Colourful bays, cosy old towns, Mediterranean lifestyle: With this travel report we delete Croatia from our bucket list. The motorhome filled with water and fuelled, clothes, camera, mobile phones and a pile of chargers packed: off we go with the camper to the Croatian Adriatic coast. For 16 days we will be on our way along the coast from Rovinj to Dubrovnik. Although we are on our way with the motorhome and therefore mainly approach suitable camping sites, this tour is also suitable for car travellers with accommodation in guest rooms, hotels and camping cabins. In total we cover about 4500 km.
This map gives you a graphical overview of our route and stations.
You can also download the waypoints and the route as a KML file under this Link .
Day 1: Porta Westfalica -> Prichsenstadt
Motorways, motorways and motorways. We start about 18:00 o’clock in Porta Westfalica, although we wanted to start actually already at 14:00 o’clock. Thank you dear work.
Information box at the motorhome parking lot at the Schützenhaus in Prichsenstadt – iPhone 8 Plus inbuild wideangle lens
Around 00:00 o’clock we reach the quiet “mobile home parking lot at the Schützenhaus” in the small town of Prichsenstadt. Here you can get water and electricity for 8,50 Euro per night – in addition there is a cute information box with envelopes for the insertion of money, information about the surroundings and written information from the campground attendant that you can buy schnapps from him during office hours.
Day 2: Prichsenstadt -> Rovinj
We start the day with fresh lye biscuits and coffee in a small bakery in Prichsenstadt and all that for only 4,80 Euro. This place with its wine taverns and winegrower rooms really has charm. A southern German village with old town and cobblestones like from a picture book. We will definitely come back.
fountain in the centre of Prichsenstadt, in the background the bakery – iPhone 8 Plus inbuild wideangle lens
We buy vignettes for Austria and Slovenia at a crowded petrol station behind Munich. The first 20 minutes on the motorway in Slovenia lead us to the short statement that this country is not very appealing. As we approach the coast, however, our impression is completely different: Slovenia itself is an interesting destination for us, with its green mountain ranges and small Mediterranean coastal towns. Finally we reach the Croatian border around 18:00 o’clock. Our first destination should be Rovinj.
As the first Croatian campsite we approach „Camping Polari“. It turns out that this is just such a campsite that we did not want. Four hundred own restaurants, water parks, pool areas, stages and a lot of animation for all those who just like it. We don’t like it.
Our campsite directly on the water at the campsite Polari in Rovinj – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
No matter, because our “premium pitch” in the first row at the water compensates with its view over the bay. From the other side of the bay, Helene Fischer covers with Croatian dialect sound to us in the evenings, at least in terms of craftsmanship, quite well sung. A thunderstorm with heavy rainfall and hail interrupts the spectacle and we fall asleep with the constant rainfall.
Day 3: Rovinj
The taxi boat to Rovinj invites us at 13:00 o’clock at the campsite and takes us after a 20-minute drive to the beautiful port city. Who has the possibility, should prefer the journey on the water instead of bus and taxi or the general journey on the land way. Especially from this point of view the city shows its best side.
Rovinj is perfect to reach by taxi boat – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
The beautiful parts of Rovinj consist almost exclusively of the old town and small streets. These lead to the cathedral on the highest point of the city. From here you have an excellent view over the city and the surrounding bays.
View of the Old Town of Rovinj from the boat in the marina – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
Here in Rovinj, street markets invite you to try out local wines and explore the innumerable little streets with their artists’ shops and cafés.
Laundry hangs in front of the shutters in the alleys of Rovinj – Nikon D500, Walimex Pro 8 mm f1:3,5
For lunch we eat a fish and seafood platter for two in the crease of a small alley in the „Ristaurante Marinero“. It just tastes great. Generally, there are many gems of gastronomy in the city: bars, cafés and restaurants offer enough reasons to stay several days in Rovinj and “eat your way through” everywhere.
In the alleys of Rovinj you can find hidden restaurants and cafés. – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
The day ends with a night swim in the small bay on the campsite, directly in front of our motorhome. After showering under the cold beach shower we are rather awake than tired.
Day 4: Rovinj -> Pula -> Premantura, Region Kap Kamenjak
At home we drink our coffee from the fully automatic machine as a morning ritual, here in the motorhome we have instant coffee in the morning – with hot water from the gas hob. One last time we look at the small bay and secretly hope that not all campsites in Croatia have this resort character like this one.
Then we leave for Pula. There is supposed to be such a beautiful old arena, similar to the Colosseum in Rome. Already at the entrance to the inner city we realize that we had hoped for Pula in our imagination more beautiful. Quickly it was clear for us: Pula, that is for us the Bielefeld of Istria. Away from the centre it is rather grey and industrial, with quite nice corners, but only very few of them. Those who are here would actually rather be somewhere else. And if you have the choice, instead of visiting Pula you should plan one day more for the nature reserve Premantura south of Pula and Cape Kamenjak.
