To continue my blog series on Dalmatia, this post will focus on Tučepi & Podgora which are situated to the South of Split and near Makarska.. places you're more likely to have heard of. Tučepi (Tu-cheh-pee) in particular is a place very close to my heart. I've been going here every summer since I was a little girl and it's tied to a lot of amazing memories. I took Cameron here our first summer dating, and he has also fallen in love with it's charm.
These areas are less known to tourists, and therefore A LOT cheaper than places like Hvar and Dubrovnik. Tučepi & Podgora are neighbouring towns and so it's easy to walk from one to another, especially if you love walking as much as me. You can also walk to Makarska too. It's a long walk, perhaps around 2 hours, but the view is amazing!
In my opinion, the best time to visit Croatia is definitely the beginning of Summer, so June. September is also nicer as there are much less crowds but it rains and storms more often so the weather is unpredictable.
How to get here
Fly into Split and either drive, or get a coach from Split bus station like I do. It's about 2 hours away, but the views are incredible. Make sure you sit on the side of the coach that faces the ocean!
Some of the reasons why I love this part of Croatia
Wonderful sunsets with pastel skies.
Amazing beaches & crystal clear water (the best ones are nudist but you can be clothed - these can be found of each of the furthest ends of Tučepi).
You can rent boats and explore hidden beaches (a few nudists here too haha) and abandoned hotels!
It's heaps of fun! There are lots of jump spots and water based activities such as the flying banana or crazy UFO. You can also hire a pedalina (the peddle boats with a slide). It's got a great night scene as well, with live shows, fish BBQs prepared by local fishermen, national water polo games, rides for children and shopping too. If you're after clubbing, you can find it nearby in Makarska, a short drive away.
You can easily walk to the next town, Podgora. You can't get lost either. Just walk along the water! It's way better than driving.
Where to stay
In Croatia, it's best known to stay with locals who rent their apartments. I’ve been staying with the same local family in Tučepi for maybe 10 years now, we always return which means they're guaranteed business. They are lovely people running a family business and I enjoy getting to know them, practicing my Croatian, and supporting them. I’m really passionate on mitigating negative impacts of tourism and am pro sustainable tourism. I always think about where my money is going, and how the trickle down effect may mean that the locals don’t receive the benefits they deserve.
This is why I also love companies like Airbnb which are allowing locals to monetise their space and get some income from tourists. However in Croatia, the old school and still relevant way to do it is to simply knock on doors with a sign that says 'Apartman' or 'Sobe' and enquire about accommodation. Many of these are family run and some of the elderly may not be familiar with how to use sites such as booking.com or Airbnb. It's totally okay to turn up to Croatia with no accommodation booked. I’m not sure how easy it is these days with availability due to a huge influx of tourists, but I’m sure some of these rooms have been left empty due to huge hotel chains opening etc.
Where to eat
The best restaurant in Tučepi hands down, is Gajeta (Ga-yet-ah). Some of the best food I’ve had in Croatia and amazingly affordable.
Another really special restaurant is Konoba Ranč (Ranch). It's super romantic and hidden in an olive plantation.
I stay in Tučepi and sometimes visit Podgora during the day, so I don't know too much about where to eat there.
Excursions from Tučepi & Podgora
Bol, on the island of Brač (Brach) with a fish picnic provided on the boat.
There are more excursions available when you stay at hotels for example to Hvar, Dubrovnik, Makarska and Split.
I hope you've been inspired to visit the lesser known areas of Croatia as it has so much more to give!! My next and final blog post on Dalmatia will cover Dubrovnik & Korčula and I'll also include what local foods/sweets must be tried during your stay - super important for foodies like me!
Let me know what your favourite part of Croatia is and what you love best in the comments below :)