The Yolo’s Travel Guide to: Croatia!
The hub and I had an 8.5 hour flight back yesterday from our belated honeymoon/babymoon/family vacation to the Motherland, so we thought we would spend a chunk of that time reminiscing and compiling of things we loved and some tips for our 7 day trip to Croatia. First tip, you NEED TO TAKE a trip to Croatia!!! For real, this trip rated high, if not the highest, on my favorites list. It has beautiful scenery, loads of history, great food and is inexpensive, something everyone will love!
A little back story: Our last name is indeed Yolo, but before getting married almost a year ago I was Jenni Radosevich, and the most asked question after I introduced myself was “Where is your last name from?” The answer, Croatia! Sidenote: I always said I would never change my last name because of its uniqueness… and then I met a man with the last name Yolo…and HOW could I say no to being Jenni Yolo!? I digress. My Great-Grandparents came over to the US from Croatia, and even though I am a couple generations removed, my family has always been super proud of our Croatian heritage. After my Dad turned 80 last year, he started talking about road tripping with his kids through Croatia. My parents went there a few years ago to connect with living relatives and I spent a week there in college, so we both got a taste of the beauty of the country, so it was not a hard sell to go back. Plus, my little Sister lives in Prague, so road tripping from there to Croatia was a no brainer. After a flurry of family emails, the trip was planned, slightly modified, because I have a babe on the way (and road-tripping in a foriegn country was a bit out of my comfort zone) My parents, little sister, and our uncle would road trip from Prague to Split, and Mr. Yolo and I would turn the trip into a Babymoon in the city of Split (we set up homebase there and took day trips to Krka Waterfalls and a ferry to Vela Luka) and the family would meet us in Split for a couple days of exploring. It was incredible! The time spent with my hub and family is something I will hold in my heart forever. I woke up in the States this morning wondering if it was all a dream because it was just that good!
Before you read anything, watch this video of our trip on IGTV!!
Now on to the review! Mr. Yolo was happy to pass a chunk of the flight time sharing his thoughts:)
MR. YOLO: We spent 7 nights in the beautiful, ancient city of Split, Croatia. This was technically the offseason (last week of October), but the weather was sunny and 70’s every day. We officially love the off season. We spent all but one night in the Diocletian Palace a hundred meters or so from the Adriatic Sea. There’s thousands of years of history here and it’s all fascinating. The need-to-know is Roman Emperor Dioclese had this place built in the mid 300’s AD. Since then its been occupied by the very rich and the very poor. And only in the last couple decades has it been protected and preserved by the government.
I don’t have a star or point system established for travel reviews just yet, but this place gets all the stars and all the points. We felt like kids navigating the narrow streets and passageways. Every turn has a cool shop, cafe, or restaurant.
The Diaclesian Palace checked all the boxes; entertainment (tours, bars, dining, etc), natural beauty, and more history than one can digest in a week, and inexpensive (read INEXPENSIVE!!!)
MR YOLO: Staying in the Palace was the first best decision we made. Our Airbnb was a third floor apartment that we later found out was in the old brothel. The place was beautiful and proved to be the perfect amount of space for the two of us. I would recommend staying in the palace and or just North of the palace. The price for 7 days was incredible, and we used it as a homebase for the week, and would take day trips. It was walking distance to the ferries, and transportation to trips like the Krka Waterfalls, so we never needed a car staying here.
JENNI: Sorry! I forgot to take pics, but the ones on Airbnb are great! A big selling factor of the Airbnb for me was the glorious tub. Every single day, after walking around, I would come back to the apartment elevate my prego puffy feet and relax in the bath. It was a dream. In the evenings, if the museum below us was having an event, you would hear the beautiful voice of classical music or an opera singer echo through the streets and in through the window. Unreal. The only thing I will note are the stairs to get up to the 3rd floor, but if me and bump can make it (with some heavy breathing) you should be just fine!
JENNI: I booked a trip to the Krka Waterfalls on Airbnb, but you could just as easily head to the tourist kiosk by the water and book it there…possibly for cheaper. It was a 1.5 hr drive from the city, and a perfect day trip. The Falls were stunning in person, we hiked a few kilometer loop around the waterfalls. The first half was a nature hike on a boardwalk and the second half was on cobblestone road and took you through the early industry of the area. Only downfall was that the base of the waterfall felt super touristy, but this Mama-to-be appreciated that I could stop for a snack and some water. The hub and our new Aussie friend we met along the way enjoyed a cold beer. The plan was to meet my family at the Falls, but they got on a different hike then us, and said it was much more of a hike, with no pit stops for food or water, and more waterfalls. So you can definitely pick a route based on the experience you are looking for!
JENNI: A walk though the green market to see the flowers, veggies and olive oils is such a lovely experience. And I love all the Antique stands! We were traveling light, so I did not buy much, but I LOVED to look!