The Roman Arena of Pula – Nikon D500, Walimex Pro 8 mm f1:3,5
In the afternoon we reach the campsite „Arena Stupice“ directly above the Cape Kamenjak. Thank God, our worries were in vain, there seem to be campsites without this animation. After initial difficulties with a defective power distributor we rent a small boat with outboard motor and explore the offshore islands and coastal sections.
Camping Arena Stupice: Motorhomes in a circle on a small peninsula – Samsung S7 Rear-Camera
We anchor in a small bay with our “outboard motor yacht”, swim in extremely salty and clear sea water and Daniel gets the obligatory sunburn (I swear I really put some sunscreen on).
Day 5: Kap Kamenjak
After the coffee we lift the bicycles out of the garage and set off with our bikes to Cape Kamenjak. Here the visitor can expect countless beaches with crystal clear water, pine forests and small idyllic bays. There’s only one thing that doesn’t await us here: bike paths made for classic city bikes. Our old grandma and grandpa bikes from the nineties reach their limits on the uneven gravel roads of Cape Kamenjak and their stones.
The Portic bay at Cape Kamenjak is also very popular with water sports enthusiasts – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
At first Michelle had hoped to be able to circumnavigate the entire cape by bicycle at the coast, after all there had been enough bicycle paths signposted. Furthermore, we had already found some interesting paths on the shore during the boat tour the day before and wanted to explore them now with the bicycle. All vinegar: These ways leading around the cape prove themselves much too often as stony and stepped footpaths and were simply unsuitable for the bicycle. So we carried our old bikes around the eastern half of the cape, and then went over to drive to the remaining beaches from the “main roads” from the middle of the cape.
We grant our city bikes a short break – Nikon D500, Walimex Pro 8 mm f1:3,5
We especially remember the “Safari Bar” on the western side of the Cape. A real adventure playground for young and old has been built here between dense vegetation. Countless dense corridors through pine trees, bushes and hedges hide seating and the bar. We had a beer and a cheese and olive platter for refreshment. Maybe one or the other knows the ZDF movie “Treasure Island” from 1966 – in the “Safari Bar” you can feel a little like the crew members at the log cabin. Jim Hawkins, Silver and Doctor Livesey are just around the corner.
Short break at the Safari Bar – Samsung S7 Rear-Camera
Also recommended is a small bay with restoration on the eastern side of the cape. In the bay „Portić“ there are delicious burgers and drinks under big pine trees. The low bar with its cute bathing bay offers a great refuge from heat and thirst and a unique ambience.
Restoration in the bay Portic – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
Day 6: Premantura Region Kap Kamenjak -> Island Cres, Town of Cres
Today we leave the northern tip of Croatia called Istria. The road “66” leads us on this day through a rural region just before Raša. To the right of the road flows a river with extremely turquoise water, in the background a cloudburst illuminates the ruins of an old factory in the forest. We just have to stop and take a photo. We discover extremely thick fish in the river in front of us.
Green river just before Raša – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
Shortly before Zagore we notice that our navigation system wants to send us via the island of Cres towards Krk. Well, whatever, we just follow the thing. Cres is supposed to be quite nice, Michelle says. In Brestova we drive on a completely overcrowded car ferry. We don’t notice much of the passage, because the cars are parked so close to the ferry that we can’t leave the motorhome – the doors don’t open.
The landscape on Cres is reminiscent of a mix of Norway and Greece – Nikon D500, Walimex Pro 8 mm f1:3,5
The decision to drive over Cres was one of the best spontaneous decisions of the holiday. We follow the main road of this charming and original island, the D100 in northern direction. We drive on mountain ridges, through stone fields, primeval forests, and enjoy indescribable views.
View from the central road of the island of Cres – Nikon D500, Walimex Pro 8 mm f1:3,5
After we found a place on the camping site „Kovacine“ a little bit more remote from the village Cres, which by the way was possible for city hopping or a trip through the country so far on every camping site for a few nights also without reservation, we notice that it is unexpectedly only a few minutes on foot into the city.
In the evening the restaurants in the harbour fill up and the lights reflect on the water – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
We are clearly surprised by the beauty of this place and its small harbour. Past seductive gelatinies, onto the terrace of the pretty blue and white furnished restaurant „Feral“ directly at the harbour basin. How could it be otherwise, we order a fish platter for two and the tastiest homemade bread with the best olive oil we have found so far. It is not for nothing that Cres advertises with big street signs that the island is known for the best olive oil. Our very hospitable waiter tells us that he gets his olive oil delivered by an older gentleman, who produces the oil in his own small production. And where do we get this fine wine from? “The waiter laughs at us and we take 3 litres of the oil with us without thinking twice. With a tasty ice cream on the hand it goes back into the mobile home.
