Where to Go in Croatia: A Tour Guide’s Ultimate Croatia Travel Guide

Where to Go in Croatia: A Tour Guide’s Ultimate Croatia Travel Guide

And finally, the day has come for my completely comprehensive, totally decked-out, a-bit-too-extensive, tour guide’s guide to where to go in Croatia. After working as a tour guide here for 4 seasons, I’ve learned a quite lot about this country, if I do say so myself ;).

In this Croatia travel guide you will find all possible Croatia destinations, adventures, beaches, sailing + ferry info, language and pronunciation info, restaurants, all kinds of Croatia tours, islands, cities, sunset spots, and places to visit in Croatia.

So, you’re planning a trip to Croatia! That’s so incredibly exciting; you’re going to love one of the most beautiful countries in the world! 2018 was my fifth summer in a row coming to Croatia, and there’s no way I would’ve been back this many times if I didn’t think the absolute world of this country. I’m the luckiest to have been able to work out here! No matter how sleepless or full-on my tour guiding job has been, I could seriously discover new gems each and every week sailing the Adriatic.

This country guide to Croatia is broken down into lots of subsections, mostly based on different locations and important information.  I have a couple more in-depth city guides that I will link to below, a guide to festivals in Croatia, a guide to how to choose the best sailing tours in Croatia, a complete western Balkans Road Trip itinerary, and more. If you are planning a trip to Croatia, feel free to contact me – I am happy to answer any questions and help with Croatia consulting.

And now, the most ever-extensive, totally comprehensive, tour guide's guide to croatia. Including Croatian cities, history, adventures, alphabet, sailing, ferries, sunsets, and EVERYTHING!

Pssssst… This guide to where to go in Croatia and all of its satellite guides are over 10k words… why not Pin this image to Pinterest so you’ll be able to go back and read it whenever you want?

A BRIEF INTRO TO CROATIAN HISTORY

(If you don’t care, just skip to the next section! )

Croatia has LOTS of really incredible history – recent and ancient. History is one of the most interesting parts of Croatia and reasons to visit the Balkans in general! The area was inhabited by cavemen for tens of thousands of years, and artifacts from even 20,000 years ago can be found in various archaeological sites around the country. You can even find dinosaur footprints in a few places in this country! Fuuuun facts.

Ancient Greek sailors colonized Hvar island in 385BC – the same year Aristotle was born! Lots of Croatia became part of the Ancient Roman empire during the early AD years; namely, Split is the site of some of the most well-preserved ancient Roman ruins in the entire world (more on that later!). At that time it was two provinces, Pannonia (present day northern Croatia) and Dalmatae (modern day Dalmatia – the southern coast!)

The Slavic people came to present day Croatia in the 7th century, and the first King of Croatia, Tomislav, came to power from 925. Croatia became part of the Hungarian empire after a defeat in 1091, keeping its autonomy but being ruled by the Hungarian-Croatian King.

Medieval Period

From the late 1300’s to the late 1700’s, all of Croatia was basically constantly sought after by both the Venetian Empire and the Ottoman Empire, with many fortresses built, battles fought, and transfers of power during that time. This is when the current Dubrovnik and Korculan walls reached their present form, and when many fortresses you can visit today were constructed.

Dubrovnik, however (known as Ragusa at the time) was the only part of Croatia that was able to maintain its independence during that time (for 450 years) due to the intelligence and diplomacy of its people. They were constantly making deals with other empires and even sold some land to the Ottoman Turks to prevent a Venetian attack (which is why a tiny bit of Bosnian border reaches the coast north of Dubrovnik).

Napoleon and the French army came through and conquered the entire coastline in the early 1800’s (including Ragusa/Dubrovnik), until being defeated by the Austro-Hungarian Empire also in the early 1800’s. This is where Croatia remained until after WW1 when it united with many other Balkan countries to become the communist Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia

Long story short, and attempted biases aside, Yugoslavia was a forced union of three very different groups of people – Croats/Slavs, Bosnians/Muslims, and Serbs. The country was kept together very well under leader Marshall Tito until he died in the early 80’s, leading the country into a downward spiral. The power was very imbalanced, with Serbians holding most of it (the capital was Belgrade – the current capital of Serbia).

Croats were sick of sending all their hard earned tourism money from the Dalmatian coast to Belgrade and not getting much back. Eventually it became too much for the very proud Croatians, who voted and declared independence in 1991 starting a multi-year civil war. Dubrovnik was one of the places hit the hardest in this war, and was under siege for 8 months in ’91 and ’92 although its old walls had been an UNESCO World Heritage protected site for over 11 years.

Present Day

Croatia gained its independence in 1992 – just a mere 27 years ago! There is lots of recent history in the whole country, especially Dubrovnik, which I have outlined in my guide below. There is still a lot of tension and even racism between the Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians, which is tough to this day. It’s been independent for 25 years and became part of the EU in 2013, and its tourism has been exponentially increasing each year (which has been pretty crazy for me to witness first hand!).

Sailing Croatia Wooden boat petrina tour guide's guide to croatia sailing tours ferries

I have lived in this boat for approximately 11 weeks of my life. No joke.

CROATIAN CURRENCY GUIDE

Here, they use the ‘kuna.’ General conversions would roughly be about 5 kuna to 1 AUD, 6.3 to 1 USD, 7.4 to 1 EUR, and the GBP keeps changing so would be somewhere mid-8 kuna to one (it was 10.4 when I first started – thanks Brexit!)

SO – if a meal costs 100 kuna… it would be about $20 AUD, $15USD, 13EUR, and 11.5GBP. This is a pretty good basis for conversion as 100kn is a fairly normal (slightly cheap) cost of a basic meal.

Kuna are broken down into 100 lipa, and all the bills are different colors to make it easy for you.

GUIDE TO CROATIA FERRIES

Croatia is very well connected by fast ferries – mainly the Jadrolinja line and the Krilo Star line. Timetables and tickets can very easily be found online, and you can purchase tickets in advance online also (recommended). Ferries are very affordable, too, and are the best way to get around the islands.

You can ask about these in any tourist office. The southern coast ferries mostly run in between Split and Dubrovnik, but there are ferries in the north, too. There are also overnight/10 hour ferries from Split and Dubrovnik to to Ancona and Bari, Italy.

BUSSES IN CROATIA

If you can’t get there by ferry in Croatia, you can certainly get there by bus. Busses in Croatia are fairly reliable too and will connect you with all the mainland parts of the country. Wondering where to go in Croatia by bus? Busbud is a reliable website to use.

GUIDE TO CROATIA SAILING TOURS

Yep, this is what I worked on! And no, I did not work for The Yacht Week. There are DOZENS of companies that do Croatia sailing! For three summers, I worked for a company called Topdeck Travel that does 7 day boat tours around the islands, for 18-39 year olds. Lucky for you, I actually wrote an ENTIRE GUIDE just to Croatia Sailing Tours, linked here or on the image below!

READ
Croatia Sailing Tours: How to Choose the Best Island Sail Week in Croatia

If you want to sail Croatia but aren’t sure where to start, feel free to contact me. I can help you plan your trip if you need!

Tour Guide's Super Guide to Croatia - Dubrovnik alleyways and little streets, with laundry hanging overhead!

Dubrovnik alleyways and side streets! (@kimmconn)

BRIEF GUIDE TO THE CROATIAN ALPHABET

Here’s just a wee lil’ lesson on Croatian letters and pronunciation!

J – pronounced exactly like a “y” in english. Someone named Daria or Mariana would be Darija or Marijana here.

You’ll see lots of ‘carrots’ above letters, like ‘ž’ ‘č’

Š is pronounced like ‘sh’

č is pronounced like ‘ch’

Ž is pronounced like ‘zh’

Р– like a ‘G’ so here “Georgia” looks like “Ðorđa”

C – pronounced here like ‘tz.’ So Someone whose name is Braco is pronounced like “Bratzo” and the rakija “Medica” is pronounced “Meditza.” So any name in English that would have a ‘c’ would have a ‘k’ here since it’s pronounced differently… like ‘Marco” would be “Marko.”

Let’s put a bunch of them together. In Croatia, a currency exchange is called a “Mjenjačnica.” So, using the rules above, you pronounce it “Myen-yach-neet-zah.”

So, while you’re there, just sound everything out with these rules above and you should be golden!

WHERE TO GO IN CROATIA: DALMATIA/SOUTHERN ISLANDS

Here in this guide to where to go in Croatia I have outlined pretty much the entire country and all I know about each place.  I have specific guides to many of the places, so you will find  links to these as well!

First up is the most well-known part of Croatia: The Dalmatian Coast. “Dalmatia” covers the southern coast and some of the most famous Croatia destinations, which I have outlined below.

Instaeditz-18

Dubrovnik, or as we lovingly call it, Dub City.

Where to Go in Croatia: DUBROVNIK

Days: 2-4+

Where to stay in Dubrovnik:

Hostel: Villa Angelina – for a view within old town

Hotel: Hotel Petka – affordable, in the port

Hilton Imperial –  great location (and pool!) next to Old Town

Rixos Libertas Hotel – fancier and more secluded resort

Airbnb: View Dubrovnik Airbnb’s here (make sure to book early!)

Getting here from Airport:

Shuttles from the Airport to the main Bus Station (which is in port Gruž where the boats dock) are 40 kuna. Taxis from the airport would be about 40 euro (300kn). They now have uber in Croatia which seems to be the cheapest non-bus option. You can also easily book a private transfer to your accommodation for cheapter than a taxi.

Busses: 1A, 1B, 1C, and 3 go between the main gate of old town (Pile – pronounced ‘pee-lay’) and the port/main bus station. Other busses can take you to the hospital and other places in town and maps at bus stations should tell you this.

Getting Here from Anywhere Else:

You can take a ferry to Dubrovnik from Mljet, Korcula, Split, and more. Book in advance on Bookaway.

Why Visit Dubrovnik:

Dubrovnik is a fairytale city manifest in real life. With red-roofed buildings sprawling between towering concrete walls, directly next to the sparkling blue adriatic sea… it’s easy to see why this city was named ‘the Pearl of the Adriatic.’ It can get extremely busy with cruise ships and tourists, but is worth visiting for the sheer beauty of such a well-preserved seaside walled town.

CLICK HERE OR THE PHOTO BELOW FOR MY GUIDE TO DUBROVNIK WITH IN-DEPTH SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS !

In the guide below: dozens of places to adventure & explore (beaches, museums, cable car, kayaking, GoT Tours, Buggy adventure), best places to watch the sunset, best places to eat, and a complete nightlife guide to Dubrovnik! 

READ
Things to Do in Dubrovnik: A Tour Guide's Guide to Dubrovnik Travel

Around Dubrovnik: ŠIPAN/ELAPHITE ISLANDS

I mention these much more in my Dubrovnik Guide, but these islands are just off the coast of Dubrovnik and are stunning. If you have extra time in Dubrovnik I highly recommend checking out the caves, blue cave, and serene little towns of these islands.  Šipan also has a stunning fortress hike – the one in the feature photo of this post! The Elaphite islands are best visited as a day tour of boat rental from Dubrovnik.

Book a day tour from Dubrovnik visiting three amazing islands!

 

blue cave dubrovnik elaphite islands

The Blue Cave on Koločep, one of the Elaphite Islands!

Where to Go in Croatia: SPLIT

Days: 1-3 (Best as a base for day trips)

Where to Stay in Split:

Hostel: Booze & Snooze or Fiesta Siesta for a bit of a party (attached to the only backpacker bar in the city)

Hotel – Palace Judita Heritage Hotel 

Airbnb – Main Square Apartment (central/large)/Silver Luxury Apartment for smaller groups

Getting here from the Airport: 

There is an airport bus that takes you directly to the bus station (which is at the end of the port) for 33 kuna. A taxi would be a bit more pricey, around 2-300kn.

Getting Here from Anywhere Else:

You can take a ferry to Split from Hvar, Brac, and more. Book in advance here.

Why Visit Split:

Split is the second largest city in Croatia (after the Capital, Zagreb) and the largest on the coast. It’s home to Diocletian’s Palace – an Ancient Roman palace which forms the entire city center. Split may be large in size, but is mostly suburbs without thaaaat much to do, honestly! This is why I recommend Split is a hub for some amazing day trips in the area. It’s got fantastic food and nightlife, but other than that the best things to do would be having a swim at the beach or doing a ton of day trips I have a post on below.

As I’m sure you can imagine, I have so much to say about Split that I had to split (ha… get it) it off into it’s own guide.

Click here or on the image below for my Tour Guide’s Super Guide to Split, Croatia!

In this guide: All I have to say about the places to swim, look at views, learn about history, party, and mostly EAT amazing food in Split.

READ
A Tour Guide's Split Travel Guide: Adventures, Food, + Nightlife (Croatia)

AROUND SPLIT:

As you will see in the guide above, , Split is awesome but there is not as much to do as other Croatian cities. This is why I always say Split is a great home base for day trips in Croatia. There are some smaller islands and national parks that are all accessible as day trips from Split, often on an organized bus/minibus tour.

I think day tours are some of the easiest ways to access different points of interest from Split, so much so that – you guessed it – they deserve their own post! I have briefly listed some possible day trips from Split below, but is you want more in-depth descriptions, click the headline or image below.

Click Here or on the Image Below to Read About 12 Great Day Trips From Split.

READ
12 Must-See Day Trips from Split, Croatia

 

plitvice lakes national park croatia waterfall park croatia

 

 

 

 

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If you want to hear a situation that describes my dumb competitive personality perfectly, continue reading. . . So we docked early in Omiš, the place we send passengers to Zipline. I had never actually explored the town and I knew there was a big hike to a fortress, but we only had an hour and a half. . . I decided I would walk into town, explore, and maybe locate the hiking path so I could try it another week. A few minutes into town I saw a sign with an arrow saying 'Fortica.' I decided I would suss out the path for next time, maybe walk up a bit because I like to hike. . . So I walked up for 5-10 minutes and found the marked trail. I then thought maybe I could walk 30 minutes up and then turn around, and get however high I could in that time so I could get an idea of how long the whole thing would take. . . After about 20 minutes I had made amazing distance, and that stupid competitive devil in my head wouldn't stop telling me I could totally go all the way. So I sped up. . . Huffing and puffing, I got to a sign that said the fortress was 15 minutes away. I decided I could make it in half that time at my speed. Lunch on the boat was in about an hour. All the way at the bottom. (See that tiny dock down there?!🔫) So I went for it. . . At this point I wouldn't let myself off without touching the actual fortress. So I did. I got there and ran around it with my @gopro and @sandmarc pole snapping quick shots all over the place before turning quickly around back down the mountain, overlooking Omiš and the mouth of the Cetina River. . . . And I was 15 minutes early for lunch.🙃 #competitivespirit #annoying #mylegsareshaking #thatVIEWthough . . . #gopro #sandmarc #goprogirl #omis #croatiafulloflife #croatia #goprotravel #competitive #view #water #peoplewhodofunstuff #inspiredbyyou #outdoorwomen #hiking_official #earthfocus #outside_project #theoutbound #earthdaily #dirtbarbieadventures #earthgirllifestyle #femmetravel #girlgetoutside #travelstoke #adventureculture #passionpassport

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Where to go in Croatia: OMIŠ

Days: Day Tours from Split or Makarska/ 1-2 Days

Getting There: Omiš is about 45 minutes from Split (and about the same from Makarska) if traffic cooperates, and you can get there by bus or with a transfer if you sign up for an adventure tour from Split. Many sailing tours also stop here for adventure activities.

A lot of adventure tours from Split actually take place in Omiš – zip lining, rock climbing, and river rafting are the main ones. Omiš is where the Cetina river empties out in the the channel between the mainland and Brac island. Omiš was actually owned by a family of pirates in the 12 and 1300’s who were so powerful that the Venetian and Ottoman conquerors would pay them a ransom to pass by their territories. The pirates would attack any ship that sailed by and would actually retreat into the Cetina River to hide!

Today Omiš is an adorable little town at the base of this river and the massive rocky mountains behind it. You can find lots of souvenir shops, alleyway restaurants and cafe’s, homemade flavored rakijas and spirits, great hiking, and other adventures.

Ziplining

Ziplining in Omiš is a must for anyone visiting Croatia, honestly. I’ve done a fair bit of zip lining throughout my travels, and this is the best by far. I have had hundreds of my passengers do this optional activity on my tours and have not had a single one say it wasn’t worth it or didn’t love it.

Reserve a space on your own zipline tour today, it’s one of the best adventures in the country.

Rock Climbing

This is surely a great place to try – the sheer cliff faces around the river mouth are the perfect opportunity.

River Rafting

I haven’t done this personally but from what I hear it’s more of a nice little river paddle/float with mild  rapids and stunning views. The rapids are levels 2 and 3 and you go for 12 kilometers through amazing countryside. I would recommend the zipline over everything but if you have time, definitely try it all!

Book a river rafting experience here!

Hiking

Omiš has one of my favorite hikes in Croatia for sure. The Omiš Fortica (Oh-meesh Four-teet-zah) it at the top of the rocky mountain overlooking the town. The hike is about an hour and the views are just incredible.

extensive guide to croatia travel

Have you pinned this guide to Croatia to Pinterest yet?!?

Where to Go in Croatia: MAKARSKA

Days: 1-4+

Where to Stay in Makarska:

Hostel: Hostel Makarska

Hotel: Hotel Maritimo

Airbnb: Studio by the beach + City Centre for small groups / Apartman Marina for views

Getting There:

Makarska shouldn’t be much more than an hour and fifteen minutes from Split, and is easily reachable by bus.

Why Visit Makarska:

People ask me very often what my favorite stop is on my sailing tours, and I honestly have different favorites for different reasons. But I would have to say in this guide to where to go in Croatia that Makarska is my overall favorite. I think this because overall it has everything: the sheer beauty, amount to do, number of adventures, beautiful scenery, and nightlife. It is situated at the base of the tallest mountain on the Croatian coast (Biokovo mountains – Sveti Jure peak is just over 1700m) and the mountain view honestly looks like a fake backdrop. Makarska surely has some of the best shopping, swimming, and scenery in the country.

The entire mountainous stretch of coastline just north and south of Makarska is called the Makarska Riviera, and it’s all simply beautiful! The mountains look like a painting and the colorful towns are wonderful to explore. I don’t have a specific guide to Makarska (yet), so read below for the best things to do.

Makarska Adventures:

Parasailing in Makarska

Parasailing here is a must. Choose the ‘extra high’ option and be blown away by being on the same level as the stunning rocky mountains, gazing down at the little white dot that is the boat you’re attached to!

Makarska Jet skiing

Jet skiing here is also awesome. Again, the backdrop sets it apart.

Swimming

Makarska is the swimming capital of the coast, with too many amazing spots to count!

  • On one side of the port, you have Deep cave bar and an entire cliffy coast full of cliff jumps and mind-blowingly clear water. The jetty near Deep cave bar also has some lovely swim spots.
  • On the peninsula between the port and beach, you have similar cliff jumps and secluded swimming spots.
  • Beach – If you aren’t the cliff swimming type, you also have the option of a whole 2km of pebbly beach to swim and relax under the shade of the trees.

Wipeout course

There are two inflatable ‘wipeout courses’ along Makarska’s beach; you can’t miss them! For just about 50kn you can run along this floating obstacle course with your friends. Honestly, I have never laughed so hard in my life! You will slip and fall in the water every 2 seconds and it’s a hilarious time.

Cliff jumping in Makarska

You can find jumping spots all along the cliffs surrounding Makarska’s protected port. Just be careful and ensure it’s safe before jumping!

Markets

Makarska has some of the best markets in Croatia. There’s a big maze of markets just at the beginning of the beach where you can get lost shopping for basically anything you can think of. There are markets all along the rest of the 2km beach as well – the toughest choice will be deciding where to get your souvenirs! Many sailing trips also hold their pirate party here, and you can buy pirate gear in all the markets.

Makarska Cafes and restaurants

Crepes, snacks, bars – Essentially all of Makarska is lined with cafe’s, restaurants, and takeaway food. Along the riva (main beach boardwalk), you can find crepes, all kinds of snacks, restaurants selling all possible Croatian foods, gelato everywhere, and cocktail bars for days. Just take a stroll along the water and see what tickles your fancy!

Hiking

Similar to the cliff jumping spots, there are hiking trails on either side of Makarska’s protected port. You can hike up through the trees and rocks to discover even more amazing views and swim spots!

Massages on the beach

Yep, that’s right! There are plenty of massage tents right on the main beach where you can enjoy any of about 6 different types of relaxing massages right on the water.

Buba Bar

This bar is a bit of a trek from the main port, but if you can make it its a rad beach bar with thatched umbrellas, great cocktails, and a view to-die-for.

 

makarska riviera croatia beautiful mountains beaches croatia adventure water sports

 

Makarska Restaurants

Riva

I have been here about 23 times and am still not tired of it! Riva is a lovely courtyard restaurant adorned in beautiful vines, and is a perfect setting for a secluded and delicious dinner. Riva prides itself on meat and seafood, and you can get a top-notch steak or select freshly caught seafood straight from a freezer display.

Bounty

This restaurant is right on the beach and also has great meat and seafood, and also a fantastic burger!

Makarska Nightlife: Bars & Clubs

Smile Bar

This is an awesome little bar with great drink deals before you go out.

Marineta Bar

This bar has great cocktails and is right on the port.

Deep Cave Bar (Cave Rave)

This club has become pretty well known as the ‘cave rave’ on Croatia’s coast and has to be featured in any guide to Croatia. We all dress up like pirates for this night out, right on the water (and yes, it’s an actual cave!). It gets pretty crowded in peak summer season, however, and we usually head to Petar Pan around 12:30 when it gets too packed.

Petar Pan

This open-air club is only open in the peak months of summer, but has fun DJ’s and lots more space than Deep on a hot July evening.

mljet national park croatia island relax sunset lakes adventures

Where to Go in Croatia: MLJET

Days: 1-2

Where to Stay in Mljet:

Hostel: none!

Hotel: Hotel Odisej (proximity to National Park)

Airbnb: Charming Apartments (for seclusion/proximity to National Park) Double Room with Sea View for affordable/in town

Getting Here:

You can take a direct ferry to various ports on Mljet island from Dubrovnik. Book in advance here. You can also take a Day trip from Dubrovnik.

Why Visit Mljet:

Mljet is a super chilled out, GORGEOUS, wooded island just north of Dubrovnik. More than half the island is taken up by a national park characterized by two salt water lakes, the Malo Jezero (small lake) and the Veliko Jezero (big lake). Creative names, right?!

There’s a little island in the middle of the big lake, called Sveti (saint) Marija (maria) island, and on it is a benedictine monastery that was constructed in the 1190’s. These monks are the reason for the saltwater lakes, which is a rare phenomenon in this day and age. See, the lakes used to be fresh water, until these monks dug a channel between the big lake and the small lake to the ocean.

Why? To harness the power of the tide! Smart monks, they were! These lakes are connected to each other by a small bridge (mali most) and a little channel. Because they’re connected to the sea, the saltwater lakes are tidal. This means that you can float through the little channel with the tide when it’s moving in or out. Pretty cool! Just watch out for sea urchins 😛

The best things to do in Mljet are to hike around the lakes or rent a bike or kayak. You can rent bikes from Pomena or Polače (the main ports around the National Park) but I recommend walking into the park and renting them from Mali Most to avoid having to ride up big hills.

 

 

Kayak – kayak out into the big lake to get a view of Sveti Marija island – it’s stunning!

Bike – You can actually ride an entire loop around the big lake now; last year they constructed a beautiful round bridge (Veliki most) to connect each side at its thinnest point. However, if you can, ride past this bridge out as far as you can go toward the open ocean. On one side (my favorite side, the north side) you can find a hiking trail, and on the other a simply stunning view! Both sides are amazing for swimming and honestly one of my favorite places in this whole world.

Ferry – Your entrance fee to the national park comes with an optional ferry to Sveti Marija island if you would like to check out the monastery and little cafe yourself. But, I always say that the view is better from afar!

Odysseus Cave – if you can get your hands on a scooter or rent a car, you can check out the impressive Odysseus cave on the other side of the island. You can climb down a precarious rock trail to enter the cave from above, or you can jump in the water and swim into it where it connects to the sea! Either way, it’s an amazing cave with, again, some of the clearest water i have seen.

Other Rental Car/Scooter Adventures – If you can get your hands on a car, you can visit any of a few other amazing places on Mljet island. Sobra is a fairytale-like little town in the middle of the island, and if you make it all the way to the other side (I don’t even know if the town has a name!) you can find a very rare sandy beach!

 

hvar island croatia spanjola fortress view pakleni islands carpe diem club nightlife croatia

 

Where to Go in Croatia: HVAR

Days: Maybe 1-3 nights… however long you can party, really! Or, take a trip to other POI’s on the island like Stari Grad, which is stunning.

Getting there:

Hvar is about one hour’s catamaran ferry ride from Split and also about an hour ferry from Korcula. Book in advance. Some ferries are slower.

Where to Stay in Hvar

Hostel: White Rabbit Hostel

Hotel: Hotel Adriana or Hotel Amfora

Airbnb: Apartnan Olive Tree (for bigger groups) but I recommend this one for smaller groups/central.

Why Visit Hvar?

Hvar is a must when talking about where to go in Croatia- the sheer natural beauty, amazing swim spots, and most importantly -Nightlife. Hvar Town has a crazy nightlife and people come specifically for this. The rest of the island is more serene with wineries, lavender farms, hills, and coves. Some of Dalmatia’s best clubs and bars are in Hvar – and some great food, too!

