainly bumped it up a few places. Especially since we’re travelling from Belgium and with a young baby, this will be a vacation that we can do by car later this year. We’ll make good use of your recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! This couldn’t have come at a better time for me! I have two days left in Croatia. Am currently in a bed and breakfast 5 minutes away from Plitvice ready for tomorrow. I fear we won’t have the weather you had for your lovely pictures though. VERY grey skies here at the minute.

    We have visited Split, Trogir, Zadar, Sibenik and Krka. Just Plitvice and Pula left to go! We love the old towns and the sunny skies (when they appear). My photos aren’t a patch on yours! I shoot with a Canon 80D and am toying with the idea of buying some presets as it seems every time I edit the overall looks are so different! Any tips appreciated!

    Another visually beautiful (and helpful) post!
    Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. AMAZING!!! Thank you for writing beautiful things about my country. I live in Zagreb but my grandparents have apartments in Kakma ( a small village near Biograd na Moru) and you are welcomed to come anytime❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Before having read this surprising and helpful post I had no idea about where to spend my summer holidays this year; but now I think I found the perfect destination thanks to your suggestions and wonderful pictures which aroused my curiosity !
    Thanks a lot Es!
    Keep up the good work!!👍

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hey! Awesome post, glad you liked our country! I’m from Zagreb, but Hvar is definitely my favourite place in Croatia. If you ever decide to come again I’d also suggest Istra region, maybe Rovinj, it is also a sight. Plus, everywhere in Croatia its good food, good wine and that’s a good reason for a repeat destination 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Being half Croatian I have spend quite some time in Croatia during summertime.
    The last time I went to Plitvice a few years back you were not able to walk around the entire park- lots of parts were blocked because they had not yet removed all the mines that were dropped there during the war (the park was beautiful nonetheless, and only a handful of tourists were around…).
    I am glad that this is not a topic anymore- time does mend things.
    There might be loads more tourists now, but this actually is a good thing for Croatia, even though it might be annoying to run around a hoard of (white-socks-in-sandals-)tourists…. but being an early bird sure helps! 😉

    Next time we go and see the family I will try to B. more of A. Tourist and revisit Plitvice.
    Thank you for the inspiration on your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello!
    I’m from Germany and we spend every year for years our summer vacation to visit a friend in Croatia in the Kvarner bay near Rijeka. We just love the country and the people. Plitvice is just beautiful and always worth the trip. In our resort Kraljevica there is a Frankopan Kastel in which a Konoba is housed – the food is just great.
    I am very glad that you too like Croatia so much.
    Best regards
    Petra

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi I am glad you liked my homeland but wondering why you haven’t visited Dubrovnik and kings landing ? Love your blog 💕

    Like

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