Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Kamp Kanić, Near Novalja, Pag Island

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Kanić Overview

Kamp Kanić is one of those campsites where you’d be forgiven for thinking that, although the designer has read all the books about what makes for an ideal small modern campsite, he or she has not quite got to grips with the details and practicalities. It’s clearly very new, and the attractive but steep paved drive that I thought might be very slippery, actually provided quite a good grip. However, what looked like flat pitches, were surprisingly difficult to get level on, and the olive trees, that otherwise provide character and shade, tend to make parking tricky on a number of the pitches.

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Kanić Restaurant & Olive Trees

It was not that warm but this was the only time on the trip when my engine got anywhere near to over heating after numerous manoeuvres to try and park level and without scraping an olive branch. In fact I tried three different pitches as the olive branches on the first two were just too low.

Other idiosyncrasies include large shower cubicles with enormous shower heads but no separate private dressing area where you can keep your clothes dry, and a lovely covered washing up area but with quite shallow sinks. Blissfully, there’s no timer on the showers but I can imagine that, with shower heads that size, the water bills will be colossal.

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Kanić Washing Up Area

I first met grandfather, who lived nearby and came out when he heard me, and he put me onto the phone with grandson who appeared to be running the place. We struck a deal over the phone but, to his credit, when he arrived the next morning, he told me he had assumed there were two adults and had therefore over quoted me. So the price reduced from 110 Kn to 80 Kn, all in, which was very reasonable, especially given the fact that there is normally a charge for pets.

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Kanić Terraces

The cafe bar and grill wasn’t open yet but it looked like a very cosy spot, and the stone terracing and flowers were very pretty too. The beach area was also very cosy with new, Hawaiian-type, straw parasols, and what looked like a few lorry loads of bought in shingle. There was also a tiny little harbour for small boats and the price list includes a rent-a-boat option which could be the best way to travel around in high summer.

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Kanić Mini Marina

Kamp Kanić is part of a settlement called Dabovi Stani, about 5km from town in the direction of Lun, and there’s not much else about, so you’d either need to make your own entertainment and come well stocked, or take a car or boat trip for provisions and amenities. However, with about 40 pitches in total and the promise of no noise from Novalja, if you’re looking to escape the crowds, you could do much worse.

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Kanić Beach

There’s a full price list on the website - http://campkanic.com/en - and it’s good to see that WiFi is free. A “Camperstop Complete”, for 2 persons, incluing the use of all essential facilties plus electricity will cost between €19 and €34 per day depending on the season.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Camping Straško, Novalja, Pag Island

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Strasko Beach & Pitches

I had mixed feelings when I checked in at Camping Straško, at the end of a long Day 8: Novalja on Pag is one of Croatia’s biggest tourism centres, Camping Straško is a HUGE, resort style, campsite, and resorts and “big” tourism are not normally my scene. However I was very pleasantly surprised, though it was, of course, off season and not the buzzing “party town” it would be in high summer. I paid a little extra for my pitch and was right by the sea, next to a very long beach, with only a few distant neighbours.

There were quite a few nice touches such as the coloured lines on the road which helped you find your pitch…..

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Strasko Road Lines

…. and the adaptor at the end of the hose for the chemical toilet which stopped it dripping and splashing everywhere.

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Strasko Chem Toilet

The pitches were a good size and well demarcated with trees and walls, and I also liked the water taps which were in the middle of little “tables”, with a rustic stone exterior and stainless steel tops, so you could put your water bottles on them.

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Strasko Taps 

On the downside it was “raining” seeds and leaves from the many Sycamore trees around and many of the peripheral facilities weren’t quite open for business yet.

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Strasko Rent a Bike

One of the restaurants, Buffet Straško, was open and, in the end, I had a really good meal but the first sea bream that arrived was not cooked inside. I strongly suspect it came out of the freezer, rather than being the “catch of the day” but did not get a direct answer to that question! Unfortunately, especially when there are not many tourists about, the restaurants have to use frozen fish. I understand that but wish they (Croatian restaurateurs in general) would be more open about it and not insist on passing it off as Class A fresh fish and pricing it accordingly.

There was no argument from the chef and waiter, who dealt very diplomatically and expertly with my irritation and intention to leave, and eventually produced two slightly smaller, beautifully cooked, sea bream to replace the bigger half frozen one. I seem to recall I was also mollified with another glass of wine, on the house. One nice and relatively unusual touch (unless you are a local or specifically ask for it) was a little bowl of olive oil and chopped garlic to drizzle over the fish.