VIEW MY IN-DEPTH SUPER GUIDE TO HVAR BY CLICKING HERE OR THE IMAGE BELOW:

In this guide you can learn about all sorts of adventures and places to see on Hvar island, the best places to watch the sunset, lots of suggestions for dinner & food, and a complete nightlife guide! 

READ
A Tour Guide's Guide to Hvar Travel - All You Need to Know

 

Where to Go in Croatia: BRAČ ISLAND

Days: Day stopover/Day trip – 1 day

Getting here:

You can get a direct ferry from Split to different parts of Brač. Book in advance here. You can also take a Catamaran cruise from Split that takes you to Supetar, Bol, and some secluded bays all in one day.

Why Visit Brač:

Brač is the largest island in Dalmatia, located on the southern coast of Croatia. It is famous because white limestone is quarried here that is used in most Croatian old towns (you’ll notice the smooth light stone that pretty much EVERYTHING is made out of) and is also shipped all over the world.

Brač stone has been used in the houses of Parliament in Budapest and Vienna, the palace in Stockholm, and even the White House in the USA! Oh, I love fun facts. You can buy lots of souvenirs of white Brač stone – earrings, bracelets, other jewelry, and other home decor like clocks and candle holders.

My tours only stopped in Milna, a tiny little village. There’s a cute little place you can taste homemade olive oil, wine, prosek, and grapa, a few cafe’s, a pizzeria, and two bars. That’s it. They have live music sometimes but this isn’t the most fantastic place in Croatia.

Bol – This is a famous v-shaped beach that changes shape with the currents. It’s a very popular place for tourists and a lot of day tours from Split or Makarska will do trips to Bol.

Supetar – One of the biggest towns on Brač bordering the channel between Brač and Omis.

 

Vis Island Croatia Fort George War tours

The view from Fort George, Vis.

 

Where to Go in Croatia: VIS ISLAND

Time: 1-2 Days

Where to Stay in Vis

Hotel: Hotel San Giorgio (Vis Town) / Villa Kamenica (Komiza)

Getting There:

Vis is a stop for many ferries running from Split, Hvar, etc. It is also a stop on many boat tours. I recommend visiting Vis and the Blue Caves as a day tour from Split.

This tour with well-established Providenca Charters visits Komiža, Hvar, the Blue Caves, the Green Cave, and the incredible Stiniva Cove (Pictured below) in one day. Great value for people without much time!

Why Visit Vis:

Vis is the tenth largest Adriatic island, and is home to many peaceful getaways. The island was only opened to tourism in 1990 after being a military base for former Yugoslavia and a submarine base and hideaway for Marshall Tito during WW2!

Vis is great for quiet time and renting a scooter to explore old war areas. There are also some pretty big parties in amazing venues if you catch the right night! Vis is also known for gorgeous picturesque coves and its famous blue caves on an island just off the coast.

View my Super-Guide to Vis Island by clicking here or on the image below! Like many of these places, there is so much to do that it needs its own guide. 

READ
Vis Croatia: A Tour Guide's Guide to Vis Island Beaches, Nightlife, & More

Where to Go in Croatia: KORČULA ISLAND

Time: 1-2 days

Where to Stay in Korčula:

Hostel – Hostel Korčula – most well-rated and central

Hotel – Hotel Korčula – central with a great view

Airbnb –  Apartmant Justina – central and large – make sure to book early!

Getting There:

Korčula is about the mid-way point on a ferry trip between Split and Dubrovnik. Book ferries in advance here. You can also visit the island as a day tour from Dubrovnik along with some other wine regions.

Why Visit Korčula:

Known as the ‘mini-Dubrovnik’ because of its smaller walled town, Korčula is just as gorgeous but more low-key. You’ll learn some fascinating history and have time to relax with amazing views + wine. Youo can watch a cultural sword dance called Moreska, eat tons of fresh seafood, take part in wind sports, and more. There’s also some enjoyable nightlife as well.

I wrote another Super Guide to Korčula, and you can view it by clicking here!

In this guide: The best places to explore, adventure sports, sunset spots, places to eat, and nightlife in Korčula. 

READ
A Tour Guide's Travel Guide to Korčula Island, Croatia

 

Where to Go in Croatia: North  of Split/The North Coast

Although most sailing tours only touch on the places to go in Croatia I have mentioned ab0ve, the fun doesn’t stop there! There are tons of other gorgeous regions of Croatia it would be a shame to miss out on. In no particular order, here are some other must-see cities and National Parks that are important to note when  considering where to go in Croatia. Many are included in my Balkans Road Trip Itinerary as well.

KRKA NATIONAL PARK

Days: Day trip/road trip from Split/Zadar

Krka (pictured above) is one of two well-known waterfall parks in the country. This is the one you can swim in. Krka is a beautiful National park with different levels of waterfalls and forest trails to explore. Krka is the closest to Split so would be a good day trip from Split!

Day tours usually take you to the waterfalls and a few other viewpoints and points of interest, and will include an amazing included homemade lunch (depending on which company you use).

Visit Krka as a Day Trip from Split, or as a day trip from Zadar!  It’s about an equal distance from both.

ŠIBENIK

Days: Day Trip/Road Trip Stop

My tours to Krka also stop in Šibenik for an hour or so. Šibenik is another scenic coastal town characterized by a quaint stone old town full of alleyways and cafes, along a port full of boats looking out to the Adriatic.

PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK

Days: Day Trip/Road Trip Stop

This is the other well-known waterfall park in Croatia, perhaps more well-known than Krka. You cannot swim in this one, but it is much larger than Krka and has pathways and trails that you could walk around all day! There are dozens upon dozens of beautiful waterfalls atop the clearest and most turquoise water you can imagine (are you seeing a theme in this country?!).

It’s very, very overrun with tourists, though, and is borderline unsafely crowded in high season. My pro guide to Croatia tip? Go before or after peak season, in May/June or September/October. Read more about visiting Plitvice Lakes in my Balkans road trip guide.

Plitvice is best visited as a day tour, and can be booked from Split, Zadar, or Zagreb.  It’s cheapest from Zadar and about equidistant between Zadar and Zagreb.

READ
Balkans Road Trip: A Balkan Travel Itinerary with Coasts, Parks, & More

TISNO

Days: 3-4 for a festival or road trip stopover

Tisno is not too far from Šibenik and plays host to many of Croatia’s sunny summer music festivals. Love International, Electric Elephant, Beats Beer and Boogaloo, and Suncebeat are all held here. View my festival guide below!

READ
Festivals in Croatia: The 15 Best Croatia Music Festivals
zadar sea organ guide to croatia

Sunset at the Sea Organ

Where to go in Croatia: ZADAR

Days: 1-2

Where to Stay in Zadar

Hostel: Downtown Boutique Hostel 

Hotel: Bastion Heritage Hotel

Airbnb:  Apartment Blue Sun Aurora – central.

Getting There:

Zadar is under two hours from Split and is reachable by car or bus.

Why Visit Zadar

Zadar is a popular city to visit on the mid-coast of Croatia. Its town center is set on ancient ruins along the water – an Ottoman fortress with some ancient Roman ruins scattered around as well. Like fairly everywhere else, there are lots of cool bars, cafe’s, and shops in the alleys of old town, and some open-air clubs as well. Check out this Zadar Travel Guide for more info!

Zadar is perhaps most famous for its ‘sea organ.’ This is a little pier with holes drilled in at different widths and lengths so that when the waves crash up against it they play different notes. It’s quite amazing really, and a must-see in Croatia.

Adventure Guide to Zadar

Kayaking to Dugi Otok

Like every major Croatian city, Zadar offers some amazing kayaking tours. Zadar is enclosed by different islands off its coast, namely Dugi Otok. This kayaking tour will take you through beautiful sea caves and cliff jumps – an adventurer’s dream!

Book your kayaking and sea caves tour with Kayak & Bike Adventures 

Or try a sunset kayak tour if you’re a sunset lover like me! 

River Canoe Safari

Zadar is lucky enough to be close to the Zramanja River, home to some fun rapids, canyons, and swimming spots.

This top-rated tour takes you canoeing and adventuring right from Zadar.

Skydiving

Yep, you heard that correctly! You can skydive over Zadar and the beautiful, moon-like islands of Croatia’s north. If you are an adrenaline junkie, get on it! I know I will next time I am there.

Adventure lovers, try Skydiving Zadar! 

Explore Surrounding islands and Nature Parks

Zadar has its own archipelago off the coast, and is scattered with tiny and large islands alike. There’s even a National Park, Kornati, located on an island not too far away. You can also visit the gorgeous Telašćica Nature Park and swim in the secluded bays nearby.

Spend a day sailing and exploring the beautiful Telašćica Nature park and Dugo Otok (Dugi island)!

Day Tours to Krka and Plitvice

Like Split and Zagreb, you can take a day tour to both Plitvice and Krka National Parks from Zadar.

Here’s a tour to Krka and here’s one to Plitvice from Zadar. There’s a lot of options to visit these two parks!

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Looking out from a viewpoint on Pag Island

 

Where to Go in Croatia: PAG ISLAND / ZRCE BEACH

Days: 2-4+ for a festival

Where to Stay on Pag:

Novalja is one of the main towns on Pag island (besides the actual town of Pag) and is the main base of all festivals and parties at Zrce beach. Festival boat parties will leave from here, there are many accommodation options, and it actually has some of the best shopping I have come across in Croatia.

Hostels: Moon Rocks Hostel for a bit more secluded with a pool // Hostel Zrce for central

Hotel: Villa Ani (central)

Why Visit Pag/Novalja/Zrce Beach

If the south wasn’t enough of a party, Zrće (pronounced zur-chay) takes care of the rest of Croatia’s party reputation. Many say the northern islands of Croatia look like the moon, in that they are white and hilly and mostly devoid of vegetation. Pag island is no exception, and one of its calm bays houses one of the best party venues in all of Europe – Zrće beach.

Zrće is like Vegas meets Ibiza on the coast of Croatia, and is absolute insanity. In summary, Zrće has 5 super-clubs right on the water, with all sorts of restaurants, convenience stores, bars, and activities all in one place. On normal nights you would need to purchase tickets to any one of the clubs, but when Zrće holds festivals, 3-5 of the clubs take part and a ticket will come with free movement between all involved clubs. Some festivals here to check out are Hideout, Black Sheep, and Sonus.

To read more about Zrće than this guide to where to go in Croatia can tell, check out my Review + Guide to Hideout Festival that takes place up there each June.

READ
Hideout Festival Review + Guide: All You Need to Know for Croatia

 

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This is how the @beatstravellers do… exploring hidden gems by day and partying by night! This stunning beach is not too far away from where @Sonusestival was held on Zrce beach, but was totally secluded👌🏼 and like a lot of the northern islands, is totally devoid of vegetation and looks like the moon!🌕 . . Speaking of hidden gems, I have just touched down in Greece to help out hosting the first ever @sailbeats tour – a boutique music & sailing experience touring around the Greek islands. We have our own DJ's taking over exclusive day & night Sailbeats parties at amazing island venues the whole week! It will be a lot of work and planning but I can't wait to see how the week turns out. Stay tuned to my story for live updates on my Greek adventures!!🐬 #pag #beach #Croatia

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Pag Island – Other than Partying

There’s absolutely nothing else to do. Just kidding, there a couple things. Pag is actually well-known for its cheese of the same name, and you can take some food + wine tours that taste and appreciate Pag’s production. Pag is also home to one of the only naturally occurring olive tree groves in the world, which you can visit for a small fee.

Book a food + wine tour of Pag from Zadar, visiting vineyards, a dairy, and different sights on the island

Birdwatching

Yes, really. In the off-season you can observe rare birds on the island migrating from Europe to Africa, and take a private tour to do so.

Beaches

There are nice places to lay out all over the island, but Ručica Beach definitely takes the cake (pictured above). This may be one of my favorite beaches in the world! A white pebbly beach looks out over the moon-like landscape and clear blue water, and it’s like something out of a dream.

You guessed it – Kayaking.

Kayak around Pag’s ‘extraterrestrial’ environment by renting one at a beach or taking a tour. This tour by Adventure Driven Vacations (ADV) takes you kayaking, free-climbing, and snorkeling in some of the best spots.

 

Where to Go in Croatia: ZAGREB

Days: 2-3

Why Visit Zagreb

Zagreb is Croatia’s capital, and as I like to say, the ‘other half’ of Croatian culture. The coast is all about the sun, sea, and mediterranean vibes, but Zagreb is almost like another country! It’s important to visit Zagreb when considering where to go in Croatia because it’s entirely different than the rest of the country.

This lovely capital is far more similar to Eastern Europe than the rest of Croatia, and is fascinating to visit and wander the lovely little streets and massive cathedrals and churches. Take a free walking tour here, or try a bike tour of the city.

Around Zagreb there is a lot of wine country and small Croatian villages which are also lovely if you get the chance!

READ MORE ABOUT ZAGREB HERE IN MY ZAGREB POST! (not a guide, more like a story!)

READ
Visiting Zagreb: Showcasing Croatia’s Lesser-Known Personality

What to Do in Zagreb

Plitvice Lakes Day Tour – as I said above, this is a main starting point for a tour of Plitvice.

Explore the Town – there are many museums and amazing monuments and buildings in Zagreb.

Food Tours – there are also many food tours in Zagreb that harness the culture of the Mediterranean-style south, the rich north coast, and the more Eastern-European inland. See if you can see the difference in the food!

Slovenia – You can take a day trip from Zagreb to Ljubljana (the capital of Slovenia) and the stunning Lake Bled. I would recommend more time in Slovenia, but if you have a time constraint, a day trip from Zagreb could be the move.

motovun places where to go in croatia

Where to Go in Croatia: Istrian Peninsula

Istria is a hilly peninsula on Croatia’s northernmost coast, which is often compared to Tuscany. This is the ‘foodie’ region of Croatia, and is known for massive amounts of food, oil, wine, rakija, and truffles, too!

Similarly to what I said about Zagreb, Istria presents Croatia’s ‘third’ different ‘personality,’ with scenery differing completely from Dalmatia and also from the area surrounding the capital. Here are a few of the most notable places to visit in Istria, Croatia.

MOTOVUN

Days: 1-2

Where to Stay in Motovun

Hotel: Hotel Kastel (central)

Airbnb: Galerija Motovun for cheaper/smaller/central, House Valentino for a remote entire house, or Casa Adora for central + authentic (with a view)

Why Visit Motovun

Motovun is an incredible unique and iconic hilltop medieval walled town, and is also where the largest truffle ever found in history was located. Eat your bodyweight in truffle, cheese, oil, and wine, and gaze out at incredible views over rolling hills. Read my complete guide to Motovun below!

READ
Things to do in Motovun Croatia: A Truffle-tastic Medieval Hilltop Town
pula arena - ancient roman colosseum in Pula, croatia where to go in croatia

PULA

Days: 1-2

Why Visit Pula

Istria is most notably home to Pula, a city characterized by an ancient Roman Colosseum where they hold events (Such as Outlook and Dimensions Festivals). You can fly into Pula and tour the amazing area and some serene fishing towns like Rijeka.

Some of the best olive oil in the world is produced here, and Pula is home to an Olive Oil museum. The historic town is bustling at night, with alleyway restaurants and eateries full to the brim with locals and travelers alike.

Things to Do in Pula

Food Tours- Taste olive oil, cheese, and wine in one tour by Pula’s Krug Travel.

Kayaking – explore the local coves by kayak

Visit the Pula Arena – this colosseum is one of the best preserved in the world, besides the main one in Rome of course! It’s a must-see place when considering where to go in Croatia.

Visit Brijuni National Park – This island chain is hone to archaeological sites, amazing views, and some of the best-preserved dinosaur footprints the the world (nope, not kidding).

RIJEKA, ROVINJ, and POREC

These three coastal cities are also great to consider when planning out where to go in Croatia. They’re on all different sides of the Istrian peninsula, and all have something different to offer (well, they all offer fantastic coastal views, but what’s new there?!).

 

 

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I remember seeing photos of this place on a blog a few years back, and making a pact with myself to see it one day. It's called Blagaj (pronounced bla-guy) spring, the source of the Buna River in Southwest Bosnia & Herzegovina. They estimate that it's the deepest spring in Europe, and that 43,000 gallons come out of it per second. The surrounding restaurants just use the river water to keep their drinks cold!! The gorgeous white house next to it is the Dervish house – a branch of Islamic religion that is one with nature. I got the vibe that they were the Islamic hippies😝✌🏼️ More on this soon!! #blagaj #dervishes #dervishhouse #spring #bunariver #herzegovina #solotravel #mostar #birthday #nikon_photography_

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So, What Next? Where can you go from Croatia?

Depending on where you begin and end, many Eastern European and Balkan countries are easily accessible from Croatia. Here are some ideas, linked to blog posts I have written about them for more info.

Slovenia – beautiful nature, green cities, and lakes galore.

If you don’t have much time, you can see Slovenia’s highlights on a day tour from Zagreb.

Montenegro – stunning views, hikes, and nature. This is one of the most underrated countries if you ask me! Visit Montenegro from Dubrovnik; it’s only a few hours away! There are many Montenegro day tours leaving from Dubrovnik, as you will see in my guide to Dubrovnik day trips. Or, view my country guide below.

READ
The Best Things to Do in Montenegro in a Montenegro Road Trip Itinerary

Hungary – Trains can go directly to Budapest from many places in Croatia. The overnight train between Budapest and Split is quite a doozy, though… make sure you bring plenty of food and water and quite possibly some sleeping pills.

Bosnia + Herzegovina – Visit the historic Sarajevo or any of lots of amazing natural wonders in and around Mostar. There are also many tours to Mostar, Pocitelj, Medigorje, Kravice waterfalls, and Blagaj Springs (pictured above) from Dubrovnik – all fantastic natural wonders of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Check my Dubrovnik Guide or an example tour here, or read all about Mostar in my guide below.

READ
Things to Do in Mostar Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Mostar Travel Guide 

Serbia – Visit lots of historical sites and the former Yugoslav Capital, Belgrade, the current capital of Serbia! Belgrade has an amazing music scene, a stunning countryside, and an amazing neighboring town, Novi Sad.

Need Help Planning Your Trip to Croatia?

Contact me! I have spent over ten months here over four years. I’ve seen the tourism grow with my own eyes, written over 10k words in this massive and multi-faceted guide to Croatia, and know the in’s and out’s of most of the country. I would love to help plan private tours, sailing trips, or any general Croatia consulting! Pop me an email at adventuresnsunsets@gmail.com and I’ll help you plan your perfect Croatian getaway!

A comprehensive guide to where to go in Croatia, including all different regions of the country and what makes each special. What to do, where to stay, how many days, how to get around in each destination with links to more in-depth guides.

WheretoGoinCroatia2

 

REMEMBER to PIN this Guide to where to go in Croatia to your Pinterest Boards and share the knowledge!

July 14, 2019

How to Continue Working While Traveling in Europe

How to Continue Working While Traveling in Europe

The world is a big place with countless places to explore. That’s why so many people often add “big vacation” to the list of things they would do if they won the lottery, and for good reason.

You can spend years in one single country and not see everything. There’s always an untraveled path, hole in the wall restaurant, or cultural experience out there waiting for you.

Some people decide to make traveling their full-time gig by working throughout their adventures. With the power of the internet, just about anything is possible. If you’re looking to travel and work in order to support yourself, look below for some recommendations.

The Job Options

Traveling isn’t free, although you can definitely get by without spending a ton of money, but you’ll still need a way to support yourself somehow.

Teaching English

To see if you’re qualified to teach English, perform the following test. Make sure you’re a native English speaker by reading or writing in English or double checking where you parents came from. Can you check that off? Great.

Step two is much easier. Take your fingers, put them on your wrist or neck and make sure you have a pulse. Still good to go?

Congratulations, you are now qualified to be an English teacher in many parts of the world. Some places require you have a college degree or certification like TEFL or TOEFL, but that is not always the case.

You can work locally in an academy, school or university or take your English skills online and teach English to adults.

The Digital Nomad

Once again, we can thank the internet for giving us so many options for work. Many different places of employment are now moving their job force online, meaning you can hop on that too.

Writing, editing, data entry, IT, engineering, teaching, virtual assistant, customer support, marketing, and community management are just some of the many jobs you can find online that offer remote work. You might have to change around your hours and invest in a better laptop, but it’s a fantastic way to earn money from anywhere in the world.

working while traveling in Europe

Your Own Business

Being your own boss means that you can take your work anywhere you want with you. If you want to travel this could be your best option.

This option requires a bit more work when it comes to getting everything set up. Start with a unique domain, a mobile friendly website, and get a little help from Google for ads and SEO guidance.  It usually takes a few years for an online business to even turn a profit and you might have things going slower, especially if you’re traveling at the same time.

But fear not, there are plenty of people who have turned their online business or website into their full time job and are able to see the world while doing so.

The Red Tape

Before you hop on a plane to the next hot European destination, we need to go over bureaucracy of all this.

One of the more important things to know before going to Europe long-term (after understanding what to pack for the time of year) is knowing what the Schengen Area is. Established in 1995, the area is borderless travel for 26 countries which are all in Europe. What that means is if you’re going from Spain to Germany, you won’t have to pass through passport control.

Europe as a name gets tossed around all the time as a term that covers all countries on the continent. For travel purposes, this is fine. If you’re going to Europe for the summer, you can travel to Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Norway and the UK without any problems.

Let’s break it down further, however. Italy, Slovenia and the UK are all part of the European Union but the UK is not part of the Schengen Area. Norway and Switzerland are part of the Schengen Area but not part of the EU. Ireland uses the Euro and is part of the EU but is not part of the Schengen Area.

Confusing, right?

If you’re planning on staying in any country in Europe for longer than 90 days (except Albania), you will need a visa. The majority of countries will make you apply for a visa before coming over, like Spain and Italy. Some countries, like France will let you apply for a visa once you’re inside the country.

Check with your destination country’s visa and passport policy before traveling. Failing to meet the requirements could result in denial of entry.

Also, never overstay your visa or that 90 day period. Some countries don’t mind as much, but others like the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Ireland are notorious for cracking down on people that overstay by even a day.

Travel Within Europe

European travel is incredibly easy. They have plenty of planes, buses, trains and car-sharing opportunities for you to get around the country in. As a non-EU citizen, however, you may be subjected to different requirements and regulations traveling within the continent.

Also, starting in 2021, all Americans will have to apply for an ETIAS, an electronic visa that allows you to travel to European countries.

The decision was a long time coming and is relatively quick and painless (it will be able to be completed in less than 10 minutes), but is still a new step for travelers that will be checked throughout all airports.


 

Thanks for the guest post, Clarissa Caouette!

Clarissa is an enthusiast for all things outdoors, although she doesn’t get out as much as she would like. By day, she is the proud owner of a residential cleaning company, keeping her indoors most of the time. Clarissa is hoping to head to the Land Down Under in the near future. When not working (which is rare), Clarissa can be found with her family in their home just outside of Nashville, TN.

June 18, 2019

Balkans Road Trip: A Balkan Travel Itinerary with Coasts, Parks, & More

Balkans Road Trip: A Balkan Travel Itinerary with Coasts, Parks, & More

So this Balkans road trip itinerary is one that I carefully planned out and actually did myself along with some close friends, so not only do I think is it reliable and doable – I KNOW!

I expertly crafted this Balkan travel itinerary according to my group’s pace and needs, using my four years worth of knowledge from the Balkans and a wee bit of research. It was at least my second (or 30th – no joke!) time in most of these places, and I know them well enough  to lead an actual tour around them, let alone a virtual one.

This Balkans road trip includes Croatian islands at the beginning, after which you will rent a car (because you don’t need one for the islands, and who wants to waste money?! Not us!) and drive for the rest. You’ll then visit some Croatian National parks, Istria (northern Croatia), Slovenia, Bosnia + Herzegovina, and Montenegro. These countries comprise the Western Balkans – one day I’ll make a longer itinerary including all the other incredible Balkan countries as well.

Specifically, this Balkan Travel Itinerary Includes:

Dubrovnik – Elaphite Islands – Korcula – Hvar – Split – Zadar – Plitvice Lakes National Park – Pula – Motovun (Istria) – Ljubljana – Lake Bled/Lake Bohinj (Slovenia) – Makarska – Mostar – Blagaj Spring – Kravice Waterfalls – Pocitelj Castle (Bosnia + Herzegovina) – Kotor – Montenegro Road Trip (Ostrog Monastery, Podgorica, Lovcen National Park, Skadar Lake National Park, Sveti Stefan) – Budva – Dubrovnik.

I‘ll let you know where there are options to visit other places if you have more time. This Balkans itinerary as it is written lasts just under 3 weeks, but it’s designed so you can go at your own pace using the route I have outlined. There are only 18 specific days below, so pick your favorite place(s) and add extra days in here and there to suit your needs (or go super fast like we did and do it in 17-18). Choose your own adventure!

As with most of my itineraries, this Balkans road trip is for those of you who like a bit of adventure and aren’t afraid to move at a fast pace to allow you to experience more. You can always add more days wherever you like; I recommend to take this itinerary as a guide and go at a slower pace if you aren’t a fast travel type person (even a month or more if you like).

But, what I am giving you here is the exact Balkans road trip itinerary that I did myself in September 2018, with extra recommendations if you have more time.

