Road trippin' along the Dalmatian coast
We've been kicking the idea of this trip around for a few years. Like so many we've been tempted by the Dalmatian coast, the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic shoreline, those sleepy villages and the historic towns and cities, such as Split & Dubrovnik.
The big question is whether to fly-drive, or just drive.
After much deliberation, numbers in spreadsheets we went for the just drive option.
So we've a country to explore we need to pick our stopovers .
Our chosen locations for the road trip were;
And then we have to get there. So we came up with the idea of stopping in the Alsace region of France (we do love France, and we're pretty fond of this region), before heading across Germany to our second destination of Austria. We've picked Salzburg, before heading into Croatia. Both of these hops are under 400miles/650km so we should get a change to explore these too on our trip.
So what are we hoping to see on this trip?
A helpful guide
If you've yet to discover the delights of Croatia you're in for a treat. While planning our road trip, I used the DK Eyewitness books. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our north to south Croatian road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.
It's well know Croatia has large unspoilt areas to explore. To make our route work for us our first destination is the Plitivce Lakes National Park. A UNESCO world heritage site that's full of lakes and waterfalls. We know it experiences its own microclimate so we hope we're in luck with the weather.
On the water theme there's Krka Lakes. Another area of outstanding beauty along our route.
The Dalmatian coast runs along the bottom two-thirds of the country and is home to Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik. Weather permitting the roof will be down and we'll be taking in the beauty of the region.
We're hoping to see a little of rural Croatia. Our appetite was whetted by Rick Stein's 'Venice to Istanbul' food trip. Without the benefits of BBC production team, will we get a chance to discover more of the country?
Beaches: We're actually not beach people per se. We've always preferred getting out and about discovering places, rather than dedicate time to topping up the tans. Now that doesn't mean we're objecting to dipping our toes in the Adriatic though. Or stopping at a beachside café to enjoy the views.
Croatia is renowned for its Islands. We'll be doing a little Island hopping along the route.
Pelješac peninsula is a famous wine region. Now, wine and drivers don't mix, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the landscape, and enjoy the wares of the local producers when the car's safely parked up.
We make no secret of the fact we love history. Perhaps the most impressive is the Roman period. Who can forget the Aqueduct in Segovia? Or the amphitheatres that span the continent.
So we have to visit the Amphitheatre, and other Roman monuments of Pula. There'll be plenty more to discover along the way too.
Man's devotion to faith leads to the creation of some truly stunning buildings, how can we forget the Mezquita in Cordoba? So we're really looking forward to visiting the Basilica in Poreč, and the Cathedral of St James in Šibenik - Both UNSECO World Heritage sites.
There there's the city walls & gates in Dubrovnik, we've planned a few nights here so hopefully we can enjoy the city after the bulk of the visitors have left from their day trips.
Art & Culture
We're hoping to discover how the rich history has impacted Croatia. We know the Basilica in Poreč is from the Byzantine period, and we are aware that the Venetians and the Ottomans have also had a major impact. So time will tell.
Also in modem times there have been public installations such as the Zadar Sea Organ & The Greeting to the Sun.
Due to Croatia's location, Roman & Gothic architecture has had a large influence in the north and along the Adriatic coast, we mentioned the amphitheatres, and the Byzantine influences, followed by the Ottoman Empire, then came the Baroque style.
Croatia has an impressive list of sites that have been recognised by UNESCO. We've planned to visit the following on our route.
A country with such an impressive coastline as Croatia is bound to offer amazing seafood. Venetian rule will have also influenced its cuisine, which can't be a bad thing. Then the Turks of the Ottoman empire brought their food along, so we're expecting an exciting hotch-potch of flavours as we travel this country.
We were also lucky, as we mentioned earlier, to have caught Rick Stein's 'Venice to Istanbul' food trip to give us some pointers. We'll be looking out for family-run local restaurants called konobas along the way.
It turns out the Croatians are quite a country of beer drinkers. What could be better than a crisp cold beer after a long day in the 'saddle'? As is always the case we follow the 'When-in-Rome' philosophy so we'll be seeking out Osječko, Karlovačko & Ožujsko as we seek to quench our thirst.
Now Croatia also has wines it tends to keep hidden from the world. Well guess what, we're going to hunt them down. We'll hopefully be heading through Primošten region, which is famous for its local wine - Babić
We've had some tips of a couple of red wines to sample from Jeff at Walkli.com, Plavac Mali & Dingac. We'll definitely give these a try once our trusty steed is parked up for the night.
Inspired to visit Croatia?
To jump in your car and discover for yourself why Croatia is so intriguing? It leaves you wanting more.
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