Dinner at the restaurant “Feral” in the port of Cres – iPhone 8 Plus inbuild wideangle lens
What is the best way to sum up the island of Cres in a few words? Maybe like this: Cres is a mixture of Sweden, Norway and Greece. The trip to the island capital Cres was absolutely impressive for both of us. Not only the island as such, but also the small fishing village “Cres” is worth a visit.
The back streets of the city of Cres also offer a great atmosphere – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
Day 7: Island Cres -> Island Krk und Town of Malinska -> Camp Kozica near Sibinj Krmpotski
Michelle is really a little truffle pig for beautiful places. You press a map and a mobile phone with Tripadvisor and Instagram into her hand and she sniffs out the most dreamy places, the most remote bays and the most beautiful beaches. With this gift she is significantly involved in the genesis of this blog entry. Her research leads us today to a remote beach on the island of Krk, to which we land from Cres. When we arrive in Malinska, Daniel can’t really believe that Michelle wants to go swimming here somewhere: everything is full of people, the bays are full of inflatable animals and parasols.
As we walk along the promenade of Malinska in northern direction, we pass some decayed or closed hotel complexes, or better said, what is left of it. The hope that we will find a nice place here disappears.
The “Restaurant Laguna” at the promenade of Malinska has already seen better times – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
But Michelle has done her homework with Instagram and various social networks. After about an hour’s walk in a northerly direction we reach almost deserted bays with crystal clear water.
Small harbour north of Malinska – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
After an extensive bath in the cool Adriatic water we continue our journey and leave the island of Krk over the northernmost bridge.
Cooling down in a deserted bay with crystal clear water near Malinska – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
Back on the mainland we drive along the coastal road D8, the so called “Jadranska Magistrala” to the south. This road leads us past small bays and coastal villages. At the beginning of our holiday it was sometimes difficult to find small but cosy campsites in the north. Along the D8 there are more than enough camping and pitches and as many guesthouses. In the restaurants called “Konoba” at the roadside we often eat delicious fish from the grill and fresh seafood at unbeatable prices.
Tonight we shall experience another highlight. Around 22:00 o’clock a motorhome with a Fiat Panda attached by tow bar drives down the central way of the camping site “Kozica”. Almost unbraked it steers a slope floor under us on the parking bay. We are already afraid that it could obstruct our view to the sea, because the driver steers sharply to the left, drives with the alcove into a tree standing in the middle of the place. It crunches and cracks, so that one knows “There is now definitely something broken”. But the driver doesn’t brake. He drives on as if nothing had happened. After the collision he steers the motorhome to the right with the same speed and drives into a second tree. It bangs again, the tree loses some branches. The Dutchman now stops shortly before shock – and accelerates again. Now the front wheels spin. Instead of gently freeing himself from the situation, he puts the pedal to the metal until the motorhome and the team are completely stuck and the radiator fan desperately tries to save what can still be saved. During this action his front wheels have completely incorporated the power cable of a neighbouring tent into the ground. He now tries it backwards, but forgets that the Fiat Panda with tow bar is already behind the motorhome at an angle of 80 degrees. When he puts it back, he overstretches the tow bar to the Fiat and the tow bar is inserted into the rear of his motorhome. The construct might be bent now also. The Dutchman detaches the Fiat from the trailer coupling and drives it backwards behind the motorhome. It crashes again, because also the Fiat met now the tree, which also the camper got to know in the beginning nearer. Without the attachment at the motorhome the Dutchman frees now finally the damaged camping vehicle from the unfortunate situation and places itself apart from us on the lower floor. The Fiat is still standing on the tree, the tow bar is still attached to the front. Somehow he doesn’t seem to be interested at all.
Evening idyll in front of the motorhome – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
A short time later, when the Dutchman puts the power cable into the distributor, we notice what presumably brought the older gentleman to this performance: alcohol. A lot of it. What a spectacular spectacle. When we weren’t afraid of death, we had to go into the car to laugh.
After the motorhome destruction spectacle, we enjoy the view of the Adriatic Sea again with Croatian beer.
Michelle captures the moment with her camera when the campsite looks a bit like the Shire in “The Lord of the Rings”. A dreamy scenery.
