Tagged Croatia

Asanas in Istria

Yoga retreats are a convenient way to combine my two main interests: yoga and travel. They’re also a great way to meet like-minded people. And the food! It’s usually so tasty that you don’t only stretch your muscles but also your belly.

Even though my travel style is quite budget orientated, I don’t mind paying more for yoga retreats. The money is deposited to the best bank possible — my wellbeing.

I have been to a budget yoga retreat before. For 30 € a night I got one class of yoga and a big breakfast. The rest of the meals I cooked myself and accommodation was in tents. While the experience was absolutely amazing and I would gladly go again, I like trying new things. And sometimes it’s nice to pamper yourself instead of worrying about money.

As I found a retreat that coincided with my travel dates, I decided to go there after exploring other parts of Croatia.

In May I experienced an intense three day retreat in Finland — this time I opted for something a bit more relaxing. The seven day retreat was held on the Istrian peninsula, in a tiny village called Orihi. A typical day consisted of a two hour vinyasa flow class in the morning, followed by brunch. In the late afternoon we were pampered with a one hour restorative class and a three course dinner!

A big villa complex was exclusively in our use during the retreat.
A big villa complex was exclusively in our use during the retreat.
Classes were held in the patio turned into an outdoor yoga shala.
Classes were held in the patio turned into an outdoor yoga shala.
The outdoor area was decorated with colourful flags and fabrics, which added a lovely atmosphere to the classes taught by Nina Vukas.
The outdoor area was decorated with colourful flags and fabrics, which added a lovely atmosphere to the classes taught by Nina Vukas.
The interior of the villa was also super cozy.
The interior of the villa was also super cozy.
In between classes there was free time which was usually spent swimming, reading, talking or napping.
In between classes there was free time which was usually spent swimming, reading, talking or napping.
Nina's dog was also enjoying the sun.
Nina’s dog also enjoyed the sun.
Seeta, named after the hindu goddess, became everyone's friend.
Seeta, named after the hindu goddess, became everyone’s friend.
Professional chef Maja Kefecek worked hard every day to serve us healthy and delicious vegetarian food.
Professional chef Maja Kefeček worked hard every day to serve us healthy and delicious vegetarian food.
Brunch was huge, with a selection of bread, cheese, omelettes, pastries, salads, soups, vegetables, yogurt, granola, smoothies, tea — just to name a few.
Brunch was huge, with a selection of bread, cheese, omelettes, pastries, salads, soups, vegetables, yogurt, granola, smoothies, tea — just to name a few.

For 700 €, I got an entire week of yoga, food, excursions and a bed in a three person room. I think it’s funny how the cheaper option (not getting a private room) is almost always more fun! There wouldn’t have been as much laughter if it wasn’t for my roommates.

There were also different treatments on offer and I went for the one hour abdominal massage. Like I said, I like trying new things, and even though an abdominal massage sounded pretty intense, it ended up being a really relaxing experience and something I definitely want to do again.

Walking through the tiny village of Orihi takes about five minutes.
Walking through the tiny village of Orihi takes about five minutes.
One of the village locals.
One of the village locals.
One afternoon some of us made an excursion to the medieval town of Motovun.
One afternoon some of us made an excursion to the medieval town of Motovun.
Motovun is located on a hill 270 meters above sea level.
Motovun is located on a hill 270 meters above sea level.

