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Eastern Europe — Corfu & The Balkan Coast

1-month itinerary. 
IN ORDER WITH NO CAR RENTAL: CORFU – ALBANIA – MONTENEGRO – BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA – CROATIA

Day 1 – 2 – 3 — Warming up in Corfu

GOOD TO KNOW:

Hello — Geia sou

How are you — Ti kaneis

Thank you — Efharisto

CURRENCY:  Euro.

Exchange with TransferWise 

SIGHT:

  • Old Town, Corfu
  • Spyridon
  • Dramatic Cape Drastis

    BEACH SPOT: either Faliraki or Mon Repos and Palaiokastritsas

ACCOMMODATION RECOMMENDED:

Corfu, an island off Greece’s northwest coast in the Ionian Sea, is defined by rugged mountains and a resort-studded shoreline. Its cultural heritage reflects years spent under Venetian, French and British rule before it was united with Greece in 1864. Corfu Town, flanked by 2 imposing Venetian fortresses, features winding medieval lanes, a French-style arcade and the grand Palace of St. Michael and St. George.

The city of Corfu reminded me a lot my country Sicily, walking around the Old Town, it seems very familiar, weather, building and welcoming people.

A lot of places to visit, Garden of the People, Spianada Liston,  even museums like Casa parlante, Museum of Dionysius Solomos.

A great experience was going on a boat tour around all the main historic places,  and the Ionian Islands. I share with you the tour below.

EAT Pane e Souvlaki Before flying for Corfu, and I was reading a lot about Greek cousin. Before travelling here, I was inspired by this list of 12 best Greek Food that you should try if you go in Greece, check it out  Here  I happened to have a coffee at Cafe Tierra and met a group of people who were about to visit the church of Spyridon. I didn’t know much about Spyridon, but he’s a very popular Orthodox saint in Greece people, and religious cults come to Corfu for him. Even if the best wild destination and beach spots are outside the town, you can find beautiful places like Faliraki or Mon Repos. I spent a total of a weekend in Corfu Old Town, and I didn’t have the chance to see other parts of the island.  At Old Times they offer a yummy breakfast, the guys at the bar gave me some direction on how to get to Palaiokastritsas. For me, this place was the best spot (arguably the best beach on the whole island) reachable by bus. GREEN BUS was the bus station, a little bit further from the Old Town, but walkable an easy 20 min, the road to get there is not high, in parts it is a dirt track but if you follow all the way you will eventually reach the bus station. Price ticket: 5 EURO – Bus Platform number 8, the journey takes about 40/45 min Palaiokastritsas is the last stop.

During my tour, I had the chance to see dolphins and sea stars, we stopped in different islands and had swum in crystal turquoise water.

Day 4 – 5 — Approaching Albania, Sarandë

WHAT TO KNOW:

Ciao

How are you — Mirëmëngjes

Good evening — Mirëmbrëma

Thank you — Faleminderit 

ACCOMMODATION:

I approached Albania on the ferry from Corfu, Albania is a Muslim country, not part of Europe, is very cheap and affordable.

If you spent a long holiday, you better buy a SIM card for your phone.

Also, most of the Albanian people don’t speak English, so conversation sometimes can be awkward in particular situation. But I found a Vodafone place right in front of the port. An Albanian SIM card costs about 12 Euro. 

Be careful: Taxis will approach you asking for rides but in Sarande every place, hotel or hostels is like 10 min max on foot.

I spent two nights at Hasta La Vista Hostel; it was a brand new hostel, tidy, clean, young staff and super friendly.

I joined a group at the hostel and went to lunch at a traditional local restaurant called Te Bequa. I had casserole and meat with vegetables, delicious! Food in Albania is so delicious, is like when your grandmama cooks for you every time you see her 😀 but especially cheap.

After lunch, we headed to Mirror Beach

Here is a lovely rocky beach – it can get overcrowded, but on the way to the beach, there’s a stunning panorama of a lake surrounded by mountains. 

To get there, take the bus from the city centre. It takes about 20/25 min, asks the driver to drop you close to Mirror Beach so you can walk up.

