Guide to SANTIAGO – Cape Verde’s main island

Cape Verde is often described as Africa light. Actually, it’s true that many places remind you rather of the Canary Islands than of an African country.

Men overlooking the Bay at the city of Praia on the island of Santiago, Cape Verde
Overlooking the Praia Negra in Cape Verde’s capital Praia.

So although Cape Verde’s capital Praia is the most African city of them all, it has a familiar feel to it – with a dash of Caribbean vibes.

this way to read the whole story >>>

Guide to BRAVA, Cape Verde’s blooming little island

They say that Brava is the most beautiful of the Cape Verde islands.

View of the ocean from the island of Brava, Cape Verde
A very rewarding hike.

Actually, it’s a cute, small jewel in the middle of the ocean encircled by tiny islets. You can hike around the isle in just a couple of hours. There are colorfully painted buildings, surrounded by pretty flowers…and pure serenity. 

this way to read the whole story >>>

Guide to FOGO, Cape Verde’s most varied island

Which island was my favorite? Argh, do you really make me choose again?

I dislike comparing. I detest better or poorer.

I like different! I like the beauty and the excitement that comes with diversity.

Woman overlooking the sea
On the way to São Jorge.

This said, if again, you point a gun to my head, I’ll say Fogo was my favorite. Fogo, because it is the most varied one. It has beaches and greeneries, but also rocks and lava. It is lovely and bizarre. Full of stories and history – a true inspiration.

this way to read the whole story >>>

ISLAND HOPPING in GERMANY

While international tourism to Germany is increasing, visitors rather stick to the clichés like beer and Lederhosen at Munich and a cruise on the river Mosel; or they hang out at the hip capital Berlin – instead of enjoying Island Hopping in Germany.

I guess that might be the reason why many people believe Germany is landlocked and don’t think about long coasts, two seas, and about 80 islands.

Beach on the German island of Borkum - inviting you to do some Island Hopping
I think this is not the first image that comes to mind when talking ’bout travelling Germany.

However, that’s exactly what Germany’s north has to offer – and many fascinating phenomenons like the tideland that comes with it. As a matter of fact, Germany’s shoreline is longer than the Portuguese one.

So what are you waiting for? Join me on my island hopping…in Germany!

this way to read the whole story >>>

Complete Guide to the Island of CRES

(Edited November 2018)

Cres is just a little over an hour from the Croatian mainland and totally worth a visit if you are looking for unspoiled nature, cute coastal towns, and a swim in clear waters.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
Without a caption one could think this is an Italian vilaggio.

Due to its everchanging history, this island deems very Italian, too. But you know what? It’s so delightful that you don’t even care; you certainly don’t care where exactly paradise is located.

Surprisingly, Cres is the same size as the far more famous island of Krk, but only populated by a little over 3,000 people. And also tourism is by far not as massive as on the more popular islands. Only on Cres’ sister island Lošinj, tourism is more developed. That’s the reason why, after having pushed my way through tourist-groups, I stayed on Cres. And in Cres.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
Far more boats than cars.

Croatians are a bit chintzy with names and call a town after the islands where it’s located. So Cres on Cres.

You can get there from Rijeka in a bit over one hour with Jadrolinija and the fare is 35 Kuna – which is really cheap since you are travelling on a very comfortable catamaran. You can buy your ticket online or at the harbor, it’s very easy.

There is only one ferry going from Rijeka to Cres, it leaves at 2:30 p. m. and arrives at 3: 50 p. m. To catch it, I had to leave Poreč on the morning bus around 8 a. m. and had about five hours in Rijeka.

No problem, there is a locker room at the bus station and Rijeka is a really pleasant city.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
Leaving Rijeka to Cres.

Like everywhere else in Croatia, you can rent an Apartman – the one I rented was in a prime location about three minutes walk from the ferry overlooking the small yacht harbor. I could walk from there to the beach or to some supermarkets in a couple of minutes. The owners got out of their way to make me feel comfortable – a perfect stay.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
Cres cannot deny its Venetian heritage.

The Apartman is located on one of the main squares so that there are about five different restaurants as soon as you open the door.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
Home was where the heart is: Apartman Dolores.

You reach a small beach in five minutes. It’s not a great beach – in all honesty, there are no great beaches in Croatia; but it doesn’t matter since everything else is so perfect – but it’s a beach where you can stretch out on pebbles and relax and take a dip in the crystal clear waters.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
The beach around the corner.

