Njivice is small village on the island of Krk, in the northern Adriatic. It is again one of the resorts for the family oriented people who love to enjoy in idilyc and peacefull summer holidays, along with the kids. No highlits to see here except for the pitoresque stoned houses showing the imagination of their local craftwork builders. Njivice though offers very nice beach resorts for bathing and diving activities.Related to:
- Family Travel
Sukosan is another small gem which makes part of the Zadar riviera situated less then 20 kilometres south of it. The place has very nice and interesting old core of the village made by stone exclusevelly, which giving to Sukosan very pitoresque look.
Sukosan is family oriented touristic resort which offering great bathing and diving activities, but to my money it offers couple of great restaurants. Even if only passing by do not miss to taste seafood at "Konoba Guste", its black risotto from sepia is widely famous.
Filip Jakov is small coastal town situated about 40 kilometres south of Zadar. Once fishermen and farmers village turned into prevailed touristic place. It is propitious for family holidays especially if having small children. The place is idylic and very quiet but offering first class bathing resorts. As you could see on one of my enclosed pictures, the Blue Flag stands proudly at the main beach resprt of Filip Jakov, proving that sea-water is very clean and of first class.
Kornati island national park.
The Kornati island national park is a group of 143 islands off the coast of Croatia that are uninhabited and quite barren with a unique nature and wildlife.
Tking a boratrip around the islands is really interesting and many tours are done from the town of Zadar and you can of course visit them in your own boat if you have one.
They have been inhabited in the past and you still have a few remains from that time aswell as some lighthouses and weather stations, but the rest is all left to nature and is peaceful and pure nature.Related to:
- National/State Park
Hiking in Dalmatia
Hiking in Dalmatia during summer might be tough due to heat, I usuall do it early in the morning, sunrise can sometimes be just as gorgeous as sunset!
On island Hvar I'd recommend a hike from village Sveta Nedjelja to a huge cave behind it with remains of old churches, really wonderful, named the Saint Lady of Snow
and another hike from Humac to Grapceva cave
A massage in a spa center made of tipi tents near Skalinada restaurant & appartments in Zavala would be my choice to end a day of hiking on the southern side of Hvar! :o)
Another interesting hike might be from Jelsa to Stari Grad, through ancient Greek 'hora' fields from arround 4th c.BC, which are still well preserved (under UNESCO World Heritage Site program).
picture here, far left side bay is Stari Grad, far righ Vrboska
On island Brac (Brach) my most memorable hike was to Pustinja Blaca monastery - absolutely amazing place, well worth every drop of sweat, stunning history and scenery.
Less crowded and also somehow milder climate for hiking would be along Cetina river from Omis (omish), 25 km south of Split - gorgeous nature, I hope to hike here this summer (did the rafting thing before - fabulous, see my Slime page)
advice about hiking trails and other activities here:
- Hiking and Walking
Krka National Park
Krka National Park is situated close to Sibenik and contains swimming holes, boardwalks and many nice picnic grounds to visit. It is worth spending a few hours looking around Krka and even if you wih not to swim, catch the bus down the the falls and take the small loop walk around the main falls and swimming holes.Related to:
- National/State Park
Take a Walk On Dubrovnik's City Walls
Taking a walk along the city walls is the perfect way to make your memories of Dubrovnik unforgettable. The top of wall that surrounds the old city is perfect for taking in and photographing Dubrovnik’s unique skyline of domes and towers rising above the red roofs of quaint houses. The walls are an ideal place to observe the busy city life and watch the bustling daily activities of tourists and city residents.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
My favourite saint
Before you leave Veliki Ston, make your way to the furthest corner of the town where you'll find the 14th century Franciscan monastery of St Nicholas. Fairly newly restored and re-occupied by nuns, it now provided the town with some essential social services and a church to worship in - the parish church of Sv Vlaho, built in 1870 to replace the cathedral the town once warranted, is still a ruin after suffering earthquake damage.
The little church is very plain and simple and was closed the day we were there, but I was delighted to find the carving of St Nicholas over the door was still in reasonable good condition and you could still read his name clearly.