The ideal western Balkans Road Trip - including nearly 3 weeks worth of destinations throughout Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia + Herzegovina, and Montenegro. What to do, where to stay, where to eat, and more for each destination, plus opportunities to extend the Balkans itinerary to see even more! AMazing photo and instagram spots in each destination and the best views in the balkans! #balkansroadtrip #balkans #croatia #slovenia #montenegro #bosnia

the ideal balkans itinerary with sights through croatia, montenegro, slovenia, and bosnia and herzegovina. STart riding ferries through the Croatian islands, then rent a car for the ideal Balkans road trip through national parks, coasts, mountains, and more. #balkansroadtrip #balkans #croatia #slovenia #montenegro #bosnia

PIN THIS Balkans Road Trip guide to your Pinterest boards! It’s VERY long. 

When is the Best Time to Visit the Balkans?

This is a tough question depending on where you want to go, but I will almost ALWAYS tell you May/June or September/October. July and August (and late June really) are ‘peak season’ in the Balkans (especially coastal Croatia) and some places are so overrun with people you’ll wish you just stayed home.

Places like Dubrovnik are especially crowded, with cruise ship passengers taking over the entire old town when they descend upon the poor unsuspecting thing like a cheetah pouncing on its prey.

But First, If You Want More Info in Specific Places…

Did you know I used to be a tour guide in Croatia? When I had that job I was able to familiarize myself a LOT with the country and those that surround it. You can read my Tour Guide’s Super Guide to All of Croatia or my specific guides below (most of which are outlined again in this EXTREMELY comprehensive itinerary).

BalkanTrip18CroatiaDalmatianCoast-1

Dubrovnik from up on the mountain

Balkan Itinerary Day 0: Arrive in Dubrovnik

Your Balkans road trip itinerary conveniently begins and ends in Dubrovnik – you’re welcome 😉 Dubrovnik is one of the most famous cities in Europe and pretty much like a fairytale in real life. It’s a walled medieval town right on the Adriatic, with tons of beautiful streets and alleyways to explore, places to swim, and history to learn.

Getting to Dubrovnik

I can assume for the sake of this Balkan itinerary that you will be flying into Dubrovnik (the itinerary world best this way, but you can bus in too or begin at any point because it’s a loop). I always use Skyscanner to compare fares from all flight providers to find the best deals. The busses in Croatia are also very reliable.

Make sure you read my in-depth Things to Do in Dubrovnik Travel Guide below for all the nitty-gritty on this awesome place. But for now, planning the day!

READ
Things to Do in Dubrovnik: A Tour Guide's Guide to Dubrovnik Travel
Where to Stay in Dubrovnik

I would always recommend to stay inside the old town walls in Dubrovnik, so you don’t have to worry about traveling to get in on the action. There are also some really nice resorts that are quite removed. If you’re doing Airbnb, definitely get one inside the walls. Here are my best options for all budgets:

  • Airbnb – There are TONS of awesome airbnb’s in Dubrovnik. We stayed in this one and loved it (there were 5 of us). There are tons of options, small and large, often overlooking the old town. Just make sure to book early.
  • HostelsVilla Angelina is a great on in old town (I stayed there years ago). City Walls Hostel is right near the cliff jumping bar.
  • Hotels – Some amazing Dubrovnik resorts are Rixos Libertas (a few coves over from the main town but really lovely), and The Hilton (just outside the main gate of old town and really nice, gym and pool etc).
What to Do in Dubrovnik

Today you will fly in and get yourself situated; that’s pretty much it! Depending on what time your flight gets in you may have more or less time to explore. We got in quite late, and spent the evening wandering through the beautifully lit streets and eating a delicious meal at Veritas, one of my favorite restaurants I’ve been to dozens of times.

It’s in a main square of old town, and has some great options of classic Croatian food to introduce you to the cuisine. Try the ‘kiss of Dubrovnik,’ the Gunduluc Steak, the seafood platter, or the chicken a la bocar. 🙂

If you are in Dubrovnik on a weekend (which we were for the first night), make sure to check out the famous club Revelin. It’s inside the fortress walls of old town and is really incredible, decked out with amazing (loud) speakers, dancers, aerialists, and more. Just know that it gets good around 2am (but you can get free entry before about midnight with a voucher people give out all night in old town). You’re in Europe now – things go quite late!

Where to Eat in Dubrovnik:
  • Veritas – classic Croatian Food
  • Bona Fide – a Mexican/Italian restaurant for something different
  • Lady Pipi – classic Croatian food with a view
  • Alleyway Restaurants – there are tons of restaurants with tables in the narrow streets of old town. Many of these will serve classic Croatian food and seafood in a lovely atmosphere.
dubrovnik walls view of the old port - starting a balkan itinerary

View from walking the city walls 

Balkan Itinerary Day 1: Dubrovnik – Old Town

Rise and shine, it’s time for your first full day! Today you’ll do all the best things to do in Dubrovnik old town and surrounding areas – best done in order. There are loads of spots to check out so make sure you give yourself time to do it all (aka get going in the morning)!

Overlooking the City
  • Cable Car/Mt Srd – What better way to start your day than overlooking the whole city? One of the best things to do in Dubrovnik is to ride the cable car up to the top of the mountain overlooking the city. To get to the cable car, walk out the Ploce gate of old town and simply follow signs (you can also hike up if you are daring enough – there’s a trail). You can get a round trip ticket, or you can also do a car tour from many Croatian guides who hang out near the cable car port and will tell you history and take you to a few different places. At the top, you can do a buggy safari or visit a museum/restaurant (below).
  • Museum of the Croatian War for Independence – At the top of the cable car hill, you’ll find a museum dedicated to the Croatian War for Independence, which happened a mere 26-27 years ago in 1991-2. You will come upon lots of recent history in this Balkans itinerary, so it will be good to familiarize yourself with the turbulent history right off the bat. Tickets are about 30kn and the experience is eye-opening.
  • Panorama Bar/Restaurant – Grab a coffee, meal, or cocktail at the Panorama bar overlooking the cable car and city before you go back down. It might be one of the best views ever!
Dubrovnik Museums
Now you have a bit of time to explore old town! Some museums you can visit upon your return to old town are:
  • Rector’s Palace Museums – ethnographic, maritime, and archeological museums in the same building
  • Sponza Palace – Art exhibits and Memorial Room for the defenders of Dubrovnik
  • War Photo Museum – photos from the Croatian and other wars
  • Marin Drzic house – home of a famous Croatian poet
  • Or, just grab a 5 Euro street mojito on the main street 😉
Final Old Town Adventures
  • Swim at the Buza (cliff) Bars – If it gets quite hot mid-day, it would be silly not to have a dip in the crystal blue Adriatic waters. The best place to do this is right off the walls of the town. There are two cliff bars (called buza bars) that you can find on the western edge of the old town. The entrances may be a bit hard to find, but it will be so worth it! One of the bars has steps into the water and the other is popular for jumping from high cliffs into the deep water.
  • Walk the Walls of Old Town – When it gets a bit later (maybe a few hours before sunset, just make sure to check the opening times) it’ll be time to walk the old town walls of Dubrovnik. You can get tickets to the walls just inside the main Pile gate (see my Dubrovnik post for more preliminary info) and there are two entrances to the walls. People walk them in a counter clockwise direction. Make sure to give yourself at least an hour (preferably two) and to bring your camera!
buza bar cliff bars map dubrovnik

At Night: Since you tried Veritas last night, you can now check out one of my other favorites: Bona Fide Mexican cafe. If you’re from California/Mexico you may not enjoy this Mexican food as much, but if you have been traveling and could use a Mexican fix, this food is really good. If you’d like something local again, head to Lady Pipi (go early because there may be a line!) or sit down to a romantic alleyway meal anywhere in old town.

BalkanTrip18CroatiaDalmatianCoast-213

Dubrovnik from the fortress opposite the walled town 

Balkan Itinerary Day 2: Dubrovnik – Day Tours

After checking out the city yesterday, today it’s time to see why people from all over the world flock to swim in the waters of the Adriatic. Today jump on a boat tour of the Elaphite islands, which are gorgeous islands just outside the city’s port. You will be able to explore tiny island towns, swim in crystal clear waters, and maybe explore even more beaches and caves. If you have time, you can also go sea kayaking, Game of Thrones’ing, or more.

Note: You’ll want to buy online/ pick up ferry tickets to get Korcula tomorrow, today. You can purchase them in advance online or get them from a store called Travel Corner in port Gruž. Today, it’s a good idea to get them if/when you leave for your Elaphite islands tour from port Gruž, which is where the ferries leave from.

Elaphite Islands Tours

There are two different kinds of Elaphite islands tours, choose which sounds best to you:

  • Big Boat Tour – The ‘galleon’ tour will take you to the three islands (Šipan, Koločep, Lopud) and will drop you in the towns on each island. You’ll have free time in each little town to eat, swim, or explore.
  • Speedboat Tour– The speedboat tour is an adventurous Elaphite islands tour, and will take you swimming through a blue cave, exploring and swimming through other island caves, swimming to a sandy beach, and more. Choose which one is best for you and click the bold letters to book.
When You get Back:
  • Sea Kayaking: This is one of the most popular things to do in Dubrovnik. Sea Kayaking Tours go from the old town, to a cave/beach down the coast, around some spots on Lokrum island, and back. It’s hard but beautiful and it includes lunch.
  • Game of Thrones Tour:Dubrovnik was one of the main filming locations for Game of Thrones, and you can see lots of filming sites like King’s Landing and the Shame Steps on a GoT tour. You can also see some filming sites from the recent Star Wars movie.

Dinner: Today grab some takeaway after a long dayor choose from the recommended restaurants above.

OR

Cavtat

If you aren’t too tired, there’s a lovely town called Cavtat about 30 mins south of Dubrovnik. They call it ‘Dubrovnik’s Monaco’ and it has some fancy resorts, nice restaurants, and beautiful shopping. You can get there by bus route 10 or by ferry boat from the old port in town.

Korcula Croatia Guide to Korčula Island Travel

Balkan Itinerary Day 3:  Dubrovnik to Korčula

Before you leave Dubrovnik: Get ready to check out, and spend your morning in Dubrovnik catching up on any activities you missed, exploring Lokrum Island, or relaxing on Banje Beach.

Getting from Dubrovnik to Korčula

You’ll take the ferry from Dubrovnik to Korčula (korch-uh-luh). Grab ferry tickets online or the day before you go while in port Gruz. We took the 4pm ferry which worked well. There’s also a very early one and a late one, maybe more dependent on the time of year.

Where to Stay in Korčula

I would recommend staying in or close to the old town since you won’t have much time here.

Airbnb – There aren’t as many airbnb’s in Korčula, especially for bigger groups, but there are options if you book early. We stayed in this one and had a great experience (with 5 of us).

Hostel Hostel Korčula is the most well-rated and central

Hotel – Hotel Korčula is central with a great view

What to Do in Korcula

Korčula is called a ‘mini Dubrovnik’ because it is similarly an old walled town on the water. It’s quite small, so this afternoon and tomorrow morning should be enough to explore. They say that Korcula is the birth place of Marco Polo, and you can visit the Marco Polo house (where he is rumored to have been born), a Marco Polo museum, and tons of Marco Polo gift shops. If you’d like more back story and info about Korcula and a complete guide, check my Tour Guide’s Super Guide to Korcula linked below.

READ
A Tour Guide's Travel Guide to Korčula Island, Croatia
  • Once you arrive, drop your bags and get ready to explore! I recommend today that you check out a cocktail bar called Massimo’s, which is a repurposed 14th century fortress where you climb up a ladder to get to the roof. It usually opens at 5.
  • For sunset, climb the Bell tower in the main square of St Marko. It costs about 30kn, and is a one-way spiral staircase up the tower that has traffic lights to dictate when to go up and when to wait for people to come down! It’s the best view of the city and a great sunset spot.
  • At some point, make sure to check out the hilariously interesting Marco Polo museum. It’s right outside the old town walls, and is comprised of a few different rooms with elaborate scenes/mannequins laid out to tell the story of a different part of Marco’s life/adventure. It usually closes late (9pm) so going after dinner today is not out of the question (that’s what we did).
Where to Eat in Korčula

Dinner in Korčula will fall sometime between the visiting the bell tower and the museum, or any time you get hungry! There are a few options:

Kavana No. 1: This is probably the best place to eat in the city, and has an amazing view whether it is light out or not. It’s a bit of a climb to get to, but this restaurant is up on a hill overlooking the old town. If you want to try something authentic, order the meat peka (meat slow-cooked on hot coals under a bell). It’s absolutely delish. You might have to pre-order it if you have a few people though, since it takes a few hours of preparation. Just call in the afternoon.
Tramonto: This is also another amazing sunset view, with a terrace facing west. You can grab cocktails here if you have time before dinner (it’s the second best sunset view), or they have some amazing dishes (the beefsteak Tramonto is one of my favorites).

Optional: If You Have More Time:

Stay another/a few more days and spend some time wind surfing, relaxing on the shore, or exploring other places around the island such as Lumbarda.

Check if there is a ‘Moreška’ dance during your stay. This is a traditional sword dance that reenacts a battle that the Korculans had with the Ottoman turks in the medieval times. It’s a huge part of Korcula culture and a spectacle to see.

hvar island view pakleni islands part of 3 week balkan itinerary

Balkan Itinerary Day 4: Korčula to Hvar

Before you leave: Korčula: Today you’ll wake up in Korčula and take the time to go have breakfast on the eastern shore of town, where there are loads of restaurants in the shade of trees overlooking the water. Next, walk up the (western -the direction of the sunset last night!) coast away from town – this is the best place to swim.

You’ll pass by some rickety wooded docks shaded by palm trees along the road. Eventually you’ll come upon a pebbly beach where you can lay out and have a swim in the crystal clear water while gazing at a perfect view of the old walled town.

Getting from Korcula to Hvar

You’ll take another ferry today, from the same place, to Hvar. I recommend the 1pm ferry so you have a morning in Korcula to swim. The ferry takes about an hour.

Where to Stay in Hvar

Airbnb: We stayed in this one (6 guests) but I recommend this one for smaller groups/central.

Hostel: White Rabbit Hostel

Hotel: Hotel Adriana or Hotel Amfora

What to Do in Hvar

Hvar is another stunning island known for its nightlife. There will be options for both history and partying today, and enjoying Hvar’s great food. I also have a super-guide to Hvar, so if you’d like more in-depth info click below.

READ
A Tour Guide's Guide to Hvar Travel - All You Need to Know
  • Spanjola Fortress – Once you enjoy the scenic ferry ride, arrive in Hvar, and drop your bags (might also be a good idea to grab your Split ferry tickets if you don’t have them already), it’s time to check out another fortress. The walk to Spanjola is about 15 mins from the town, and is one of the best views in Croatia. Pay about 30-40kn to enter the fortress and revel in the views and interesting information to learn about this site, which was built in the 1550’s.
  • Adriana Rooftop Bar – Ok guys, this is my secret spot that I would never tell my tour groups about. Don’t tell! There’s a lovely bar on the top story of hotel Adriana, right in the port. It’s a great place to relax and have a coffee or cocktail before heading to Hula Hula.
  • Shopping + Markets – There are also lots of markets in town that sell souvenirs, jewelry, and lots of lavender, which is grown on the island. Get yourself some lavender oil/scent/soap for an authentic souvenir.
  • Hula Hula Beach Cocktail Bar – Hula Hula is one of the best bars in Croatia. It’s the perfect place to go a few hours before sunset, and will get crazier as the sun nears the horizon. It’s a cocktail bar that you can swim at, right on the water. They have blended strawberry daiquiris, pina coladas, and peach margaritas on tap, so enjoy a few of these (or cut right to the chase and get the 1L version!) before jumping into the sea and enjoying the music.
Where to Eat in Hvar

After Hula Hula, choose from one of  my recommendations below/in my Hvar Super Guide for dinner. Hvar has AMAZING food so it would be good to choose wisely or spend a few more days.

Spice Thai Food/Burgers in the Main Square: If you want something a bit different, there’s  a fantastic burger place right next to a Thai restaurant in the main square of Hvar town. They’re both owned by the same person and are both very reliable.

Black Pepper: Black Pepper is a beautiful restaurant in an alleyway of Hvar that focuses on modern and creative twists on classic Croatian dishes. You can’t go wrong here!

Dalmatino: Dalmatino is also right in the stone alleys of the town and is known for being one of the bet restaurants in town, with more traditional dishes and also different flavors of Croatian rakija to sample with your meal.

At Night: Hvar is known for having the best nightlife in southern Croatia. If there’s a place to have a night out, this would be it (along with Dubrovnik). After dinner I recommend getting ready and hitting up a few bars around 8-9pm, if that’s your thing. If not, relax with a drink in the square or along the harbor and watch the night come to life!

  • Kiva Bar is infamous in Hvar. It gets really crowded around 9 so make sure to get in early! Expect delicious cocktails in some small crowded rooms in an alley, ‘tequila boom boom’s’ going around (thank me later), and all the possible singalong songs.
  • Sidro Bar – home of the best espresso martini I’ve ever had. No joke. Also some fun singalongs and other great cocktails, but outdoors on a patio.

Clubs:

  • Carpe Diem: this is a famous club on an island. There are free water taxis that go back and forth to an island off Hvar’s coast all night every night, and it’s one of the most unique clubs in Europe.
If You Have More Time:

Rent a car/vespa scooters and explore the island, rent a boat to explore the surrounding Pakleni islands, have a beach day, or take a 30 minute bus to explore to oldest town in Croatia, Stari Grad, and taste some Hvar wine.

visiting split croatia as a stop on a balkans itinerary / balkan road trip

Balkan Itinerary Day 5: Hvar to Split

Before you go: Today you’ll wake up and spend a morning in Hvar before heading to Split. Either relax before your ferry (I recommend the 1pm) or head down to one of a few small beaches to have a morning dip. Leisurely get your stuff together, have lunch if you desire (Vita Health Food Bar has good coffees), and head to the early afternoon ferry.

Getting from Hvar to Split

You’ll take your last ferry today, from the same place the previous one dropped you off. I recommend the 1pm Split ferry to have a last swim in Hvar before you go. The ferry takes about an hour.

Where to Stay in Split

AirbnbMain Square Apartment (we stayed here)/Silver Luxury Apartment for smaller groups

Hostel – Booze & Snooze (for central + party)
Hotel – Palace Judita Heritage Hotel 

What to Do in Split

Split is the capital of the Croatian coast. Although a large city, Split’s center is quite small, relaxed, and full of history. I also have a specific guide to Split if you are interested about reading about things to do in Split in more depth.

READ
A Tour Guide's Split Travel Guide: Adventures, Food, + Nightlife (Croatia)
  • Split Old Town – Once you get situated in Split, it’s time to explore the old town. But This isn’t just any old town; its actually a town built out of an ancient Roman emperor’s (Diocletian’s) palace, which was built in 305AD. The city center is in the shape of a square because its been built from this old palace, and nowadays the alleyways of town are shops, restaurants, bars, gelaterias, and more.
    • Cellars: These are the cellars underneath the palace which still retain their original form from a few thousand years ago. You can explore them and learn about their history.
    • Peristyle: The main square, where the emperor used to address his people.
    • Bell Tower: Built much later in the 1700’s, but with an amazing view over town (climb up for 30ish kuna).
    • Vestibule: Often has an acapella group singing inside because of amazing acoustics
    • Museums: Split City Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Museum of Fine Art
    • Gelato: there are lots of good places in town
    • Takeaway pizza/pastry: Croatia and especially Split is known for its cheap takeaway food
  • Marjan Hill/Bell Tower – After exploring around old town, walk up Marjan Hill for a great view overlooking the city. If you still have time before sunset, climb the bell tower too!
Where to Eat in Split:

Visit my Split guide for more in-depth info. For sit-down places, I recommend Fife (cheap, quick, traditional food), Bokeria (fancy food and wine), or Diocletian’s Wine House (lovely atmosphere and wine selection).

Another option would be to get takeaway food/drinks and sit in the peristyle, which has live music most nights. You can get takeaway snacks from bakeries like Bobis for very cheap, or Toto Burger has great burgers, Mama Burger has burgers and wraps, and M Cafe has lots of takeaway meals. There are a few grocery stores in town where you can get a bottle of wine and cups to drink on the steps of the square as you eat.

At Night: I assume you’re very tired, so you might want to spend this night in! If not, Gaga Bar has great cocktails, and Charlie’s Bar is a great backpacker bar. Clubs include Bacvice Beach Club, Vanilla, Inbox, and Centar. I highly prefer a night out in Hvar though!

If You Have More Time:

If you want to stay longer in Split, you can spend time either doing day trips from Split or relaxing on the beach. You can visit the blue cave of Vis, visit Krka National Park, or more as day trips from Split below that are not included in this Balkans Itinerary.

READ
12 Must-See Day Trips from Split, Croatia

Balkan Itinerary Day 6: Split to Zadar

Today you’ll be soaking up your last moments in Split. In the morning, I recommend my favorite breakfast at Braserie on 7, which is an outdoor restaurant on the main Riva. They have an absolutely delicious special iced coffee, and a two tier sweet+savory breakfast that comes with a savory omelette and sweet french toast.

Pick up your rental car around 11am-noon, and head north to begin the true Balkans road trip. Check out some tips for driving in the Balkans if you like.

Getting to Zadar from Split:

You’ll need to figure out in advance which day you’ll be leaving from Split, and reserve a rental car. Make sure that the company you rent from allows border crossing.We found that the cheapest Balkans car rental is from Sixt, which has an office near the Old Town in Split (and allows your to cross country borders). Set your destination in Zadar and get on the road!

Quick Tips for Driving in the Balkans

Traffic laws in the Balkans are not too difficult too grasp. They drive on the right side of the road and have similar streets and freeways to the rest of Europe. Some roads may be narrow. Make sure you have a navigation system (even if offline Google Maps) to guide you on your way, as signs will obviously be in Croatian.

Where to Stay in Zadar:

Airbnb: We stayed at Apartment Blue Sun Aurora – right in the middle of town.

Hostel: Downtown Boutique Hostel 

Hotel: Bastion Heritage Hotel

What to Do in Zadar

The first stop is Zadar, a historical ancient Roman town a few hours up the coast.

  • Old Town – Zadar has another incredible old town centered around some ancient Roman ruins – they aren’t as well-preserved as Split, however! You can check out the Roman Forum (in the center) and learn a bit about it, wander through many shops and alleyways, walk on the old town walls, and try some delicious takeaway food and pastry.
  • Museums – After exploring the Old Town, there are a few museums that may be of interest. We visited the Museum of Illusions, which was light hearted, trippy, and fun. It’s also next to a Museum of Ancient Glass if you’re into that kind of thing.
  • Sea Organ – After walking around and visiting the museums, grab a drink from a market and head to Zadar’s most famous attraction, the Sea Organ. Located on the brim of the old town, the sea organ was constructed so that whenever the waves from the sea hit different sized openings in a platform over the water, they play different notes. Find a place to sit near the sound, crack open a drink (you  can have alcohol in public here), and enjoy a perfect view of the sunset over distant islands.
  • Waterfront/Markets – After the sunset, meander along the waterfront towards the restaurant of your choice. Take your time and stop to check out artisans selling goods along the path, food vendors, and also lost of small market stalls in town.
Where to Eat in Zadar

For a sit-down meal, try Bruschetta (delicious higher-end restaurant) or Restaurant Kastel. Or, grab takeaway and sit in the lively main square near the forum. There are tons of great gelato places as well, which will be begging you to buy them and eat in the square also.

At Night: There are lots of cocktail bars and an outdoor club or two in Zadar. Check out Ledana for an outdoor patio club if you like. You have an early morning tomorrow, so choose wisely!

If you have more time:

There are some really cool full-day tours to do in/around Zadar if you have another day. Check out this kayaking through caves tour to Dugi Otok, or this popular river canoeing tour.

plitvice lakes national park croatia waterfalls park balkan itinerary

plitvice lakes national park balkans road trip

pula arena - ancient roman colosseum in Pula, croatia where to go in croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park + Pula Arena

Balkans Road Trip Day 7: Zadar to Plitvice Lakes to Istria

Before you leave: Today is a big day! You’ll want to have breakfast in the accommodation and head back to the car quite early – by 8 or 9am. It will take 1.5 to 2 hours to drive to Croatia’s most famous National Park, Plitvice Lakes, from  which you will drive to Istria.

Plitvice Lakes is a beautiful green national park full of emerald lakes and prolific waterfalls. There are tons of trails surrounding it. Don’t underestimate it’s size, though – it’s very big and you’ll have to move fast to see it all

Getting to/What to Do in Plitvice Lakes

Have your navigation direct you to one of the two main entrances to Plitvice Lakes National Park. Now, you will spend the next few hours exploring one of Croatia’s most beautiful and famous national parks, spotting fish in clear blue water, and marveling at waterfalls.

One part of the park has larger lakes and taller waterfalls, whereas the other part has tons of smaller waterfalls above each other.  Once you enter, the best advice I can give is to walk counter-clockwise, which is going to be the opposite way as most people. Check out these tips for visiting Plitvice lakes for an in-depth look!

I recommend taking the long ferry boat that connects two sides of the park to each other (see map). The line may be long, but it’ll save you lots of energy! Follow the map route for the best self-guided views in Plitvice Lakes National Park, bring your camera, and prepare for a bit of walking!

plitvice lakes national park walking route
Getting to/What to Do in Pula

You’ll want to shoot to be back at the car by about 4pm or earlier, to make the 3 hour drive to Istria. Rather than drive straight to Motovun, which is where you’ll be spending the night, I recommend driving the the capital of Istria, Pula, first. Pula is home to the second best preserved ancient Roman Colosseum in the world (after the actual colosseum) and is an extremely lively and historic port town.

