Sometimes when life knocks you on your ass and slams the door in your face… your loved ones open a window. When my mom and aunt had originally planned their bike tour of Croatia, I had felt too restricted at work to go along. However, when I found myself unemployed just a month before the trip, suddenly their adventure was within reach. When was the last time I had ridden a bike? I don’t even know. Doesn’t matter. Let’s do this.
(One of the coolest parts of my trip to Croatia was how I saved $700 by flying through Istanbul, Turkey. That’s a fun read too…)
As a Game of Thrones fan, Croatia had been hovering near the top of my travel list for a few years. From the first day in Trogir, it truly lived up to it’s reputation. Croatia is a land of clear, turquoise seas and soft, white stone villages. The boardwalk of Trogir is lined with fancy restaurants shaded by huge umbrellas, and circles the coastline from the gorgeous church square to an ancient castle. It’s picturesque and quaint, with little hidden gardens among arches and alleyways that wind through the streets.
My mom and aunt had booked a bike tour for the week, not quite what I would have considered for myself, but I’m flexible. We boarded a small boat with 20 or so other people (German, Canadian, and American) and watched the little port town of Trogir disappear. We would be spending the night in little cabins on the boat as we zipped across the sea and biked over islands. Throughout the trip, our gracious Croatian tour guides educated us on the customs, food, and history of their land. As much as I tend to avoid tours, I found myself resigned to admit the experience was enhanced by their knowledge.
Although I don’t even OWN a bicycle, I tend to be fairly athletic… running and hiking semi-consistently. Still, the “moderate” undulating hills we encountered across Croatia kicked my butt a little bit! I expected the gorgeous city-scapes and sparkling sea, I did not expect to summit mountains. However, summit we did. My days in Croatia were spent rolling up to gorgeous mountain vistas, past quaint vineyards, and through seaside villages. While a couple of our destinations, such as Trogir or Korcula, were clearly touristy, other towns we stayed as were sleepy and quiet. Truly making me feel like I was getting a look into the lives of the people who lived there.
When we weren’t biking or sailing, we were invited to participate in other adventurous activities, including kayaking up to a little island or a half day of rafting. Each night, we came back to the boat happy and exhausted, as we ate dinner and drank wine with the wonderful group members of our tour. Not unlike hostel life, life on the boat offered the opportunity to become friends with the world travels who had joined us for the adventure. By the end of the trip, I was fulfilled and rejuvenated… ready to go home and tackle some of the frustrating life events I had found myself up against. I am endlessly grateful to my mom for helping make this trip possible, as it was exactly what I needed that June.
Why go to Croatia: There is truly an adventure for EVERYONE in Croatia. If you’re an avid outdoor explorer, there are national parks for hiking, biking, and boating. The bike and sail tour we went on was perfect for athletic individuals looking to be pampered a bit in the evenings. If being active isn’t your thing, the islands offer plenty of fascinating tours, as well as beach-side restaurants for drinking and general camaraderie.