View from camping Kozica to the sea – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
Day 8: Sibinj Krmpotski -> Krka Nationalpark
Today we continue our journey on the D8, the Croatian coastal road to the south. At the beginning of the day we stop at every little blue bay to take pictures, a little later we got used to the sights. This is the same as in Norway with the waterfalls: At the first ten we still stop enthusiastically, at some point we only take note of them. The coastal road D8, also called Jadranska Magistrala, offers many of these beautiful views of bays and small coastal villages. We can only recommend to everybody to prefer the coastal road to the domestic roads and highways, even if the driving is certainly more strenuous in some parts and also takes longer. This road alone is a real experience.
In the run-up to our trip many friends and acquaintances advised us not to visit the Krka National Park with its waterfalls. The rush was too big and the paths were overcrowded. It is 17:30 o’clock when we arrive at the national park, in two and a half hours the soccer World Cup semi-final game England against Croatia begins. There can’t be a better time to visit the waterfalls, we think, and descend the almost 1 km long footpath into the national park.
At the end of the route through the Krka National Park we have a great panorama – Nikon D500, Walimex Pro 8 mm f1:3,5
The park is deserted and we are almost alone. Both factors lead to unique photos without other visitors. On the 3 km long log trail through the park we hear no voices, only the sound of the waterfalls, the birds and the wind.
Log trails lead visitors through the Krka National Park – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
We both have the dream of seeing the jungle sometime. We always think of Costa Rica and the rainforest with its dense green fauna and the sounds of nature. The Krka National Park has shown us that for a real jungle feeling you don’t have to look all the way to South America, we both have the dream to see the jungle sometime. We always think of Costa Rica and the rainforest with its dense green fauna and the sounds of nature. The Krka National Park has shown us that for a real jungle feeling you don’t have to look as far as South America.
One of the numerous waterfalls in a HDR long time exposure – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
The way from wooden planks leads us over crystal clear watercourses. We see fish standing under us in the water, which seem to be only one handle away. A snake crosses the path before drifting away in a small stream. We hold our hands in the rivers and our heads under a wonderfully cool waterfall. The water tastes as pure as tap water.
The big waterfall in Krka National Park – Nikon D500, Walimex Pro 8 mm f1:3,5
After several hours we leave the park, walk up the steep mountain path to the parking lot, wearing clearly wrong shoes (boat shoes and strappy sandals), and watch in one of the pubs on TV how Croatia beats England with 2:1 in the extension. Bengalos are ignited, the Croats sing and dance until deep into the night on the streets in front of the two cafés. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the World Cup we spend the night “wild” at the back of the National Park parking lot. Powerbanks charge our electrical appliances, the fridge is running on gas tonight.
Day 9: Krka Nationalpark -> Primosten -> Island Hvar, Town of Starigrad
We start our day with an instant coffee in front of the car. Already at 7:00 o’clock in the morning the parking lot starts to fill up with new visitors. With the mass of tourists arriving, we notice once again how lucky we are to have been able to experience the National Park almost deserted last night. We drive back to the west in order to continue our journey on the coastal road in southern direction.
On our way today lies the small coastal town of Primosten. Similar to Rovinj, the town is situated on a small hill, the church is enthroned on the highest point and can be seen from far away.
Primosten photographed from southern direction – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
We park the car and go on foot to explore. After we have climbed the city hill and seen the church, we go through the small, slowly heating alleys back to the foot of the city to drink a glass of white wine in the marina. We watch butter and people and people on boats.
Primosten is also one of these cities, which offers many possibilities to stop in cafés or restaurants, to experience culinary delights or simply to stroll through the small shops and artists’ studios that are located in the alleys.
The town of Primosten reminds us a little of Rovinj – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
A few hours later we leave Primosten and continue our journey.
If you want to experience the traffic and organizational hell on earth, you should definitely visit the ferry port of Split. There is not much more for us to see in this city. To be honest, we didn’t really try that. The city has the charm of Marseille in the furthest corners. Apartment blocks with skyscrapers decorate the cityscape, the back streets are grey and dirty and the beautiful parts of the harbour are overcrowded by people. Let’s get out of here.
For the drivers of big camper vans the harbour of Split is a real adventure: Find your way to one of the tens of millions of ferry terminals here without any sensible signs or parking to buy a ticket. Anyway – where the hell do you get tickets here? Cross the completely overcrowded one-way street at the harbour without being able to turn right. Then turn in pure desperation somewhere in the narrow harbour area and wait several minutes until somebody lets you into the traffic flow again. Drive back through the city centre of Split until you have arrived again at the entrance to the ferry terminals. Repeat the whole thing several times until you then block a pedestrian path and a queue of waiting cars in complete shit-all-attitude in the absoulten stop prohibition in order to buy the damn ferry tickets.