Like I said, there are a bit over 3,000 people on Cres island, and almost 2,900 are living in the town of Cres; which tells you a lot about the density of population in the villages.

The most famous should be Lubenice, an untouched place about 20 km from Cres. There is actually a bus going, but only on certain days and at around 5 a. m.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
Up where it belongs: Secluded village of Lubenice.

 
I wouldn’t mind going on a certain day at 5 a. m. to a village up the mountain inhabited by seven women; but I spent only two days in Cres and simply didn’t have the time. I absolutely need to come back with much more time to…..do basically nothing.

Since I didn’t have the opportunity to visit this enchanted village, I at least wanted to see some….water. And there is a lot of water around Cres and it’s crystal clear and deep blue and just amazing.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
Simply blue.

In the harbor, there are tour operators offering trips to a beach below Lubenice. It’s totally worth the 270 Kuna to spend hours on the ship, observing how the landscape around the petrol blue waters changes – amazing.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
A nice day out.

Once you get to the beach, there is a guided tour of the blue grotto included in the trip. You have to swim, though, and the water in the grotto is freezing. But the cave illuminated by some rays of sun is just mesmerizing.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
What are all these people doing here? Suspiciously observed by curious locals while sunbathing.

Also included is a – let’s say not too heavy – lunch on board – choice of fish or chicken, and water, lemonade, and wine.

After about 90 minutes on the beach, the pirate ship heads back to Cres.

They promise you to spot dolphins on the way – and they actually keep their promise: We saw a group of three big, jolly mammals jumping around – the cherry on the cake that was this wonderful day trip.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
There were three dolphins jumping around the Korsar until everybody had a picture.

I went on the a bit silly pirate ship Korsar which is to be found in the harbor. You can get info online, but I have the impression that you get a better deal when booking on the spot. Just go to the small counter in front of the ship.

For me, unfortunately, that was it since I had only three weeks for my entire trip. If I come back to Croatia, and I’m pretty sure I will, I’ll plan at least four to five days on Cres.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels - Cres Istria Croatia
At the end of a perfect day, the sun sets perfectly over the Adriatic sea.

Like I said, I was coming from Rijeka and initially intended to go on to Krk island.
That is possible since from the village of Merag, there is a ferry. However, it is a little complicated and quite time consuming since the buses and the ferry are not in sync. It simply was not worth it losing an entire day getting to Baška just to stay there for two nights.
It might be much easier if you have your own vehicle.

Since for me, it didn’t make much sense, I finally refrained from going there and I went back to Rijeka instead – which was totally fine since during my forced stopover on the way from Poreč to Cres, I fell in deep love with the city and was looking forward to having another stay there.

Best place to sleep:


Apartman Dolores – called after the sweetest owner ever – is located right on the harbor. You walk about 2 minutes from the ferry. At night, you open the door and there are uncountable restaurants. You walk ten minutes and you find yourself on a tiny, but pretty nice beach. Walk twenty minutes and the beaches get bigger but also more crowded. Staying at Dolores’ apartman, you are in the middle of everything and this lady – and her husband – are just the friendliest and warmest hosts you can wish for.

The apartman is pretty spacious with a big bedroom that easily houses three. There is a very well-equipped kitchen with every appliance you might need and a bathroom of a good size.

But besides the lovely owners, it’s the location – location – location.

Get more details, check out availability and Dolores’ rates. *

Best place to eat:


Like I said, you just open Dolores’ door and….don’t look too far, at the next corner of the square is Buffet Marittimo serving basically what every restaurant in Cres is serving – fish and shellfish; but here you get really generous portions at a good price.

Buffet Marittimo
51557 Cres

Do you want to read about all the other beautiful places I’ve visited in Croatia? 
Then go to the main post and take your pick!


If you choose to pin this post, please use these pictures:



<

Here are more pins from Europe for you:

* This is an affiliate link. If you book through this page, not only do you get the best deal, I also get a small commission that helps me run this blog. Thank you so much for supporting me!

Complete Guide to VELA LUKA on KORCULA

(Edited November 2018)

The island of Korčula is much less known and popular as many of its sisters although with over 15,000 inhabitants it is the second most populous Adriatic island. However, in the West, the town of Vela Luka, arranged around a half moon shaped bay, grants total relaxation while Korčula town presents a breathtaking historic old town within fairy tale like fortress walls.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
View of Korčula town from the Uvala Plitvine bay.

Korčula used to be a pretty important spot in her days: Not only came the timber for the wooden walls of Venice from here, it had also been one of the most important harbors to the Venetian fleets.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Korčula: Name of the island and of a town.

Just like Cres, Korčula, too, is the name of the island and of a town.

Vela Luka

Coming from Split, the first harbor you reach, though, is Vela Luka, a town with 4,000 inhabitants, nestled in a half-moon shaped bay on the island’s western side.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
The bay of Vela Luka.

The many indented coves along the crystal clear waters make it sunbathers’ and swimmers’ paradise.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
For me, one shot of Relaxation on the Rocks, please!

Because of the lush vegetation along the bay, going for a pleasant walk or a sportive hike are great options on how to fill gaps between lazing on the rocks on the shores.

There is, for instance, the Vela Spila, the Big Cave, which it is one of the most important prehistoric caves in Europe. From the town center, it’s only about 2 miles, but you have to hike uphill.

To get more great view of this beautiful island, there is also the Hum Hill – about 2.5 miles southwest from the town center and the slope is twice as high as the one to Spila.

Everything around Vela Luka is just beautiful – so I guess the town itself doesn’t have to be. It’s basically one or two rows of houses along the shore. Only the part in the very center before you get to the harbor is somewhat scenic. Of course, there are supermarkets and restaurants and basically, everything you need; it’s just not that cute. Actually, it’s much less pretty and charming than most other places I’ve been in Croatia; and, however, I do recommend it since there is no nicer and calmer place for a couple of lazy dayz.

However, it might be difficult for people who are not so fit or with small children since climbing on the big rocks can a bit dangerous and there are lots of sea urchins in the water.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
View of Ošjak island from one of the many coves.

Besides the sumptuous landscape, another thing is really striking in Vela Luka, and that’s the many modern mosaics. They’ve been there since 1968 when the International Artist’s Meeting of Painters was held there.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Some of the mosaics on the shore.
bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Even if you don’t intend to kiss: This mosaic marks the nicest place to spend the day by the sea.

Korčula

Now Korčula – the city of Korčula – is a whole different story. From Vela Luka, you can get there a couple of times per day by bus – it takes about an hour and you’ll get to see the entire island.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Gothic adornments.
bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Narrow allow leading to the ocean.

Korčula – the city of Korčula – has an amazing historic old city surrounded by walls. The most spectacular feature is the layout of the streets in a herringbone pattern. This arrangement allows the air to circulate and protects at the same time against the strong winds blowing from the Adriatic sea.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula - St. Michaels
Entrance to St. Michael’s Church.

The historic part is on a promontory and can be accessed over a wooden drawbridge from 1863.

Within the walls, there are all these cute narrow alleys, but also impressive structures such as St. Michael’s Church located right at the entrance on Trg Antuna i Stjepana Radića, restored in 1615 which is the reason for its Baroque appearance.

But there is also the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of St. Mark, built in the 15th century – just like the Saint Nikola monastery and the Franciscan monastery with a Venetian Gothic cloister.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula - St. Marks
St. Mark’s Cathedral

But you don’t need to look for the most prominent houses since basically every building within the old walls is a jewel – like e.g. the Renaissance Palaces that can totally keep up with those in Venice or Florence.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula - St. Peter
Church of St. Peter – and on the wall to the left a map sketching Marco Polo’s journey along the Silk Road.

Talking ’bout Venice – rumor has it that signore Marco Polo was born in Korčula in 1254. Together with his father and his uncle, he was one of the first Europeans to travel the Silk Road to China. Like I said, rumor has it, but there’s actually no proof.
Notwithstanding, the good people of Korčula would be crazy not gaining profit from this rumor, so they insist and you can even visit a building they claim to be Marko Polo’s house of birth.
I find it pretty unique that a municipality just decides having been some famous guy’s birth place – and upsadaisy – tourism flows.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
The town of Korčula is like a open air museum.

By the way, to get the most scenic view of Korčula – the city of Korčula – I recommend to climb up to the very un-scenic supermarket at the town’s entrance. Take the elevator to the parking level and from there you’ll have the best view of the entire promontory and the marvelous sea and mountains in the backdrop.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Getting the best view – from the supermarket’s parking level.