Beautiful Monja, who in addition to being my roommate, definitely became a soulmate.
Beautiful Monja, who in addition to being my roommate, definitely became a soulmate.
Halfway through the retreat we visited an olive farm where we learnt about the harvesting process and got a chance to buy olive oil so tasty that you could eat it with anything (I have to try it with vanilla ice cream, as recommended by the farmer)!
Halfway through the retreat we visited an olive farm where we learnt about the harvesting process and got a chance to buy olive oil so tasty that you could eat it with anything (I have to try it with vanilla ice cream, as recommended by the farmer)!
On the second last night of the retreat, we visited Rovinj, and old city on the western coast of Istria. We went on a tour with a boat that was conducted by a Finnish man! He told me the story of how he works the summers on the boat in Croatia and the winters in a resort in Lapland.
On the second last night of the retreat, we visited Rovinj, and old city on the western coast of Istria.
We went on a tour with a boat that was conducted by a Finnish man. He told me the story of how he works the summers on the boat in Croatia and the winters in a ski resort in Lapland.
We went on a tour with a boat that was conducted by a Finnish man. He told me the story of how he works the summers on the boat in Croatia and the winters in a ski resort in Lapland.
Afterwards we walked around the old town.
After the boat trip we walked around the old town.

In Rovinj there are many small shops and galleries selling quirky artwork.
In Rovinj there are many small shops and galleries selling quirky artwork.
With my yoga retreat roommates in Rovinj.
With my yoga retreat roommates in Rovinj.
At the yoga retreat, I met so many amazing women, who provided me with inspiration, support, growth and laughter.
At the yoga retreat, I met so many amazing women, who provided me with inspiration, support, growth and laughter.
Final night at the yoga retreat — last chance to enjoy Maja's cooking.
Final night at the yoga retreat — last chance to enjoy Maja’s spectacular cooking.

Even though this retreat had more laughter than the previous one, a lot of tears were shed on the last night. It feels like we didn’t do that much, but time went so quickly, and true friendships were formed. I will definitely miss everyone I met in Orihi.

Check out Supersoul Yoga for retreats in Croatia and around the world.

The clear waters and friendly people of Croatia

I love Couchsurfing.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the best way to travel. You can learn so much in such a short time just by spending time with a local. I love how I can go to a town I know nothing about and have someone tell me the best sights to see, the best places to eat and of course teach me a couple of words in the local language! Usually the experience gives me so much more than I expected.

I started my summer holidays Couchsurfing in Split for two nights. Shortly after settling down at my host’s apartment, he had to go to work and I headed to the city centre.

The sun was shining in Split, the second largest city in Croatia.
The sun was shining in Split, the second largest city in Croatia.
I walked up to Marjan hill where I had great views over Split.
I walked up to Marjan hill where I had great views over Split.

From Marjan hill, I walked back down to the city centre to experience the old alleyways and marketplaces of Split. And also all the tourists and souvenir shops!

As Split is located on the shore of the Adriatic Sea, fish is popular here. I visited Split Fish Market, a lively market square and hall with all the sea food you can imagine. One interesting observation I made: almost every single vendor had a cigarette either in their mouth or in their hand while preparing and selling the fish!

For people not eating animals, there’s really only one vegetarian restaurant in Split. But with Makrovega, one is enough! A big delicious lunch, consisting of a soup and main course, costs less than 10 €.

My Couchsurfing host Mladen had made a joke about the Croatian lifestyle: say one thing, do another and think a third! On my second day in Split I got to experience this on my own. A tour to visit Krka National Park was advertised to leave at 9 am but when I arrived at the travel bureau, the tour had already left at eight! After wandering around Split for a while, I decided to visit the nearby island of Hvar.

The catamaran from Split to Hvar Town takes one hour and costs 60 kuna (approximately 8 €).
The catamaran from Split to Hvar town takes one hour and costs 60 kuna (approximately 8 €).
There's a beautiful panoramic view over Hvar and the Pakleni islands from Hvar fortress.
There’s a beautiful panoramic view over Hvar and the Pakleni islands from the Hvar fortress located on top of a hill.
Tourists taking a rest in Hvar.
Tourists taking a rest in Hvar.

From Hvar town I took a bus to Stari Grad (literally “Old Town”). There is a car ferry back to Split from Stari Grad so you don’t have to return to Hvar town unless you want to take the catamaran back to the mainland. The two hour journey from Stari Grad to Split on the car ferry costs 40 kuna.

I preferred Stari Grad over the touristy Hvar. There were almost no people on its picturesque streets, just lots of animals: dogs, cats and even a rooster!

