Hi Hi Hi!!! 👋🏼 Let me start by saying that Croatia has been my dream destination for years. Some people dream of Paris, some Rome, some Maldives, but mine has been Croatia. The mix of old towns and the beach, from the photos I’ve seen online, is just utterly amazing. I am so so lucky to have spent 12 days in my dream destination, and with a dreamy guy too! cheesyyyyyy. 🧀
We did a one-way roadtrip from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, stopping by pretty towns and going on a backpack island hopping excursion to the islands. We had so much fun, so if you’re interested with our itinerary, read on! 😊
Warning: This is a really long post. ✌🏼 But it’s a journal and I think you’d enjoy reading it.
Before anything, Philippine passports need a Croatian Visa to enter the country. It is NOT part of the Schengen territories so you gotta apply at VFS in Makati and show up for your appearance, and they will send your application to the Croatian Embassy in Indonesia, since we don’t have one in the Philippines.
However, if you have a valid multiple-entry Schengen Visa, you are allowed to visit Croatia during the validity of that visa, for up to 90 days.
Day 1: Zagreb
Jaccob and I agreed to meet at Zagreb Airport. If you’ve seen my Lockdown Video, you’d already know that Jaccob is based in the states and I’m based in the Philippines, so we always just meet at the airport. My flight arrived first, I always arrive first, always, so I had to wait for him at the baggage claim.
We got the rental car from Dollar at Zagreb Airport. This was the first time I tried to rent a car abroad, and it’s easier than I thought. You just go to the counter and tell them what you need, show your license, pay, sign some papers, and you’re good to go!
Being from the Philippines, I got an International Driving Permit, but they never asked for it. I just kept it handy, just in case. Also, most car rental companies charge an additional fee for drivers under 23 and over 60. So if you have someone who has a driver’s license between those ages, put the rental under his/her name, even though he/she isn’t gonna be the one driving. But don’t tell the rental company that. 🤫
We drove to our AirBnB and got ready to immediately explore the city. We went to the area around Zrinjevac Park. And like most places and food in Croatia, I can’t say that out loud. 😂 Piggies that we are, we looked for food and found Good Food. I was skeptical at first coz they sell all the healthy stuff – salads, fresh juices, etc, and I rarely eat healthy, but they had burgers so I tried it and it was amazing! I would go back whenever I could.
We spent the rest of the night exploring the place, and decided to go home a little past midnight because I got too sleepy. Maybe because of the long flight, or because of that burger’s juicy sinful beef patty. Whatever it is, it made me pouty as we walked all the way back to where we parked.
Parking in downtown Zagreb is difficult, especially at night when everyone is home coz there are limited spaces to park, and it was difficult to know which ones are for public parking and which ones are reserved for the building tenant/residents.
Day 2: Zagreb
We went to explore the Old City – Ban Jelacic Square, St. Mark’s Cathedral, Cathedral of Zagreb, and also went through their Sunday market, a food market, and a reptile exhibit.
Since it was Sunday, the cathedrals are closed for masses so we did not have the chance to go inside. However, Lotrscak Tower has a great view of Old Town, with views of both cathedrals. You need a ticket to go up but it wasn’t so expensive and it’s worth it too, especially because it is where their noon-time canon fire takes place everyday and we were just in time to witness it!
We decided to cook for dinner that day so we went home, dropped by the supermarket just downstairs of the apartment, and got ready for cook night! I gotta say, Google Translate helped so much with grocery shopping! 😂
Day 3: Early Drive to Plitvice Lakes and Sibenik
I forgot to tell you, we have nothing booked in advance for this trip. All we had were return airline tickets to/from Zagreb. In my past travels, I always have an almost-fixed itinerary where everything has been booked, everything has been planned. Jaccob convinced me that it’ll be fun to be spontaneous, see where the drive takes us, stay longer in places we like, leave early from places we don’t like. So I thought, yeah, I’ll try that.
We headed out of Zagreb early to see the famous Plitvice Lakes. However, without pre-booked tickets, the line just to buy tickets is insanely long, and there’s a cut-off too, and we didn’t make it. At this moment, I was so mad at myself for not booking tickets in advance, for not even checking the time we have to be there, and all that. In my mind, I was already hating the ‘spontaneous’ thing coz I really wanted to see the place. Jaccob said it’s okay coz it means we could be at the coastal towns earlier, and since I can’t do anything about it anyway, we started driving to Sibenik.
