Spending our holidays in Croatia was not our first choice. Initially, we planned to visit Tuscany. Unfortunately, lockdowns wasted all our holiday plans. We were lucky enough to receive a 100% refund for our Airbnb bookings in Italy and it seemed that we will have to spend the whole summer in our backyard. And then, restrictions were gone, borders got open, so not waiting long we decided to spend our holidays in Croatia.
Are Holidays in Croatia During Covid-19 Pandemic a Good Idea?
We picked Croatia as it was almost untouched by COVID and its population is pretty low. Looking at the statistics, most people in our country declared to stay in Poland for the summer holidays. The same information was coming from other European countries. That indicated, fewer people in Croatia.
Looking at the situation in the air industry these days, flying was not an option. That’s mainly why we decided to go by car.
Before the travel, we had to register our stay on a special website provided by the Croatian government. You can find this site under this link. It’s a questionnaire about who is traveling, for how long, and if you had any contact with COVID.
Fewer crowds, less traffic, and empty beaches – this was our hope. And that was exactly what we found there. In the next paragraphs, I will share with you some photos from our holidays in Croatia.
These days crowded places and busy streets are the ones which should be avoided at any cost. As we believe in social distancing, that was our goal to find a quiet and small place for our stay. That’s why we decided to pick Privlaka as our “base” in Croatia.
Privlaka is a small village located in Dalmatia, close to town Nin and city Zadar. You can find here some gastronomy, markets, pharmacy, and doctor. Additionally, you can pick among many beaches in the neighborhood (see some more about this in the next paragraphs).
We booked our accommodation just two weeks before our scheduled departure for the holidays. There were still some borders closed when we were making our final confirmations (for example Czech Republic border was closed for people from the Silesia region).
Anyway, we made our final decisions and we booked great looking Villa Paola – a house with a heated pool located in Privlaka near Zadar.
Our host was Dragica – a very nice and friendly person. The house and the pool were super clean. Dragica’s hospitality was great and we spend there a really nice time in Privlaka.
From the beginning, we were looking for a house with a pool and Villa Paola has a really good one. The pool was cleaned every morning and the water was crystal clear. Kids just loved to play there.
Bepo is Dragica’s dog. This little guy was my daughter’s favorite.
I hope that some of you who will be looking for a great house with a pool in the area of Nin or Zadar will pick Villa Paola. Just contact directly with Dragica by email given below:
and don’t forget to pass greetings from Lucas.
Chillout by the Pool
That’s exactly what we were doing this summer. We spend our days in Privlaka swimming in the pool, sunbathing and eating good local food.
Across the streets, you can find many people selling fruits and fresh fish. Some of those specials you have to try on your holidays in Croatia. At least you should have on your list:
- Croatian watermelons which are really sweet,
- Burek – a local bun with meat or cheese (see picture above),
- Local white fish like Dorada or sea bass,
- Paški sir – hard cheese from Sheep’s milk,
- … and Croatian ham – Prszut.
We were lucky as in the backyard of our house we had a solid barbecue. Grilled fresh white fish (Dorada, Sea Bass) bought from local people with herbs and bread was always a great idea for lunch.
Harbor in Privlaka
There is a nice restaurant on the shore in the center of Privlaka called Bistro Sabun. You can eat there some local specials, well prepared and professionaly served, but be careful with prices – we paid there twice more than in restaurants in Zadar and Split.
Beaches in Privlaka
Beaches around Privlaka are mainly stony beaches. For me that’s even better – I don’t like to be coated with sand. There are also two sand beaches in Privlaka: Sabunike and Queens Beach.
Anyway, just take a look at these pictures – beaches are almost empty!
Queens Beach – this beach was the only one where we spotted more people.
Nin is a small historical town in Dalmatia located in a 14 km distance to Zadar and just 3 kilometers away from our place in Privlaka. Its old town is located on a 500 wide islet.
The old town is full of old monuments and small restaurants. We used to go there in the evening to eat something and get some ice creams in the old town.
One of the oldest cities in Dalmatia is Zadar. It’s a world heritage UNESCO site with a rich history and beautiful old town. As it’s just 20 km away from Privlaka, we decided to spend one evening of our holidays in Croatia, visiting this beautiful city.
As you can see in pictures, crowds were no issue this year. Streets and restaurants were rather empty.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
It’s one of the oldest and largest national parks in Croatia and also a site of UNESCO world heritage so we couldn’t miss it on our holidays in Croatia. The park consist of sixteen cascade lakes that are connected and water flows from one to another. All that can be observed from the paths along the shore.