In the summer months, it will be bustling even if you arrive around 7pm. First, visit the Pula Arena (ancient colosseum), which will be l it up even at night. Have a wander around the old town – the shops will still all be open – and then choose somewhere to grab food (sit down or takeaway).

Getting to Motovunm

Finally, after dinner, make the hour drive to Motovun. Make sure you confirm a late arrival with your accommodation – around 10-11pm. Find your bed and crash – it’s been a LONG day!

Where to Stay in Motovun

Airbnb: We stayed in this gorgeous villa – outside of town next to  the Fakin winery (it’s okay to be out of town now you have a car!) or Galerija Motovun

Hostel: None, sorry!

Hotel: Hotel Kastel 

If You Have More Time

Stay a night in Pula and explore it more fully! You can try to Pula Hop on Hop Off bus for a relaxed tour, or a Pula caves + kayaking tour as well.

motovun croatia - visiting istria as astop on a balkans road trip

Balkans Road Trip Day 8: Motovun/Istria

You might want to sleep in today, adventurers, you’ve done well and moved fast thus far if you’ve followed this Balkans road trip Itinerary exactly. But today we have our first scheduled two-night stay so far… PHEW!

When you wake up and look outside, surely you’ll be stunned by the new daytime view of the beautiful countryside you arrived in late last night. Istria is often compared to Tuscany, and showcases a truly different side to Croatia than the southern coast.

To learn about Motovun more in-depth, red my guide below:

READ
Things to do in Motovun Croatia: A Truffle-tastic Medieval Hilltop Town
What to do in Motovun

Today you will be exploring Motovun, a scenic medieval hilltop town known for its truffles, wine, and gastronomy.

  • Truffle Hunting Tour – One of the most unique things to do in Motovun is take part in a truffle hunting and tasting tour put on by some famous family-owned truffle companies. On these you can taste local food and hunt with truffle-hunting dogs through dense forest as they sniff out one of the world’s delicacies: truffles. Check this site or my guide linked above for tours.
  • Photos and Tastings in Old Town – Next, you’ll want to explore the hilltop town. Motovun is the foodie capital of Croatia, and has tons of small shops that give tastings of olive oil, truffle paste/oil, wine, rakija, and more. Pop into as many as you can and maybe you’ll find something you just can’t resist!
  • Walk the Walls – Like many medieval towns, you can walk the walls of Motovun for 25kn. Enjoy views of the rolling green hills and understand why many people call Istria “the Tuscany of Croatia!”
  • Wine Tasting – If you have time, there are a few wineries in the area. Fakin Winery was right next to our airbnb and offered tastings through the day.
Where to Eat in Motovun:

I recommend a truffle-tactic sit-down meal here. Each restaurant has many dishes based upon the white and black truffles of the area, and this is truly the time to indulge! Fakin Restaurant overlooks the sunset and serves their own truffle and wine – you can’t go wrong!

After Dinner: Grab your favorite bottle of wine, take it back to your accommodation, and relax!

predjama castle slovenia balkans road trip

ljubljana slovenia

Predjama Castle + Ljubljana, Slovenia

Balkans Road Trip Day 9: Motovun to Predjama Castle to Ljubljana

Before you leave: Enjoy a lazy morning in Motovun; I recommend having breakfast in your accommodation and getting ready to go to Slovenia at your earliest convenience – maybe 8 or 9.

Getting to Slovenia/Driving in Slovenia:

You’ll drive past some lovely little hilltop towns on your way into Slovenia. As your rental car company will have hopefully told you, you’ll need to purchase a tourist tax sticker at your earliest convenience once you enter the country. Driving here should be no different than Croatia; just make sure you have your passports to cross the border and purchase the blue tourist tax emblem once you are in at the nearest service station.

Currency Change: They use the euro in Slovenia. You’ll want to exchange euro or get some out before the trip. Montenegro also uses euro.

Predjama Castle

The first stop in Slovenia will be an incredible castle built into the  side of a cliff face – Predjama Castle. Driving here from Motovun should take about 1.5 hours, assuming the line at the border isn’t too long. You can either admire Predjama from outside, or pay a bit extra to go inside. Postojna caves are also right next to the castle, if you’d like a bit of extra adventure before getting to Ljubljana.

What to do in Ljubljana

After visiting the castle/caves, you should arrive in Ljubljana in less than an hour. If you time it well, you can arrive into Slovenia’s capital by 1-2pm, giving you a free afternoon to explore. Once you check  into your accommodation, get out into the city!

  • Walk around the city: marvel at the old streets + town, visit the three bridges, the main square, and more
  • Try some coffee at a local cafe – I recommend Cafe Cokl 
  • Walk through the large + grassy Tivoli park
  • Visit the National Gallery + Art Museum (near Tivoli Park)
  • Walk up to the Ljubljana Castle for sunset.

Surprise! I also have a guide to Ljubljana, Bled, and Bohinj which will go farther in depth than this Balkans Itinerary. Read it below.

READ
Slovenia Travel Guide: Make the Most of Ljubljana, Bled, and Bohinj
Where to Eat in Ljubljana
  • Restaurants along the river – these have a great view
  • Ljubljana Castle – has a restaurant inside
  • Try a Horseburger – an original Slovenian creation, the ‘Horseburger’ is lean and healthy and can be obtained from the fast food restaurant Hot Horse. 
Where to Stay in  Ljubljana
lakw bohinj slovenia from mt vogel cable car

Lake Bohinj from Mt. Vogel Cable Car 

lake bled slovenia

Lake Bled

Balkans Road Trip Day 10: Ljubljana to Lake Bled/Lake Bohinj

Today you will do a day trip from Ljubljana to some GORGEOUS lakes in the Slovenian countryside. Most people know about Lake Bled, which is quite famous, but not Lake Bohinj, which is just 30 minutes away. The true adventurers can squeeze highlights of both into one day by following the itinerary below.

Getting From Ljubljana to Lake Bohinj

You’ll start off by driving to the far end of Lake Bohinj, which is about 1:15 hours away from the city. Set your navigation to Ukanc, or the Mt. Vogel Cable Car.

What to Do in Lake Bohinj

Once you arrive at the Mt. Vogel cable car, buy a ticket (they depart every 30 mins) and ride it to the top of the mountain. This will give you an idea of the extent of the Slovenian Alps right away. You’re in a MASSIVE mountain range known for climbing, snow sports, and more!

Mt Vogel is a ski resort in the winter, but a fantastic view in summer. You don’t need too long here unless you want to hike (for which you’d need extra days). Simply take some photos of the lake below and marvel at the view of the Julian alps, which will be a big scenery change from the coasts.

Next, drive to the other end of Lake Bohinj (Ribcev Laz) and park. Now, you can either have a leisurely walk around part of the lake, lay in the sun if it’s warm enough, or (my personal favorite) rent some kayaks. Many agencies rent kayaks near the water. Rent some for about an hour, which is just enough time to paddle to the nearest side of the lake and have a swim.

Where to Eat In Bohinj

After some exploring and kayaking, surely you’ll be hungry… and why not try some authentic Slovenian food?! Gostilnica Strudl is as authentic as it gets, and is just in the main town outside of Lake Bohinj. I can’t remember the specific dish names, but make sure to get the Strudl tasting platter with the sour milk to dip bread into (trust me), and the noodles with brown sugar and jam for afterwards.

What to Do in Lake Bled

Next, drive 30 mins to Lake Bled. First, hike to the Ojstrica Viewpoint, giving you sweeping views of Lake Bled (about 20-25 minutes). Next, walk along the water and consider having one last swim near the pebbly beach there.

Lastly, drive up to Bled Castle for sunset (we’ve done enough physical activity today!) and enjoy the surroundings. If you like, make a reservation at the restaurant for a 5 course dinner menu with a view. If not, grab some takeaway food either in Bled, or when you get back to Ljubljana! The drive will be about an hour.

If You Have More Time

Slovenia would be a great place to extend your trip for a few days. Spend an extra day exploring Ljubljana more fully, and then book accommodation near Bled OR Bohinj. You can do a 12k hike around one side of Lake Bohinj, go river rafting in Bled, do an organized tour + boat ride to Bled Lake/Castle, or go canyoning in the Bohinj Valley.

makarska riviera croatia beautiful mountains beaches croatia adventure water sports

Balkans Road Trip Day 11: Slovenia to Mostar (+ Makarska!)

Today is our first big driving day!  There is an option to stop in my one of favorite places in Croatia: Makarska.  The drive would be 6.5 hours to Mostar without stopping, or 7.5 hours with it (plus however long you want to spend there – I recommend 2 hours).

Getting from Ljubljana to Makarska

Leave by 10ish, or earlier if you can. Drive straight to Makarska, which is my favorite Croatian coastal town at the base of Croatia’s tallest rocky mountains. Stop off for a swim, lunch, and maybe a bit of shopping!

  • Swimming/Cliff Jumping – the best place to swim would be directly across from Deep Cave Bar, which is actually also a really cool cave bar. You can jump off the cliffs a few minutes down the coast from there as well.
  • Wander Along the 2km Pebbly Beach + Markets – Makarska has a very long beach lined with restaurants along the water and tons of markets. Grab a bite to eat, a takeaway crepe or slushie, wander through the markets, or have another swim along the (often crowded) beach.
  • Water Sports – you can also rent a jet ski or go parasailing in Makarska. If you have time I strongly recommend it!
Getting from Makarska to Mostar

When you’ve had your fill, the drive to Mostar from Makarska is less than 2 hours. Have your passports out to cross into the third country of your trip!

Once you arrive at your accommodation, have your first look around the Old Town, which completely lights up at night. If you haven’t already shopped till you drop, check out the markets of this old Turkish town, and marvel at the difference in feel between the Croatian Coast less than two hours ago, and now.

I have a complete travel guide to Mostar, too! Click below for more in-depth info.

READ
Things to Do in Mostar Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Mostar Travel Guide 

Tonight, grab a bit to eat at The Food House – a more casual and affordable yet authentic food option right outside the old town.

Where to Stay in Mostar

Airbnb – The Villa Secret Gardens for bigger groups (I stayed here and loved it) or Downtown Vintage Room for central/smaller

Hostel – Hostel Nina

Hotel – Muslibegovic House (historic + upscale) or Shangri La Mansion (central)

dervish house blagaj springs mostar b

BalkanTrip18MostarHerzegovina-34

Balkans Road Trip Day 12: Mostar Sights + Surrounds

Now you have a full day to explore Mostar! Get going whenever, and head to some of the sights of the city. Below are the sights I recommend for today; don’t forget to check out my Mostar Travel Guide for more in-depth information about each.

  • Kajtaz House – a historical authentic Turkish house
  • Old Town and Old Bridge – obviously! See if you can catch anyone jumping from it.
  • Mosques – Climb to the top of the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, and revel at the historic Nesuh-Aga Vučjaković Mosque.
  • War + Genocide Museum – Learn about the atrocities of the Yugoslav War in Bosnia
  • Bosnian Coffee – Try one from Cafe de Alma

At some point, get a takeaway lunch (try the cevapi!) and go down to the square below the old bridge and see if you catch anyone jumping. Head back to the car around 4-5pm for a slight road trip to Blagaj Springs 15 minutes away.

  • Blagaj Springs – Blagaj is the source of the Buna River and the deepest spring in Europe. It’s home to a historic Dervish house, which is a branch of Islam. First, go to the ‘Vrelo Bune’ viewpoint across from Dervish House for some great photos. Then head inside the house! You’ll have to cover up to go inside this traditional place of worship, but they have scarves for you.

When you’ve had your fill of views and more markets, head back to Mostar. This evening it’s time to shop at the markets for any final souvenirs, and have a fancier and bona fide Bosnian dinner at Šadrvan. This restaurant is one of the best known, and has great tasting platters where you can try a variety of cuisine.

At Night: Check out the Black Dog Pub – see if they have live music on (they usually do) and try some local beers or different flavors of rakija. If you want to keeo going into the night, Ali Baba club is the way to go – located inside a cave next to the Old Bridge!

If You Have More Time

You could definitely spend longer in Bosnia + Herzegovina. We touch on the main sights of Mostar in this Balkans road trip itinerary, but if you have more time, you could spend a couple days in Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo. Sarajevo is even more heavily Turkish than Mostar, with a heavier war history, too.

Mosques ring out through the hills in a call to prayer throughout the city every few hours, putting the soukhs in a brief pause from their usual activity. There are great viewpoints looking over the city, fascinating ruins, and rich history.

pocitelj castle mostar bosnia herzegovina

Balkans Road Trip Day 13: Bosnian Highlights to Kotor, Montenegro

Before You Leave Mostar: Have a leisurely morning – no need to leave before 10/11 today. Put on your swim suit for a brief stop at some gorgeous waterfalls (and a castle) on the way out of the country and into Montenegro.

Mostar to Kravice Waterfalls and Počitelj Castle

It will take you less than an hour to drive from Mostar to the region of two  more famous viewpoints of the region: Kravice Waterfalls and Počitelj Castle. Stop first at Kravice Falls. Spend an hour or two swimming in the chilly water and exploring the gorgeous waterfall systems and rock pools. Read my guide to visiting Kravice waterfalls below for more info:

READ
Visiting Kravice Waterfalls, Bosnia and Herzegovina: All You Need to Know

After your swim, get changed and drive 10 minutes to the impressive hillside fortress of Počitelj. This was a Hungarian fort before the area was under Ottoman rule, and now it’s an old walled town up a hill with a few great lookout points.

One side is all done up and preserved with glass, but the rest are more authentic ruins crumbling at the edges. You can climb some old winding stairs in one of the fortresses to see an amazing view of the river and countryside.

You’ll notice millions of pomegranate trees in the town – this area is known for them! Old ladies will be selling homemade juices of pomegranate, elderflower, and rose, and little cones full of fresh nuts and dried fruit. You can buy lots of fresh fruit here also – it’s very cheap and delicious!

Počitelj to Kotor, Montenegro

After Pocitelj, it’s time to head into Montenegro. This border sometimes takes a little while, and you must make sure you have your car registration (and passports of course) ready to show at the border.

It should be about 3 hours from Pocitelj to Kotor, not counting any waiting time at the border. You will probably end up arriving in the late afternoon/evening, giving you time to check into your accommodation and wander into town for dinner.

Where to Stay in Kotor

Airbnb: We stayed in this one – about a 10 minute walk from town. Try Apartment Karampana for smaller/more central.

Hostel: Old Town Hostel West Wing – one of my favorites

Hotel: Boutique Hotel Astoria

What to Do in Kotor

It might be late when you get in today, so simply walk into the old walled town (are you tired of them yet?! 😛 ) and have a bit of an explore and dinner before retiring for the night.

kotor montenegro balkans road trip

Balkans Road Trip Day 14: Explore Kotor

Today you have a full day to explore Kotor!

What to Do in Kotor
  • Explore Old Town: Marvel at the old Venetian gates, get lost in the impossible streets of old town, explore the shops, enter old churches, walk the walls, drink coffee in the alleyways, etc.
  • Cat Museum + Cat Gift Shop (and all the actual cats!) – Kotor is known for having TONS of stray cats – so much that they have created an entire cat gift shops and museum!
  • Swimming – There is a small beach to swim outside of town (although it’s not the nicest of this balkans road trip itinerary)

A few hours before sunset, hike up to the fortress! You’ll notice that the walls of the old town actually zigzag all the way up the rocky cliffside and connect to the fortress to make one continuous walled town. It’s pretty impressive, and the view from the top is even more so. The Bay of Kotor is truly a sight to behold, with the distant boats and dramatic mountains jutting out from the water.

There’s an option to hike even higher, to farther mountaintops that present an even better (if that’s even possible) view. I did this once a few years back. If you want to hike higher, I recommend doing the hike in the morning and exploring the town in the evening.

Where to Eat in Kotor

After the hike, it’s time to get your tired self some food. Some top rated restaurants are Galion and Tanjga. We went to Restaurant city (on google maps as ‘grad’) on my most recent trip, and it was fairly good and very central.

If You Have More Time

You can do bigger hikes or sailing trips around the mountains and Bay of Kotor. However, I recommend spending more time exploring the rest of Montenegro… so keep reading!

lovcen national park

Balkans Road Trip Day 15: Montenegro Road Trip to Budva

For this part of the Balkans road trip, I’m going to give you a couple options. If you have more time, you can follow my comprehensive Montenegro road trip route linked below (will take 2+ days).

READ
The Best Things to Do in Montenegro in a Montenegro Road Trip Itinerary

If you only have one day, you can follow the stops below. Either way, your road trip will start in Kotor and end in Budva, so bring your stuff and get started early! Budva is another (you guessed it) walled coastal town. It is larger and more lively than Kotor, and you’ll have a full day here after your road trip to relax and take in the epicness of your Balkans travel.

One-Day Shorter Montenegro Road Trip Route (See post above for timings + more info)
  • Slansko Lakes – stop for a photo as you drive
  • Ostrog Monastery (+ mountains views along the way) – this is a famous monastery built into the side of a tall mountain. It’s a picturesque Montenegrin icon, and the views on the way there are equally stunning as well.
  • Podgorica/Niksic – These are two main Montenegrin cities/capital that you can drive through on your way through the countryside.
  • Pavlova Strana Viewpoint in Skadar Lake National Park – This is a famous 180 degree river bend on the outskirts of Lake Skadar National Park, on the border or Albania. The roads will be a bit sketchy, but the view is worth it!
  • Lovcen National Park – weave your way to a mountaintop mausoleum in the stunning rocky Lovcen National Park. Prepare for picturesque views and a creepy yet fascinating mausoleum for an old leader.
  • Sveti Stefan – After making your way back to the coast, make one final detour to a famous island. Sveti Stefan is connected to the coast by a thin bridge, and is home to a VERY fancy hotel. Don’t get any ideas about walking onto the island itself (unless you’re very rich), but it’s a fantastic photo op and  swimming spot.

Now – head to the final stop of your Balkans road trip – Budva, Montenegro!

Where t0 Stay in Budva
Where to Eat in Budva
If You Have More Time

Spend up to an entire week on you the Montenegro Road Trip. Click here to read my post about canyoning, river rafting, zip lining, hiking, alpine lakes, scenic overpasses, and more amazing things you can do in Montenegro when you stray from the coast.

sveti stefan montenegro balkans itinerary

Balkans Road Trip Day 16: Budva

Budva is easily worth a few days time – it’s a much bigger city than Kotor and is the place young and old come at night time to wander the busy old town streets, listen to live music, and go clubbing.

What to Do in Budva

Hopefully you aren’t tired of exploring old towns, because you have one last one to explore! Today, you can:

  • Wander through old town – get lost in the alleyways, browse through shops, find out what makes Montenegro different than the other countries you’ve seen
  • Museums – Check out the Maritime Museum, City Museum, and a few art galleries
  • Statua Ballerina – look at the ballerina statue up the coast from the town
  • Sveti Stefan – You can also do Sveti Stefan today (rather than yesterday) to spend more time there. You could even relax on the beach all day! It’s great for a morning or sunset swim.
  • Old Town Beach – if you’re just exhausted and can’t do anything else – plop down onto a beach chair on the beach outside old town, and don’t move ALL day. That’s fine too!

After the sun sets, choose a spot from the list above to have a last meal from your Balkans road trip. I’d suggest checking out what’s on in the town, too. It’s always bustling at night in the summer months with street fairs, open air clubs, and more. Soak in the final moments of an incredible trip – you’ve earned it!

Balkans Road Trip Day 17: Back to Dubrovnik

Well, now it’s time to drive to Dubrovnik and return your rental car… sad face. BUT FIRST – we can squeeze in one final stop, depending on the time of your flight (or if you are spending your final night in Dubrovnik like we did). If you missed out on Cavtat during your first bout in Dubrovnik… you can visit on the way back today!

Even if just for a coffee and a break from driving, pull a few minutes off the main road to soak up the last few moments of Croatian sun.

Next,  return your rental car at Sixt. They have a location near Hotel Rexos and at the airport. If you’re staying the night, return it near the hotel. Ideally, stay there or nearby. If you’re flying out, return it at the airport and be on your way!

If you have a night, spend your last afternoon relaxing and having one more swim at Bellevue beach, and have a last dinner in port Gruz. Catch a taxi to the airport in the morning, and there you are done and dusted!


The ideal western Balkans Road Trip - including nearly 3 weeks worth of destinations throughout Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia + Herzegovina, and Montenegro. What to do, where to stay, where to eat, and more for each destination, plus opportunities to extend the Balkans itinerary to see even more!

Made it all the way to the end?! Don’t forget to PIN me! 

June 11, 2019

Things to do in Motovun Croatia: A Truffle-tastic Medieval Hilltop Town

Things to do in Motovun Croatia: A Truffle-tastic Medieval Hilltop Town

I’m embarrassed that it took me five summers in the country to make it to Motovun Croatia. This little Medieval town is truly like that of a fairytale. It has a walled fort, perched in an almost spiral-like formation around the top of a hill, smack-dab in the middle of the Istrian countryside in Croatia’s Northwest. If you haven’t visited Istria, you are truly missing out on part of the heart of Croatia and a truly different personality of the country, which is ordinarily known for its warm, clear water and island-dotted coast.

But, Istria presents a totally different side to Croatia (apart from the Zagreb area, which is a third side to the country – read my Zagreb post for more). Istria is often compared to Tuscany, and with great reason. The luscious green hills seem to endlessly roll into the distance, with small colorful settlements perched on forested hills here and there, getting smaller and smaller up to the horizon.

Motovun Croatia is truly the best expression of Istria – with the most scenic little town overlooking the beautiful countryside, and a food and wine culture to truly rival its Italian counterpart. There are lots of things to do in Motovun – and most of them do involve food and wine, but who’s complaining?!

Complete travel guide to Motovun Croatia - in the heart of 'the Tuscany of Croatia,' the Istrian peninsula. Explore the medieval walled hilltop town, taste local wine, and eat LOTS of truffles! #croatia #motovun #Istria

But first – PIN THIS massive guide to Motovun! 

Motovun Croatia – Getting There

Motovun By Air

As I said, Motovun is right in the middle of the rectangular Istrian peninsula. It’s about an hour north of Pula, a much larger coastal town on the southern tip of the peninsula. Pula is the nearest large airport that is internationally and easily accessible. Check flights to Pula here!

Rijeka is about an hour east of Motovun, and also has an airport you can fly into.

Motovun By Car

This is the preferred option and the way that I got to Motovun on my Balkans road trip this year. You can rent cars the most cheaply at Sixt Croatia (which allows you to cross borders), or you can compare rates of all companies on rentalcars.com if you are staying only in Croatia. I think Sixt still had the best deals though, and they have offices in all main cities – Split, Zagreb, Pula, Rijeka, etc.

Motovun By Bus

Pula and Rijeka are accessible by bus from pretty much all of Croatia. Motovun however is a bit more difficult. You can get a bus connection Pazin from either city, and Motovun is another 20km away by taxi. This is why a rental car is preferable!

Motovun Day Tours

Your final option getting to Motovun Croatia would be to take a day tour. There are lots of bus tours through Istria from Pula, Rovinj, and other places in Istria that will visit Motovun, Grožnjan, the coastal town of Poreč, and more. I recommend this tour here. 

motovun croatia hilltop town

Motovun Croatia from afar

Currency in Motovun Croatia

In Croatia, the currency is the kuna. It does vary, but you’re looking at about 6-7 kuna to the USD, 5 to the AUD, and about 8 to the GBP. Some places accept euros, but most don’t. It would be wise to withdraw/exchange some kuna if you can.

How Long to Spend in Motovun

It’s really tiny, so 1-2 nights would be totally fine here to do all the things I have mentioned below! A day tour would also be plenty if you’re short on time.

Things to do in Motovun Croatia

Truffle Hunting Tour

Perhaps the most popular/famous/well-known things to do in Motovun involve truffles, and more specifically, hunting them. What is a truffle, you may ask? Well, they’re pretty much the most expensive fungus ever to grow underground. Truffles are a delicious delicacy, and are found all over the place here and taste amazing on basically anything.

An important Motovun fact is that the LARGEST TRUFFLE EVER FOUND was found here – well, in the Motovun forest at the base of the main hill. That has brought the region even more fame, and it’s best known for the truffles found in the extremely prolific forest outside the town.

So, what does truffle hunting entail? Sadly, humans can’t really find truffles themselves. Our sense of smell isn’t strong enough. You need specially trained dogs to run through the extremely dense forest, following their noses toward one of the most expensive things that grows underground – truffles!

How does one find a dog to go truffle hunting with? Well, you sign up for a tour of course! There are a few main truffle brands in town, and some of them run their own truffle hunting and tasting tours. This is the most cultural and immersive thing to do in the area, and what I most highly recommend to do in Motovun.

The thing is, most of the companies who run these tours require booking in advance. Tourism has not quite reached Motovun as much as the rest of Croatia yet, and the business is not so booming that you can rock up and get on a tour just like that. Try checking out Truffle Hunting Croatia for local tours, and Karlic TartufiMiro Tartufi for family-led tours. Send them an email ahead of time, and you should have no problem getting on a tour.  This tour also includes truffle hunting and runs from Rijeka.

motovun croatia old town

motovun old town view istria

Explore Old Town + Sample Oil, Wine, Truffle, and More

To get to the hilltop town, you must drive or take a bus from the bottom. Public busses regularly run up and down from the base of the Motovun hill, which has a large parking lot as the hill can’t accommodate too many cars or any tour busses. Tickets for this bus are about 20kn, and they run all day.

