April 17, 2010
DUBROVNIK, Croatia, Apr. 17, 2010/ Bon Voyage / — Croatia will forever be linked in my mind with the beautiful turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea, because that was how we first saw it while driving for a couple of long leisurely days down the Dalmatian Coast.
The Republic of Croatia is another of the republics that came out of the breakup of the former state of Yugoslavia, for those of you who can remember that far back.
We started our trip in Munich, Germany, passed through Austria and Slovenia then down the coast of Croatia all the way to Dubrovnik. While there is a highway building program going on all over Croatia, be prepared for many smaller roads and slower driving times.
We started our Croatian road trip in Pula by exploring its many Roman ruins, then poked along the jagged coastline, with its many inlets and peninsulas. It is claimed that there is over a thousand miles (1,600 km) of coastline to explore and over a thousand islands just off the coast to entice you. While we were content to just explore a couple of the coastal towns before heading on to Dubrovnik, you might want to take a few days to explore.
We visited the city of Split on the way back north, headed inland to the amazing waterfalls in Plitvicka National Park, then on to the capital of Zagreb. Our trip through Croatia and back to Munich took us a full week, but allow for two weeks if you want to really explore the area.
Be aware that there is a big police presence on Croatian roads. They spot check motorists for drinking and driving (the legal limit for blood alcohol content in Croatia is .05 per cent) and they have radar.
There are hotels and some campgrounds all along the road, but don’t leave your accommodations to late in the day. There are some long stretches that are blissfully undeveloped. While it’s beautiful to see, it means that you might have to drive a long way to find the next hotel.
Stress-free vacation tip
Our rule is always to have your hotel by late afternoon. (We broke that rule twice on this trip…. and were a little concerned about finding a place to sleep. There was always something there at the end of the day, but who needs that stress? Holidays are supposed to be relaxing.)
There are plenty of ways to get into Croatia: you can fly in, take the train, or you can join a bus tour. There are cruises along that beautiful Adriatic Coast. While Croatia is worth a visit no matter how you get there, but we think driving Croatia is the best way to see it that first time.
Top 10 Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian Coast (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides) by James B. Stewart
Dubrovnik, 2nd: The Bradt City Guide (Bradt Mini Guide) by Piers Letcher
A Traveller’s History of Croatia – by Benjamin Curtis
Croatia Through History – by Branka Magas
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Channels: The Calgary Beacon, April 19, 2010