Plitvice lakes are famous for their color of the water which varies from azure, green, gray, and blue which change depending on the angle of sun rays. This great color comes from organisms and minerals in the water.
As Plitvice Lakes were on our holidays in Croatia must-see list, we decided to go there on our last day in Privlaka. Unfortunately, the weather collapsed and it even started raining. I can imagine what kind of views are there when the sun is shining.
Anyway, we did not regret that. According to Wikipedia, Plitvice Lakes is visited each year by 1 mln people and big crowds. In our case, that was just a couple of people… That was the cumulated effect of COVID and bad weather 🙂
What I would recommend is to book your entrance in advance via Plitvice Park’s website. Keep in mind that there are two entrances. We used the so-called Entrance 2 and it was really great. It is near the biggest waterfalls and cascades.
After the return from Plitvice, we had to pack ourselves and move on. As we really liked this stay in Privlaka, we decided that it’s to soon to come back home, so we booked the same day accommodation in Split for another 4 days.
Split is just 150 km far from Privlaka. We took a highway and in about around 1,5h we arrived in Split.
Appartment in Split
Our apartment was located close to Žnjan beach. We picked this location by purpose as we preferred to be near the beach. The old town was 10 minutes’ drive away so we were prepared to drive with Uber each day.
Our host – Carmen, welcomed us personally and gave all the necessary details. The two-bedroom apartment was shiny clean, well decorated, and fully equipped.
If any of you is looking for a place for a family with two kids to stay in Split, I can recommend this location. You can book it on booking.com under this link. Below some pictures taken with my cell phone just after the arrival:
Znjan City Beach
Just after we unpacked our stuff, we took a short walk to the beach. It was 150 meters far from the apartment. As it turned out, Znjan City Beach is a nice, stony beach with good infrastructure and lifeguards
The next day morning, we went to the beach and in the afternoon, we decided to see the old town of Split. One of the famous historical buildings is Diocletian’s Palace. Currently, these are mainly ruins composed into the old town, but still worth to take a look.
Old Town in Split
Split’s old town is a great place for wandering for hours without cause. The only thing which can disturb this way of spending the time is the heat. That’s why we were lucky to have one cloudy day to walk all narrow streets.
If somebody asks us where to eat in Split, we can recommend the restaurant Maslina. You will find their good food for a fair price:
Our favorite dish during the whole stay was white fish with sea fruits:
One Day Trip With a Speedboat
At the port you can find many one day trip offers. I always wanted to swim in blue lagoon using snorkel so I bought such cruize for me and my son. Girls decided that they will do some shopping…
Our one-day trip plan was the following: first, we sail with a speedboat to Trogir to walk a little bit around the old town and eat something. Then we sail to the Blue Lagoon where we do snorkeling and finally, we sail to Maslenica’s Island. Sounds good.
It took us half an hour to arrive in Trogir. This beautiful town has its historical area located on a small island. There are 10 churches on this tiny piece of land. Additionally, you will find there palaces and towers.
A couple of hours is enough to take a walk in the old town and eat something so that’s exactly what we did. I like Trogir’s old town better than Split mainly due it’s small size.
Snorkeling in the crystal clear Blue Lagoon at the Drvenik Veli island was the main attraction of our 1-day speed boat trip. That was amazing to see all these fishes and living the bottom of the sea.
I tried to swim with the snorkel for the first time in Croatia and I love it. With almost no equipment needed (snorkel, snorkeling flippers, and diving glasses) you can see views reserved for divers. From now on, I will try always to pick the summer holiday location with some good snorkeling spots.
The last stop was a village Maslenica on the island Solta. This is really tiny, with around 300 people living there. It’s famous for making the good olive oil.
Finally, we returned to Split. As it was evening, we had some good dinner and the next day, early in the morning we jumped to the car and hit the road back to Poland.
Summary of Holidays in Croatia in 2020
While I’m writing this post, it’s almost 3 weeks since we come back. Borders are still open and people go on vacation.
What has changed, what was different this year? Well, the main difference was in the number of tourists. There were no crowds at all and as our Airbnb host told us, this year Croatia noticed 50% fewer visitors than in the previous year.
Going abroad in the summer of 2020 is more stressful than in previous years. People tend to skip this year’s holidays being afraid of borders closure, flight cancellations, or being quarantined, but still, it’s possible to have a great and safe holiday in Croatia in 2020.
Just plan your trip at the last moment, take a car instead of flight and follow the pandemic rules in visited countries. Stay safe and healthy!
Featured image and photos: Lucas