Once you get to the top of the hill, you’ll have arrived at the main street of the tiny walled town. There’s basically only one street, so it’ll be hard to get lost! As you walk upwards towards the top, you’ll begin to pass loads of small tasting rooms and stands (among other tiny souvenir shops), which will be selling the main products of Motovun – wine, rakija (a Croatian spirit), different kinds of olive oil, and different kinds of truffle paste and truffle-flavored things.

Pop into as many of these shops as you like – you might even (read: probably will) find something you’d like to take back to your accommodation or back home as a gift for friends and family. We found some wine to bring back for dinner, and I brought a variety pack of truffle paste for my family!

Oh, and did I mention the views?! The views from the old town are unbelievable and very photo-worthy. With the medieval buildings in the foreground and rolling hills in the back, you can’t go wrong.

Cuisine/Wine to Look Out For:
  • Karlic and Zigante are two of the main truffle brands that are widely known and loved, so you can’t go wrong sampling/buying these.
  • Malvazija and Teran are two types of grape/wine that are local to this area. Make sure to try some!
  • Fakin is a winery close to town where you can try wine, and also has a sampling shop and restaurant in town.
motovun city walls walk istria croatia

 

Walk the Old Town Walls

Like many old Croatian (and European in general) towns, Motovun has a set of main city walls, and you can walk on top of them. Just past the main square of town, you’ll come to a gate which leads to the walls. If you go inside and pay a small fee of 25kn, you’ll receive a ticket to walk around the top of the walls.

Unfortunately it’s no Dubrovnik, but the Motovun walls are beautiful and full of character just the same. You’ll get the best views in town and get to look back out over the small town you just explored on the way up. You’ll see all the forests where the truffle hunting takes place, and even more colorful towns in the distance.

Motovun Cultural Education Center (Small Museum)

At the base of the hill, you’ll find a small museum within a courtyard of a hotel. Here, you can learn a little bit more about how the old town walls of Motovun were built many centuries ago. You’ll learn more about the fact that it  as part of the Venetian empire for centuries (hence who you’ll hear some Italian even in Motovun Croaita!) and how they also discovered more ancient Roman (read: VERY old) ruins here. Some ruins are  on display in the museum, and some are in one of the main archways of the town. You can’t miss it!

Motovun Film Festival

Motovun is also famous for its annual film festival which shows independent and small films from across Europe. It’s extremely popular, and draws travelers from near and far. Make sure to be aware of this as you travel to Motovun Croatia. If you plan your travel dates to visit the film festival (which is usually late July/early August), you should book far in advance because it will be crowded. Or, plan to avoid the crowds and choose different dates. They even put up a campground at the base of the hill for the festival!

fakin winery motovun croatia view

Where to Eat in Motovun

One of the main and most important things to do in the truffle capital is to EAT, of course – and eat well. There are a few top-rated restaurants in Motovun, all of which will meet all of your truffle-rich desires. Here are my faves:

Fakin Winery/Fakin Restaurant – Fakin winery is located just about a 5 minute drive from the base of Motovun Hill, right next to a lovely airbnb I stayed in once. You can visit the winery at any time for a tasting if you are so inclined in trying some Istrian Wine.

However, once in town, you’ll notice the Fakin restaurant along the main cobblestone road with a perfect view out over the Valley. This is where Fakin wine and Motovun food come together! I recommend sharing a few white and black truffle-inspired dishes at sunset, and watching the sun disappear over the hills in the distance.

Zigante Restaurant – This is another top-rated restaurant just outside of Motovun. If you don’t mind a short drive/adventure to another small town, you won’t be disappointed.

Pod Voltom – Situated within the old town walls, Pod Voltom will present you with an incredible view and even more incredible food. Make sure, again, to try plenty of truffle. The meat is to-die-for also.

You can also do a food + wine tour of Motovun + Istria from Pula if you’re specifically into the cuisine! 

motovun walls restaurant

Where to Stay in Motovun Croatia

We stayed a bit out of the city in Motovun, in an airbnb right next to the Fakin winery tasting rooms (which seemed too big of a coincidence to pass up!) If you have a car, Motovun could be a great place to stay a bit farther outside the city in an apartment with a view, to have a bit more of a getaway and look out over hills or vineyards. However, if not, there are plenty of options right amongst it all in the city. Here are some options:

Airbnb: Galerija Motovun for cheaper + smaller + central, House Valentino for a remote entire house (where I stayed) and Casa Adora if it’s available for central + authentic (with a view)
Hotel: Hotel Kastel (central)

Best Photo Spots in Motovun

Although photos are great from the top of the hill itself, some of the best photos that capture the essence of Motovun are actually from a bit farther away. There are lots of vineyards near the main road heading south from Motovun. Pull over behind one to get a glimpse of the colorful hilltop fortress behind grape vines.  There’s a wonderful viewpoint of Motovun from the town of Vižinada (pictured in vertical pin image below) if you are driving out towards Slovenia.

motovun through the grape vines

motovun city walls

Where to Travel from Motovun

There are lots of other places to see in Istria! Here are a few places you could take a bus or road trip from Motovun.

Grožnjan

You can also visit Grožnjan, which is known as a sort of mini-Motovun as Korcula is known as a Mini-Dubrovnik. Grožnjan is a similar hilltop fortressed medieval town, yet, you guessed it, smaller!

Poreč

Poreč is a gorgeous Istrian walled town on the water. It’s not extremely close to Motovun but would be worth checking out if you’ve got spare time and a car. If you don’t, this tour visits Poreč, Grožnjan, and Motovun all in one day.

Pula

As I mentioned above, Pula is one of the larger Istrian cities along the southern coast. It’s known for having an extremely well-preserved ancient Roman coliseum and very lively streets on a summer night.

Krk

Krk is Croatia’s largest island, but actually evades the general tourist route. It’s gorgeous and far less busy than other places in the country. Check out what to don in Krk here!

Rijeka

If you’re heading south, Rijeka could also be a great stopover city. It’s quite a large and hilly coastal city with a lovely old town and accommodations.

Slovenia

We went straight into Slovenia from Motovun on our Balkans Road Trip. You can drive or bus straight to the capital, Ljubljana, or you can stop off at Predjama castle and/or the Postojna caves along the way for some extra iconic Slovenian points of interest. If you aren’t quite done with the coast but want to head north, Piran is a beach town on the only tiny snippet of Slovenia that reaches the coast.


Well, I can’t possibly think of more to say about Motovun Croatia. Do you have any questions?! Drop them below, and don’t forget to Pin!

Visit one of the Balkans' most unique towns: Motovun, Croatia! A tiny medieval hilltop town, Motovun is home to the best truffles in the world, fantastic wine, Italian-influences culture, amazing views, and more! #balkans #croatia #motovun #truffle #foodtravel

May 15, 2019

The Best Things to Do in Montenegro in a Montenegro Road Trip Itinerary

The Best Things to Do in Montenegro in a Montenegro Road Trip Itinerary

There are many more things to do in Montenegro than meets the eye. Having been awarded one of the most underrated countries in my eyes, Montenegro is the kind of place that just keeps giving. Many people assume it’s great for its coast – which it is – but it would be a mistake not to do a Montenegro road trip as well to check out the glorious mountains and ravines of the inner parts of the country.

Montenegro is home to beautiful beaches and bays, old walled towns, magical national parks, rocky mountains, towering cliffs, sparkling lakes, and more natural wonder than I thought possible to pack into such a tiny country. After visiting quite a few times, I’ve finally ticked most of the amazing places to visit in Montenegro off my list. Although I still discover more and more each time I return, I think I can confidently list all the best things to do in Montenegro – and not only that, but I have organized them into a looped Montenegro road trip itinerary so you can conveniently see them too.

This Montenegro road trip route can start anywhere you’d like (as it’s a loop – don’t you just love looped routes?!), but I have begun in the Bay of Kotor for convenience. Many people like to get to Kotor from either Dubrovnik, Croatia or Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina. You can drive or take a bus from either of these locations – see below!

hidden gems of Montenegro: things to do in montenegro organized into a montenegro road trip

montenegro road trip guide and all possible things to do and see in montenegro

There’s a LOT of info in this Montenegro Guide… Pin it to Pinterest?!

But First, Are You Traveling Around the Balkans?! Perhaps Some of my Other Articles Could be of Use, Too!:

What is the Best Time to go to Montenegro?

Montenegro is very coastal, so temperatures stay quite temperate even in the summer with an average temp of 27C in the peak of summer. The middle of the country, however, is quite mountainous with a higher elevation, leaving it a bit colder year round. I would say the best time to visit Montenegro (and everywhere in the Balkans) just before or on the tail end of the high summer season. May/June and September/October are ideal months; July and August can get a bit too busy and hot.

Currency in Montenegro

Montenegro uses the Euro, unlike its Croatian and Bosnian counterparts. Some markets still accept other currencies, but it would be a good idea to change over some Euros before your Montenegro travel plans.

Getting to Montenegro

Flights to Montenegro

There are airports in Tivat (which is near Kotor) and Podgorica (the capital) if you would like to fly in. You can easily connect to Kotor and Budva from either, or begin your Montenegro road trip from either place. Bus connections to main cities are easy to find. You can check flights to Montenegro from other places in Europe here; the cheapest flights tend to be from Italy.

Bus to Montenegro

You can easily reach Kotor from main northern cities of Dubrovnik and Mostar, or connect by bus from other surrounding countries as well. Check bus times from Dubrovnik to Kotor here. Budva and Kotor are about 30 minutes apart by cheap public bus.

Driving in Montenegro

We rented a car to do a big Montenegro road trip, which I recommend to have a more freestyle Montenegro trip and be able to see all the places to visit in Montenegro that you want to see. We had a big Balkans road trip through Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, and Montenegro, so we rented our car from Sixt in Croatia (offices in the airports/city of Split and Dubrovnik, plus many other places). Sixt was much cheaper than competitors and offered free border crossings as well. You can check Sixt in Montenegro too if it’s the only country you’re going to – there are offices in Tivat, Podgorica, and Budva.

Montenegro Day Tours

If you want to do a Montenegro road trip but can’t rent a car, there are actually plenty of Montenegro day tours you can do from Kotor, Tivat, or Budva. These four tours below pretty much encompass all the main points of interest and adventures in the country if you prefer.

bay of kotor montenegro things to do

Bay of Kotor

Things to Do in Montenegro

Here are the best places to visit in Montenegro, organized in order to do a possible Montenegro Road trip between them all. I would highly recommend branching out from Kotor and Budva – there is so much to Montenegro than these two main cities, and I pretty much guarantee that you’ll be as completely blown away by the countryside as I was.

To do this whole Montenegro road trip, you would need to either do multiple day trips from Kotor/Budva or rent a car and stay the night in a few other places in the country, such as Durmitor National Park or Tara River Canyon. I will recommend places to stay the night where applicable. Everything I mention will be visible on Google Maps. You can do this whole road trip in a row, or you can do bits and pieces here and there; as with all my itineraries and ’things to do’ posts, it is a ‘create-you-own-adventure’ style!

Without further ado, here’s my Montenegro Travel guide with all the best things to do in Montenegro!

1. Bay of Kotor

Time: Stop for photos

The bay of Kotor is a sight to behold in and of itself. A huge bay surrounded by massive mountains, the Bay of Kotor is effortlessly picturesque all the way around. You can either drive all the way around it or take a short ferry ride from Kamenari to Lepetane if you’re looking just to cross. I do however recommend getting lots of different views of it, both from sea level and from some high roads leading into and out of it (Lipci is one of the best views – see all on Google Maps).

The Bay of Kotor is actually the largest inlet of the Adriatic Sea, and has lots of amazing views. Perhaps the best points of interest in the Bay of Kotor (besides Kotor itself) are the two tiny islands located in the Northern past of the Bay, near Perast. One island (Our Lady of the Rocks) has a monastery on it, and the other (Otok Sveti Dorde/Saint George Island) has a church. Both are reachable by boat (like this boat tour here), and there are also great views of them from the coast directly opposite them, or from afar up the hill in Lipci.

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Hiking above Kotor

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Scenes from Kotor Town

2. Kotor Town

Time: A few Days

Kotor is an amazing little walled town on the southern tip of the Bay of the same name.  The wall goes nearly vertically up the steep mountain behind the town and snakes its way to a massive fortress overlooking the town and back down to a small moat. The designs of the mountain fortifications are very impressive and unique, and have survived since the 15th century!

You could easily spend a few days in Kotor, so this is one of the places I recommend staying at least a night, up to 2 or 3.

The best things to do in Kotor are:
  • Hike up the mountain to the fortress (MUST do!).
  • Visit the many churches in town
  • Walk the front side of the city walls – you can get up to the top of the walls from the bay side entrances
  • Visit the cat museum and cat gift shops – Kotor is known as the city of cats!
  • Visit the archeological museum, Maritime museum, or other art galleries
  • Wander through the old medieval town and the many little shops with interesting souvenirs and trinkets

If you want, the hikes around Kotor are some of the coolest things to do in Montenegro. The hiking trails actually go up much farther than the fortress, and zig zag their way up distant mountains with even better views. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time, though, and bring lots of water!

Where to Eat in Kotor

There are also some top-rated restaurants in and around Kotor. Tables might book up in the high season so make sure to call in if you’re a foodie.

Where to Stay in Kotor
slansko lakes montenegro best views

Slansko Lakes

3. Slansko Lakes View – from Kuside

Getting There: Drive back around the Bay of Kotor from Kotor Town (heading north) and take the road up from the bay (P11 to M6). You will see the viewpoint on your right!

Time: Stop for a Photo

Slansko Lake is a really picturesque lake scattered with little islands. It’s a great place to stop for a photo on your Montenegro road trip; there’s also a restaurant or two overlooking it if you are so inclined. You don’t need to stay long – but it’s worth checking out and snapping a photo for sure.

4. Ostrog Monastery (+ Mountain Views Along the Way)

Time: An hour or two

Getting There: From Slansko Lake, you can go through the town of Niksic to the M18 (you don’t have to go through the town as the highway circumnavigates it, but if you’d like, you can stop for a coffee, food, or accommodation). Exit at the town of Bogetici and enjoy what will emerge into beautiful mountain views overlooking a ravine. You’ll travel up and up and up, eventually reaching a zig zag road that leads up to one of the most unique monasteries in the world.

Ostrog Monastery is a feat of architecture and engineering – its a monastery built right into the side of a hill, overlooking the entire (basically) country of Montenegro. It’s really cool to see. It’s hard to get a proper view of it, but it’s amazing to catch glimpses of it as you ascend the mountain and to eventually get up close to it and see how it was carved into the side of the massive rock.

On certain days you can go inside, but I don’t recommend going on the weekend (like we did) because people often make pilgrimages to it and it can get really crowded. We got there on what ended up being a holiday and could not get in as hundreds of people had slept there overnight! Either way, it’s a sight to behold and one of the most unique things to do in Montenegro.

ostrog monastery montenegro road trip

Standing below Ostrog Monastery

Etno Selo Izlazak Viewpoint + Restaurant/B&B

Time: Stop for a meal/photo or possibly overnight

Getting There: This is one part of the Montenegro road trip that you’ll have to retrace your steps, but not for longer than 15-20 minutes. You’ll now head up the E762 into the most amazing mountainous part of the country. This viewpoint is about 1:15 hours from the Ostrog Monastery.

This little viewpoint/restaurant/hotel is searchable on google maps as ‘Etno Selo Izlazak” and it’s a perfect introduction to this part of the country. You can enjoy a delicious traditional meal overlooking one of many amazing Montenegro river canyons.

Pluzine/Piva Lake/Overpass

Time:  Stop for a photo

Getting There: This overpass is simply a spectacular view. after you cross the bridge from the south, you’ll wind your way up the side of (yet another) mountain looking back upon a stunning view of Piva lake and the bridge that you just crossed over it.

Visitng the Piva area is one of the most scenic things to do in Montenegro, with a thin ice blue lake/river sitting between large green mountains. The terrain is so mountainous that you’ll have to constantly be looking in every possible direction for more incredible views. Pluzine is the small town you’ll pass through when crossing between different parts of Piva Lake, from Etno Selo Izlazak all the way to the Mratinje Dam (a large dam at the far side of Piva Lake) if you’d like to make a slight detour to see it as well.

piva lake overpass montenegro road trip

Driving over Piva Lake

crno jezero black lake durmitor national park montenegro road trip

Jumping for joy at the Crno Jezero in Durmitor National Park

durmitor national park things to do in montenegro mountain overpass view

The kinds of views to expect driving through Durmitor 

Durmitor National Park

Time:  From a few hours to 1-2 Days

Getting There: From Piva Lake, you’ll keep on the same small road (P14) which will eventually take you through Durmitor National Park and out the other side to the town of Zabljak.

Be on alert for this whole drive, trust me – there are some incredible views as you make your way into another cluster of rocky mountains and grassy countryside. There’s one specific overpass (marked on the map Prevoj Sedlo) that is extra special, where you can stop at the top and overlook a winding road on either side. But for this trip (until you get to the main town outside the National park entrance on the other side, Zabljak) I recommend putting some tunes on and keeping your eyes glued to the windows, because it’ll be a bona fide Montenegro road trip with sweeeeeet views.

After another epic leg of your Montenegro road trip, you will reach the small country town of Zabljak, which is the main entry point to the most popular and easiest part of Durmitor National Park to visit. There are grocery stores, shops, and tons of accommodation in this town ,which is why it would be  a great place to stay a night or two to be able to properly explore one of the best things to do in Montenegro.

From here you can access one of the main parts of Durmitor National Park, which has lakes and hiking trails backed up to large mountains. The Crno Jezero (Black Lake) in my opinion is the most picturesque part. You can hike through forests, across pebbly beaches, and up and down hills around two interconnected lakes, getting a true variety in viewpoint. You can hike around them in a few hours, but there are lots more adventures around the area if you have longer time to spend in Montenegro.

To spend more time exploring Durmitor National Park, you can find an airbnb or hotel in Zabljak.

Not Driving? This day tour takes you to Durmitor, Ostrog Monastery, and Tara River Canyon as a full day trip from Kotor, Budva, or Tivat. 

Tara River Canyon

Time: Few Hours – Half Day

Getting There: Now we have reached the farthest part of the Montenegro road trip, and the further places to visit in Montenegro will be getting closer and closer until we get back to the coast. We will take the most scenic route possible of course, through the Tara Canyon along the Tapa river. The P4 road (on Google Maps) can take you through some more amazing scenery as you drive south – and as you will be used to by now, more windy roads to get to epic viewpoints. You can reach the main town of the canyon, Rasova, in about 20 minutes from Zabljak.

The Tara River Canyon is actually recognized as the deepest canyon in Europe, and a must-see of the things to do in Montenegro. If nothing else, you’ll want to stop off and take photos of the gorgeous arched Tara bridge, which to me is actually almost more magnificent than the single-arched Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, California. The bridge is extremely picturesque against a jagged mountainous landscape surrounding a small blue river. This area is great for adventures, such as zip lining or river rafting.

The Tapa River is a popular place to go river rafting- perhaps the best in the Balkans. Rafting here is accessible on your Montenegro road trip or via day trips from Montenegrin cities/Dubrovnik. This tour here takes you on a full day of rafting and food from Kotor, Budva, or Tivat. You can also zipline over the canyon to get the most our of your adventure.

lovcen national park view

A lookout over Lovcen National Park

Podgorica

Time: Anywhere from a quick rest stop to 1 day

Getting There: This will be the largest commute of your Montenegro road trip. It’s 2-2.5 hours via the E65 to the E80 from the Tara area to the capital.

I feel inclined to include the country’s capital in this Montenegro road trip route, because, well, it’s one of the most obvious things to do in Montenegro. But, to be honest, the capital is more of an industrial center and doesn’t have crazy amounts to do. If you need a break, a meal, or a night’s stay (depending on how long you spend in other places and how long you have), you can spend some time here.

There are parks, shops, squares, riverside eateries, some gardens, a museum or two, and accommodations, but Podgorica isn’t particularly a tourist destination to be honest. You could easily spend a day wandering around, but the true magic of Montenegro is more elsewhere.

pavlova strana viewpoint montenegro lake skadar national park

Pavlova Strana Viewpoint

Skadar Lake National Park/ Pavlova Strana Viewpoint

Time: 30 minutes at the viewpoint to 1 day exploring the whole National Park

Getting There: The Pavlova Strana viewpoint is about 30 minutes from the capital via freeways and tiny mountains roads.

This national park is centered around (you guessed it) a massive lake, located in the southwestern part of the country on the border with Albania. It’s pretty massive, but if you were to visit just one part of Skadar Lake National Park on your Montenegro road trip, make it the Pavlova Strana viewpoint. You can find this viewpoint on google maps, and it is perhaps one of the most famous viewpoints and best things to do in Montenegro. 🇲🇪

This viewpoint looks out over a massive 180 degree river bend, and is pretty spectacular. You can see little boats going by on the river to give you perspective of its size, and look out to the river snaking through marshlands into the distance. It’s an unbeatable photo op! Just to warn you, though, the roads to get through the park to reach this point are, well, less than ideal. They’re thin and often overgrown, but don’t be discouraged that you’re going the wrong way. You’er not – it’s just quite remote.

If you only have time for this viewpoint, that’s totally fine. But if not, you can easily spend a day exploring the far reaches of this National Park. Just remember that you can’t drive around the entire lake unless you go into Albania.

Lovcen National Park + Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic-Njegos Viewpoint

Time: A few hours to a half day

Getting There: It will take about 30 minutes from the Pavlova Strana viewpoint to get to the outskirts of Lovcen National Park, and about an hour to get to the top of the highest mountains viewpoint.

Lovcen National park is a little circular National park about mid-way between Budva and Kotor, inland. In my opinion the roads leading to it are easier to take from/to Budva, which is why I placed it in this position on the Montenegro Road trip itinerary. You’ll take a winding road almost in a circle around the outside of the park to get in, and be faced with beautiful rocky mountain views throughout.

The real treat comes in when you drive all the way to the top of Lovcen mountain, however. If you follow the one main road all the way to the end, you’ll head straight up a massive mountain and reach a restaurant and parking area at the top just below the mausoleum of an old Montenegrin leader.

Park there, and walk towards the massive, ominous-looking tunnel with hundreds of stairs. Pay a small worthwhile fee, and walk up to what is probably the most… interesting… mausoleums I’ve been to. To be honest, this one one of the most interesting places I have been, and definitely on the the coolest things to do in Montenegro. I can’t quite think of the words to describe what this huge mountaintop marble structure adorned with statues and columns is like. It’s ominous; it’s opulent; it’s over-the-top; its friggin’ awesome; it’s a bit spooky; it’s like something I would expect in like, Ancient Egypt or something. You can visit a few different rooms in the mausoleum or go downstairs for the actual tomb, and there are guides and workers who can give you pamphlets to explain what it’s all about.

Oh, and THE VIEW. The view is panoramic and unreal, assuming the fog hasn’t covered it all up. There’s a platform (Vidikovac observation deck) not far from the mausoleum where you can look out over the whole park and also back towards the mausoleum, perched on top of the hill for the rest of its days.

Not Driving? This day tour here takes you to Lovcen, Podgorica, a boat ride in Skadar National Park, and Sveti Stefan. 

lovcen national park viewpoint

Vidikovac Observation deck

petar hektorovic mausoleum things to do in montenegro

Scenes from inside the mausoleum

 

Budva

Time: 2+ Days

Getting There: From Lovcen National Park, you must return to the entrance in Cetinje and take the M2.3 back to the lovely coast! It should take just about an hour to see the sea again and another 15 or so minutes to get to the town. Another Montenegro road trip option for those with less time is to go to Sveti Stefan (the next item on the list) for a quick swim and a sunset before you go back to Budva.

Budva is probably the best city to visit in Montenegro. It’s coastal, has more to do than Kotor and the capital, and is all-around the biggest and most eventful tourist town. There’s a charming old walled town, beautiful beaches right outside of it, a harbor, a coastline full of clubs, games, and water sports, and some really large suburbs.

In the summer months there will always be something going on in Budva, from parties in the local parks to film screenings to live music in the squares of Old Town. There are tons of museums and other things to do, ruins to learn about, and too many great restaurants to choose from.

Some of the best things to do in Budva include:
  • Visit the beach outside old town – complete with thatched umbrellas and lounge chairs to rent
  • visit the dancer statue (‘Statua Ballerina’) up the coast from old town
  • Get lost exploring and shopping in the alleyways of Old Town
  • Visit the many churches in old town
  • Check out the Maritime Museum, City Museum, and a few art galleries
  • Visit Sveti Stephan (see below)
Where to Stay in Budva

Sveti Stefan

Time: A few hours – 1 day

Getting There: It’s right down the coast from Budva- about 10km south.

Sveti Stefan is one of the most unique places to visit in Montenegro. It’s a little island connected to the mainland by a very thin isthmus – about 100m long. It’s an extremely postcard-worthy view, both from a small viewpoint on a road above it and from the bridge itself.