This spot called for a swim. Mild evening sun, no people around and the clearest water I had ever seen.
This spot called for a swim. Mild evening sun, no people around and the clearest water I had ever seen.

That’s until the following day, when I visited Croatia’s top attraction, Plitvice Lakes, a four hour bus ride from Split. The water was so clear that I almost stepped into the water until I saw the fish swimming in there! Walking a whole day in a national park gives you lots of time to think about things. But with views like the ones below, my main thought was thank you.

As Plitvice Lakes is Croatia's main tourist attraction, there's an abundance of accommodation in the area. I stayed in Villa Lykos in the nearby town of Jezerce, where a private room set me back 38 €.
As Plitvice Lakes is Croatia’s main tourist attraction, there’s an abundance of accommodation in the area. I stayed in Villa Lykos in the nearby town of Jezerce, where a private room set me back 38 €.
After walking next to refreshing waterfalls in Plitvice, I moved on to Croatia's sweltering hot capital, Zagreb.
After walking next to refreshing waterfalls in Plitvice, I moved on to Croatia’s sweltering hot capital, Zagreb.
I had booked a room through Airbnb with a man called Dragan. He not only provided me with comfortable accommodation and interesting conversations, but even prepared me lunch and breakfast! All for the price of 11 €.
I had booked a room through Airbnb with a 65-year-old man called Dragan. Not only did he provide me with comfortable accommodation and interesting conversations, but even prepared me lunch and breakfast! All for the price of 11 €.
A ride on the world's shortest funicular, 66 m in length, costs 4 kuna.
A ride on the world’s shortest funicular, 66 m in length, costs 4 kuna.
As it was such a hot day, I escaped the heat to The Museum of Broken Relationships. The museum consists of artifacts that real people have donated to the museum along with a story related to the item. Displaying everything from an axe used to destroy the ex's furniture to a mother's suicide note, the museum was selected as the European Museum of the Year in 2011 and quite rightfully so. The museum is funny, sad and thought provoking.
As it was such a hot day, I escaped the heat to The Museum of Broken Relationships. The museum consists of artefacts that real people have donated to the museum along with a story related to the item. Displaying everything from an axe used to destroy the ex’s furniture to a mother’s suicide note, the museum was selected as the European Museum of the Year in 2011 and quite rightfully so. The museum is funny, sad and thought provoking.
“I had this big, truly big love, a long-distance relationship, Sarajevo – Zagreb. It lasted for 20 months. Of course, we dreamt of a life together and with that in mind I bought this huge caterpillar. Every time we would see each other we would tear off one leg. When we ran out of legs to tear, that would be the time to start a life together. But, naturally, as is often the case with great loves, the relationship broke and so the caterpillar did not become a complete invalid after all.”
“I had this big, truly big love, a long-distance relationship, Sarajevo – Zagreb. It lasted for 20 months. Of course, we dreamt of a life together and with that in mind I bought this huge caterpillar. Every time we would see each other we would tear off one leg. When we ran out of legs to tear, that would be the time to start a life together. But, naturally, as is often the case with great loves, the relationship broke and so the caterpillar did not become a complete invalid after all.”
The Dance Week Festival is held yearly in Zagreb, with performances around the city. Already in its 32nd year, I had the privilege to witness the captivating performance of Spanish dancer Concha Vidal.
The Dance Week Festival is held yearly in Zagreb, with performances around the city. Already in its 32nd year, I had the privilege to witness the captivating performance of Spanish dancer Concha Vidal.
I had dinner at Zrno Bio Bistro, a vegan restaurant that sources its produce from local organic farmers. Del-ic-ious!
I had dinner at Zrno Bio Bistro, a vegan restaurant that sources its produce from local organic farmers. Del-ic-ious!

Even though I really enjoyed the parks, waterfalls, alleyways, museums and restaurants of Croatia, my fondest memories are of the incredible hospitality and friendliness of the Croatian people.