Emily: I’ve wanted to go to Croatia for the last several years. I heard wonderful things about the country and how beautiful (and relatively affordable) it was compared to the rest of Europe. It’s located in Eastern Europe and is just a few hours from Venice, Italy, making it a great side trip.
Last year, my friends and I organized a group trip to visit Rovinj, a small coastal town on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. It’s a gorgeous town full of romance. Everything is stunning there, from the streets to the houses. The food is also excellent.
We went for a kizomba dance festival. Later in the trip report series, I will introduce you to kizomba and describe what an incredible dance it is! The dance festival was amazing and Croatia is definitely a place I want to return and spend more time exploring! The trip’s retail cost was ~$17,000 but I paid ~$900.
Captivating Croatia Trip Report Index:
- Part 1 – Introduction and Planning
- Part 2 – Admirals Club Lounge, New York (JFK)
- Part 3 – Air Berlin Flight to Croatia
- Part 4 – Getting to Venice
- Part 5 – A Night in Venice – Gritti Palace Hotel Overview
- Part 6 – A Night in Venice – Gritti Palace Hotel Room
- Part 7 – Apartment in Rovinj Croatia
- Part 8 – Activities in Rovinj Croatia – Discovering the Old Town
- Part 9 – Activities in Rovinj, Croatia – Exploring the Old Church
- Part 10 – Activities in Rovinj, Croatia – Day Trip to Plitvice Lakes
- Part 11 – Activities in Rovinj, Croatia – Dance Festival Review
- Part 12 – Eating in Rovinj, Croatia
- Part 13 – Shopping in Rovinj, Croatia
- Part 14 – Return Flight on Lufthansa
- Part 15 – Conclusion & Reader Giveaway
After the long series of flights, I wanted to pamper myself a bit, so I used Starwood points earned from the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest card to book a room at the Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice. It was very easy to get to the hotel from the airport. The bus ticket cost 6 euros (~$7). There are several machines to use to buy tickets.
You can choose instructions in English which makes it very simple to understand. I used my Chase Sapphire Preferred card to avoid foreign transaction fees. There are lots of other ways to save money when traveling outside the US.
A lot of my friends took out large amounts of money at the currency exchange stores and used credit cards which charged them currency conversion fees on top of the foreign fees! If they had planned farther in advance, they could have saved a lot of money.
Don’t forget to validate your ticket before getting on the bus!
We took the bus, and it was a short ~30 minute ride.
We then made our way to the Venice water bus that would take us close to our hotel.
The water bus is one of the cheapest, and most fun, ways to see Venice! Rick Steves gives an excellent self-guided water bus tour in his Venice guidebook.
We took the bus to the S. Marco stop, and then walked to our hotel.
On the way, we saw many beautiful Venetian buildings.
It was so beautiful. My camera was very happy.
We passed gondolas filled with other tourists…
…and the famous Rialto Bridge that is undergoing some maintenance.
Finally, we arrived at our stop, and started walking towards the hotel.
It was located in a quiet lane in the center of the city.
We finally arrived!!
Getting to the heart of Venice from the airport using public transportation was cheap, easy, and picturesque. Don’t waste money on a private transfer!
And remember to use a card that doesn’t add foreign transaction fees, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, when you buy your ticket!