This is my third attempt to cycle in Croatia, maybe the fourth? Previous trips were scuttled due to Covid, or the reluctance of the tour operator. No matter, here we are, ready to go, despite the war in the Ukraine, and the chaos in the Balkans.
I land in Frankfurt, and immediately head to Athens for a few days, to acclimate (jet lag mostly), see my friends (my Greek brothers), and move south to nicer weather. After three nights in Athens, I fly to Belgrade, Serbia, before flying to Split to start the cycle cruise. My erstwhile, good friend, Dirty Pat, says Belgrade, and the famous Hotel Moskva are must see. We shall see!
This type of cycling trip is rather unique for me. We cycle during the day, and stay on a small cruise ship at night, for dinner and breakfast. The ship moves us up and down the Dalmatian coast a little each day, giving us new cycling routes and sights to see. So, no packing and unpacking, same room and bed each night. Same group of partiers! I think my flight from Belgrade to Split requires a change of planes in Vienna. No time for the opera.
Side note from Travel Pulse on Croatia travel: Along with Greece and Spain, Croatia saw the biggest rise in visitors in 2021, with the number of nights spent at tourist accommodations jumping by more than 70 percent compared to the pandemic-plagued year of 2020. “All of these trends make our country one of the most successful and most in-demand destinations on the Mediterranean,” Dario Trnka of the Croatian National Tourist Board told Emerging Europe last year.
The highlight for me, along with visiting a new country, is cycling with my friends Christina and Paul. Our little group within a group will number 6 or 7 people. You can just imagine what our group meals will resemble. Some are on the ship, some on land. And I am certain the stories will be better than the food and beverages!!!
The cruise starts and ends in Split. I would prefer ending in Dubrovnik. So, the cycling trip concludes in Split for another night, before I head south to Dubrovnik on the bus. Why visit Croatia without seeing its most famous city and landmarks? I plan two interesting days and nights in Dubrovnik, before heading north. I may also take a day trip to Montenegro.
But you know I am not a cruiser, right? My only real cruise was in Vietnam, on Halong Bay several years ago. I will give it a try. Wish me luck!
After Dubrovnik, I have a big surprise (again??). Somewhere I generally avoid. But the “draw” of a monumental event is greater than misgivings I have about this country.
I like the uncertainty of my travel plans. My last trip to Europe involved a last minute side trip to Mallorca, Spain. I book my flights, and normally just reserve the first and last night’s hotel. In between? Who knows.