Wrapup of Croatia and the entire trip

The traffic in Croatia was not as bike friendly as in Slovenia, and our couple of rides along the busy coastal road weren’t particularly pleasant. This basically limited us to travelling the islands. That’s OK, as Croatia has fantastic islands. It’s generally easy to travel by ferry between islands, but for some reason you can only take bikes on car ferries and not the people-only catamarans, and this limited our movements considerably. Ferries can also be quite expensive for bikes.

The heat was often a bit too much to ride in, so opting to spend four or so hours in the middle of the day lazing about in the shade somewhere, and only riding morning and late afternoon was great. The time off can easily be wasted on delicious gelato, beer, and enjoying the seaside towns.

Krk as a town was a highlight – beautiful, but small and relatively quiet. For cycling the highlight was probably the twin islands of Cres and Losinj.

Although the big cities are great in themselves, as a cyclist it’s difficult to like them. Dubrovnik in particular is a very beautiful city, but is more suited to the normal tourist than cyclists. On another cycling trip I would gladly skip the big cities and spend the entire time on the islands, then visit Montenegro via Trebinje. The inland route via Bosnia seems it would be much more pleasant and easy than the coastal road.

Finding campgrounds in Croatia was easier than in Slovenia, but they were usually rocky and hard ground, and we came home with a few bent pegs. In some cases we used rocks more than pegs to anchor the tent.

We didn’t cycle as much distance as we intended. In Slovenia we were limited mostly by bad weather, and in Croatia it was our limited ferry options and our unwillingness to ride the main coastal highway, and the heat. What we did was very enjoyable though. We also improved quite a lot as cyclists over the three weeks, and were in pretty good shape by the end.

Apart from the unusually high rainfall we suffered, Slovenia was a better country for cycling. It’s less touristy and more bike friendly than Croatia, and there were areas that sound great for cycling that we didn’t visit, such as the Krka river.

Anyway, it was a great trip. I think our only mistake was to try to fit in too many places which were far apart, meaning we had to cover quite a lot of distance on other forms of transport in order to fit them in. Catching trains, buses and planes is so much less fun and rewarding than cycling, and considerably more expensive. It would be better to cover less distance and be cycling nearly all of the time, even if it means missing a lot of the big drawcards of a region. There are so many small things which will make up for it.

Slovenia and Croatia: Day 13 – Cres Island

Cycled Krk to Valbiska
Ferry Valbiska to Cres
Cycled Cres to Osor

Date: 28th May 2008

This day was quite a killer due to the heat. There was a short ride to the ferry terminal, then a ferry to the nearby island of Cres (the ‘c’ being pronounced like the ‘z’s in “pizza”). By the time we made it off the ferry it was getting towards the middle of the day. The first 8km or so off the ferry was a steady climb and the heat was really getting to us. We were a little disheartened by the time we got to Cres town. The Melbourne couple we met on the ferry Matt and Vanessa seemed to fare a lot better on their 8 speed commuters!

We spent the whole afternoon drinking beer, eating icecream, and trying to hide in the shade. We couldn’t catch a ferry out of there though, so our only option was to continue riding down the island. The first 12km was uphill, but then it was flat along the top of the island. There was a fantastic bit of new smooth road which was easy riding.

Osor was another well positioned campground near a town. Although the town of Osor wasn’t as nice as Krk, it had its charms. It’s a small town of about 80 people, with a centre square with stairs leading into it and a couple of small cobbled streets. The town guards a small bridge over the channel between the islands of Cres and Lošinj. We enjoyed a dinner of spaghetti with a couple of beers as we watched the sun sink below the waves.

The Campsite at Osor

The Campsite at Osor

The View from our campsite

The View from our campsite