Posted on August 3, 2012 by vicki
Tags: croatia, tour

Day 16 26/7/12 Novalja to Zadar 89km Camping ground at Novalje

We had a nice ride along the island of Pag. It was hot and hilly, but we had a tailwind for a good part of the day. We stopped for some cold drinks in the town of Pag, which is quite popular with the tourists and had some nice waterfront cafes.

The arid island of Pag Looking over the town of Pag

It was only when we turned off south to head to Zadar (now on the mainland, as we had crossed a bridge) that we lost our tailwind. We reached Zadar in the afternoon and enquired about ferries to Split but they do not operate. We wanted to ride along some of the islands and avoid the busy coastal road on the mainland so we needed to find an alternative means of getting to Split. We camped in Zadar and spent the evening looking around the town. The old centre is really pretty, with lots of paved streets that are nicely maintained.

Nice coastal roads

Nice coastal roads

The next morning, we tried to get our bikes on a train but couldn’t. Train travel has been all but abandoned in Croatia in favour of buses and ferries. We did manage to get our bikes on a bus to Split, however. Four hours later we unloaded our bikes at the bus terminal in Split, crossed the road to the ferry terminal and purchased tickets to the island of Korcula on a ferry leaving an hour later.

Another three hours (we were pretty hungry but the food on the ferry was really overpriced) and we were in the beautiful little town of Vela Luka on Korcula. We were going to cycle to the camping 6km away but we got offered a room from a spruiker when disembarking from the ferry. The price was around what we’d pay for camping and we were starving so we accepted. Minutes later we were out on the town (much quieter than the other coastal towns we’d visited) in search of a pizza which we found in a pizzeria which also offered live Croatian folk music.

Split from the ferry Bikes on the ferry Sunset from the ferry arriving at Vela Luka Day 17 28/7/12 Vela Luka to Orebic 58km Once again the riding was hot and hilly. We have been having lots of stops for cold drinks, and only eating fruit during the day due to the heat. There are often roadside stalls selling nice stone fruits and grapes. We stopped in the town of Korčula, the birthplace of Marco Polo. It’s a really nice medieval city with lots of steps. We saw people swimming just below the wall and were tempted but had nowhere to change. We rode further around the island to the ferry terminal and got on a ferry to Orebic. We stopped here because we really wanted a swim and found a really nice quiet camping just outside of town and across the road from the beach. We’re a bit wussy when it comes to walking over the rocks in bare feet to get to the water but once in it is very refreshing.

Korčula Cannon at Korčula Restaurant street in Korčula Day 18 29/7/12 Orebic to Ston 58km The day followed the usual pattern. We were riding along the Peljesac peninsula. There were very few towns, however, and we were low on water and couldn’t buy a drink anywhere. It’s one of the main wine regions so we passed lots of wine shops though, a little frustrating when you just want a cold soft drink! We stopped at the camping at the beach just before the town of Ston (which we didn’t actually visit). After a swim in the first sandy beach we have seen (the water was unexpectedly too cold and not to Rodney’s liking) we had some time to wash clothes and relax. We met a couple of professional travellers from Belgium - they travel all over the world and write and perform plays about their travels when they are back in Belgium. At the moment they are touring the Balkans by motorbike.

Coastline of Peljesac peninsula, Croatia Nice views, Peljesac peninsula Camping on the bay, Peljesac peninsula Day 19 30/7/12 Sobra to Polace (Mljet Island) 38km

In the morning we caught the car ferry to Sobra on Mljet island. We wanted a connecting ferry to Dubrovnik but there weren’t any until the afternoon. So we changed into our cycling clothes and cycled off in the direction of the national park on the other side of the island. Each day seems hotter and hillier than the previous and this ride seemed particularly difficult. Our chosen route would definitely have been more comfortable in spring or autumn! We were a little worried that we wouldn’t be able to get back to Sobra in time for the ferry to Dubrovnik, but found our that a catamaran departed from the other side of the island also. So we had enough time to ride to the Veliko jezero (lake) in the national park. There is a small island within the lake (apparently an island within an island is a rare phenomena) with a Benedictine monastery. We got a little boat across along with a tour group that seemed to be all Aussies and had a walk around before returning to the town of Polace and boarding the catamaran to Dubrovnik.

View from the ferry to Mljet Mljet island Bay of Polace, Mljet island Benedictine monastery on the Velika jezero, Mljet National Park