A Slow Getaway in Croatia
I’ve just got back from five days in Croatia, spent taking things down a couple of paces and just relaxing in the sun. Well, relaxing and swimming, cycling and kayaking. But there was plenty of time spent basking like lizards in the golden sunshine, soaking in the last of summer.
We began and ended our trip in Dubrovnik, seeking out the calm in a city bombarded with tourism. I always find it hardest to slow down my travels in a city, when you’re surrounded with other people that are doing the exact opposite, but Dubrovnik’s rocky bays around the old city walls provided the perfect spots to escape the crowds, relax on the rocks and leap into the sea.
Dubrovnik was great, and I enjoyed walking the city walls and trying to spot Game of Thrones filming locations, but we were in search of a slower and more peaceful getaway. The majority of our trip was spent on one of Croatia’s many islands, Mljet. We opted for this little known island over one of the more popular isles for just that reason. We were seeking calm and quiet, away from the crowds.Although we stayed in the largest settlement on the island, there were only a scattering of houses and one hotel. Everything was just a couple of minutes (or seconds!) walk away, including a row of restaurants situated right by the water.
The highlight of the island, just a five minute walk from our door was the National Park. Two lakes, one small and one large, nestled among acres of pine forest, trails leading around them for cycling and hiking. The only other tourists arrived on small cruise ships, congregating around the smaller lake. When we took off on our bikes with swimwear and a picnic around the larger lake, there was barely another soul around. We stopped every time we stumbled upon a quiet little cove for a swim or to admire the view, without adhering to a time frame. No rush, no agenda. Just cycling, resting and swimming.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know this is the kind of holiday that I enjoy. But it’s been a journey to get here. I still enjoy exploring new places and love nothing better than a road trip – but I’ve learnt that rushing around is no way to travel. When we slow down and enjoy each little moment, we return home feeling well rested and inspired. I’ve honestly never slept as well as I did on this trip, falling asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow and sleeping restfully all through the night. I ended each day feeling calm, inspired and satisfied.
We didn’t get to explore the rest of the island and kept our five day trip to just Mljet and Dubrovnik (where we flew in and out of), but I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. Yes, I’d love to see more of Croatia, but there will be other opportunities for that. If we’d hopped from one island to the next in a short space of time, I would have returned home feeling exhausted and unsatisfied that I hadn’t got to know my destination. As it is, the small town of Pomena briefly felt like home. We got to know our way around, befriended a local dog and got stuck into the local way of life.
If I did anything in excess this trip, it was taking photographs. The light was magical during golden hour, so we’d head to the lake and the coast to take photos of each other and the scenery. On the last night, we were treated to the most incredible sunset, with the light turning every hue of pink, reflecting on the water. I literally took 1,000 photographs on this trip, all capturing memories that I’ll look back fondly upon. I don’t see taking photos as a chore though; it’s one of my favourite things to do, especially when exploring a new place that I want to remember in detail.
I’ll leave you for now with some of my favourite images from this trip. There are so many that I want to share that I’ll have to pull another blog post together! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about Mljet.