Roadtrip in Southern Europe – Part 1

Une des nombreuse cascades des lacs de Plitvice

Two years ago, with two friends we took a car, a tent, a backpack per person, and went for a new adventure. This trip was the discovery of Southern Europe in roadtrip mode. We went through northern Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. First, we went along the Mediterranean coast, while on the way back we went back to these same countries, but passing through the interior of the country.

A little recap of the trip:

  • We left for 16 days
  • We did 4504.3 km
  • Which corresponds to 101 hours and 40 minutes on the road
  • We had a budget of a little more than 300 € each
    • 45% of the budget for the food,
    • 22% for gasolina,
    • 11% for tollgates,
    • 9% for carparks,
    • 7% for the paid visits,
    • et 6% for campsites
  • We slept :
    • 3 times in campsites
    • 2 times in the car
    • 11 times in nature

 

In this first article I will talk about the visited places in Italy and Croatia. In a second article I will talk about the places in Bosnia-Herzegovina and those of return, in Italy, Croatia and Slovenia. You can find the map of our complete itinerary at the end of this article.

Italy

Genoa

Our first stop was Genoa. It is a very beautiful city, because of its architecture. For a visit of the city I advise you:

  • The via Garibaldi, the charm of the Renaissance style
  • The via XX Settembre and its beautiful arches
  • The Christophe Colomb house, for the history
  • The University, the palazzo Ducale and the palazzo Reale for the beauty of buildings
  • And the fountain in the center of Genoa

Fontaine sur une place de GenesThe fountain on a Genoa’s place

the Cinque Terre

Then we left for the Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre it is 5 small coastal villages, very colorful! More precisely, we went to one of the 5 villages of the Cinque Terre, Manarola. And on our way we stopped at a nearby village, Legnaro, which is not part of the Cinque Terre but is very cute. Here you just have to walk around and let yourself be invaded by the charming atmosphere of the Cinque Terre.

Manarola, un des cinq villages qui appartient aux 5 terres
Manarola, one of the Cinque Terre villages
Petit village de Legnaro, proche des 5 terres
Legnaro, a small village near the the Cinque Terre

Modena

We took the road back to Modena, the city is very famous for its balsamic vinegar! Here again, there are many beautiful things to see. For example, the Piazza Grande, the square from which you can see the Duomo di Modena, i. e. the cathedral of Modena and the Torre Ghirlandina, which is the bell tower of the cathedral of Modena. We can also stop at the Mercato Albinelli which is a covered market with a very good reputation (and why not find this famous vinegar!).

Otherwise, what could be better than wandering the streets. This is a very good option, since Modena is a beautiful and charming city.

Une place pleine de couleurs au centre de Modène
A place full of colors in Modena

Venice

Venice, the city of lovers and romance. Once again there is much to see in Venice. We can start with the emblematic Saint Marc place which we see in many films with its many pigeons! From the same square, you can also enjoy the Basilica of Saint Marc. Then you can stop at the Dane’s palace and admire its Gothic architecture. I would also have liked to make a stop at the Fenice theatre because of its reputation, it is beautiful (to my next visit I won’t miss it!).

Afterwards, you can enjoy a visit to the Canneregio and Castello districts while strolling along the canals. Finally, you can stop at the south end of the Great Canal, from where you can see the imposing Basylic Santa Maria della Salute.

Venise, ses bâtiments colorés et ses gondoles
Venice, its colourful buildings and gondolas

 

Croatia

A beach near of Rijeka

We then crossed the border to visit Croatia. We stopped briefly in Rijeka, but eager to discover the crystal clear waters of Croatia, we went back on the road. By chance, we saw a creek below a cliff. We stopped there and what a pleasant surprise to discover a place kept intact, very little frequented and absolutely charming.

Une petite crique super sympathique tout proche de Rijeka
A small, super nice cove nearby Rijeka

 

Plitvice

Plitvice is a large national park registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This park is made up of 16 lakes, the particularity of this park is that each lake flows into the next lake through one or more waterfalls, which represents a total of 92 waterfalls. There’s a beautiful blue-green water. The waterfalls are beautiful. The Plitvice lakes are really one of my favourite places of this trip. I was absolutely amazed by the beauty of the place. If I return to Croatia one day, it is clear and certain that I will return to the lakes of Plitvice. Admission is payable (11 to 15€ depending on the season), this allows to safeguard the beauty and authenticity of the places. Several paths are possible, it mix small train, boat and walking. There is something for all levels, durations and tastes.

Panorama sur les différents plateaux des lacs de Plitvice
Panorama on the different lakes of Plitvice
Une des nombreuse cascades des lacs de Plitvice
One of the several waterfalls of the Plitvice lakes

 

Zadar

Zadar is a beautiful coastal town, particularly famous for its Roman and Venetian ruins. We can take the opportunity to stop in Zadar to see the church of Saint-Donat and also the church of Saint-Simeon. Then we can go to the ruined site of Roman Forum. Going along the atypical coasts can also be a good option, knowing that they are not beaches, but rather ports from which to jump to enjoy a pleasant swim.

After dark, don’t hesitate to go to the “Salute to the Sun” which is a set of luminous tiles that light up after dark.

Les anciennes constructions qui font le tourisme de Zadar
The old buildings that make Zadar’s tourist attractions

 

Sibenik

The exterior of Sibenik is quite austere, but once you get to the heart of the city, you can relax and see beautiful things. I advise you the St. James Cathedral, which is a very beautiful building with an extraordinary arch. We take the time to admire the statue of George the Dalmate and the frise which runs along the cathedral.

We can then head towards the very large and ancient fortress of Saint-Michel. This fortress is high up above, and from here you can admire the fortress of St Nicholas, which is located at the entrance to the canal, the old town with the cathedral, the St. John’s fortressand the archipel of Šibenik.

Le charme et l'aspect typique de Sibenik
The charm and typical appearance of Sibenik

 

Trogir & Split

The following day we enjoyed a beautiful sunny day to stroll and dream in two beautiful coastal cities: Trogir and Split. We walked along the charming little streets and walked along the beautiful Croatian sea to bathe. The heat being very high, sheltering from the heat in the shade of palm trees was a pleasure! In short, in these two cities it is good to let yourself live at the rhythm of the breeze, with your eyes lost in the distance towards the sea. The typical Croatian architecture is once again very present in the buildings of these two beautiful cities.

Split, ses palmiers, et son ambiance farniente
Split, its palm trees, and its warm atmosphere

Trogir et son charme côtier Trogir and its coastal charm

 

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik… THE city that was largely used to represent Kings Landing in the famous Game of Thrones show. To immerse oneself in this atmosphere, we can begins with the gates of the city, through which one crosses ramparts. The visit on the top of the ramparts is paid and we did not do it because of lack of time. But it looks very beautiful and we probably have a panoramic view of the city and the Mediterranean. Then we stop at the fountain of Onofrio which is the most famous monument of Dubrovnik. For the rest of the visit we go to the Franciscan monastery where there is a beautiful cloister.  We ended our visit with the cathedral of the Assumption and the Dominican monastery.

Dubrovnik et les remparts de Game of Thrones
Dubrovnik and the ramparts of Game of Thrones

 


This is not the end…

Then we left Croatia, which is really a beautiful country, to go to Bosnia-Herzegovina. These future visits were, for me, the most exotic stopovers of the trip. And then we take the road back to Croatia and Italy, to discover these countries in greater depth! And also in Slovenia, to discover the national capital.

 

We will soon meet again in a new article describing the rest of the trip! ♥


Full itinerary

itineraire et arrêts du roadtriproute and road trip stops

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