MR. YOLO: Hadjuk! Hadjuk! Split loves its football team. On a Saturday, we took a cab to the Poljud Stadium to cheer on Hadjuk Split. The chanting by the die-hards in the fan base was a level beyond next level. Americans do not have an understanding of this. As an American sports fan I say this with complete confidence. The chants were lead by a drum (think Viking long boat). And they went on for the entire game, continuously. Around the 55th minute, crowds from other parts of the stadium moved to the die-hard corner and that’s when the banners and flags and road flares and EXPLOSIONS came out!!. Like I said, next next level fandemonium!
All-in-all it makes the list as an amazing cultural experience. 5 stars! (if I had a starring system…)
JENNI: I have been loving the Airbnb experiences when we travel, and the tour of the Dioclectian Palace was another major win. It’s called “A Different Feel of Split Tour” and it was the perfect mix of history of the Old Town of Split, walk around Old Town, peeked into local spots, and tasted delicious sweets! Antonjeta’s sister, Janeska, led the tour and was so lovely, knew everyone in my family’s name, and was SO knowledgeable. This 2-hour tour is THE ONE you need to take!
FERRY TO THE ISLANDS
MR YOLO: We took a ferry out to Korkula. It was a tour hour walk-on ferry that stopped in Hvar. We got off on Vela Luka on Korkula, which is a very scenic but quiet town in the off-season. Next time we want to explore Hvar, which looked stunning, and bring a car on the ferry to drive across the island of Korcula. We took the 6am car ferry back, which was WAY better than the smaller boat there because we got to walk out on the open decks. This was a great way to experience the Adriatic and all the islands in it. It took three hours instead of two, but was well worth the added freedom to move around the deck.
MR YOLO: Our last full day we walked up to the first of two look-out points in the City. Incredible view. I forgot to mention that the Game of Thrones city of Mareen was filmed in Split. I feel like the view from this look-out was in the show. There is also a cafe at this spot to enjoy a drink with the view.
JENNI: On the last day of the trip I hauled my prego butt up the stairs to this lookout, and it was SO worth it. The view was spectacular, and the cafe was perfect for sitting and recharging.
MR YOLO: Our Go-to spot that we stumbled upon was just North of the Palace, called Dujkin Dvor. We had two dinners there and a breakfast. The food was great, the prices were fantastic, and the service was sassy (in the best way, it’s a skill to be funny in your second language). This place was authentic.
Expounding on the service. This was the only place (on any continent really) that could hilariously handle my father-in-law’s methods of ordering. As a lawyer he views the menu like he would an opening offer in a negotiation. To the untrained ear, it sounds like he’s just naming ingredients he likes. Makes getting our food take awhile when there is no language barrier.
This place also let us fjaka, aka the Croatian art of doing nothing. Americans take note. One more reason we loved spending a week here. After our breakfast we bought another round of espresso drinks and hung around the table and played 3-team cribbage, while staring out at the sea and watching crowds go by, and soaking up the 75 degrees F. Magical breakfast.
For morning croissants and baked goods, D16. Chocolate croissants you can get anywhere, but they’ll never be the same after this place.
I learned the reason the locals are skinny. There are more cafes around then restaurants. The locals just drink espresso and beer and smoke cigarettes at the times their American counterparts are doing those things at a bar, but with a plate of Nachos. I need two hands to count the number of times we stumbled upon the coolest or hippest or most secluded establishment, only to find out they didn’t serve food.
There was music in the square outside the cathedral every night. Luxor cafe served drinks and small bites.
MR. YOLO’s POINTERS
There are plenty of ATMs and currency exchanges in and around the palace. Don’t bother doing it at the airport. Uber works great too, so no need to have money until you throw your bags down in your place.
The yellow “bankmart” ATMs I think are the only way to get ripped off getting your money. Any ATM that is associated with a bank will charge a minimal fee.
Bring a water bottle and fill it up at any of the fountains within the palace walls. Split is known for its clean tap water. Although still relatively cheap, buying bottled water at cafes or restaurants costs just as much as beer or coffee.
Why is tipping so confusing? We typically tipped 10% to any waitress. The price of our meals were usually too inexpensive not to.
We skipped any of the Game of Thrones stuff, even though I’ve seen every episode. If you truly want that experience, there are a bunch of GOT tours on Airbnb experiences. I’d also recommend the city of Dobrovnik, further South of Split, which was the King’s Landing in the show.
Souvenirs – Wine and Olive Oil are two things Dalmatia (the region Split is in) are known for. Relatively inexpensive and make great gifts. Croatian soccer jerseys were being sold in the market for $20. For more authentic items (and more expensive) from the Hadjuk team store.
Pay to Toilette: It cost 5 kuna to use any public toilet. Equivalent of $0.70 or so. It bothered me initially, but the restrooms were clean. No TP on the floor or graffiti on the walls. We left thinking it wasn’t that bad an idea, hint hint America.
LET US KNOW if you have any other questions!!!
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