Plitvice Lakes is a 2-hour drive from Zagreb, and Sibenik is another two hours from Plitvice Lakes. When you get to the Lakes, make sure you ask about the queues coz there are a lot. Some people lining up for tickets, some have walk-in tickets entering the park, and there are some people with online tickets entering the park. It’s confusing, so ask ask ask. You don’t want to spend time in the wrong queue. If you can, get tickets online well ahead of planned visit. Please. Do it for me.
We arrived in Sibenik, a UNESCO Fortress City, about lunch time. We parked at the pier and walked around the commercial strip by the bay and saw a sign for the town’s aquarium, and because I am with Mr. Aquaman, we went to the Sibenik Aquarium after we had lunch, and spent the rest of the day walking past tourist sites like St. James Cathedral, and eating around the city – a bunch of ‘street food’ from the food park while we sat on the grass by the road, and a lot of junk food – popcorn, frozen soda, ice cream – for dinner.
My favorite memory of this town is the couple hours we spent at a bench by the pier just talking, people-watching, and enjoying the sunset. Because one, we were too full for dinner, and two, we had nothing else to do, since we didn’t have WiFi at the hotel, and I really enjoyed it. ♥️
We stayed at Hotel Jadran. It’s in front of the pier, with free parking, and free breakfast. But not all their rooms have AC, so check before you book, and also, they have free WiFi but the room that we had just have WiFi signal in that one corner of the room. For real.
Day 4: Obonjan, Private Glamping Island
We’ve seen and took a photo of a sign about Obonjan Island the day before and I googled it and it was pretty. We called the number on the sign and asked if they have a place for us for tonight and they said yes! We left the car parked at the pier and headed to catch the resort boat for some glamping experience!
Obonjan is a 45-minute boat ride from Sibenik and once you get there, expect a lot of walking. A LOT. From the jetty to the reception tent is quite a walk with steps, and from there to your room is an even longer walk. They bring your luggages to your tent but take your beach essentials before you hand them over because you would definitely want to be at the beach while waiting for your tent to be ready.
There are lounge chairs by the beach and since it’s a private island, there are significantly less people there. The beach bar serves the best piña colada I’ve ever had, not that I’ve had a lot before but it is pretty yum yum. We had lunch by the beach too.
We were informed our tent was ready after lunch so we checked it out and it’s as pretty as their website photos. We changed and decided to explore the rest of the island. We found a swimming pool overlooking the beach, and there were floaties too, and best part is that no one else was there, so we had all of it to ourselves!
We headed back to the restaurant by the beach and there was a beach party going on. Since Jaccob and I are not party animals, we just went to have dinner and it was packed with people, so we shared a table with a couple from Switzerland, and made new friends! I was shy at first, coz I am a shy girl, but it was fun meeting people like that.
This is one thing I don’t experience traveling with my family – meeting new people – because we are a shy family and we tend to keep to ourselves when we travel so I’m happy I get to experience this.
We headed back to the tent after dinner coz I wanna look at the stars, coz their website says the island is a nice place to look at the stars. We stayed at our tent’s balcony but didn’t see much, until I got sleepy. Later that night, there was a thunderstorm. I hate the thunder, it scares me, and what makes it even scarier is the fact that there’s just a thick fabric protecting me from it. I managed to go back to sleep and I woke up to a sunny day!
Day 5: Trogir and Split
We packed our stuff and had the free buffet breakfast served at the restaurant by the pool. We didn’t put our luggages out in time for them to take it to the reception tent for us so we had to carry it all the way to the pier. Well actually, Jaccob did that. 😁 We waited at the beach for the boat to take us back to Sibenik. The boat ride back was unexpectedly crazier than it was yesterday, so crazy that we got soaking wet. We changed at the parking lot and started the drive to Split.
Split is a about an hour and a half drive from Sibenik. About halfway through the drive though, you’d start driving through coastal town, and the first town we saw was Trogir. There was a lot of people and a food market so we decided to drop by and see the place. It was lunchtime anyway.