When Michelle buys tickets, Daniel is asked by one of the dockers to continue because he can’t stay there. Daniel doesn’t give a shit. What does he want to do? If Daniel drives on now, Michelle will be lost forever in this minor hole. Anyway, there are some ferry signposts on the road everywhere – if there were a proper signposting here, they would all be unemployed.
A quarter of an hour later, when we finally stand in the right queue to the ferry, an old Mercedes T-model dies at the front. Someone is about to freak out – “Falling Down” with Michael Douglas is a piece of cake. The 14:00 departure is far away as the owner of the scrap mill starts to discuss with the port personnel.
A grandpa starts to “clean” our windscreen with dirty water. The smearing is the only correct expression for his efforts. Daniel shouts “No, thanks” from the car in a friendly manner. The busy windscreen cleaner continues. Daniel drives down the window further and yells at him. Now he continues swearing. His luck.
At some point we are finally on board a “Jadrolijnska” ferry to the island of Hvar. The ship is overcrowded, the coffee is reasonably clear, the staff is unfriendly. No wonder, they probably all live in this ugly city “Split”. We illegally decide to spend the passage in the round corner of the motorhome. We edit pictures and write this part of the travel report.
An hour and a half later we land on the island of Hvar. Daniel has calmed down again, the relaxing part of the holiday can go on. No island would be better suited for this than Hvar, because according to the omniscient Internet, Hvar is one of the least developed Croatian islands for tourism. Quite our thing. At the arrival, we don’t really know where we want to go, only we know that we want to leave the island in the next days at the south-eastern tip towards Dubrovnik.
Spontaneously we follow the signs to a local winegrower to buy some wine for the coming evenings. In the winery of the brothers Plančic in Vrbanjdegustieren we taste different white wines in the bottling hall and have a short talk with the daughter of one of the brothers. She says the work and the tradition associated with it are fun, too, and we can well imagine that when small disputes come much closer to the substance at work in a family business than in a normal office job. The daughter explains that tourist groups often book a wine tasting, but also those are welcome who, like us, stop by spontaneously and in pairs. We leave the winery later with some boxes of “Plančić Bogdanuša”, a special grape variety that only exists on Hvar. A great experience.
The winery Plančic on Hvar – iPhone 8 Plus inbuild wideangle lens
While Daniel stows the wine crates in the garage, Michelle searches the Internet for the next concrete destination and finds what she is looking for: We drive a few kilometres back to the tranquil harbour town of Starigrad. Arrived there we try to find a parking lot suitable for a 6.70m long motorhome. Of course in vain. On the north side of the city we finally get stuck in a much too narrow turning hammer between two fishing boats pulled ashore there. A dead end sign would have been worth its weight in gold. After about 10 minutes of moving back and forth we got out of this awkward situation under the eyes of the local fishermen. With beads of sweat on our forehead we imagine how the drunken Dutchman would have mastered this situation: probably faster, but also with material damage and fatalities.
Also the southern part of the city with its narrow streets is not necessarily motorhome friendly. Shortly before Daniel wanted to throw in the towel to drive to another city, a small brown sign appears with the inscription „Autocamp Jurjevac“. By the, how should it be in this city also differently, again extremely narrow entrance we arrive at an almost natural camping site under high, shade donating pine trees. Parked, power cable laid and prepared for the exploration of the cute coastal village.
A narrow path at the campsite brings us directly to the southwestern harbour wall after a three-minute walk. Through the narrow lane down to the promenade we see the stern of the yacht “Corinthian” from George Town on the Cayman Islands between plants and walls. The crew of the ship is stowing a jet ski in the stern garage of the ship.
“Maybe we should buy a boat”.
Sunset in the harbour of Starigrad – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
We explore the romantically lit, medieval streets of the city. There are so many beautiful places, cafes and restaurants to visit, but you simply don’t have the time. Finally we eat directly at the promenade at „Kod Barba Luke“. Excellent fish, great wine, first class service. Be sure to try the octopus salad! While we enjoy our dinner, we watch the promenaders passing by. The sun sets slowly, the restaurant is bathed in orange light, candles and fairy lights will shine a little later.
Day 10: Island Hvar, Town of Starigrad
We are woken up around 08:00 in the morning by the chirping of the cicadas.
Starigrad with its small alleys, hidden places and restaurants pleased us so much the evening before that we decide to spend another day here while having our morning coffee under pine trees. We sit until noon in the shade of our awning, take turns writing our blog post, drink coffee and develop the photos of the past days. Camping can be so easy and luxurious at the same time. At least until you have to empty the shit tank.
