Guest post: Backpacking Croatia – from Dubrovnik to Zagreb – by Tara Bruton (travelgeektara)
In this week’s guest post… we join new contributor Tara Bruton on a whistle-stop backpacking Croatia adventure. Enjoying the very best of this stunning country, from Dubrovnik to Zagreb and all the wonders in between.
We spent an amazing week in Dubrovnik with family and friends before hitting the road and heading north. Dubrovnik is the most expensive city in Croatia and the further north we travelled the cheaper it became.
After enjoying the ‘pearl of the Adriatic’ we took the coastal road to Split. We were lucky enough to get a lift for this part of our trip! The journey took around 3.5 hours and takes you through a small section of Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the Bosnian border crossing we had our passports ready and after a quick check we were waved through. We continued to enjoy the sea views from the coast road before driving through and arriving in central Split.
Split is often used as a transport hub to the nearby islands; however we enjoyed the town in its own right. We spent two days in Split enjoying exploring the living Roman ruins of the town and the Harbour.
Zadar was the next destination on the list. We took an early bus from Split bus station near to the port. Our fare was 115 kuna each plus an extra 7 kuna to put our bags in the hold if we so required. The bus journey took 3 hours due to the stops; however driving directly would only take around 2 hours. The walk from the bus station to Zadar old town took us 40 minutes. This was pretty tiring with our backpacks and in the heat. We enjoyed a very cheap well deserved beer on arrival. Zadar was generally cheaper than Split and had a sort of student feel to the place. We made the most of our time here visiting the unique Sea Organ and Sun salutation and enjoying the laid back vibe.
After one night in Zadar we continued our journey by bus to Plitvice National Park. The journey time is around two hours in addition to a twenty minute stop. Tickets cost around 90 kuna each. This bus ride was very different to the coastal roads we have previously experienced. Heading into the mainland we swapped sea for forest and higher ground. The buses stop at a regular rest stop for a break along the way to pick up snacks and for a bathroom break. Here we found a little zoo behind the restaurant where bears and boars wandered behind fences. Refreshed we continued the drive to the national park. The bus stopped at entrance two which is the stop for the majority of the hotels. The next stop at entrance one is nearer to the campsite.
Plitvice lakes are one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. We spent a full 9 hours wandering the park and taking photos. The entrance fee is 110 kuna and I also purchased a map which gave us walking guides with approximate times in order to plan our day. In my opinion it was definitely worth our visit.
From Plitvice we made our way to our final destination in Croatia, Zagreb. Again we travelled by bus, although quite a bizarre bus journey. The bus arrived at the stop at entrance two. We boarded along with some other travellers and were told we would pay later. During the ride the driver asked where each of us were travelling to and proceeded to negotiate a fare. Clearly (we realised) this was a coach driver making some money between his drop offs and pickups at the lakes rather than a regular bus service… So I was nominated to collect the agreed fare of 100 kuna each, which I did and then I paid the driver. We were dropped off at Zagreb train station after a journey of 2.5 hours. Slightly cheaper and slightly quicker than the regular bus service.
Zagreb is a vibrant cool city. Plenty of art and culture coupled with a relaxed bar scene. We spent our last two days in Croatia enjoying the sights and the nights enjoying the cafes and bars.
Croatia was really easy to get around, the bus service and the roads are very good. I would recommend all travellers visiting to Croatia to give travelling this way a try.
Tara describes herself as a bit of a geek who loves to travel. Working her trips around a 9-5, her travel style is a mixture of backpacking, hotel stays and finding the best beer. In May 2014 Tara started her travel blog ‘Travel Geek Tara’ sharing her travel stories and tips. Her aim is to inspire others to travel, and make the most of her time and experiences
visit her blog at: travelgeektara.com