Family holiday, adult children. Rented an Airbnb in Kastel Sucurac, between Split and Trogir.
We only did one tour, to Krka, and were too late to book island-hopping and/or booking ferries for the car.
We spent most of our time beach-hopping which suited us just fine.
I don’t know much about Old Town Split. I found it too busy, crowded, and as a result slightly devoid of culture.
HOT TIPS SPLIT:
- Book the island –hopping tour on your first day or before you arrive. There are loads of companies that do it, and if you book it a couple days in advance at least it’s sorted. If you want to drive yourself, again, book it well in advance. At around 8pm the night before, bookings will stop (guess when we tried to book it lol).
- Stay in Trogir if you can, it’s a much nicer, smaller version of Split.
- Labadusa Beach was an overall favourite of the family. Definitely check out Laganini Beach Club for lunch/drinks it’s got a great vibe and hot (male) waiters (I didn’t see any female waiters).
- If you’ve got your own car, which if you’re staying outside city limits or want to do beach hopping, I recommend you do, go to Krka on your own.
- BUY WATER SHOES. The beaches are rocky rather than sandy. You don’t want to get your feet all cut up like we did, so bring water shoes!
HOW TO DO KRKA BY YOURSELF (AND SAVE LOADS OF MONEY):
Krka waterfalls is reachable by boat or by walking (it’s a fair good walk so don’t recommend it in summer when it’s super hot).
We paid for a driver to take us to this castle, Krka, and Trogir. It cost us 200 Euros for about 8 hours, but had to pay our own entrance to Krka as well as our own lunch. Gratuity also not included.
The boat was about 20 Euros return per person. Do not book it just one way as we saw one family do, make sure you get a return (you won’t be able to buy a single ticket for the way back).
So what happens, you drive up to Krka from wherever you’re staying. It’s about an hour from Split on a couple of mountain roads (easy) and motorway. You pay a couple of tolls, I think it totals about 10-15 Euros.
There’s free parking in the area where the Krka Waterfall tours kind of “start”, it’s really hard to miss. When you drive into Krka NP you kind of follow this one road for a while, and you drive past this kind of ‘village’ and then you see a parking lot with tour buses etc. There’s a free parking area a couple hundred meters down the road which is great obviously, it’s just a little bit of walking and you get to the touristy areas. They sell all kinds of tat, snorkels, and water shoes.
A boat leaves like every 20 minutes in high season (and pre-high season) so it’s relatively easy. It also takes about 20 minutes to get there, and it’s a pleasant little boat ride. The boats are sturdy and it’s a grab for the “upstairs” seats usually. There’s food at the waterfalls too but I recommend either bringing your own or buying some pizzas or kebabs at the parking lot before you get on the boat. The food there really wasn’t spectacular and quite expensive. The crepes and ice cream were very reasonable, though, I do have to say (one scoop of ice cream was 13kn and one Nutella crepe was 25kn).
When you get off the boat (first stop), you wander into the waterfall area (again, impossible to miss, follow the crowd). If you want to use the toilet, it will cost you 5 kuna so make sure you have some coins on you.
Most places here take cash so it’s best to have some on you. For 3 sandwiches, 1 beer and 2 cokes we paid close to 30 euros, to give you an idea of what it all cost.
You can stay as long as you like, really, until the last boat. I believe the last boat takes off somewhere early evening, we left before so didn’t quite catch the time. It’s really a lovely way to spend an afternoon if you come well prepared- towels, water shoes, snorkels, etc. There’s 16 different waterfalls around this area and a trail that takes you up the hill, although the only place you can swim is that the bottom waterfall (the first one you see with everybody going in lol).
It’s really refreshing and gorgeous, although a bit of a mission to get over all the slippery rocks. This is where water shoes and a waterproof phone case come in handy. I know my iPhone X is waterproof but there’s that slight sense of fear so I held my selfie stick high up above me haha. I wasn’t the only one though 😆
I have to say, as a people the Croatians are not like, ‘naturally kind’ or something. You know how Thailand is the land of smiles? Well, Croatia is definitely the land of RBF. Our first evening here we were driving around looking for a restaurant and it felt a little bit like that Eastern Europe scene in that old movie Eurotrip, you know what I mean?
