Travel period: May 2021
Thrilled by the great scenery in croatia's national parks we have seen so far, we cannot pass by Nationalpark Biokovo without visiting – and it´s just a short ride from the campsite at Omiš where we have stayed the night before. Biokovo is the second-highest mountain range in Croatia, located along the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic Sea, between the rivers of Cetina and Neretva. The nature park is home of several animal species and is a good spot for hiking within its mountain landscape. You can find more info here: https://pp-biokovo.hr/hr/20/pocetna.
The drive to the National Park entrance is exciting to start with because you gain more and more altitude along the way which allows for great views over the opposite islands of Brač and Hvar. Entering via the main entrance close to Makarska the first kilometres of the road lead up through a pine forest to the first view point – a skywalk platform. The semi-circle walking platform reaching out of the rocky slope offers a spectacular view of the coastline and is an exciting introduction to the park. Access to the platform is free once you are in the national park. Depending on how you enter the park a entry fee applies. They charge most for entry with a car but in our opinion it was worth the 16 € ( two people, one car, May 2021). We heard that a cable car is planned to be build to reach the summit more easily. Probably this would mean that the entrance by car will be forbidden once the cable car is finished. Back to the skywalk: It is made out of glass and surely takes a bit of courage to walk and enjoy it, but we did!
The skywalk platform
Hovering above the abyss
Following the summit road the national park offers a good starting point for several different hikes and we choose a 30 minute walk to peak Vošac to start with. Having this viewpoint to ourselves we enjoy the amazing landscape around us and launch the drone in order to capture the ample scenery somehow. What we did not knew at the time that we had to get back here a second time in the evening because Jonathan lost his cap in an attempt to get the drone all set up in a hurry. An unexpected workout! From the parking spot where we left Rosie we started another hike to the highest mountain peak in Biokovo: Sveti Jure. Two hours completely remote we walk through forests, climb some rock walls and unexpectedly have to pass some snow on the way. Reaching the top at 1.762 meters above sealevel we are exhausted but happy!
The summit road at Biokovo.
At Vošac summit above Makarska. Brač and Hvar in the background
Sveti Jure, highest point in Croatia. If you count the antenna.
During our hikes we hope to see a bunch of wild horses which we heard are living in the Biokovo but the horses seem to be roaming around somewhere else. Back in the Defender we start to descend to the entrance with thoughts of this great day in our minds and by surprise the wild horses appear blocking the street. They probably have their evening routine to try to get some snacks from tourists passing by. In smart teamwork one was blocking the car and the other ones aim for our windows sticking their heads inside. Luckily we had a carrot left and they let us pass!
Back at sealevel we head for a campground and end up in front of three camping entrances right next to each other in Drvenik all named the same or nearly the same. Which one to take and which one is the one we have choosen beforehand by looking at some Google reviews? No idea! We choose Kamp Ciste (last entrance to the right when coming from Makarska), have a quick late night dinner and spot the lovely little beach the next morning. Seems like we made the right choice this time. Just being on the road for two weeks after our departure in Germany it still feels like a holiday and we have a quick travel pace in order to see as much as possible in a short time. We know we have to slow down a bit to fully get used to longterm travelling and allow us to process all new impressions. Therefore we decide to stay another day to relax at the beach before moving on towards to Drubovnik!
One city has been on our bucket list for a long time and we are excited to finally tick it off! Travelling further south along the coast of Croatia you have to pass Bosnia Herzegovina to get to Drubovnik, so we transit it. It is only a 15 minutes drive (filling up our diesel tank in transit because prices are much lower at the time) and we are back in Croatia again. Currently there is a bridge under construction which will connect the mainland with the peninsula Pelješac in the future to avoid this broder crossing. Though, we had no problems crossing it for transit.
As safe parking is not easy at all, probably in every touristic big town, we decide to stay on campground Pod Maslinom in Orašac 15 km before Dubrovnik to visit the city by bus the next day. It is the prettiest bus drive we ever had following the coastal road and bus stops in front of the sea.
Dubrovnik is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean Sea. In 1979 it was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites in recognition of its outstanding medieval architecture and fortified old town. Asking the camp owner what to see in Dubrovnik he only has one answer: „The old town!“ Nothing else? Not really, Old Town it is. We take our time to explore this magical place for a day. The architecture is stunning and strolling around the old town makes us feel like being sent back to the middle ages. There are several information signs reminding of the Croatian War of Indepence in 1991 when the old town suffered significant damage from bombing. After repair and restoration work in the late 90's and early 00's it emerged again as a tourist destination and popular filming location. The most popular series is Game of Thrones as the fictional city of King's landing and several other locations were filmed in Dubrovniks old town. Next to the benefits of tourism the city coped with overtourism the last years. Cruise ships, cheap flights and even Game of Thrones encouraged thousands to visit. Previous to 2020 in the main season between 5,000 - 10,000 people visited Dubrovnik on a single day. In 2016 UNESCO threatened to remove Dubrovnik’s World Heritage Site status unless it curbed tourist numbers, therefore they are working on some measures to reach this. For the first time we have a benefit of travelling during COVID-19 as we have the cozy streets of the old town nearly to ourselves. Hard to imagine how you experience the city when it's packed with people.
After this exclusive visit and one more night on the campsite where we have left our Rosie we travel into a country which is completely new to us – entering Montenegro! We are sure that there are more exotic places to see but people who are traveling a lot certainly know it: The „new-country-feeling“ is kicking in for the first time during our journey – how exciting.