Travel Tips: 12 Things to Do in Southern Croatia

by Talia Klundt / Feb 20, 2017 /
Talia Klundt's picture

Last summer, my mom came over to Stockholm to see me for three weeks, and we decided we wanted to go somewhere hot and sunny for one week of fun in the sun. My mom has always wanted to go to Croatia and I had only been to the north so we decided on going to southern Croatia. We were debating between Split and Dubrovnik for a week - but then we said why not both in a week? It might be a bit hectic, but neither of us were sure when we would be back. Thankfully, Norwegian Air flies nonstop to both cities so we booked a ticket to Dubrovnik and our return ticket out of Split.

Travel Tips: 12 Things to Do in Southern Croatia

1. If you only have one week in southern Croatia, I strongly encourage you to go to both Split and Dubrovnik. You will not regret it!

The Adriatic Sea, Croatia

The Adriatic Sea

Croatia - the view from Apartments Malsac, Dubrovnik

My mom and I from the view from our mini apartment at Apartments Malsac. We really loved our host too! If you are going to Dubrovnik, I suggest staying somewhere with a view as the views are breathtaking!

2. You must absolutely eat at Nishta. It is one of the best vegetarian restaurants I have ever been to. The food is so fresh and healthy and absolutely delicious! My mom and I loved it so much we ate there every day. I went back to Dubrovnik in September for work, and my friend who was with me ate here every night for four nights!! It's that good - even if you are not a vegetarian, you will not be disappointed! Make sure you book though as it is almost impossible to get a seat as it is rather small. They have a huge variety of food.

Raw Pad Thai, Nishta, Dubrovnik

Raw pad thai

Grilled veggies and quinoa with mint yogurt, Nishta, Dubrovnik

Grilled veggies and quinoa with mint yogurt

Raw brownie with raspberry sorbet, Nishta, Dubrovnik

Raw brownie with raspberry sorbet

Indian Feast, Nishta, Dubrovnik

Indian feast

Falafel, Nishta, Dubrovnik

Falafel

Quinoa Sushi, Nishta, Dubrovnik

Quinoa sushi

3. Enjoy a pizza at Oliva Pizzeria. My friend and I each ordered a pizza, and then we split both… so good!!!

Oliva Pizzeria, Dubrovnik

4. Walk the Ancient City Walls. The walk is about 2 kilometers, with many steps in between, but it is well worth it as the views are absolutely breathtaking and gorgeous. You can see the city below, as well as faraway boats out to sea. I would definitely recommend comfortable shoes and a bottle of water, as you will definitely need them. For those wanting a break, there is a cafe around the halfway point where you can sit and eat or just take a drink, while enjoying the view from above.

View from the top (Onofrio's Fountain), Dubrovnik

View from the top (Onofrio's Fountain)

View from the Top, Dubrovnik

The Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik

The Adriatic Sea

The Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik

5. Go to Cafe Buza, which is a bar/cafe located right outside the city walls on the rocks looking out to sea. Drinks are overpriced, but the view and experience is worth it. You can see the most amazing sunsets from there. This place is always packed, so I felt that you have to be lucky to get a seat. But do not despair if you cannot find a table, as you can sit along the rocks or stand and have a drink. It is well worth the visit to this place!!!

Cafe Buza, Dubrovnik

Cafe Buza

Cafe Buza, Dubrovnik

Sunset at Cafe Buza, Dubrovnik

Sunset at Cafe Buza

6. There is an open air market every morning, except Sunday, in Dubrovnik during the summer, where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables as well as some local handmade crafts (including a lot of products made with lavender). We came here and bought fresh and dried fruit to snack on during the day. Not only is the food really fresh and delicious, but it is also cheap.

Fresh market, Dubrovnik

Fresh market, Dubrovnik

Fresh market, Dubrovnik

7. Dubrovnik is a gorgeous city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best way to see it is to get out and walk the town, including going up and down some of those steep steps!

