Flashy, trashy Hvar. This is how Lonely Planet: Croatia describes the town of Hvar. With 2760 hours of sunshine a year, Hvar is the sunniest place in the country and a magnet for the yacht set. During our stay, however, this idyllic little town was quiet and peaceful – except for a massive storm that raged across the island. So instead of soaking up the sun, Daniel and I watched as magnificent waves swamped walkways and flooded buildings.
Rugged and beautiful, the islands along Croatia’s coastline are a favorite destination for travellers. A comprehensive system of ferries and catamarans link the islands together with the mainland, enabling visitors to hop from one island to the next. Daniel and I were keen to explore the islands, so after exploring Croatia’s mainland for three weeks we headed to the ferry terminal in Split.
The Velebit is the largest mountain range in Croatia, stretching for 90 miles (145 km) along the Adriatic and separating the coast from the interior of the country. A member of the Dinaric Alps, the Velebit boasts two National Parks – North Velebit National Park and Paklenica National Park. Ever since I first learned about the magnificent Velebit mountains I’ve been curious to check them out for myself. So, while Daniel and I were staying in the town of Zadar, I took the bus to Paklenica National Park one day to do some hiking.
On our third and final day at Plitvice Lakes National Park, I awoke early and ready for a good workout. During our first two days, we took it easy and explored small sections of the park. Today, however, I was ready for a new challenge. So I chose the K Trail which encircles the entire park in one continuous loop. Lucky for me, the fog wasn’t as heavy today.
On our second day at Plitvice Lakes National Park, Daniel and I awoke in a cloud. Peering out our bedroom window, we found that there was only a few feet of visibility. I could barely see the trees in the hotel’s back yard, let alone the lake in the distance. It was so foggy yesterday that I thought it couldn’t get any worse. I thought wrong.
Fog clung to the lake in eerie tendrils as the boat sped across the water. I could hear the rushing sound of water before I saw my first small waterfall on the opposite shore, near the ferry dock. I climbed a set of stairs and suddenly I found myself in a misty watery paradise. The boardwalk led directly over a turquoise pool that was partially obscured by fog. I could hear water running underneath my feet, behind me and in front of me. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Is it possible to travel across Croatia without a car? Yes, as it turns out. Croatia has a comprehensive bus system which is fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it. Trains also connect a few major cities but we haven’t used any yet as the bus system is much more extensive. We’ve also used ferries, airplanes, taxis, and Uber to help get us around. We’ve become increasingly experienced with Croatia’s public transportation system as we failed to get International Driving Permits before we left the United States.