Croatia reminds me of a small town in Florida, like St. Augustine. It has a perfect mix of beach life, nightlife and amazing seafood. I was pleasantly surprised to see the charm of Split. The people were incredible and they love tourists. This was refreshing as it has not happened the majority of our travel time to date.
We stayed in our favorite hostel thus far, the Split Guesthouse. It is run by the most infamous man in all of Split; Josko. If you check the HostelWorld reviews for this place, every single review mentions Josko and how amazing he is. He definitely did not disappoint. He is a 40-year-old man, who is so lively, fun and would do ANYTHING for his guests. He picked us up from the airport – bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to share his love of his home.
Fun fact – The Guesthouse is Josko’s childhood home where he grew up. It now serves as his Hall of Fame displaying hundreds of love notes all over the walls. Josko’s story is an interesting one. He shared his story about his family and their suffering through some hard times a few years He told us the Guesthouse saved his life. He added six sets of bunk beds and a private room and can honestly say he runs the most popular hostel in all of Croatia. Josko made it a point to create a home like atmosphere at the hostel and boy did he succeed. Not only was the hostel specifically set up for guest mingling, Josko has “Grandma” come make guests a typical Croatian breakfast every morning and wash laundry for a small fee.
We walked through the doors on our first night to find everyone from the hostel at the kitchen table talking and sharing dinner together. We immediately jumped into the conversation and talked to the other guests as if we’d known them for years. During our stay we were able to meet and spend time with people from Egypt, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and other states in the U.S. In addition to the quality of guests who stayed with us here, Josko made the Guesthouse an amazing experience.
He took us to the Krka Waterfalls during our first full day in Croatia and even though we froze to death, we had the time of our lives. If you’re ever in Split, the waterfalls are an hour drive away and gorgeous! The water felt like an ice bath when we went in, but what more could you ask for after a whole day of traveling?
Our dinner that night was at a new restaurant in Split called the Sexy Cow. They serve made to order wraps with all different kinds of meat, roasted veggies and guacamole — WHAAATT!!! Hands down best wrap I have ever had. Also, insider tip, since Josko is so amazing if you stay at the Guesthouse and tell the staff at Sexy Cow, they will give you free french fries with your meal!
On our second day in Croatia, we we’re planning to head to Dubrovnik. Once we realized it was a five hour bus ride, we changed our minds. Thank god, we didn’t though because it poured down rain all day. We spent the majority of the day looking for a place to wash our clothes.
Once the rain chilled out a little bit, we went to Fife, a typical Croatian restaurant that Josko recommended to us. We all ordered different dishes and had one big pot luck between us. The best foods to get here were the stuffed peppers, sea bass, fried squid and pasticada which is gnocchi topped with beef and red wine sauce. Croatia is super cheap so we were able to share all these foods for $10 a person.
That night we decided to check out the nightlife scene in Split. We first headed to the most popular of the bars, Fabrique, which unfortunately made all of us claustrophobic. It definitely seemed like a really good time, but the crowd was way too much for us to handle. We opted to go to the second runner up, Quasimodo, which doubled as a hostel.
Our night at Quasimodo was very foggy, not because of the drinks, but the smoke cloud we were immersed in the moment we walked through the door. When I say cloud of smoke, I mean my whole body wreaked of cigarettes, clothes and all, even my leather purse had a tinge. Regardless of the smoke, we had a great time at Quasimodo. The crowd was a little younger than at Fabrique and the music was throw backs from the 90s which we loved!
Our last day in Split was the most terrifying day of the trip so far, yes, even more terrifying than bed bugs. We rented bikes for the day and hit the beaches of Split. The weather was amazing and we finally were able to see the city for the first time in clear weather. We all had the genius idea to tests our limits by cliff diving off one of the mountain sides into the deep, deep ocean. I am horrified of heights but after watching everyone else jump I decided to give it a go. It only took about fifteen minutes of me standing on the edge of the cliff on the verge of having a panic attack before I thrusted my body off the side of the mountain. Was it exhilarating? Yes. Will I ever do it again? Absolutely not.
I ended the day at Sexy Cow for one last free order of fries and just like Sexy Cow, it was a wrap, Croatia. We made our poster for Josko’s hall of fame and said goodbye to all of our beloved roommates and hit the train station for our 17 hour train ride to Budapest.
Croatia will definitely be on my list during my next trip to Europe and you better believe I will be spending more nights in Josko’s Guesthouse eating Grandma’s breaky every morning.
Until next time Croatia, stay beautiful.