Last year, me and my friends decided we wanted to go on holiday. If you’ve ever tried to organise a holiday with girls, then you know how difficult a task it can be. Trying to coordinate our schedules and find a week when we could all go was tricky, but trying to find a destination, accommodation and flights all within our budget was a nightmare.
We really wanted to visit Budapest, but didn’t think there was enough to do there to warrant a week-long stay. We started brainstorming and eventually came up with the idea of combining a city break in Budapest with a longer stay in Croatia. Two of us had already been to Dubrovnik and had absolutely loved it, but we wanted to explore a different side of Croatia and hopefully work in some precious sunbathing time.
We weren’t sure on a fixed place in Croatia where we wanted to spend a week so we began discussing the idea of a mini Croatian road trip. We decided we would fly from London to Split and here we would rent a car. We planned out the stops we would make: Split for 2 nights, Zadar for 1 night, Pag island for 3 nights and then onto Zagreb for 1 night before we would catch a train to Budapest. We booked all our accommodation through Air Bnb and Hostelworld and managed to find some lovely places for cheap prices.
At our first stop, Split, we stayed in a lovely hostel which was a little outside the city. It was a quick bus ride into the town centre and there were plenty of Ubers to request at the end of the night. The city is stunning, we spent a whole evening wandering around the old town and taking pictures of the amazing buildings and architecture. We also managed to get in some precious beach time, although the beach was absolutely packed and our day was cut short as the tide was coming in threatening our tiny tanning spot.
The drive on to Zadar went smoothly, driving on the right wasn’t as much as a problem as I had originally thought it would be! On the way to Zadar we stopped off at Krka National Park. I can’t recommend this place enough; you are able to swim in the warm waters next to the huge waterfalls. Be prepared for lots and lots of walking though!
In Zadar we stayed at an Air Bnb, again it was a little outside of the city but the walk into the centre of town was only 15 minutes or so. I wish we had spent more time in Zadar because it was just so beautiful. A must-see in Zadar is the ‘Sun Salutation’ – a solar panel installation that collects the sunlight throughout the day and then uses the energy from sunset onwards to create an amazing light show.
From Zadar we headed to Pag island. We had splashed out a little with this particular Air Bnb; we had an apartment in a villa with its own private pool. The villa was placed at the top of a hill and overlooked the sea. We were staying in the town of Pag, a small and charming seaside town. In hindsight, if we had done some more research before we went, we would have stayed closer to Zcre Beach, but we were also happy with being in a more peaceful part of the island. We ate at some amazing restaurants along the seafront and drank lovely cocktails.
From Pag we headed to Zagreb, we dropped off our hire car at the airport and then got a taxi into the city. I’m not sure why Zagreb is not a more popular city break destination amongst Western Europeans, it was a great city with lots going on and not too expensive. A highlight here was the ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’. Sounds strange, but it was a museum filled with mementos people had sent in of their failed relationships, presented with the story behind the relationship and why it had ended.
From Zagreb we headed onwards to Budapest. I knew I loved Croatia before, but this trip cemented it as one of my top destinations in the world. There really is something for everyone along with friendly people, cheap prices and lovely weather. If you’re also planning a road trip around Croatia, or any other country, then one key thing to keep in mind is that you will have to lug your baggage around, so pack light! I got my travel bag from Trendhim and it served me well.