Stunning Croatia!



I wish they all could be California girls??? I don't think so. . .

Either it's a case of American patriotism, or the Beach Boys never made it across that slice of land across the Adriatic Sea, but California girls have nothing on Croatian girls! ;-) Holy shit, it's unbelievable!

I was told that Zagreb sucks and that there was nothing to do there. Well, contrary to what some haters would have you believe, Zagreb is a nice place to visit. Sure, it doesn't boast the attractions found on the Dalmatian Coast. But you can spend a cool two nights in town. And they have a lively outdoor bar/cafe scene, with very reasonable prices. Some of the cheapest prices in Croatia, actually...

Booked at the Hobo Bear Hostel, which was a chilling place to stay at. Will return there in a little over a week, since I'm flying out of Zagreb. The crappy weather made me miss my chance to visit Plitvice Lakes, so I'll be doing that when I'm back in the Croatian capital. Rain or shine, I'm not leaving this country without visiting that national park. . .

Zadar, basically the first stop on the Dalmatian Coast is still under the radar of most travelers. Which is a good thing. But now that Ryanair is flying there, the secret's out! Its Old Town is gorgeous, and you don't have to elbow your way to get a photo taken. And please, don't leave Zadar before having at least a drink at the Garden, a cool outside bar on the waterfront.

Split is another beautiful city in Dalmatia. Stayed at the Hostel Situs, which was more like sharing a flat with people. Cool times! The Old Town is perfect, and the Diocletian's Palace is a "must see" attraction. The spectacular Riva Promenade is the perfect place to sit down and have a couple of drinks at night! As a major port on the Adriatic, Split is also the perfect departure point to catch a ferry to a panoply of stunning Croatian islands. I elected to visit Hvar, which was amazing!

Dubrovnik, on the other hand, is the perfect example of how mass tourism can kill a city's charm. It's so much smaller than everyone expects: less than a square kilometer. And yet, thousands upon thousands of package tourists invade the Old Town every day from cruise ships and tour buses. Hence, the city is filled to the brim and there is no way to truly enjoy it. The vibe is atrocious. Like in Italy, and unlike everywhere else in Croatia, you always get the feeling that everyone is simply after your money. Dubrovnik offers the worse value for your money, with prices higher than anywhere else in the country and you never get your money's worth. American, French, and Asian tour groups are everywhere. A bane for travelers the world over. Old American and French tourists getting in the way, moving oh so slowly, and complaining about everything seem to materialize every time I turn a corner or try to get somewhere.

Mass tourism. . . My God, I never expected Dubrovnik to be so bad. It feels like the city was beaten, raped, sodomized, and that's what we are left with. Nothing of its erstwhile beauty and charm and feel. It's gorgeous, no question. And a walk along the city walls will be the highlight of any trip. But man, the crowds have to be seen to be believed. It's not as bad at night when the ships have left the harbor and the tour buses have departed. But still, the least enjoyable and authentic experience you'll get in Croatia.

Spent three days in Montenegro, in Kotor, Budva, and Sveti Stefan. Leaving for Mostar, Bosnia, tomorrow morning. And I can't wait. I'm absolutely fed up with Dubrovnik. . .

6 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

"...beaten, raped, sodomized..."

That sounds like a seen from a George R.R. Martin book.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you didn't like Dubrovnik, but I can understand completely. I was there once on a day when several cruisers visited and it was horrible. Same goes to the prices - value for money is, indeed, lowest in whole Croatia, despite nice vistas.
I'm glad you liked Split, though. I grew up there. Back in the seventies and eighties it was a great place to live. Unfortunately, Split was not so lucky in transition - most of the industry just died and tourism never really kicked off. Split is still only a gateway to islands.
Plitvice is a must see. It was really a pity whether was so bad. Don't miss it on your way back. But there may be a lot of tourists there this time of year.

Jebus said...

Dubrovnik has a very bad reputation in Australia with a recent high-profile case of a young Aussie woman's mutilated corpse turning up floating in the bay. They still don't know what happened to her but many other people came forward with tales of being preyed upon by unscrupulous people.

The rest of the country sounds fantastic, I've seen it in several Croation movies and it always look stunning.

Blaž said...

If u have the chance, while going to see Plitvice, try to visit Rastoke near Slunj. I won't tell anything more, let it be a surprise:)

Susan said...

Yeah... you're right about Dubrovnik. However, if you stay outside the Old Town, it's a little less commercial.

Our first and second trip we stayed outside the walls; our third was inside the city. We loved it, all three times; though the third was best in the evening after the tourists surrendered the city to the locals and the die-hards.

That being said, it's a city to see once... and then never again. There's so much else of note in Croatia to see.

I hope you enjoy Mostar as much as we did. It's a lovely city.

IanS said...

It sounds like you hit Dubrovnik on a bad day. My wife and I were there for six days in late June / early July. A couple of those days, the old town was packed with tourists from buses and cruise ships and you could barely move. The other days, though, it wasn't bad at all. Still tourists about, but not too bad.

I agree with your assessment of Hvar and Split, both of which we loved. Too bad you missed Korcula, but I guess you can't see everything.