We have just arrived back from a very short trip to Croatia. As we are planning to move down south in December, we are working hard to see all of the places within reasonable driving distance of Udine. For this reason, and because we wanted have a short holiday to celebrate our wedding anniversary, we decided on the Northern Dalmatian coast.
The thrill of being able to get into our car and simply drive to different countries doesn’t seem to get old for us. We took childish delight in having breakfast in Italy, lunch in Slovenia and dinner in Croatia! Our enjoyment of the drive was impaired a little by some rather scary thunder storms, but it did mean we saw this beautiful rainbow. The sun started to emerge from the dispersing clouds as we approached the village we staying in and, after that, we were blessed with beautiful weather for the rest of our stay.
We had booked an apartment through AirBnB in a little village near the town of Zadar. We have always had a good experience with AirBnB and this time was no exception. Our apartment overlooked the sea on one side and the swimming pool belonging to the property on the other.
We were given a big plate of figs from the owner’s garden. We ate them with some cheese whilst sitting out on our balcony. Delicious! As you can see, the owners had plenty to go around with many left out to dry in the the sun.
The little we saw of Croatia was very unspoiled. Tourists are certainly welcome, as indicated but the discreet “Apartman” notices on many properties, but we got no sense that Croatians were about to put on a special show or change their way of life dramatically. As tourists we felt very welcome to just join the friendly locals in their way of life.
There was a single cafe in the village which catered to both locals and visitors. Apparently there was a small convenience store there, but for the life of us we couldn’t find it! Whilst we would have been pleased to do so, we also quite liked that there weren’t lots of signs or hoardings for those who weren’t familiar with the area. It was the same with the little coves and inlets were you could sunbathe and swim – the best spots were hidden at the end of small pathways with no indication of what you might find. You were more than welcome to wander around and acquaint youself with the place.
We accepted the invitation and got to know the coastline a little better. Because of all of the islands and peninsulas, we had the feeling of being surrounded by water and the water in turn was surrounded by mountains. Very often in coastal areas I get the impression of the land being at the mercy of the sea but the craggy Northern Dalmatian coastline seemed more than able to stand up for itself. Land and sea seem to be in an embrace rather than at odds.
Looking at this picture, I realise why I felt so wobbly standing on that little jetty – there is nothing supporting that last bit! This moody contemplative shot could very easily have turned into a comedy one!
We also took time to just be lazy and lounge by the pool. As afternoon progressed clouds would start to peep over the mountains and languidly progress across the sky.
As beautiful and relaxing all of this was, nothing prepared us for the drive back to Italy along the increasingly dramatic Northern Dalmatian coast. We had to stop so many times to take it all in!
Gradually the rugged coastline of Croatia gave way to the soft rolling greenery of Slovenia and then home to Italy. It was such a short visit but Croatia has left a big impression on us. Friendly people, beautiful scenery, great food and wine, sunshine and sea…and all very affordable! I think it is safe to say we will be heading there again. As we will be moving South soon we are hoping to visit the southern coast of Croatia next year. I hope it is just as unspoiled and lovely as Northern Dalmatia.