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Strasko Sea bream

All in all, prices were reasonable – fish at 220 Kn per kilo – mine was 88 Kn, based on the weight of the original fish I think, a very good house wine at 80 Kn per litre, and “blitva s krumpir” at 20 Kn - a common Dalmatian vegetable side dish of swiss chard and boiled potatoes, with garlic and oil. The total came to 146 Kn, including a Prošek aperitif and the one small glass of red wine I was charged for.

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Strasko Restaurant

In general, it was a good stay – a great location with plenty of beach, good modern washrooms (but the dreaded timer button on the showers), a friendly ambience in the restaurant and plenty of evidence that it would be very well maintained in all seasons, however busy it was – bins everywhere, for all kinds of recycling as well as normal rubbish, emptied daily it seems, even in May.

A night’s camping cost me 130 Kn in total, again a little above my average, but it would have been 7 Kn less if I had not gone for a premium pitch. My pitch was 84 Kn, taxes etc 12 Kn, and the rate for one adult was 34 Kn. I was not charged anything extra for the dog or electricity.

There is an FKK (nudist) area and the campsite also offers mobile homes which vary in price from 266 Kn per day to roughly 1,330 Kn per day, depending on size, location and season.

Needless to say there is a full range of facilities and activities in the high season – shops, bakery, rent a scooter/segway/boat/bike/etc, diving and submergible trips, massages, sports centre, pizzeria, tavern and more. There’s free WiFi too which is relatively unusual for Croatian campsites.

And it’s good for sunsets too!

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Strasko Sunset

Like most other campsites in big tourist centres, it is a little way away from the centre of town, and therefore aims to make sure all the basics you need for your holiday are on site.

GPS co-ordinates are  44° 32.70' N 14° 52.85' E

For more information and photos, have a look at the Camping Straško Website

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Eurocamp Raca

Croatia Camping Guide - Eurocamp Raca

I’m not quite sure what to make of Eurocamp Raca, also known as Autocamp Raca and “Moko”, though the latter may just refer to the bar and restaurant. Like many campsites, small and large, in early May it was not yet ready for visitors but the “For Sale” notice on the reception window might be a clue. Similarly, I couldn’t find a website for the campsite itself, when I googled it, and the Facebook page, featuring an “Endless Summer Open Air Party”, was last updated in 2013. It is, however, in the 2016 camping guide I received from the Croatian Tourist Office and that does provide a website – www.sojat.net - which has a very informative video about, firstly,  a roadside restaurant in nearby Sv Juraj under the same ownership, and then the campsite. The video shows the campsite and the on-site restaurant and cocktail bar in full swing with plenty going on – boat trips, pool table, tennis, diving – so it might be a great place for an extended stay. I THINK you would either have to get a boat or walk along the main road to Sv Juraj and it’s a few kilometres away – see Croatia Online - Sv Juraj for more information on the village.

The access is very easy if you are on the “sea” side of the main coast road and it’s just 100 metres down a gradually sloping slip road to the campsite. The first part of the site, with the restaurant and bar, is right by the beach and then you go under a little bridge and under the coast road to the other half. I saw quite a few campsites making use of this kind of arrangement, using both sides of the coast road via a track underneath it and perhaps it’s easier to describe clearly in pictures! The main picture above shows the first part, before you go under the bridge. The next two photos, below, show the bridge and then the “inland” part of the campsite, nestled into the hills, where most of the pitches and the bungalows are located.

Croatia Camping Guide - Eurocamp Raca Bridge

Croatia Camping Guide - Eurocamp Raca inland

Apart from in the high season, the coast road won’t be that busy but you probably will hear an occasional lorry thundering past, wherever you are on this small camp site.

The pitches are well marked out with little stone walls and the white building to the left of the bridge, in the photo above, houses the washrooms which looked fine.

There’s a pier and a slip for small boats and the bar and restaurant furniture were just awaiting their spring clean!