The motorhome at camping Jurjevac in Starigrad – iPhone 8 Plus inbuild wideangle lens
In the early afternoon we walk along the promenade, drink a gin and tonic in one of the cafés at the front row of the harbour and eat an ice cream in the ice cream café „Special“. We didn’t ask for it, but the ice cream definitely tastes handmade, especially the melon and pistachio. Rarely have we eaten such a good ice cream. Happily we return to the motorhome. Despite the shady pine trees of the camping site, the inside of the motorhome feels like an oven, but the air conditioning provides relief within a few minutes.
To explore also on the day beautifully: The alleys of Starigrad – Nikon D500, Walimex Pro 8 mm f1:3,5
Daniel tries to upload pictures via the WLAN of the campsite. In vain. The internet access on the previous sites or also in cafés or national parks was rather a waste of time. With up- and download rates of a few kilobits per second for almost everything unusable. The cicadas still give their concert, from time to time we still notice it, but mostly our brain fades out the noises. Only when you concentrate on the little tormentors you notice how loud the animals actually are.
At dusk we go into town again. We want to eat at a special place that we already noticed yesterday, namely in the restaurant „La Gitana“. Under blossoming trees and chains of lights we eat one of the best meals of our holiday by candlelight and lantern light.
The restaurant La Gitana in the alleys of Starigrad – Nikon D500, Walimex Pro 8 mm f1:3,5
There are tuna carpaccio, olives from the island, scampis in buzzara sauce and grilled salmon. If you visit this restaurant and there is the homemade sangria, make sure you get it. Also the cocktails are not from bad parents, especially a gin tonic with whole star anise and lavender leaves is very appealing to us.
Day 11: Island Hvar, Town of Starigrad -> Dubrovnik
From Starigrad we drive to the eastern end of the island of Hvar. The roads on this route are simply adventurous: Two cars can pass each other in some places only with the greatest care, to the left and right of the paved road it goes down directly several meters deep and crash barriers exist only a few. Rarely has Daniel experienced such roads. Mountain passes in Norway, English city centres or single track roads with oncoming traffic in the Highlands. Nothing against these 40 kilometres on the main road of the island of Hvar. On half of the way an Audi A6 with its exterior mirror at the door touches us as we stand in front of a bend waiting for oncoming traffic. We can polish away the scratch, hopefully it has completely dismantled its mirror including expensive electronics. Asshole.
Sweaty and relieved when we arrive at “Sućuraj”, we get stuck in a traffic jam for about 3 hours at the entrance to the village. The ferry from the island Hvar to “Drvenik” seems to expect many passengers today.
Back on the mainland we follow the Jadranska Magistrala (D8) further south where we cross a stretch of land that stands out like a green oasis from the rocky landscape. On the roadsides of this region farmers offer their produce for sale and at one point of our route we have a fantastic panorama over the fields and irrigation ditches.
Agricultural region between the mountain ranges – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
Finally we cross the border to Bosnia near Neum. This detour is necessary to reach the Croatian exclave Dubrovnik. The short Bosnian coastal section is remarkably different from the Croatian cities on the coastal road. It seems as if not a bit of tradition and original culture has been preserved here, as if everything had been sacrificed for tourism. According to our experience of Croatia so far, this is a strange experience. We are glad when we arrive back in Croatia half an hour later.
Today we drove a lot and both of us were very tired when we parked our car at the camping Solitudo in Dubrovnik around 19:00 o’clock. We agree: Tonight we do nothing more, we spend the evening with a white wine at the table in front of the car and eat stylish our canned ravioli. Nice, this simple life.
Day 12: Dubrovnik
Around 11:00 a.m. we leave the campsite with an overpass in the direction of the old town of Dubrovnik. The Uber app works well here, even offers for boat transfers can be found in Croatia. The trip costs us 49 Kuna, equivalent to 6,50€.
Arrived in the old town, we explore the innumerable small lanes. And when we say innumerable here, then we mean innumerable. Dubrovnik’s old town literally kills one with its winding alleys, small stairs and the resulting confusion. Because the old town is huge, not to compare with the small, cute cities Rovinj or Primosten. In addition, the large streams of visitors leave their mark: Garbage, graffiti and empty bottles of liquor decorate the roadsides.
Oysters from Ston, anchovies and local wines in a restaurant in Dubronik’s alleys – iPhone 8 Plus inbuild wideangle lens
The city has a lot to offer in culinary terms: In the centre of the old town there are many restaurants and bars, but we recommend the smaller restaurants away from the big, central squares. Here you will find fresh oysters from Ston, freshly grilled fish and great wines. Also recommended: At the northern city wall there is a bar, which can only be reached by walking through it. From here you have a wonderful view of the bays and the ships anchoring there.
Later, we absolutely want to climb the famous city wall, but when we found the ascent to this in the maze of the overstrained city, the entrance is already closed.
