National park Kornati – 2500 sunshine hours a year!

People that are living near the sea or those who are just going somewhere on the coast to spend a vacation probably would love to have a small boat to discover all the hidden coves, islands or beaches. Across the Adriatic you can find lots of places that are just waiting to be discovered. We are lucky because we have a small boat so we decided to look for the secrets of Croatian national park Kornati. We went on our trip from Zadar harbor, we passed under the bridge that is connecting island of Ugljan and Pašman and only two hours of sailing in rough seas was separating us from the real adventure. This group of islands is located in central Adriatic and it is the meeting place of the islands of Zadar and Šibenik archipelago. National park Kornati has 89 islands, islets and rocks. Every part of this natural beauty has something special and because of that it is also called the heaven for boaters.

Of course that swimming in this crystal clear sea is must but if you visit Kornati and you don’t dive into that magical world it would be a big mistake. Diving in this part of the Adriatic provide an unforgettable scene. To experience at least a part of this unique feeling, all you need is a snorkel and the mask because the view from the surface is impressive as you’ve delved into greater depth. Once we arrived and tied up for one of the Kornati islands we wanted to climb to its top so that we can check is there any truth in the claim that the view from the belvedere is breathtaking. It is not really hard to climb up but as it was thirty degrees, hat and cream with a high SPF is required because there is very little shade on Kornati – you could even say that it is totally absent. It is difficult to single out one among the many vantage points on these islands. I can’t say that one is more exciting than others. Metlina is the highest peak but there are also Opat, Ravni Žakan and Litnji vrh from where you will have a truly unique view.

After a day of swimming and sunbathing somewhere on the islands of Kornati you will probably get hungry. Here you can find around twenty restaurants and taverns where the hosts will be very happy to prepare a local dish for you. If you like to go fishing maybe you can catch something and just ask them to prepare your catch for you 🙂 Fish specialties are something that every guest want to try but if you will have a chance try the lamb. It will satisfy the appetites of the most demanding guests.

Maybe some of you have already visited this part of the Adriatic with a boat and you will agree with me that the best place to spend a night is cove Mir in Natural Park Telašćica. This cove is situated south west of Dugi otok and it is really near the national park Kornati. It is known as one of the largest and best protected natural harbor on the Adriatic coast and that’s why we decided to stay there a bit longer.If you don’t have your own boat you can get here from Zadar and Šibenik. During the summer there are lots of day trips. For travelers who prefer active vacation this is a perfect destination because you can explore the island by bikes and it is also a perfect area for trekking.

Salt lake Mir is one more thing that is making this place even more special. It is 900 m long, 6 m deep and the water is salty because its underground channels are connected with the sea. During the summer temarature of this lake can reach 30 degrees.

On the outer side of the bay Telašćica you will see cliffs over 160 meters high so your trip must include the arrival on these rocks. This is an area rich with interesting flora and fauna, and tourists are very exciting when they see dolphins that are often guests here.

More than 2500 hours of sunshine a year, great sea temperatures and indescribable nature are the best invitations to all who have not yet visited this, as many call it, true paradise on earth.

Perfect white Saturday in Zagreb

This Saturday was a perfect day to walk around the streets of Zagreb. Temperature was somewhere around zero, sun was shining and we just had to take our camera and “catch” a few photos. We walked from the lower to the upper town and here you can see which snow scenes did we brought home with us. Enjoy!

Woods around the lake Bundek.

Here we are on the river Sava. This is the view from one of the bridges.

View from the cliffs of Howth

Howth

Howth

During our trip to Dublin, I already wrote about, visiting Howth wasn’t really part of our plans. How did we get there in the end? Good question! We spent one week in Dublin, packed up our backpacks and rushed to the airport. But we didn’t make it. Our plane left Ireland without us and we had to stay a few more days. In that moment we were really angry but in the end it made us happy. We agreed: “Now we can go on a trip to Howth that was suggested to us by the man we met on the road.” And so we did.

When you think about Ireland first thing that comes to your mind is probably beer, music and grass that can’t be greener, but what about cliffs? Here was our chance to wander around those huge rocks that are one of the Irish most famous trademarks. The closest place to do that is Howth, small village near the capital. We took the train and in less than half an hour we were on this beautiful peninsula. As we left the train, there it was, wonderful view over the harbor where fishing boats are waiting for someone to release the ropes. This harbor is even more special because every step that you take will be followed by the monk seals that are swimming along the waterfront waiting for you to throw a fish. At first sight you will realize that fishermen are their best buddies.