Trogir, at least the busy area, is a line of restaurants fronting the pier, where a bunch of yachts and sailboats are docked. It looks so fancy! We had lunch at Gastro Story, where I had a really good Surf and Turf dish. We went up the Kamerlengo Tower after to get a good view of the town, then looked around the market, before we headed back to our drive to Split.
We arrived in Split early enough to spend time at Bacvice Beach. There were a crazy lot of people but there were free lounge chairs available so we went swimming! There were wooden poles and we jumped from them and had fun. Too bad my GoPro broke though, the videos would have been fun.
We were lucky enough to find a hotel that’s just a walking distance from the beach, it’s called Best Location Rooms on Booking.com. We went back to the hotel to change, then we headed to Ma:Toni for a fancy Modern Mediterranean dinner. After that good meal, we talked as we walked along the coast in the moonlight.
We just parked at a dead end street a block away from our hotel. We kept it there because the finding a parking spot in Split is crazy difficult so if you find one, keep it there and walk around.
Day 6: Split and Supetar
We book accommodations one night at a time, but we wanted to extend one more night in Split coz we want to explore the town before we jump to the islands. The hotel was booked though so we had to leave.
We were debating if we should or should not bring the car to the islands. Pro: we could drive around the islands, with all our stuff with us. Convenience. Con: Not all islands are served by a ferry that transports cars. Therefore limited places to go. We decided to leave the car and I’d say it was a good decision.
I pack crazy when I travel. I always have a large and a carry-on suitcase. Leaving the car in Split meant we need smaller bags to take to the islands. So we went to the Mall of Split to get backpacks and other things we might need, and decided to have breakfast there.
We drove to the pier after, and as expected, parking is full so we drove around (a lot of times) and saw that everyone is just parked on the sidewalks so we figured it’s legal here and we won’t get in trouble for doing the same. At this time, I was already on my phone looking at tickets to Supetar and saw that if we checked in advance, we could have made it to the 12:30 trip, but because we had no idea, at 12:20, we were 2 blocks away to the pier moving our things to our backpacks and there’s no way we’re gonna catch that boat, so we had to wait for the next one at around 1:30. The spontaneity thing, I tell you, was making me crazy!
Only one company has trips to from Split to Supetar – Jadrolinija – and it’s a 50-minute trip. There’s a refreshment bar on board and comfy chairs.
We arrived at Supetar with enough time to walk around. Yes, walk around. We’re so glad we didn’t bring the car coz it seems like the island just has a circumferential road and you gotta walk to go to almost everywhere.
We went to Vela Luka Beach. It’s faaaaar but we walked by the beach so it was a pretty walk. I don’t know how, but we unknowingly went inside a really fancy resort and we didn’t know it was a private resort until we can’t walk along the beach anymore and had to find the road. We walked out a big, heavily-secured gate at the end of a looong driveway. I’m so happy we’re walking out instead of in coz we wouldn’t have been allowed to go through those gates. 😂
We arrived at the beach, finally, and decided to go swim. It was crazy cold! Really cold! But the sun was warm so I enjoyed it still. There was a walk where everyone was jumping off from so we did that too. We stayed at the beach for a while before we decided to walk back, and no, we didn’t take the private resort route. 😂
We walked past Roso Bar & Restaurant and decided to get dinner there, and I tried their Cepavi because the server said this minced meat dish is a Croatian specialty. Their have cheese fillings too so I was happy with my order, but Jaccob’s order was so yummy that I’d say you have to try the restaurant’s Carbonara too! It’s amazingly light for something so creamy!
We decided to walk around for the rest of the night, where we saw an ATV rental place, which made Mr. Aquaman, this time Mr. Adventurer, super excited. We got home with plans of renting one tomorrow on our way to Bol, to catch another boat to the next island.
Day 7: Vidova Gora and Hvar
We went to Vlacica Beach for a morning swim and we waited for the giant slide at Benny’s Bar to open coz like I said, I’m with Mr. Aquaman/Adventurer. 😂 We went back to the hotel to check out and got a 2-seater ATV from Rentamotorino to be dropped off in Bol. Another plus points for not bringing the car! We strapped our backpacks at the back of the ATV and off we go!
The ATV drive from Supetar to Bol is about an hour but we’ve seen signs pointing to Vidova Gora, the highest point in Brac Island, so we took a little detour, since Jaccob wanted to go off-road anyway. I’d say you should take this detour too. It’s just 30 minutes, unless you wanna spend more time taking in the view.
