Croatia was so amazing last year. We decide to pass the exam for the coastal patent so that we could sail ourselves along the coast. Since we have to take the course and the exam in Rijeka, it makes sense to combine it right away with our holiday.
Rijeka does not really please us. Although it has a pedestrian area with many restaurants, the port disappoints us and we can not really recommend our accommodation in the Hotel Continental. The location is great, but otherwise the hotel is already getting very old.
Since we stay a few days, we make a trip to the Plitvice Lakes on the second day. There is a lot going on, but in the huge terrain it spreads quickly. And nature is just breathtakingly beautiful.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to charter a boat and go sailing after passing the exam. But as we are traveling by car, we decide to drive along the coast and make a first stop in Šibenik. From here you can make a lot of excursions by land or sea. And the old town with the beautiful located castle is also worth to be explored.
After a day in the enchanting town of Primošten, we finally get on the sea. With a motorboat we drive along the many small islands and enjoy the crystal-clear water.
Today we drive up to the mountains. The landscape is so breathtakingly beautiful that we even forget to take pictures. We use every small steep street to discover something new. It even does not matter that the stalactite caves at Gracac are closed, and that we get this information not before the entrance.
We especially like Novigrad. From this small fishing village, you can make trips to the locations of the Karl May movies. Here, at the Krka waterfalls and the Plitvice Lakes many scenes were filmed.
We go on to Pag. We were here 30 years ago with our motorbike. The side facing the Bora (a cold northeast wind) is barren, almost like a lunar landscape.
The other side is green and fertile. Pag is famous for its cheese and you really should try it. It simply tastes delicious, especially with a fig-orange-jam and a good glass of wine.
Despite temperatures of over 30 degrees we drive to Lun, the northernmost village on Pag. There is an olive garden with up to 2000 year old trees, all grown naturally and not planted. It is incredibly hot and the walk of several hours through the grove becomes a real challenge. But the gnarled old trees are fascinating.
In Šimuni we rent a boat again. We love to explore the numerous small islands. Most are uninhabited, but offer a variety of small bays that are ideal for anchoring. You can swim and snorkel here although the fish diversity is not really great. But once we lose the anchor and are glad that we find it quickly in this clear water.
We recognize that we are got lost as we did not get a nautical chart. We thought that we are already chugging back along the island of Pag towards evening. However, there is still an island in between us and Pag and also the harbor is not so easy to find from the seaside. But in the end everything works and we enjoy some Rasnici and Cevapcici.
The ferry brings us back to the mainland. We decide to go homeward in small steps and stay one day in Pula. The amphitheater and the small streets are charming. We understand why many holidaymakers stay in Istria.
Padua is the next stopover. Although it's not the perfect time to view a city in the summer heat, Padua is definitely worth a visit. We can't get enough of the many towers, arcades and chic cafés.
On Lake Garda we stop for a glass of wine in Bardolino. We used to spend many weekends here and the small town seems to have hardly changed.
We don't want to miss the wine festival in Bolzano and a visit at the market there. Packed with Fruit, Prosciutto and Parmigiano we drive home, passing the beautiful vineyards and apple orchards on the way to Reschenpass.
Once again we have realized that you do not have to travel so far. We have seen diverse landscapes, met incredibly nice people and enjoyed the excellent cuisine in Croatia and Italy.
It was so great!
Our Top 10:
1. Plitvice Lakes (Tip: check online at which entrance most tickets are available)
2. Zablaće RENT A BOAT (Super service, boat in top condition, coastal patent required)
3. Primošten (nice little town with many cafes and shops, at the end of the beach you can also rent cabanas)
4. Boutique Hotel Intermezzo in Pag (very nice top equipped hotel, friendly staff, good location)
5. Trapula Wine and Cheese Bar in Pag (during a storm, we were looking for shelter there and were immediately invited to a wine tasting, so the bar became our favorite place in Pag. You should definitely try a cheese platter with the wonderful sheep's cheese from Pag)
6. Olive grove in Lun ( Don't forget to take some water with you)
7. Rooms K & T sea side luxury in Pula (great apartment with balcony, the entrance is difficult to find and is located next to the restaurant Karlo, Stoja 28)
8. Enjoy a cappuccino on the Piazza delle Erbe and then explore the beautiful old town of Padova
9. Lorenzinight in Bolzano (the local winemakers offer their wines for tasting at numerous stands)
10. The Croatian cuisine is very good, just try everything - preferably in a "Konoba". These restaurants are smaller and offer local dishes.