My Croatia trip – yesterday, today and tomorrow

It's time, I just have to tell you a little bit about Croatia. Why I haven't done it yet, I don't really know… maybe because Croatia is one of my personal favorite destinations and I've been coming back to the country for many years now.

Croatia vacation - yesterday, today and tomorrow

Croatia vacation – yesterday, today and tomorrow

Croatia vacation: Dubrovnik again and again

Dubrovnik is always a destination of my trip. I love the old city and I know so many stories about Dubrovnik and also about the many small villages around it.

The first time I was in Dubrovnik was more than 15 years ago. At that time the war in Yugoslavia was only a few years over and everywhere in the country were also still war traces visibly. At that time we still drove crosswise by car to Dubrovnik (from Hamburg to Dubrovnik was done in one go in about 24 hours). Already the journey there was always very exciting – across Germany, then Austria, Slovenia and also always a piece through Bosnia. At that time there was no highway in Croatia, so I always followed the country road. We took frequent breaks at Plitvice Lakes – and we've been hiking there for several days (but that's another story).

View of Dubrovnik

View of Dubrovnik 2016

So back to Dubrovnik – I have been there so many times in the last years and I have also seen how the city has changed. How it became more and more touristy… during my last visit, last fall, I was a bit scared. When I came to Dubrovnik for the first time in 2000, the world really looked quite different there.

The absolute tour programs include the walk over the wall and of course through the old town or even a boat ride. Many years ago, such programs were not officially offered and I simply asked a fisherman if he would go out to sea with me. What he also did at that time – one of my greatest vacation experiences ever. I still have contact with the fisherman and I visit him when I am in Dubrovnik. 😉

The island hopping to Korcula and Mljet I have experienced at that time also with the fishing boat or optionally with the postal ship. In the meantime these tours are offered everywhere. Already at the beach (which was artificially put on in the meantime) salesmanlike animators come directly on one to bring such tours to the man.

Croatia vacation 2003 - our secret bathing bay near Dubrovnik

Croatia vacation 2003 – our secret bathing bay near Dubrovnik

Croatia vacation – Croatia your people

When I came to Croatia for the first time in 2000, I felt very comfortable right away. I was very warmly received everywhere and from tourism nonsense was not yet really what to feel. In the meantime this looks of course also completely different. Croatia is overrun as a travel and vacation country… and unfortunately this is also felt there among the people.

In the past, people were really happy about really interested vacation guests – because whoever came to the country at that time was simply now also interested in the country. The people were very friendly and I spent a lot of time with the locals and learned a lot about the country, the mentality and the way of life. At that time I took the country incredibly into my heart and one of my favorite cities was and still is Dubrovnik.

During my last visit to Dubrovnik my heart was really bleeding a little bit. This city is so beautiful… and many of the local tourists just rip off the "tourist program" and don't really realize what a great city, they have ended up in there. Surely this tourist frequency has also something to do with the cruise port. Because the ships run here in the hourly cycle in and out. Meanwhile, crowds of people push over the wall and via city tours, in all possible languages, through the old town.

No wonder that the local people who live there – have also changed. That they have so their completely different impression of the tourists and guests in the city. I am so glad and thankful that I was allowed to get to know Croatia and even Dubrovnik before the country became a hip vacation destination.

Croatia vacation - In the streets of Dubrovnik old town 2007

Croatia vacation – In the streets of Dubrovnik old town 2007

Croatia vacation – Croatia your accommodations

When I came to Croatia in the past, there were almost no hotels. So we looked for a "private" accommodation. Many people rented out rooms or a vacation apartment or a Croatia vacation home at that time. There were also semi-private accommodations that were run similar to a pension. There were really only very few hotels..