Croatia Camping Guide - Eurocamp Raca Pier and Slip

Example prices are as follows with the first price being for May, June and September and the second for July and August:

Campervan                           35 Kn/40 Kn

Adults                                  30 Kn/35 Kn

Dog                                     15 Kn/20 Kn

Electricity                             25 Kn/25 Kn

Registration & Taxes             13 Kn/14 Kn

A bungalow is 360 Kn/460 Kn per day and sleeps five according to the Senj Tourist Board website page listing the campsite - http://www.tz-senj.hr/en/eurocamp-raca/ At the time of writing, the website link it provides for the campsite is not working.

I would have paid 118 Kn if I had stayed there, based on those prices, which puts it just a little above my average.

GPS 44° 54.98 N 14° 54.87 E

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Camping In Croatia Arrives In The 21st Century

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Belvedere Reception

As already mentioned in earlier postings, I was expecting to be disappointed by Croatian campsites in general, when I embarked on my last trip in May, but could not have been more wrong. My general impression of a few years ago was that many campsites were a little “tired”, in need of renovation, were mostly of the holiday resort type and somewhat overpriced for tourers (rather than pure holiday makers) like me. Admittedly it was a bit of a sweeping generalisation, as I’d spent a lot of time, on that earlier trip, on private premises close to friends, but the campsites I did stay at, for example Borik, did fit the bill (and still does I’m sorry to say). This time, I visited scores of campsites the length and breadth of coastal Croatia, and a few inland, and really noticed how many had gone up market and how the newish minicamps had quickly found their niche.

That focus on quality, reflective of the new style of Croatian tourism in general, may be arriving relatively late in some quarters, but is really taking hold now in much of the camping world. Pictured above is the reception at Camp Belvedere, Seget Vranjica, near Trogir, a camping destination that really exemplifies the best of 21st century camping in Croatia. There’s clearly been a massive investment in upgrading existing facilities and providing new ones, and it shows.  Swimming pool, bar, restaurant, arrival, reception, new holiday homes and toilet blocks all ooze class, and it’s still great value for money with a friendly and efficient service. It’s had some international recognition too and been awarded 4.5 stars by ANWB & ADAC – amongst the largest Dutch and German auto-clubs and camping associations. More on Camp Belvedere when we “get there” on our trip, but here’s the website link if you’d like more information now Camp Belvedere, Seget Vranjica

Another example of this new approach to camping is a smart, “portal type” website called AdriaCamps, which aims to help those considering a Croatian camping holiday in the very early stages of the process, walking them through the process of selecting and booking their campsite or campsites via a one stop website and call centre. This might save a lot of time and anxiety, particularly if, for example, you’re looking to find a campsite in the high season, when most Croatian campsites are fully booked. The website will also help you search for campsites or holiday homes by theme – pet friendly, sandy beaches, campsites near towns or with wellness facilities, etc., and it’s a growing resource for locating campervan, caravan or camping related services and information.

Founded in 2015 and run by a small friendly team of travel professionals with plenty of experience in the camping industry, AdriaCamps aims to help overcome any camping challenges with ease and should be a real boon to first time visitors as well as more seasoned travellers.  I‘m sure we’ll be writing plenty more on AdriaCamps as it grows but in the meantime have a look and see what it’s got to offer for yourself by following this link - AdriaCamps

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Kamp Škver, Senj

Croatia Camping Guide - Senj

Today was one of the very many very happy days of a very happy trip! I know there are a lot of “verys” in that sentence but, even without considering this was a working trip, it’s difficult to imagine a better way of exploring or passing the time.  The weather was great, the roads nice and quiet, we’d researched a handful of campsites on the way, and were just thinking that it might be time to stop in an hour or too when we discovered Kamp Škver in Senj. We liked it so much we decided to stop early and enjoy our position on the front row to the sea. And it also became the main photo for this blog as, to me, it depicts exactly what a trip of this kind to Croatia is all about – parking up after a hard day’s work, opening the campervan door and having a refreshing swim before a delicious fish supper.

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I wasn’t quite sure about having a swim to start with – the sea still seemed a little cold but it was too good an opportunity to miss and, once I had braved it, a German lady then decided to try and everyone else followed! The dog, of course, never misses an opportunity and we found him a little spot, away from everyone.

Croatia Camping Guide - Senj, dog swimming

The campsite has a lovely rustic restaurant – Konoba Gajeta - with great food. I had a fisherman’s gnocchi, a mixed salad and a beer which was 117 Kn, including 3 Kn for bread which is always a bit irritating but quite common.