You can buy tickets on the bus for 100 LEK which is less than 1 Euro. 

After a long day at the beach, we came back to the hostel spent some time talking with travellers, had a few beers and went for a night out. 

Nightlife in Sarandë is surprisingly eventful! 

Go strolling around the city centre, have drinks and choose your favourite restaurant for dinner, there are plenty of choices all of them offer fresh fish and traditional Albanian food.  

One cool club I liked for music and dancing you can go to is Orange.

My second day me and 2 Dutch girls from the Hostel, Miriam and Nika, we went exploring the Blue Eye. 

Entrance costs 100 LEK. 

Blue Eye is a water spring and natural phenomenon. It’s a popular tourist attraction, with many coming to see the clear blue water bubbling up from a depth of more than fifty metres. Divers have descended to fifty metres, but it is still unclear what the actual bottom of the hole is.

N.B: It can be overcrowded, especially in high season. 

We walked around and hiked up to the rocky hill, found a beautiful hidden spot and spent about 3 hours just talking, singing and playing the ukulele. 

It was such a warm & happy day!

Do you want to do something FUN?

Make a jump in the Blue Eye (from a height of about 5 metres!) before you leave! And swim for about 100 meters downstream following the strong current that takes you to a restaurant where get out.

IT IS A breathtaking experience! 

If you go, you MUST TRY 🙂

The day after I left Sarandë and Headed to Vlorë.

Ticket price is 1000 LEK – Duration 3 and a half hours.

Day 6 – 7 — Vlorë…Stunning Sunsets

ACCOMMODATION:

Once at Vlorë station, I got a taxi to the hotel. You shouldn’t pay more than 600 LEK pay extra attention to the price because sometimes it can be a little bit confusing, mainly if you’re not used to the exchange rate.

The hotel I stayed in was: Mini Hotel & Maxi Room, have a look!

 

Booking.com

Vlorë was one of my favourite cities in Albania, and it is just, so pretty the long path next to seaside surrounded by palm trees is delightful, especially in the night, I wasn’t expecting it like that. Very very pretty.

I HIGHLY recommend the hotel I was at for a few reasons:

    • Hotel is right in front of a friendly and quiet strip of sandy beach, ask to get the room with the sea view.
    • Second, you have a restaurant right downstairs with a discount on food.
    • Third, the sunsets in Vlorë! IT IS SO colourful and beautiful. I loved staying at this place, especially for STUNNING sunsets!

      Grab your room before summer! These rooms get booked up fast!
      I spent two nights here. For the second day I recommend to go for a boat tour around the Albanian Islands, they offer excellent services, find them at the port.

Bus Ticket: Vlorë – Tirana: 5 Euro, pay the driver when you get on the bus.

Duration: 3 hours.

Day 8 – 9 — Tirana by bike

 Tirana is Albania’s Capital City.

ACCOMMODATION:

I spent two nights at Mosaic Hostel 

The staff at the hostel were amicable. Melissa, the receptionist, always helped me out with everything I needed. 

Tirana gets extremely hot in August. I was sweating all day long so to warn you: carry water and bring a hat with you- this is a must!

What I loved about Tirana was the view from the highest part of the city. I was surprised how well organised the city is for cyclists: there are cycle paths pretty much everywhere you go.

One thing you can do is hire a bike from your hostel. At my hostel, a good mountain bike could be rented for 500 LEK all day.

With all that said, here are some top recommendations for Tirana: 

  • Explore the historic city centre by bike; 
  • If you have time, go up to the Dajti Mountain; 
  • For the best view of the city go to Lapidario (by bike for a good workout); 

LUNCH AT THIS PLACE: 

DRINK & NIGHTLIFE: 

  • Radio Bar;
  • Nouvelle Vague;
  • Tribeca; 
  • Komiteti; 
  • Kino;
  • Izzy living; 
  • Silver Spoon; 
  • Hemingway 

All of these are bars and pubs frequented by locals which not many tourists know about. I happened across Radio Bar by chance. I was the only tourist in there, plus the girl behind the bar couldn’t even speak English, but I love finding these kinds of places where you get a better understanding of the culture and lifestyle in other countries.

