Through the Balkans

Croatia Slovenia Travel

Hello readers! We were excited about entering a new country, Slovenia, which we crossed in one day to directly reach Croatia. The two of us are glad to share impressions and good memories, we divided the blog article in paragraphs, each one is a geographic area we have visited! We advice you that for some problems with the website, the pictures have a lower quality than the real one, if you want to discover our quality photo prints you can have a look here.

 Podgorje, Slovenia 

Arrived at the border of Slovenia we noticed there was just a sign and a control station was missing. That's because the way we chose is very mountainous and few, mostly local people cross there. The first impression was that the country is really green, the natural areas are wild. It's interesting to see that people like to grow plants and have a variety of fruits in their gardens. 

We cycled some kilometer up in the mountains and reached the highway A1 which is also a bridge. There Jannik took a break to fix his pads. 

Once on our way, we took a road crossing over little villages, the area of Podgorje. It was a big up where we had to walk, but in this case it was better than cycling on the car way. 10 km of pushing up the bikes and we reached an incredible panoramic point, where we could admire Trieste city on the right side and the Istrian Peninsula on the left one. We took a good break to enjoy the view and the fresh air.

Unfortunately the thirst didn't came late, as we sweated a lot and we finished our water. The two of us  consequently cycled on top of the mountains to reach another little village. Slovenian villages have a very rustic style. The houses are often made by stones painted in white and the people use a lot of wood to build different stuff. It's also interesting to see some artistical and detailed buildings like christian churches and handmade artworks. 

Lunch time came. This is our favourite break as we feel it's really energetic. We like to take some sunshine, lay in nature and cook fresh food. 

The way to the border was pretty cool. It's a long road where cars never pass, practically a big natural cycling way. 

Rain was inevitably about to come and we wanted to find a camping spot for the night. Sometimes we like to cycle in the rain and feel water on our bodies but this wasn't the case as we were a bit tired.

On the way the two of us met a nice family who gave some water. At the beginning we found them skeptical and shy and after some time very nice and gentle people. We could exchange some language words with them: 'Voda' means water, 'hvala' means thank you and 'zdravo' means hello.

We are now writing from North Macedonia and here they say 'zdravo' and have other words in common with the northern Balkans. Yugoslavian traces are pretty much visible.

Once we got to the border it was raining a bit and the situation became unusual to us. 

There's a great difference between the border from Italy to Slovenia and the border from Slovenia to Croatia. There was a control station with a big metal bar installed and a bright police man and a blonde short police woman were standing in front of the station. The woman came more near and asked us in a cocky way: 'What are you doing here?', we answered that we were traveling with the bicycle. This answer was not enough because she also asked us in a suspicious way where we wanted to go. We easily said  to Istanbul and we gave the passports. In the moment the woman realized we are from Germany and Italy she chuckled loudly. We understood there might be a joke about our countries, so we smiled back.

 Vodice, Croatia

After some km in the drizzling we felt amazed by nature. Croatia in full summer is impressively rich. 

We realized we were rolling down and we felt the air was getting more wet and cold. The sunset would have started soon, so we decided to stop to search a camping spot and enjoy the warm light in a village called Vodice. 

After the sunset we ate in the tent and admired the starry night showing up in the sky. A perfect end of the day.

The next morning has been very nice. The horses were eating the grass of the field next to ours and we were taking some sunshine. We decided to pack our stuff and directly go to the centre of Vodice. In the village we got some salty bread sticks and fresh peaches from the locals.

The way to Rijeka was a bit hard because of many ups and downs. Both of us weren't feeling so well. We also didn't have so much food for lunch and the first supermarket was in a place called Matulji, 20 km from our place. We needed to focus on our mental strength to continue. At least the way was very nice so we could enjoy the nature around and cycle some kilometer with more ease.

The more we cycled down, the more loud all became. Mutalji it's noisy compared to the mountains. That's because there's a long car tail directed to Rijeka. It was confusing at the first place but there was a beautiful view on the sea.

 Rijeka, Croatia

The last kilometer of the day were to Rijeka. We did our part and could enjoy the vivid atmosphere of the city. 

