Summer Throwback 2015 - Croatia

During the summer of 2015 I travelled to not one but two different countries. Italy was my own plan, and originally it's the only country I plan to visit for the summer, but a friend of mine have the sudden idea of inviting me in joining him on a road trip through Croatia. I'm not really aware of Croatia or had any interest in it prior to this, but going through Google of the places we plan on visiting, I decided to go for the trip although my budget was a bit tight. 

I've already covered Italy previously on this blog, those who haven't go through each blog post feel free to read them if you like. For those who did, you'll know that I've split my whole Italy trip into a few blog posts each covering different places. I plan to do the same for Croatia but somehow I couldn't think of anything to write in detail. Probably it's because this wasn't a solo trip, I feel I'm able to express my thoughts and experiences much better that way, OR maybe I'm just plain lazy. So I'll cover everything about Croatia on a single post, but I'll try not to leave out some important details as well. 

To start off, we rented a car to travel through Croatia since we realised the coach wasn't reliable enough and our schedule was quite packed. Coaches in Croatia are not direct from one point to another as you would expect, instead they will stop at a few destinations in between the final stop, a normal 2 hour journey on the highway might take probably 3 hours or more depending on your destination, at least that is what we found out. For those who plan to visit here in the future I would recommend to go for a rented car, unless you have plenty of time OR you just plan to visit one or two places OR you're really tight on budget, then by all means go for a coach. Summer is probably the best time but it's going to be the busiest as well. 

I guess that's the only thing you should know about visiting Croatia, if you have anymore questions feel free to contact me. Now let's go through the places together with photos.

 

Pula

A small city with a nice centre with some hints of ancient Rome, there's even an amphitheater here that one might mistook as the Colosseum by looking at pictures alone. I've also had one of the best food throughout my whole trip here in terms of value. If you plan on visiting here 2 nights will be sufficient.

Temple of Roma and Augustus

The Pula Arena

The Arch of Sergii

A miniature fountain with the replica of the city

It can get pretty hot in Croatia during the summer, kids definitely enjoy themselves with some water. Kids being kids :)

 

Plitvice Lakes National Park

This is one of the reasons that made me came to Croatia. Plitvice Lakes National Park is the oldest and largest national park in Croatia, famous for it's crystal clear blue or turquoise coloured water and waterfalls.

Those who been to or seen China's Jiuzhaigou National Park, you will find Plitvice to be very similar especially the water clarity and waterfalls, that's why some people referred this place as "The Jiuzhaigou of Europe". Ticket prices vary according to season, I paid 110 Kuna for the student priced ticket. Summer can be very crowded that I wouldn't actually recommend coming during this period, too many people spoilt the setting and scenery imo. Spring or autumn should be better and they're just equally beautiful.

 

Zadar

Didn't managed to take any pictures here because we arrived quite late at night. We stopped here for an overnight stay so we could drive to Krka tomorrow morning. Night life is pretty happening here, there's basically a whole street full of pubs in the old city centre. Couldn't comment much about attractions because we don't really have time to explore this place, but I do know there's a famous sea organ, personally I never get to visit it but do check it out if you happen to be here.

 

Krka National Park

Another National Park in Croatia, this one is famous for it's waterfalls as well. Although scenery wise it's not as impressive as Plitvice it's still not bad. I do noticed Krka was more commercialised or should I say developed compared to Plitvice. There's more public facilities in the park and there's even WiFi! Public can also swim in the river near to one of the waterfalls. I believe that's one of the reasons why Plitvice managed to preserve itself throughout the years. Anyway it's still worthwhile to visit Krka if you got the chance, ticket prices are cheaper too.

Skradinski buk. The main attraction of the park, feel free to swim here if you like.

Krka River, the park was actually named after the river itself.

I wanted to do some long exposure waterfall shots in Plitvice, but it's so crowded I couldn't get a chance to setup my tripod. This will do then....

 

Sibenik

Another old city in Croatia and one which I'm most surprised with. I expect this to be just another typical city with an old town like Pula and Zadar but upon exploring the inner part of the old town I could say this is more interesting. I'm speaking from a point of view as a photographer btw, I guess it's the same for a tourist as well? Depends on the purpose you go for travels, I believe most people wanted to get some nice shots as well although you're not totally interested in photography.

Anyway the old town itself is very photogenic especially the narrow pathways and steps leading to one street and another, the town was located on the side of a hill so I guess that explains the steps. Plenty of restaurants to choose from depending on your budget and night life is good too. 2 nights should be sufficient for a visit.

The view from my hostel

You'll notice the streets are quiet and all the shops are closed, if I remember it's because this was a Saturday or Sunday.

 

Dubrovnik

Another reason I came to Croatia. This city should be familiar to Game of Throne fans, indeed many people come here just to visit the different locations where the filming took place, and there's a few specialised GoT tours that cater to the fans. As for me I do watch the series but I'm not a particularly huge fan of it, I'm just interested in the old city itself.

The most interesting feature and attraction of this old city is the city wall that surrounds it. You can pay a small fee to climb the walls and take a walk above and around the city, it's really a rewarding experience and more so if you enjoy taking pictures, it's also recommend to go during late afternoon when the sun was about to set so you won't suffer the heat up there. 

At night this place is full of restaurants for you to choose according to budget, but be aware of the typical tourist traps. Seafood was particularly cheap here (actually in whole Croatia itself), calamari is an absolute must have when you come here. Since I'm on a limited budget I don't get to dine in really fine restaurants but I still managed to find a cheap priced one that offers seafood.

I spent the most time here compared to the rest of the places in Croatia, I recommend 3 nights as a minimum to make the most out of it.

Following are shots took from above the city walls


There's a pub on one side of the wall where people usually visit for cliff jumping/diving.

The Old City at night, the smaller streets and alleys are lined up with lantern styled street lamps.

My favourite restaurant in Dubrovnik. You can get reasonably priced seafood here, they're famous for their octopus burger and it was quite nice tbh, worth trying out. More details: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g295371-d6857537-Reviews-Barba-Dubrovnik_Dubrovnik_Neretva_County_Dalmatia.html

More street scenes at night


Gear - Sony a7 + Sony FE 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 OSS + Konica Hexanon AR 40mm f1.8

 Post processing - Capture One Pro 9