I had lunch at Teg Zgara e Tirones: with 10 Euro, I had a big Albanian lunch composed of meat, salad and some house speciality – just so yummy!

It was time for me to change the country and the morning after I left Albania in the direction of Montenegro. 

WHAT YOU MAY NEED FOR THIS TRAVEL:

You can take the bus from Tirana to Montenegro easily from a bus station. If you stay at the same hostel as me, it is about a 15-minute walk to this station.

 To warn you, I did not have a great experience at this bus station.  

TIP: buy the ticket directly at the station. 

The ticket I bought online was useless, nobody could recognise it. The bus wasn’t there at the time, and they kept sending me from office to office. It was hard to communicate, and I ended up rebuying another ticket.

Fortunately, I had a refund days later.

If you happen to depart from this International bus station in Tirana, buy a ticket at the station and NOT online!

The bus will take you to Podgorica from Tirana in about 5 hours.

It is a long journey, so make sure you have some music or a book to read unless you fall asleep 😉

Approaching Montenegro….

Day 10 – 11 — Virpazar, Montenegro

WHAT TO KNOW:

Ciao

How are you — Kako si

Goodbye — Dovidenja

Thank you — Hvala

You’re welcome — Molim (or Nema na cemu)

See you later — Vidimo se  

Once in Montenegro from Albania, everything change: people, food, traditions. One thing I noticed is that people from Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia are a bit grumpy in the way they behave, talking or helping tourists compared to Albanian people. I might have just met a few arrogant individuals but later realised that everybody had this ‘rude’ behaviour. It seems like people not smiling and not being very welcoming is a cultural thing: I’m not sure if is something about the past war, but sometimes it wasn’t that nice.

I decided to spend a few days in a cute village in the mountains called Virpazar.

ACCOMMODATION: 

I arrived and checked in at Delightful Studio Sara. 

This is a lovely apartment right in the centre of the village.

Virpazar has a lot to offer, and I loved being here. It was a relaxing and peaceful place. 

Here’s what you can do:

  • Go walking/hiking up to the small beach (about 10km round trip); you need water & a nice pair of shoes. The panorama is just STUNNING! 
  • Go for a boat tour that does a big loop of the lake and little islands around.
  • Spend some time exploring the village; it has a cute bridge and a few excellent restaurants;

TRANSPORT TIP: There are no buses direct to Budva from Virpazar.  If you’re going to Budva, get the bus to Sutomore and switch bus to Budva there. Buses pass by Virpazar every hour; sometimes they are very delayed. I had an annoying communication mix-up on this journey: when the first bus passed, the driver told me ‘no-no, this isn’t the bus to Budva’ not knowing that you had to make a change.

Day 12 — Budva, Montenegro

ACCOMMODATION

I spent just one night in Budva. I checked in at Freedom Hostel Budva…. And I went out exploring the city. Budva has a party scene as well as beach scenery. My best recommendations for Budva are as follows: 

Stroll around the Old Town, is so pretty and perfect for pictures. 

Mogren Beach 

Kosmac Fortress

St. Stefan

Milōcer park

If you know me, you know that I love city views, so in my travels, I always look for the best view of the city skyline. 

Here are the best Budva viewpoints:

Mogren fortress

El Ray

N.B: These are places recommended by locals, some are missing links simply because I couldn’t find more information on TripAdvisor or other such websites, but they exist, so ask people on how to get there.

Most are easily reachable on foot, other you may need a car or scooter.

Few very local places to eat traditional food are:

Kuzina

Hemingway Bar & Restaurant

Sirius

The hostel where I was staying it was very close pretty much to everything, the day after we had breakfast, walked to the station and got the bus to Kotor.

Day 13 — Kotor

ACCOMMODATION

Kotor is one of the most popular places for tourists to visit in Montenegro. And for a reason: it is a charming town! If you’re passing through, don’t skip it.

The Hostel we stayed in was PUPA HOSTEL  

The staff are so friendly here, and it also is a BRAND NEW hostel,  full of young people and travellers. We spent a few hours talking with Kristina from reception, she was hilarious and told us all about the culture, traditions and little secrets place of Kotor. 

