That time I ended up stranded on a Croatian island with no way home

Hvar Island, Croatia, Melissa Zahorujko The Adelaidian

Let me start by saying this is definitely a clickbait heading, sorry guys. I definitely stranded myself on purpose (you’ll find out why later) but now that I have your attention, let me educate you on all the fantastic places you should visit if you’re planning a trip to Split, Croatia, or Hvar Island anytime soon.

Places to eat in Split:

Villa Spiza in Split was highly recommended to me by a few locals actually, so it deemed appropriate I chose this restaurant for my birthday dinner. Tucked away on a narrow cobbled alleway with people squashing up against each other to pass through, Villa Spiza is an elusive hidden gem and considered one of the best restaurants in Split.

Arriving with no booking, we lined up for what would have been 15-20 minutes or so to get a seat, which wasn’t too much of a bother for us. The space was intimate and dimly lit, with rustic stone walls and classic red and white checkered table cloths. Menus scribbled by hand in bold marker gave the restaurant a homely touch. Ordering burrata and proscuitto to start, we followed with swimmingly large bowls of truffle mushroom pasta. The ingredients were fresh and the serves were generous, a victorious combination.

Fife was the suggestion when I asked for traditional Dalmatian cuisine, so we popped in here to sample the local goods. This restaurant is actually one of the oldest and most well known in Split, and it was pretty affordably priced as well. Ordering separately the gnocci and a chicken mushroom mains, the servings were, yet again, highly generous, wholesome and satisfying. That’s what Eastern Europeans are all about – good, hearty food and lots of it (reigning from Slavic heritage myself, I think I can safely defend this statement).

I’d like to give an honourable mention to Börek (a dish, not a place), which was actually the first thing I ate when I arrived as late as 1am on a Thursday night. Crispy, thin and flaky pastry filled with feta cheese, or spinach and cheese, or ham and cheese… honestly they were just so good, I had one every day as a snack.

Places to party in Split:

Hang at bavice beach or on the promenade and your likely to be invited by numerous pubcrawls, I can list at least three. they literally run every night. I opted for ziggys but there is crozzies and tower pub crawl

Hang out on the crammed shores of Bavice Beach or around the buzzing promenade and you’re likely to be invited to numerous pub crawls. Like, two, three, five times over. More times than I can count on one hand, we had attractive, topless dudes coming up to us, handing us pub crawl flyers and making us feel special, until we saw them float off to the next group of girls to give them the exact same treatment. Hilarious though, and it worked, because that night we found ourselves on a bus to the Ziggy Star Split Pub Crawl.

Lmao, exactly as you’d expect

It was all-in-all a pretty fun time, and really there’s not much else to say other than it’s exactly what you expect. Young, drunk travellers looking for a wild party and loads of booze. You’re bound to make friends, one of them is bound to go off on their own adventure, and you’ll also likely find yourself holding back some girl’s hair in the toilets. Standard.

Pub crawls run every night during summer season and there’s a fair few to choose from, but that’s just scratching the surface. There are so many fun places to drink and debauch to your liking in Split. Just ask the locals to find one for your flavour, it’s always the best way.

A spontaneous trip to Hvar Island:

So I finally reach the part of my story you’ve all been waiting for, the getting ‘stranded’ part, so-to-speak. I had booked a good five days in Split, however was recommended many a time to visit Hvar, one of the Croatian islands in the Adriatic Sea. I’d umm-ed, and I ahh-ed, until I was starting to run out of time to visit this supposed magical spot. Consequently, late on a Sunday afternoon, I spontaneously asked for the next ticket out to finally get my indecisive ass to Hvar. The plan was to book the last ferry back so I could have somewhere to sleep for the night. It didn’t quite work out that way.

It was very obvious from the get go why so many people had recommended I visit. Touching down off the cool blue Adriatic waters, I found myself among a sea of 20-somethings sipping ciders and rowdily chattering, hopping on and off their boats, all likely part of the ‘Sail Croatia’ tours you hear so much about. Party people? My people. The island was vibrant and busy as ever, with young attractive people every which way.

And so, with the prior knowledge I had of the island, I made my way to the most famous beach club in Hvar, Hula Hula. This club is known for having pristine sunset views, but is mostly famed for its wild nightlife and Ibiza-style flavour. Claiming a sunbed here, the waiter actually offered it for free; I suspect they don’t care about taking payment if it’s late in the day. One sunbed and a vodka soda later, I was ready for my sunset show.

It turned out to be super easy to make friends at Hula Hula. A couple of lovely Norwegians got chatting with us the moment they snagged sunbeds across from us, and we ended up spending the rest of our time with these guys. Next travel destination: Norway? As you could imagine, the beach club started to get busier and busier the later it got, and within the blink of an eye I found myself in the middle of some sort of mosh of dancers on the decks. It was at this point where I decided there was no going back, for mostly fear of FOMO, so I told myself I’d miss the last ferry and make do.

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that one time in croatia #bdaytrip

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Before wrapping this story up, it’s worthy to note where I continued the party into the night on my random escapade to Hvar. Carpe Diem Beach was perhaps my favourite part, due to the fact that you can only get there by boat and it feels kinda VIP-exclusive, like going to an island off an island (island-ception? ?). You pay to enter the island (well, enter the club) and then traverse some tall forestry to a mystical, sparkly, neon-lit hub of thumping bass and whizzing holidaymakers. What better way to spend a night if you have no idea how or when you’re getting home?

Pubcrawl image: Ziggy Pub Crawl FB

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