Sveti Stefan is an extremely picturesque formation, and if it wasn’t beautiful enough already there is now a wonderfully designed (and expensive af) hotel on it that is also pleasing to the eye. There are no other things to do in Montenegro quite like it, or any of the Balkans really. I recommend spending a few hours here taking photos, swimming, and relaxing on the beach. The water here is warm and clear like the rest of the Adriatic, and with a view like Sveti Stefan it will be an unforgettable dip.

sveti stefan montenegro road trip go pro sunset

Sunset at Sveti Stefan… now time for a swim!

Ulcinj

Time: 1 Day Trip

Getting There: Ulcinj is about 1.5 hours from Budva, down the coast.

Ulcinj (Ult-zin-ee) is a lovely beach town on the farthest south end of Montenegro’s coast – close to Albania. It’s definitely not one of the necessary things to do in Montenegro, but I wanted to include a more off-the-beaten-track beachside destination for those who want to get away from the crowds. Ulcinj is a secret paradise with rocky headlands, beaches, and hilltop parks overlooking the sea. It would be a great getaway for 1+ days. It’s also quite close to Skadar Lake; if you end up exploring deeper into the national park you can always visit Ulcinj directly afterwards and re-route your Montenegro road trip a bit past Sveti Stefan towards Budva.

all the most incredible htings to do in montenegro organized into an epic montenegro road trip

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Phew, where there they are – ALL the best things to do in Montenegro, organized into the ultimate road trip. You can now know all the possible places to visit in Montenegro and plan your own trip accordingly – choose your own adventure and make a route with the time you have. Whether you hit all these spots or only Kotor and Budva, you’re sure to have a great time in what I have considered one of the most underrated countries in the world. As always, let me know if I can help in any way, if I missed something, or if you have any extra tips!

May 1, 2019

Visiting Kravice Waterfalls, Bosnia and Herzegovina: All You Need to Know

Visiting Kravice Waterfalls, Bosnia and Herzegovina: All You Need to Know

Kravice waterfalls are an incredible waterfall system about an hour outside of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They’re also about 2.5 hours from Dubrovnik, Croatia, and an ideal day trip from either Mostar or Dubrovnik. Some people say that Kravice falls are the best waterfalls they have ever seen, and you’ll understand why when you see them for yourself.

Kravice waterfalls are yet another famous waterfall view in the Balkans, and surely the best waterfalls in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are special because you can swim in them and climb around the rock pools and waterfall systems that comprise it.

The Best time to Visit Kravice Waterfalls

If you read my Mostar Travel Guide below, you’ll notice that I recommend visiting Mostar and surrounding areas in off-peak summer months due to extreme heat during July and August. The best time to visti Mostar, Kravice Falls, and surrounding points of intererst would be May, early June, late September, or October to get away from the crowds and heat!

Before We Start, Here are a Few Other Articles You May be Interested in:

guide to visiting kravice waterfalls bosnia and herzegovina - all you need to know before you travel to kravice falls.

Pin this guide to visiting Kravice waterfalls to your Pinterest boards! 

Getting to Kravice Waterfalls

The best way to get to Kravice waterfalls is either driving yourself or taking an organized tour.

Driving Yourself to Kravice Waterfalls

You can rent a car from Mostar or Dubrovnik for visiting Kravice waterfalls. I rented a car from Sixt in Croatia which allowed me to cross different Balkan borders with ease and a much better price than Enterprise. Check rentalcars.com to find the price that works best for you. Once on the road, it’s quite easy to direct yourself to Kravice falls and locate the parking lot – just follow a map and/or signs on the roads.

Kravice Waterfalls Tours

There are many tours from  both Dubrovnik and Mostar that visit Kravice waterfalls. Taking organized tours can sometimes be a lot easier because you don’t have to worry about directions, and you receive a guide who informs you about all the history and tips for visiting each point of interest. That means you don’t have to spend time researching and googling – your guide knows all (usually)!

Here are a few organized tours you can take to Kravice Waterfalls:

Taxi to Kravice Waterfalls

You could technically take a taxi from Mostar to Kravice waterfalls if you want, but you would pay much less to do an entire day tour that visits other points of interest in Herzegovina as well. Tours from Mostar start from 35 Euro, vs the cost of an hour long cab ride…. well, the choice is obvious.

kravice waterfalls bosnia and herzegovina

My first trip to Kravice waterfalls, circa 2016.

Arriving at Kravice Falls

The parking lot is up quite a large hill from the waterfalls, and costs 2KM/hr or 6KM/day. You must pay 10KM to get into the park (June-September) and 8KM the rest of the year.

There is a tram you can take up and down a winding road from the parking lot to Kravice waterfalls for 2 euro per person each direction. Or, you can simply walk down a few sets of stairs and around a bend or two. Any able-bodied person should be able to walk down with ease, and then make the determination after walking down whether you’re capable of walking up or want to take the tram up to the parking lot again.

Note that the tram picks up and drops off from a different location than the walking trail. The tram stops at a parking lot on the opposite side of the waterfalls, whereas you’ll emerge right next to them if you walk.

What to do at Kravice Waterfalls

There are lot of places at Kravice Falls to lay in the sun, enjoy an ice cream, or spend an afternoon relaxing. But for me the most obvious choice is to swim, of course! Don’t be discouraged by the slightly chilled temperature of the water; you’ll get used to it quickly and the waterfalls are worth a closer look for the adventurous type!

Changing Rooms

You will see small tarps at the bottom of the slope after walking down to the water – they are big advertisements that disguise small changing spaces (they don’t look like changing rooms at first glance, but they are!). These are much easier spaces to change if you are not already wearing swimming clothes.

Getting into the Water

If you have a waterproof camera, take it with you here – there are some great shots to be taken. They have recently added in a floating lane line-type barrier around the falls, which I assume is to deter people from climbing up into them (you could do it freely before). However, people (myself included) still climbed up to explore the falls more closely without problem. I don’t want to suggest what is right either way, I just know that it its there but people were still climbing.

Climbing Nearer to the Waterfalls

It is possible to climb up some rocks and get closer to most of the waterfalls in the near-semi-circular formation of Kravice waterfalls. Just make sure that if you are going to explore, you proceed with extra caution and stay safe. It’s EXTREMELY slippery and the water is extremely powerful.

That being said, there are lots of mini rock pools, great views, and waterfalls to sit underneath at Kravice waterfalls. They’re so picturesque and with dozens of individual waterfalls, there is a lot to explore.

BalkanTrip18MostarHerzegovina-120

What it looks lie to swim in the chilled waters of Kravice waterfalls 

Best Places to Take Photos of Kravice Falls

Even if you don’t want to swim too close, there are plenty of places to take great photos of Kravice Waterfalls. The best places are:

  • Across the river from the main entry point, on the dirt bank you’ll see a flat area across the water away from the restaurants. You can get closer to the falls this way and get a good angle of all of them.
  • From the railing of the restaurant, about half way back from the stairs entry point towards the tram drop-off point (this will make sense when you see it!).

If you want to get photos without tons of people in them, make sure to get as close as you can to the water. However, as the falls are as picturesque as can be either way, any photo will be great!

Restaurants at Kravice Waterfalls

There are a few restaurants bordering the water, all with views of the Kravice waterfalls. They will all serve different local Bosnian – Croatian fusion fare, like cevapi, sausage, steak, and chicken with fries/veggies. They are a great place to relax and have a meal after a swim, still with a great view of the Kravice falls.

What to Pack for Kravice Waterfalls

  • Swim Suit
  • Change of Clothes
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Comfortable Shoes
  • Towel/Sarong to dry off and lay on for sunbathing
  • Camera/Waterproof camera/waterproof phone case
  • Cash for entrance, tram, and snacks/food

Final Tips for Kravice Waterfalls

  • Grab an iced cream from one of the restaurants and relax for a bit in the sun, people-watching and enjoying the water. It’s perfect for a hot day!
  • If you are fairly young and fit, use the walking trail to get down to the falls – it’s fairly easy. Then you can take the tram back up to get all perspectives of the area.
  • They offer boat trips on the water at certain times of year for people who don’t want to swim, and they can even go down to view a smaller waterfall downstream called Mala Kravice.
  • Lastly, I would highly recommend a trip to Kravice Falls with a few other amazing points of interest in the area, such as Pocitelj castle and Blagaj Springs (and Mostar if you are coming from Croatia!). There are many more amazing sights in the area that are very close by. See my article on Things to do in Mostar for more information on taking a trip from Mostar, or my article on Day Trips from Dubrovnik to learn about how to see more from Dubrovnik.
kravice waterfalls adventures herzegovina

April 24, 2019

Things to Do in Mostar Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Mostar Travel Guide 

Things to Do in Mostar Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Mostar Travel Guide 

You should be proud that you’ve made it to one of Europe’s most underrated cities: Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina! There are tons of things to do in Mostar when you aren’t simply walking the streets and ogling over all the amazing Turkish-influenced markets.

This Mostar travel guide will take you through all the historic, adventurous, scenic, culinary, and full-of-nature things to do in and around the town of Mostar. Trust me, you’ll be totally impressed with this place and the surrounding countryside – it’s a sight to behold. I went to Mostar as part of my Balkans Road trip one summer, and will never get enough.

But first, let’s get a few important pieces of info out of the way:

When’s the Best Time to go To Mostar?

It’s important to note that Mostar weather is HOT during the summer. No, like REALLY hot. Uncomfortably hot. The kind of hot that will make you not want (or be able) to leave the house. For maximum adventure and to be able to accomplish all these awesome things to do in Mostar Bosnia and Herzegovina, you’ll want to visit when it’s a bit more of a manageable temperature.

This means that July and August are basically off-limits. I would personally recommend May or late September/early October, if that makes sense with your travel dates. This way, the temperature will be nice, warm, and manageable. Do June or early September if you must; or even more off-season months to beat the crowds.

What is the Currency in Mostar?

The currency in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the ‘Konvertible Mark,’ or as you will see on any street signs, the ‘KM.’ As of the late 2018, the KM was worth almost exactly twice as much as a Euro, and all businesses converted it this way. Many businesses will take Euros for exactly half the amount you would owe in the local currency.

How do You Get to Mostar?

Some of the best ways to get to Mostar from are from Dubrovnik, Croatia and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s jut over two hours away from both Dubrovnik and Sarajevo. So, it’s quite easy to fly into either of those bigger cities and get a bus, private transfer, or rent a car to drive to Mostar.

things to do in mostar bosnia and herzegovina mlstar travel guide

travel guide mostar bosnia and herzegovina

Going to Mostar Bosnia & Herzegovina? Pin this Mostar travel guide to Pinterest! 

And now, here are all the awesome things you can do once you get to Mostar!

Things to do in Mostar Town

Here are all the things to do in Mostar that are walkable from anywhere in the city. There are tons of activities to do, and the main area of town is actually quite small! There are things to do on each side of the Stari Most (which directly translates to ‘Old Bridge’), which is basically the center of the main part of town itself.

Explore Old Town

One of the best and most obvious things to do in Mostar is to get totally lost in the cobblestone medieval streets of the old town! The old town extends on either side of the Stari Most (Old Bridge) and it’s covered floor to ceiling with market stalls with the most unique, colorful, and cultural souvenirs.

Wandering the streets of Mostar is the easiest way to understand how heavily the Turkish/Ottoman Empire influenced the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s like another world if you have just come from Croatia or Slovenia, because the souvenir shops are totally different. In Mostar/Bosnia as a whole, the markets are full of Aladdin-type gold and silver lamps, cutlery sets, coffee sets, jugs, and plate sets, tons of turkish rugs and scarves, Amazing Turkish patterns on pouches and bags, skirts, hats and tops laden with old coins that clang when you walk, the type of stained glass lamps you’s expect to see in Morocco, and even war souvenirs such as little tanks and pens made from bullets.

Go ahead, get lost! But make sure you leave time for all the other awesome things to do in Mostar. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Stari Most / Old Bridge

Well, this should be the most obvious place to visit in Mostar! The Stari Most is quite possibly one of the most famous landmarks in all of the Balkans, and rightfully so – it’s downright incredible!

The Stari Most  is perhaps the most well-known for incredibly brave people jumping off of it. People do it almost every day! But, it’s not for the faint of heart – it’s 24m (79ft) tall!! Wow!

There are some locals who do it daily for money, and who also take tourists under their wing each day and teach them the correct jumping form off a nearby platform for a small fee. If you want to jump it, I would 10000% recommend not doing it on your own! 24m is NOT for the faint of heart, and these guys give you a full tutorial, help you jump, yell at you while you’re in the air at the exact point you should pencil your body, and even have guys in boats there waiting if you mess up. It’s a good deal.

mostar map best views of the old bridge

Not a jumper? Don’t worry; most people aren’t. Let’s stick to looking at the bridge then, shall we? There are a lot of great views of the old bridge, but here are the best views of Stari Most I recommend:

  1. From standing on the bridge, of course! Walk across it as many times as you like, look off the edge on both sides, and imagine what it would be like to jump off of it – cringe! Make sure you don’t slip while walking on the Stari Most, though – step on top of each step or you might eat it on the slippery tiles.
  2. From below – if you’re standing on the bridge, you’ll see a few huge platforms below it on one side where people sit and relax. Grab a takeaway from anywhere in old town (I recommend the cevapi – they come nice and easy inside a pita here – more on food below) and find a nice place to sit below the bridge. There are plenty of shaded spots both close to and a bit farther from the bridge. Choose a place you like, take some classic pictures under the bridge, and hope that you’re lucky and get to watch some jumpers during your meal. (I got to see two! Check my IG story highlights of Bosnia to see them)
  3. From a restaurant for dinner on the opposite side of the bridge from the platforms. There are lots of them that have views of the bridge, and it’s absolutely lovely when it’s lit up at night.

Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque (To Climb)

This is one of the most famous mosques in Mostar, and also happens to probably have the best view in Mostar. It’s definitely not for you if you’re claustrophobic, though; you actually have to climb up a stone spiral staircase all the way up a really tall temple spire/minaret. It’s not ideal, but oh, is it worth it!

Once you get to the top, you’ll see why this is one of the must-do things to do in Mostar. This view of the Stari Most might be better than the three above combined, and you can see more of the river and countryside than most places in town. The mosque is also very beautiful inside. Just make sure to cover up properly before going in (they also have scarves for you if you don’t have one)!

Cost of Entry: 6 Euro

view of the stari most old bridge from the mosque mostar bosnia go pro

View from the Pasha Mosque

Kajtaz House

The Kajtaz (kai-tahz) house is a fascinating old historic Turkish house that is now and UNESCO protected world heritage site. Located very close to town, the Kajtaz is actually run by a descendant of some of the original inhabitants back in the 16th century. He is extremely kind and knowledgeable about the entire history of the house and its rooms, and shows everyone around for a very small fee.

Unfortunately half of it was ruined in the Yugoslav wars, but they have done a fantastic job preserving the rest of it and setting the rooms up with traditional rugs, texts, pottery, and clothing that was worn when the home was new.

Cost of Entry: suggested donation of 2 Euro each for a tour

Nesuh-Aga Vučjaković Mosque

Not too far from the Pasha Mosque, we have the oldest mosque in Mostar. You can see just by looking at it that it’s quite ancient, and you can go inside and check it out more closely if you’re into that kind of thing.

War + Genocide Museum

This is a difficult, yet very important thing to do in Mostar. Recently opened, the Mostar Museum of War + Genocide Victims goes deep into tear-jerking detail about the war that happened in the Balkans/previous Yugoslavia a mere 26 years ago, from 1992-1995.

If you don’t know much about the Yugoslav Wars, you absolutely must visit this museum. There were terrible atrocities that occurred here during many of our lifetimes, and educating yourself about what happened is the first step to trying to empathize and understand what this country has gone through.

Cost of Entry: 10KM per person/5 Euro

bosnian coffee mostar

Bosnian coffee from Cafe de Alma

Try a Real Bosnian Coffee… and Yes, it’s Different than Turkish Coffee (But Similar!)

Did you know that Bosnian coffee is different than Turkish coffee? They’re actually really similar, but just prepared a bit differently. Make sure you don’t say ’Turkish coffee’ to a Bosnian, because they are adamant that theirs is far superior (it’s something about the roasting process and how Bosnians don’t burn theirs as often as Turks do, due to something…. ask at the cafe! 😛 ).

The best place to try a real Bosnian Coffee is Cafe de Alma. It’s a bit hidden behind a temple, but it’s super cute and authentic. Enjoy it with a turkish delight (unclear if they would be called Bosnian delight here?!), and maybe someone can read your fortune at the bottom of the cup!

Biscevic House

This is another old Turkish house – this one from the 17th century – right next to the War + Genocide Museum. Similar to some other historic houses to visit in Mostar, you can view old artifacts and information with a terrace over the river.

Things to do in Mostar, Surrounding Areas, and Herzegovina

Now it’s time for the second half of my Mostar travel guide, which refers to all the amazing places to visit outside of (yet close to) Mostar Town. I meant it when I said that this is one of the most scenic countries ever, so make sure to visit some nearby points of interest.

Getting to the Areas Outside of the City

To see the areas described below (Kravice, Blagaj, Pocitelj, and Medugorje), you can either rent a car and drive it yourself, or you can do a day tour from Mostar that will take you around.

blagaj springs dervish house

A local pomegranate in front of the Blagaj spring and dervish house

Blagaj Spring + The Dervish House/Tekija

One of the most unique things to to in Mostar and even the Balkans is to visit Blagaj (pronounced blah-guy) Spring. The spring is at the base of a very tall cliff, and is actually the deepest spring in Europe. Blagaj is actually the source of the entire Buna River, producing 43,000 gallons of water PER SECOND. No joke. The water is pure and cold, and many surrounding restaurants actually use it to cool their drinks rather than using fridges!

Next to the spring you have another old Turkish house that is now a tourist/historical site. This one is quite similar to the Kajtaz but has a bit of a different history, being occupied by ‘Dervishes.’ Dervishes are known to be the ‘Islamic hippies’ if you will, and they used to live very simply and off the land in this scenic white house near the spring.

Nowadays you must cover up to go inside, as with most old houses in Bosnia. You can visit all the different rooms, learn what each one was for and how they used them, and of course take pictures in the beautiful rug-adorned rooms.

Kravice Waterfalls

Kravice waterfalls (Krav-eet-zay) are some incredible waterfalls about an hour outside of Mostar. These waterfalls are extremely scenic; many people revel at how beautiful they are. I’ve seen a lot of waterfalls in my travels but I still love visiting Kravice Falls, especially because you can swim in the water surrounding them. I love them so much I have written a specific guide to visiting Kravice Falls, too!

They have recently put up a lane line around the falls, but I personally had no problem climbing up to get closer to the falls and explore the rock pools. Just be careful – I didn’t tell you to do it!

There are loads of restaurants surrounding Kravice Falls where you can get a bite to eat overlooking the water. There’s also a tram that takes you up and down for 2 euro, but if you take the stairs the walk is easy enough.

Pocitelj Castle

Pocitelj Castle/Fort (po-chee-tell-ee) is an old Ottoman walled hillside town next to a beautiful river. It’s only about 15 minutes from Kravice Falls, and you can visit them both together quite easily. Just prepare for some stairs (some bus tours use a drop-off point above, but the parking lot is below). I’d recommend walking in a big circle from one main tower to the other (you’ll find your way easily enough) and seeing the views of the town and river from both sides. One tower has been fortified by glass, but most of the rest of town is as authentic-ruins as it gets. The eastern tower is crumbling a bit, and you can climb up to the top level to look out the windows just like Rapunzel.

You can pick pomegranates off the trees as you walk around the town – hopefully you get them while they’re ripe! You can also buy pomegranate juice, rose juice, and tons of little cones of fresh fruit and nuts from the locals who likely picked them from their gardens.

pocitelj castle mostar bosnia herzegovina

The View from Pocitelj 

Medugorje

Medugorje (med-oo-gohr-ee-yay) is a famous Christian pilgrimage site where, supposedly, the Virgin Mary appeared to some young people many years ago. Today, people from all over the world make pilgrimages to Medigorje, often for Christmas and religious holidays.

There is a MASSIVE outdoor church – the biggest I’ve ever seen – for people to attend mass. You can go into confession booths in like 20 different languages, and revel at quite a few statues of Jesus, Mary, and a few other religious figures. In the town, you’ll find gift shop after gift shop all centered around Virgin Mary. You can take your pick: life size Virgin Mary statues, Virgin Mary necklaces, magnets, cups, plates, bobbleheads, posters, keychains… literally everything. So if you’re into the Virgin Mary… this is your place, yo.

Visit a Winery

Yep, they do make wine in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are many family wineries near Mostar, many of which you can visit and have a taste for yourself. I mean, Bosnia isn’t KNOWN for its wine, but when in Rome, right?

Watching the Sunset in Mostar

It wouldn’t be an Adventure + Sunset guide without sunset spots, right?! Mostar isn’t the best place to see the sunset, but you best believe I always try the find the best sunset views no matter where I am. Here are some suggestions:

Drive Up the Hill Overlooking the City

You’ll see a big hill overlooking the city with a cross on top. You can drive up this (don’t try to hike though, I did that once – no trail along the road). This would be a great place to see the twilight over the city.

Riverside Restaurants

Grab yourself a table with a view for sunset – bonus if it has a view of the Old Bridge, too.

Platforms Under the Bridge

Watching the sky change with the Stari Most in the background is nothing but magic. And those platforms are a wonderful place to relax. Bring a picnic!

shopping in mostar bosnia and herzegovina

Shopping in Mostar

Where to Eat + Drink in Mostar

Phew, that was a lot of adventuring you had to do to complete all those cool things to do in Mostar Bosnia and Herzegovina! You must be hungry. Don’t worry, I have some great places for you to try.

But first, I want to warn you that sometimes the food can get a bit… sketchy in Mostar. It’s kind of the one thing that sucks about Mostar – I got reeeeeeally sick here once, and they think it was either salmonella or a parasite. Scary, I know – it’s not common, I just want you to be cautious and not eat anything that you feel unsure of. I felt unsure about my chicken salad, but I ate it anyway (who gets sick from a chicken salad?! it was probably the eggs). Not good. I have since found some super reliable places to eat in Mostar, so go to the places I recommend and exercise a general amount of caution (eat local dishes, order reliable things) and you’ll be totally fine.

The Food House

This place is a bit more affordable and has some absolutely delicious options both of very traditional food and more western-ish things you might be more familiar with. It’s very close to the bridge and is very reliable. A great chance to try something new.

Šadrvan

This place is right near the old bridge and perhaps has the best food in Mostar. The workers are all dressed up in traditional clothing, and provide great service as you sit among the fairy lights strung between trees. It’s super cute, really. Get a tasting platter that has a bit of everything, and get amongst the local/Turkish influenced food.

Cafe de Alma Coffee Shop

I already mentioned this, but you MUST try Bosnian coffee, and this is a good place to do it. If it’s full (which it often might be) there are a lot of other small cafes too.

Grab Food to Go and Picnic Near the Bridge

Grab some takeaway cevapi in the town – many places do this. (If you don’t know, cevapi is basically like little sausage sticks of hamburger meat. They’re a classic food for the Balkans, and in Bosnia they come with chopped onions and ajvar/red pepper sauce inside a pita. Delicious and hard to mess up.) Take the food to one of the public platforms near the old bridge and enjoy the sunset and/or old town lit up at night as you eat.

Alternatively, grab some groceries from a nearby market and make yourself a picnic fit for a king, with a view. You can’t go wrong with charcuterie platter supplies. I did this while traveling solo for my birthday one year.

Bakeries

There are lots of fresh and delicious bakeries, and they get cheaper and cheaper the farther you go from the main town.

Black Dog Pub

Black Dog Pub is the place to go have some drinks after dinner. It’s right along a smaller stream that empties into the Neretva, with a smaller version of the Stari Most bridge that was constructed prior to the larger version to make sure it was constructionally sound. You might meet some locals there who will take you to Mostar’s nightclub on the other side of the bridge, in a cave-like opening in the cliff.

kravice falls mostar herzegovina

Kravice Falls 

Where to Stay in Mostar

The last part of my Mostar travel guide has come: where to stay in Mostar. There are hostels in Mostar to stay in, but honestly this place is so cheap that you might as well treat yourself to a private room for no more than 30-40 Euro, or a nice airbnb.

I was able to find a one bedroom from a travel agency for 35 /night right next to the bridge a few years back. Another time when I was with a few others, I stayed at a lovely airbnb right outside of town and not far from the Kajtaz house. There are a few boutique hotels, with even nicer ones under construction. There are plenty of options! Here are a few links:

Airbnb

When traveling with a family, I stayed in this Airbnb/villa here with 3 rooms (7 guest capacity) right next to the city and loved it. This one is great for smaller groups/couples or solo travelers.

Hotels

There are plenty of highly rated hotels in the city, depending on what you’re looking for.

Hostels

There are also many cheaper hostels around town as well.

things to do in mostar bosnia

Remember to pin this guide to Mostar Bosnia and Herzegovina! 

Where to Travel From Mostar

The Balkans are a stunning area to travel through, and many of Bosnia’s neighbouring countries are worth visiting on a Balkans road trip.

Croatia

Many people travel to Croatia from Mostar. Check out my Croatia Super-Guide for all the info you need about this country. You can also read my guides to Split, Dubrovnik, and more.

Montenegro

Montenegro is an east border crossing from Bosnia. Check out all the best things to do in Montenegro in my Montenegro Road Trip Guide.


 

Well, that’s it for things to do in Mostar! Did you enjoy my Mostar travel guide? Is there anything I missed?! Let me know if the comments!

