Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Croatia - (Zagreb-Split-Hvar-Dubrovnik-Prague) #1
Why Croatia? The decision to go to Croatia was taken way before they fared so well in the World Cup, for a population of just 4.5m. If you look at the map of Croatia, its made up a narrowish mainland and then loads of beautiful small islands.
I agreed to go to Croatia/Prague because a friend of a friend has visited Croatia a few times and would be leading the group to a few wineries.
Tip number one: check where you will be landing going to Croatia. Their airports are smallish, hence not all airlines will land in all their airports. I took Qatar Airways, which lands in Zagreb. The key is to make it to Split as a meeting point.
Zagreb is mainly made up of a huge Main Square, where only modern trams and bicycles are allowed. Most tourists will stay inside the square. Be warned, inside the square are mostly cobblestones, if your luggage is a 4 wheeler, it will likely kaput very soon.
It is not just Zagreb only, even in Split, Hvar, and Dubrovnik, you need super high duty wheels on your luggage to navigate. Two wheelies are better than 4 wheelies. Ask for super reinforced two wheelies. Surprisingly, it is not that easy to buy new pieces of luggage in Croatia, go figure.
Zagreb was a two-dayer for me. Tried four different local food places, none were impressive. Somehow, Zagreb left me with the "worst food" place title for my entire trip in Croatia.
The drinking and smoking culture was good. Almost every other small street and alleyway were filled with open-air restaurants and bars. The beers were very good and not expensive.
Food was so unimpressive that I had to have McDonald's late into the night. It was good.
Zagreb is good to spend one or two days max. Considering where you should be spending most of your time in Croatia (i.e. Hvar, Split and the smaller islands)... it is best to fly into Split or Dubrovnik.
Best thing about Zagreb is that you can book a car and drive down to Split, which will take 3-4 hours. On the way take a detour (another hour or two) to go to Plitvice Lakes, a UNESCO heritage site. Absolutely mesmerising.
You need 3-5 hours to get the full benefit of hiking around the lakes, and also to take their boat ride to bring you closer to the waterfalls.
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