The Dalmatian coast from 37,000ft is quite a sight to behold. Azure blue waters perforated with dots of tiny islands, the white tails of yachts, sailing boats and jet skis chasing each other around them. Having spent the last ten years being amazed by this view, I finally decided to check it out from ground level.
With so much to offer, there’s only so much that can be seen with limited time but here are my favourite parts.
Krka national park
Just an hour’s drive north of Split, the Krka National Park is 109 square km of protected river and forest, giving a home to one of the most Instagram worthy waterfalls you will ever see. What’s best is that you can swim almost right up to it.
Of the two entrances to the park, I’d recommend parking in the town of Skradin and taking the 4km walk along the river to the waterfalls and catching the boat back. Whilst the walk is nothing more than a dirt road, it does give a few great photo opportunities and makes the next part even more rewarding – the waterfall.
If you were to imagine a tropical paradise waterfall, this would be it. Kick off your shoes, grab your waterproof camera and slip into the refreshing crystal clear water. Be warned, there are a large number of smooth boulders just under the surface but these provide great spots to relax and take in the views.
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One of the most popular Croatian islands is Brac, home to the world famous Zlatni Rat beach.
Most visitors to the island arrive through the picturesque port of Bol and from there it’s either a 20-minute walk or a 5-minute boat ride to the beach. The easy walk allows you to take in the tree-shaded promenade which is lined with all kinds of stalls selling souvenirs made from the traditional Brac stone to your usual beach necessities – and then get the boat back.
The beach itself is unique in that it’s never the same. Depending on the wind conditions, the tip of the beach either bends one direction or the other and the azure blue waters I admired from 37,000ft are just as stunning from the ground as they were from the air. I’d suggest paying the 150 Kuna to get a sunbed and umbrella for a few hours – the shade and escape from the hot pebbles under foot make it well worth the cost!
No visit to Croatia is complete without visiting the famous 16th Century walled city of Dubrovnik. With its limestone main pedestrian street and warren of side avenues to explore, there are surprises waiting for you around every corner. The most important thing you need to know is that within the city walls it’s a car free zone. So, if you’re staying inside the walls, you’ll have to walk to your accommodation so bear this in mind when packing your suitcase.
After a hard morning exploring the city, a refreshing drink with a view is a well-earned reward. Find your way onto Ul. Od Margarite and the most non-descript gap in the wall leads down to one of the most spectacular bars you’ll ever drink at. Buza Bar is built into the cliff side where tightly packed tables give you breath-taking views over the water below and on towards Lokrum Island. If you’re feeling brave, you can even join the daredevils jumping off the rocks 45ft into the sea below.
When in Dubrovnik, a walk round the city walls is a must – even if they do charge for the pleasure. Find out what time sunset is and head up an hour before this and take in the spectacular show as the light dips and the red rooftops glow as day gives way to night. This is best taken in from atop the Minceta Tower at the northern tip of the city.