At the beginning of this summer, my boyfriend and I went to Croatia for a week of cycling. He is a big adventure cycler and has cycled across the US all by himself. He has also cycled the Pacific coast from Vancouver to San Diego + a bunch of trips in Europe as well, so naturally I was bound to end up on one of these trips at some point. We decided on Croatia because of practical reasons, but mostly because it was a country we both really wanted to visit. I had heard some amazing things about the Plitvice national park, and had really wanted to go for a while (spoiler alert: we didn't actually make it to Plitvice, but ended up somewhere probably equally as amazing).
After a not so amazing start to the trip due to Ryanair giving us a really hard time about getting the bikes on the plane (even though we had paid for them and contacted them in advance to make sure everything was okay), we arrived at the airport in Zadar on the late morning of June 12th. We (mostly Roy) assembled the bikes, mounted our panniers and rode into the city centre. We had actually been on a day trip to London the day before, so due to less than three hours of sleep + the Ryanair drama we decided to stay the night in Zadar. We spent some time exploring the city, and then we spent the night at a lovely apartment/B&B a little outside the main centre. We got a two (three?) room apartment with two double beds, a sitting area, a nice bathroom and even a baby bed.. We also had a little balcony area, and it was pretty much perfect (+ the price was great too)! It was called Villa Valentina if you're ever in the area :)
The next day we took off south along the coast. The day started with a massive down pour, but luckily it didn't last too long. After some hours on the bike and lunch at a bus shed along the way, we ended the day at Jezera Village, the most beautiful campground. It is definitely a place that I would love to come back to one day! We put up our tent, had a shower, changed, and after a little mixup with our pizza order we ate dinner, watched some football (the European championship) and went to bed.
After breakfast we continued a bit further south towards Sibenik before we headed inland with Krka national park as the next destination. Krka is one of Croatia's beautiful waterfall national parks, and it was such an amazing experience! We even got to swim in the waterfalls, which was a bit cold, but so lovely in the hot summer sun.
After a refreshing break we continued through the Croatian inland with beautiful views along the way. We saw so many fields of wildflowers, olive threes, fruit trees, cute little houses +++ And the roads were fairly quiet as well which I was very happy about.
After a lot of uphills we reached Robeko campground, our destination for the day. It was a nice little campground, and we had a lovely evening chatting to a Spanish guy and a Swiss woman, both traveling through Europe, one by bike and one by car.
We had really wanted to get to some of the islands a bit north of Zadar, so the next morning we continued north. It ended up being the most tiring day by far. It was absolutely beautiful, but the scorching sun and headwind + some pretty intense hills (at least for me) definitely gave their mark. When we finally got to Ražanac I was about ready to just lay down right there on the street, so we decided to skip the tent and find a bed for the night. There didn't seem to be many places to stay, but after about 25 minutes Roy returned from a tiny grocery store/kiosk with good news. The lady in the store knew another lady who had some spare room in her house and her son was coming to meet us. We were a bit sceptic as we were led through narrow alleys and sandy paths, but then the most beautiful view appeared. We were right on the beach, with the gorgeous turquoise sea and majestic mountains towering right on the other side of the water. It just goes to show that things really do work out if you just have some faith and a little bit of luck. The place itself was not the most luxurious, but it filled our needs perfectly and we had absolutely nothing to complain about.
After three pretty long and tiring days we decided to take it a bit easy when leaving Ražanac, and that day everything seemed to go in our favor. We had a very welcome tailwind, mostly downhill and we arrived in the beautiful little town of Nin just in time for lunch. It was such a nice place with cobblestone streets, old ruins and a really great beach. The campground was a bit stuffy, and we had staring middle-aged couples on all sides of our tent, but we really enjoyed our time nonetheless, exploring the area, chilling at the beach and eating more good food.
The next day we returned to Zadar, where we found our beloved room that we stayed in the first night. We spent the day getting bike boxes for our return flight and ended it at the beach. The next day we just relaxed in Zadar with lunch at the amazing Garden Lounge (definitely go if you have the chance, even just for drinks) and football and dinner in our room that evening. The guys who ran the B&B gave us a lift to the airport the next morning which was amazing as we had two huge cardboard boxes and a big bag to lug around.
Overall it was such an amazing experience. I had never been on a bike holiday before and wasn't sure what to expect, but it is definitely one of my favorite memories from this summer! It was tiring and challenging for sure, but looking back it was also so rewarding and I can't wait to go on another trip (hopefully) soon!
Here's my little summary that I posted on instagram right after the trip: