Wild camping in Croatia or trips from travel agencies?
For sure it happens to you to take a look at some heavenly views, maybe even at the summer shots of your friends who’s sunny gallery in the social portals are making you shiver, while you see the rain and slush outside of the window. But well, everything requires money and the great vacation requires amazing amounts of savings. Right? So what would you say for the fact that in the time of 3 weeks of journey in Balkans I’ve spend with R. a week in Croatia, swimming and resting on the divine beaches, while the total amount of money paid for accomodations was… 10 euros!
The base is the idea of the travel. Of course, if we’d be interested only in the trips from the travel agencies in the five star hotels, we could forget about this budget, as well as about discovering many places by ourselves. But in case when the travellers are elastic and open for unconventional options – why not?
So how to get prepared for while camping in Croatia? And most of all, where to stop?
How to sleep in the car?
As I’ve mentioned in the previous posts, our main transportation method (and our biggest expense) was the car, thanks to which we didn’t have any problems with finding our camping places. Luckily it didn’t dissapoint us even in the hard conditions and we managed to come back home safe and sound. However the car wasn’t only made for the transportation, but also for sleeping. Except of the tent and air mattress we took with us the foam mattress rolled and placed in the back seats. The trunk managed to fit the box with needed kitchen utensils (our stove, food, cutlery etc) and the bags.
When we have decided to sleep in the car (which has been the comfortable and safe option), we have folded the front seats and moved them possibly far to the front. The mattress has been placed on the top of that (and contained the special cut for the element of the driver’s seat which couldn’t be moved totally flat), and the box and the baggages in the back were placed perfectly under. The construction allowed us to have the mattress straight and keep our pillows and sleeping bags on the top of that – which turned into a perfect, big bed. All the windows were covered because of the morning sun, to not wake up at 5 a.m (all bought in OBI). In the morning the mattress was rolled by us again and the seats brought back in the normal position which took a couple of seconds – the access to the baggages and food remained the same. To drive everything was prepared to not interrupt the view for the driver.
Wild camping – an option for the young people
Can’t hide that this type of travelling is mostly the domain of young people, couples or groups of friends. Of course not in a hundred percent, but it’s hard for me to imagine a family with children having the same journey (not counting camper cars).
A lot of free time and relatively low budget which you can use for the journey – in many cases that’s how those plans are made (sometimes also including hitchhiking, camping, or like us: driving with the car).
It’s a wrong thinking though that those kinds of journeys mean refusing ourselves every pleasure; that it’s all about sleeping in the uncomfortable conditions and all in all, getting tired instead of relaxing. It’s not an option for everybody, that’s for sure, but we enjoyed it so much! It was comfortable, simple, and just as we wanted it to be. But it’s worth mentioning that we’re that kind of travellers, who would get tired of sitting in the hotel with the pool and observe the same things over and over everyday. 🙂
How to wild camp in Croatia?
Unfortunately, same like in Poland, Croatia officially doesn’t allow for camping outside of places made for it. While I still lived in Sweden, I was really happy of their law called “allemansrätte” which gives everybody an equal possibility of enjoying their nature and sleeping almost in every place (of course except private possessions – unless the owner allows), until you’re not disturbing anyone with your presence and until you don’t destroy anything (and don’t leave garbage). I mentioned then about the special, free cabin in the woods which we used with my friends (read here).
Balkans are the great example for making that kind of journeys come true, and the still raising amount of tourists choosing those unconventional methods of sightseeing in this regions speaks for itself – of course if you decide to choose wild camping you need to have in mind those law regulations; however according to my experience I know that as long as you won’t destroy anything and won’t leave mess, nobody will have any objections.
How to find a perfect spot for camping for free in Croatia?
Everything depends on the way you travel. It will look different for the hikers (easy access to more places), and different when you search for the places in which you can safely leave your car. It limits our choices, because many beautiful beaches didn’t have the proper access, or the road – we decided to not go to places like this, and we’ve never parked right by the street or on the turns, to remain safe. Seeing crosses and candles out there discouraged us to use neighborhoods like those. But in practice finding the perfect camping spot wasn’t easy at all. During the day most of the best places were crouded by the tourists, and while driving down throught the coast sometimes you can’t see what’s underneath.
Our tactics was spending each night in a different place and usually we managed to find another destination within 1-3 hours of drive to enjoy the sunny day outside, swim and prepare lunch or dinner. The best method is the travel down the coast and keeping close to smaller, less touristy cities. The bigger chance of spotting the perfect beach is from Pula to Zadar, than around Dubrovnik.
Seeking for the beaches right after the turns on the cliffs was the one advice that worked for us the most. Skipping the public beaches, city centres and touristically interesting spots is a key to success when you look for an empty place. When you’re not limited by the car, hiking for sure would lead you to your dream destination with a sea view.
Those methods were useful for us during the whole week, and the only moment when we actually paid for the accomodation was in the mentioned Dubrovnik (read about it here). Of course the sum didn’t include the gas price and food, but everything was in the budget.
My favorite places to wild camp in Croatia
1. ,,Dog’s beach” (GPS: 45.06’39.7″N, 14.49’53,6″E) – definitely my favorite! The navigation will lead you there without any problem on the sandy road, which would fit two cars (I always worry to get stuck in the narrow roads). You’ll reach the sea coast where you can meet other travellers with their cars-campers. It’s clean with a rocky beach, but you can lay your towel out there too. Sleeping with the sea view and the sound of waves: that’s it! The beach itself is a great place for swimming. Amazing place which I would like to visit in the future for a longer period (pictures below).
2. Near Karlobag by camping Luna (GPS: 44.31’25.8″N, 15.04’41.8″E) it’s also a very comfortable spot for the car travellers. It has an amazing view on the island nearby and it’s a charming place with just a couple of tourists and fishermen. Perfect place for bathing and enjoying the views.
3. Wild beach after Split (I don’t have GPS for this) – it was my third best spot because of the close access to the sea. Unfortunately in comparison to the previous locations, this was closer to the street – but while parking in the right spot we didn’t have any noises and we weren’t in danger. Except of us where were a few of other tourists travelling in the same way. Pictures below.
Where to bath during wild camping in Croatia?
To sum up the series about travelling in Croatia, I’d like to mention about one more matter, which seems to be interesting for many people: where to bath when you sleep in the tent or the car. Before starting the travel I also had a few worries about it, but while trying to find the answer in the internet, I didn’t see any satisfactory explanations. I decided to try it out by myself and choose the most comfortable option. The simpliest is: bathing in the sea/lake. That’s why we have tried to keep close to the coast and don’t go too far from the natural water sources. During the summer temperatures in Croatia are high so the bath in the divine beach is like salvation. While using natural cosmetics I tried to not leave the soap foam after myself, and the remaining salt on my body I was flushing out by the bottled water (the same method was used for washing my hair). Another comfortable option is using the showers located on the public beaches, which are free and available 24/7. For the tourists travelling by hitchhiking it’s useful to use the sinks and showers on the gas stations (usually they require a small payment so it’s good to have local currency with you and coins).
I’m not one of the people who need to have make-up every day, and I used to pin my hair in the ponytail, so the lack of the access to the normal bathroom wasn’t a drama for me – we were both always clean and nicely smelling. 🙂 The only thing that was worrying me was the matter of shaving my legs, but I was dealing with it before the journey started and I bought the laser lamp to use at home. For those who don’t have that kind of device, wax may be the answer to not think about shaving all the time.
I hope that you liked the series about Croatia, and in case of any questions- I’m here for you. I would like to hear about your opinion about this country and your ways of travelling. Soon on the blog will appear new countries I’ve visited during my journey.