Today that has changed a lot. There are incredibly many hotels, from of course all the major hotel chains. So last time I also ended up in a Valamar Clubhotel. Did I ever mention how much I don't like this kind of hotels at all? Certainly already once in one place or another. But we started spontaneously in the autumn vacations and of course had to take what was offered… many hostels are of course long since fully occupied in the vacation season. Since I don't spend much time in the hotel either way, but on the road, it was then not quite so bad to end up in a bed stronghold with all-inclusive offer. So we are also, despite Croatia All Inclusive Hotel offer, but prefer to be mostly outside food. 😉

So if you are going to Croatia, I really recommend a small, sweet accommodation. Of these, there are also great privately run accommodations within the old town, along the small streets and stairs. Who travels outside of the vacations, should still find a great place here. Often these hostels are also really still privately run, so that a little native connection can take place, if one wants then. 😉

Who on the spot z.B. If you are traveling by car, I recommend the small town of Zaton – just before Dubrovnik – as a vacation spot. Here are also some small accommodations, a small harbor, totally cozy restaurants and no hotels. 😉

Croatia vacation house - on the balcony of our dwelling 2005

Croatia vacation home – on the balcony of our dwelling 2005 – at that time we planned still classically by ADAC travel guide. 😉

Croatia vacation home - view from the vacation home in Zaton 2007

View from the vacation apartment in Zaton 2007 – On the other side of the bay is Dubrovnik

Croatia your history

Before I now go into my many Croatia travel experiences, I want to tell you a little about the history of the country. Maybe I will try in my following reports to go a little bit into the stories, which were told to me in the course of the years, by the locals. Because these stories show much more and much more intense, how the people in Croatia are and how they themselves also experienced the last years. But before we get to that… here are a few things to know about Croatia.

Croatia, or Republika Hrvatska as it is called in the national language, is located between Central and Southeastern Europe. The capital of the country is Zagreb and not Dubrovnik, as many tourists believe. Most of Croatia winds along the rocky and stony coastline. Croatia is approximately twice the size of Brandenburg in terms of area. Around Croatia lie the countries: Monte Negro, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Hungary. In all countries I was already on the way – but this is another story, which will be told later on.

If you are in the mood for island hopping, Croatia is the place to be. Croatia has a total of 1246 islands – 47 of which are permanently inhabited. The biggest islands are: Cres, Krk, Brac, Hvar, Pag, Korcula, Dugi Otok, Mljet, Rab, Vis and Losinj. I have also been on some of the islands – the advantage of the islands is z.B. The natural, wonderful "Croatia" sandy beach. Here one feels almost something like Caribbean feeling.

Croatia sandy beach there on the islands

Croatia sandy beach exists on the islands – in 2005 it already looked like this..

Croatia has also some really great national parks. These can be visited and hiked – it is absolutely worth it. From the Plitvice Lakes and Krka I report also again in detail.

Croatia became a part of the Federation People's Republic of Yugoslavia after the end of the Second World War. Yugoslavia consisted of six republics in total. From 1963 Yugoslavia was then ruled by Tito (whom many Croats also really loved – I found that in many personal conversations with locals). Tito died in 1980 and with his death the tensions in the country increased. The result was the war in Yugoslavia, which the older generation probably still remembers well. Yugoslavia was predominantly ruled by the Serbs and the other countrymen did not like that, they felt unfairly treated. Slovenia was the first to secede and declare itself independent. The Yugoslavian People's Army, dominated by Serbs, tried to counteract the independence efforts by military means. The following war lasted four whole years and ended at the end of 1995. Since 2009 Croatia is now even a member of Nato.

On the world-wide tourism barometer (measures the Bekanntheitsgrad of routistic goals) Croatia takes meanwhile the 18th place. Per year travel around 10 million. People into the country and go on vacation in Croatia. Tourism has thus really become a very important economic pillar of the country.

Croatia also has a lot to offer in terms of world heritage – z.B. the old town of Dubrovnik belongs to it, the national park Plitvice Lakes, the historical part of the city Split or also the cathedral of St. Jacob in Sivenik. Newest access in 2008 was the plain of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar.

Croatia vacation 2005


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