The first thing that comes to people’s mind when thinking of Croatia are the beautiful beaches and walled cities of the coast but the country has beautiful national parks inland as well. Plitvice National Park is easily the most famous but Krka National Park seems to be getting a lot of attention lately as well, we visited both after leaving Drubrovnik. Both parks have amazing waterfalls and winding paths that take you right on top of the blue-green water. But which should you visit? Take a look at the photos below but spoiler alert, my answer is both! Also, view more photos on my photography site.
Plitvice is the more famous of the two parks, photos of its beautiful waterfalls are all over Pinterest. But we heard Krka is much less crowded AND you can swim in the pool at the bottom of Skradinski Buk. We arrived a little after 9am and the parking lot didn’t have many cars which seemed like a good sign. It’s a 20 minute walk to the actual pools from the parking lot (a shuttle is available) and we walked immediately to the paths. I really wanted to get shots before too many people were around but already there were groups of people walking through sticking their giant ipads in the way of my shots. Another issue I didn’t consider was the vibration from people walking ruining slow shutter-speed shots.
A small waterfall in Krka National Park, Croatia
Looking down at the pools of Krka National Park
George & Cindy walking through the paths of Krka National Park
The colorful water under a walkway in Krka National Park
It didn’t even dawn on me that when driving from Dubrovnik to Trogir, our next stop, we’d have to pass through a tiny little piece of Bosnia that reaches the coast until our trip began. The Balkans have experienced countless wars over the centuries one of which was the Austro-Ottoman War. The war ended in 1699 with the Treaty of Karlowitz creating the majority of the borders in the area that exist still today. The border crossing in and out of Bosnia turned out to be trivial, they looked at our passports quickly and didn’t need to see paperwork for our rental car. The only restaurants or hotels that exist on the 20km of stretch of land is the small town of Neum. The little resort town is cheaper than surrounding Croatia and we ate a delicious café (Restoran Bonaca) overlooking the ocean. Excellent and cheap seafood – definitely the ideal lunch spot if driving between Dubrovnik and Split/Trogir.
Restoran Bonaca is a great restaurant in Neum with a beautiful view
Trogir itself is very close to Split, one of Croatia’s largest cities. Split gets more tourists than Trogir and is supposedly a very nice city but Trogir was absolutely perfect for us. Trogir itself is a tiny little medieval town (and a UNESCO World Heritage site) on an island wedged between the mainland and a larger island in the Adriatic. Our AirBNB was in a great spot just across the bridge from the Old Town and was an easy walk (AirBNB is a great option for Trogir, there are very few hotels.) Trogir is great to walk around at night and so small you can become familiar with it in just an hour or so. The first night we ate dinner at a pretty forgettable place but the second night we ate at what would end up being my second favorite restaurant of the trip. Kristian Pizza is truly amazing. The food and service were so great we ended up going back a second night. The restaurant is family owned, the father walks around greeting everybody and the son was our server. I would eat the seafood gnocchi and the homemade pasta everyday – please excuse the gratuitous food photos here.
Between traveling and dealing with the chaos here (maybe I’ll write about that later but when I sit down to think about it I just get aggravated) I’ve had little time to post the rest of the photos from our Europe trip. With our next Europe trip just two weeks away (I promise we do work!) I’m going to try to get caught up.
High on our list of places to visit in the Balkans was Dubrovnik. Yes, it’s touristy but everyone I know who went has loved it. Plus, with three of the four of being big ‘Game of Thrones’ fans we had to see King’s Landing for ourselves.
From Kotor, we hired the same driver to take us to Dubrovnik and after a bit of confusion finding our AirBNB we managed to locate it and check in. The owners were a charming older couple who took quite a bit of time making sure we knew every single little detail about the home – maybe overly friendly but not that surprisingly given how friendly we found people in the Balkans to be. As soon as we checked in we walked to the Old Town to take a look. All of the old walled cities along the Dalmatian Coast are similar but this one was much larger than Kotor.
The entrance to the old town of Dubrovnik
Apparently there are two species of turtles that live in the area. I had no idea until I came across this guy
Escaping the crowded main drags of the Dubrovnik you find quiet spots like this