We got to Vidova Gora, took a couple photos and left, coz this time we checked times for the boat ride to Hvar, and I’m glad we did coz there’s only one trip every day. This ferry does not take cars too, so yay again for not bringing the car! We made it and after we found a good spot by the refreshment bar, I started looking for hotels in Hvar for the night.
We visited Croatia in August. Summer. Peak Season. With no advance bookings whatsoever. Be spontaneous, he said. It’d be fun, he said. 😑 We arrived in Hvar about an hour after with no hotel to go to, coz Hvar is booked 99%, according to Booking.com. The only property with a vacancy is a crazy expensive resort that we will never be willing to pay for. 😂
There was, however, a vacancy at a cheaper (waaaay cheaper) hotel in Stari Grad, a town 20/30 minutes away. We googled how we could get there and learned that there’s a bus that leaves every night from Hvar. We decided to leave our bags at a baggage storage place and walked around til it’s time to catch the bus.
Hvar is the fanciest of the Croatian town we’ve been to so far. At the other places, people, if not in their swimwear, are in casual clothes. Chill. Here though, there are signs that people can’t walk around in swimwear, and most people, especially towards Bonj Beach area, are in full-on, sometimes even in heels, in full make up! Imagine club style but at a resort. We felt out of place coz we’re not dressed for that area so we walked back and explored the other side. We saw a supermarket so we bought snacks before we went to the bus terminal.
We got to Strari Grad and asked around where we could find the hotel we booked. We were told to walk to the town square by the pier and there would be taxis there. We walked and saw taxis but they said our hotel is just so close, we should just walk there. I googled the place and it was a 20-minute walk. It was late, around 9pm, and it was a long day from Supetar all the way here, and we had our backpacks and groceries. I didn’t wanna walk but we had no choice.
I was already pouty at the start of the walk. Good thing a little farther, we saw people gathered and asked what’s happening. They said there are gonna be fireworks at 10, so we decided to stay for a bit to watch the fireworks while we eat the snacks we bought. I guess sometimes inconveniences happen so we could get to experience other things, like the fireworks. We walked to the hotel after, with Jaccob carrying my stuff halfway into the walk coz my back started to hurt and I got sleepy and got super pouty.
Arkada Sunny Hotel looked so pretty on their posting online. I think it was a big hotel during its time but when we got there, it was run-down, with carpeted corridors that looked swampy coz of the humidity, and no AC. We went to the front desk but was told it is what they posted online, and were too sleepy to complain so we just had the balcony door open the entire night, which was a nightmare for Jaccob coz one, he loves the AC, and two, mosquitoes love him. So be careful, read everything, when booking online. Or book in advance so you don’t get too desperate to book whatever is available within your budget. 😬
Day 8: Hvar and Vis (and the Pakleni/Paklinski Islands)
We left the hotel early so we could move to another hotel we found in Strari Grad, and then catch the bus back to Hvar. However, we couldn’t make it coz no taxis are taking us to the square in Strari Grad and I don’t wanna do that 20-minute walk again. Good thing there was a couple, who has a taxi booked to go to Hvar, and kind enough to let us ride with them. During the drive we talked about how we all didn’t like the hotel and that’s why they checked out earlier than they should.
We arrived back in Hvar, and left our backpacks at the baggage storage again. We first visited the sailboat museum and the local theater. We decided we’re going on an island hopping tour to Vis and the islands so we went to the tour operator office to reserve our slots, then went out to find a GoPro. I really wanted a new one since my old one broke, and we are going on an island hopping tour, which means I can’t use my camera, and it would be so sad to not record anything there. We found a store that opened early with an available GoPro so yay!
There are a lot of tour operators that have excursions to Vis and the islands and you can see signs everywhere, but we got the one by Hvar Adventures, and I’m glad we did coz it went smoothly and the boat crew found a little cave where they take their customers to where we could enjoy the super blue water, coz the actual tourist spot won’t allow people to go swimming in the Blue Lagoon. They took care of everything – transfers to the smaller boat for the Blue Lagoon, snorkel masks, on board drinks, and good music.
I really don’t have the words for how amazing that tour was. I’m so glad I got the GoPro coz the place is unbelievable and we had so much fun, and everyone on the boat with us was cool and friendly. You’ll see in the video later, Vis has the most video clips coz it’s just wonderful.
