The Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia may be the most inviting, beautiful water we have ever seen. The warm, crystal clear water in gorgeous shades of blue and green with a lot of salt is wonderful for swimming. There is very little algae, weed, or other flora (likely because of the high salt level) growing along the coast and even in the harbors so the water is clear down to tens of meters. It is absolutely stunning.
As the days were getting hotter during our stay in Croatia, we wanted to make sure we spent more time on and in the water as well as continue training for our upcoming cycle trip to the Tour de France. So on Saturday, June 25th, we took a 1 hour ferry from Split to Trogir to catch a boat on which we would be island hopping, sleeping and biking some of Croatia’s National Parks along with roughly twenty other people and eight crew for 8 days.
The company we used is Island Hopping, a German company, that runs boat and bike trips not only in Croatia but many other locations-including Greece and Vietnam. Our home for the next 8 days was a brand new boat named Melody, built on the Croatian island of Brač and owned by the captain of our ship. The boat was equipped with large, spacious rooms and bathrooms (larger than many European hotel rooms) as well as A/C. We learned our lesson in Thailand. A/C is a requirement if you want to sleep at all on a boat in hot weather.
Kornati National Park is an archipelago of roughly 140 islands that are rugged, rural and uninhabited. It is stunning to see from a boat and said to be even more stunning underwater which is its main attraction. We mostly stayed above on our visit but the barren islands and landscape were beautiful.
Krka National Park houses the hydroelectric power plant which was the first such hydro power plant in Europe and second in the world. It was set in operation on August 28, 1895, two days after the power plant on the Niagara Falls went live. Both hydroelectric plants, Adams Power Plant on the Niagara Falls and Krka power plant, were based on the work of Nikola Tesla using Tesla’s AC system patent. The park is famous for its beautiful waterfalls and it does not disappoint. Visitors can follow a 1-2 km path, most on elevated boardwalks, that circles and traverses the various waterfalls.
We casually biked about 30 miles a day with a couple days of reasonable climbs. The rides were social with plenty of time for coffees, swims and chats with our fellow riders. Our group was a gregarious one with folks from from the UK, Germany, Switzerland and the US. The US contingent made up the majority of the group including a large group from Washington, DC.
Every night, we docked at charming harbor villages- Rogoznica, Slanica, Molat, Zadar, Skardin, Zlarin and Trogir. Our days consisted of biking from roughly 9 am- 2 pm, followed by lunch, maybe some swimming, biking or checking out a harbor village in the afternoon. Dinner was usually about 8 pm on the boat. Lather, rinse and repeat for 7 days. It was a very relaxed week and nice way to see some of the National Parks, do a little cycling, meet some fun, new folks and enjoy the waters of the Croatian Adriatic.
If you have not been to Croatia, you need to visit before this charming country with an absolutely stunning coastline gets too commercialized. Dubrovnik and Split are already quite busy but boating and biking is one of the best ways to get out on the water and land as well as check out the smaller, less crowded and stunning harbor villages.