Rijeka has almost 130.000 inhabitants and it's famous for being one of the main cities of Croatia, exactly the 3rd largest one. The site of its port is very strategic. That's why Rijeka has been under the control of the French, Hungarians and Austrians. At one point the city was an independent state, till it became part of the reign of Italy, then of the Yugoslavia union and finally of the state of Croatia.

We think the cultural exchange of the city is really visible. We noticed many buildings with the characteristic liberty Austrian architecture and the Yugoslavian early 90s architecture. There are people from every part of the world visiting and living in Rijeka, especially the youth.

Once we rolled down to the coast we started to hesitate  about a possible sleeping place. After half an hour of discussion and searching we decided to sleep near the beach. Unluckily we had a bad sleeping night as many cars passed by, so at 6.00 o'clock we decided to put our hammocks on some trees directly on the beach and sleep some hours.

The morning was just one of the most amazing. Croatian people like to wake up early and reach the sea and once they are there they don't need anything else. The two of us enjoyed the energy of the place and to bath in the crystal water.

At one point we decided to go to Decathlon so that Jannik could give back his broken sleeping bag, which was also to big for his bag. So we had some breakfast and reached once again Rijeka. Once at the store the mission has been successful! Jannik explained the situation to the staff and he could buy a new sleeping bag with the money of the old one.

The two of us explored more of Rijeka with its little old roads and went to the port. There we asked some information about Krk island. Walking in the city we had this idea of taking the way through the islands instead of cycling all the coast, as they are really famous for having incredible landscapes. After some hours of thinking we decided that the next day we would have cycled 25 km to Krk as the catamaran wasn't allowed for cyclists.

 Bakar, Croatia 

On the way to Krk we had to cycle a bit up, but then we enjoyed a big down wich led us to Bakar, a little village that looks as a postcard. 

The area is just amazing as the sea goes inside the land and it's very clean. We enjoyed also a very little village called Bakarac, where many people were bathing or drinking something fresh. And after we went a bit inside the land.

The two of us cycled the last mountain up and headed to the bridge wich would have brought us to Krk. Unluckily Isabel had a flat one, so we needed to stop and repair the tube. A guy who worked for motor runs in Krk helped us and once on our way we became very excited about the view, wich became incredible once at the bridge.

 Njivice - Krk Island, Croatia 

Krk is the most populated island of Croatia. With 19.400 inahbitants it's the most extended, the most visited and big Island of the Adriatic sea!

From the first impression we thought that the island might have been mostly a desert as it was looking like, but it has big green mountains on the southern side and the nature has more than 1400 plant species.
Once we arrived we had a quick break to a big  shopping centre to eat a bit and we headed to Njivice. The city is famous but enjoyable, full of restaurants on the beach, little white houses and it's peaceful.

We explored the area to find a camping spot and we found a very nice way where few people walk in the evening. There we had a great sunset on the beach wich was for us one of the bests on the travel. 

The atmosphere was so special that we were not the only people thinking about making a fire. We saw many smoke tails in the air. 

We tried to make a fire near the stone but we moved it after it exploded on our side because it became to hot and no oxygen could pass. Now we know that the fire need always to break free in the air, otherwise it becomes angry! To end the day we had dinner on the beach and listened to the sound of the sea. 

 Lopar - Rab Island, Croatia 

We woke up with the sea in front of us, the forest behind and many fruits in the back. A great waking up as the sea is our natural environment and we love fruits in the morning. 

We were very determined to cycle a bit and reach the next island, Rab. Cycling all over Krk we found out that we wanted to move on. This impression came up because there are few interesting areas, almost no cycling ways and the car roads are very tight.

Two times we entered a cycling way, the first one  was near Malinska, where we could see different varieties of flowers and another one short before the ferry port of Valbiska. That area is very nice also for hikers, there are knowledge signs about animals and plants. We found out the wood is ancient and rich of birds and insects.

One thing we liked a lot about Krk Island is that you might have some big ups but there are always big downs, especially on the way to the ferry.

Once to Valbiska, Isabel took a coffee in a bar, then w got our tickets and waited for the ferry to Lopar.

