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Happening Hrvatska, Croatia – part 2 - Al Fresco Holidays

Part 2 of Nick Rigg’s recent visit to Croatia and he sample’s some of Croatia’s campsites, coves and culinary delights…

Zaton campsite

Campsite Zaton is a large powerhouse of a campsite rivalling Union lido in size and scale. It lies 11 km from Zadar and 25 minutes from the airport; Ryanair fly in from Liverpool and Stansted; I can’t wait to go back.

Homair mobile homes at Simuni, Croatia

Beachside Homair mobiles at Simuni

Simuni campsite, Pag island

Then we left mainland Dalmatia to travel to the island of Pag.  Homair have 86 mobile homes on Simuni campsite (shee muni) and many are directly on the beach.

No kidding, two steps off the deck and you’re swimming.

Such is the immense shoreline of Simuni that the campsite doesn’t really have a main core, rather a series of coves with beach bars and lounges on them; I have now decided that having a main core is far from an obligation!

Right by the first cove is the fish restaurant; in truth it started life as a humble fish shop but such was the demand for the produce they started a grill.

A few hundred metres further along is the grand roasting spit where every Wednesday the Camping has a free bbq for its guests who naturally flock in their droves.

Sunset at Simuni, Croatia

Sunset from your decking at Simuni, Croatia

Fireworks bring the evening to a close just before midnight. It’s funky, slightly querky but drop dead “do we really have to go home now ” gorgeous.
 
There isn’t a great deal to see on Pag in honesty; a powerful mountain wind called brera scalps the vegetation and creates an almost moon like appearance at the Western end of the island.
 
The main resort of Novalija has created an Ibiza style festival for the sub 30 brigade but such antics are far from the serenity of Simuni.
 
Ferry from Pag
 
As we had crossed from Zadar to Pag there was a bridge between the mainland and the island but heading off to Istra we boarded the ferry from Zigljen to Prizna (price 110 kuna…about £10.  All the ferries are fast, cheap and no need to book : in high season I hear the queuing  can be a while but it’s roll on roll off and all done in an hour.
 
Fishing village in Istra

So on to Istra via Rijeka which was an epic ride along the coast before arriving in Bi village campsite and the fishing village of Fazana (fa jana). It’s the most perfect Italian fishing port facing Italy anywhere  in the world!

We ate in the harbour at a rest called Vasianum (vasi anum). The seafood was out of this world including some ‘cape lunghe’ which were served in garlic and oil. They grow apparently in the sand and are served in their straw-like shells; mighty tasty though.

Nicola is the maitre d here but his wife is definitely the cook and the master. As the conversation with Nicola flowed and we monopolized his time a little too long, cries emanated from the kitchen giving first orders, then threats which gave an inkling as to the potential severity of Croatian females who definitely wear the trousers.  If the men folk don’t perform, so the saying goes, they get both a kick and a slap at the same time..seems a bit harsh but I guess Nora Batty’s rolling pin would probably hurt too.

Vasianum is walking distance from bi village and along with the campsites own Bi Villy restaurant offers great variety for foodies without breaking the bank.

Cres Island

Having over-estimated travelling time so far across Croatia (a world first for me), space had freed up to get another island in, this time Cres (shhh res). A 1 hour drive across Istria gets you to the port of Brestova where you cross to Porozina.

As soon as you hit the island you feel like Robinson Crusoe and that feeling only intensifies when you approach Slatina campsite along a 9 km private road through the scrub.

Camping Slatina

In a perfectly preserved natural bay Slatina campsite is a relaxation point to behold: not so much zen premium in the Homair categories but zen absolute.

Slatina bay

Slatina beach, Cres Island

The colours and the scent in the air are pure heaven but also the pitches, hewn out of the vegetation and almost entirely private give every family a chance to live out their own paradise lost adventure.

It’s total seclusion and you would have to be content in your own company for a fortnight but relaxation is guaranteed in such an environment; a site maybe to bring into the Homair Croatian program for 2014.

Back to the Croatian mainland

Getting back to the mainland involved another fun ferry crossing from Merag to Valbiska for a tenner including car.

Not quite on the mainland, you eventually cross from Krk to Croatia over the bridge which is quite spectacular in itself.

 Check out the final part of Nick’s Croatian adventure tomorrow in part 3.

 

 

 

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