April 23, 2019

15 Must-See Day Trips from Dubrovnik, Croatia

15 Must-See Day Trips from Dubrovnik, Croatia

There are dozens of day trips from Dubrovnik, as it is positioned strategically in the center of some very interesting Balkan countries and points of interest. It’s a great place to base yourself for Dubrovnik day trips if you don’t have the time to visit surrounding places for a few days, but want to make the most of your time in the Balkans. I’m all about making the most of your travels (that’s something my returning readers will surely know about me 😛 ), and if that means doing a bunch of day trips so you can see more, I’m all about it!

I worked in Croatia for four summers, and have visited for the last five. I was a guide on Croatia sailing tours for three summers, and a private hire guide through four Balkan countries on the ultimate Balkans road trip for one. This means that I have had the chance to get to know both Croatia and all the surrounding Balkan countries very, VERY well. If it can be done as day trips from Dubrovnik, trust me, I have done it and probably gotten to know the destination very well also.

Anyway, enough about me. Here are the top 15 Dubrovnik day tours and trips that you can take while you are staying in what we lovingly call “Dub City.’ I will provide links to tours that I recommend, and also my personal thoughts about the destination/trip and which ones might warrant more than just a day trip. Some things in the Balkans are farther apart than you would think!

25 amazing day trips from Dubrovnik from the elaphite islands up the coast to the countryside in bosnia + herzegovina to the coasts of Montenegro - these are all Dubrovnik day trips you can take right from the city. #dubrovnik #croatia #travel #daytrips

25 amazing day trips from Dubrovnik from the elaphite islands up the coast to the countryside in bosnia + herzegovina to the coasts of Montenegro - these are all Dubrovnik day trips you can take right from the city. #dubrovnik #croatia #travel #daytrips

This is a really long guide- pin it to your Pinterest boards to save for later! 

The first section details all sorts of day trips from Dubrovnik that take place within Croatia, and is followed by a section of Bosnia + Herzegovina day tours from Dubrovnik and then Montenegro day trips from Dubrovnik. Make sure to check them all out, because the last sections are some of the most amazing day trips you can take from Dubrovnik for sure (and you get to see other countries!).

If you’re looking for things to do in Dubrovnik, I have you covered there also… only, it’s a separate (equally comprehensive) article. Click below to open my “Tour Guide’s Guide to the Best Things to Do in Dubrovnik,” also taken from quite a few years of experience.

READ
Where to Go in Croatia: A Tour Guide's Ultimate Croatia Travel Guide
But before Getting to Day Trips from Dubrovnik, Did you Know I Have Over 20 Articles About Croatia?!

Without further ado, here we go!

underwater Kolocep blue cave dubrovnik

Blue Cave – Elaphite Islands

The 15 Best Day Trips from Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik Day Trips Within Croatia

1. Elaphite Islands Day Trips from Dubrovnik

It’s definitely worth going out to see the Elaphite Islands as one or even two day trips from Dubrovnik. These are gorgeous islands surrounding Dubrovnik’ s port and sprawling a bit farther up the coast as well. They’re the ones that are visible from the panoramic hill overlooking the city!

There are two different kinds of Elaphite islands trips from Dubrovnik. One involves a bigger, slower wooden boat that takes you to three small cities on three islands. The other is a speedboat that takes a smaller, more adventurous group to swim in a few different amazing caves and to the only sandy beach on the Dalmatian coast. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Elaphite Towns Sailing Tour

These Elaphite Islands Day Trips from Dubrovnik take you to Lopud, Koločep, and Šipan- the three main islands/towns of the Elaphite Islands. This tour enables you to get a little getaway from Dubrovnik and visit some smaller, less touristy, and more authentic Croatian island towns. The tours will give you a certain amount of time in each town, which you can spend exploring, visiting nearby beaches, shopping, or eating.

If you only have a short time in Dubrovnik, this is my number one recommendation for a getaway to experience a bit more Croatian culture.

Book an Elaphite Islands Town Tour HERE Or book (a slightly pricier) one on a pirate ship HERE – both include lunch
sipan elaphite islands

Views from the largest of the Elaphite Islands

  • Elaphite Speedboat Tour

The speedboat tour takes you to Koločep and Lopud islands as well, except in a totally different manner! This is an adventure tour, and you will get goggles and snorkels from the boat for optimal exploration capability!

You’ll visit a blue cave that you can swim in (not as big as the one near Vis). You swim through a small opening between the cave and water, and because it’s so dark inside the light shines through the water making it and the cave seem to glow blue.

You’ll also visit three smaller-yet-equally-awesome caves on the other side of the same bay, and then swim up to he only sandy beach in the area (Croatia is usually very rocky), on Lopud Island.

2. Korčula Island Day Trips from Dubrovnik

With good reason, they call Korčula town (on Korčula island) the ‘mini Dubrovnik.’ See, it’s also a medieval walled town on the coast; it’s smaller yet equally beautiful! You can visit Korčula as one of your many day trips from Dubrovnik.

It’s also famous for being the alleged birthplace of Marco Polo!  You could spend a few days in Korčula if you have time, but it’s definitely small and doable in one day if that’s all you have. For all my best tips on Korčula, visit my Tour Guide’s Guide to Korčula!

The Pelješac peninsula is just across a short channel from Korčula, and is known for its wine, dramatic mountains, and small towns. It is one of the most esteemed and prolific wine regions in Croatia, due to its steep and rocky slopes that get tons of sun both from the sky and reflected from the water. The peninsula is actually directly opposite to Korčula island, but reachable from Dubrovnik as it’s connected to the mainland.

Book Your Korčula and Pelješac Day Trip from Dubrovnik Here(Comes with Wine!) You can also take the ferry from Dubrovnik to Korcula – but I recommend a tour so you know what’s going on and return back in a timely manner.
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A sunset from the bell tower in Korčula

3. Mljet Island Day Trip from Dubrovnik

Mljet is one of my favorite Croatian islands and a true untouched paradise. It’s fairly untouched because a majority of the island is actually a National Park, comprised of dense forests surrounding two perfectly-blue saltwater lakes. It’s amazing for renting bikes, kayaking, hiking, and getting away from the city bustle for a little bit.

4. Dubrovnik to Split Day Trip

Don’t have time to visit Split during the rest of your trip?! No problem. you can visit Split and some surrounding points of interest as yet another amazing Dubrovnik day trip.

It’s a bit of a drive up to Split; it could be as short as 3 hours but sometimes traffic can hold you back a bit longer. However, Split is 100% worth a visit while you’re in Croatia – even if just as a day trip. To be honest, there’s not heaps going on in Split, but the ancient Roman old town is truly a sight to behold. You can see my guide to Split to check out all my best recommendations, or my popular Day Trips from Split post if you end up choosing to base yourself there for a bit in the end.

5. Dubrovnik Scuba Diving

Yep, you heard that right, you can go scuba diving in Dubrovnik! Certified or not, this intro course will show you the incredible underwater world of Croatia as you dive through some of the clearest water I’ve ever seen. You can do a course toward your PADI or just a full day diving package, depending on your needs.

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Plitvice Lakes NP

6. Plitvice Lakes National Park Tour from Dubrovnik

Plitvice Lakes is one of the most famous National parks in Croatia and perhaps in Europe itself. It’s quite far from Dubrovnik (read: very far. Don’t say I didn’t warn you). But, if you are limited on time and absolutely must see it, you can see it as one of many day trips from Dubrovnik.

7. Wine Tasting Tour from Dubrovnik – Dubrovnik, Pelješac, and Ston

If you’re a wine-o, you can spend a day visiting a few different main wine regions of Southern Croatia. This tour will take you through the Pelješac peninsula (described above in the Korčula section), the beautiful medieval town of Ston (famous for its oysters, which you’ll try), a few wineries, and a restaurant for a 3 course Croatian meal.

Your guide will be a sommelier who is very familiar with the region. This tour is a great way to get out of the city and experience a bit of the Croatian countryside for the day!

BalkanTrip18MostarHerzegovina-55

Looking at the Dervish house next to the Blagaj spring

Day Trips from Dubrovnik to Bosnia

Bosnia and Herzegovina is an absolutely stunning country. Recently very troubled in the Yugoslav Wars (early 1990’s – see my Croatia Super Guide for more background info), some scars are still very raw in the country – especially in the capital, Sarajevo. Having had much more Turkish influence than Croatia, Bosnia is a Muslim country and reflects as such in its culture, food, clothing, and shopping.

The country is divided into two provinces -which are – you guessed it – Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most day trips from Dubrovnik will visit the Herzegovina part, which is more southern and has Mostar as its capital. Herzegovina has some incredible natural wonders that are definitely worth seeing.

Below I will list out to you the brief main points of interest in Bosnia and Herzegovina that are visited by some day trips from Dubrovnik I know. Some tours visit one, two, or all of these, and it’s up to you to choose which places you would like in your tour (options linked below in more detail).

Blagaj Springs + Tekija/Dervish House: Blagaj springs is a deep freshwater spring which is the source of the Buna river, at the base of a massive cliff. Next to the spring is a historic Dervish house, where a certain branch of Islamic people used to live off the land. It’s an incredible sight and interesting to learn about the Dervished, which are like the islamic hippies.

Kravice Falls – these are some incredible waterfalls nearer to Croatian border. They are fantastic to have a swim, sunbathe, or relax at surrounding restaurants. I have a guide to visiting Kravice Falls, too.

Pocitelj Castle: Pocitelj is an Ottoman hilltop walled town next to a beautiful river. You can climb the stairs of the authentic town, picking pomegranates off the trees and taking in the true ruins of an ancient town. There are a few lookout points where you can gaze out at the countryside and the walled town itself. You can also buy pomegranate juice, rose water, and tons of fresh fruit and nuts from the locals.

Medugorje: This is a famous Christian pilgrimage site where the Virgin Mary apparently appeared to a group of young people. Today, people make pilgrimages to Medigorje from all over the world, attend masses in a HUGE outdoor church, make confessions in booths in 20 different languages, revel at statues of Jesus, and get every single Virgin Mary souvenir possible. Yep… its interesting.

Mostar: Mostar is the incredible capital of southern Bosnia, with an iconic old bridge and an amazing old stone Turkish town. There are temples to visit, old houses to explore, tons of (totally different from Croatia) market stalls to explore, and beautiful views to be seen. Click here for my Mostar Travel Guide! 

Sarajevo: This is the capital of the country, and much farther away than Mostar. Sarajevo seems even more Muslim/Turkish than Mostar in its incredible soukhs, cobblestone streets, and markets, and has a rich history to tell.

kajtaz house mostar bosnia

BalkanTrip18MostarHerzegovina-39

Dervish House and Mostar Old Bridge

BalkanTrip18MostarHerzegovina-125

Kravice Falls

Here are the options for Bosnia Day Tours from Dubrovnik.
If you are religious and have heard about the famous pilgrimage city of Medugorje, perhaps you are more interested/only have time to go to one place in Bosnia. Although I would personally recommend Mostar and some of the nature sites more, it is indeed possible just to spend a day in Medugorje alone. You can spend it perusing the shops with millions of Virgin Mary souvenirs, and learning about the place the Virgin Mary appeared to a very lucky person.

Yes, it is indeed possible to visit just Sarajevo as a quite long day tour from Dubrovnik. If you are short on time you can spend a day wandering around the very historic capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is famous for being the site of the beginning of World War 1 and also hit very hard during the Yugoslav Wars (seized for 4 years, in fact).

As you can see, there are tons of options! Is it better to spend one day seeing lots of things (and moving fast), or to spend more time getting to know less places? Well, I think this first depends if you will ever be back here again. If no, go for the tour with the most sights! If yes, maybe dedicate this trip to getting to know, say, Mostar and Kravice, and come back for the rest another day.

My articles are always choose-your-own-adventure while trying to give the best recommendations. I would go for the first tour, but wanted to give you options for different preferences!

bay of kotor day trip from dubrovnik
Overlooking the Bay of Kotor

Day Trips from Dubrovnik to Montenegro

Like Bosnia, there is a LOT to see in Montenegro. However, most is not as accessible in one day. I would first and foremost recommend spending more time in Montenegro than simply a day trip from Dubrovnik, and doing my Montenegro Road Trip instead – it visits all the locations below.

The Bay of Kotor is an incredible sight to behold, with towering mountains over a massive bay. The town of Kotor itself is a charming medieval old walled town protected by a high hilltop fortress, and is also well worth exploring. Perast is another small town on the Bay of Kotor.  Budva is another walled town down the coast, but a bit bigger and with a more bustling nightlife scene (a great beach too!). Sveti Stefan is a beautiful isthmus-island just south of Budva.

Montenegro is also home to some absolutely breathtaking national parks, mountain ranges, and nature away from the coasts, but most would require more than just a day trip. The river Tara runs through the Tara River Gorge, which is one of the longest canyons in Europe and absolutely breathtaking. The rafting trip below takes you on a spectacular adventure through a stunning Montenegrin National Park (my second most recommended of these day trips from Dubrovnik!).

Similarly to Bosnia, there are tons of day trips from Dubrovnik to different parts of Montenegro. Some include just the Bay of Kotor, some go to Kotor and Budva (but spend less time in each) and some actually include sailing from Dubrovnik. Below is the tour I recommend, followed by a few other options for different needs.

sveti stefan montenegro day trip from dubrovnik

Sveti Stefan

Recommended Bestselling Tour – Montenegro Full Day Trip from Dubrovnik visiting Kotor, Budva, and Sveti Stefan

If after reading all this you have deemed that day trips from Dubrovnik aren’t enough for you to see everything, there are many ways to get around the Balkans.

For those on a tighter budget, taking the bus will be the best way for you to get place to place. Each main city has a bus terminal and it’s quite easy for you to book a bus ticket from there to many surrounding places, or you can check online on Busbud, Flixbus, or GoEuro (my recommended bus booking platform for Europe).

Transfers to Other Places from Dubrovnik

For those who want a little bit more freedom, it’s a great idea to rent a car and drive from place to place. There are many companies who’ll allow use in multiple countries. I rented a car from Sixt in Croatia and drove it through Slovenia, Bosnia, and Montenegro without issue. Compare all rates on Rentalcars.com; just make sure if you want to cross borders that the rental company is okay with that.

Lastly, if you would like to travel in style, there are many private transfers available from Dubrovnik to surrounding cities:

Have any questions about your trip to Croatia? Feel free to contact me for any trip-planning help! Remember to Pin this post to Pinterest!

Don’t forget to pin these day trips from Dubrovnik to your Pinterest boards!

25 amazing day trips from Dubrovnik from the elaphite islands up the coast to the countryside in bosnia + herzegovina to the coasts of Montenegro - these are all Dubrovnik day trips you can take right from the city. #dubrovnik #croatia #travel #daytrips

 

April 18, 2019

Festivals in France: The 20 Best French Music Festivals (2019)

Festivals in France: The 20 Best French Music Festivals (2019)

I was actually very surprised at the sheer volume of festivals in France. Like, there are TONS. There are lots of French music festivals that are extremely international, and there are also lots that are extremely, well… French. No matter what kind you are looking for or what genre you like, there will be something in this list of music festivals in France for you. There are lots of different genres, sizes, locations, and french-ness of these french festivals  (:P) see which is right for you!

But wait – how did I manage to rank them into a top 20 list? Well, Festicket actually shared with me their data for the top revenue-generating festivals (aka the most popular festivals among the general population) and I ranked them that way.

So it doesn’t necessarily reflect my personal opinion or many underground-type festies, but rather the most generally popular ones. I’ve researched each one and let you know all the info you will need about these 20 top festivals in France.

Need to learn any French before your trip? – Try Lingoda – online live classes at any time of day.

But First, Check Out Some More Music Festival Inspo:

Festivals in France: the 20 Best French Music Festivals to add to your bucket list this season! Ranked by popularity, here are the top music festivals in France from rock and pop to electronic and house music.

Planning to visit some music festivals in France?! Pin this article to save it! 

And without further ado, here are the best French music festivals!

1. Lollapalooza Paris

A global favorite in the festival scene, Lollapalooza has made its mark in France over the past two years… so much so, that it’s one of the most popular festivals in France! Similar to and other edition of ‘Lolla’ as many call it, Lollapalooza Paris will bring in big names from a vast range of genres and many up-and-coming’s as well. The festival has a wide range of other experiences as well as famously great food.

The past two editions of Lollapalooza Paris have brought giants like The Gorillaz, The Killers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana del Rey, Depeche Mode, Travis Scott, Diplo, Imagine Dragons, Kasabian, Parov Stelar, Lil Pump, Rag’n’Bone Man, and DJ Snake. With names like that it’s no surprise it has risen quickly to the top of French music festivals.

Location

Hippodrome de Longchamp, Paris, France

Dates

20-21 July

Genre

Multi Genre – Rock, Pop, Electronic

 

2. Garorock Festival

Garorock is one of the veteran music festivals in France, and has been going since 1997. This festival welcomes tons of different musical genres to the vine-laden countryside outside of Marmonde each year. From techno to rock to indie to house music, Garorock has everyone covered. There are also famously lots of other activities to do at the festival, from workshops to group games and sports to carnival rides.

Christine and the Queens, Paul Kalkbrenner, Aya Nakamura, Macklemore, Sum 41, and Beirut are confirmed for next year, while in the past there have been names such as Indochine, Marilyn Manson, DJ Snake, Odesza, Polo & Pan, Black Coffee, Muse, Amelie Lens, Alt-J, Purple Disco Machine, Parcels, and Disclosure. Sounds good to, well, basically anyone who likes any kind of music!

Location

Countryside of Marmonde, France

Dates

27-30 June

Genre

Multi – basically everything!

 

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3. We Love Green Festival

As it’s name quite clearly suggests, We Love Green is an ecologically-focused music festival that takes place in Paris’s largest public park each June. Along with amazing headliners, the festival has a massive focus on sustainability, eco-friendly living, and locally sourced organic/vegan food. There are panels and discussions about science and innovation during the day, but at night the lasers are turned on over a sea of eco-conscious music lovers.

In the past, We Love Green festival has hosted headliners such as Foals, Anderson.Paak, Diplo, Nicolas Jaar, Hot Chip, Lorde, LCD Soundsystem, Solange, Mura Masa, Ame, Angèle, and Christine & The Queens. As you can tell just by that short list, there are loads of genres and nationalities represented at one of the most eco-friendly French music festivals, and there will be a bit of something for everyone.

Location

Bois de Vincennes Park, Paris, France

Dates

2-3 June

Genre

Multi: Hip Hop, Urban, Electronic, Rock

4. Download Festival Paris

Download Festival Paris is the satellite version of the world-renowned Download Festival in the United Kingdom. It’s a bit smaller than its giant counterpart but there are no shortcuts taken on the amazing lineups, sound, and stage production at one of the biggest rock/punk festivals in France. Download is sure to bring in the biggest names in rock, as well as tons of smaller talent across its multiple stages at an air force base.

Ozzy Osborne, The Offspring, Linkin Park, Foo Fighters, System of a Down, Blink 182, Marilyn Manson, Guns’N’Roses, and Green Day have headlined in the past. If that lineup doesn’t blow your mind and get you itching for some good headbanging, then maybe you aren’t a true fan of rock! 😛

Location

Base Aérienne 217 Air Force Base, (south of) Paris

Dates

14-16 June

Genre

Rock, Metal, Punk

 

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5. Main Square Festival

Main Square is one of the most unique music festivals in France and perhaps all of Europe, taking place in a 1600’s UNESCO protected citadel. I don’t know what it is with Europe and making party venues out of ancient landmarks, but I’m not mad about it. As it’s name suggests, Main Square Festival indeed does take plce in the main square of the Arras Citadel, with one stage delivering the heat the entire time.

This year some headliners have already been announced, such as DJ Snake, Christine and the Queens, Cyprus Hill, Martix Garrix, Macklemore, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, and more.

In the past, the square has welcomed the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Jamiroquai, Liam Gallagher, Justice, Coldplay, Above & Beyond, Die Antwoord, Iron Maiden Portugal. the Man, X Ambassadors, Paul Kalkbrenner, and well.. you get the point, I hope.

Location

Arras Citadel (UNESCO World Heritage Citadel), Arras, France

Dates

5-7 July

Genre

Multi: Rock, pop, house, electronic

6. Les Francofolies de La Rochelle Festival

Les Francofolies de La Rochelle is quite possibly the longest-running and most scene-shaping French music festival. Taking place in a scenic seaport on the west coast, this festival really takes over the town of La Rochelle and makes it come alive with music and art.

There is a main stage, but also smaller activities, workshops, games, theater, and other events going on all over the city. The festival sells tickets to certain performances and also to full experiences.

This year’s edition already has a big lineup of both French and international artists – with a focus on French. The current names announced include -M-,The Blaze, Christine and the Queens,Patrick Bruel, Soprano, Angèle, and Boulevard des Airs. In the past, people like Vianney, Julien Doré, DJ Snake,Michel Jonasz, and Renaud have performed.

Location

Esplanade Saint-Jean d’Acre Seaport + surrounding venues, La Rochelle, France

Dates

10 – 14 July

Genre

Multi – Rock, pop, electronic, acoustic, everything!

7. Solidays Festival

Solidays is an incredible annual festival with a primary aim to raise money for an HIV and AIDS charity. Each performer helps in this effort by accepting reduced pay for a good cause. Across three days, dozens of acts perform inside the famous horse racing course Hippodrome de Longchamp, across tons of different genres. The festival has raised tons of money over the past years, so if you want to party for a good cause, this is your chance!

In the past, Solidays has hosted Shaka Ponk, Two Door Cinema Club, Diplo, Juliette Armanet, DJ Snake, David Guetta, Nekfeu, IAM, The Prodigy, and Kungs, and you can expect similarly genre-spanning artists at the next year’s edition too.

Location

Hippodrome de Longchamp Racecourse, Paris, France

Dates

21-23 June

Genre

Multi – Electronic, Rock, Pop

 

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8. Reggae Sun Ska Festival

Reggae Sun Ska Festival is best described in its own name. One of the best reggae music festivals in France and quite possibly Europe itself, this festival is indeed full of Reggae, sun, and ska – but also much more than that. It’s been going for over 20 years, and is known for bringing in the genre’s best dj’s, live acts, MC’s, and more.

SOJA, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Jimmy Cliff, Shaggy, Damiam Marley, Naâman, Groundation, Alpha Blondy, and more have headlined in the past, and you can be confident there will always be great music and vibes all around.

Location

Vertheuil

Dates

2-4 August

Genre

Reggae – Roots, Dancehall, Ska, etc.

9. Insane Festival

Insane Festival is an electronic genre-diverse festival taking place on the bank of a lake in the small town of Apt, France. It was previously held in large indoor venues, but has now moved to an outdoor space to make room for more avid festival-goers. Insane Festival prides itself on involving ALL different aspects of the electronic music umbrella, and bringing fans together through their passion for it. You can always expect top-of-the-line production here as well.

To give you a taste of how diverse the electronic music is at this festival, past headliners have included Stephan Bodzin, Pendulum, Angerfist, Rodhad, Nastia, Patrick Topping, Ace Ventura, Astrix, Rodriguez Jr, Vini Vici, and Matador. Sounds like something for everyone within the electronic world!

Location

Lakeside in Apt, France

Dates

9 – 11 August

Genre

Blend of All Electronic

10. Les Nuits Secrètes Festival

Taking place in the northeastern countryside, Les Nuits Secretes is another of the multi-genre and long-running French music festivals. Taking place out in the countryside of Aulnoye-Aymeries, you can find smaller stages in the trees or bigger main stages out in bigger fields.

Jungle, Boris Brejcha, Shaka Ponk, Alt-J, Jain, Julian Dore, Petit Biscuit, Angele, Tale of Us, Mind Against, Cigarettes After Sex, Amelie Lens, and more have headlined in the past – which is CRAZY diverse. You can techno to your heart’s content, headbang to some bona fide rock, or sway to some acoustic artists – it’s totally up to you!

Location

Cuntryside of Aulnoye-Aymeries, northeastern France

Dates

26-28 July

Genre

A Bit of Everything!

 

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11. Marsatac Festival

Marsatac has been in Marseille for over 20 years now – changing locations a lot but always bringing an epic production value and party. In its recent editions it has spend two days at Parc Chanot before moving to the beach of Plage du petit Roucas on the third day, making the previously two-day event into three. Interesting indeed! Marsatac bring in crowd-loved favorites in both rap and electronic music, with hip hop stars and also techno bangers taking the stages.

Paul Kalklbrenner, IAM, Bicep,Petit Biscuit, Nina Kraviz, Nekfleu, Nicolas Jaar, and De La Soul have headlined in the past, and this yuear they have already announced the likes of Jon Hopkins, Caballero & JeanJass, Orelsan, and more.

Location

Parc Chanot Exhibition Center + Plage du petit Roucas, Marseille, France

Dates

14-16 June

Genre

Hip Hop, Rap, Electronic

12. Les Eurockéennes Festival

Les Eurockéennes is another of the amazing multi-genre music festivals in France, but this one is especially scenic taking place on a forested peninsula in Belfort. There are big lakes on either side of the festival site, leaving a beautiful scene to listen to any kind of music your heart could dream up. You can also view some amazing art and different dance and other performances in between big acts.

Queens of the Stone Age, Alice In Chains, Nine Inch Nails, Richi Hawtin, Macklemore, ZZ Top, Liam Gallagher, The Black Madonna, Arcade Fire, Rick Ross, and Disclosure. If you thought that French music festivals couldnt get more genre-diverse… think again!