Everyone who visits seems to love Kotor, and even though it was only a day trip for me, I also fell in love with the town. I most enjoyed:

Walking around the Old town, little narrow streets and beautiful spots.

The way up to the fortress you will see a spectacular view of the city.

And the history of this city.

TOP TIP: there are different entrances to go up to the fortress. At the first two entrances, you have to pay around  8 Euro, but Kristina told us, if you walk all the way west to the third entrance, there is a bar and a small window you can pass through to avoid the ticket fee. From there, keep walking up for a stunning view of the city. It takes about 45 to 50 minutes walking from the hostel. But worth the ticket price. 

After exploring all day, I went back and caught my night bus to Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The bus journey was one of the longest of my whole trip: around 12 hours.

I paid 20 Euro.  You can pay online or at the ticket office at the bus station. If you buy online, make sure to go through passport control and get the stamps before you get on the bus or the driver may refuse your ticket.

YOU MAY ALSO NEED…

Day 14 — 15 — Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 

WHAT TO KNOW: 

MUST BOOK: Free Tour Sarajevo Remember to change money currency, you can use TransferWise Did you know? At one point there were more than 200 fountains spread all around Sarajevo, now you have just one which is the symbol of the city. 

THE LEGEND SAYS…people who drink from the remaining fountain in the central plaza will come back again in the city sooner or later. Sarajevo city is called the Jerusalem of Europe because there are 4 Main religious buildings within 300m of each other in the centre: an Islamic mosque, a Catholic Church, a Jewish synagogue, and an Orthodox Christian church.  This is where the first world war started after Franz Ferdinand was killed. 

ACCOMMODATION

The bus journey from Kotor to Sarajevo was one of the longest of my entire trip. It’s a night bus, and my departure time was at 9 pm. I arrived in Sarajevo at 6 am. So long! 

Once I arrived at Sarajevo, I had breakfast with some travellers I met on the bus and checked in at Pansion River, a unique traditional hotel with a beautiful view from your room.

Make sure to book the room with the balcony towards the bridge and the river.

I spent two nights in Sarajevo, exploring the city.

This city is a must-visit; in my opinion, there is just so much history. It is why I booked a FREE tour for the day after. I won’t write about all the history of the city here, but the city has been heavily influenced by the war and is just beginning to open up more to people and tourism.

In 2 days you can do quite a lot: visit the main sights, get to know about the history, walk around the city and especially drink the typical Bosnia & Herzegovinan coffee, which is a highly respected tradition, they drink coffee everyday everywhere! It is also strong coffee, as they put a big scoop of ground coffee at the bottom of the cup before filtering it and repeat the process three times.

The coffee story is fascinating

You will see that most of the shops sell coffee, cups and pots. I loved this tradition and spending hours drinking coffee seated on a  pillow on the floor in a relaxed cafe around Sarajevo.

(I was told that “in the past” it was traditional for the youngest member of the family to ground the coffee every day for the other family members).

Keep walking around and go to the top of Yellow Fortress for a stunning view! This place is very close to the Pansion River Hotel. Once at the top of this fortress, enjoy a 360 view of Sarajevo, you’ve got to take a photo here! Beautiful.

Next destination will be…

Day 16 – 17 — Mostar

Mostar – what a beautiful city.

ACCOMMODATION

First of all, you can get to Mostar by train from Sarajevo, it takes about one and a half hours, and you have a beautiful view from the window. Sit on the left-hand side of the train, where the best view. Hopefully, you get the seat on the left side!

From the station you can easily walk into the old town, it takes about 15-20 minutes.

I checked in at the Apartment Nur in the old town, a room with a balcony and a beautiful view.

Have lunch at Food House; they serve traditional food at an affordable price.

The old town is tiny but super cute; it looks like you’re on a movie set. Stand at the old bridge where streets artists collect money to jump from the old bridge, crazy!

