Croatia

Croatia and Bosnia Trip itinerary  

Fall 2016 was the first time for me to go to Eastern Europe and I am very happy I did. I have been speaking about my trip to Croatia and Bosnia for MONTHS! I recommend these two amazing countries to everyone I see. I originally only wanted to do one or the other, but going to both happened because of my Saudi visa requirements. I had to visit a country in the Schengen area (Croatia) to be allowed entry to Bosnia.

Croatia and Bosnia Trip Route: 

Zagreb (1 night) > Plitvice Lakes (1 night) > Split (few hours) > Dubrovnik (three nights) > Mostar (three nights) > Sarajevo (two nights)

Croatia and Bosnia Trip itinerary  

I started with a direct flight from London to Zagreb the capital, which was fabulous. I only stayed there a night. I took the first bus from there to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. I spent the day at the park and then spent the night at one of the parks hotels. In the morning I headed to Split where I stopped to spend few hours before heading to Dubrovnik. I spent three nights in the very touristy but pretty old town of Dubrovnik.

old town of  Dubrovnik.

old town of Dubrovnik.

After spending three nights in Dubrovnik, we got the bus to Mostar.

It was around three hours. It was a very rainy day and the bus was so crowded and even leaked a little. I stayed at Isa's family run Pension .

and really loved it. Such kind and hospitable people. It was a great location because it was ten minutes from the beautiful old town, but also five minutes from where the locals hangout. I wouldn't recommend eating in the old town because it's slightly over priced. I really enjoyed the food in Mostar. The first day in Mostar was dedicated to the old town tour, market and food. The second day, we arranged a trip with our host family to see three spots outside Mostar. You can just to the old town and find day trips from the tourist information desks. We wanted to take the train from Mostar to Sarajevo for the stunning views, but the train was in repairs, so we got the bus instead. The three days we spent in Sarajevo passed so quickly and I got to meet some Bosnian friends from Instagram and go on the free walking tour. There are so many things to do and see. Here are 15 things to do in Sarajevo

Mostar 

Mostar 

Tips for Muslim Travellers in Croatia and Bosnia: 

Hijab: I didn't get any problems travelling with my hijab in Croatia even when I was solo. People were very nice and helpful with me. In Bosnia, no one even glanced at me since it's a semi Muslim country and I was dressed like many locals.

Hijab in Croatia

Halal food in Croatia: there is only one halal restaurant in Dubrovnik and all the halal food was sold out by the time we arrived. There are so many vegetarian options though.

Halal food in Bosnia: Every restaurant I went to served halal meat. I trusted the owners confirmations. 

Mosques in Croatia: I didn't actively look for mosques in the spots I visited Croatia. My friend found one in Dubrovnik. It was within the walls of the old town. It was tucked away with a little mosque sign. I loved how it fitted with all the other buildings. It was convenient having it because we just got to pray there during the day.

Mosques in Croatia

Mosques were scattered around Mostar and Bosnia. Friday prayer for women in Bosnia: My friend and I thought it would be a nice idea to join the Friday prayer in the mosque in the old town in Sarajevo, but since it's very busy on Friday, men occupy the whole mosque space. They even extend to the court yard. I spent a lot of time on buses, but it was still fun. I managed to take early buses and just slept there.

mosques in sarajevo

mosques in sarajevo

Note: I booked all my buses from London and printed my tickets. Make sure you have 1 euro with you for every bag that's going in the bus luggage storage. 

PS. I did Zagreb, Plitvice Lakes and Split solo. Then I joined my friend in Dubrovnik and we carried on to Mostar and Sarajevo together. 


More posts from Croatia: 

More Posts from Bosnia:

Two days in Dubrovnik

In the last few years Dubrovnik has gained a great reputation in the travel world especially that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the direct flights from London, it became very accessible. It was even used as the set for the very popular TV show Game of Thrones. The city mixes culture, history, sunshine and beaches beautifully. 

Since I started my trip from the capital Zagreb and stopped in Plitvice Lakes National Park and Split, I arrived around 10ish pm to Dubrovnik by bus. Thankfully the hostel was very close to the gate. It was located on the top of an ally in the third floor with two more sets of narrow steep spiral stairs. Getting there with a mini bag was a little bit of a struggle, but that was the best option we found. If I go to Dubrovnik again, I wouldn't even bother to stay within the city walls. Their bus system is quiet good, cheap and drops you off right in front of the city gate. 

Dubrovnik's beauty matched its reputation and there were SO many things to see and do in that little city, but it was the most crowded place EVER! I went the first week of September and it was heaving with tourists.  

Basically, the whole old city is catered for tourists and most locals had to move out because of the very expensive rates. 

PS. Everyone I ran into in the country spoke English. I had no problems communicating with anyone. Plus people were very friendly. 

Read on for the activities I did there and my top tips in Croatia. 

The things I did in my two days and a half in Dubrovnik: 

  • City Walls Walk ( I did it without a tour guide, but you can hire one if you really want to)
  • Tasting the food in town ( I tried a few random restaurants & they were all yummy) 
  • Ice Cream! Omg that was my favourite thing I did there. Ice cream in the sunshine while looking at beautiful old Architecture! 
  • Exploring the city and the Museums. You are really spoiled for choice, but none of them really stood out to me. I just enjoyed walking around and going in to whatever Museum happened to be in front of me.  
  • Day trip to Lokrum Island  and dip in the Dead Sea there! (full Lokrum post here). 

