There is a wide range of natural beauty in the new countries of old Yugoslavia. Starting from the north island of Krk, you can drive in from Austria, ferry across from Venice or just fly into Krk and hire a car to commence your journey south. Croatia has an extremely long coastline with rugged, mountains edging the coastline and a luscious green landscape inland. It’s’ a vertically long country much like Chile and is a Mediterranean blend of Greece, Austria and Turkey with its endless Adriatic coastline, islands, Dinaric Alps and brick red roof tops of white houses dotted along the sea’s edge and mountain slopes.
Starting on the charming island of Krk is a delightful introduction to Croatia and it’s lovely old medieval stone paved villages, with shaded streets for pedestrians only from where to admire architecture and sipping something cool at seaside terraces and European cafes. The drive to the stunning Plitvice National Park direction south and inland, is 2.15 hours. It’s a Unesco protected heritage park and is exquisite with its green vegetation, surrounded by mountainous rock which spring waterfall upon waterfall, as you wander through its interlinked lakes The turquoise clean water is spotless, the dams are of limestone and it’s a treat for any nature lover.
Plitivice National Park – with thanks to Bensozia Blog for the photo
From Plitvice, the drive back to the coast and Split is 2.5 hour. I have yet to visit but it is highly recommended by most travellers. From Split further south to Dubrovnik, is a 3 hour coastal journey and the scenery is stunning. Croatian coastal beaches are comprised mostly of stone so it helps to take comfortable diving shoes for swimming and a light cushion mattress for beach use. The Adriatic sea is not as warm as the Indian ocean but is entirely refreshing in those hot summer days of 35 degrees.
Dubrovnik, a city in Croatia, is known for its ancient historical medieval old City (and for being the set and backdrop to many films and television shows). It has an impressive entrance, after you’ve walked along its old walls. Amble through the town, up and down all the hundreds of steps, and ancient stone alleyways. It’s layout is completely logical so it’s impossible to get lost and the place breathes a Mediterranean atmosphere, with its characteristic pavements and array of restaurants and cafes, around each corner. Do take the cable car for aerial views and dine from the restaurant above, although not for low budget. You can also drive up there or take the cable car on a one-way ticket for 70 Kuna and walk down which takes around forty minutes. From Dubronik you can also visit the little island of Lokrum which is a short ferry ride from the little port. Lokrum is well forested and shaded, perfect for relaxing walks, hosts a little Monastery and of course take your beach bag.
Coastal drive around Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik Old City steps between the many alleyways
The coastal drives around Dubrovnik are breathtaking. With endless coastline to admire, framed by rugged mountains and is adorned with tall Cypress trees. Coastal residential homes are many with no high rise hotels blocking the view. Further south just 81kms from Dubrovnik is Montenegro and takes about 1.45 mins through small mountain road and villages. You will need your passport as Montenegro, while it has the euro currency, is not yet a member of the EU union so there is a border crossing which is strictly controlled.
You can also take a day tour from Dubrovnik to Perast and Kotor in Montenegro. Both villages are medieval and on the water. The drive to Perast is entertaining enough as it through fjord like scenery on winding coastal outlines with spectacular views. Perast is small but has a little Monastery to visit on a small island in the middle of the bay with a five minute ferry ride which leaves almost constantly. Also lovely restaurants on the water’s edge.
Driving on to to Kotor, you will encounter an even more charming village that the Old City in Dubrovnik. Small, quaint and extremely authentic, Kotor has a city wall, somewhat more chaotic in design but will leave memorable impressions for its natural stone and prettiness. I could talk more, or enclose photos of it, but I will leave it up to your imagination and only advise to book your ticket and organise your next trip to Croatia and Montenegro for there’s a superb world out there waiting for you to explore!
A Kotor apartment balcony