So while Korčula – the city of Korčula – is much more beautiful than Vela Luka, I’d still recommend staying at latter. It’s far more relaxing, few tourists, hardly any day tripper, secluded coves and big trees that grant you shade – nothing but the noise of the noise of the cicadas, the gurgle of the sea and the lapping of the waves against the rocks.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Man, the sea is jammed today.

From time to time, you hear one of the small boats chugging, then it’s just the pretty regular ripple of the water again. Twice a day, at one and then again at half past five, the ferry to Split slides by; this is rush hour in Vela Luka.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Croatia - Vela Luka - Korcula
Going to Dubrovnik, the ferry from Korčula island crosses the sea to Orebić. Bye bye, my island in the sun, I’ll be back.

Best place to sleep:

Location, location, location: Although it’s about twenty to thirty minutes walking to the harbor, I loved the location; and Jenny and her husband picked me up at the ferry on arrival and brought me to the bus to Dubrovnik as I left, anyway.

The nearest beach – that is not so nice and in front of a pretty busy hotel – is just across the street. But when you walk for about fifteen minutes along the lovely trail next to olive trees and cactusses and through tunnels of greenery, you’ll get to paradisiac spots where you are all by yourself.

Apartments Jenny *
Ulica 1 Broj 60/1
20270 Vela Luka
51000 Rijeka
Phone: + 385 – 99 – 6631877

Best place to eat:

Actually, I must admit that the best place to eat for me was at the apartman: I enjoyed doing a little Croatian grocery shopping and doing my own cooking at the well equipped kitchen.

Here is how I prepared coffee since I wasn’t able to buy coffee filters at any of the local supermarkets:



Do you want to read about all the other beautiful places I’ve visited in Croatia? 
Then go to the main post and take your pick!


If you choose to pin this post, please use these pictures:


Here are more pins from Europe for you:

* This is an affiliate link. If you book through this page, not only do you get the best deal, I also get a small commission that helps me run this blog. Thank you so much for supporting me!

A VAN-TASTIC TRIP to the ISLAND of FEHMARN

Spending a weekend or vacation on the island of Fehmarn in a camper van gives you a totally different perspective of the island’s cool activities and beautiful sceneries.

Surfer and kiters at the Fehmarnsundbrücke during our van-tastic trip to Fehmarn
While the strong wind is the cyclist’s enemy, it’s definitely the surfer’s and kiter’s best friend. One of the hotspots is at Fehmarn’s southern strait next to the legendary Fehmarnsundbrücke, the Fehmarnsoundbridge

After I had spent a weekend on this Baltic island in Spring – when it still was a bit nippy – I thought, in Summer, this place must be paradise.

“Why don’t you just come back in July?”, asks Kim, the representative at Fehmarn Tourismus, a savvy planner and organizer and as cute as a button. “We’d have a camper van at your disposal, this way, you could experience the island from a genuine, more rustic side”.
“Oh….oh….kay, let me get back to you”.

this way to read the whole story >>>

The Island of BORKUM – West of East Frisia

The tour of German islands is coming to an end. I’ve taken you with me from the former easternmost isle in the Baltic across the north sea to the Dutch border – where we’ll spend a couple of carefree summer days on Borkum.

Island of Borkum Beach with Beach Chairs
Doesn’t this beach with the colorful chairs and cabanas just look like the perfect summer destination?!

The island of Borkum is one of the seven East Frisian Islands off the coast of Eastern Friesland. It is not only the largest, but also the westernmost one. Therefore, it’s geographically actually closer to the Netherlands than to the German mainland.

The island is located between the Westerems strait and the Osterems straits respectively between the North Sea and the Wadden Sea to the south which grants some fascinating and unique features.

this way to read the whole story >>>

ISLAND HOPPING in THAILAND: Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Koh Jum

Reportedly, there are about 1430 islands in Thailand – obviously not all of them inhabited, but sadly, many of them crowded. Charmingly, some of the Thai islands come in clusters and are therefore easily accessible when island hopping.

Andaman Sea in Thailand

The most idyllic way of island hopping is done by the traditional longtail boats.

While formerly, most of Thailand’s islands were uninhabited, more and more have been developed for tourism. However, since the most famous and popular ones are not automatically those that have the most beauty and serenity in store, with a little research – and a tip from me – you can still find your tropical paradise far from the party crowds.

 

this way to read the whole story >>>