Top Tips for Dubrovnik/Croatia: 

  • If you want a better, cheaper accommodation, stay outside the city walls and take the bus to the old city. 
  • Buy the three day Museums/walk pass if you are planning to visit a number of museums because that works out cheaper. The pass also includes a bus trip. You can get it from the old city's tourism information office or at some of the Museums. 
  • If you want to stay connected (3G) get the tourists internet sim card from the airport. It gave me great internet for the week I spent in Croatia. 
  • There is only one restaurant that serves halal meat in the old city of Dubrovnik called Taj Mahal, but make sure to make a booking because they only have limited halal meat. It's easy to get vegetarian food though, so there will be plenty to eat!  

Hijab Friendly Outfits for a Warm European Destination

When I was packing for my Croatia and Bosnia trip. I only packed 7 outfits in a carryon bag to last me 11 days. Plus the weather was warm. So, I packed the lightest clothes that could be suitable for my hijab style. The details of outfits are under them! Hope they give you some ideas on what to pack for your next trip! 

Over to you: What's your favourite outfit? and what fashionable changes would you suggest? 

Island of Lokrum (Dubrovnik, Croatia)

This is a pretty little Island just few minutes by boat and a 100 kunas away from Dubrovnik. You can just ask around and people will direct you to the right boat that takes you there. I think it leaves on the hour or half an hour. It's a good half day trip. I spent about 5 hours there. There is a big map pointing the main attractions once you get there, so everything you want to see is clearly marked. Here Five things you could do: 

  1. See the history
    The Benedictine abbey and monastery were founded in 1023. The last Benedictines left the island in 1808. Legend has it that on their last night, the monks put a curse on the island and anyone who tried to seek it for their own in the future. There were actually few more legends associated with the islands that you can read about when you get there. Also, it's been used to film some parts of the Game of Thrones. 
  2. Enjoy the nature!
    Very close to the starting point is the botanical garden, which is nice to walk around. 
  3. Chill with the rabbits and the peacocks
    They are just running wild around. They are mostly out when the weather is cooler in the morning and the afternoon. I got there at noon, so there weren't as many.  
  4. Dip in the dead sea
    I was so tempted to taste it just to see if it was really salty, but I got a good proof when my copper bracelet turned green! Chemistry 101 there for you. It's located at the beginning of the island, but coevered with trees, so we were slightly confused on where it was. 
  5. Dip in the empty ocean shores
    The weather was hot in September, but the water was on the cold side. Like it gives you shivers once you jump in! Note: When I was reading about this island online after the trip, I found out there is a part for nudes, so be aware of that! Although, when I was there everyone was at least wearing their swimsuit.

PS. Food is SO overpriced there, so pack something with you if you want to save up. 

Ice Cream love affair in Croatia

When I visited Croatia in September 2016, the weather was quiet warm and sunny. It was nice, but I was in constant need of cooling off. Having an ice cream parlour in every corner made it so easy to indulge. They had so many flavours I haven't tried before. Basically, getting an ice cream -twice a day- became a ritual in the five days I spent there and I have photos to prove it! ;) #IceCreamTravelgram  

Things to do in Split, Croatia

I took the 9:30am bus from Plitvice Lakes National Park to Split. It was a four hour journey. I was headed to Dubrovnik, but since Split is on the way I had to stop by and see it for myself. I spent about five hours there. My bus arrived at 2pm and I started right away with a walking tour. Two days prior I booked a tour via Lokal Hero with Vjeran Mlačić

I didn't know much about Split before I got there. I only knew it was on the beach and I was scared that it will be just a crazy party town, but it turns out that it's very rich in history. In fact, it's the second largest city in Croatia and it dates back to the construction of Diocletian's Palace in 305 CE.  

I think the best thing I did was book that two hours tour. I got to learn about major historic events and fun trivia related to Game of Throne (some parts were filmed there!!) I even made a new friend mid tour and she joined us for the rest of it. The main sight was Diocletian's Palace. His story was impressive but he was slightly insane. The architecture of the old city was great too. 

When the tour came to an end, we stopped by a handmade Jewellery shop. The shop was cozy and full of character. I really liked meeting Victor, the Croatian filigree maker. Needless to say, I had to get a little something from there! 

After the tour, I heads to the beach. It was extremely busy, but found a spot to chill for 40 mins. I really enjoyed the city. I defiantly got the party city vibe, but it could also be a chilled out break too. 

Plitvice Lakes National Park

I left Zagreb very early (5am) to catch the first bus heading to Plitvice Lakes National Park. I took tram #6 from the city centre to the bus station (five stops away). When I got to the bus station, I was confused which bus to take but it was the one with all the tourists and the backpackers.

"Plitvice Lakes National Park  is one of the oldest national parks in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in Croatia. In 1979, Plitvice Lakes National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage register."*

The journey was quick (2hrs) I slept half of it. The bus stopped at entrance 1. I left my bag in the luggage room because my hotel was slightly further and if I knew there was a luggage room, I would have headed to Split mid day instead of staying the night in Plitvice area. There is just the park there. 

When I got to the park at 8:30am it was empty and I got my ticket in a second with the student discount. I was reading about people having to stand in the queue for over two hours. I imagine the later you get there the busier the park gets.

I wasn't sure how long my trekking will take, so I took Trek C. I was told I will finish it in 4- 6 hours. I finished it in 5 including stopping and taking photos and eating. I wish I took the longer one. 

The trek was a mix of walking, climbing and getting a boat to the other side. Getting the boat was the longest I waited (half an hour). Over all, the park was very organised. I was worried of doing it on my own at first, but the signage was marked clearly and came up frequently.

The park was like waterfall heaven. I really enjoyed it. It was absolutely stunning. It was slightly busy, but I was thankful I went on a Friday because I saw the crazy queue as I was leaving Saturday morning. 

Half a day is plenty if you are staring at 8am. You can take a bus from entrance 1 and head to another town. I made the mistake of staying in one of the hotels, which were priced highly for the tourists and offered poor food.