We got back to Hvar and I saw a fortress on top of the hill and told Jaccob I wanna go there. We started climbing the hill and a few minutes in, I already regret it, especially because we’re also too far up to go back down. It was quite a climb but there are occasional chairs and benches to rest on and the view from up there would is something I’m so happy to see – old town and the sea. We went inside Fort Fortica and looked at the old prison cells, and enjoyed the view from the refreshment bar inside. We headed down after the sunset, and had drinks by the port. I had my first sip of Jack and Coke, and nope, I’m never gonna try that again. 😬😂
We caught the bus back to Strari Grad, to a much better hotel just within the square, Madrugada Hotel. I could not recommend this hotel more! It’s new, it’s clean, it’s at a good location, and the staff treated us like friends. We arrived late and the lady at the front desk said she was worried because we still haven’t arrived yet and at the arrival time I put ‘morning’ coz the initial plan is to go there before we head for Hvar. So sweet!
We walked around the square in search for food and decided to get something from Bistro Damira as suggested by the front desk lady, but we had it to go coz the hotel WiFi is so good which means movie time, over steak, pasta, and mashed potatoes.
Day 9: Strari Grad and Nugal Beach
Yesterday, we saw a sign at the square about a Snake Exhibit, like I said, Aquaman likes his reptiles and fishies, so we decided to go. Note that this is the second reptile exhibit we went to, and Jaccob enjoyed looking at the cobra at this exhibit coz it was ready to attack him. I’m with Mr. Crazy! 😂
We walked to Fig, a Mexican fusion restaurant, suggested by the front desk lady again, when I told her I’ve been craving for Mexican food. The food is so good, however their specialty, is not available until lunch time.
There was nothing else that interested us in Strari Grad so we decided to catch the boat back to Split. There was one leaving before lunch, and from Stari Grad too, which means we wouldn’t have to take a bus back to Hvar. Two hours later, we’re back in Split.
I guess we got tired that we didn’t really go out and explore Split anymore. We just went to the Diocletian Palace and looked around the markets in the tunnels, we didn’t even go inside the museums anymore. We then started the drive to Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik is a 3-hour drive from Split, so I googled for places to stop along the drive and saw Nugal Beach. According to the website I was on, it is a nice secluded beach with less people, but is an hour hike from the road. I thought maybe not much people go coz of the tiring hike to get there, so I told Jaccob I wanna stop by and he said yes. We got there. I was wrong.
There was no actual start of the hike path, no parking spaces, no nothing. We just saw a car parked on the side of the road and looked at Google Maps and just went for it. We brought towels, extra clothes, water, a little bit of snacks, and started the hour hike. The path to the beach is not very well reflected on Google Maps so there were a lot of “let’s go back this isn’t the right way” and the weak girl that I am got super tired and pouty.
After a long time, we started seeing the beach and we’re walking on a trail along a cliff with the view of the sea and it was beautiful. We also started seeing more and more people so I got a little hopeful. Then when I finally could see the beach, there was a sign that says “You are entering a nudist beach. Please refrain from taking photos.” We still continued on and got there but didn’t stay so long because we’re both not comfortable with the place. We hiked back to the road, a little annoyed about all the wasted effort but laughing a little bit coz of that experience.
Not everyone was completely naked in there but I’m telling you right now, if you’re not comfortable with it, just don’t do the hike. It’s tiring, it takes time, and it’s just a beach surrounded by cliffs.
We arrived tired in Dubrovnik at night, found our AirBnB, with a reserved parking slot! This is a big deal coz there’s no way we could find parking in Dubrovnik. It’s so crowded! We decided to do laundry coz the apartment has a washer but I got too sleepy and Jaccob ended up doing my laundry for me. 😁✌🏼 Teehee. Thank you love. 😁💋
Day 10: Dubrovnik
We knew there’s no way we could find parking downtown so we decided to leave the car at the apartment and took a bus to the famous Walls of Dubrovnik.
Bus stops in Dubrovnik are not shown on Google Maps. You can’t just put destinations and use the Transit option to know where the bus stops are. To make commuting easier, I saved the closest bus stop to the apartment and labeled it as ‘Home’. We solely relied on Bus Stop signs and the table of schedule at the stops.
