Ever since I moved to the Transylvania area, I wanted to do a road trip to Croatia, yet each year another traveling destination popped and I kept on postponing this one. So in the crazy year of 2020, when more and more countries were banning traveling for foreign people, we found out that Croatia had no interdictions for Romanians, so we embarked on our trip and for a full week and we drove up and down the roads of the beautiful Adriatic shore.
Our travel itinerary contained a few of the most popular destinations that we so badly wanted to see and that took us to over 3200 km in 8 days, including the trip from and to home. But if you are flighting in, then you will not have to spend that much time in the car. Another big thing to mention here, we decided to take our dog, Fox, with us, since Croatia is such a pet-friendly place, so might want to consider that too.
First stop: Plitvice National Park
This was our first stop and we planned a full day to wander around the park. We arrived in the afternoon and after 11hours of driving the only thing that we were able to do is sleep. Also, given the bad weather, we also were happy that we brought some basic snacks from home. The whole area is filled with hotels and Airbnb’s, but I would advise you to book in advance since, in normal times, this is a very popular destination.
The tickets for the park, we bought in advance, it is then when you specify the entry (there are 2 entries in the park) and the hour. Given the fact that the weather forecast was showing rain in the afternoon, we asked to be let in earlier than the 10 am admission. Since we were off-season and the park was empty, we were allowed to enter at 8 am. There are multiple trails that you can make, we took the C trail, which is for 6 hours. We manage to finish it in around 4.5 hours with a decent amount of stops.
The whole Covid-19 and the fact that we went at the end of September, allowed us to enjoy this area alone. We did encounter other people, but less than 4 groups. We had the park to ourselves and we were able to take some great pictures.
The flipside of that coin is that most of the touristic boutiques and restaurants were closed and that was for almost all destinations that we saw.
Second stop: Split
After the Plitvice park, we went to Split, the first city on the seashore. Unfortunately, the storm started, right after we got there, so we were once again trapped inside for the evening. Not a bad thing, since I was able to get a good amount of sleep and enjoy a hot shower after the low temperatures that we got at the park.
The next day, we parked our car close to the city center and we walked the old town roads that date back to the Diocletian era. The ruins of the castle can be seen all around the city. We were able to walk around the old city, climb on the hill that oversees the city bay, and enjoy the amazing view of the port. At first, I wanted to spend more days here, but in the end, we were happy that we decided to spend more time in other areas.
Third stop: Dubrovnik
The fairytale city is more beautiful than words can describe. It’s no wonder Game of Thrones producers thought this is a great place for filming. The old town looks like a trip to the past. Not to mention the color of the sea, it’s beyond amazing. Just FYI none of the pictures have filters on them and even more, most of them were taken with the DSLR, so there is no beautify or any other filter that a phone might add.
We had 2 full days dedicated to the city, we walked on the city walls, visited the citadel, walked in the old city, and enjoyed the sunset with the castle. Also, on the first morning, we took Fox to the beach for the first time. All in all, we walked 25 km in a day.
On the second day, we were surprised to be told that we can take the dog on a boat trip to visit the 3 islands. I cannot say that I was impressed with the islands, but the fact that we were able to swim and enjoy one last summer day, it was a blast. Even got a little bit of sunburn on the boat.
On the last day, before we left for our next stop, we went to the viewpoint that oversees the city. The road is a narrow one-way street, but the view is so worth it. Due to the fact that there were so few tourists we had space to enjoy the view and take some awesome pictures.
Forth stop: Omis
Omis was indeed our next stop, but I would like to mention that if you are traveling north from Dubrovnik you should avoid the highway and try the road that is near the coast. The cities that are right near the seashore are so beautiful and peaceful looking.
We planned on grabbing lunch in Omis, we did manage to find a terrace open to get some coffee and then stopped for some burgers. But I do want to point out that most of the bars and places to eat were closed. Most of the touristic places looked disserted and I do think that the COVID-19 impacted greatly all of these places.
After a few pictures and a shortstop, we headed north to the island of Krk.
Fifth stop: Krk island
Perhaps this was the biggest disappointment from them all since the island was deserted. We visited a couple of famous beaches and the city of Krk but everything was empty and most of the places closed. The weather was not great, but at least it was not raining, but even so, there wasn’t much for us to do.
We decided to head home one day earlier since the weather forecast started to show heavy rain and with this last stop, we ended our trip.
All in all, Croatia is an amazing destination and I have to admit that it was very safe given the whole virus issue. All the indoor places requested a mask and people would keep their distance. It is unfortunate that all of these once animated places are now empty and look like ghost towns. But I am grateful that I was able to visit it and that I am now back home, almost 2 weeks after, and with no symptoms of the disease.
If I were to do this again, I would probably prefer to do it in the summer, to be able to enjoy those amazing beaches and blue water. Yet, I know that during the high season it can be very crowded and the lines are ridiculous. We are also very grateful that we were able to make this trip with our dog, I do hope that in the future I can repeat it.