I don’t like to run through a country at the speed of a bullet train. I like to linger and let my senses take the time to assimilate what I am seeing. This means: beach time. What a perfect way to relax! Every third day was designated beach day during my month in Croatia. Time to vegetate and meditate. And, as you may have read in my post www.travellingbooky.com/beach-gossip , I like the beach life.
I am not a “throw myself on a beach towel” type of traveller so I like to find beaches with services. This means more than toilets. It means beach chairs and umbrellas for rent. This takes a little planning and I’ve found that the best way is to ask around. Ask the locals. They know. And, this kind of place usually involves buses, ferries or small motorboats, so give yourself time. Once I have this precious name of where to go, I bring enough money for rentals and maybe drinks. Then, it’s off to the beach. This is always a surprise. Getting there is half the fun an old advert used to say and this is certainly true of the beach search in Croatia. You never know how long or complicated the process will be. This is part of the adventure.
In Rovinj the best full service beach is on Red Island, a twenty-minute ferry ride from the main dock in town. Ferries are on the hour from the island and on the half hour from the mainland and accommodate big crowds so you don’t have to worry about space. Once on the island, though, the chairs are limited, so I would run like heck to the rental person and nab whatever free chairs were within sight. If you’re lucky, he’ll haul the chairs to your favourite spot and you’re good to go, or not go in this case. There are other great sunbathing spots on the island, clothing optional included, but they don’t have rental chairs. They call this beach sandy but it is in reality fine pebbles. There are many rocks in the water but there are spots you can enter with a clear little path. The water is fabulous.
On the ride to and from the island, there is one stop at the other end of Rovinj. On one trip, I was so engrossed at looking out at the scenery that I lost track of where I was and got off with the folks moving off at this stop. Once on the dock, I looked around for my travel friend but did not see her. I also noticed that most people were still on the ferry. And then, I saw the gangplank going up and realized that I was at the wrong stop. I yelled at the man lifting the gangplank to stop but he shook his head and pointed to several men in uniform at the nearby café. As the boat sailed off, I spotted my friend, on top deck taking pictures, just as she spotted me. Imagine her surprise! I waved goodbye and made walking motions with my fingers indicating that I would join up with her at the central pier. I then went up to the men in uniform and told them of my predicament. Of course, they asked me how I could get off at the wrong stop, while they had a good laugh.
I said that ” I got distracted because I was looking at your beautiful country.”
They took me back to my stop by water taxi. No charge.
Once I am on a beach, I slather on sunscreen, set up my towel and bag on or under my chair and maneuver the umbrella into the right position. I have packed a lunch and a book and am ready for a quiet day away from maps and routes and guidebooks. The closest I come to drawing routes is to let my fingers and toes run lines through the sand. This, by the way, is hard to do in Croatia. Not the relaxing part, but the sand part. That’s because most beaches in Croatia are rocky. When I mentioned my disappointment with the rocks to my host in Dubrovnik, she said that she thought sand was messy.
Stunning observation for me!
“I love sand, I miss it like I miss toast”, I said.
“Sand is messy”, she insisted.
I continue to extoll the pleasures of sand but she is not convinced. I still prefer sand. Rocks are hard and make your chair uneven. It’s hard to walk on. One needs beach shoes to help prevent cuts. It’s a precarious balancing act. Although I do agree that the water is crystal clear in Croatia, maybe because of the rocks. It is magnificent turquoise water and at the right temperature. It is wonderful.
The island of Hvar is a nice quiet spot or party spot, depending on where you make your home. We had a nice appartment overlooking the water, high in the hills where it is quiet. It was a nice walk downhill to the beach areas. Again, it is not the North American idea of a beach. People here lounge on rocks and outcroppings and precipices. I called them beach lizards. For them, any spot is great for sunning and diving into the sea.
My favourite spot was on level ground, although it was rocky, of course.
Korcula is a pleasant stop, with a charming old town and a magnificent…SANDY…beach. All it took to get to this beach was a bus ride of about 15 minutes and a 15 minute walk through grapevine country. The sandy expanse was long and large and extended into the water. It was heaven and I was so disappointed to have found this on our last day on the island.
Our last stop on the trip to Croatia was Dubrovnik. There are a few gravelly beaches around the city but we headed out by city bus to the hotel district where, they told us, were the best beaches. Best is a matter of opinion. This beach has rocks, not pebbles and it was hard to keep the chair stable. I couldn’t understand the pleasure of slipping around on those rocks into the water where more rocks awaited. The restaurants and boutiques were nice, the food was good and the sun warm and constant. The rocks were awful.Take a look:
The beach experience in Croatia was surprising, different and fun. This is part of travel: the differences.