We arrived in Rovinj by bus on 3rd July to stay at the very pleasant Apartments Annamarija about 15 minutes walk from the old town and its harbour.
The town is obviously much further north than say Dubrovnik and Split and you could be forgiven for thinking you had arrived in Italy with the many Italian restaurants here.
The town is largely on the flat and fully of small winding streets making it a nice place to wander. By now we are in the peak summer season but although there were plenty of tourists around the numbers were not nearly so great as in other places ,notably Dubrovnik , and without the cruise ships( at least we didn’t see any).
Three nights here would be more than enough for most people – in truth you can easily cover the town in a day – but as usual we had booked a generous week . A week was no hardship however and we passed the days walking and sunbathing in the bays south of the town with several notably long lunches in some very good local ( non Italian!) restaurants.
Here are some photos.
Rovinj was our penultimate stop in Croatia , the last being Pula where we spent 3 nights on the outskirts of town before flying home on 13th July.
Unfortunately , for the moment at least , this is our last post as disaster has struck and we (I) have managed to mis-file our memory card with photographs of Pula. Hopefully it will turn up once we finally return home for an extended period and unpack properly.
In early August we will be back on the road heading for Santorini and then Rhodes in Greece before returning to Turkey for three months.With a brief visit home for Christmas and New Year we will then over-winter on the Costa Del Sol and then travel through Spain , France and Portugal until we return home again in August 2017.
Firstly, here are some photos taken during our bus ride north from Zadar, a lovely coastal ride passing many picture book villages.
Opatija, according to one guide book at least, is often called the “Croatian Monte Carlo” and its easy to see why.
The small town stands sprawling along a rocky coastline with a backdrop of a pine covered mountains. It’s a beautiful green region and the town is very attractive with its lovely town centre set on the waterfront well set up for families.
I read that the town “lost its sheen” during the Yugoslav period but thats hard to imagine as this is now a very smart resort which seems to be a favourite of better off Croatian families and couples and from our experience, Italians.
The architecture of the town is lovely containing many buildings originally built as belle-epoque villas for the wealthy during the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Some of these villas remain as grand residences but many became and are still up-market hotels. Some pictures ..
The coast is gorgeous but there are no beaches as such . The coastline is rocky throughout its length but there are plenty of little bays and places where the water can be accessed usually with the help of railings with ladders into the sea. In a few places, there is a wide expanse of concrete fronting the promenade with access to the sea and with sunbeds and umbrellas for hire and refreshments available.
There is an 11 kilometre long promenade known as the Lungomare which stretches in both directions from Opatija to neighbouring villages and this makes for a really nice walk with some nice villas to ogle at and several places to stop along the way to enjoy a drink or a meal.
Back in Opatija itself there are lots of places to sit around and people watch including some very nice manicured gardens. Otherwise there is some nice shopping (but not a great deal – this is a small town) and plenty of nice restaurants to suit every taste in the town. We stayed in an apartment forming part of a family home, superb accommodation with generous hosts. The only issue was that it was situated high above the town and without a car it was a hell of a climb up many many steps to get back to the house. We were told about the hill when we booked but saw the climb as a challenge rather than an problem and only once when we loaded with bags of shopping did we resort to using a taxi .
Its probably true to say that of all the places we have travelled so far, Opitija is the one place where we would consider buying a retirement home (OZ and N Z excepted) if it were not for the fact that buying property in Croatia is fraught with difficulty and potential nightmares – its just too difficult!
Here are some more photos of Opatija and the area…….
We might well be in a minority because Croatia is full of pretty towns with lots of history but Opatija was our favourite. Our only regret was that our digs were booked up and we were unable to extend our stay.
After four nights in Opatija, our next and penultimate stop in Croatia would be Rovinj.
We arrived in Zadar from Trogir by bus on June 24th and stayed for 5 nights in a small but beautifully renovated apartment in a very old building in the Old City in an area full of interesting and historic buildings – not to mention some nice bars and restaurants. Typing this up four months after our visit and keen to get up to date, hopefully the reader (if he’s still with us) will forgive the fact that this and subsequent posts are largely photographic with even fewer words than earlier posts……..
We enjoyed Zadar very much. I guess most people travelling through Croatia would spend perhaps only a night or two here and that would be plenty to see everything but as slow travellers we like to take it easy and five days was good for us allowing us a couple of days of pure chilling (usually spent working on itineraries for future travels) before moving on to wonderful Opatija.
A small town only 28km north of Split, this was our favourite town on this coast.
This is another historic town built alongside a harbour. It sits on a small island separated from the mainland by a narrow canal and accessed by a road bridge and a footbridge and with another small island, Ciovo, beyond it. Ciovo is itself accessed by a bridge from the old town.
This is a lovely little town with lots of interesting old buildings, churches and a cathedral to be found in a maze of narrow streets. There are plenty of bars and some very good restaurants and there was a great vibe in the town enhanced no doubt by the fact that the Euros were ongoing at the time of our visit and the Croats were doing well in the competition at that stage.
Outside the old city there is little of attraction to tourists other than beaches both on the coast of the mainland and those on Cliovo Island itself one of which was only a fifteen minute walk over the hill from our apartment. This is a stretch of over 2km of stoney beach which is very popular and was packed with holiday makers each time we walked over. Okrug Gornji beach is lined with cheap restaurants selling cheap beer mostly with their own piece of beach with sunbeds and umbrellas each for hire at around 20p – a far cry from some of those on Hvar which were charging up to £20 a day!
We stayed a full week in Trogir and very much enjoyed it. We rented an apartment on Ciovo which was fairly basic but clean and in a great position high on the hillside with a great patio with fab views looking down on the town. Our landlady and landlord were great, super friendly with lots of tips for us and resolving a wifi problem instantly by providing us with a mobile device for use throughout our stay. Happy days!
Split is the biggest town in Dalmatia and one of the oldest. Like other cities in the area it has a long history of wars and occupation by other nations. The historic city centre is another UNESCO World Heritage Site but outside of the fairly small old centre, the city comprises an urban sprawl of houses and apartments with extensive industrial areas.
The town sits on a peninsula with the main tourist area contained beside the busy harbour with a really nice waterfront aspect and a promenade, Riva, which has apparently seen a lot of investment in recent years. It’s a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by.
The central area facing the Riva is dominated by Diocletian’s Palace which was built as Diocletian’s retirement home around 1700 years ago and is now a warren of buildings which have been extensively added to over the centuries. The Palace is now a mish-mash of architectural styles and it’s not the prettiest building but some of the ancient features remain with a maze of narrow streets with shops selling tourist tat alongside others selling high end clothing and jewellery leading into squares and courtyards lined with restaurants.
The pictures below are inside and outside of Diocletian’s Palace and the neighbouring streets. Beyond this area there is little of interest to tourists outside of the beaches, water sports etc and Marjan Park.
Overlooking the city and reached by various pathways from the centre is Marjan Park. This was a highlight for us with some really nice walking up Marjan Hill to give some great views over the town and it’s harbour. The walk to the top is a decent workout but there is a resting point with cafe/restaurant half-way up and those not inclined or unable to walk up can take a taxi or join one of several available town tours which include Majan in the itinerary. A rather modern crucifix sits on top of the hill and from the summit tracks lead off in all directions down to various points on the coast road that encircles the peninsula. We spent a day walking up the hill taking a random track down the in the direction opposite the town and then walked the coast road for a couple of hours back into town passing some nice beaches en route.
We spent 3 nights here in Split in a small studio flat, Fabio Residence, in the old town.
The apartment was small but ultra modern and really cleverly and well kitted out. We were impressed.
Travellers with less time (or those who want to tick off as many visits to as many towns as possible in double quick time) could easily see all that Split has to offer in a day or even half a day if necessary but it would be a shame not to spend at least a night or two here.
We enjoyed our visit but after 3 nights we were ready to move on – to Trogir.