I also missed the RedBull bridge divers competition which was four days after I was left, unfortunately

but I want to share this video with you, here 🎥 IMG_7909 

Booking.com

Nightlife in Mostar is very eventful, and there are 2-3 trendy pubs where all the backpackers go. There you can find live music, cheap beers and lots of people having fun!

The best part of my trip here was when I met Irfan, a local guy who told me more about the city. Irfan told me anecdotes about the war and how badly Mostar had been affected by it.

 

Many people of his age are traumatised because of it since they were children at the time.

 

One of the stories that left a big impression was one about his childhood in wartime, when he had to spent almost two years living in a basement for safety and couldn’t play in the street because someone could have shot him. Every time one of his parents, mum or dad went out to the city to take supplies for the family, they treated it as a big Goodbye! Because you didn’t even know if you would come back home alive!

Another horrible story he told me was about his grandma, who was shot in the head by a Croat soldier right in front of him.

It was exciting to get to know the culture and mindset of locals, but at the same time, it was horrible for them to have lived in such times! Apart from the political situation, I have to say that the young generation here finds it hard to find a sustainable job.

 

Most young people aren’t able to go working abroad because their country is not part of Europe and them.

Mostar was incredible, and meeting Irfan and hearing his stories made this adventure even more exciting. I made a good friend who I will visit again when I come back to this beautiful little city.

Now it was time for me to change destination and head to Croatia…

Day 18 – 19 — Split, Croatia

I got the bus in the early morning from Mostar bus station, even here guys do not buy the ticket on the internet buy at the station because sometimes buses are late or even worse don’t pass at all. So avoid the refund email that you have to send in case you have to re-buy the tickets, like I did I happened to be with some Australian people all with the same problem, waiting hours for a bus that never came, so we had to buy tickets for and take another bus.

 

With all that said, the journey from Mostar to Split was smooth apart from the border security control, which is very slow and they even got me off the bus and searched all my stuff from my bags in a random check;

 

I was the only person to be raided haha, but everything was fine, of course! No alcohol, no drugs 🙂

I finally made it to Split after 4-5 hours on the road.  Once in Split, I got a taxi  to Stobrec outside Split centre, there I met my girlfriend and chilled at our apartment Sunny Luce & Kate

ACCOMMODATION

We spent the day walking around Stobrec, a cute village very close to Split but less touristy and crowded. In the night we went into Split for a few drinks and explored the Old Town in the night, which we loved!

The day after, we hired a car (a little white Toyota) and drove to  Krka National Park, where we stopped and had a swim. This place is an amazing national park, very well maintained, is a must-see if you travel in Split, the waterfalls are just stunning!

Ticket fee: 200kn (around £40 per person) “High Season.”

The only problem of this park in August is that it’s just way too overcrowded & expensive. Better at another time of the year.

After exploring the waterfalls, we drove back (stopping off in small villages on the way, like Grebastica, Primosten and Trogir – which is the great thing about having the car!) and had dinner at Pizzeria Orbis at the beachfront in Stobrec.

Day 20 – 21 — Brac Island

ACCOMMODATION: Bol Apartment. 

EAT: Belvedere

The following day we left the car and called an Uber to Split port (by the way, you can use Uber all around Croatia, which is much cheaper than ordinary taxis). We got the Jadrolina ferry from Split to Supetar on the island of Brac.

In Supetar we rented a 4×4 quad, this was an exciting experience, we were nearly running out of fuel on the way but made it to Bol, and checked in at Bol Apartment. 

Tip: when you hire the quad bike, always ask how much fuel is in the tank – they told us it was enough to get to Bol, but we cut it very very fine!

If you’re in Bol, definitely have lunch at Belvedere – we have a massive lunch of fresh fish, so yummy!

When we were finally re-charged and ready for our quad adventure, the next step was driving up towards the highest part and viewpoint of Bol, called Vidova Gora.

After our day of driving around on the quad, we decided to walk along the boardwalk in the evening to Zlatni Rat point (the strip of beach you can see sticking out in the picture). Plus, at night, the beach was dark and empty but still warm! A unique experience and a beautiful place for ice cream and an evening stroll.

The day after, we drove for about 1 hour to Sumartin where we left our quad and got the ferry to Makarska.