The photos of Dubrovnik, which we saw before our trip, were one of the main reasons for us to go to Croatia and start the long journey to the south of the country, to the exclave Dubrovnik. Now we want to see these romantic places and views of this city with our own eyes. But the reality is different. One wants to see and experience so much, but then one finds oneself searching and lost in the partly dirty alleys.
Port in the Old Town of Dubrovnik – Nikon D500, Walimex Pro 8 mm f1:3,5
At the end of the day we manage one of these great shots of Dubrovnik, which we know from various travel guides. With enough distance to the motive the photo seems almost romantic.
In retrospect we are annoyed to have started the journey to Dubrovnik, which is the farthest away. Almost all bigger cities were a disappointment: Pula, Split, Zadar and last but not least Dubrovnik. To be honest, if you are looking for beautiful old towns and tranquil places, you should save yourself the cities and spend your holidays in Istria and near the northern Adriatic and the islands. Rovinj, Primosten, Cres or Starigrad on Hvar have much more charm and character than the strongholds of mass tourism.
Day 13: Dubrovnik -> Mostar -> Krka Nationalpark
After the departure from Dubrovnik around 09:00 o’clock in the morning we drive north again. We want to make a detour in the direction of Bosnia Herzegovina, or more precisely in the city of Mostar with its famous bridge.
Arrived at the border crossing, the Bosnian border guard asks us for our green insurance card. Perfectly prepared, Daniel proudly hands him the card, and the border guard informs us that the card has expired. We look puzzled at the expiry date of the map. Really. We didn’t know at all that the map could expire and now we already reckon that we have to turn around without being able to look at Mostar. Thanks to Daniel’s powers of persuasion and the friendliness of the border post, we can still enter the country about a quarter of an hour later, but should drive carefully.
Two hours later we arrive in Mostar. What a juggernaut. The city consists of overcrowded parking lots, garbage and ruins but also of the famous bridge.
On the facades of some older houses we can still see bullet holes and craters of explosions from the Bosnian war.
It is impossible to park the motorhome here. Altogether we drive three times through the narrow and parked city centre, but there are no parking places for big cars or buses here. The signposts of the private parking lots signal with hand signals that we are too big and should drive on. To be honest: Neither the city, nor the people here create a good feeling in us, we would park our car here somewhere. And apart from the bridge, there is really nothing nice to see here. In pure desperation we stop after the third unsuccessful attempt on the bridge south of the old town bridge and Michelle takes a picture of the famous building out of the motorhome. Mission accomplished and now nothing but away from this city and this country. Of course nice and careful.
The bridge of Mostar – Nikon D500, Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM | Art
But the trip to Bosnia had a good thing: Shortly before we leave Bosnia, we stop at the restaurant „Zagreb“ in Međugorje on the way back. Here we eat the best grill plate of all times for two persons. That alone makes a detour across the border worthwhile.
An excellent grill plate for two persons in the restaurant “Zagreb” – iPhone 8 Plus inbuild wideangle lens
With a full stomach we drive further north until we finally spend the evening again in the public parking lot of the Krka National Park near Sibenik. We witness a violent thunderstorm with strong winds, hail, high rainfall and barely get a wink of sleep during the night.
Day 14: Krka Nationalpark -> Nationalpark Plitvicer Lakes
This day will be a true adventure. It all started with our navigation device that guided us 15km into a narrow forest path in the middle of nowhere to reach the National Park of Plitvice Lakes. Of course also completely from the wrong side of the park. At some point we finally arrive at the real parking lot of the national park: Our camper van stands on the parking lot of the “Entrance 2”. Here there is an extra area for camper vans and we hope to stay here overnight.
Shortly before 15:00 o’clock we buy for 250 Kuna (approx. 34 €) per person our tickets for the national park.
After the purchase of the tickets we can choose between 6 routes, which lead the visitors with different degrees of difficulty through the national park. Route A takes about 2 hours, Route K about 8 hours. Overzealously we decide for Route K, finally we have paid the entrance fee and now we want to see everything. Already at this point we should have noticed that we would not be at the camper again until 23:00 o’clock at 8 hours duration. Unfortunately this did not occur to us at this point.
So we pack our photo bag and the backpack with enough drinking water and start our hike. We agree that we actually do not want to use any of the offered promotions like boats or the panorama train in the national park, but want to explore everything on foot. And this works splendidly at first. We walk from entrance 2 at the lakeside towards the north to the big waterfall. Already shortly after the beginning of our hiking tour we are deeply impressed by the clear, blue water of the Plitvice lakes. We see shoals of fish so close to the shore that they would be tangible.
