Van Life #1 – Wild Camping in Croatia

I have started a new blog series called ‘Van Life’ and it will mainly highlight wild camping and vegan tips in each country we visit. I really appreciate finding out information about this kind of thing whilst travelling to put me at ease and save time on finding wild spots and decent food.

The reason this van life series is starting so far into Europe is because my boyfriend, Pete, and I have been working our summer job in Slovenia so the true van life adventure begins as we leave the beautiful Soča Valley behind us and head south. Since doing summer seasons abroad, the dream has always been to drive to Greece in the inter season before winter, but before having a van we had a glorious Honda Accord and wild camping with a tent just didn’t appeal to me, I wanted a campervan. Fast forward to May 2019, we bought Big Blue off eBay and fast forward even more to September 18th 2019 and we left Slovenia for Croatia.

We downloaded the trusty Park4Night app which is the best way to find wild camping spots for a van and headed firstly for Krk island, the largest of the Croatian islands and accessible via a toll bridge. Technically wild camping is illegal in Croatia and I did read that some people in vans were getting 1000 kuna (€80) fines by the police. After being in Croatia for almost 2 weeks now, I do realise why there is a push to stop campervans and motorhomes camping wherever they like because there are literally so many! I understand that making people go to campsites helps the local economy, puts locals in jobs and stops people making a mess everywhere. However, we like to be in nature and away from the crowds so when we wild camp, we try to be super discreet wherever we stay, take every bit of rubbish with us (including other people’s) and use toilets where we can. If we feel like we can’t do a number 2 in the spot we’re in, we go to the nearest supermarket or cafe. We can last around 4-5 days with the water containers we have (45 litres) and a great tip for Croatia is that most, if not all, petrol stations have free water taps available next to the air pumps.

As we are here out of the main summer season, we have found wild camping incredibly easy, quiet and safe. I’ll link everywhere we have stayed below. After Krk island we headed to Zadar where we wild camped in near Zaton village which was so peaceful, we were so close to the sea. If you’re feeling brave here it is possible to enter the 5* holiday park next door for a sneaky hot shower.

After a couple of nights near Zadar, we went further south along the coastal road to Split. There is an awesome car park in a marina that is totally free and right next to Marjan hill. It was quiet in the evenings and there were a couple of other vans there too. There was the luxury of (cold) showers and toilets there, right next to a beautiful beach which was great for a morning dip before any other beach goers arrived.

We stayed for 3 nights in Split then travelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina via the incredible Imotski lakes.

After our trip into Bosnia and Herzegovina, we crossed back into Croatia at the Duži border crossing. The guy working at the border practically waved us through and didn’t want to search our van which suited us. We drove to our next free camp spot on top of the mountain above Dubrovnik where rain was forecast for a day so we had a full day trapped in the van as we were waiting for a sunny day to visit Dubrovnik. 

After running out of water and not having a hot shower for nearly 2 weeks, we decided to stay at a campsite just south of Dubrovnik in a cute town called Mlini. The campsite was called Camping Kate and it was really lovely. I think we loved it so much because it’s so different from wild camping, you literally have everything you need! Hot showers, washing machines, flushing toilets, electricity and security. A couple of nights there rebooted us ready to move on to Montenegro.

Wild camping Park4Night links:
Krk islandUcka beach and Garica
ZadarZaton
SplitLučica Spinut
DubrovnikSunset mountain

Best supermarket for vegan food – Konzum

 

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