We walked around the Walls of Dubrovnik, paid good money to walk almost 2 kilometers, with tiring steps, under the summer heat. It sounds crazy but it was worth it. There are shops and refreshment bars along the way, also artists painting. After we finished the wall, we walked within the city and found candy stores, souvenir shops, and our favorite thing – food! 😂
We saw the Dubrovnik Cable Car from afar and decided we should go check it out. We did and it took us to a better view of the town. It was almost sunset when we got there too so it made everything so much prettier.
We were on our way down to look for barbecue places coz I was craving for barbecue when we saw signs leading to Konoba Dubrava, a barbecue place. We took a taxi to the restaurant and since we can’t decide what to order we got the whole Meat Platter, and just decided to have it to go coz we’re sure we won’t be able to finish everything anyway. We took a taxi back to the Cable Car station, took a bus back home, and enjoyed our meal there.
Day 11: Dubrovnik
We ate the meat leftovers from dinner, went back downtown, still leaving the car in the apartment, and explored more of the walled city. We just walked around, with no actual destination, and stopped when we passed by the Jesuit Stairs, where they filmed Cersei’s Walk of Shame. Jaccob never watched Game of Thrones so I’m the only one excited about taking a photo. 😂 Then we saw an actual Game of Thrones place, where they have the Iron Throne and costumes for photos. We also found Dubrovnik Aquarium, and you guessed it right – we went! 😂
We’ve been eating a lot whenever wee see restaurants that looked like they have yummy food. We also stopped by a bar on a cliff with a view of the beach called Buza Bar where we found a flyer for a Star Wars tour. If you don’t know it yet, Mr. Aquaman is also a big Star Wars nerd. So guess what we scheduled for tomorrow at 8am? Yep. We’re doing a Star Wars tour.
We were looking for something different to do coz we’re been exploring downtown for two days now and saw Dubrovnik Escape Room. I have always loved escape rooms since I discovered them and Jaccob has never tried so we reserved a slot! Jaccob turned out to be really good at it so we finished it really quick even the girls at the desk was surprised. Yaaas! 💪🏼
We went to a store to get snacks and drinks – Jaccob had 4/5 shots of Jameson and I got bottled cocktails, and we went home to the same meat leftovers from the night before. There were too much! 😂
We bought flight tickets to Zagreb for tomorrow evening so it was time to pack. I was in the living area packing, listening and dancing to music from my airpods while Jaccob packed in the bedroom. He packed so quickly and passed out, but he managed to take a photo of me packing before he did. He said it’s one of his favorite photo of me. Aww. 🥰🧀
Day 12: Dubrovnik and Mystery Country
We left early, loaded everything in the car, checked out, and got an Uber to go downtown coz we didn’t wanna miss Mr. Nerdy’s Star Wars tour. 😂 We went to all the film locations of Star Wars: The Last Jedi in Dubrovnik. The tour guide was in the film industry so he had behind-the-scenes photos and props-in-the-making photos and it was fun to watch what props and CGI could do to a place.
We went back to the apartment to get the car after the tour and started to drive out of the country! No one knows where we went (except you, Ewi, coz apparently Jaccob tells you everything 😂) and we just spent a little bit of time there before we had to drive back to Croatia and catch the plane to Zagreb.
We returned the car at Dubrovnik Airport. Since we just booked tickets the day before, the only ones available were Business Class ones, and that was the first time I ever got on business class, and it was just a 55-minute flight. 😂
We got to Zagreb pretty late, got a room at a hotel near the airport, looked for food, and ended up at a McDonalds coz it was the only one open at that time.
Day 13: Last Breakfast and Goodbyes
The hotel we stayed at does not have free breakfast so we looked for a place to get breakfast and I saw another Mexican place, Bistro Kaktus, and got fajitas and hot chocolate. Not a good combination I know, but I gotta turn to food to keep me happy especially when it’s time to say goodbye to the person who makes me super happy.
Goodbyes are never easy, especially when you have to count 4 months before you get to say hello again. But it is what it is, and every day with him is worth the wait so… 💪🏼
Thank you for getting this far! Watch this video for the summary of the 13 amazing days we spent in my dream destination.
Thanks for dropping by and I hope you enjoyed it and you’re excited to plan your trip here!