Fish in the crystal clear waters of the Plitvice Lakes – Nikon D500, Walimex Pro 8 mm f1:3,5
The route K now leads us to really every lookout point on our shore, which also means that we climb up and down many cursed hills.
Around 17:30 we reached the big waterfall of the Plitvice Lakes. From here, we start again on the western shore of the lakes in direction to the south. At some point around 18:00 o’clock we notice that the running off of the western shore really takes a very long time. The many small bays that go deep into the interior of the country and then return to the centre of the lakes extend the pure distance tremendously. Clouds come up, in the distance we hear thunderstorms and we realize that we won’t be able to complete Route K completely. The gust roller of the approaching thunderstorm catches us with strong gusts of wind and the typical cold air. We change our plan and want to cross with a short ferry trip from the west bank (P2) to the east bank (P1) to return to the starting point of our hike. We won’t see the southern part of Route K any more, but it’s better to sit somewhere in the forest soaking wet than in a heavy thunderstorm. We hope that the planned ferry will leave at this time of day. If not, there is nothing else to do but to walk the southern part of Route K, or to go back all the way we came.
One of the largest waterfalls in the Plitvice Lakes National Park – Nikon D500, Walimex Pro 8 mm f1:3,5
The time is pressing: It is already 19:00 o’clock and we think that the last ferry leaves at 19:30. In the distance we recognize the small ferry boat. Meanwhile the wind has become so strong that it blows the forest floor into our face as we run towards the ferry. In one of the bays another obstacle is waiting for us: Extreme mud. In this bay a small river flows, which has completely transformed the forest ground on an area of approx. 400m² into a swamp.
Daniel tries to cross the place nevertheless, however, after 3 steps he slumps down to the knee. No getting through at this point. Do we have to walk all the way back now? Somewhat offside lies a tree trunk in the mud soil, Michelle takes care of this jungle test and balances over the dead tree and the swampy forest soil. Daniel follows her, slips down and now also stands with his other leg up to his knee in the mud. The shoes are finally lost.
In parts of the national park, log paths lead visitors across the water – Nikon D500, Walimex Pro 8 mm f1:3,5
Around 20:00 o’clock we finally arrive at the ferry and learn that it runs until 21:30 o’clock. Luckily, we would not have had to hurry so much. Nevertheless, we are glad to have finally escaped the thunderstorm.
Arrived at the camper Daniel disposes of his not recognizable boat shoes. It is already late. We drink another glass of wine in front of the car as the last parked vehicle leaves the national park parking lot through the barrier. Now we are all alone here, in the middle of the forest on a huge area. We go to sleep, but fear the whole night over that it knocks immediately and now someone asks us to leave the parking lot. But we are lucky, nobody seems to disturb our overnight stay. For the overnight stay we pay the next morning a parking fee of 100 Kuna, about 14€ – that’s okay.
Day 15: Nationalpark Plitvicer Lakes -> Prichsenstadt
There’s not much more to say here. Highway, highway and again highway, until we arrive in the evening around 19:00 o’clock, after 12 hours drive, again in Prichsenstadt. Here we already spent the first evening of our trip.
Whereby, there is still one thing to note in this cute little town: In the evening we have dinner in the „Gasthof zum Storch“. Who is here in the proximity, should absolutely stop and take a seat in the cosy beer garden behind the house. We toast with the smoky beer of a small brewery from Würgau, eat fresh leaf salad and Franconian Sauerbraten and let all the beautiful moments of our vacation once again pass in review.
What photographic equipment did we have with us?
Below you will find affiliate links to the equipment we use:
- DSLR-Kamera Nikon D500
- Objektiv Sigma 18-35mm F1,8 DC HSM
- Objektiv Sigma 17-50mm F2,8 EX DC OS HSM
- Objektiv Walimex Pro 8mm f1:3,5 Fish-Eye
- Reisestativ Rollei Compact Carbon (980 g inkl. Kopf)
- Wasserdichter Fotorucksack von Beschoi
- iPhone 8 Plus
- Wasserdichte Handyhülle für Sicherung des iPhones beim Wassersport
All the links in this text are Amazon Affiliate Links, and by clicking on an affiliate link I will earn a percentage of your subsequent Amazon purchases. However, this circumstance does not influence the background of my product recommendation. This product recommendation is independent, honest and sincere.
Bei allen genannten Links handelt es sich um Amazon-Affiliate-Links. Durch einen Klick auf einen Affiliate-Link werde ich prozentual an Euren darauf folgenden Amazon-Einkäufen beteiligt. Dieser Umstand beeinflusst aber nicht die Hintergründe meiner Produktempfehlung. Diese Produktempfehlung erfolgt unabhängig, ehrlich und aufrichtig.