I visited Croatia on a family holiday when I was 18, in the Summer during my gap year. I had just come back from one week in Kavos (Greece) with my school friends and I was only home one night before heading back to the airport. As a result, I was suffering from the week-long hangover that tends to follow these kinds of 18-30 holidays and spent the majority of my time asleep on the beach! However, I still remember how beautiful Croatia was, and since reading more about the different places (especially all the island hopping), I’d love to go back and see the country properly. EDIT: Heading back to Croatia in July 2016!
We flew in to Pula airport (circled on the map above) and travelled by coach towards Porec, which took just under one hour and cost a grand total of £4.50/ $6.50 per person! Porec is almost 2,000 years old, and is set around a harbour protected from the sea by the small island of Sveti Nikola (Saint Nicholas/San Nicola). We actually stayed on this island in one of the hotels (Hotel Fortuna), which meant getting a ferry to and from the harbour/ mainland (around £2/ $1.40 per person for a return).
The island was pretty adorable, with pine forests, pebble beaches, rocky breakwaters and small bays ideal for snorkelling. I spent a lot of time swimming and snorkelling along the coast, spotting as many exotic fish as I could (whilst trying not to vomit – thank you Kavos).
Whilst there, we visited Porec’s Old Town, which was a maze of cobbled streets, restaurants and historical buildings. There are also lots of winding side streets filled with shops, art galleries and quaint courtyards. You can also opt to visit the famous Euphrasian Basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is most integrally preserved early Christian cathedral complex in the region and unique due to the fact all the basic components, e.g. church, chapel and atrium are preserved… Pretty cool!
Other options include a trip to the Bardine cave which costs around £8/ $11, or visit one (or all) of the three towers: Pentagonal, Round Tower and Northern. All were all built in the 15th century during Venetian rule to guard against a potential invasion. They are three of the original 11 Porec towers that once made up the city walls, and are now a popular tourist attraction. There’s lots more to do in Porec, including day trips, sea sports such as kayaking, and lots of local walking opportunities. You can even opt, as my parents did, to go on a day trip to Venice by ferry which takes 2 hours, 45 minutes and costs about £50/ $70 return.
For more information about Croatia (written by a fellow traveller!) – specifically on Dubrovnik, Split and the Islands, head here 🙂