Soaking up the Sun on the Adriatic

23:04 Alyson Tart 0 Comments

Since we lived in Turkey, I have been wanting to visit Croatia since I have heard nothing but good things from friends who have visited.  But from Turkey, it was a hassle to get to Croatia's beautiful beaches - a flight to Zagreb, a layover, and another flight to Dubrovnik or the beach towns.

But from London, an easy 2.5 hour flight can find you at any of Croatia's beach hot spots. So with the bank holiday in August, it was the perfect opportunity to catch the last of summer's rays in Split. Our friend Sarah joined us, as she had never been before and her husband was headed back to the US for a wedding.

After a way too early 6 am flight on Friday, we arrived at the hotel in Podstrana (just outside of Split) and quickly changed into our suits to sleep off our early morning at the beach.  Despite it only being 11 am, the beach was crowded, full of sunbathers, swimmers and paddleboarders. We found a spot and spent the afternoon reading books, with breaks to dip in the cold water.

We made our way into the town of Split for dinner. The main attraction of the town is the Diocletian Palace, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. It was originally built in the 4th century. While changes have been made over time, you can certainly get the feeling of how the city used to be. It's full of shops, restaurants, homes and people, just as you can imagine it was in its heyday. After grabbing some food, we wandered around the palace at night, checking out shops, finding a concert, and finding all kinds of unique details of the architecture.

Cathedral of Saint Dominus

The next day, we headed back to the city to first purchase tickets for the catamaran for Hvar, as we were told we needed to get there early to secure tickets. That gave us plenty of time to continue to explore Diocletian's Palace, as well as the nearby Marjan Hill. While it was a bit of a climb up, it offers some great views over the city itself. If we would have had more time, there are some interesting cave churches on the South side of the hill for people to explore.

After our climb, we headed back down just in time to catch our catamaran ride to Hvar, a quick one hour trip. Once we got off the catamaran, we were on a hunt - we wanted a boat. Paul had read about renting a boat to drive around the nearby Pakleni Islands, so we had it in our minds we were going to do it.  Apparently, it's best if you rent in advance, as we were left with once choice - a (kinda cute) little dinghy.

Once Paul figured the boat out, we were off! We prepared in advance with a picnic lunch, so after driving out to the first of the islands, we dropped anchor to grab a bite. The scenery was beautiful (minus all the nude sunbathers, especially men), and we continued on to find a good spot for a swim. In a little harbor, we found what we had been told was one of the best beach spots, meaning less rocks, and it was crowded. We didn't join them on the beach, but swam around enjoying the blue water and watching the posh people on their yachts.

Once we cooled down enough, we drove even further to find our own little island. We threw out our towels and drank our not so cool wine, lounging until we decided to return to Hvar for some exploring.

While Hvar was beautiful - cobbled streets with sea views - there wasn't as much to see as in Split. We wandered in each direction from the dock, stopping for gelato, wandering up to check out a tower, then back to a church before we decided we'd seen everything we wanted. It took one hour.  Since our boat wasn't scheduled for another 40 minutes, we grabbed a seat at the famous Carpe Diem to have a drink before heading back to Split.

Our time at the beach was perfect, with a last bit of rays on Monday. Sunday, we headed away from the sun and to the lakes - another adventure to share soon!

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