Day 22– 23 — Krvavica & Makarska

ACCOMMODATION

In Makarska you can either rent another motorbike to go around the city or go by bus, we preferred to rent a motorcycle as you are freer to move around.

If you choose this option, you can drive to Baska Voda, a top-rated and busy beach but worth it to go for few hours, few drinks, have a nice walk and lunch in one of the local bars along the beach.

After stopping in Baska Voda for a few hours, we drove back to our apartment in Krvavica. Makarska and Krvavica are very close, especially if you drive.

The best thing about Krvavica is the path next to the sea, where you can clamber on the massive rocks and find a spot for a swim. (Krvavica is a tiny town, so to find this place you need to walk down the road to the beach, super easy) There are some nudist spots amongst the rocks you can swim naked if you want to, it is allowed the sensation of being exposed is pure freedom and fun 😉

Finish the day having few pints of beer from the small kiosk and staring at the sunset. Sunsets here are just…wow. So wonderful!

Day 23– 24 — Peljesac Peninsula

The next day, we drove to Makarska, left our rental moto and took the bus to Ploce, where we got the ferry to Trpanj.

When we arrived, we checked in to Trpanj Rooms in the old town close to the church. If you get here without a car, it’s going to be a little bit tricky to get around because there are hardly any taxis and you need a car if you want to explore the best places of this area. Unfortunately, we didn’t have one, and it took us a while to figure out how to get to Divna Beach

Trpanj is a small village, very cute to walk around but you don’t need more than a day there to see everything.

TOP TIP: Go to the only big restaurant on the main road called Konoba Skojera Trpanj (where we had food later on the day) and ask for Darijo’s phone number, a guy to runs a taxi service. We paid around 700 Kuna go to Divna and back, plus to go from Trpanj to Ston the day after.

He took us to Divna beach where we spent the rest of the day, having cocktails and enjoying the sun this cute bay is a great hidden gem.

ACCOMMODATION

Our taxi came to pick us up in the night after spending all day at the beach. We came back to Trpanj and saw an amazing, colourful sunset over the fishing boats in the port!

As I mentioned earlier, we finished our day having a delicious dinner at Konoba Skojera we had SO much fresh fish that night, it was so yummy! This place deserves 5-star feedback, and I highly recommend it if you stop in Trpanj for the night.

The next day we left our apartment, had breakfast in one of the cafes close to the port and waited for Darijo’s friend to pick us up and drive to Ston. We had a great conversation about history, Croatian/Bosnian politics to Ston until we arrived in the early afternoon.

Day 24– 25 — Ston & Mljet Island

First Time on Airbnb? Get £34 Off your First Trip.

After leaving our bags, we headed to Prapatno Beach.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have a car or motorbike is very difficult to explore this little village, as there are not many buses.

Luckily the guy from the restaurant offered us a lift to the beach and also promised us to pick us up in the evening, how nice was that!

ACCOMMODATION

We ended our day walking around the old town, going up to the City Walls, (definitely a MUST if you travel around Ston!) and had dinner.

Try Croatian Premium quality house wine, a speciality of this village. 

The day after, at 6 am, we were ready for our day trip to Mljet Island, an island close to Ston. Renato, our driver, dropped us at the ferry very early, at 7 am we arrived at the port on Mljet. Early mornings in summer are the best to avoid the heat and see the sunrise – especially in the Balkans as you are surrounded by mountains all the time, it’s incredible!

In Mljet, there is an amazing National Park.  If you go for a day trip like we did, this is another place you can’t miss on the island, but you will need a car.

You can rent a car at the ferry port. It is very cheap for the day and its better rent a car than a motorscooter because there’s a long distance to cover.

It takes about 35-40 minutes from the port to the National Park, the scenery around while driving is so beautiful!

It is such a great experience!

The island’s top attraction is the National Park, but if you have more time to explore, there are many hidden beach spots which are worth a visit. Just make sure to get the ferry back (if you ever want to go back XD) because there are only two ferries per day, so if you miss it, you’ll need to spend the night on the island.

