You never forget your first time in Croatia. Yes, I just made that up, but it is a true sentence based on my own true story, which I am just about to tell you…
It was the year 2012, the month of August. No plans made. No accommodation booked. A car. Some suitcases. 2 people in love, recently married. And a dog. On a budget. The good part: Croatia is an amazing and cheap country to travel to. The odd part: it was the first and only time I ever traveled without a plan.
On our way from Munich to “somewhere in Croatia”, we made an overnight stop in Ljubljana (it was that time I mentioned here that didn’t actually work out). On the following day we woke up and started making an online search for a little house or apartment to rent somewhere between Rovinj and Pula. As the title of this post suggests, we ended up in Pula, in the Istria region.
Pula had a lot of Roman influence, as many other cities if Croatia, and that is why in the city it is possible to find many buildings inspired on the Roman architecture. One of the most famous ones is the Amphitheater, which certainly reminds me of the Coliseum of Rome.
On the first 2 nights we stayed at a nice and very welcoming bed & breakfast. It allowed us enough time to visit the center city and look for an agency to help us finding a cheap apartment for our one-week stay. Even though it was high season, we managed to find a place faster than we expected.
Our apartment was not luxurious, but had everything we needed to have a great time by the sea. The landlords were above sweet, they didn’t speak a word of English, but always made sure that we were happy during our stay. And we certainly were.
Everyday we would have breakfast at the small terrace of our little apartment. Then we would head straight to the beach, where Enzzo enjoyed his time jumping into the water and swimming non-stop, just the way he likes it. After hours by the beach, we would either cook lunch for us or go to the center city and eat in one of the delicious restaurants around. At night we also enjoyed the busy downtown, had ice cream, ate seafood and tried the local white wine.
Being in Croatia in August you can expect every beach to be packed, especially with German tourists. It wasn’t different where we were, but even so we had a blast. It was in Pula where I saw one of the most amazing sunrises of my life, sitting on the stones by the beach, hearing the sound of the small waves crashing.
One of the days we were walking in the center city and saw the possibility of visiting Brijuni, a tiny beautiful island just a few minutes by boat from Pula. Passionate about islands as I am, I didn’t hesitate to join the tour the next day, though we had only one question: could Enzzo come along?! Well, the answer was a yes! My traveling dog traveled in a boat for the first time…
Brijuni is in fact an archipelago of 14 islands, a national park under protection, and only one of these islands are open for tourists, Veli Brijuni. Here is also where many famous artists have residencies, and where the former president of Yugoslavia, Tito had his favourite residency.
Our tour in Brijuni was very short, we had around 2-3 hours to walk the island and enjoy its beautiful clear waters. The island is so small that you can manage to see it all in less than half an hour, but not doubt that this place is amazing, a little piece of paradise.
The fact that I didn’t plan any detail of this trip was scary at first. I was mainly worried if we would find a place to stay with a dog… what if we had to sleep in the car? The truth is, the trip was perfect, fun and with great memories made. The food, the people, the scenery, the ocean… Croatia conquered my heart, and I never forgot my first time there. It is a country that I am always happy to return to.
Tips and Information
- Croatia is a cheap country, and depending on your budget and how long you plan to stay, it is even cheaper to rent a small flat than staying at a B&B/Hotel.
- Enjoy your time in Pula to make day tours like the one I did to Brijuni, or you can visit nearby cities such as Rovjni and even Venice, Italy, by boat.
- The water temperature is warm between July and September, exactly during the high season.
- Driving in Croatia is very simple and the highways are great.
- There are many beaches that don’t allow dogs; meanwhile there are nude beaches.
- The food is delicious and very cheap.
Anyone planning to go to Croatia this year?