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After much search and planning, we had decided to spend 3 days of our motorcycle trip across South Eastern Europe in Croatia’s Dugi Otok (Croatian for ‘Long Island’) island this past summer. We desperately needed a few days of complete relaxation and Dugi Otok was our rest stop amidst the long motorcycle trip.
Dugi Otok is a large island located on the southwestern part of Croatia, some 2 hours ferry ride from a Croatian coastal city called Zadar. We were fully aware how touristy the Croatian coast can get during summer, so we carefully selected a lesser known island for our summer holiday. It wasn’t easy: Croatian islands and beaches on the mainland are all stunning, but we finally settled for Dugi Otok (thanks Google maps! 😉 ) as we wanted to stay somewhere close to Croatia-Slovenia border for making it easier when doing the very long return trip to Lodz, Poland.
We arrived in Zadar after spending a nice summer afternoon in the extremely pretty, red-roofed city of Dubrovnik, some 5 hours away (on motorbikes!) from Zadar. It was a nice journey and I very much enjoyed the inland views of Croatia from the motorbike. By the time we arrived in Zadar, we were eager to board the ship. It was about an hour wait at the terminal until our ship arrived. We loaded the motorbikes into the ship and took seats on upper sundeck. It was quite chilly by that point (8 in the evening or so..) but the colors on the wide sky above the sea after sunset were beautiful.
Our rented apartment was about 25 kms from the ferry port. I felt like we were the only ones on the deserted roads traveling on the island on that night. It was almost surreal but special; riding on the roads with sea on both sides (the island is long and narrow) and not another soul in sight. After we reached the small village of Zman where we’d be staying, we went out for food. There must have been just 3 restaurants in the whole village, but we did find some pizza and beers. There were tourists however, as I noticed some Italian and Austrian number plates, among few other European ones.
We hadn’t had a proper beach day until we arrived on the island during the trip. We had some swimming chances during the trip, such as in Kravice waterfalls in Bosnia&Herzegovina (but the water was coooollld), in Kotor, Montenegro and near Dubrovnik. But they were just for a short while. So we were all really looking forward to lounging on the pristine beach of Sakarun the whole day. It is considered among the best beaches not just on the island but the whole region, and as soon as we arrived there, we could tell why.The clear sea has amazing shades and the green surroundings make it even more impressive . I will let the picture do the talking:
We spent the whole day on its shallow waters, sunbathing, snorkeling (a bit), playing ball games on the water, taking photos and videos and the most important of all: relaxing. The sun had come out later at around 11 that day, so we were in Sakarun after noon. It is a popular beach which is connected by tour buses from other parts of the island, although we went on motorbikes. I would recommend to not give this superb beach a miss if you’re somewhere in the area. After a fabulous time at the beach well into the evening, we did a short tour of the surroundings on motorbikes and enjoyed the extremely beautiful island scenery when returning to Zman.
Telascica Nature Park
Telascica is a stunning nature park full of wildlife and sea creatures located on the southeastern part of the island. The village we were staying at was just a few kilometers from the nature park. A quick google search convinced all of us of the beauty and variety of the park, so we started our second day at the park. The motorbike ride to the entrance of the park meant passing the lovely island scenery again. I would never get tired of it. Rugged landscapes, high cliffs overlooking the sea, spectacular views of gleaming Adriatic sea , empty narrow roads: just magical.
We started the hike in the park after paying for tickets and getting a map. It seemed like a big park with mesmerizing scenery and cool attractions. We crossed them off one by one as we followed the map and had a lot of fun doing so, despite the heat.
One of them was the salt lake called Mir, which was very warm and full of sea creatures. We enjoyed swimming there and getting free foot massage from the tiny shrimps on the shore!
The park spans to an area of 70 sq. km so we had quite a hike that day! It was evident that the bays in the park were famous with many boaters for anchorage.Some of the highlights of the nature park were a donkey sanctuary, saltwater lake Mir, impressive cliffs overlooking the blue sea and beautiful coves with calm water. We had a great time there admiring the views, jumping from some of the cliffs into the water, snorkeling, hiking on wild paths and relaxing on its bays. It was an adventure-filled, great day.
We also did some exploring while we were on Dugi Otok. We went to see the capital of the island, Sali, which was buzzing with tourists and locals on the warm summer evening. We rode on the island’s windy roads and enjoyed spectacular views. We idly roamed around the village we were staying at, Zman.
We enjoyed good food and the salty air everyday. On the last day, we checked google maps and found what looked like a little beach not very far from Zman. We followed the map which led us to empty wild dirt road finally leading to the little beach. The hike itself was lovely too and I stopped to take about 5000 pictures of the views as usual 😉
The small beach was pebbly but we had it just for ourselves! There was a small ship anchored nearby and people were jumping off to the blue water. We snorkeled, swam and spent many hours there.
We had good, slow-paced 3 days full of fun in Dugi Otok island. The island was so pretty and we got exactly what we expected from the holiday.