Croatia. Mention that country to most of your peers and I can almost guarantee, you will get that quizzical look that puppies give when they hear a squeaky toy for the first time.
It’s quickly become the festival hub of Europe with its extra warm summers, easy access from most airports and the crystal clear azure waters it possesses. It boasts over 1000 islands, each of them unique and absolutely alluring. It’s also the location of Kings Landing for all you Game of Thrones fans (I’ve never watched it, sue me).
I kept seeing amazing festival pictures, mainly through some of the house music platforms I follow and my wanderlust bug began to hit me. So, being the inquisitive little creature that I am, I saw an ad on my Facebook.com page advertising a festival on a Croatian island called Obonjan (obonjan-island.com), and that was it, Electric Elephant Festival (electricelephant.co.uk) was going to kill this cat’s curiosity, this was my opportunity to run away from the UK weather and also finally see what Croatia was all about. So here is a little run down on how my four-day trip went.
I decided to travel a day earlier like I did on my trip to Santorini only because i would arrive quite late in the evening and miss a day at the festival plus it would also save me some money and that’s always a good thing
As some of you may know, I live in Southampton and prefer to travel from our airport for convenience sake. I used skyscanner.com to search for my flights to Zadar airport as it’s the closest to Sibenik which is where the port is to get to Obonjan island by a boat taxi or ferry
*Again, I traced my flights as I did with santorini and booked each flight individually as it was cheaper that way as my flight would’ve cost about £252 if I hadn’t booked it this way. I flew with BMI airlines from Southampton to Munich for £45 (inc luggage fees), I didn’t mind my 6hr wait there as all I did was blog, nap and eat! Then got my connecting flight from Munich to Zadar with Croatia Airlines and I did the same with my flights back.*
ACCOMMODATION:Hostel Scala and Obonjan Island
Once I got to Zadar, I got an Uber to Sibenik which cost kn447 (approx £55). I had booked what I would call the most luxurious Hostel ever!! I wanted something cheap and couldn’t believe I was booking a room for just £14p/n, this price is for the room for 4 and you get a bunk bed and private bathroom, air-conditioned dorm. There are also ensuite private double rooms available from as little as £45p/n. Of course I was extremely sceptical as I had booked some disasters on booking.com simply because I looked at the pictures and just booked. I also was one of those people who was really a snob when it came to what sort of accommodation I booked, hostels were never on my list. But this year I put that on my list of things to do at least once in my life and I did it. Of course, I was very picky on the type of hostel, I just wasn’t going to go for any hostel, it wasn’t that deep and I still needed a touch of luxe.
Hostel Scala did not disappoint at all. It was beyond gorgeous and I will definitely be staying again. I really didn’t expect it to be so stunning, other Hostels take note!! The amazing staff, pool, the extra clean rooms, huge kitchen, outdoor seating area and convenient location was all perfect.
They only opened in February 2017 so there is still a bit of construction going on which I have no doubt will be glorious once finished. If I remember correctly, Steve (concierge, reception, awesome fella) told me there will be a bar, alfresco dining area, and outdoor kitchen/barbecue area by the pool.
I’ve added some pictures just so you can get an idea of what the place looked like. Book it while you can. I spent the evening with a group of friends from Bath (Aidan, Toby, Laura and Steve), we drank wine, we laughed and eventually started singing our own version of the dreaded ‘Despacito’. One of the best and most hilarious nights I’ve had.
The Following day I spent the afternoon by the pool with the Bath gang again, eventually getting my boat ride to Obonjan at about 4pm. Ivica from Hostel Scala was kind enough to give me a ride to the harbour which was only about an 8 minute drive away. Boat arrived about 10 minutes later and I was on my way to paradise. I can’t lie, I was super excited! I love islands, I kind of like the idea of not having access to the mainland easily and almost leaving civilisation behind. I also like the idea of island boys, strong, tanned….I digress
So back to reality, the boat trip from Sibenik to Obonjan took about 45 minutes if I remember correctly. As we were arriving I could hear the music playing. It was all just as I imagined, dreamy, relaxed and gently wild, I was home.
I had booked a bell tent via the Electric Elephant website which also meant I got a pass to all the events on the island. It was comfortable enough though the decor advertised on the website was non-existent. I had my air conditioning, power points and bed and that’s honestly all I needed.
There were also some communal showers and toilets about 50mtrs away so I was happy with my accommodation. I think if I visit again though, I will try out the Forest Lodges as they have a fridge and en-suite shower room and that’s a little more “ME”. You can see all the accomodation options here: obonjan-island.com/accommodation
FOOD & RESTAURANTS
Luckily Hostel Scala is very close to many restaurants, bars and supermarkets which was convenient. Food on the mainland is pretty cheap but Obonjan island on the other hand was a different story. I’ll be honest and say the food there is expensive, for obvious reasons but it was absolutely delicious.
There’s one convenience shop that sells the necessities but you will struggle to find any international brands of food, drink or toiletries and they will cost an arm and a leg. For instance, a bottle of water is £3 and you can just imagine the cost of anything else. Your best bet would be to bring some food/drinks of your own when you initially arrive and just top up when you need to by getting the Obonjan boat into Sibenik which is available from about 11am until 9pm every hour and it will cost you kn150 (approx £17) return.
There were a variety of restaurants on the island which was great and they stayed open quite late, till 2am. Everything from a burger bar to a health bar to a pizzeria were all available. You can find the full list here:https://obonjan-island.com/food-drink/ but my favourite was definitely Submarine Burger which is a Croatian organic gourmet burger company and their burgers were to die for!!
I ate at two other establishments BOK and The Green Bar. The Green Bar was great if you wanted to detox for the day from all the partying as they offered fresh vegetarian and vegan salads and light meals as well as freshly made lemonade and a variety of smoothies to enjoy at the nearby beach.
MUSIC AND EVENTS
There were a variety of DJ’s and events happening almost everyday on the island and majority of the music playing was Deep House, House and trance music.
I am a massive Deep house fan so it was so amazing to have that overall vibe throughout my stay. I attended one party at the Forest Bar and ended my stay on the island to the sounds of the incredible DJ and producer Fort Romeau at the Amphitheatre and he was brilliant!! You can see some of my videos on my instagram page @thelivingcherub
FINAL THOUGHTS AND TRAVEL TIPS:
Would I go back and visit Hostel Scala and Obonjan again? Absolutely!! I only spent 4 days in Croatia but I already can’t wait to go back and see more of the country. If you’re thinking of going, don’t hesitate at all, it really is a beautiful country. The people, the relaxed lifestyle, the gorgeous weather and the option of island hopping on a daily basis sounds like a good idea to me.
A few tips if you decide to travel to Croatia:
Book your flights in advance to get a good deal to most of their airports and hire a car if necessary to get the most out of your trip
DO NOT go there with Euros they only use their local currency which is the Croatian Kuna. I was so embarrassed when I went to buy some food and was foolishly flashing my Euros to pay, a moment that I seriously wanted the ground to open up and swallow me immediately!!
Visit as many islands as possible it’s worth it as they are all unique
When visiting Obonjan Island make sure you have as many Kunas as possible, some of the restaurants couldn’t take cards. Also try to bring as much food/drinks with you if you can as it is an expensive little island
Enjoy the experience and always try and make as many friends as you can because you’ll definitely want to return to this beautiful country
For more images from my trip, follow me on instagram: