Overview
Costs
Food
Hotels
Money
Mobile phones
Internet
Weather
Health
VISA
Security
Recommended
Avoid
Getting around
Photos

Ljubljana, Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar



30.10: Munich -> Ljubljana
31.10: Ljubljana -> Dubrovnik
1.11: Dubrovnik
2.11: Dubrovnik -> Herceg Novi -> Dubrovnik
3.11: Dubrovnik
4.11: Dubrovnik -> Trsteno -> Neum -> Split
5.11: Split -> Trogir -> Split
6.11: Split -> Krka national park -> Sibenik -> Split
7.11: Split -> Zadar -> Ljubljana
8.11: Ljubljana -> Munich


Planning and overall impression

Perhaps because Croatia is so close and not so exotic, I've never seriously considered Croatia as a travel destination. The reason to go there was that I had one week of time and as a new, never visited country with suitable weather at the beginning of November, Croatia seemed to be a convenient "low hanging fruit". I considered for a while to fly to a further away destination, but then abandoned this plan mainly due to time and budget constraints. I wasn't expecting too much from this trip and was more thinking of spending a brief, easy and relaxing holiday with the family.
Croatia surprised me due to very interesting sceneries, combined with its culture and history, moderate prices and decent food. But it's mostly the geography which makes Croatia so interesting. It's a montainous country with plenty of interesting spots and geological features and a very cool and long coast with bays and islands. Plenty of photo opportunities everywhere.
I was a bit unsure if I should drive to Dubrovnik, so far away in the south of Croatia, but in hindsight I must say that it was exactly the right spot to visit. It's beautiful city in a beautiful setting, with an excellent tourist infrastructure and good weather at the beginning of November. The timing was also good, because November was low season, i.e. not so many tourists but weatherwise still warm enough to spend the whole day outdoors lightly dressed.



Costs

While Croatia is not a low cost country, the pricing level is very reasonable for a European country. Hotels and restaurants have relatively moderate prices, while at the same time offering high standards.


Food

I'm not sure if we sampled real authentic Croatian food (or even what that actually is), but we found in most places good food at quite moderate prices. Delicious ice cream everywhere - we ate too much of it. We had three full meals every day, which doesn't happen that frequently in our trips.



Accommodation

We booked rooms in hotels of good standard in Dubrovnik, Split and Ljubljana. Due to the large number of tourists there is a good tourist infrastructure with many rooms at different price levels.




Money  / Exchange rate (November 2015)

1 Euro = 7.6 Croatian Kune
1 Euro ~ USD 1.09
To my surprise the Euro was in use in Montenegro.
For current exchange rates check the Universal Currency Converter.

ATMs are easily available in Ulan Bator.


Mobile phones and prepaid cards

Because roaming charges dropped so much in recent years we simply used our mobile phones in roaming mode. For mobile data we bought daily packages. Had we stayed two weeks however, we might have purchased local SIM cards, because data roaming is still a bit pricey.



Internet access

In all hotels and also in many cafes and restaurants there were free Internet WLAN hotspots. While on the road, we used mobile data from the smartphones.



Weather

We were very lucky, because in the week we travelled it was always sunny, with peak temperatures around 21C (which in the sun felt even warmer). No wind or rain the whole week.


Health / Vaccinations

None needed for Slovenia and Croatia. The sun wasn't that strong either, so we didn't need suntan lotion.


VISA / Entry requirements

No VISA needed for none of us, even my Malaysian wife. No border controls until Croatia. To get into Montenegro a car insurance green card is needed. If you don't have it, you can purchase one for 15 Euro.


Security

No problems at all.


Recommended things


Things to avoid



Getting around

We drove to Croatia by car from Munich. Having an own car was very good, because it made us independent from public transportation. The road network is very good, i.e. very easy to get around. Parking is a problem in Dubrovnik (leave the car in a parking).




30.10: Munich -> Ljubljana
Hotel Birokrat, Ljubljana. 90 Euro for a nice room with flart screen TV, fridge+minibar, phone, free WLAN, nicely furnished (long table, chair, drawers, large cupboard in two sections). Electronic safe. Toilet with shower. Excellent buffet breakfast with everything, high quality.
Weather: cool (9C) and overcast in Munich. Fresh in Ljubjana when we arrive.

We manage to leave our flat around 4:30pm, but only reach the motorway entrance shortly before 5pm. At this time the car navigation system is showing an estimated arrival time of 8:12pm in Ljubljana. We soon get stuck at the Munich south interchange, where we essentially lose about 40 minutes in a traffic jam. Maybe next time I'll try an alternative route which avoids this interchange.

It was actually already dark when we entered the motorway, and the whole drive will be in the darkness. Not too terrible, because at least it's not raining. Shortly before the Austrian border I buy motorway toll stickers for Austria (8.60€ for 10 days) and Slovenia (15 Euro for 7 days, my goodness - 30 Euro for 30 days). Really expensive for Slovenia, considering how small the country is. But there is no way to avoid Slovenia, unless I plan a longish detour through Hungarian "airspace" or I drive back across Italy, an even longer detour.

Then, surprise, surprise there will be more tolls to pay (11€ and 7€) for motorway tunnels in Austria. Quito soon after Salzburg the motorway gets really empty. Interesting that nobody is driving towards Slovenia or Croatia on this Friday.

The drive proceeds smoothly without interruptions. There are no controls at the borders (but there are controls at the borders in the opposite direction, because of the refugee situation. Am curious how the border to Croatia will be tomorrow.

Around 8:30pm we stop for dinner at a motorway restaurant, and continue driving around 9pm. With the help of the navigation system we finally reach the hotel shortly after 10pm.




31.10: Ljubljana -> Dubrovnik
Hotel Adria, Dubrovnik. 83 Euro for a large modern room with seaview, flat screen TV, phone, fridge, A/C, good furniture (large table + chair, cupboard for the clothes, electronic safe etc.), free WLAN in the room, balcony. Large toilet with shower, hairdryer.
Weather: foggy in the early morning in Ljubljana. By 10am all fog has gone and the sky is blue. Maybe around 13-14C. In the evening in Dubrovnik around 16C. Strong winds along the road to Dubrovnik.

We get up at 8:30am, have breakfast and check out of the hotel a bit after 10am. We then drive towards the centre of Ljubljana and after some searching park the car in one spot along the street (70 Euro cents/hour, inexpensive parking). Then we walk towards the centre, i.e. the pedestrian area with the old buildings.

Ljubljana is a quite modern and clean city. The young people on the streets, especially the women, all are carefully and fashionably dressed and pay attention to their looks. Seems as if nobody wants to get caught with an unfavourable look.

Very little activity, few people on the streets. The shops seem closed. For a moment I even think that perhaps in Slovenia shops close on Saturdays. Then finally we find the entrance to the pedestrian area and the old town. Very quickly we reach the area with the three bridges across the river. Very cute and nice, reminds me a bit of some cities in Austria or even Bozen.

I quickly realise that Ljubljana is a small city, with a very small historic core, actually minuscule. It's all around the three bridges area and the castle. At 11am Shirley and I split. She will shop around a bit with the kids, I will walk up the castle. Meet again in the three bridges square by 12pm noon.

So I walk up to the castle (and lose some time finding the start of the path). There is by the way, also a funicular which brings up old or lazy people to the top. There is no entrance fee to the castle. The castle itself is open, with some museums and cafes. Nice view of Ljubljana from the ramparts.

At 11:50am I rush back to the three bridges square, where I meet Shirley. We start walking back to the car, but on the way back find a restaurant serving Asian food (the "wok" restaurant in the pedestrian area). The offering looks good, but my rice teriyaki with chicken has a far too strong flavour, which makes it almost uneatable. Looks like they put too much sauce or seasoning into it.

After lunch, at 1pm, we walk back to the car. We start driving towards Dubrovnik around 1:20pm. We stop briefly at a petrol station on the motorway where we refuel the car (diesel for 1.10€/litre, a bit more expensive than in Germany). Then we continue driving towards Croatia.

At one point we have to leave the Zagreb motorway and drive for quite some time (half and hour?) along small and winding mountain roads. Makes one wonder why there is no motorway in this section. Alissia ends up vomiting - no wonder on such roads.

Finally we reach the Croatian border. We almost drive through without stopping. Not clear to me if there are border controls - yes, there are and the border guard instructs us that this is the border and we need to show our documents. The check takes about 5 minutes (I guess they do not see so often a Malaysian passport). Then we continue driving towards Dubrovnik.

I must say that until now the roads and motorways have been quite empty. Very few people driving towards Dubrovnik. Good for us, as there are no traffic jams, but quite curious that there are so few cars on the streets.

After some more driving on land roads we finally reach the motorway. To get in you need to pull out a ticket, which is later used to determine how much you have to pay (motorways in Crotia are toll roads). The motorways in Croatia are in a good shape. The speed limit is 130km/h, but on a motorway like this in Germany there would be no speed limit.

It's all motorway until about the last 80 km before Dubrovnik. On some motorway sections there is a very strong wind, which makes driving difficult.

Then it must be so that towards Dubrovnik they must have added a piece of motorway, because it's not in out navigation system. The last 80km or so are narrow and winding coastal roads. Quite tedious to drive at night.

We stop briefly for a snack in a motorway station at 6pm, then cross the Neum corridor around 8pm. Here we briefly enter Bosnian territory (two border crossings: Croatia-Bosnia and Bosnia-Croatia; in both we have to show our travel documents).

Finally we reach the hotel in Dubrovnik shortly after 9pm. A wedding party is going on.



1.11: Dubrovnik
Hotel Adria, Dubrovnik. Good buffet-style breakfast with lots of choices, although not a great as the breakfast in the hotel Birokrat.
Weather: sunny, blue sky with only some small, thin clouds layer. Very little wind. The temperatures climb during the day and by noon time it's warm enough to walk around in a T-shirt.

We get up at 8:30am and have breakfast until 10am. Then we get back to the room and leave the hotel around 10:40am. We drive to Dubrovnik and park the car in one of the parking areas outside the walls. Today it's Sunday and you only pay until 12pm noon (after the parking is free). 10 Kuna/hour.

We then walk into Dubrovnik. Quite cute, medieval era city surrounded by walls. Today it's not too crowded. The usual combination of sourvenir shops, cafes and restaurants. Walking down the stairs, we immediately reach a big rectangular square. Luckily we didn't book accomodation inside the city, otherwise we would have had to carry ourselves all suitcases by hand into the city.

We spend some time exploring the place, looking for a way to get onto the city walls, where we see people walking. In the end it turns out that there is just one (or two) place from which to access the city walls. We get onto the walls on the western side. The entry ticket is quite steep (100 Kuna for an adult, 30 Kuna for a child).

We spend over an hour walking around the walls, doing one complete circle from before 1pm to after 2pm. The views are pretty cool, actually very, very cool, but the kids (and even me) are in the end tired of the walking up and down the ramparts.

Since it's already 2:10pm, we look for a restaurant. We are not in the mood for doing extensive searches, so quickly settle on one place. Turns out that this place makes overpriced, not so good food. I suspect that most restaurants in this area are the same. Luckily we ask for the daily menu card, otherwise the cost would have been even higher. We'll skip the tourist restaurants in Dubrovnik tomorrow.

After lunch, at 3pm, instead of taking the cablecar to Mount Srd, we drive there by car, thereby saving 400 Kuna (the cablecar tickets cost 100 Kuna per person). It's a one-lane, narrow mountain road. When cars are arriving from the other side, you have to find one of the bays and wait there until the car has passed (or viceversa).

We reach the top of Mt Srd at 3:45pm. There there is a nice cafe with great views of Dubrovnik and the sea. We have some cake and tea and stay there until sunset at 4:45pm.

Then we drive back to the hotel. Later the kids and I have a swim in the internal hotel pool. In the evening we have a dinner in the hotel restaurant.







2.11: Dubrovnik -> Herceg Novi -> Dubrovnik
Hotel Adria, Dubrovnik
Weather: same as yesterday: sunny, blue sky the whole day, almost no wind, same temperature pattern. Surprisingly fresh in Montenegro.

 The event of the day is the trip to Montenegro, which I do because we are quite close to the border and Im curious about this small country where I haven't been yet. After breakfast, we leave the hotel around 10:25am. It's about 50km until Herceg Novi, a small city in Montenegro which should be cute according to the Lonely Planet guide. Also, by driving there we have the opportunity to get an idea about how the region south of Dubrovnik looks like.

Around 10:50am we spot a Konzum supermarket in a small town 10km south of Dubrovnik. We stop there and buy some groceries. Then we continue driving towards Montenegro. The landscape is relatively unimpressive, basically maquis shrubland, hills and rocks. Near Dubrovnik the road proceeds along the very steep coast.

I can't remember exactly, but it must be around 11:40am when we reach the border. Shirley fetches her backpack and looks for the passports. Surpruse, surprise, they are not inside there. Now I remember that when I gave them to the reception in the Adria hotel, they didn't return them to us. Brilliant.

So we drive back to the hotel to get the passports. Luckily it's a relatively short trip (only around 30km), but then I guess the Crotian borderguards must have wondered why this German car makes a U-turn at the border.

In any case, we reach the hotel. I go to the reception and tell the guy that they must have our passports. I also tell him that I just came back from the Montenegro border. The guy grins a bit and hands over the documents to me. Then we drive again to Montenegro.

At the Croatian border everything proceeds smoothly and they put exit chops into the passports. But at the Montenegrin border there is a small problem, because they want to see the green card and I don't have it with me. No problem, I can get an insurance for 15 Euro at the white building 50m from there.

So I get this insurance and finally drive to Herceg Novi, arriving there at 1:40pm (quite late indeed).

Now, Montenegro makes the impression of a country which is less developed than Croatia, or at least the part of road until Herceg Novi is not that impressive. Then it seems that they are using Euros in Montenegro and the price of diesel for cars is a bit lower than in Croatia (1.06 Euro vs 1.10 Euro).

Herceg Novi is a very small city, but quite cute.

We park the car in a parking (0.80 Euro/hour, relatively cheap) and walk towards the centre of Herceg Novi. All houses and streets are clean and nice, there is a flair of a mediterranean coastal town. Many little shops everywhere, many cafes. Lots of Italian restaurants and cafes, i.e. you can see that this country has been influenced by Italy for what concerns the gastronomy.

After some walking we stop for a late lunch in a small cafe restaurant just outside the city walls. Again the food is not good (I only eat half of my mushroom pizza - the mushroom are not fresh and the cheese is not mozzarella).

Around 3pm we walk into the city walls. Quite soon we realise that the historic core is very, very small. Not that much to see. We walk around a bit, then down towards the sea. After some more wandering around, we finally reach the harbour area with the cafes and shops.

After the kids have played a bit on the cobblestone beach, it's almost 4pm and the sun has already set behind the mountains. We have an icecream in a cafe along the beach promenade, then walk back to the car and drive back to the hotel. We spend the rest of the day in the hotel, having dinner there.






3.11: Dubrovnik
Hotel Adria, Dubrovnik. Today again when we come back the room is not locked (cleaning lady forgot to close it properly).
Weather: again a day with a wonderful weather: sunny, blue sky, no clouds, no wind, temperatures a bit over 20C peak in the afternoon. Very pleasant weather, although not warm enough for swimming.

Today we spend the whole day resting in Dubrovnik. In the morning I drive with the car to a couple of places along the coastal road from which there is a good view of Dubrovnik, to take some nice panoramic photos of the city.

When I'm done it's around 11 something am and I'd like to check what time there are boat trips to Lokrum island (because in the hotel they don't know exactly the departure times). I try to drive as close as possible to the harbour, but there is no place where I can stop with the car and I end up making a big loop before leaving the car in the public parking building (10 Kuna/hour).

From there we walk slowly into the old town, using the staircases and the pedestrian paths. At 12pm we enter Dubrovnik from the western gate and slowly proceed across the old town. Shirley spends quite some time buying souvenirs in the shops.

We are on the main square, in front of the rector's palace around 12:40pm. I briefly walk to the old harbour and check what boat options there are. There is a boat to Lokrum island leaving at 1pm and then every hour and there are boat tours with the glass bottom boat, doing a loop around Dubrovnik and Lokrum island, costing 75 Kuna and lasting 50 minutes. Apparently also these leave every hour.

So I get back to the square where I inform Shirley of the boat options. We have a lunch in a restaurant on the square (the food is not as terrible as last time). A very busy cat is bothering us quite a bit, begging for food and even tries to get on our laps and on the table (!).

Shortly before 2pm we are done with the lunch and walk to the harbour. There we buy the tickets for the 2pm boat trip. This immediately starts and we are the only customers in this boat.

Lokrum island looks quite interesting. Heavily forested, seems a good place for a short excursion. On the side of the island not facing Dubrovnik there are some people sunbathing naked. Perhaps this is why the boatsman suggested to make another loop (it could be that he saw that I have two girls and he thought they shouldn't see naked guys).

This may be a glass bottom boat, but in reality we see no sealife at all through the bottom. The sea water is not that transparent.

At 2:45pm we are back in the harbour. There the girls ask for the second icecream of the day. Never mind, and we try out the ice cream parlour of the harbour. Delicious icecream in very large portions.

By the time we are done with the icecream it's already 3:15pm - too late to drive to the Trsteno arboretum. So we basically spend the rest of the day in Dubrovnik, slowly strolling through the streets and doing some more shopping.

Interestingly the kids state that they like this place. My big girls didn't say that about Iran. Maybe it's the combination of the shopping, the ice creams, all those cats with whom to play and the nice comfortable hotel. Even Shirley seems to like this city more than the other places we have visited before.

We are back in the hotel around 6pm and have dinner there.




4.11: Dubrovnik -> Trsteno -> Neum -> Split
Boban Luxury Suites, Split. 100 Euro for a room with two bedrooms (small ones) and a toilet with shower in the middle. This place is more expensive than the hotel in Dubrovnik, but actually seems not that much better, except for the much nice decorations (the rooms are really set up very nicely, but who cares, if space is missing for your own stuff?). There is a tea making equipment (was missing in Dubrovnik). The room has a balcony, A/C and heating, flat screen TV, furniture (table+chair, cupboard). Free WLAN in the room.
Weather: same great weather as during the past days: sunny, blue sky, 21C peak, no wind.

We leave the hotel shortly before 11am and start driving towards Split. The first stop is at the Trsteno arboretum, about 15km northwest of Dubrovnik, on the way to Split. This is sort of a park/botanical garden which is listed in the Lonely Planet guide. It's on a cliff overlooking the coast. The entrance costs 45 Kuna and it's a bit overpriced, because while being a very pleasant place where to stroll around, it's actually a bit small and not very well kept. Still, on such a beautiful day and considering the very scenic setting on the coast, it's a nice stop to make. A very pleasant place to visit.

It's almost 12pm when we finally leave the Trsteno arboretum. The next stop is in Neum, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Here the road from Dubrovnik to Split passes briefly on Bosnian territory. There is nothing to see in Neum and in fact the only reason for the stop is the fact that this is Bosnian territory and it's 12:30pm, a suitable time for lunch.

We drive a bit around Neum, looking for the historic core, hoping to find one along the harbour with cafes and restaurants. But there is no such thing in Neum and after a brief time we park the car and have lunch in the Bonaca restaurant, which proudly claims to have a rating of 4.5 out of 5 in tripadvisor. And in fact the food is not bad and not overpriced either (26 Euro for the four of us). Forgot to mention, nice terrace with a great view of the bay.

It's 2pm when we finally leave Neum and start driving to Split. The entire coast is abslutely awesome on this beautiful sunny November day. Countless bays, promontories, every now and then an island. If time wouldn't matter, I'd walk along the coast, soaking up the atmosphere. But time is limited unfortunately and I have to make it to Split before the sunset.

We reach the centre of Split shortly before 4pm, parking the car right in front of the Diocletian palace. It's about one hour before the sunset and the scene is again beautiful. Lots of cafes along the waterfront, the Diocletian palace behind it, the cruise ships in the background. Also here one could sit down in a cafe and order something, but we are too curious and spend the time walking around and checking out the place.

Suddenly, while Shirley is about to buy something in a souvenir shop, panic spreads. She can't find her wallet and can't rememebr where she put it. We call the Adria hotel asking them to check if the wallet has perhaps been found. Later I'll find the wallet under her seat in the car...

In any case, at 5:20pm we drive to the hotel, so that we can check all bags and see if perhaps the wallet is in one of the bags. The parking fee is 25 Kuna (for about one hour and a half), a bit pricey for Croatia.

The hotel is in a narrow side street, less than 2km from the centre of Split. A bit tough to drive in, because some big car parked in a narrow road where there is actually no space.

In the evening we have a dinner in the hotel.




5.11: Split -> Trogir -> Split
Boban Luxury Suites, Split. Good buffet breakfast with good service.
Weather: same as yesterday. Either it's always like this at the beginning of November in Dalmatia, or we are just lucky. Sunny, blue sky, peak temperatures around 21C, no wind, no rain.

We leave the hotel around 10:20am and initially drive to the Diocletian palace, leaving the car at the parking next to the palace. On this Thursday morning there is plenty of life and activity in this area: lots of open shops, many people, there is even market east of the Diocletian palace (no idea if only today, or if this market opens every day).

We walk in from the southern entrance and get into some cavernous halls. Some souvenir stalls selling souvenirs. Then we walk out from the other side and are in a central square which must be the centre or highlight of the Diocletian palace. These may be ancient Roman ruins, but they are mixed with structures and buildings of several ages. Lots of shops and boutiques in the area, some cafe as well.

I notice that it is possible to clmb on the bell tower and do so (ticket is 15 Kuna). Nice view of Split from the top. Many Asian tourists in Split (and not only in Split: also in Dubrovnik there were many Asian tourists). After taking some pictures, I walk downstairs and meet again Shi    rley, who has been shopping around with the kids.

We spend some more time exploring the area, which on this sunny day is quite nice and photogenic.

It's about 12:15pm when we finally are back in the car. I key in the coordinates of Trogir and start driving. I briefly stop at the Jadrolinija office in the harbour to check the timetable of the ferries. I can't find it quickly and on the other hand I've left the car where it blocks the exit of the cars from the ferries, so I get back quickly to the car without knowing exactly the Hvar island ferry departure times.

From the Internet website it appears that in November there is a ferry at 8:30am (a bit too early for us) and a later one which is too late. It was one of the options to take a car ferry from Split to Stari Grad on Hvar, driving across Hvar island and fetching the ferry from Sucuraj to Drvenik in the late afternoon, then driving back to Split. But given the unsuitable departure times from Split and the risk of getting stuck on Hvar island should for some reason the required ferry be not available, I'll end up deciding not to get to Hvar island. Not on such a tight schedule and with the kids.

We reach Trogir shortly before 1pm and park the car in the parking right out of the city walls (5 Kuna/hour). Trogir is a small historic city and a UNESCO world heritage site. Turns out that it is indeed cute but very, very small. So small that in less than two hours you run out of things to see. It's not a place which keeps you busy for half a day.

We walk across Trogir to the other side, looking for a restaurant. There are not that many restaurants and in the end we choose the Mircek restaurant on the southern waterfront. The food is quite good and relatively inexpensive. Best pizza I've had so far in Croatia.

At 2:20pm we have finished our lunch and continue exploring Trogir, walking along the southern waterfront to the end, where there is some sort of fort or fortress. Then we walk to the northern side. It quickly becomes clear that that's it - there is not that much more to see in Trogir.

But it's just 3pm and I was planning to stay in Trogir until after sunset, to take some blue hour shots, i.e. until about 5pm, which means two more hours. If I knew Trogir is so small, I would have left Split an hour later.

On the other hand in the whole of Trogir there is also no nice ice cream parlour where you can sit down and have a nice big ice cream. Trogir may be a UNESCO world heritage site, but is not that terribly touristy, i.e. lacks tourist infrastructure (shops, cafes, ice cream places, attractions etc.).

So we decide to take the car and drive to the other side, meaning that island connected to Trogir by a bridge. Right when we are about to do so, we change our mind and decide to simply stay in Trogir until sunset.

In practice we'll be on Trogir until after 5:30pm. Beautiful late afternoon colours and reflections in the water at dusk. We walk back to the car and around 5:45pm drive to the City Center One shopping mall in Split.

This is a new mall, opened in 2010 and with 57000 m is supposed to be the largest shopping mall in Dalmatia. Getting there takes about 40 minutes, because there is some traffic and we have to key in again the address into the smartphone, as I didn't have the exact address initially.

Huge free parking at this mall. Very big, clean and modern, tall floors (lots of volume and space). Many discount brand retail outlets (i.e. Bata, Deichmann etc.). Not that many high end luxury shops (actually I see none). This seems to be a middle class mall, targeted at people who don't want to spend so much.

There is also a large Cineplex cinema complex on the top floor. By the way, lots of tall people in this mall. If this is representtive for Croatia, I'd say that lots of Croatians are quite tall. Definitely Croatia is not a country of short people.

We have a simple dinner in the food court near the ciname, and later an icecream (excellent icecream by the way, 8 Kuna/ball). We leave the mall around 8:30pm (mall closes at 9pm) and drive back to the hotel.

The plan for tomorrow is to visit the waterfalls in the Krka national park and Sibenik.




6.11: Split -> Krka national park -> Sibenik -> Split
Boban Luxury Suites, Split.
Weather: again perfect weather, with a sunny blue sky, no wind and temperatures peaking at 21C.

We leave the hotel around 10:40am and reach the Krka national park entrance at 11:30am after a smooth drive. The entry ticket  costs 30 Kune for an adult and 20 Kune for a child. Near the ticket counter there is a big parking, where you are supposed to leave the car and proceed with a bus to the waterfalls. But because it is low season we are allowed to continue driving with the car to the waterfalls.

It's 4km of a narrow and winding road which brings you down to the river level. Nice panorama view of the lake/river from the road. Below there is a parking for cars, where visitors are supposed to leave the car and proceed on foot.

There is a set of plankways and paths which allow to walk around the waterfalls, from the level of the car parking to the level below the big waterfalls. It's an area where the river becomes very wide and flows over a number of terraces which are sort of small watefalls. Lots of trees in the area, very scenic place. Then later the path becomes a bit steeper and leads to the lower level with the bridge from which you get a complete view of the large waterfalls. Then you walk up again on the other side. Also here there are panoramic terraces from which to watch the waterfalls.

There is a restaurant/cafeteria not far from the car parking, which however we avoid because it looks like they only serve rather basic food. Some souvenir shops.

All in all we spend about an hour and 40 minutes at the waterfalls, longer than I had imagined. But it's time well spent, because the area is beautiful. I wonder if you are allowed to swim here in the summer.

 It's about 1:30pm when we finally are back in the car. I key in Sibenik as the next destination, because it's not far away and there should be a better choice of restaurants than in and around the Krka national park.

We reach Sibenik at 1:50pm and park the car along the waterfront (10 Kune for three hours). Then we walk back to the restaurants we had spotted along the waterfront and have lunch at 2pm in the restaurant of the Jadran hotel.

Sibenik is smaller than I had imagined it. It's also less interesting than I had thought. The St James cathedral is a UNESCO world heritage site, but actually it's not that impressive, so it's not so clear why this not too big church should be in the UNESCO list. While I visit it, it's undergoing renovation (scaffolding both inside and outside). The seafront of Sibenik is picturesque, then there is a fortress on the top of the hill overlooking Sibenik and below there is the old town with its maze of alleys. But overall there is not that much to see and the town is not that touristy.

We have an ice cream, then at 4:20pm drive to the Kanal Luka area on the other side of the sea channel, from which there is a good view of the city. This involves doing a long U-shaped drive which takes about 20 minutes. There I park the car and do some blue hour photography of Sibenik until after sunset at 5:30pm.

At 5:45pm we drive back to Split, reaching the City Center One mall shortly after 7pm. We have a light dinner in the food court, then shop around a bit and finally drive back to the hotel.

One thing I've noticed is that there is no shortage of tall people in Croatia, or at least here in Split. At the City Center One mall there are even quite a few really tall women, while I don't usually notice so many really tall women in MUnich and for instance in Beijing people are on average really short. I wonder if Croatians are like that - a country with many tall people as is the Netherlands.




7.11: Split -> Zadar -> Ljubljana
Hotel Birokrat, Ljubljana. 90 Euro for a room with breakfast (same room we had one week ago)
Weather: again sunny, blue sky, no wind. Temperatures peaking at 24C a bit inland (21C along the coast).

 We check out of the hotel and leave by about 10:40am. Since the car kit of the smartphone broke yesterday and we need a way to fix the smartphone next to the windshield (to use it a navigation system), we drive to the Joker shopping mall in Split, where according to the hotel reception there should be a Technomarket outlet where they sell such stuff.

 We reach the Joker mall shortly before 11am. It's in Split town, about 1-2km north of the hotel. Nearby there is a big parking where we leave the car. The mall is smaller than the City Center One, but is much more elegant and nice. Lots of activity on this Saturday morning. We purchase a car kit for the smartphone, then leave the mall around 11:30am and drive to Zadar, arriving there at 1:20pm.

Zadar is a city along the Dalmatian coast, 120km northwest from Split (160km if you drive). It doesn't have too many sights, but is a very pleasant place, because the historic centre on the peninsula has plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops and is quite photogenic. On the west of the (small) peninsula there is a beautiful waterfront, again with cafes. The neoclassical architecture dominates the cityscape of (old) Zadar, but there are also earlier buildings, some dating back to Roman times.

 We park the car in a free parking on the eastern side of the peninsula, then walk into the old town and quickly find a restaurant where to have lunch. After lunch we explore a bit Zadar by foot. It's not a big place, but a very pleasant one, especially with a weather like this.

At 3:15pm we leave Zadar and drive to Vinjerac, on the other side of the fjord, from where there is a nice view of the Velebit mountain range. Shortly after 4pm we start driving towards Ljubljana, where we'll spend the night.

 We reach the motorway at 4:20pm. The motorway climbs up the mountain, then crosses the Velebit mountain range in a series of tunnels. When driving to Dubrovnik one week ago there were strong winds in this area, but today there is no wind at all.

Once we have crossed the Velebit mountain range the scenery changes dramatically from a Mediterranean shrubland to a central European forested area. Basically the mountain range is shielding away the cold and humid climate from the coastal area.

It's all motorway (and a pretty empty one) until close to the Slovenian border, where you leave the motorway and for the next 80km or so drive through small landroads, before getting again on the motorway in Slovenia, about 60km from Ljubljana. Once in Slovenia we buy a motorway vignette for 15 Euro (valid for 7 days).

We reach Ljubljana at 8pm. After a dinner in an Italian restaurant near the hotel, we drive to the hotel.




8.11: Ljubljana -> Munich
Home, sweet home
Weather: another sunny and warm day. Temperatures around 20C, surprisingly also in Austria. Blue sky, no clouds.

We basically leave Ljubljana at 10:40am and reach home around 4pm, after having a meal in a KFC restaurant near Munich. The drive is smooth (all motorway), there are no traffic jams, except the one at the border between Austria and Germany, where we lose half an hour (due to the refugee crisis border controls have been reintroduced). Tolls of 7 Euro in Slovenia and 11 Euro in Austria for tunnels.





Copyright 2015 Alfred Molon