Two separate short trips by car to enjoy the sea, independently (together with my wife and teenage son)
TERM 1: 3 - 10. 7. 2004
ROUTE 1: Dubrovnik - Hvar - Makarska
TERM 2: 2 - 9. 7. 2005
ROUTE 2: Peljesac - Korcula - Peljesac
goal of both trips was to enjoy some snorkelling in the sea. We have
slowly travelled by car along the cost while sleeping in tent in
Snorkelling: We have found snorkelling rather good in Croatia. The coast is mostly rocky which is good for visibility. General rule is that the further to the south and especially the further away from the mainland you get, the more plentiful and diverse becomes the marine life. We have found snorkelling clearly the best on the Korcula island which is yet relatively undevelopped regarding tourist infrastructure; Peljesac peninsula and Hvar island are about equal and little worse than Korcula. Snorkelling along the mainland coast is possible but clearly less good than on the islands.
Diving: I have tried only one dive off the northern coast of the Hvar island and have to say that after experiencing diving at tropical seas (like South-East Asia or the Caribbean) I have found this dive rather dull - the marine life is much less interesting and colourful. In my opinion diving in Croatia is not really worth the cost (nevertheless, I should mention that I am a rather atypical diver who understand diving as just an extension of the snorkelling further down below; I am sure that people attracted to the diving per se can still enjoy the three-dimensionality of the water world there). There is quite a few diving centers everywhere in Croatia, the diving cost is about average (but it is required to buy a rather costly diving permit valid for a one-year period).
Accommodation: There is enough car-campings everywhere in Croatia but they are not really cheap and often quite full. It is officially forbidden to sleep in the open and the rule is that you may be asked to present receipts documenting that you have slept in official places during each day of your stay in Croatia - I have no idea if this rule is at all enforced, we have never been asked to show the receipts.
Food: There is enough restaurants everywhere in Croatia where you can get usually quite good food.
Getting around: The roads in Croatia are relatively good even if rather narrow especially on the islands. Traffic along the main coastline highway is quite heavy and it gets jammed often during the day, situation on the islands is much better. Tarmac used on Croatian roads has a strange feature of becoming extremely slippery when wet - if it is raining, please apply the highest caution.
Short ferry lines to and between islands run relatively frequently but they are never too cheap; longer ferries are much more scarce and much more expensive.
Getting there and back: The main Croatian highways get seriously plugged during weekends and it can be quite an ordeal to get to your destination. After getting stuck close behind Zagreb during our first trip we escaped to Bosnia and found situation there much better; all other passages we have done forthright via Bosnia: We have found main roads in Bosnia relatively good and never jammed and I can recommend to go that way to anybody coming from eastern part of Europe (like Czechia, Slovakia, eastern Austria, Slovenia, or Hungary); the side roads in Bosnia are quite a different story - they are always narrow and characterized by rather a rough surface.