We went back to Ston, picked up our bags, and got a lift from one of Renato’s friends to Dubrovnik for a low price.

Renato was a very relaxed and funny guy – such a character! We were lucky to meet him as he told us a lot about the culture and traditions of his country, plus he helped us a lot during our stay in Ston.

Day 25 – 27 — Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, the pearl of the Adriatic. What a city it is!

ACCOMODATION

This city amazed me; you have to go!

Just a little warning though, it is bloody expensive, especially at the peak of high season in summer.

We arrived in the late afternoon and checked into an apartment which we found on Booking.com (but this specific apartment had no air conditioning, and the beds were pretty uncomfortable – so I won’t recommend it!). We headed straight off to the Old Town for dinner. It is so atmospheric at night, with the massive 16th century stone walls and labyrinthine streets all lit up. I loved the fact that there are no cars and you can walk around freely.

We had a pizza at Tabasco Pizzeria, a great place with yummy pizzas and reasonable prices.

That was it for the first night. The day after, we spent almost all day exploring the Old Town.  My top recommendation is to walk around the city Walls– even though this is quite expensive, it’s worth it. Go when the sun goes down as it gets boiling up there!

Book a Free Walking Tour: you get to know a lot about the city and get a better sense of orientation. On top of that, it is an excellent opportunity to meet people and make friends. Check here.

Dubrovnik is VERY popular as the location where Game of Thrones was filmed. Lots of the buildings and landmarks, such as the steps where the Cersei character did her ‘walk of shame’, were made famous by the TV series.

We visited some interesting corners of Dubrovnik, such as the old synagogue.

In the evening, we took some beers and ice cream and went to sit on the old wall facing the sea, watching the ships in the night and listening to live music.

Day 27 – 29 — Hvar

ACCOMMODATION

From Dubrovnik, we got the ferry to Hvar – a three-hour journey. Hvar is known as a ‘party island’, but it’s a big island with a lot to offer besides bars and restaurants.

We checked into a lovely Airbnb hosted by a local called Pamela and her family. She gave us lots of great insider tips and restaurant recommendations. We had a delicious late lunch at Mizarola (pizza, tagliatelle and white wine) before strolling along the waterfront to watch the sunset. After a few cocktails, we headed to Lunji for dinner. It is an excellent restaurant on a roof terrace which served up amazing local specialities. We had tuna stew, beef and fresh goats cheese. We also randomly bumped into a few old school friends while walking around the old town – what a small world!

The next day, we borrowed a little motorboat from Pamela’s friend Jako to explore the islands on our own. We had never driven a boat before, but after a five-minute demo, we were off! It was tricky to get the hang of it at first, but with some practice, it was a lot of fun as you have the freedom to drop anchor and explore wherever you want!

We found little deserted bays and beaches to sunbathe and swim nude 😉

Remember to pack plenty of water, suncream, snacks and towels if you’re going out all day – you don’t always feel the heat of the sun when you’re on the water, and you risk getting dehydration or sunstroke!

We sailed back to the mainland, had dinner and enjoyed our last night in Hvar.

Day 29 – 30 — Kastel Stari 

ACCOMMODATION

The next morning we got the ferry from Hvar to Split, and then a taxi to Kastel Stari. It is a tiny historic village on the coast about 20min outside of Split city centre and an even shorter drive from the airport. It is a peaceful town with few tourists – the perfect place to enjoy the last days of our holiday!

We walked along the promenade, had ice cream, went around the fish market, took photos of the old town during the ‘golden hour’ before sunset, and had a huge delicious meal at Konoba Intrada restaurant – highly recommended if you stay in Kastel Stari!

We only stayed one night, but it was a lovely chill alternative to Split as a final stop before heading home to the UK! The following morning, we got an Uber to the airport and flew back to London City Airport.

Annoyingly, we missed our connecting flight, and the airline lost our bags at our stopover in Amsterdam. Still, that negative experience couldn’t take away from the incredible month of travel experiences around the Balkan coast! I feel fortunate to have seen so many cool places and met so many interesting people along the way.

Now I can’t wait for the next adventure!

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