Location

Lac du Malsaucy peninsula, Belfort, France

Dates

5 -7 July

Genre

Rock, Metal, Pop, Hip Hop, House – literally everything

 

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13. Touquet Music Beach Festival

Touquet is one of the relatively new French music festivals, and it has done very well since its 2016 debut. This could easily be attributed to its amazing location – it really does take place right on the beach in Le Touquet.

Not only are there amazing headliners in the electronic and alternative genres, but there is a LOT to do in the area, too! Festivalgoers are encouraged to take part in lots of adventure activities and watersports in the area, such as surfing (it’s on the north coast, so there are waves!), sailing, windsurfing, and paddle boarding.

This festival has a lot of different electronic/disco music and also some alternative. In the past few years, the headliners have been Phoenix, Kungs, Martin Solveig, Todd Terje, The Avener, Juliette Armanet, Breakpot, Boys Noize, Malaa, andPurple Disco Machine. So, a pretty good variety!

Location

Le Touquet Beach, France

Dates

23 – 25 Augustr

Genre

Electronic, disco, alternative

14. Les Plages Électroniques Festival

Taking place at the same beachside venue as the famous Cannes Film Festival, Les Plages Électroniques takes over the venue for a very different reason. Known for bringing in tons of different genres within the electronic music umbrella, and is one of the great electronic music festivals in France. From EDM to minimal techno. What is more, it takes place right next to the Mediterranean where a relax on the beach or a dip in the warm clear water is just minuted away at any moment.

To give you an idea of how diverse this electronic festival is, the past headliners have been Kygo, Amelie Lens, Damian Lazarus, Zeds Dead, Netsky, Satori, Kolsch, The Avener, Agoria, Shy FX, Carl Craig, Tale of Us, and more. Check info below to see who might be headlining next.

Location

Palais des Festivals, Cannes (near/on the beach)

Dates

9 – 11 August

Genre

Electronic, house, techno

 

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15. Le Printemps de Bourges Festival

Le Printemps de Bourges is a weeklong festival held across many different venues in Bourges, France. The whole city comes alive during the festival week with various headliners playing in different places and most venues putting on their own events for the week too. There will be something going on everywhere, and it’s a perfect time to explore the city and check out some amazing artists.

Étienne de Crécy, Orelsan, Rag’n’Bone Man, Sam Paganini, Paul Kalkbrenner, KOMPROMAT, Nina Kraviz, Shaka Ponk, Boris Brejcha, and Damso have headlined this festival in the past. However, Le Printemps de Bourges has historically been a festival for rising stars and to showcase up and coming talent across the city, so make sure to branch out a bit because you never know if you’ll see the next big act. 

Location

Various Venues in Bourges, France

Dates

16 – 21 April

Genre

Electronic, Pop, Alternative, Rock

16. AFROPUNK FEST Paris

Originally started in Johannesburg, Afropunk is an amazing music festival celebrating art, fashion, film, and music produced by black artists. The festival has a few satellite versions that have piggybacked off the original’s success, one of which has become one of the top festivals in France. Taking place in Paris, Afropunk Fest presents an inclusive and tolerant environment for all kinds of African expression – nearly a movement in itself.

You can find all kinds of music at Afropunki, from reggae and rap to pop and rock. Some past headliners have included SZA, D’Angelo, Faada Freddy, Wizkid, Damian Marley, Lion Babe, GoldLink, and Willow Smith. No matter what the genre you can expect everyone coming together over the talent and community of people of African descent.

Location

Parc de la Villette, Paris, France

Dates

13-14 July

Genre

Reggaeu, Pop, Punk, Rock, Hip Hop, Soul, etc

 

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17. Delta Festival

Taking place right on the coast of Marseille, Delta Festival brings much more than just music to fans each summer. Look for obstacle courses, water spots, and tons of extra stuff to do next to four sun-soaked stages on the south coast of France each summer. You can split your time between relaxing on the beach, taking part in amazing games, reveling at art acattered through the venue, and of course dancing the night away to the many different electronic acts.

Delta is another of many mixed electronic music festivals in France. Past headliners have included Angerfist, Putple Disco Machine, Stephan Bodzin, Feder, Bakermat, and Etienne de Crecy. You can jump around to some hardstyle or sway to melodic/tropical house – whatever you prefer!

Location

Plage de la Vieille Chapelle Beach, Marseille, France

Dates

6-7 July

Genre

Mixed Electronic

18. Snowattack Festival

Snowattack is one of the more unique French music festivals, taking place over a whole week at a skit resort in Les Orres, eastern France. Along with being able to shred up over 100kno of ski slopes, you can catch some massive names in the electronic scene along some main stages and some smaller events and artists along all the town’s bars and clubs. The whole area comes alive with a party vibe each January, where you can fulfill your festival itch even in the winter.

Rudimental, Sub Focus, Pendulum, Dimitiri Vegas & Like Mike, Lost Frequencies, Henry Saiz, Netsky, James Zabiela, and Borgore have headlined in the past. The festival brings in all kinds of electronic music, from deep house to EDM to drum & bass.

Location

Les Orres Ski Resort, France

Dates

26 January – 2 February

Genre

Electronic: EDM, Drum & Bass, House,

 

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19. Rock en Seine Festival

Rock en Seine has risen to be one of the biggest music festivals in France over the last 15 or so years in the country’s capital. It does cover a lot of rock music as its name suggests, but does however have TONS of other music wrapped up into the package as well. Over three days you can see tons of both massive and up-and-coming artists perform at the stunning estate/gardens at Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, with Paris not too far away at all.

Rock en Seine regularly brings in giants in both the rock scene and other genres. Past headliners have included Massive Attack, Iggy Pop, Foals, the XX, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Flume, MØ, If that wasn’t convincing enough, The Cure have already been announced for 2019. Sounds like a plan to me!

Location

Domaine National de Saint-Cloud Parkland, Paris, France

Dates

23-25 August

Genre

Rock, Pop, Indie, Electronic

20. Calvi On the Rocks Festival

Calvi On the Rocks probably has the coolest venue of all festivals in France – a mediterranean island! Who could say no to 5 days of dancing at stages directly on the sand and actually swimming in the Mediterranean to the beats of your favorite artist?! I know I couldn’t – which is why this French music festival is high on my list. There are various indoor and outdoor venues at this festival, but all are right near the water. Some festivalgoers even bring their yachts right up into the bay, which seems like an extremely ideal idea.

Primarily showcasing the house and techno branch of electronic music, Calvi on the Rocks is truly an underground party right on the sand. Past headliners have included Seth Troxler, IAM, Nina Kraviz, Mark Ronson, Kerri Chandler, Amelie Lens, Black Coffee, Tale of Us, Crazy P, and Étienne de Crécy – branching also out into the funk + soul category occasionally as well.

Location

Corsica Island, France

Dates

5 – 10 July

Genre

Electronic – House, Techno, Disco

Want more Music Festivals in France?! These are Also Very Popular and Deserve Honorable Mentions:

      • Django Reinhardt Festival – Fontainebleu / Jazz / July
      • Birraritz En Ete Festival – Biarritz / Alternative / July
      • La Route du Rock Festival – Saint Malo / Rock / August
      • Musilac Aix-Les-Bains Festival – Aix-Les-Bains / Pop+Rock / July
      • Musilac Mont Blanc Festival – Chamonix-Mont-Blanc / Rock+Alternative / April
      • Snowboxx Festival – Avoriaz / Electronic / March
      • Pitchfork Festival Paris – Paris / Multi-Genre / November

 

Here are the 20 most popular festivals in France, according to sales data. These French music festivals have a little of something for everyone, with genres ranging from rock, pop, house, techno, indie, alternative, and more - some with ectra activities and some purely music-focused!

Can’t decide which French music festivals to attend?! Pin this article for later!

December 13, 2018

Festivals in Germany: The 15 Best German Music Festivals (2019)

Festivals in Germany: The 15 Best German Music Festivals (2019)

There are so many festivals in Germany that it was even tough to list the top 20. Germany is known as a haven of music, with some of the most amazing clubs, music scenes, and djs in the world calling Germany home. This situation gives way to tons of German music festivals that are among the best in Europe and the best in the world.

While Germans definitely lean toward electronic music, there are festivals in Germany of every genre imaginable (is beer a genre?! Yep, Oktoberfest is listed of course!). No matter what kind of festival you’re looking for, this list of German music festivals should have you covered.

These rankings are made from sales data shared with me by Festicket. This means that they really are ranked as the top 20 most popular festivals in Germany, according to the people who buy tickets to them. So this was not written from my personal opinion (you know I LOVE my techno :P), but it means that there will be a lot more variety in this list with festivals bridging all different kinds.

But before planning your German music festivals, check out some other festival content (they open in new tabs!):

Festivals in Germany: The complete list of the top 20 german music festivals of every genre, location, size, and intention. Oh, and Oktoberfest counts too. Which ones have you been to?!

Planning to visit some festivals in Germany?! Pin this article to your Pinterest boards!

1. Airbeat One Festival

Airbeat One is one of (if not the) most well-known festivals in Germany. Taking over a usually quiet little town of Neustadt-Glewe, Airbeat One comes alive each July with five different stages across every possible electronic genre. And these aren’t normal stages, either. Airbeat One festival is known for its extraordinary stage design, with fantasy-like stages and atmosphere paired with mind-blowing lighting and production to create a fully immersive environment for festival-goers. There are even carnival rides and tons of crazy activities to do as well.

It doesn’t stop there, either. Airbeat One matches its top-notch production with an equally impressive lineup. Already announced for next year are Armin Van Buuren, W&W, and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. These names join past greats such as Tiesto, Adam Beyer, Paul Kalkbrenner, Angerfist & Partyraiser, Nervo, Richie Hawtin, Hardwell, Steve Aoki, DJ Snake, Above & Beyond, Black Coffee, Headhunterz, and more. So yeah, a bit of everything.

Location

Flugplatz Neustadt-Glewe, Germany

Dates

10-14 July

Genre

Electronic – EDM, Hardstyle, House, Techno

2. Nature One Festival

Nature One perhaps has one of the most unique venues of the German music festivals, converting an old NATO missile base into a venue with four main large dance floors/stages and tons of smaller dance areas as well. All together the different areas total easily up to 20 different stages, with upcoming talent and something different going on at each. The interesting industrial background adds an even more unique element to this massive festival, which takes in more than 50,000 guests each year.

Past headliners have included Sven Vath, Nina Kraviz, Charlotte de Witte, Aly & Fila, Joseph Capriati, Sebastian Ingrosso, ATB, Fedde Le Grand, and Robin Schulz. The festival doies lean towards house + techno, but has artists of all different backgrounds there as well.

Location

Pydna, former NATO missile base in Kastelluan, Germany

Dates

2-4 August

Genre

Electronic – House, techno, EDM, trance

 

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3. Time Warp DE Festival

Time Warp is possibly one of the world’s best known and longest-running techno festivals, bringing the world’s biggest names into a 19-hour warehouse rave each April. This year will be Time Warp’s 25th – yep, twenty-fifth – edition, and it shows no signs of slowing down its multi-story hangar party anytime soon.

It would be tough to even find one name on the Time Warp lineup that you didn’t know, with world-famous names taking over the decks for the full almost-day. In the past you could see Nina Kraviz, Magda, Solomun, Rodhad, Loco Dice, Seth Troxler, Ricardo Villalobos, Dixon, Tale of Us, Pan-Pot, and more, and you can guess the lineup will be similarly amazing this year too.

Location

Maimarkthalle Hangar, Mannheim

Dates

7 April

Genre

Techno, house, techno… and more techno

4. Sea You Festival 2019

Sea You is a super unique house + techno festival located on the banks of Tunisee Lake outside of Freiburg, Germany. Festival-goers can immerse themselves into water sports, floatie races, swimming, and lakeside barbecues between stints boogie-ing to some of the world’s best house and techno. The area, which is in the countryside near to the borders of France and Switzerland, had been dubbed the ‘Beach Republic” due to its serene nature.

It’s not all relaxing and floating, however. Alongside all the relaxing on the beach is a lineup to rival any house and techno festival. Next year the names Amelie Lens, Boris Brejcha, and Neelix have already been announced, while in the past there has been Solomun, Nina Kraviz, Len Faki, Paul Kalkbrenner, Maceo Plex, Vini Vici, Richie Hawtin, and more. The festival tickets are extremely cheap, too!

Location

Tunisee, Freiburg, Germany

Dates

13-14 July

Genre

House + Techno

 

 

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5. World Club Dome 2019

Perhaps one of the most unique and interesting concepts for festivals in Germany, World Club Dome transforms a sporting arena in Freankfurt each summer into what it dubs the ‘world’s biggest club.’ So what it goes for is making an ENTIRE covered sports arena into one massive single-stage club, with off-the-scale production and lighting that fills the entire thing.

There are a few more open-air stages outside and around the stadium, and camping/food/activities in the fields surrounding it as well. But the main stage with the EDM headliners is of course within the stadium.

This festival mostly brings in EDM giants, such as Tiesto, Steve Aoki, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Nervo, deadmau5, Klangkarussell, W&W, Robin Schulz, and more.

But at their ‘WCD Pool Sessions’ at a nearby outdoor pool, you could find some equally great names within the house music umbrella such as Solomun, Kollektiv Turmstrasse, Adriatique, ANNA, and H.O.S.H. In recent years they have been bringing in some more stage areas such as Q Dance (hardstyle) and another future/G-house stage with the likes of Jauz, Yellow Claw, EDX, and Malaa.

Location

Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt, Germany

Dates

7-9 June

Genre

Mostly EDM, some house + techno

6. Love Family Park Festival

Quite contrary to its name, Love Family Park festival isn’t a family festival…. it’s a techno one. I mean, your techno family is debatably just as close as your actual family, right?!

One of many techno festivals in Germany, this one takes place in a park (one thing that’s true to its name!) in Russelsheim am Main. The one-day gig is a massive celebration of all things techno, during the daytime outdoors in the German summer.

Techno giants such as Carl Cox, Luciano, Andhim, Ricardo Villalobos,  and Sven Vath (who headlines every year!), have made appearances in the past, and you can also expect a similar vibe in the future.

Location

Russelsheim am Main, Germany

Dates

28th July

Genre

Techno, house

 

7. Indian Spirit Festival

Indian Spirit is one of the proper transformational festivals in Germany that focuses on psytrance and everything spiritual. Alongside the music you can expect to find vibrantly colored stages, tons of art and installations, crafts, markets, workshops, yoga, and more, all designed to elevate the spirit. The festival goes for 5 days, so there’s plenty of time to check out all that they have on offer.

In the past, headliners such as Neelix, Vini Vici, Astrix, Infected Mushroom, Liquid Soul, Ace Ventura, have made appearances, alongside dozens and dozens of up-and-coming or underground talent as well.

Location

Eldena

Dates

29 August – 3 September

Genre

Psytrance, electronic

8. New Horizons Festival 2019

New Horizons has quickly taken German music festivals by storm after its first year in 2017 – that’s right, this will just be its third edition! Dubbed ‘seven festivals in one’ due to all of the different music and things to do, New Horizons really reels attendees into another world.

The stage production, atmosphere, and decorations are like something out of a fantasyland, and when you add in different performers and actors, art installations and fun areas, and different activities going on all over the place, you get a fully immersive experience.

If you even have time to see the headliners alongside everything else there is to do, you will not be disappointed. In the past, New Horizons has seen Steve Aoki, Tieso, Dimitri Vegas + Like Mike, Axwell V Ingrosso, Chris Liebing, Armin van Buuren, Dillon Francis, Marshmello, Angerfist, Claptone, Malaa, Ghastly, Charlotte de Witte, and Flosstradamus… creating what is surely one of the most diverse lineups of all the electronic festivals in Germany.

They have different stages for each genre – trance, trap, urban, goa techno, house, EDM and more – making it easy to decide where you’d like to get lost.

Location

The Nürburgring, Nurburg, Germany

Dates

21-25 August

Genre

Electronic- House, EDM, Techno

9. Ruhr-in-Love 2019

Going since 2003, Ruhr in Love is on of the favorite one-day electronic festivals in Germany. Happening from noon across a massive 40 – yes, FOURTY – stages, I will absolutely guarantee to you that you’ll find at least something that you like, whether that be trance, techno, EDM, hardstyle, psytrance, house… you get the idea.

You’ll witness loads of up-and-coming and local talent alongside some bigger headliners, but the focus here is on smaller-yet-still-amazing talent from the area. No matter what, you’ll surely have an adventure exploring around the many, many stages that there are.

In the past years, the headliners included Klaudia Gawlas, Party Favor, Plastik Funk, Ostblockschlampen, Moonbootica, Tujamo, and Pappenheimer. See if you can catch them all while still checking out all of the stages – it’ll be an adventure! If you want to check out the Netherlands while you’re at it, you could spend a day in Nijmegen – it’s just an hour away from this part of Germany.

Location

OLGA Park, Oberhausen, Germany

Dates

6 July

Genre

All Electronic – literally ALL.

 

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10. Echelon Open Air & Indoor Festival 2019

Echelon Open Air + Indoor Festival is yet another one-day techno banger, which as its name suggests takes place in both indoor tents and outdoor stages. It takes place on a Cold War satellite tracking station, and there are still massive tracking orbs present at the venue. It takes place across five stages that are supplemented by the interesting and historic venue.

This German music festival is knows for its techno, but also has some house, EDM, and other electronic. Past headliners have included Carl Cox, Deborah de Luca, Boris Brejcha, Don Diablo, Yellow Claw, Neelix, and Yen Faki. Oliver Heldens, and Sam Paganini.

Location

Ehemalige US Kaserne (Cold War NSA Satellite Tracking Station), Bad Aibling, Germany

Dates

17 August

Genre

House, techno, electronic

11. Ikarus Festival

Ikarus Festival takes place each summer quite literally in an airport – well, on the grounds of an international one. And yes, you can still fly into it via quite a few budget airlines like RyanAir and WizzAir! Along with six different stages, Ikarus comes with performances, a circus program, and more.

Past headliners have been Richie Hawtin, Nina Kraviz, Solomun, Tale of Us, Pan-Pot, Oliver Koletzki, and Nina Kraviz, and you can bet that any house music-lover will be in heaven at Ikarus Festival in any year to come.

Location

Memmingen Airport, Memmingerburg, Germany

Dates

7-9 June

Genre

House, Techno, Electronic

12. MAYDAY Dortmund

MAYDAY is yet another of the many fantastic electronic music festivals in Germany. You can find whatever you are looking for at this festival as long as it’s within the electronic scope – techno, trance, house, hardstyle, EDM, and more. MAYDAY has been going for 25 years now and is well known for its immersive and incredible visuals, music, and production quality.

Past headliners have seen a range of artists from Ferry Corsten, Aly & Fila, Marcus Schulz, and Adam Beyer to Angerfist, Charlotte de Witte, and Chris Liebing. The festival takes place across tons of different rooms, and has grown lots since Sven Vath helped its inception in 1991.

Location

Westfalenhallen, Dortmund

Dates

30 April

Genre

All electronic

 

13. Habitat Festival

Habitat is yet another music festival in Germany that is much more than a music festival. This festival brings in all sorts of conscious festival-goers to experience art classes, installations, sustainability workshops, film, theater, performances, yoga, and more. This all occurs alongside a pretty massive lineup of all different genres within the electronic umbrella. Sounds like a pretty ideal festival to me!

If you can find time alongside watching theater, doing yoga, and learning all kinds of new things at the workshops, the lineups are always great. In the past they’ve included the likes of Charlotte de Witte, Rodhad, Reinier Zonneveld, Monkey Safari, Alex Niggemann, and other equally deep and amazing artists.

Location

Flugplatz Hungriger Wolf (an airfield), Hohenlockstedt, Germany

Dates

25-28 July

Genre

House + Techno

14. MS Dockville Festival

MS Dockville is a multi-genre festival that takes place each August around some industrial docklands along the Elbe River near Hamburg. Dockville prides itself in its creative expression, with loads of art, markets, and more to do alongside the lineup of alternative, rock, and electronic giants.

Caribou, Bonobo, Elderbrook, Flume, Moderat, Murea Masa, Foals, alt-J, Interpol, and more have headlined in the past, so you can expect similar types of live acts fused with electronic elements in the next editions of the festival as well.

Location

Wilhelmsburg Docks, Hamburg, Germany

Dates

16-18 August

Genre

Alternative, Rock, Electronic

15. Oldenbora Festival

Oldenbora is a one-day fest that takes place within and on the beaches surrounding a lakeside beach club called Nethen, which is near Rastede, Germany. They like to say that this festival brings the vibe of Ibiza to Germany for a day, in that there are huge beach parties with great dj’s playing to them. If you get tired of dancing (or need a quick break), the lake is a popular and scenic place for water sports as well.

Past headliners have included Moguai, Oliver Koletzki, Moonbootica, Will Sparks, Riva Starr, Tom & Jame, and more.

Location

Nethen Beachclub + Surrounding Beaches, Rastede, Germany

Dates

20 May

Genre

House, Techno, Trance, EDM

 

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16. Psychedelic Circus Open Air Festival 2019

Psychedelic Circus is pretty much exactly what its name says it is. This festival is a fully immersive atmosphere where nothing makes sense and everything makes sense at the same time 😛 . It is a true fantasyland where you can be whoever you want to be, while you listen to trippy music, play fun games with fellow attendees, explore around the decked-out venue, and forget the real world.

It’s a vibrant festival in every sense, from the decorations to the lineup. This festival is not all about the performers like many are, but there are also usually quite a few names to get excited about. In the past it has seen Fabio & Moon, Berg, Neelix, Francis Inferno Orchestra, Phaxe, and Secret Portal.

Location

Near Gohlen, Germany

Dates

9-13 May

Genre

Trance, psytrance, house, acid house

17. Heroes Festival

Heroes Festival is somehow one of the only fairly large hip hop/rap festivals in Germany, taking place at a huge events center near Geiselwind (closest to Nuremberg). It has risen quickly in popularity since its recent inception in 2017 – perhaps because there was a bit of a void when it came to larger hip hop German music festivals. Heroes Festival is known for being an all-around amazing party for the rap and hip hop scene, with amazing sound and production, rap collectives, and MC’s from around Germany coming to strut their stuff.

Last year the headliners included SXTN, Nimo, Olexesh, Luciano, Sido, and MoTrip, and you can expect similar local DJ’s , MC’s and talent for this year as well.

Location

Eventzentrum, Geiselwind, Germany

Dates

15th June

Genre

Hip Hop, Rap

18. Snowbeat Festival

Snowbeat Festival is one of the few big winter music festivals in Germany, and surely one of the most unique. It’s an electronic music festival that takes place in an indoor ski slope complex, with multiple rooms full of amazing production, sound, and pyrotechnics. Oh, and you can of course hit the slopes as well!

Snowbeat bring in dj’s in many different genres, including EDM, hardstyle, and house. In the past it has seen names such as Salvatore Ganacci, Coone, Ostblockschlampen, Alan Walker and Headhunterz – lots of talentt from both Germany and international.

Location

Alpincenter Indoor Snowsports Complex, Wittenburg

Dates

2nd Feb

Genre

EDM, hardstyle, house

19. Wacken Winter Nights Festival

Wacken Winter Nights is an extremely immersive and unique rock and metal festival held in the small and charming village of Wacken. This festival even focuses on medieval and mystic rock/folk, with some attendees and performers even dressing the part. This immersive music works perfectly in a snowy small German Village, where you can almost go back in time through performance, food, and costume.

If you enjoy German rock and metal, you may recognize names who have headlined before. PEople such as Saltatio Mortis, Grave Digger, Korpiklaani, Moonsorrow, Schandmaul, and Orphaned Land have played on the past, all presenting their own unique take on both dark and passionate music.

Location

Wacken, Germany

Dates

22 – 24 February

Genre

Rock, Metal

Cultural Festivals in Germany: Oktoberfest of Course!

20. Oktoberfest

What is Oktoberfest?! Well, the biggest beer festival in the world, of course. This cultural festival could absolutely not be left out when making a list of the best festivals in Germany, because it very well may be more famous than all these German music festivals combined. And hey – it’s not completely devoid of music. To be honest, music is just as important to Oktoberfest as any of these festivals – in fact, there are bands playing live music pretty much all the time in all of the many massive beer halls that comprise the festival. It’s just that, in this situation, beer and delicious food take precedence.

Oktoberfest takes place in a massive lot in central Munich, which is bordered by 14 beer halls/tents with massive capacities. Beer is only available by the liter, and this is not beer for the weak, either! Pretzels, pork knuckles, bratwurst, and other German delicacies should keep you going through  crazy amounts of beer, and it would also be a good idea to take breaks and play carnival games or try the many amusement park rides outside.

I wrote a massive Oktoberfest Festival review-guide that will tell you 100% everything you need to know before attending one of the most famous festivals in Germany, so give that a read and check below for packages from Festicket and Stoke Travel.

Location

Munich, Germany

Dates

22 September – 6th October

Genre

Beer 😉 And live cover bands.

Book Camping/Accommodation/Coach Packages from Anywhere in Europe with Stoke Travel  (and use my promo code ADVENTURESNSUNSETS for unlimited beer and sangria at camp!)
The best music festivals in Germany, as ranked by sales data. These german music festivals are of every genre = house, techno, rock, alternative, indie, EDM, and more!

Don’t forget to PIN this article if you love German music festivals!

December 10, 2018