Baily lighthouse

There are four different ways to get to the cliffs. Of course, we choose the hardest and the longest one. We thought to ourselves: “We are now here and we need to see every corner of this magnificent place.” On our way we passed by the castles, over big golf courses, near the lighthouse Baily from where the view is amazing!

To make our adventure even more interesting we got a bit off the marked trails. We wandered among big mansions, making sure that we don’t get run over by fast fancy old timers. In the moment it looked like we are in the old movie and we loved it.  Beautiful surrounding gardens gave us a chance to rest a little bit while the gentle breeze was constantly blowing.

On the way back to the port we left the perfect scenery behind us and the only thought in our heads in that moment was: Missing our flight wasn’t that bad experience at all!

Your story: What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Ireland?

From south to north of Portugal (part II)

Here it is, the second part of my story about trip to Portugal. As I already wrote, and you can read it here, I went there with two of my friends, we spent two weeks there traveling from south to north of the country. After Lisbon, Peniche, Nazare and Coimbra we continued to Aveiro, Porto, Braga and Barcelos. Portugal is country where awesome people live, where climate is perfect and the food is even better so if you ever get the chance to go there don’t miss it.

Aveiro

Aveiro is very nice small town in the Centro region of Portugal that will offer you beautiful historical sights and long sandy beaches for those who are ready for lazy vacation. This is also one of the towns that has beautiful canals that are passing through so take a ride with gondola and discover Aveiro from the other perspective. After that and nice walk through the narrow streets find a place on the terrace in one of the restaurants near the water, try some Portuguese food from the menu and experience everything that Aveiro has to offer. One more tip, if you want to enjoy in the great view over the ocean go to Costa Nova do Prado where you can get most easily by short bus ride.

Porto

Porto is second largest city in Portugal. It is situated in the Norte region on the river Douro. We were very excited before getting to Porto because it was one of the cities that we always wanted to visit. We were staying in a hostel a bit far away from the center but it was very easy to get to the main sights. There is a metro line but we walked almost all the time regardless to all the steep streets. As you already know this town is famous for its wine and when you get there you must go to wine cellars to see how they produce Porto, it is very interesting and you will also have the chance to taste it. If you like sweet wines you will love it for sure.

As we really love to eat a lot while we are on the road, among lots of great dishes you have to try franceschina, their famous dish. It doesn’t look very nice but if you are very hungry this is the best choice for you. It is made of bread, ham, sausages, steak or roast meat and it is covered with melted cheese and the topping is made of beer. It is served with the French fries. What do you think? If it doesn’t sound good for you they also eat lots of fish so in one of the restaurants near the river you can taste some specialties. FranceschinaSo, in Porto you will find all that you need as a traveler: beautiful sights, tasteful food and very friendly people, just relax and enjoy.

Braga and Barcelos

Braga is on the north of the country and it was the last stop of our adventure in Portugal. Football lovers will probably associate this city with S.C. Braga, the most famous sport club in town. It is very nice city but there is nothing much to do there, especially at night. So come here during the day trip because if you want to party it is not the best choice. Just a bit outside of Braga is a sight that you can’t miss, Portuguese sanctuary Bom Jesus do Monte. To get to the basilica you can take a ride with old funicular that was built in 1882 and it is the oldest in the Iberian Peninsula. Interesting thing is that it is moving by water counterbalancing. The church is surrounded with beautiful garden and the view of Braga from the top is awesome. To get down take the stairs, around 600 stairs. On your way you will pass by many fountains but five are special and each is dedicated to one of the five senses. All together look very nice and it is definitely worth of visit.

From Braga we went on a day trip to Barcelos to see all the handmade roosters that they have on the streets. According to the legend cockerel saved a life of pilgrim that was sentenced for a crime made in Barcelos. The pilgrim said that if he is innocent cockerel will crow three times, and he did it. After that cockerel became a symbol of good luck and it is also an unofficial national icon.

Of course, we got one as a souvenir 🙂

Your story: What is your impression of Portugal? If you still haven’t been there is it on your travel list, which cities would you like to visit?