Croatia: Around Dalmatian Coast

Jul 8, 2012
Midnight, Split airport, 35 degrees Celsius- Welcome to Croatia in July!

We did know what were getting ourselves into by choosing to travel to the Adriatic coast on one of the hottest months of year, but since our travel schedule was pretty full for the summer, we just simply had to squeeze it in somewhere. Besides, it was going to be mostly on islands, so we thought we could probably handle it (although it is always better to try to travel there off season).

Our first place to stay was Trogir, a historic town on the coast, (about 30km from Split) which has a UNESCO- listed center. It actually lies on a small island between the mainland and another, bigger island called Ciovo, all connected with bridges. We had booked a small studio inside of the town walls and on the first day out in the daylight, we found ourselves right in the middle of narrow limestone streets, that one could follow in any direction. The historic center is very attractive; its alleys, small plazas, traditional stone houses, monuments and cooler air. Yes, the air stayed cooler inside of the walls and the reality or say the heat hit us pretty hard as we got out to the waterfront and the main promenade they call Riva. This is the place to be: for breakfast, lunch, dinner, nightlife, or generally just chilling and watching people and yachts come and go. Speaking of which, we happened to co-travel with one of the biggest party events of the season, namely the Yachtweek. It was impossible not to get into the vibe as almost 100 yachts full of partiers docked their boats into the harbour that night. And not only they come in 100 yachts but they also have the “mother ship” that hosts the main party at each place. Just imagine…

We had planned for two nights in Trogir, so on the first day we rented a car in order to get around the coast and check out Krka National Park. The drive from Trogir is pretty nice itself, and not too long; even with few stops on the way we only took a couple of hours. When you arrive to Krka, you need to take a shuttle bus from the parking to reach Skradinski buk- an area in the park with main waterfalls, natural pools and cascades. We then walked around, wondered the clear waters and all the flora and fauna around us, and every now and then there were some viewpoints where we could catch nice views around the place. It’s actually a pretty cool place even on a hot day, because the footpaths are mainly in shade and one can swim at the huge natural pool below the waterfalls!

If you want to see all of the Krka, it’s good to go there early enough. There are other parts to the park we didn’t have time to see, such as Roski Slap (the cascades) and Visovac (a small island with a monastery) and also some archaeological sites.

After Krka we headed to Sibenik, a harbour town couple of kilometres south, where the river Krka flows into the sea. The town is really cute and it seems like it’s built on the slope that ends at the top in a fortification. Sibenik, just like Trogir, has a lot of history to offer. The first thing to see is the Cathedral of St. James (also UNESCO World Heritage site), which is located just above the harbour strip. A thousand stairs later there’s the St. Nicolas Fortress, that’s overlooking the entire coastal area and its many islands. That’s one fantastic view- worth every step. Another thing what we noticed was that the town’s historic centre was really quiet and peaceful. With only few locals wandering on those tiny alleyways, and the few tourists looking for the sites, we really felt like the only living things there. Even the beach strip seemed very calm, probably comes more alive later in the evening.

On the way back we wanted to pull over for a swim somewhere near Marina (a very small coastal town) as the road was literally following the beach. Somehow we ended up driving all the way back and looked up a beach in Ciovo (the island across Trogir). Sun was already setting as we dipped in…

Later in the night we had delicious seafood on the strip and walked around the place. Trogir can truly surprise you with its bars and nightlife- a few times we had tunes carried to our ears from somewhere around the corner, and as we navigated towards it, we came across this tiny plaza with an outdoor bar and a live band. The atmosphere’s very authentic. It was also nice to cross the bridge to the other side to Ciovo and see all the yachts and the strip from across the water.

The next morning I had a crazy idea of going for a jog before breakfast. To this day I regret the whole idea. We got our shoes on and went across to the other island, climbed a steep hill to the top and suffered (what it felt like), both, a heatstroke and dehydration. The only positive thing was the nice view down to Trogir. Later in the day we looked for a nice chill beach and dipped into that clear blue water while waiting to board for Split. On that afternoon, our Croatian island hopping officially got started as we got on a boat to Split- the only boat, by the way, that we were able to sit and enjoy the ride outside on a deck! 

Similar to the other towns so far, Split has its old town center inside of the town walls and so we dived in. We found our apartment just next to the Diocletian’s Palace, and were very pleased with the place. No wonder they sometimes call Split as the centre of Croatian culture with all its magnificent monuments and buildings (also its historic center is on the UNESCO list). We wondered why we heard so many people say Split is just a big city and not worth the visit”, when clearly it has more to offer than just a gateway to the islands. We had a blast walking around the center, popping out of the town gates to this lively and bubbly beach strip, do a little shopping in its shopping district, catch a drink on one of its endless attractive lounge bars and finally sit down to eat the local famous black risotto- a must try.

The time had come to move on to the next part of our trip- the islands. We got down to the harbour, bought our tickets and hopped on board direction Hvar



(with a free pick-up from Split airport)

Split: coming up

Sites & Places

An overall guide to Croatia:
(can find information of every area, island, national park, ferry schedules and more)

Krka National Park:

Split: If you’re an early riser, check out the fish market! Even if you’re not there for buying, it’s fun to be up early and observe the locals out and about, not to even mention seeing all the different fish they pulled out from the sea!

Ferry Info


Attention: if you travel in high season, be early in the harbour for your ferry tickets. It’s not possible to buy them in advance and the demand is super high. Especially if your schedule is tight, be well in advance!

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