What to do on a 3 day trip to Croatia : My experience
I’ve always been mesmerized by nature and I’ve always wanted to see more of it by visiting different places spread across various countries. This has been my dream since I was a kid. When I was scheduled to visit Germany on a work trip and some of my colleagues who were already there told me that they were planning a trip to Croatia and Slovenia on a long weekend, I said “I’m ready”. This was even before my tickets to Germany were booked – that was how much I wanted to see new countries. For this post, I’ll just talk about Croatia where I spent almost 3 days. More on Slovenia later.
Croatia is known for both its natural beauty as well as its cities. Until I visited Croatia, my knowledge about the country was limited to the fact that it was a country in Europe and a few, occasional pictures that I had seen on social media. But on visiting this beautiful country, it proved to be an experience like no other. Since this was a road trip, we travelled from the Postojna Caves in Slovenia to a town called Novi Vinodolski in Croatia. The drive was filled with the lovely sights of Slovenian and Croatian countrysides. What greeted us first at Novi Vinodolski was the view of Adriatic sea with the hues of the sky at dusk.
Why Novi Vinodolski, you ask. Simple reason – our accommodation for the duration of the trip was arranged there. It was a homestay- nicely maintained and the biggest highlight was the view of the Adriatic Sea from the Balcony. I woke up to this lovely view in the mornings that I stayed there.
In the part of Novi Vinodolski that I was staying in, the rocky beaches. So there are no sandcastles to build there, but gazing at the lovely view of the sea was a peaceful experience.
My most favourite place in Croatia was the Plitvice Lakes National Park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is the oldest National Park of Croatia. This is place totally lives upto its hype. As the name suggests, this place has a lot of lakes, sixteen lakes to be more precise. These lakes are unique as they each have a different color and the color changes based on the minerals and the organisms in the water. There are multiple routes through which you can travel through the National Park and you can on according to your convenience. There are buses and boats from certain points and they make travelling through the National Park a lot easier. But yes, the best part of it is walking along.
You’ll need an entire day at this park. In fact, even one whole day isn’t enough. We were there till the closing time and the guards had to almost chase us out. It is better to start early and yes in most of the popular points of the National Park, it is always crowded because this place has a lot of visitors throughout the year. There is a greater waterfall and a lower waterfall. Along the way are many smaller waterfalls that make you stop and look at them. You’ll not want to walk ahead because the natural beauty around is simply mesmerizing. Let the pictures speak for themselves. This indeed is a heaven on Earth. Our guide for the trip suggested that we should visit Plitvice once every season because the experience is different each time. I’ve visited in Autumn and I hope to visit it in Summer, in Winter and in Spring.
A suggestion if you are travelling to Plitvice is to carry your food and water. The options inside the park are limited and are expensive too. By the time we reached a stall that served sandwiches for lunch, there were out of all other sandwiches except the ones with Ham and since a lot of the people travelling with me were vegetarians or wouldn’t eat red meat, they had no proper food.
While I was still amazed with the beauty of Plitvice, the next day was for exploring another National Park – The Krka National Park. Krka is another pretty place with some amazing waterfalls. Though it doesn’t have as many waterfalls as Plitvice, the waterfalls that are in Krka have a charm of their own. Sadly for us, when we started exploring Krka, it began to pour heavily. We were armed with umbrellas and rain jackets but the rain was quite heavy and the ground slippery. So we had to tread carefully. But as started walking along the National Park, the skies got clearer.
Krka has 7 waterfalls. The National Park gets its name from the River Krka that flows through the National Park. Each of the waterfalls is magnificent. The biggest of the seven waterfalls is the Skradinski Buk waterfall which is where the water of the Krka drains to the sea. A walk through the National Park, watching the waterfalls seems like a dream. Though this is smaller than Plitvice, Krka is equally beautiful. There are restaurants near the park, so food wasn’t a big problem (Well, at least for me).
My final stop in Croatia was the city of Zadar. It is the oldest continuosly inhabited city in Croatia. The city has an old town and the new town, which are both connected by a bridge. Since there wasn’t much time, I could only see the old town. The old town has the charm that any old city would have. A walk through the old town gives you a glimpse of the old Roman ruins and some of the old buildings that still remain. There is a market in the old town near the ancient buildings and a variety of jewelry, decorative material, different souvenirs, food are sold here.
The major attractions of this part of the town are the Sea Organ and the Monument to the Sun. The Sea Organ is where the waves create music. There are pipes underwater and when the waves push air through these pipes which cause the music. It is lovely place to sit at sunset and just enjoy the music of the waves. Just beside the Sea Organ is the Monument to the Sun. It consists of multiple installations, the main one being dedicated to the sun and are powered by solar energy. Unfortunately, this was closed on the day we went.
Croatia was a wonderful experience and since I had only a few days there I couldn’t visit all the places that I wanted to. Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik are on the top of my list. I hope that someday I’ll get to visit these places and hopefully also be able to spend enough time and experience each place better. One of the regrets that I have about my visit to Croatia is that I was unable to try some authentic Croatian food. Travelling on a budget and also with vegetarians or people who do not eat red meat meant that places like McD were our go to places for food. I hope to correct that.
One thing to keep in mind is that Croatia isn’t a part of the Schengen region. But if you have Schengen Visa, they will let you visit the country without an additional Visa as long as your Visa is a multi-entry Visa. Also, Croatia has its own currency called the Kuna. Some stores/restaurants accept payment in Euros, but smaller stalls accept only Kuna sometimes. So make sure you have some Kunas with you.
This trip of mine to Croatia and Slovenia was organized by Mr Omar Bashir and it was well organized. Check out his website here for upcoming trips.
Another thing. I have started this little project of mine, where I have started reading books set in different countries around the world to try and understand a place better. If you know a book, preferably Fiction, that is set in Croatia and has an English translation available, please let me know. It would be helpful if you let me know where I could find the book as well.
Phew, that’s all I had to write about Croatia for now. Have you visited Croatia? If yes, which places in Croatia have you visited? What’s your favourite place in Croatia? And if you haven’t visited, I hope my post inspired you to travel to Croatia. Let me know in the comments.
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Super write up and good tips Reema! Relived our trip through this post!!
Thank you Archana.
What a beautiful place Reema! Eastern Europe has some truly hidden gems. You’ve covered quite a bit in just three days. The national parks are enchanting with the colorful foliage and waterfalls. I haven’t read any books based on Croatia, but I do believe a Bollywood film, “Fan” has been shot there.
Yes, Eastern Europe is beautiful. I wish I could explore more places there. Oh, a bollywood movie was shot there? Interesting. Thank you Kala.
So beautiful! Croatia has been on our list for a while now. While we are eyeing West and South Europe in the coming few months, this post will help me plan a trip to the East and explore Croatia.
Oh yes, you must visit this country when you can. It is beautiful.
Oh my!! look at the water… so beautiful and inviting. This looks like an incredibly awesome trip. What a visual treat! Ioved your write up too.
Plitvice is high on my travel list. Maybe someday I will get to visit this stunning place.
Thank you Raj. Yes, you must visit this place. It was lovely.
Krka & Plitvice Lakes National Park looks straight out of a fairytale. Please recommend stay options in Zadar. Thanks