I have particular affection for St Nicholas and am always pleased when I find a church dedicated to him or a new image of him, both for myself and for the St Nicholas Center that I can photograph and send to them to add to their world-wide gazeteer. VTer robertgaz has helped in the quest - maybe you can too.
Salt from Ston
54 kilometres north of Dubrovnik, the ancient salt-producing town of Ston's walls, whilst not as dramatic as those of Dubrovnik, are just as old and - at 5.5 kilometres in total - more than twice as long. Ston's salt was once the major source of income for the Republic of Dubrovnik, producing some two-thirds of the city-state's wealth, so guarding the vital saltpans was of the utmost importance and Ston's importance was second only to Dubrovnik's itself.
They still produce salt here, as they have done since Roman times when the town was known as Stagnum for the still shallow waters of the Ston Channel that seperates the Peljesac Peninsula from the mainland, but the walls are no longer needed to defend the valuable industry. Having survived bombing and earthquake in recent times, their remaining towers - 20 out of the orginal 41 and bastions are an impressive reminder of this corner of the Adriatic's past.
Today, Ston's a sleepy little place, visited by tourists (and not many of those in comparison to the hordes who swarm through Dubrovnik every day) looking to explore a little further afield in this part of Dalmatia. There are two parts to the town - Veliki Ston and Mali Ston, lying on either side of a large hill and unless you are on a tour or have your own transport, expect to do a fair bit of walking between the two - either around the road (flat) or following the walls up and over the hill (steep).
A walk around Veliki Ston will reveal a ruinous church (Sv Vlaho's) awaiting restoration, an impressive 13th century city fountain, lovely old stone houses and some rather grand buildings that give a good indication of the wealth once centred here. There's also a large central tree-shaded town green where the local people string out their washing lines! The town has the feel of being a little enclave of slightly alternative living away from the tourist-driven gloss of Dubrovnik and the now-fashionable Adriatic Riviera that is quite charming.
Had we known ....
We took the detour in to Veliki Ston to see the mediaeval walls that protected the city's historic salt industry. I wish we'd known about the oyster beds that the Mali Ston is famed for! MrL and I both love oysters and we would have been more than happy to knock off a dozen or two for a late lunch at one of the local restaurants, but we'd stopped for a picnic at the Blacine Lakes as we'd made our way from Split to Dubrovnik and we knew it would be sheer greed to indulge ourselves. Oh well, we'll just have to return one day.
As it was, we enjoyed a walk through the little town ("little" being the operative work - Mali means little in Croatian) and around the waterside where they've been farming oysters and mussels since Roman times - the Romans were oyster lovers too. Like its big sister over the hill on the south side of the Peljesac Peninsula, Mali Ston is encircled by mediaeval walls, and its quiet lanes and alleys are lined with old stone houses. Rather newer are the restaurants that draw people from all around the region for their share of those delicious molluscs.
With more time at our disposal, we could have climbed the hill known as St Michael's Mount that divides the two towns, to see both the fortress at the top with its arsenal and salt warehouses and the views of the towns below and the island of Korcula beyond.
Linger by a lake
Just about midway along the main Split-Dubrovnik road the Bacinska Jezera (Bacine Lakes) viewpoint is a popular stopping place for travellers in both directions. Stallholders sell local produce - fruit and honey, olive oil and home-made preserves mostly - there's a cafe and a loo, and a stunning view of the lakes in the valley below - all in all, an ideal place to stop and take a break and a photo or two before taking to the road again.
Take a little more time, as we did, and turn off the highway and head down to the lakeside and you'll find a green and tranquil little oasis, perfect for a picnic. Come prepared to stay longer and you could try your hand at fishing (now I know where the fellow with the fishing rods who got off the train with us in Ploce was headed) or some bird-watching or even take a swim in the cool water of the lake.
There was no-one around when we were there (a weekday) but my guess this is a popular place with local people at weekends - picnic tables under the trees, stalls awaiting stock and boats (traditional flatbottomed marshland "trupica") tied up at the water's edge certainly gave that impression. We shared our picnic spot with a family of ducks.
The lakes lie between the Neretva River delta, the sea and the mountains, just outside Ploce. Seven in all, they range from 5 to 35 metres in depth and cover some 20 square kilometres. The range of colours in the different lakes is quite beautiful. The surface of the lakes lies 80 cm above sea level and the bottom lies below sea level; as a result the waters vary from sweet to salt at different levels.