Everywhere we went, it was like luck of the draw. People were either nice and pleasant or just downright rude. Don’t hold your breath for airport staff, either. They are not kind. I don’t like saying this, I like being the kind person and the bigger person. But don’t expect excellent service everywhere you go. The few times the check-out counter people actually looked you in the eye was a real treat. I think I found locals kinder than people who were paid staff. Our driver was pretty OK though, I have to say.
It depends on where you come from. For Dutch people like us, driving in Croatia would be pretty mental. Purely because no one will let anyone through, people don’t wait, they will risk running into you rather than stop on that tiny one-lane road while you try to reverse for your life. People are speeding left right and centre. Someone told us that there were only 3 speed cameras in Split, which explains why everyone was going super freaking fast compared to the speed limit. Like, in a 70 zone they’d be going 100.
Dad’s been driving in Taiwan for the last 35 years so his grasp on going with the flow is pretty good, but we did pull up Waze to warn us for police, etc. There are enough Wazers to make that useful in Croatia.
There is UBER in Croatia, bt-dubs!
3 FAVOURITE BEACHES IN SPLIT, RANKED:
1. Labadusa Beach, Okrug Gornji (40 min drive from Split)
This is on the island Otok Ciovo (accessible without ferry). From Trogir, it’s about a 10-15 minute drive. The last part of the journey is a bit iffy because its essentially a one-lane dirt road so do drive carefully. Some local drivers drive pretty fast, especially around the corners so proceed with caution.
There’s a ‘parking lot’ there where you pay for 30kn for the day. If you want a sun bed (literal double bed) at Laganini Beach Club I believe it’s 200kn for the day or something. It’s very nice and the atmosphere is great, there’s a good mix of people. The beach itself is also pretty cool. There’s an actual ‘beach’ area where you can slowly go in from shore or you can slip down the rocks easily and get into slightly deeper water. Fun snorkeling here too!
2. Kava Beach, Slatine (40 mins drive from Split)
Wanting to do something a bit different, we found this beach on the ‘top beaches in Trogir’. Sadly, it’s not actually a "Sandy beach" as promised so I don’t know what that other blog post was talking about :/ The rocky road is REALLY rocky so be sure not to drive too fast and again, it’s a one-laner so you’ll have to consider oncoming traffic.
There’s also a platform that you can jump off of, it’s about 3 meters high and the water down below is super deep so it’s pretty exhilarating to jump off. Careful of rocks while getting back out of the water, possible to get scratched here!
Parking is each man for himself. There are several clearings so it’s relatively easy to find a place to park, particularly if you come before lunch. There aren't many bars or restaurants on this stretch but if you go back to Slatine there's a few restaurants to eat etc. It's about 40-50 min from Split, depending on how you manage the gravel rocky road!
3. Kasjuni Beach, in Split proper
This is such a nice area! There are several beaches around this area but we especially enjoyed this one. The beaches, we found for mid-June, were not very busy. It’s likely the kids aren’t off school yet, and there’s also a 2 bars selling drinks and food here, at opposite ends of the beach so you don’t have to trek too far for a brewski haha.
The water here is pretty clear although we did find some seaweed. Obviously not the end of the world, but not exactly Insta-friendly for those a little bit obsessed cough cough
Be sure to watch for the turning, we kinda missed it the first time because the roads down to the beach are quite steep and kind of 'disappear' off the road. But if you watch carefully you should be able to find it easily with Google Maps or Waze.
KUNA AND EURO
Ok so I read on a few other travel blogs coming in that the Kuna is pegged to the Euro during high season. That is unbelievably expensive as when we were looking, the Euro is like 5x in value. So if you can, pay in kuna. Get money out the cash machine or exchange it before you get in to the country, but definitely always try to pay in the local currency if possible.
I could be totally wrong about this in high season, but DAMN that’s gonna be expensive.
Most established places will take cards, but places like the souvenir shops or convenience stores are where you should really be paying in cash. My sister wanted to stock up on tobacco and we ended up having to get cash out because they didn’t take card. The lady was super happy obviously, over 100 euro worth of stock sold in the space of 5 minutes haha.
WHAT TO PACK for croatia that no one tells you to pack:
- Water shoes
- Snorkel Gear
- Crackers (if you like cheese and crackers. They have pretty good cheese but the crackers are not like what we have in UK/NL)
- Coffee (if you’re a coffee snob don’t expect to drink good coffee. Bring your own. Airbnbs will have filtered coffee machines)