I can’t recall how and when Croatia became part of my travel wishlist. Maybe it was in 2013, when I heard news that Croatia had joined the EU and would apply for Schengen status. I thought: “Yay! Another country we can travel to with our Schengen visas!”
The buzz about Croatia was that it’s gorgeous, sunny, affordable, and somehow still undiscovered (its tourism tagline is “The Mediterranean As It Once Was”). Then Game of Thrones started filming in Croatia. From a faint idea, it grew into a travel itch I just had to scratch.
This summer, we went for it and booked a three-week trip to the Dalmatian coast. Our plan was to fly into Split, hit a few islands on our way down the coast, and fly out of Dubrovnik.
“Three weeks?! What are you going to do in Croatia for three weeks?!” I got this reaction A LOT. Truthfully, three weeks isn’t nearly enough to explore the Dalmatian coast, let alone the whole of Croatia. Over the next few posts, I’m going to tell you just how we spent those three weeks—starting with the beautiful city of Split.
Split surprised me with its resemblance to Venice, which comes from having been ruled by the Venetian Republic for 400 years. The architecture, the food and the atmosphere, especially around Diocletian’s Palace and the Old Town, are so very Italian-Mediterranean… which I didn’t expect from a country I only vaguely knew to have been part of the former Yugoslavia.
Something else that was unexpected: our five days in Split were… hard. Poor Tala was sick with a severe flu, which made her cranky and difficult, and us stressed and exhausted. At the end of August, the hours between 1 and 5 in the afternoon were boiling hot, so we had only a couple of hours to sightsee and eat in the mornings, which weren’t that much cooler. We had to take it very, very slow and couldn’t plan any full day trips for fear of overexhausting her.
It got so bad I almost decided to fly home on Day 4, but we decided to tough it out and stay. See my Split highlights and travel cheat sheet after the jump!