Croatia Camping Guide - Senj, Dinner

Then it was a short walk, past the restaurant and under the stone arch, to go and investigate Senj itself and admire another amazing Croatian sunset.

Croatia Camping Guide - Senj, sunset

I’ll be writing more, on Senj itself, on sister site, Croatia Online in due course. Its a lovely “spacious” and atmospheric town with plenty of history and a castle high up keeping an eye on everything. It’s not a prime tourist spot for lazing around on the beach but it’s my kind of place and the small campsite is superbly located, both in terms of being right next to the sea and also right next to the town.

Kamp Škver has all the facilities you need – not overly modern but not overly old either and it was one of the real bargains of the trip at 88 Kn including 20 for electricity and the dog thrown in during early negotiations. The staff are friendly and business like and it was the perfect staging post for me to start getting into “Mediterranean” mode. It has an unassailable place in my top ten campsites for location, value for money, the restaurant and a quirky kind of exclusivity.

Croatia Camping Guide - Senj, restaurant

 

The stone building is the restaurant and just behind that is the arch which separates the campsite from the town centre. 

 

For contact details and more information go to Tourist Board Senj - Skver Campsite

Monday, 3 October 2016

Four Croatian Campsites In French Top Twenty

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Simuni

Croatia Week has a great knack of spotting good news stories on Croatia and has come across a French Magazine, Le Monde du Plein Air (which roughly translates as The World of Fresh Air), which features four of Croatia’s campsites in its European top twenty.

We’ve visited two of them already and don’t entirely agree with their inclusion but, clearly, it’s a very subjective thing. Similarly it seems rather odd that all the campsites chosen are situated north of Zadar when there are some excellent campsites in the Šibenik, Split and Dubrovnik regions.

However….we’re in the process of compiling our own top ten of purely Croatian campsites so we’ll let you know the results of that in due course. We might be a little biased but there’s a good case for the European top ten being full of Croatian campsites and nothing else!

Follow this link for the full story  Croatia Week - 4 Croatia Campsites In European Top Twenty

Today’s main photo shows the dog exploring one of the Croatian campsites included in the top twenty – Camp Šimuni on Pag island. It’s huge and has some very modern toilet blocks and a special, brightly coloured kiddies toilet – see below.

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Simuni Toilets

It also has a vast selection of activities and peripheral facilities on offer though not that many were “open” when I was there in May. I can see, however, that it would appeal to those who want a resort-type holiday and to stay in the same place for a couple of weeks though it would be absolutely packed in summer. We’ll be doing a more detailed report on Camp Šimuni when we “get to it” on our trip in just a few days time.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Camp Bunica, Near Senj

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Bunica Sign

We’d had an early start  on this our second whole day in Croatia, and we were getting tired after researching so many campsites. That and the rather steep and narrow access road meant that we didn’'t feel like going all the way down to inspect Camp Bunica up close. Of course Murphy’s law means that this is the only campsite of the day that does not seem to have its own website, or much information at all on the web so I’m afraid we can’t tell you about the prices.

We did, however, take some photos from the top of the access road which suggests a small, family owned campsite, right next to a splendid beach and a little bar/ restaurant, as well as some rooms to let too, We also took a GPS reading from the top of the access road: 45°01.475’ N 14°53.114 E

I  found a few reviews but all in a foreign language. The gist of those I could understand was that it was perhaps a little on the expensive side but very peaceful, with friendly owners, and a lovely place to swim and relax.. Obviously you’ll need your car or motorhome to get to shops, or into town (Senj,) as there’s nothing within an easy walk..

The photo below shows the beach and campsite right next door.

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Bunica Beach

This next photo shows the top of the access road.

Croatia Camping Guide - Camp Bunica Access

The contact details, from my Croatian National Tourist Board free Camping Guide, where its listed under Mini Campsites, are:

Address: Bunica V, Bunica b.b. Senj, HR 53270.

Tel: +385 ( 0 ) 53 616 718

Email: atomljanovic@yahoo.com

My experience is that if an organisation does not have a website, and sometimes even if it does, your chances of getting a response to an enquiry in English by email is pretty slim. However, just in case I am doing Camp Bunica a disservice, I have emailed to ask for a price list and will add a comment to this posting if I get anything back.

Next stop Senj and what a find that was – we liked it so much its the main photo for this blog.

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