The atmosphere on the ferry became very interesting. A lot of spooky clouds, sunset in front of us and a dark blue sea.

On the way it started to rain very much and once at Lopar we cycled very quick to the first restaurant where we could ask to sleep.
We found some nice people who hosted us under the roof of their restaurant. There we could pitch the tent, let the clothes dry and rest good. Being dry in the morning felt very good. Sometimes when on the travel you realize that usual situations like being dry and clean are holy, a luxury! That's because after Croatia we started to spend a little more money for rooms, when necessary.

The beach of Lopar is great. The place has a lot of shops nearby and it's very quiet, perfect for families. The beach is large and there's pretty much people but it's not too tight. 

At lunch time we decided to clean up the beach because it was very full of rubbish, we picked some kilograms and gave start to our beside project 'Re-cycle the world'.

We easily spent the rest of the day on the beach and in the evening we moved on the west coast of Lopar, where we found an unexpected special place for watching the sunset.

Imagine to walk and discover a rock hill wich leads you to a natural untouched  beach. There we think you can have the most incredible view of the island. A deep sky, a mountainous view, birds calling and answering to the wind and the sea. Nature is really vibrant and we enjoyed to receive energy. We danced with our mind and our body to the sounds of nature and admired this perfect, exact moment..

Over the evening we heard in the distance a thunderstorm coming more near. We asked once again to a restaurant for a sleeping place and a nice guy offered us to sleep under his roof. He even offered us to drink with him and eat some meat but we don't drink and don't consume meat; so we just spent some time with him. Once again we could sleep dry and it felt really good.

The following day we moved on. Jannik had some problems with some pumpkin seeds so we spent the morning in a café where we relaxed and had some tea. The tea was for free as the waitress thought Jannik was drunk, funny story.

The weather could have changed quick so once Jannik became better we started cycling on the west side of the island. Even though it was cloudy we had some good moments on the way. Colorful and fruity.

We crossed Rab and went to a little village called Banjol. Sadly we didn't have a so good experience as we asked to a woman if we could put the tent for the night and a roof in her garden and she would have hosted us with pleasure but the son didn't want us to stay and transmitted us, that he thinks tourists should always go to apartments. We understood there might be a different travel mentality so we just had our lunch and continued to cycle south.

This experience made us a little mad because in this village the people were very rich and there were many roofs were we could have stayed but no one gave us some help. Anyway we pushed this few madness in our pedals and achieved Misnjak, where we took the ferry-boat to Stinica.

At Stinica we realized how Croatia is for real, in villages without tourism. The place was pretty abandoned and with few homeless people sleeping under a big roof. Just three café, police coming by from time to time and a beautiful natural hill where we decided to sleep for the night. In that place no one could have seen our tent and the view was on the sea.

The weather forecast predicted a storm for the night, so we used some big stones to secure our tent from rain and wind. Although the secure action the night was not so good and we woke up early because of the wind smashing the tent. What happened after was one of the most challenging situations for both of us.
If you are a cyclist and you want to reach Pag island you have to cycle all the way up in the mountains of the land coast to Prizna.

It seems a joke as we are speaking about 20 km, but we can confirm that to make this distance with a lot of wind, on highway that is not secured is totally not easy.

Anyway with some breaks here and there we could manage to do that in few hours and when we arrived to Prizna the sun was shining bright again. We passed from wearing winter clothes on a cold mountain road to stay with a sweatshirt on the hot coastline!

 Pag Island, Croatia 

Arrived at Pag Isabel didn't feel so well because of the fast change of the temperature. We took some time to cycle up the mountains of Pag and discovered a unique panorama. 

Pag is very deserted, mountainous with vast and empty landscapes. The island is famous for Novalja, a party city full of young people and Pag, a little city full of history.

We decided to visit Novalja and discovered a  beach full of young people and music, a little more down there was a forest where all was  more quiet. There we relaxed for some time and enjoyed the view on the city, with mountains in the back.

The afternoon passed and the two of us cycled Pag island on a wild way on the right side of the main car road, wich was totally busy. We walked up a hill to watch the sunset. This was a magical moment, an immersion in silence and beauty. 

After enjoying this amazing landscape we cycled down to a village called Mandre, where we stayed for some days as it's very beautiful and quiet and near the port there's a forest where you can easily sleep in the night, even with the hammock.

One night we even had a music event with traditional music and everybody was dancing. Such a nice experience as in a little touristic village like this one everybody just want to enjoy life. The people didn't think so much about their social status as in Banjol, Rab. So we felt not judged and we could also give to the energy of the place.
After some days of relaxing in the forest and on the beach, we realized that the money would have start to finish soon, so we packed out ideas in a brainstorming and started to slowly build the online shop we have now and more street shop paintings. 

 Pag - Pag island, Croatia 

The day we decided to move on has been interesting. We wanted to cycle again on the land and reach Sarajevo in Bosnia. Last thing we did before starting this plan was to visit the famous city of Pag. Pag has a lot of interesting buildings, beaches, little shops and history to discover. We liked a lot some buildings with a speak of oriental architecture and the roads, rustic and a bit old.

What we liked the most about achieving Pag was not even to explore the city but the way we cycled to it. There's a big mountain up wich rolls down and amazing dramatic landscapes show up. It's amazing to see the big Croatian mountains and to see unknown villages from top. We like to think about what there might be in those places and how the people are living. 

We also decided to cycle separated for some time. For both of us was a little challenging but a great experience. Sometimes it is really necessary to face your own thoughts and fears alone and it can even be a joy!

• Lake Velo Blato, Croatia

After a relaxed visit of the city we started to cycle again together and the road was pretty good as it was all the time straight and flat. At one point we met a Swiss cyclist and we cycled a bit with him. The guy said to us he was a bit afraid to sleep alone in the night, because the night before he heard some sounds outside the tent. We gave him some suggestions about feeling safe while camping and about his bike. He had a running bike with thin tubes wich is not the best when you want to have a cycle tour crossing over mountains. He also had no bags in the front and a carrier in the back wich also makes touring more difficult. After few kilometers he went straight to Zadar and we instinctively took a side road to a lake. There we had an amazing evening. 

Lake Velo Blato is not a touristic place, it's an undercovered natural reserve where no one pass. It is absolutely the perfect place to camp, as it's open in one point and people can walk. We observed strange flowers and ants picking cereals to their house.

The place is absolutely one of our favourite of all our travels and we suggest you to have a visit if you cross around the area.

The night was not so good because in the early morning we had a lot of wind, so we moved on the other side of the lake. The two of us slept deep for some more hours. We were near the car road but good hidden under some trees.

In the morning we directly packed our stuff and started to cycle direction Zadar.
We had some good landscapes near the bridge that brings from Pag to the Croatian land.
There's a fortress in the middle of a deserted area which is worth a visit. 

We spent the rest of the day in a village called Rtina. There we had some food in a restaurant and enjoyed another sunset on the sea. We slept in a football camp of a closed school and no one noticed that.

 Krka natural park, Croatia

The following day we focused completed on cycling and crossed the beautiful area of Posedarje, with its big sea lake and reached after 65 km the famous Krka Natural park.

This area is a protected reserve with a lake between the mountains of a big canyon. It is very famous for having a lot of waterfalls, different species of animals, many fruit trees and a primitive cave up in the mountains. The area is very big and people generally explore it all with the car in some days. 

We really had some fun and enjoyed a lot to visit the area which is just perfect.

The following days we reached Dernis and a village called Donji Muć. There the people were welcoming, a woman gave us blueberry juice and a homemade cake and people understood us when we wanted to sleep in the fields. The area is interesting as it's in the middle of the mountains, with flat golden field in the center and the village is horizontal. There's no cultural stuff to visit, it's just a good place where to stop for some days if you want to work in a café or just rest in natural places.
After three days in this nice place we started to cycle direction Bosnia, Buško lake. 

We will speak about it in the next blog article, where we will cross a fantastic area and face the high mountains to Sarajevo.

We hope you enjoyed the article and if you liked it ,we invite you to read also the other ones and give us some impressions about!

Bye readers, to the next one. 


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