Croatia, a coastal country across from Italy on the Adriatic Sea, claims thousands of islands, many inhabited, others not. Some famous names include Hvar and Pag known for their party and dance scenes. Many of these aforementioned islands are located toward the south of the nation, around the port town of Dubrovnik where I am currently residing.
As a happy surprise, my friend’s family with whom I am staying has a small racing sailboat that they often take to visit islands off the coast. And so, guess who came along for a ride?
Nina and her family, some of the family’s friends, the other temporary residents of the house and I recently went to the island of Lopud, north of the harbor. In general, Dubrovnik is considered the most south one can go in Croatia. Any farther down and it is Montenegro, and any more north, it is actually Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Bosnia and Herzegovina cuts through the country to get a bit of coastline).
Croatia has recently been discovered by the world for its beaches and waters. The sea is considered quite salty to which I can attest, and most shores here are rocky, not sandy. This is what makes Lopud a little special.
Lopud has two sides, only one of which has running water. The side that is lacking a modern pipe system actually has a sandy beach that stretches out into the sea for some distance.
It takes about an hour to an hour and a half to reach this side of the island on sailboat. The other more developed side with a restaurant that my friend’s cousins actually own/ many other amenities is all a thirty-minute trek away.
On this side of the island, there is only a very commercial fast food café that is extremely expensive from a Croatian standpoint. Thirty Kuna for just some French fries is outrageous! Nina’s father’s friend used to own a small pasta joint here, but was seemingly bought out, much to everyone’s surprise.
After doing a little digging, we learned apparently Hilton owns what was once a quaint Croatian establishment and has turned it into a rip off. If you go to this beach, do as the locals and just pack a sandwich; it is definitely worth not spending the money.
Sunj gets quite crowded in the day, mostly by Croatians, and only starts to die down in the evening. It may not be the best place to go when it is super hot though. Besides the crowds, the shallow depth of the water works against its cooling effects. Depending on how far out you go, you may still be sweating in the sea.
There are beach chairs that you can recline on, but you have to rent them unless it is the afternoon. Eventually in the day, the staff stops caring who paid or give up policing the situation. With that said, do not sit directly in front of the café …
In the next few days, I may be heading to another island, but for now, I think I am just going to relax at the beach. Or possibly inside, since I am a little sunburned. Nina has so many people staying with her, she wants to taper how much she goes to the Old Town and sees the touristy sights; I respect that.
That just means more local living for me! The week to come will feature some goodbyes and hellos to old and new housemates, possibly a taste of traditional Croatian cuisine, beach days, and all of this on a budget. I brought a limited amount of cash, which is slowly but surely dwindling.
Remember – always bring more money than you think you’ll need. When our Chewonki friend comes, we are all going to Korean food! That’s right – I found one in the Old Town. Bok for now.