2nd – 5th August
We traveled from Vienna to Ljubljana on two trains, one over the alps (beautiful scenery) to Maribor and one from Maribor to Ljubljana through the dark Slovenian countryside.
To get to Zadar from Ljubljana, we took a train to Zagreb and a bus from there to Zadar (Croatia doesn’t have all that many train lines, but the bus system is good).
In Ljubljana, we stayed for just one night in Hostel Tivoli which cost £19.65 per person for a eight bed dorm which consisted of two (incredibly cool) triple bunk beds and one normal bunk bed. There was a small common room and kitchen and the bathrooms were down the corridor from the room. We were barely in this hostel however as we arrived late and left early. It was a 15-20min walk from the station and a 25min walk to central Ljubljana.
In Zadar we stayed at Hostel Home Zadar which was perfectly located in the old town on the sea front (although a fairly long walk from the bus station), had lovely views and cost £14.84 per person per night for a six bed dorm. There were three set of bunk beds in the room and large key-operated lockers. There was air con too which was great as it was hot. The bathrooms are down the corridor and there’s a lovely kitchen. The only downside was that it’s on the 5th floor and there is no lift! We were very sweaty when we reached the top, but worth it for such a great place to stay at such a low price!
We arrived in Ljubljana late and walked to our hostel. Hayley was tired so said she’d shower and go to bed, while Emily, Becky and I went for a walk into the city centre. I’d been to Ljubljana before, so I knew the centre was very pretty. We walked and and saw Ljubljana Castle on the hill, lit up green. We walked along the streets where there was a lovely chilled atmosphere and saw the Dragon Bridge. Then we sat and had a drink at Fany and Mary’s, a bar by the river. The drink was called a Blue Mary and was made of blue curacao, vodka, sugar syrup and lemonade – it tasted lovely! Afterwards, we walked back to the hostel and slept.
We got up early and left for Zagreb, the train was very full, but we managed to get seats by un-british-ly waking a sleeping couple who had a whole six-seat compartment.I dozed for most of the journey. We arrived in Zagreb and walked to the bus station, inducing Croatia nostalgia (I had previously been with my boyfriend in 2013). We got on our bus to Zadar and admired the countryside as we went. Eventually we saw the sea and Emily got very excited (she loves the sea). We arrived in Zadar to a baking heat and walked to our hostel (the stairs were especially unwelcome in the heat, but so it goes).
We checked in then showered and headed to the beach! There was a lovely bit with a bar and a diving platform that I was dared to jump off. We swam in the sea, which was pretty warm. It was great to be in such a tranquil place after the hectic cities. We had a drink at the bar and a ice cream (which was only 7 kunas – less than £1!).
After sitting for a while, we went home to change before going out for dinner. We found a restaurant on the sea front just along from our hostel. I had sea bass and we even got some wine! We ate and watched the sun go down – Croatia is an incredible country, probably my favourite I have visited so far. After dinner, we walked along the sea front to the Sea Organ and Greeting to the Sun (a light installation). The eerie sounds of the sea organ in time with the waves was great background sound. We walked further round the seafront and back through the town, buying another ice cream on the way before going back to the hostel to sleep.
We had a long-awaited lie-in today! We got up, bought some lunch and went straight to the beach. We ate our lunch then headed for the sea. We floated around in the sea for about an hour before returning to the shore. Next it was time for me to jump off the diving board (apparently I can’t resist a dare). There were three levels 3m, 5m and 10m. I decided to start with the 3m and work up. I jumped off after some hesitation and a vast amount of salt water went up my nose 😦 I was told I had to at least do the 5m one too. Again, it took me a while, but I did it. I landed it wrong and literally bruised my arse! Well done me.
After this I got a big beer from the bar – well deserved for completing the silly dare. We played cards for a while then returned to the hostel to change. We explored the old town some more and found St Donatus Church, St Anastasia’s Cathedral, a Franciscan Monastery and a piece of town wall.
We got food from Konsum (my favourite shop) for dinner and I found a giant melon which made me incredibly happy.
We then headed out to drink by the sea for a while. The atmosphere out there was sublime. I can’t express how much I love Croatia. Afterwards we found a bar, a really cool place called The Garden Lounge that was outdoor and had massive cushions to sit on. We ordered some cocktails and I had an absolutely LETHAL long island iced tea. We stumbled back to the hostel via the greeting to the sun, where I lay down on the floor (obviously).
The next day, we left the hostel feeling a little under the weather and went and sat in Vladimir Nazor Park and read and chatted until it was time to go to our bus to Split to catch our ferry to Italy!
Tips for Zadar:
– Go for at least three full days
– Swim in the sea! But don’t jump off the diving platform unless you can land it well!
– Wait until it is late at night, midnight or later, and walk to the sea organ and greeting to the sun and just sit and soak up the peaceful vibes – one of the best places to be.
– The Garden Lounge is a lovely bar, but drinks are strong – order a glass, not a pitcher!
– Visit Zadar as part of a Croatian tour, Croatia is such an incredible country for so many reasons – it’s beautiful, the people are incredibly friendly and it’s really cheap to name a few!