Croatia is the destination that’s currently on everyones lips at present – everyone has either been or wants to go.

The country has changed significantly since the first time my sister and I visited in 2001 to visit our Great Aunt and we were the first family from my Grandfather to go back to visit Croatia from New Zealand since he left the former Yugoslavia as a young boy.

We are extremely lucky as we have an amazing Aunt and cousins who live in this beautiful country so we try and visit every year.

Everyone wants to visit the Dalmatian coastline which for most people includes Dubrovnik i.e. the Pearl of the Adriatic and the Island of Hvar and they then think they have seen Croatia.  For me these two places are the biggest tourist traps in the whole of the Adriatic – over priced and not the real Dalmatia / Croatia.

If you want to visit the real Dalmatia you need to stay in the little villages dotted along the coast line to soak up the real feel of the country.

Our family lives in the gorgeous village called Zivogosce which is stunning all year round and a place that you never want to leave once you have arrived.  The sunsets looking over to Igrane are magical. 

Croatia has a lot of things to offer – not just a stunning coast line.  There are the National Parks with stunning waterfalls and gorgeous cities to just to name a few different things to see.

This year my sister and I did a day trip up to Sibenik and Krka National Park which are stunning and well worth a visit.

Sibenik is a city that most tourists don’t really venture too as its north of Split (most tourists head south!) so its a little hidden gem with a beautiful cathedral and narrow little alleys just waiting to be discovered.

Thought I would include this photo as this is the top I bought in Greece (it’s actually made in Greece so I supported the Greek economy while on holiday)

When we stay in Zivogosce and we need to go into town we head into Makarska, which would have to be one of the biggest towns between Split and Dubrovnik.  There’s not a great deal to do however its just nice to sit at one of the cafes on the Riva and have a drink or ice cream and watch the tourists and locals.


It was my beautiful mummy’s birthday while we were in Croatia so Mum and I popped into Makarska to do some window shopping and have lunch and I got her to pose (it wasn’t that hard to convince her) for her birthday photo.

Before we left Croatia we decided we would do a trip to the top of the Biokovo which runs down the Croatian coastline.  It was a hair raising experience with all the tight turns driving to the top however the views are amazing and I don’t think the photos do the views justice. 

Tip – if you are are staying in the Makarska Riviera area then book yourself on a trip to the top of Biokovo as the views are gorgeous and you can see the islands of Hvar, Brac and Korcula.



Croatia is a photographers paradise as the scenery is breath taking and the sunsets are truly mind boggling.

Tip – bring your tripod!  This was my favourite photo from my trip to Croatia this year taken in Makarska.

xxx

Venice – one of Europe’s most romantic cities and it doesn’t disappoint.

This was my second visit to Venice, my first time was 2003 and then again this year in April on a weekend (eek!) 

Tip – try and avoid Venice on a weekend as there is huge influx of tourists on city breaks and it becomes all a bit chaotic

What I love about this Italian city is that it’s a huge tourist attraction however there are the locals just going on with their daily lives – with washing hanging outside the windows and flower pots full of riots of colour and fragrant herbs.

I adore how everything just feels like its built on top of each other and when you look up its a muddle of different buildings – that’s the charm of Venice.

Venice is famous for its canal’s and its just amazing to watch the traffic on the canals as there are so many things on the move at once.

Venice at dusk is just stunning – don’t run back to your hotel now as the colours just come alive at this time of day and its just amazing how a city can change so dramatically between day and night.  The alley ways and bridges give off a haunted feeling and the footsteps of others echo between the buildings.

Tip – always have a map with you in Venice or at least have google maps on your phone as it’s so easy to get lost – all bridges look the same!

 Tip – if the price of hotels in Venice scares you then look at staying in Mestre which is a ten minute train journey away however you get better quality hotels for less money and its less than €2 for a train journey into Venice.

Venice is a beautiful city – it looks beautiful in colour or black and white.

xxx

My little sister (Lisa) started her big trip in Athens and for little ol’ me that was a great excuse to head to Athens and visit.

Unfortunately I had never really spent much time in Greece apart from a rather short three day visit when I should have been at home studying a few years beforehand so this was going to be my city break and I was excited.

Lisa had been to Athens a few times before so she was a super tour leader taking me to all the sights including helping me to find the famous Poet Sandal Maker in Athens.  It’s a must for any girl with a shoe addiction – custom fitted shoes at super cheap prices and I left with two pairs.  Do not buy the imitations, go to the shop and buy them and get properly fitted, they are well worth the money and I wish I bought another few pairs.

Our first stop was to visit the Evzones whom Lisa is slightly stalking whenever she is in Athens and they do have the cutest pom pom shoes ever.  There are not too many men in the world who can get away with pleats!

Every time I go somewhere in Europe there is always scaffolding up on the famous sights and the Acropolis was no different; the silver lining is that it will be protected for future generations even though I have a crane in my photo now.

As well as wandering around all the sights that Athens has to offer we did two day trips, one to the islands close to Athens (never a good idea on a windy day and you know that you get sea sick!) and then to Poseidon where we almost got blown off the side of the cliff.  All rather funny and very Mary Poppins like – we had a lot of giggles.

Many tour companies in Athens offer a three island day tour which is a great way to get a taster of some of the Greek islands while staying in Athens or if you are short of time. 

Tip – if you get sea sick, don’t go on a windy wet day.

Our first stop was the island of Aegina, the closest island from Athens.  The island is very quiet however we purchased some of the most gorgeous red strawberries and just watched the boats bobbing around in the water and all the locals going about their daily lives.

I did find a beautiful ceramics shop which is well worth a visit.  If you are in Aegina then you need to visit Alexandra Solomou as you won’t leave empty handed, I didn’t.

The details of Aegina are stunning as you can see from the below photos

 

Our next Island stop was Poros, we unfortunately didn’t have very long here but we did have time to walk to the top and look down over the island.  I did also manage to buy a peasant style top in one of the shops (I am all in aid in supporting Greece – get shopping people!!)

 

Our final island stop was at Hydra which for me was my most favourite island on our day trip.  Its a very elegant island and there are no cars so everything is moved by donkey which is just so GREEK! 

If you love people watching, then this is the island for you – along the sea front there are numerous cafes and restaurants where you can sit and just watch for hours on end.

I love how the blue and red pop against the white washed walls and the cat just lazing about in the sun (which had finally made a pleasant appearance)

Okay I have included a cheesy photo of me from our Island hopping day adventure which I am modelling a pair of shoes from the Poet Sandal Maker and sporting lovely travel sickness wrist bands while still looking slightly green from the boat trip.

Lisa had a wish list of places she wanted to visit so I just tagged along.  We did a little tour out to Poseidon on a rather wet and very windy afternoon (Lisa was almost sacrificed over the edge of the cliff more than once!).  I think the clouds just make the ruins look more dramatic.

If you love Greek mythology this should be on your wish list when in Athens.


When in Athens you need to eat!  I love Greek Salads!  Why don’t they ever taste as good when you try and make them at home.  Just seeing this photo is making me wanting to book a flight back to Athens.

 

 

xxx

Since I have only recently joined the blogging community I thought I would share some of my travel experiences from 2012. 

A quote to live by – “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

I will share more photos from each destination in the coming days with some tips and recommendations.

Athens

Venice

Croatia

Bosnia

Israel

Turkey

Cambridge

Germany

Poland

Belarus

xx