Throughout our trip in Croatia we stopped at a lot of places and only stayed one night. They were a great way to break up the drive but also see different parts of the country. Our first short stop was in Split. We stayed in a small rented out apartment through Airbnb.com that was within walking distance to the city center. We walked around the city in the evening just enjoying the people, buildings and view of the water. The Roman Diocletian's Palace sits right on the waterfront. You can tour the palace but we chose not to. We found a great restaurant on the water and enjoyed some delicious pizza and wine!
Onto our next short stop, the Island of Vis! This island is located off the coast of Split. We took a ferry to the island that took an hour and 20 minutes. If you drove to Split you can take your car on the ferry. Since we were only staying one night we left our car on the mainland in a parking area directly across from the ferry boat docks. The ferry ride cost around 20 USD one way. The parking was around 31 USD which was cheaper than taking the car on the ferry. We stayed in another small rented out apartment through airbnb.com. The owner met us as we got off the ferry to show us to our room. That afternoon we rented bikes to explore the island. This island of Vis used to be a military island during WWII and was just recently opened up to tourists. There are tons of hidden military tunnels and bunkers that can be explored with tour guides. One thing you can explore on your own is the old submarine hideout tunnels. We rode our bikes and explored on our own. Side note: Don’t rent bikes! It’s WAY to hilly and you’ll be dying of exhaustion by the time you reach your destination. Be careful as you’re walking around areas like this, there is still barbed wire lying around. Here is a link to a military tour you can take.
After exploring the submarine tunnels we went back to our rooms to shower and go out to dinner. Since the island is so small there are not many options to eat but we did find a great place where I enjoyed some delicious calamari. The next morning we decided we did not want to use bikes again so we rented a scooter! Yes, like a moped which cost around 28 USD for 6 hours. At the time I was terrified of riding on the back with my husband. There is no such thing as a straight or flat road on the island. As we’re descending downhill on a super windy road I’m clenching onto the handles so hard that my hands are bright red. I’m also constantly telling my husband to slow down even though he wasn’t even driving fast. I was a nervous wreck and terrified of tipping over right next to a cliff. I look back on it now and think it was fun and I’d probably do it again but it sure was frightening at the time.
We used the scooter to get us to the other side of the island to explore the Blue Caves. We took a small speed boat out to another small island to go into a cave. When the sun is hitting the water it shines through and under the cave making it look blue. It was a beautiful thing to see but kind of a rip off considering you don’t get much time in the cave. They definitely know what tourists like to see and know you’ll pay to see it. Even though it’s a very touristy thing to do, I’d say it was worth it. You have to pay for the boat ride to the tiny island and pay again to actually enter the cave. This cost us 50 USD.
After viewing the blue cave we drove to scooter to go find the “hidden beach” or Stiniva Cove. Anyone can go down to the beach but the only way to get down there is to hike down. They say it takes 30-45 minutes to get there so you’ll want to plan to stay all day as you’ll have to hike back up when you’re done. We only walked down about 10 minutes just for a few pictures. If we ever go back to the Island of Vis this is something we’d love to do. We were running out of time due to needing to get back to catch the ferry back to the mainland. We rode the scooter back to the mainland hopped on the ferry and headed back to Split to pick up our car. Next stop, Zadar!
I believe Zadar was one of our shortest stops. We walked through the old town area, had some pizza for dinner, watched the sun set, and then grabbed a drink at a bar. I honestly can’t say much about this city since we didn’t spend much time there. The one thing I remember is getting an “After Eight” flavor ice cream and it was awful! The worst mint ice cream I’d ever had!! Other than that we were ready to hit the road again and head to Opatija. Opatija is a very unique city. All the places we’d been in Croatia looked and felt the same. Opatija felt very rich. The buildings there reminded me of big southern plantation homes on the water front. We didn’t even eat dinner there, it really was a place to rest our head and get back on the road. I didn't even take a picture.