Sponza Palace, Dubrovnik

Sponza Palace

Bell Tower, Dubrovnik

Bell Tower

St Lawrence Fortress, Dubronik

St. Lawrence Fortress

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Dubrovnik

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Rector's Palace, Dubrovnik

Rector's Palace

Stairs, Dubrovnik. In Travel Tips: 12 Things to Do in Southern Croatia

8. Having previously traveled to Croatia, Serbia, Albania, and Montenegro, I was looking to go somewhere I hadn't been before, so I was really excited when I saw day trips advertised in Dubrovnik for Mostar, Bosnia. When we were in Dubrovnik, we saw a few different companies that lead day trips to Montenegro, Bosnia, as well as other parts of Croatia. One of the day trips offered was to Kotor and Budva in Montenegro, but I had already spent a week there a few years back so we passed on that (although I highly recommend visiting if you have not been before). However, I had not yet been to Bosnia, and I had heard so many great things about Mostar and the Old Bridge, so we booked a day trip for the following day. These day trips will run you about 65-90 Euro, depending on which tour you decide to take. It takes about three hours to get to Mostar from Dubrovnik and the trip stops at Počitelj, a village of Ottoman origin which has a mosque, clock tower, and an old fortress. After a brief stop, you are off to Mostar, where we had about three hours of free time. We went in August, and I must warn those going at that time of the year, the temperatures can get very high. When we were in Mostar, it was about 112 F, and there is no crystal clear sea to jump into and cool off, and the air conditioning did not work so great in the minivan we were in either, probably because of the heat. There is, however, a river at the bottom of the city. Three hours is definitely enough to wander around Mostar and check out the little shops, the Old Bridge, and have a bite to eat. Food is a bit overpriced and I was a bit shocked to pay as much or more than we had in Dubrovnik, but I guess that is due to the mass tourism there.

Počitelj

Počitelj

The Old Bridge (Stari Most), Mostar, Bosnia

The Old Bridge (Stari Most)

Neretva River, Mostar, Bosnia

Neretva River

Mostar, Bosnia

shops in Mostar, Bosnia

Mostar, Bosnia

9. Go to Split and enjoy all this ancient beautiful city has to offer! It is a three hour bus ride from Dubrovnik, making it super easy to visit here if you are already in Dubrovnik or vice versa. Split seems a bit more like a city, probably because it is much larger, and it is filled with shops and restaurants. My mom and I loved wandering around the city, getting lost down little side streets, or just having a cup of coffee in the sun. We stayed at Apartments Magdalena and absolutely loved it! The apartments have been completely remodeled and they are located in an ancient old building in the center of the old town. I would highly recommend this place and the owner was also fantastic - he even drove us to the airport on our final day.

The view from the bus, Croatia

View from the bus

The view from the bus, Croatia

View from the bus

Visiting Split, Croatia

Visiting Split, Croatia

Visiting Split, Croatia

Visiting Split, Croatia

Visiting Split, Croatia

Visiting Split, Croatia

Travel Tips: 12 Things to Do in Southern Croatia - visit Split

10. Go swimming at the pine forest beach, Bene!! Bus 12 takes you straight there. It is so gorgeous! You will find yourself swimming along a big pine forest. It is so relaxing and idyllic. We really enjoyed having an entire day here. First head to the market and pick yourself up some goodies for a nice picnic lunch, and then enjoy the rest of your day relaxing in the sun!

Swimming at the Pine Forest Beach, Split, Croatia

Swimming at the Pine Forest Beach, Split, Croatia

11. Check out the local daily market in Split. It is filled with fresh fruits and veggies, local honey, bread and cheese, plus many more goodies! You are sure to find lots of good local snacks to fill up on here. Besides the food you can also find lots of jewelry and clothes being sold. As you can see, my mom really enjoyed bracelet shopping.

Shopping at the local daily  market, Split, Croatia

Shopping at the local daily  market, Split, Croatia

Shopping at the local daily  market, Split, Croatia

Shopping at the local daily  market, Split, Croatia

12. Take a day trip!! There are many islands you can visit from Split, such as Brač and Hvar. There are several ferries going all day during the summer months, so it is possible to visit different islands. If only we had more time, we would have gone to more. We were going to go to Hvar but we felt like the ferry was too early for us while on vacation, so we decide to go to Brač instead, which is only a one hour ferry ride away. We really enjoyed Brač a lot! It was such a beautiful island filled with rolling hills and pine and fig trees. The town of Bol was cute and had little shops, restaurants, and cafes out in the sun. It is exactly what you imagine it to be, once you arrive. There are a lot of water activities, such as jet skiing, riding a banana boat, etc. And let me tell you, the water is blue and crystal clear and so perfect. We had a hard time deciding where to go and lie out because some places were so crowded, but then we walked further along and found a more isolated beach and enjoyed an entire day there with our picnic lunch.

Hot tip: in most of Croatia, the beaches are rocky, so you should try and bring a mat to put under your towel (if you are not renting chairs), and shoes to go into the water. This is one of the main reasons we looked for another beach - we had neither. But the beach we did find was totally ok without shoes or mats. It was relaxing and gorgeous. Do not hesitate to get out for the day, it is absolutely worth it!

Bol, Croatia

Bol

The beaches in Croatia

The rocky beaches in Croatia

The rocky beaches in Croatia

 

Ideally, I would say ten days would be perfect to spend in both places if you want to do more exploring, but if a week is all you’ve got, there is plenty you can see and do while still having a relaxing sun-filled vacation when you travel to Europe!

 

 

 

Talia Klundt is the Sweden Editor for Wandering Educators

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Talia Klundt