A mystery solved
Driving from Mostar in Bosnia over the mountain road on our way to Split, we saw these strange stones by the road side. The only signage said " XIV Century Stones". What were they? What story do they tell?
It didn't take much to discover they were late mediaeval tombstones and although they are a feature of Bosnia, where there are thousands of them scattered around parts of the country, they can be found in other places in this region of the Balkans.
As well as the great divide between the churches of the East and the West - Orthodox and Roman Catholic - in the early Middle Ages, there were other Christians who beliefs did not follow either of those doctrines, the best known of whom were the perhaps the Cathars of France. Bosnia was another place where an idiosynchratic form of Christianity took hold and survived for several centuries. It was not the sole form of Christianity practised in the country however, even then Bosnia was a country at a crossroads and some people were Catholic whilst others wereOrthodox, all living and and worshipping in their own way.
Although regarded as heretical by both Rome and Orthodoxy, even after Bosnia fell under Catholic Hungary's domination, the faith endured. As the threat from the Turk grew in the 1500s, the Bosnians appealed to the Pope for aid but the price was the whole country turning to Rome, something they would not do. The result was the Ottomans conquered Bosnia, a large section of the population became Muslim and the rest, as they say, is history.
(Thank you, JLBG for putting me on the right track here)
The stones are called "steæak" or "stecci", meaning "that which stands". The ones we saw were carved with figures of warriors and animals, and with ornamental designs. A little research tells me they are most numerous, as would be expected, in Bosnia but the ones we saw were inside Croatia. They fascinated me. I have visited Cathar strongholds in France - the redoubts of other mediaeval heretics and find them haunted places. To find a connection here with these lonely stones and realize how that then connects to the turbulent recent past of the region is a story indeed. Who says history is dead?Related to:
- Historical Travel
Beaches I can recommend that I saw in Southern Dalmatia
On Korcula - Lumbarda beach - sandy and large enough not to feel too busy
My favourite one and worth a detour on the peljesac penninsula- Zuljana
Close to Dubrovnik, on Lopud island - 2 beaches, one near the harbour and another a 20-30 min walk away
If you travel south of Dubrovnik try Molunat
These are the best beaches that we saw on our travels. In Dubrovnik expect all beaches to be busy, copacabana beach is a bus ride away and a little quieter.
More details on my Dubrovnik pages if you want
With or without a paddle ...
... the creek that runs through Vrboska and into the sea on the island of Hvar, makes the village a pretty place to take a wander, crossing and recrossing the bridges along its winding course as you go. There are five bridges in all, only one of which can take traffic, the others becoming smaller and smaller as the creek narrows. Even the bridge that can take traffic is closed to all but essential services, so if you're only visiting, you'll need to park by the creek and explore the village on foot.
The massive fortified church of St Mary, built in 1575 to offer protection to the village against raiding Ottoman ships, dominates the village which is the smallest, and the most tucked away, of the towns at the northern end of the island. You get a great overview of the village from the roof.
If you're planning to stay on the church side of the village with a car, be sure it's a small one. Access through this part of the village is via the narrowest of laneways with some sharp corners and nail-bitingly close and most unforgiving stone walls!
There's a nice secluded beach about 1km from the centre of the village.
If you're using public transport, buses run between Jelsa and Stari Grad to Vrboska.
FROM PULA TO SPLIT BY COACH
Other gorgeous but extra long ride is the route from Pula on southern part of Istria Peninsula to Zadar. Western part of Istria on the way to touristy Rijeka is awesome.. lush forest over the cliff and the sea under it, small villages and a slow ride..
It switch after Rijeka, when the bus following the coastline gets to the junctions with the islands like KRK and others.. the landscape turns out dryer and bleak in this part of the journey and it the same almost on Zadar outskirts.. the good part is the turquoise waters of the small "fjords" that coach rides as you can see on this picture
We didn't stay here but we entered several times. We had a couple of drinks in the lobby as we were...more
We stayed here from 30 Dec 2011 to 1 January 2012. This is truly an excellent hotel. Staff and...more
The guide told us it was situated so close to the center that we could walk back there, but the bus...more
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